"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
September, 2004

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9/30 Dick,

hahahahahaha <clutching sides> <rolling on floor> <hiccup> I did wonder who I
would reel in on the IC Bennett as National Weather Service! Thanks, I needed that.

I know Alaska has only one team, did Dash tenure out or retire? As far as I could
tell he was IC in late spring. Or did I miss a change then? Who is Lynn Wilcock?

I didn't realize that CA no longer has 5 IMTs. Which one disbanded? Neh, now
you gotta be trolling! :O)

I know the teams change year to year and ¿apparently? even within one season?¿

The thing I rediscovered earlier today by looking closely at who is on the teams
is that they are remarkably diverse and, from what I've observed in other situations,
members like each other and work well together! Hallelujah!!

Mellie

9/30 Regarding JT's response to the helirappellers on the Salmon-Challis:

First, it appears the main issue here is communication. A concise
explanation of the situation and the potential consequences must be
communicated to the dispatchers and fire management to underscore the
gravity of the situation.

Second, I agree with JT. We jumped three easy "good-deal" fires in the
Strawberry Wilderness in Oregon during the early "90's. A serious
rainstorm precluded getting picked up by helicopter so we hunkered down,
set up hootches (shelter) and waited it out for 24 hours. I remember
eating sardines while reading a "pocket" novel I carried in my IA gear. I
had on my warm clothing and stocking-cap, was nestled in a good sleeping
bag, had a good chew of copenhagen waiting in the wings, and all the while
rain beat down incessantly on my rain fly. Cozy and comfortable I drifted
off to sleep while being paid for my wilderness experience. I have heard
epic tales of jumper survival camps, ranging from 3-day snowstorms wherein
cannibalism is discussed, to making the most of an experience while waiting
several hours to get picked up by district personnel. I trust
heli-rappellers are also getting trained in simple survival techniques.
Hell, all wildland firefighters should learn basic survival skills. How to
build a shelter, stay dry, light a fire in inclement weather, use maps and
compass, etc.. It sounds like the Salmon-Challis is going to discuss this
issue and resolve their communication problem. But modules can make
themselves less dependent on others by training their firefighters to be
independent, self-sufficient, thinking individuals.

Sincerely,
Sherman

9/30 I have a few comments on the Safenet filed by the Salmon-Challis helitack safenet.

First of all, with that amount of precipitation forecasted, what is the HEMG, line officer or Agency Administrator doing even putting people out there at all! We have a new tool folks, its called a Wildfire Implementation Plan and it allows us to fire use on these fires instead of risking firefighters by rappelling them into a tight spot and having to pick them up in the rain. We need to consider this option before we leave helibases rope ready and just kick into rappel mode without making the appropriate management response. FMOs on that forest need to be teaching that to there HEMGs and ICs.

However,
The Forest did their employees an injustice by not picking these firefighters up, promptly. I grew up in that country, and the ceiling lifts and drops in a matter of minutes and sometimes under a minute. These guys were in a tight spot and had what I justify to be an "emergency". There is a time when we need to quit trying to define words and situations. This was an "emergency" that could have become an "accident" or a "disaster". They tried to get to the proper landing strip and did not succeed. That information was relayed to dispatch, and then came the typical cat and mouse game at the Supervisor's office and the District Ranger Station to try to figure out who wants to make the right decision and declare this a situation to be dealt with. This is a good example for folks on what we go through now as first line supervisors on fires with political, that's right its political when District Rangers and Forest Supervisors get involved, decisions being made. This forest needs to fix this problem because it happened to me with some employees that I supervise last year on a fire outside Challis. We had to ditch gear into a lookout tower and beat feet to a nearby road, that just happened to be right out of the wilderness boundary. Another hour and we would have been stuck for two days, one day more than we had supplies for.

My advice is to consider alternatives to suppression before the rotors crank up (that includes fixed wing rotors). We have to think about these things ahead of time, because our managers sure aren't!

jde

9/30 Well, I took a look at the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return Plan and came up with the following observations: wwwfs.fed.us/r4/sc/projects/index.shtml#frank

In Chapter 2, Section VII - Fire Management

Item D - Objectives
1. Firefighter and public safety is the first priority in every fire management activity.

Item E - Standards and Guidelines
(Note: (S) is a Standard, (G) is a guide) - Standards and Guides are how you meet the objectives.

6. All fire management activities will be conducted in a manner compatible with overall
wilderness management objectives. Preference will be given to methods and
equipment that cause the least: (G)
a. Alteration of the wilderness landscape
b. Disturbance of the land surface
c. Disturbance to visitor solitude
d. Reduction of visibility during periods of visitor use
e. Adverse effect to other air quality related values

7. Fire camps, helispots and other temporary facilities or other temporary facilities or
improvements will be located outside the wilderness boundary wherever feasible.
Disturbed areas within wilderness will be restored to as natural an appearance as
possible. (G)

Is there a different document somewhere that supports the following statement from the Supplemental Corrective Action? If so, could someone please post it?:

“According to the Frank Church Wilderness Fire Direction/Policy: The use of helicopters for demobilization is limited to cases where the Forest Supervisor determines the use is necessary to meet the following: 1.)Other fire emergencies 2.)Safety 3.)When removal by non-motorized means would create significant impacts on the wilderness resource.” SHOULDN’T SAFETY BE NUMBER ONE??????? .

Tim, great quote…. “Safety is about being proactive. Responding to an emergency is being reactive.”

… responding to an emergency when you could have prevented it…… repetitive swiss cheese model. Sooner or later the holes line up.

Lobotomy
9/30 Mellie - Wally Bennett of the Northern Rockies is retired USFS (Flathead NF) and currently with Montana DNRC out of Kalispell, not the WX Service!

Mellie - Alaska only has 1 National IMT, and the Southern Region kicked in a 2nd team when California backed down to 4.

Dick Mangan
9/30 right on tim....

The history on the Salmon-Challis goes well beyond what has happened in the last two years. The people they have chosen to hire in leadership positions, the lack of involvement from management, the inability to address known problems, and like you said reactive instead of proactive line officers, have forced good people to leave for better pastures. No matter what the truth is or the facts, the Salmon has lost credibility in the fire community. Where did you go Joe Carvelho? You are missed.

JD

9/30 Concerning the SCNF helitack demobe.

According to Colin Powell, "The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise."  This bit of wisdom is available from NIFC at:   www.fireleadership.gov/toolbox/about_leadership.phpl

So we have a situation where an IC (I am assuming that he or she is knowledgeable concerning wilderness tactics and policy) is requesting the use of an alternate helispot for safety concerns.  The Frank Church Wilderness Fire Direction/Policy states that helicopters can be used for a variety of reasons including safety.  The request is denied because the safety concerns have not yet escalated to a "medical emergency".

Safety is about being proactive.  Responding to an emergency is being reactive.

Tim

Excellent slide show on LEADERSHIP by Colin Powell. I added the quote to the Quotes list. Ab.

9/30 EMT_MB

I was curious. Here's a breakdown of which agency the ICs on the the Type I IMTs work for:

Pacific NW Area: IC Anderson of PNW3 is Spokane Co FD when he's not IC. IC Lohrey PNW2 is Forest Service.
California: All 5 ICs are Forest Service
Northern Rockies: IC Bennett, is NWS (National Weather Service); IC Frye is National Park Service (GNP)
Great Basin: IC Sexton is Forest Service; IC Martin is Forest Service. Their rosters are hosted on a BLM server.
Rocky Mountains: IC Hart has CO-PBS as a home unit, Colorado State Forest Service?
Southwest: IC Oltrogge is National Park Service; IC Whitney is  Fish and Wildlife Service
Southern Area: IC Kearney is Forest Service; IC Ferguson is Forest Service
Alaska: IC Dash is BLM, don't know about IC Wilcock.

10 FS, 2 NPS, 1 BLM, 1 FWS, 1 NWS, 1 Spokane Co FD, 1 Colorado State Forest Service(?)
Hmmmm, 17. I thought there were 16... Type I teams

I learned something.
Fedfire, thanks for the reply.

Mellie

Southern Area lists both Red team and Blue team as Type I, that is, before they took down their main info pages. Ab.

9/30 Anyone know why all the www.fs.fed.us sites are slower than usual?

GG

I have heard it's the Mt St Helens web cam and people seeking info on the Gifford Pinchot NF that's slowing down the FS server. Ab.

9/30 Tahoe Terrie

Firefighter safety appears to have been disregarded in this situation, but there appears to have been another option these forces could have taken to mitigate this situation: STAY PUT.

I've been flown into wilderness helispots, with the intention of getting flown back out, but you can never count on air support. My crew and I were in a similar situation a few years back in Montana, a day of rain swelled the creek, the ceiling was very low, and we were stuck at the drop off point. No ride out, no safe way down off the hill. We sat for almost 2 days at a spike camp. Yes it was a large incident and yes we had enough provisions cached for the endeavor. On the third day, the snow let up enough long enough to long line most of our gear out, we radioed ahead to make arrangements for pickup at the nearest road crossing on the creek, and then tramped out the 6 or 7 miles, aware of the dangers of hypothermia.

Why couldn't the action taken be to just stay put and construct camp until the weather let up? Basic backpacking skills that I learned when I was 13 in Scouts. It seems that a lot of the time we rely to heavily on technology to take us out of a difficult situation rather than rely on our own wit and training.

Just my 2 cents.

JT
9/30 Ab et all,

I am setting up a display honoring the fallen wildland firefighters. Do we
have a count on the number of fatalities since Mann Gulch?

Where could I get that number?

Thanks,

PSM

Here's some info: NWCG Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910 - 1996 pdf file. Ab.

9/30 Just reading the safenet about the Salmon Challis rappellers. Just when you thought
it was safe enough to go back in the water.......

When is this going to end for the poor folks on that forest? Somebody stand up and
take that fire program to its happy place.

Cramer, Cabin Creek, and now this garbage. Good luck guys, maybe you should think
of going to a place that cares a little more about you before you get hurt.

How about a line from management about their plans for next year....another near miss,
another fatality, or a revamp of operations to better equip, train, and support their folks
on the ground.

The Goat
9/30 Abs and All,

I just received this email from FEMA. As you read this article, they make it sound like the USFS runs all the IMTs! And they can handle ANYTHING!

Can someone with more GS than me please email Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge (FEMA is part of Homeland Security) and inform him of our IMTs interagency nature.

And please also modify the position descriptions and pay rates of those team members out there to equal Superman, because according to FEMA, they can do anything.

(Sarcasm totally intended)

EMT_MB

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

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

September 29, 2004

MEMBERS FROM THREE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAMS TRAVEL TO FLORIDA

Teams being developed using the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) All-Hazards IMT Technical Assistance Program learn first-hand about IMT operations during major emergencies

Emmitsburg, MD- Members from the Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and National Capital Region "Type 3" Incident Management Teams (IMTs) were recently teamed with Federal IMTs operating in response to Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. The purpose was to partner and observe their counterparts on Federal "Type 1" IMTs and to monitor their functions, tasks, and responsibilities to gain hands-on experience at an actual incident. The shadowing assignments were coordinated by the USFA in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The USFS coordinates the Type 1 IMTs and Type 2 IMTs, both of which are Federal resources that are trained and equipped to manage large-scale incidents and disasters.

"Developing local, regional, and state incident management teams will support the National Incident Management System," said Michael Brown, Undersecretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate within the Department of Homeland Security. "The interface between these IMTs and Federal assets is critical during a disaster, as we have seen with Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. There is no better way to prepare the IMT members than to have them see these operations in real-time."

Currently, Type 3 IMTs are being developed at the State and Regional levels across the country, to include team training and mentoring, position-specific training, and shadowing. A Type 3 IMT is a standing team of trained personnel from different departments, organizations, agencies, and jurisdictions within a state or DHS Urban Area Security Initiative region, activated to support incident management at major or complex emergency incidents or special events that extend beyond one operational period. Type 3 IMTs will respond and operate within the State, depending upon State-specific laws, policies, and regulations.

In addition, the USFA All-Hazard IMT Technical Assistance Program is helping develop Types 4 and 5 IMTs at the local level across the country. For more information on this program, contact the USFA's All-Hazards IMT Technical Assistance Program office at (301) 447-7888 or FEMA-AHIMT@dhs.gov.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

9/29 Does this SAFEnet address current USFS policy? 64CS2MSAFE
Supplemental Corrective Action 64GUMDSFIR
Supplemental Corrective Action 652MD8SAFE

I THINK NOT!!!

Firefighter SAFETY should come FIRST. Action should be taken prior to the
situation becoming a full blown medical emergency! The Salmon-Challis leadership
should NOT be allowed to continue putting firefighters at risk! The environment
simply  yells FIREFIGHTER LIVES ON THIS FOREST ARE NOT VALUED!
It's an atmosphere in which accidents are encouraged to happen! My god, what
does it take for these people to learn the Corrective Action should be more than
Cover Your Ass??

Tahoe Terrie

9/29 Mellie,

I can only give you my experience with refusing assignments, which is not that extensive.

To the best of my knowledge there is no paper trail saying you were bad. It is rare to even get any official eval on a fire, good or bad. About the only long term effect is your relationship with your crew (were you looking out for them), in the short term good or bad performance can affect when you get released from the fire (if they don't like you, guess who is usually the first to go) and what kind of assignments you get while there (hotline or mop up). I've found most supervisors are pretty reasonable, if you give an alternative or at least a convincing argument, they will work with you to find a solution. As you said crews vary in quality and experience, an experienced crew can take an assignment without a second thought that a green (inexperienced) crew has no business taking, if the supervisor doesn't speak up who else can be blamed for the outcome? I think it would be an interesting study to see how many of the tragedy fires and near misses resulted after another crew refused an assignment (personally I think it should be a requirement to tell a crew when they are getting an assignment another crew refused, and why it was refused).

As far as long term effects I've found that those who already had a bad opinion of you will use it as their proof you are a bad firefighter and those who don't will take it at face value respecting that it is part of your job to make those decisions. Some will even see it as proof you are a good firefighter who has the ability to take a risk to keep the crew safe.

Fedfire
9/29 Dear Mr. Judd,

Regarding Mr. Paulson's comments and my response:

I never said there was no relationship between politics and firefighting or firefighters. I said there was no relationship between Eva Schicke's death and the politics surrounding the binding arbitration bill. True, politics and politicians impact nearly every aspect of our daily lives whether we know it or not, like it or not. But not every aspect. Rest assured Mr. Judd I am not so naive as to believe otherwise, nor do I need a lesson in Politics 101 to understand "the much bigger picture of the relationship between politics and firefighting".

One problem with Mr. Paulson's statement is that he was not referring to the big picture of fire service related politics. He was responding to the veto of a very specific bill and included a reference to a particular dead firefighter. The bill - binding arbitration, was/is, at its core, all about money. Not fireline safety. The bill had nothing to do with anything that goes on out on the line. No element of that legislation would have had the slightest impact on the events of that tragic Sunday afternoon had it been signed instead of vetoed. Eva's death and the binding arbitration bill are completely unrelated.

You use the horrors of Sept 11, 2001 as an example of the connection between politics and the fire service in an attempt to justify and rationalize Mr. Paulson's statement. Yes indeed, firefighters and politicians of every stripe used the tragedy of September 11 to focus attention on how the service had been left to rot in recent decades since "raise taxes" became a four letter word in this country. They used it to focus on the closed houses, the understaffed engines, the obsolete equipment, the lack of up-to-the-minute training and technology, and on and on. It was the clarity of focus resulting from the Trade Center devastation that resulted in the SAFER and FIRE acts; two pieces of legislation that relate directly to the safety and operational capabilities of firefighters. These two acts succeeded because politicians, union lobbyists and agency administrators worked together to bring about change that would have a direct impact on the safety of firefighters. Using the terror of September 11, 2004 to bring attention to and pressure toward passage of the SAFER and FIRE acts was legitimate because those pieces of legislation would have a direct impact on the safety and capabilities of firefighters in the future. The legislation and the firefighting were/are connected. But this example has no relevance to Mr.. Paulson's statement.

There are other examples of legislators and agencies responding to tragedy or newly discovered deficiencies by working to pass new laws or change policies. The USFS was motivated by the tragedy in Mann Gulch to begin development of what would become the Ten Standard Firefighting Orders. The disaster at Storm King Mtn. has resulted in significant changes in everything from firefighter attitudes to fireline procedures. The Thirty Mile catastrophe also wrought significant change. Whether it was Mann Gulch in 1949, or the Thirty Mile fire in 2001 providing the motivation, administrators and politicians have rightfully used those events as springboards to innovation in policy or procedures designed to improve the safety of firefighters. And in each case, the changes resulting from these terrible events by in large related directly and specifically to fire line operations. Not conference room wrangling over wages and benefits. It can be said that the legislation and or policy and procedure changes were directly connected to the firefighting.

I have to ask. Does NYFD enjoy the right to binding arbitration? If so, how does that fact connect to the death or survival of those brave NYFD souls, or the saving of firefighter lives in the future? Whether they enjoy that right or not has no bearing on whether firefighters lived or died on September 11, 2004. And it will have no relevance to the safety of firefighters in the future. Just like our recently vetoed binding arbitration bill has no relevance to Ms. Schicke's death or the future safety of firefighters like her.

It's clear then Mr. Judd that your use of the September 11th attack as an example of the connection between firefighting and politics is erroneous when used in this debate. Not because it doesn't highlight how politics is often brought to bear after a tragedy to make positive changes. But because it and the other examples highlight how the subsequent politics result in changes relevant to the tragic event that motivated them. The key is relevance. If one is to use your reasoning, now that Mr. Paulson has used Eva's death to "raise the awareness of those who have the ability to affect positive change" we can hope for the passing and signing into law of a new binding arbitration bill as legislators, union lobbyists and fire department administrators rush to correct a deficient system that has for years put firefighters at risk. And as a result of this new binding arbitration bill, firefighters like Eva will be less likely to die on the fire line, right? Oh... ... wait. NOT! Passage of this bill would have done nothing to save Eva. If another such bill is passed and signed tomorrow it will have absolutely no effect what so ever on the future safety of firefighters like her. It will have not even the slightest direct impact on the way we work out on the lines. It will have no means of preventing the causal effects of Ms. Schicke's death from occurring in the future. Why? Because unlike SAFER, FIRE, the Ten Standard Orders or the Thirty Mile Protocols, in this case the legislation is not relevant to the firefighting, the veto not relevant to firefighter safety. Binding arbitration and Eva Schicke ... the two are utterly unrelated!

Let's look at a what if, and ponder what Mr. Paulson's response might have been had the Governor signed the bill. Any chance Mr. Paulson's statement would have read something like this: "We applaud the Governor for acknowledging the sacrifice of Ms. Schicke by signing this important bill. Now Eva can rest peacefully knowing that her brothers and sisters have the right to binding arbitration. Firefighters now and in the future will have the tool they need to protect themselves and their crews while engaged in the most dangerous of endeavors - that tool? Binding arbitration." Not a chance! Instead he and his peers would probably be congratulating themselves for a long and valiant political fight well fought. It is likely they would have remarked publicly that it was the right thing for the Governor to do, that equity has been achieved, in part anyway... but now we must fight for equitable pay. And surely they would have been pleased to call the Governor a friend to Firefighters, and likely as not, slipped a contribution under the door. I can't imagine any reference to Eva had the bill been signed. And rightly so. Because binding arbitration and Eva Schicke's death are not connected in any way. And there would have been no reason to try and embarrass the Governor.

Let's now compare and contrast Mr. Paulson's statement with that of my own Union President, Mr. Bob Wolf, which was posted upon learning of the veto (<http://www.cdffirefighters.org/newsreports/> ). Despite the fact that the vetoed bill was to specifically benefit those whom Bob represents, of which Eva was one, not one word in his statement so much as alludes to her death. I'd like to believe that he made no reference to her death in his statement because he understands where politics and firefighters are and are not connected within the big picture. It would have been nice had Mr. Paulson exhibited the same understanding. Had Mr. Paulson been responding to a veto of a bill that mandated upper level fire behavior training for all CDF personnel including seasonal firefighters; a bill that mandated an increase in engine staffing; a bill that set in place minimum physical fitness standards; a bill that would have put new fire behavior prediction technologies into the hands of fire ground officers; any bill at all that had any relevance what-so-ever to fire line operations and safety, I could have accepted his comments as sad but true. But no. He chose to reference her death in regards to a bill dealing with the inner most details of contract negotiations. And worst of all he used Eva's death in an attempt to embarrass the Governor. Again I say, with the utmost certainty that he was wrong to do so. And the examples and rationalizations you offer in his defense Mr. Judd are, frankly, weak and patronizing. If Mr. Paulson's remarks are an example of the relationship between politics and firefighting then I fear our profession is in trouble. When one of the leaders of our profession, a man reputed to be "personable, honest and caring", exhibits so little regard for human feelings and has so little understanding of the impact of his politics that he would release such a statement to the press, then our entire profession, our brother/sisterhood is severely diminished in the eyes of those he purports to represent and the hearts of those we serve.

To his credit, Mr. Paulson has apologized, at least to me and my crew. For that I have thanked him verbally and by letter. I even admit the return of a measure of respect for Lou for having the sack to call and apologize. Even so I will continue to argue vigorously, until fires cease to rage, that he was wrong. And I imagine that you and he will argue the opposite view likewise. So be it. It just goes to show that some of the best fights are between "brothers".

Never Forget; Never Again!
Bruce Lodge FC
Columbia Helitack

( Thanks again AB ! )

9/29 NorCalTom:

Whomever was calling the said ST wusses was not looking at it from a
perspective of who was there making the decision to not go too deep.

There was volatile fire like you said. As with any fire making a run LCES
and firefighter safety come first, as you know. The next part of the
equation is the "comfort" level of the leaders making a decision to engage
or not engage.

This is based on experience and what level of training and experience others
on strike teams have.

The lesson learned here is that strike teams, crews, single resources need
to let TFLs and Div. Sups know what their level of expertise and comfort
is. Those leaders that are able to make conscious decisions to justify their
actions will be a safer tool to use out on the line.

EW will probably reply to this to clarify further the actions carried out on
the fire.

sfirelake
5 minutes early, not 5 seconds late....
9/29 I realize I don't know something. Well clearly I don't know a lot about a lot of things... But I did read the post about refusing and an assignment on an interface fire in WA and I wondered if there's an official way that some supt or strike team leader gets labeled a "wuss" or gets some negative review from overhead if they refuse? Is there some official letter that says they didn't do their "duty"? That they refused an order? Does that follow them around until they promote or retire?

If so, do you take the DIVS or the Branch Commander's word for LCES being met?
I know there'll be a resounding "no" on that one.
If wildland and structure firefighters are working together or if structure is supervised by wildland, do you take the wildland overhead's perception as truth (safe enough) or the structure supt's perception as truth (not safe enough under these conditions and for these firefighters that I'm responsible for)? What if they don't agree? (Even if it's in the yellow pocket guide on page 18 how to refuse? and come to an agreement.) This may or may not be about meeting checklists or safety directives. It may be about gut feelings and you use the pocket guide to back yourself up and you get a bad review anyway. Who's to say you weren't right? Theoretically, pressures external to the fire can filter down to affect overhead decisions when politics, media pressure etc are present.

It seems that beyond the LCES safety issues, if you're a engine strike team leader you also have to consider the experience of, say, the particular group of engines you supervise and the comfort level and understanding of your people. If they are primarily structure engines, the firefighters on them may be less comfortable with a raging wildland fire, the one way in/out, the proposed safety zone, etc. What one wildland commander might think has mitigated LCES might change in moments from the perspective of the groundpounders or structural firefighters. LCES has to shift with the fire, with the location of the firefighters, etc. Look at the photos of the Cedar Fire. That fire was really going. LCES was changing moment by moment for many days in a row. Structures were lost there. A structural firefighter lost his life.

I may not be putting this very well. Mostly I'm wondering about a negative paper trail blaming those who might have refused for good reason from their perspective. My only experience is wildland. I do remember back to several hotshot supts who refused to go downhill on a slopover off the Denny Road in '99. I know now the supts were recalling the Loop Fire and Storm King. (On the Loop didn't some crew refuse before the El Cariso went?) The fire behavior, time of day, etc in this case were different than occurred prior to and during those tragedies. There was a lookout, several even; it was early in the day; and inversion and 18 inch flame lengths had been the rule in days prior. FOBS had been walking other parts of the fire's perimeter using the black as safety zone. After some discussion and several refusals, the Branch and the Safety Officer went downhill first to flag it and personally observe the conditions. I know now that this was very unusual, but at the time it seemed reasonable to me. The slopover was hooked by other crews from above and below. But did the hs supts that refused get some kind of "bad letter" for their refusal? Probably not, I hope not. They're excellent firefighters and leaders making the best decisions for their crews. If they did, could that letter have been reviewed? Is there a formal process? In the overall scheme of things would existence of such a letter hurt the supts involved? I'm just using this as a "for instance" but I am wondering if such a letter in someone's file (if such things even exist) is another pressure to not refuse to build line when ordered or to save this neighborhood or not. It seems to me that Hotshot supts have more mental toughness, experience and intestinal fortitude for every decision they make than do other supts of engines, dozers, mixed resources, etc. Hopefully strike team leaders do as well when safety is in the balance.

I know, some (Old Fire Guy <chuckle>) will say that good firefighters will talk it over with overhead and mitigate. What if you think you've done that? Say the fire environment is like the Cedar Fire and you feel you've arrived at a reasonable solution to fall back - and then later you later get a notice of a bad performance?

LCES, size of safety zone, reasonable escape route, even lookout can be a nebulous thing in a changing fire environment. I hope strike team leaders, engine captains, hotshot supts continue to take care of their people first without fear of reprimand.

Can anyone tell me what is standard operating procedure for evaluating intermediate management folks performance (supts, STLs)? Do files of letters exist - good and bad? Are bad reviews weighed against good ones? Does a bad review matter? (I'd be pissed.) Is there a standard process for reviewing bad reviews and offering your perspective after the fact? Has anyone done this and not been called a trouble maker? Wow, lots I don't have a clue about.

Mellie

9/29 The Jobs page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages are updated.

I posted a nice photo of a CDF engine at work by Matt on the Engines 12 photo page.

There are some spectacular photos on Handcrews 15 of the Pleasant Valley Hotshots on the Blackwall and Willow Fires compliments of BG.

BG said,
"The Blackwall fire was in 2003 and took place on the border of Montana and Idaho on the Continental divide. This day "Big Ernie" nuked off 2,000 acres in about 20 min." Of the Willow Fire he said, " Here's a picture of crew buggies with the Willow fire in the background. PV was the first crew, IA the fire when it was about 150 acres and PV was the last crew to leave when it was 120,000 acres."

I posted a photo of sent in by Steve L on Helicopters 16. He said, "This is N407S landing atop Desolation Peak in Washington during a Palm IR flight on the Freezeout Complex, 2004. There wasn't much room to hang on to and the 'helipad' was barely bigger then the skids. And no, I didn't look up, I just raised the camera and went for it...."

Thanks contributors. As always, your photos reveal what you do and are interesting to look at.

Ab.

9/29 MJ, sure I’ll hand out coffee. At least we would be helping someone
instead of sitting on our backsides waiting for a fire.

IHCSUPT
9/28 Does anyone have any beef about structure protection vs wildland concerns on
the Fischer Fire and safety? I know there were lots of politics and volatile fire
behavior involved. I heard at least one structure protection ST refused an unsafe
assignment and got called wusses. I would like to know more of the whole story.
There may be some lessons to be learned for interagency, interface firefighting
with big media coverage and dangerous conditions.

NorCal Tom
9/28 FOBS73 - could you be specific about IAPs during the past 5 years that show
DIVS with a span of control of "twenty to thirty to one".

Which Incident? Which IMT? Which Agency/Location?

Gracias!

Aberdeen

Ab would be happy to pass the info on privately.
9/27 Looking for answers to a few questions related to the NIMO document (Draft version #6)? This is a fascinating read. Clearly a lot of thought and work has gone into the development of the document. Two questions.

1. What is the time line for final approval?

2. How was the first assumption under "Content for Analysis of Options" determined? It states, "The same number of overhead positions will be needed in the future for incidents". Most of the subsequent staffing related numerical projections seem to be based on this assumption.

My personal observations in the last five or six years does not support this. I have seen the number of GIS Specialists, Line Medics, Assistant Safety Officers, Assistant Information Officers, Archeologists, Technical Specialists, Field Observers, clerical/camp support, and other positions increase consistently every year. I would anticipate large increases in the numbers of overhead positions assigned to fires in the future, not a "steady state" system.

Look at divisions alone. Last week in class I was showing students numerous IAP examples from the last five fire seasons where Division Supervisors had "span-of-control" ratios of twenty and thirty to one. Over the years we have consistently identified "span-of-control" as a significant problem as it relates to Fireground safety. With the increased organizational emphasis on safety, personal concerns related to legal liability, OSHA citations, case law, formal reports such as Thirty Mile and Cramer Fires and agency accountability, I think you will see a lot of Division Supervisors simply refuse to accept overloaded divisions. If this occurs, the simple solution would be more divisions or more Strike Team Leaders to consolidate resources on the division (or just not staff sections of the line). More Divisions, means more Assistant Safety Officers, more FOBS, more Medics, etc... More divisions also means more Branch Directors, more support, more clerical, more Logistical/Financial/Planning support, etc... Either way, your staffing numbers go up!

Look at the staffing issue from an external analysis standpoint. The Guidance Group's report, written for the Wildland Lessons Learned Center, entitled "Lessons Learned 2003, Successes and Challenges From AAR Roll-ups", lists 88 pages of ideas generated to improve the effectiveness of IMTs. While increased staffing is not required to implement all of the changes/suggestions listed in the document, for other "best practices", IMTs will clearly have to increase the number of overhead positions assigned to the fire. You would not contract for this type of review, unless you wanted IMTs to implement the suggestions. Implementing many of these will result in more staffing. Other causes of increased staffing could include more complex finance issues, increased logistical support functions, etc...

Going back to question #2. Was the assumption that overhead staffing will remain constant, based on the idea that we will be taking a different approach to staffing divisions? Not staffing some areas of the fire? An increased use of contractors within the Plans and Operations sections? Other?
Any clarification will be appreciated.

Thanks,

FOBS73
9/27
 
Attached is a interest survey for Union IHC Squadleader GS-6 14/12 PSE.
Please distribute widely. Response due by 10/30/04
Thanks, Dan.
9/27 JG,

I talked to Vance Hazelton's mother on Friday. She said he is back to work
on light duty. She said that his spirits are up since returning to be with his
Midewin Hotshot crew.

I also talked to the FS liaison for Nicole Lustig of the Bitterroot Hotshots this morning
and she told me that Nicole has a tremendous spirit in working her way back from
her head injury (resulting from the crew buggy crash early this season). While she has
to be lifted into a rowing machine to exercise, she's working very hard on her motor
skills and cognitive recovery.

If any of you would like to send Vance or Nicole a card or note, we will forward
it on to them.

Vicki

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise ID 83705
www.wffoundation.org/
9/27 Does anyone know how Vance Hazleton (Midewin HS) is doing? I heard he went
home from the hospital in May but have heard nothing since then.

JG

9/27 Ab(s) reading & digesting the recent posts sent in by those who are much more eloquent and knowledgeable than I. (yes, that was a complete sentence)

This website is the best available to wildland FF's, regardless of location or affiliation
"things are a changing" - none of us knows what's what in another region, nor in the bigger scope of things...
My guess is the Fed FFs will be expected to deal with homeland security issues in addition to "normal" duties. hopefully appropriate training and a pay raise are on the horizon!

Best wishes, y'all. be safe!

northzone
9/26 my friend eva's flight home

Copter 404
Heading Home

BN

Thanks BN. Ab.

9/26 T-27 on the Left Hand fire in Boulder Co. September of 2004.

vt-cowboy

Thanks cowboy. I put it on the Air Tankers 12 photo page. Ab.

9/26 From the Sit Report: Where the Type I IMTs are and what they're doing.
Take a look at the Type I IMT Page. Some teams have links to their websites
with more information on hurricane relief. - Firescribe

HURRICANE FRANCES / IVAN RESPONSE, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Bennett's Northern Rockies Type 1 Team is managing a base camp at Saufley Field Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL.
A Georgia State Type 2 Incident Management Team (Cline) is assigned to Saufley Field Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL to support the receiving and distribution of relief supplies.

Sexton's Great Basin Type 1 Team is managing an Operational Staging Area at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL.

Anderson's PNW 3 Type 1 Team is assigned in Milton, FL and is managing a base camp and supporting the receiving and distribution of
supplies.

Wilcock's Alaska Type 1 Team is assigned in central Alabama and is managing a base camp and supporting the receiving and distribution of supplies in nine counties.

Lohrey's PNW 2 Type 1 Team is managing a base camp and supporting the receiving and distribution of supplies in Baldwin County, AL.
A North Carolina State Type 2 Incident Management Team (Houseman) is assigned to the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL and is supporting the receiving and distribution of relief supplies.

Kearney's Southern Area "Blue"  Type 1 Team is staged in Atlanta, GA.
Frye's Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered.

9/26 Does anyone have any information about IHCs and other wildland firefighter
crews currently working on hurricane assignments? What tasks are they
performing? Thanks.

COG
9/26 Good Sunday morning All.

I just posted some photos of the Simi Fire taken on Oct 26-28, 2003 by Battalion Chief Keith Burson, South Placer Fire District. They're on the Grand Prix-Old-Simi Fires Photo Page. They start with "Making a Stand". Thanks Keith.

Here are some photos of Pleasant Valley IHC including - hotshot wedding, Pulaski wedding arch, birthday on the line and taking a break on the KP Fire. And a good time was had by all. I put them on the Handcrews 15 Photo page. Thanks BG.

Ab.

9/25 From Firescribe:

Fire history story of the MN Boundary Waters.
The Forest for the Trees

9/25 Dear Bruce (re CPF president Lou Paulson):

As you well know, and which was evident at Eva's service, when firefighters are lost, the entire firefighter community mourns the loss and reflects on each other's fragility while in this honored occupation.

Perhaps a debate could be ongoing as to Lou's comments and the inferences drawn as to their intent. While it is perfectly reasonable for you, as part of her team, to feel some ill-will towards the comments, I would like to suggest that you look at the much bigger picture of the relationship between politics and firefighting.

One must be extremely naive to believe that there is no relationship, or nexus between the two. From the local fire board, to City Councils, to Boards of Supervisors, State Legislatures and Congress, firefighters must understand how integral a role politics plays in their profession... whether they like it or not.

Leaders, whether they be local firefighter union presidents, or the president of the United States, can never please everyone. And, whether you personally agree with it or not, it is by its very nature, reasonable to expect leaders of the firefighting community to utilize such tragedies for the purpose of raising the awareness of those who have the ability to affect positive change on the issues affecting those the leader represents.

Let us not forget 9/11. If anyone didn't think the firefighting community, led by the International Association of Fire Fighters and departments across the country, took full advantage of the loss of 343 of New York's finest to sway congress to fund the Safer Act and the FIRE Act, and state legislators and local governments to increase staffing and address a number of firefighter issues, then they need a serious lesson in Politics 101.

Sadly, incidents such as these are a natural forum for bringing awareness to certain issues. How many times have you read of a legislator introducing some bill after a certain crime happens or some tragedy occurs. Sadly again, it is all too often.

Now let's look at the CDF and federal wildland firefighters, many of whom I'm proud to represent in the Halls of Congress. The wildfire season provides ample media attention. The attention allows our issues to remain in the forefront of the minds of those that can effect change. For the CDF, that is the Governor and the State Legislature and, to a lesser degree, congress. For federal wildland firefighters, congress is the only game in town. Think for a minute how incredibly difficult it must be to educate members of congress on federal wildland firefighter issues when those members of congress represent inner cities and have no clue whatsoever what a federal wildland firefighter is, or does. The only thing they know about wildfires is what they see on TV.

Working the state legislature and congress is a year-round job. It may be easier during the fire season but can be extremely difficult during the winter months. If an incident occurs which draws attention to the occupation, I guarantee someone in a leadership capacity is going to use it to raise the awareness of issues affecting firefighters.

Now to Lou. As a former Executive Board member of the CPF, representing the State's federal firefighters, I came to know Lou several years ago. Unfortunately, I resigned my position as 5th district VP shortly after Lou became the 4th district VP and therefore did not have an opportunity to work much with him on the Board. I regret not having the opportunity to serve him as the president. However, knowing his commitment to those in Contra Costa County, knowing his work ethic and commitment to those he represents, there is no one less deserving of your assault than Lou Paulson.

He has recently been elected to the position of CPF President as a result of the retirement of an icon in the business...Dan Terry who spent 31 years as the leader of the organization. While Dan didn't always appreciate my tenacity in working firefighter issues at the federal level, he was a master at creating a state association, second to none in the country, primarily responsible for improving pay and benefits for the state's municipal and CDF firefighters.

The shoes Lou has to fill, and the expectations that accompany the position, are enormous. Quite candidly, I don't think Lou has the questionable character to take an event such as Eva's death and create a calculated political opportunity as a result of it. He is a genuine neat guy.

Many of us have lost brothers and sisters in the line of duty as firefighters. Your reaction is not exclusive. For quite a while New York City firefighters didn't want any assistance from any other firefighters in recovering their own and even got into it with the IAFF for a while. I'm simply asking you, and those that condemned Lou's comments to understand the complexity of politics as it relates to firefighting and the enormous role politics play in our occupation.

As I said, you can debate Lou's comments until next season. But there is no more personable, honest and caring person that I can think of to lead an organization of some 30,000 firefighters than Lou. And yes, that goes also for the unbelievably talented staff at CPF.

So please allow all of us to mourn the loss of Eva and please understand the staggering task of leading an organization of the world's finest and bravest.

With Great Respect & Sincerity to all of our CDF Brothers and Sisters:

Casey Judd
Business Manager
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
9/25 TSI Guy,

Given the information you have given, this looks like a State of California bill, which due to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution cannot and will not affect Federal lands in any way. The legislature in California knows this and would not attempt to pass a bill to challenge this relationship. The manner of the wording of the bill summary matches the laws which are administered by the natural resource management folks at CDF (the none firefighting part of CDF) and apply to timber harvesting on private land. Doesn't sound like a great idea to me as the state's biggest tool in regulating private land logging is the harvest plan. At least that is my impression. On the other hand we need to provide some incentives to accomplish fuel management on parcels owned by tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of owners. So often the legislative approach can throw the baby out with the bath water.

Retired Forester
9/25 The Table of Contents of the Autumn "Montana The Magazine of Western History" has been posted on the web at: www.montanahistoricalsociety.org/pub/magazine/current.asp. The magazine includes an article on the Mann Gulch Fire that might be of interest to you and to others you know. Please feel free to share this information. The magazine should be completed and mailed next week.

Thank you, Tammy Ryan
tryan@state.mt.us

Fire and Ashes: The Last Survivor of the Mann Gulch Fire
by John N. Maclean
Bob Sallee was a living legend, the last survivor of the Mann Gulch fire, the forest fire that had killed thirteen men on an August day in 1949 in a draw northwest of Helena, Montana. Sallee had been two weeks shy of eighteen years old when he parachuted into Mann Gulch, his first-ever fire jump. As he floated down, he felt little except a rush of adrenaline at the prospect of what lay ahead. In the aftermath of the disaster, youth and mental toughness helped Sallee put disaster behind him. Decades later, though, he felt the pull of the gulch. A series of events - a return visit to Mann Gulch, a memorial get-together, the publication of Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, and the deaths of the other two Mann Gulch survivors, Walter Rumsey and Wag Dodge-cast him in a star role. A tough, bluff man, Sallee had no desire to relive ancient trouble. Under the influence of revived memories, though, his attitude began to change. By renewing old ties, he learned the depth of the fire's effect on the loved ones of those who had not been able to walk away as he had. And he came to appreciate the importance of his memories to solving the mystery of what really happened as the orange flames catapulted forward on heavy winds toward the smokejumpers.

9/24 My thanks to MT Smokey for the link to the news article on the plane crash
incident. Even without all the pertinent information discovered yet, I think
there are some significant lessons to be learned from this event.

I share the feeling of joy with the survivors and their families. I also share the
sadness and grief over the ones who were lost.

not quite as Curious, but still Sad.
9/24 Ab, here is a link to todays Missoulian article on the crash and
survivors that curious was asking about, it should answer all his
questions. Weather was the biggest factor in the delay of the search as the
failure on the ELT precluded ground forces from knowing where to look. Also
if survivor training was as prevalent down here as it is in Alaska, they
would have known to leave some kind of message and their intended route of
travel for the first crews on the scene. All in all they are two very tough
and lucky young people.

www.missoulian.com

MT Smokey
9/24

Cutting and removing of trees to reduce the threat of wildfire will be exempt
from timber harvesting plan requirements if various requirements are met.
AB2420, by Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Biggs.

hi my name is kevin im on a tsi crew in seirra national forest just wondering
if any body has more info on how this may affect timber harvesting- could
this mean we will once again be able to cut 30 dbh trees for harvest just
wondering any further info would be great.

tsi guy

kdillon@calpoly.edu

9/24 Some of the bills signed into law yesterday by Schwarzenegger:

Fire Protection:
  • CA will require firebreaks of at least 100' around homes in areas where the state has firefighting responsibilities and in high-fire-risk areas patrolled by local firefighters. Insurers may require even wider breaks around certain homes. SB1369, by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.
  • The state forestry department will be able to pre-certify military pilots to fight wildfires, similar to programs now for National Guard pilots. SB1526,  by Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta.

Forests:

  • Cutting and removing of trees to reduce the threat of wildfire will be exempt from timber harvesting plan requirements if various requirements are met. AB2420, by Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Biggs.

SoCal CDF

9/24 Scott,

The following information on the Mack II Fire comes from interview notes in my files, not from the official report.

Fire Date is September 19, 1971, Fatality is Robert Maxwell Miller.
The three other USFS employees on the engine with Miller where Bruce Mitchell, Larry Smith and Ron Court. Ron Court was the individual closet to Miller as they came back up the hillside.

The engine was out of Vista Grand or Granda? Station in the Banning area.
Fire Location is about 2 1/2 miles south of Banning on a track of 160 degrees.

Fuel conditions at the time of the fire are:

  • 2.0 tons acre Chamise
  • 1.0 tons acre White Sage
  • 8.0 tons acre Manzanita / assorted brush
  • 1.0 tons light grasses

Live fuel was:

  • 69% Chamise
  • 126% Manzanita

Dead Fuel was:

  • 4.0-6.7% White Sage (Ten hour)
  • 2.5% Grasses

Slope along the hoseline is 35% towards the bottom to 66% at the top by the guard rail.

FOBS73

9/24 OuttaHere:

The only thing I’d like to add to Steve's and FOBS73’s posts is to emphasize that the only thing that will make a real difference is personal initiative. A very good friend of mine recently made his medical unit leader cert as a small department vollie…now he goes out as name request with a Type II Team. Lack of agency support is no excuse. How did he do it? He worked his butt off. He actively searched for training, drove thousands of miles to train on his own dime, sometimes paid for training out of his own pocket, pestered FMOs and ICs and people in the position he wanted to be in until they gave him assignments or good advice. No one’s responsible for your success (or failure) but you. If you want it that bad, go get it.

Nerd on the Fireline
9/24 Ab and all,

Two days ago I posted a letter in which I expressed my outrage at a quote in a local newspaper by Mr. Lou Paulson, President of the California Professional Firefighters (a union representing local Gov't firefighters throughout Ca.). His quote regarding the Governor's veto of the Binding Arbitration bill included a reference to the fireline death of my fellow crewmember Eva Schicke. In my letter to Mr. Paulson I demanded an apology for what I thought were his insensitive and ill-conceived remarks. You can see my letter etc if you scroll down a ways. Seeing as how I slammed him pretty hard in this public forum I feel it is only fair to provide a follow-up in this same forum.

Yesterday (9-23) upon my arrival at the base I was notified that there had been a phone call for me. Another call came in while we were doing PT. And finally another as we were having breakfast. By this time I had printed my letter and the newspaper article in question for the rest of my crew to read. When I took the phone call I put the caller on the speaker so that all of us could listen in. It was Mr. Paulson calling in reply to my letter, calling to apologize and explain himself.

Lou related to us some of the history of the Binding Arbitration bill, reminding us of it's importance to both the CPF and CDF Fire Fighters (CDF's employee organization); including some of the politics involved over recent years between previous Governor Gray Davis and now Gov. Schwarzenegger. Paulson went on to describe how his quote was just one line out of a much longer statement; that the press/reporter, doing what they're well known to do, cherry picked (my term) what was seen as the most gripping portion of his total statement for inclusion in the article. He described how the Governor has previously indicated his respect for firefighters, both in words and by his attendance at FF related events. He related the process in which the Governor has 30 days to sign or veto bills, yet chose to veto this bill just 5 days into that time line, just 3 days prior to Eva's memorial service; it was he said, the Governors timing of the veto that was disrespectful. And he went to some length to deny using the passing of Eva for political gain or advantage over the Governor in regards to the veto (if his statement wasn't a premeditated attempt to discredit the Governor I'll eat my White's). No, It was Governor Schwarzenegger who was disrespectful he says ... it was the press who edited his statement down to one line. To Lou it appears he still feels his statement was a legitimate use of the fact of Eva Schicke's tragic death.

All this background and context is all well and good, and I understand a great deal more now about the context in which Mr. Paulson made his statement. But in the end all this background and context did nothing to lessen the insensitivity of Mr. Paulson's statement. He still chose to include Ms. Schicke's passing in a political discussion completely unrelated to Eva Schicke. In the end I still feel very strongly that Mr. Lou Paulson acted in a "shocking and disrespectful" way.

To Lou's credit he did apologize. To me and the several members of my crew listening in on the speaker. He apologized several times in fact. And for that I must give him credit, because the bottom line is that an apology is what I demanded. Thank you Mr. Paulson, I appreciate the guts it took to make that call. While you did not admit you were wrong, you did apologize for the hurt you caused. I accept your apology.

Never Forget; Never Again!
Bruce Lodge FC
Columbia Helitack Base

Good enough. Ab.
9/24 I read in the local paper today about the USFS workers surviving the plane crash in Montana. The article described their walk out to civilization from the crash site. It mentioned they had remained near the crash for a day and a half awaiting rescue, before deciding to try to walk out. Does anyone have any insight into why there wasn't a rescue, or at least an attempt to recover the bodies (it was initially reported there were no survivors)?

Was the weather too severe to allow helicopter flights? The paper didn't say how long it took them to walk out, but it sounds like about one day. If they could walk out, one of them with a fractured back and burns over 20% of his body, couldn't S&R have hiked in?

Curious.
9/24 As to where the inmates get their boots, I believe that one of the CDC institutions
(possibly Chowchilla) makes all the footwear in house for CDF Conservation
Camps. They are issued to the inmates by CDC on their arrival at the camp, and
replaced by same, so if the inmate blows out a boot on a fire, tough luck! (at least
till they can find another pair).

EC

9/23 Todd,

You failed to mention another big reason that factors into the lack of
replacements to fill the upcoming gaps in the IMTs. That reason is the
potential lack of agency support if something happens. Seems like there is
always somebody out there willing to pull the carpet out from underneath
you if you make a mistake. Even worse in an election year like 2002 in
Washington with Thirtymile. Not many folks willing to put twenty to thirty
years into building a career just to have some kind of adverse action take
place against them for doing the job they are trained for.

Until folks know that their respective agencies will back them through the
possibility of lawsuits, politically motivated public lynchings, and career
ending actions I don't see this situation getting any better. Check with
any of the folks you know that do much prescribed burning and see how many
of them carry personal liability insurance to cover the potential lawsuits
that might/will arise from a lost burn.

Joe
9/23 What do Bill Gates and Homeland Security Department have in common?

No-No

I assume you can make a fire connection here? Ab.

9/23 Good afternoon! I am looking for information on two significant fires for
our room posters here at the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program.
First, does anyone have the names of the three survivors on the Banning
(Mack 2) fire near the San Berdu in 1971?
Any pertinent info would be much
appreciated. Second, does anyone have info on the Hamm fire on the
Stanislaus in 1987
wherein a firefighter was killed falling a tree? Please
e-mail me at swhitmire@fs.fed.us or call at 916-640-1061.

A gentle reminder to all prospective crew bosses, staff and instructional
cadres that applications for the 2005 Academy season are due in 22 days.
Yes, even those whom have participated in the past should submit apps. We
have approximately 70 apps from new people and only about 40 from the salty
old farts. And don't tell me fire season has prevented some of you from
applying. It only takes 15 minutes to fill an application out (25 minutes
for those of us over 40). And some of you better start working out! (You
know who you are).

Thanks. Scott Whitmire

They're both listed in this NWCG Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910 - 1996 pdf file, but only scanty info and nothing on names or circumstances. Ab.
9/23 From Firescribe:

Fire Burns 100 acres on the LP

Hot List Forum says there's a column building since this article came out. Ab.

9/23 I will be having a interview for becoming a volunteer firefighter for Riverside County
and I want to know what they will be asking me and what will they be looking for to
come out of me.

Thanks
Cy

Ab will pass any info along.

9/23 RHC or IHC, I'm happy to get either on a fire. It's great to have so many of both types.
The RHCs have given many of our bright up and coming youngsters a chance to
get the kind of fire experience needed maximize safety and to build the next generation
of professional fire managers. Such experience wouldn't have been so readily available
with only the existing IHCs.

In my estimation, they're equal and deserve equal respect.

NorCal Tom

9/23 Mellie, this is a mind blower.
Here's a telling statistic and warning from that NIMO report -- :

"Over the next five years, the Interagency Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and
Area Command Teams will turn over 92% of their Command and General Staffs (473 of 512
positions) due to retirements, tenure, or inability or unwillingness to participate.

The NIMO Study offers agencies with wildland fire responsibilities a clear choice in both
leadership and management of complex incident management.
Choosing a “non-NIMO” option will either fail to improve complex incident management or will
result in many years of implementation because of the evolution of policy changes proposed.
The unknown realities of response to the National Response Plan, and the increasing workload in
wildland fire responses, coupled with the declining numbers of qualified people to staff IMT’s in
a volunteer militia management philosophy, may create a Federal Wildland Fire Service or the
Homeland Security Agency may seize a lead nationally in all complex incident management
needs for the future, including wildland fires."

Todd

PS Ab, OMG! They're quoting John Maclean as some kind of a justification. Now ain't that about the asses patoot!

OMG= Oh my god. Ab.

9/23 Re: Outt'a here.

Steve's post is right on the money. If you have not got your task book signed off after seven years, you need to do some self re-evaluation before you blast the agency. I will be the first to admit that there are a number of problems with the course selection and trainee assignment system. But, based on my experiences with teams and home units, they will find a way to get you assignments and get you signed off if you meet two criteria. One, you have to be good at what you do (or show a significant desire to learn and contribute to the teams mission). Two, IF you are good at your job, you have to be willing to do it without complaining.

Fundamentally, Incident Command Teams select team members and "Unofficial" team members (name requests) by one of two methods. People, who know you and have worked with you, recommend you for an open position or trainee assignment on the team. Or, you get asked to come on board after you worked with the team in some capacity, normally a single resource overhead assignment. This only happens if you have met the two criteria listed above (being good at your job and willing to do it). When I said that you have to be willing to do the job without complaining, it does not mean you have to get along with everybody. Every IC understands that with forty or fifty people on a team, they are not all going to like each other. But, they do have to be willing to work together in a civil manner.

EVERY team that I have worked with is always looking for good unit leaders. If, after seven years, you have not been asked to "come play", either they do not like what they are seeing, or you have not been following the steps outlined in Steve's post. Either way the ball rests in your court not the agency's.

FOBS 73
9/23 Outta Here,

Are you from the East? I have heard there's even less support for fire
teams in R8 and R9 and fewer teams than in the West. If so, I feel for
you.

Skids

9/23 Bruce and Ab.

Thanks for the photo of Copter 404 and the crew. I will remember Eva smiling.

AL

I put it on Helicopters 16 photo page. Ab.

9/23 Just another monkey wrench to throw at "Outta Here" in her/his quest to become carded as a Unit Leader: although it sometimes isn't followed, the nationally accepted standard for becoming qualified in wildland fire is NWCG PMS 310-1. I haven't read it too closely lately, but recall that it requires that all required training and pre-requisite experiences are accomplished BEFORE a Task Book is issued or training assignments are given.

In light of the current trends toward "accountability" as being seen on Thirtymile and Cramer, maybe folks are starting to look at and follow the rules for issuing red cards and task books more closely?

Aberdeen
9/23 R5 Peanut Gallery, the main difference I see is in funding of IA resources on forests.

IHCs and RHCs are kinda funded from different pots of money -- or using different algorithms might be a better way to put it. All IHCs are a shared national resource. They have a home forest where they do IA if they're home and available, but in modeling the budget to arrive at MEL for a given forest, they are modeled to spend a good deal of time away. There's an algorithm to calculate that. RHCs are regional and are expected to stick closer to home; they are modeled as a Type I handcrew.

On each forest that has an IHC, money for the IHC (like for helicopters) is always there. Money for RHCs may or may not be available depending on budget fluctuations. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Given the NFMAS modeling, if cuts come in the future, the RHC will go before the IHC.

I think that if cuts come in the future the RHC will also go before the engine crew. It has to do with productivity. The productivity of a Type 1 handcrew, I think, is 10 chains per hour. For an engine it's 30 chains per hour because of the water. I have heard that the real value of handcrews is on EA.

It is probably more complicated than this. I may be way off base. Maybe someone who does NFMAS each year can clarify.

Now, I think something the RHCs and the IHCs should both be looking at is the way they will be used in the near future. I came across a link to a draft document last week that I posted. In my opinion, the implications of that document are staggering. Type III teams will be called on to handle fire "as soon as is possible" and Type I and II teams will handle other things, maybe even prioritized first for the other things? Extending the thinking backwards from teams to crews, does that mean the IHCs as a shared national resource will be more likely to be called for terrorism and other emergencies while the RHCs are kept closer to home to fight fire?

Another implication of that document? and I need to study it more closely...Will there be a new kind of Type III IMT with more responsibility for fires? Will there even be enough Type III ICs to manage them if the Agency doesn't back fire management employees up legally when the sh*t hits the fan. As fire management jobs get more complex and require more responsibility for potentially undertrained/underexperienced  people on the line, will the financial risk for managers' families be worth it? We still haven't gotten the news on the Cramer DOJ legal outfall...

Well there's more I could speculate on, but I'll stop. Like Steve, I believe that the fire organization will go on.

Mellie

Draft NIMO Report is in pdf:
Part a
Part b
Part c
Part d
Part e

9/23 Re: Outt'a here (or poor, poor, pitiful me) on 9/22 wants to be a unit leader.

First, here's some cheese and crackers to go with your whine. <photo omitted, but looked yummy>

Now, with your mouth full, you might stop shouting and listen to some options or alternatives, which you could have simply asked for in the first place.

1. Take your case to your agency's Red Card Committee, or whatever they call themselves in your area. If you have the documentation to support your argument, they may decide in your favor. If not, you might at least convince them to place you higher on the priority trainee list for fire assignments.

2. Contact the Incident Commander from the fire you were on this year and let them know of your supervisor's refusal to document your experience. I'm assuming there was a team of some sort on the fire if you went as a Unit Leader Trainee. Other sources you can request help from are your Forest FMO and Forest Training Officer. I'd use my chain of command first, then go as high up in the organization as needed, if I still felt I was right. Use your own discretion on this option.

3. Be patient. It took me nine years to get from Crewboss qualified to my first Strike Team Leader Trainee assignment (mid-Consent Decree time period).

4. Try to foster a relationship with your supervisor which will allow you to be available for fire assignment. If your supervisor is anti-fire, document their statements and decisions and go over their head. Once again, discretion is advised.

5. Keep your local dispatch office informed of your availability. Visit them personally, take an interest in their activities, talk with them about resource orders and large fire needs. Make sure they can put a "face" with your name as they peruse their list of who to call at 0200.

6. Stop whining. You may have already alienated others ("nitwits") to the extent some of the above suggestions are futile.

Regardless of what other choices you make, either fully commit yourself to fire or get out. The fire organization will continue either way. Fire is not a "show" where you get selected to star in a role just because you want to. Try putting fire first and your personal goals second.

You stated, "I could be a good section cheif in 5-10 years". Could be, we may never know, but I know it wouldn't happen until you learned how to spell chief.

Steve
Question Everything

PS: I'm so proud of myself Ab. My knee-jerk reply to outta here's post post was just, "Don't let the door hit yer big butt on the way out!".

I'm proud of you too. <haw, haw> You provide some good advice, but sometimes the knee jerks make for interesting reading. Ab.

9/23 What is the difference between IHC and RHC Crews in
R5? From my understanding, and I'm sure you'll
correct me if I'm wrong;

Same budget (at least on my forest)

Same Assignment rotation at GACC

Same assignments on fires

Held to same qualifications (i.e. NIHCOG & 5109.17)

Held to same review process

So am I missing some here or is there a difference
nobody but you know about? Enlighten us I'm sure I'm
not the only one here curious here.

R5 Peanut Gallery
9/23 Greetings:

This cycle of the boots discussion got me wondering what boots
the inmate crews get. Can someone fill us in?

Shep
9/22 Do you believe in miracles?

Yesterday, the Flathead County, Montana Sheriff announced that all 5 folks aboard
the USFS-chartered flight had died when it crashed in the mountains heading into the
Bob Marshall.

Today, 2 of the 5 were found on US Hiway 2, where they had walked out after the
crash. Both are hospitalized, but ALIVE!! The crash occurred on Monday afternoon.

Never give up hope, and be thankful for small miracles....and the chance to live
another day!

Mollysboy

Great news! Firescribe contributed this link: 2 Walk Away Ab.
9/22 Ab,

I only discovered your site about a month ago, and I've never posted before. Now here I am posting twice in as many days. Anyway, I have a picture I'd like you to post where appropriate. First, thanks to J. Watt for posting our crew picture on Wednesday. Unfortunately that picture is not complete. That picture was taken a couple months ago for use in the soon to be published CDF yearbook. Being a normal duty day, only a portion of the crew was on duty. The rest were off doing what fit fun twenty-somethings do with free time in the summer.

A couple of weeks after that photo was captured, around the first week of July I think it was, CDF firefighters across the State were "frozen" on duty - all days off cancelled due to ongoing major fires. So at Columbia Air Attack base, like stations and bases throughout the state, we enjoyed one of those rare opportunities when the entire staff was on duty together. We seized the opportunity, it quickly became "picture day" ... the helitack crew went one way, the fixed wing staff - retardant loaders, pilots, managers, Air Attack officers, went the other. Each group got their own shots in front of their own aircraft. But soon enough we all gathered up for one big group shot ... all dressed up, actually wearing our uniform shirts for a change, and smiling from ear to ear. Except in the case of the helitack guys. Of course before the shutter is actually tripped everyone is jokin' around and cuttin' up. But as soon as the photographer shouted "okay now... smile", most of the guys revert to their serious he-man Helitack look. Maybe it's one of those goofy guy things. But there was at least one notable exception. Check out the grin on Eva's face! It was a good day, a happier time. And that's the way she was ... the way I'll remember her ... smiling.

Much to our sadness now, we've been in the press alot over the last week or so. I reckon the names could kinda pass by a person as they read the news accounts. But be assured friends that my fellow crewmates who were involved in this recent horrific tragedy are real people, suffering real scars. Not just names in the newspaper. But don't let yourself dwell on the sadness. Check out our picture. Put a happy face to the names in the paper. I encourage all who knew Eva, and those who never had the chance, to look at her smiling face in this picture and remember her, and think of us, like this ... joyful in each others company. It was a good day.

Never Forget; Never Again! Bruce

(Thanks Abercrombie)

Photo of Eva and the whole crew
Yer welcome and thanks, Bruce, for working with me on getting the photo to me. For clarity sake, John didn't send the crew pic, just one of the helicopter that returned Eva home. Ron sent it. I changed my note on that post to give him credit. Ab.
9/22 I put some engine photos on Engines 12 photo page. Ab.
9/22 here are some pics for the taylor complex in alaska, courtesy of Alaska State Forestry, Tok Area Office

CN

Huge flamage. Thanks CN. I posted them on Fire 23, Fire 24 and Handcrews 15 photo pages. Ab.

9/22 In Reference to boots that are NFPA 1977 & 2000 compliant, I have done and been a part of boot committees, All safety gear usually follows these standards, however NFPA is just a consensus, not law. All safety gear is held to some standard or the other- whether thru NFPA, U.S. Fire Admin. or your local Osha requirements. In having prior contacts with these agencies there is now set standard for wildland boots other than department policies which go off recommendations thru NFPA and are a guideline to help you have an idea. That's why most Departments are changing S.O.Ps (standard operating policies) too S.O.Gs (standard operating guidelines).

NFPA is getting ready to start a study on firefighter foot wear. They just have ended their study on leather gloves. It will be interesting too see what their findings are in Jan. 2006. Whoever wants contacts with NFPA, their Liability Specialist -a.k.a.- Lawyer or some folks thru NIOSH and U.S. Fire Admin. email me and I will be glad to put you in contact with them.

SoCal FF
9/22 BT – Re: Boots

My opinion: Nick’s by far. 3 reasons – 1) Nick’s customer support is better. Remember that both companies are busy, and while White’s is a bigger company and you may get your boots a bit faster, what’s 2 weeks? Keep reading… 2) Nick’s uses higher quality leather. Thicker, too, which means longer lasting before a rebuild is necessary. 3) Nick’s has a thicker midsole resulting in better heat protection.

The Whites company has diversified into a smaller Cabela’s like company. Their store and catalogue has a multitude of different products (hunting, fishing, etc.) which has taken away from their concentrated effort on boots. The decline in boot quality has shown over the last 5 years or so. Nick’s remains just a boot company, no bells or whistles. Just great boots.

Whites are good. Nick’s are better. My opinion. And just so you know, you are asking the Ford, Chevy, Dodge question. So be prepared for those types of responses.

R2 localyokel
9/22 My thoughts and prayers are with Eva Schicke's family and crew.

R

9/22 This is the typical USFS water tender. It is made by Pierce on a '02-'04 International 7400 DT530 chassis. This one is WT38 of Grindstone Ranger District on Mendocino NF. Photo taken on July 23, 2004 at Stonyford Work Center.

This photo came in some time back and I've only just gotten to it. I put it on the Equipment 8 photo page. Ab.

9/22 Ab, and all in the Firefighter family,

This morning I awoke around 3:30 with thoughts of Eva swirling in my mind.
To kill the time 'till sunrise I sat at my computer and searched for
articles and pictures regarding Eva's memorial service. It was just a day or
two ago that the true nature of the fire service family was on display for
the world to witness. That service was quite an inspiring display of
brother/sisterhood. I wouldn't have thought anything regarding Eva could
make me mad. Then, in my search I came across an article from the
Sacramento Bee in which the President of the California Professional
Firefighters union was quoted. You can read the quote below. In short ...
I was pissed! A dark, silent morning of reflection and remembrance of a
wonderful person was ruined by politics. Ruined in fact by one of our own.
Below is the letter I fired off to Mr. Lou Paulson, CPF President. I want
to share it with readers of THEY SAID, along with a couple links, in case
people are motivated as I was to express their displeasure with this
so-called "Presidential" statement.

Dear Mr. Paulson,
While searching press accounts of the FF Schicke memorial service I came
across an article describing the fact that the binding arbitration bill had
been vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The following passage appears in
the article, by Sacramento Bee reporter Margaret Talev, and published in the
September 17th edition: "It's shocking and, in our view, disrespectful to
see that the Governor would take this action at a time when CDF is mourning
the first female CDF firefighter to die in the line of duty," California
Professional Firefighters President Lou Paulson said in a statement released
by a spokesman.

Mr. Paulson, what is truly "shocking and ... disrespectful" is that you
would drag the good name of Eva Schicke into this discussion. It is clear
you are trying to discredit the Governor and play upon the sympathies of
your supporters and the general public. You have miscalculated badly. Your
statement is a disgusting example of crass politics. And I resent the
attempt to associate Ms. Schicke with this issue. In so doing you have
sullied our profession at this most difficult time. Tell me Mr. Paulson,
what does the death of Eva have to do with binding arbitration? Had the
Governor signed the bill would it have somehow lessened the grief we feel
right now? Would it have softened the blow to her family, friends and
fellow fire fighters? Would binding arbitration have prevented her death?
There is absolutely no connection between the two, except that which you try
to create for the purpose of scoring political points. You do not hesitate
to invoke her name when you feel it suits your political agenda, yet I have
noticed that not so much as even a simple sympathy card bearing the CPF logo
has arrived at Columbia Helitack base. You disgust me. You should be
ashamed.

I am one of FF Schicke's Captains at Columbia Helitack. I have worked with
her for the better part of three years. I can tell you with absolute
certainty that she didn't give a damn about binding arbitration or the CPF.
I on the other hand have been following this issue for some time, and agree
that it is important to us in CDF. And yes we appreciate the work the CPF
has done over the years toward securing these rights for our membership.
But I cannot sit by and listen to you dishonor the sacrifice made by my
friend, my coworker, my sister, by dragging her into your world of stinking
politics. I demand an apology to the brothers and sisters in CDF and the
California fire service as a whole, whom you have tarnished with your
insensitive and ill-conceived statement.

A copy of this letter will be submitted to my union leadership and will be
posted at various online locations. I and my brothers and sisters in the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection await your apology.

Never Forget; Never Again!
Bruce Lodge FC
Columbia Helitack Base

If you also feel compelled to contact Mr. Paulson, you'll find their website
at www.cpf.org In the lefthand column you'll see a "contact CPF" link
which will take you to one of those fill-in-the-blanks email forms. Or use
your own email software and send it to info@cpf.org

And finally ... on a more positive note, there are several photos of the
memorial service posted on the CDF Firefighters web site. Here's a link to
get you most of the way there.
http://www.cdffirefighters.org/evaschicke/ There are links to many photos
of my friend for those who desire to put a smiling face to the name we've
seen in print so much this past week or so.

Thanks Ab for letting me vent a little. And, oh by the way ... I'm on my
way now to join the Wildland Firefighter Foundation's 52 Club.

Peace,
Bruce

Thanks for the post, Bruce. Let Mr. Paulson hear the outrage and apologize.
Thanks for the link to the photos that reflect her spirit, her athleticism and good cheer. She is missed. Ab.
9/22 Abs,
Attached is a photo taken at Firefighter Eva Schicke's service. Her crew
members have placed her casket on board Copter 404 for her final flight,
fulfilling the fire service tradition of returning a fallen firefighter on
the apparatus on which they responded.

It was a very emotional ceremony, I'm proud of the nearly three thousand
fellow firefighters (four columns, 1/4 mile long, 260 apparatus) who
attended in support of her family, friends, and co-workers. And for taking
her passing into their own lives; we live not for ourselves, but for others.

J.Watt

Helitack 404 crew members including Eva. Ron got this from the CDF pdf information file linked to several days ago and sent it in. Ab.
9/22 CDF did a fine job of sending F/F Schicke to rest. To finish the service with an OV-10 in formation
with 2 S-2T's in a fly over, then Copter 406 hovering overhead, made everyone stand at attention.
Then the whole home unit lined the way, as her pine casket was carried to Copter 404, bringing
tears to all eyes. As Copter 404 pulled pitch, lifted and rotated towards the south, all was quiet
as Eva headed towards Columbia Air Base and home.

Rest in peace "Little Sister".

Rush, Copter 103 CA-LNU (73/75), CA-SAC, NorCal 2

9/22 From Firescribe:

Billings Gazette
Five people killed in plane crash
9/22 Hello my name is Cody McFarland and you guys ran a job announcement in the Spring of 2004 for jobs involving heli-rapel in Utah and I was just wondering if there was anyway you could get me the Sup's number or at least the forest agency they were with. You can reach me at opy12@hotmail.com. I would really appreciate the help and make next spring a lot more enjoyable.

Cody
9/22 GH and Abercrombie,

Thanks for the link and info... it'll come in handy for a report on insurance and WUI relationship.

Rex
9/22 I have a pair of Wesco boots right now but am in the market for a new pair.
What in your opinion are the better boots, Whites or Nicks? Thanks!

BT

9/22 I would like to share an experience in trying to get "unit leader" qualified. Why? Because I've decided to get out of the fire show due to the following. Maybe someone somewhere will get the point and keep someone else from quitting. Names have been changed to protect the guilty. Here's what happened.

1998: I was asked to act as "unit leader" because no one was available. I held one of several positions on the fire supervised by that unit leader, and was asked to cover as unit leader AND another position for which I was not qualified for. It was a small incident supporting about 7 crews. I decided I should become unit leader qualified if I was going to DO the job infrequently in emergency situations.

1999 and 2000: I was unable to take the course for unit leader because it was canceled one year AND because in another year I was not allowed to go to a course I was already signed up for because of work duties on my home USFS unit.

2001: finally got the unit leader course under my belt. My FMO approved a task book with I got used on two incidents.

2002: I thought things were going well until my task book was disapproved by a home unit training person. The reason? I had failed to complete a 12 hour "_______" course. The 80 hour "________" course I DID take wasn't good enough and could not be considered equivalent to the "fire" "________" course. In reality, the fire course was rather rinkydink compared to the intense two week BLM course.

2003: On incident as a manager, but despite a slow time in season, was not allowed to act as trainee unit leader. Got very little signed off.

2004: This year's fire season yielded one fire detail a few months ago for me. BUT while I was a trainee, my supervisor/unit leader again refused to take the role of trainer and I got essentially nothing signed off.

A word to the wise (please excuse my shouting). IF IT TAKES SEVEN YEARS TO GET A TASK BOOK SIGNED OFF AS UNIT LEADER, HOW THE HECK ARE YOU EVER GOING TO GET NEW SECTION CHIEFS? I give up! I would have gladly worked toward section chief, but its been too long a time trying to get training and get signed off. I blame it on: 1) district ranger who would not allow scheduled training 2) nitwits who didn't credit a 2 week course (or experience in other roles) cover for a 12 hour course and 3) incident personnel who don't care to have trainees around underfoot.

After six years of trying to get signed off, I give up. I don't want to go back to my "old" manager positions and refuse to wait a seventh year to try to get a task book signed off. Sign me "outta here!". See you in the office. I'm done with fire. I could be a good section cheif in 5-10 years, but now it won't happen.

Outta here!
9/21 The IHC Steering Committee does not decide who is an IHC. Who will be an
IHC is up to the agency itself (FS, NPS, BIA, BLM, etc.)...

If RHCs want to be IHCs, why don't they ask their agency heads? Oh yea, they
did and were turned down. If the agency does not recognize you as being IHCs
why will anyone else?

STOP trying so hard to be an IHC. RHCs knew from their conception what their
role was, and it was not totally the same as IHCs.

You can't have everything IHCs have! (ie., IHC web site!!)

R5 DirtMiner
9/21 Myth-Buster: you posted that the hiking boots are "fireline approved". Have they gone
thru the NFPA 1977 process, or some other approval process? Want to know before
spending $$ based on rumors.

Aberdeen
9/21 Oh my, it's the touchy subject of the IHC and the RHC! It's clear as mud, dontcha know....

Just to clear up one minor detail......The California Hotshots website is not run by Arrowhead Hotshots. They do have the same webmaster; that's about it. Neither website is paid for with our tax dollars. Arrowhead's website is paid for by the crew members. The CAHS site is paid for by the members of the California Interagency Hotshot Crew Steering Committee.

The website has been approached by several RHC crews wanting to be represented on the site. They are told that once they become a certified CA IHC and pay a small fee to offset the cost of webhosting and the related costs, their history and contact info can be added to the site.

I know this because I AM the webmaster. I'm not going to get sucked into the whole issue of IHC and RHC. I do like the idea of a nice RHC website. It would probably clear the air for a lot of folks. Why don't the supts get together, decide what they want on a website and just put it out there! Out of all those hundreds of RHC crew members, there must be a few that have the required web skills. Just start asking. The cost is minimal. It just takes a little dedication.

So don't be offended! Take control and put your info out on the WWW where we can all see it and LEARN!

mlf
9/21 Local TV news has confirmed that the USFS-chartered aircraft has been found,
with NO survivors. On board were the pilot, 3 USFS Rocky Mountain Expt
Station folks, and a Flathead NF radio tech.

Mollysboy

Condolences to the families, friends and co-workers. Ab.
9/21 IHC does not mean Nationally Funded. It just is the crews that have been recognized by the IHC Steering Committee. There are many places the money can come from; Federal, State, County. It does not necessarily mean Federal. They are also listed in the National Mobilization Guide, in which the RHCs are not listed in yet. (big controversy)

But both types of crews are held to the same standards and are in the same rotation for assignment. Likewise the IHCs should not be snooty towards RHCs because in many cases the RHCs stole the next generation of IHC overhead. Most of the RHCs are sitting better overhead wise vs the IHCs.

Can't they all just get along? From my point of view they both have good crews and bad crews like everyone else. With the new hiring and apprenticeship program there are not the same 18-20 people on the crew every year. There is so much turnover that all crews are different from one year to the next no matter how long they have been established.

R5 Peanut Gallery
9/21 Responding to a couple of threads:

The California Hotshot Crew page is a great page, and shows and gives links for the California Interagency Hotshot Crews. The page is for IHC crews, and not Regional Hotshot Crews, RHC. Everyone knows they exist as they all now have hotshots plastered all over their rigs. Why not start your own page with RHC if you feel so left out. Additionally, what standards are NPS crews not held too? I think you should be certain on your statements before shouting personnel attacks at someone like Brit, who is not the webmaster. There are some good RHC crews, everyone is quite aware of that, but they are not IHC crews, no-matter what is says on their trucks or their shirts, hence the reason they are not on the page. I'm sure no IHC crews would want to be an RHC page.

Secondly, the La Sportiva Glacier boots are fireline approved, and have been field tested but a lot of people, including hotshot crewws. They were demoded, but some Great Basin IHC's last season, and were subsequently approved for fireline use. I have been wearing a pair off and on this season, and have been pretty happy. They are somewhat lighter than the almighty Whites, but don't have the large arch support or the "ruggedness." They are good for a lot of the work hotshots or anyone does on the line, and is nice to see some new ideas. They are 8" leather boots, and yes, they can be resoled as they have a vibram sole.

Anyways, enough. Santa Anna's are blowing again. Be safe.

myth-buster

No need to light off fusees over this. Just my opinion. Ab.
9/21 Ab,

On 9/18, Rex asked about the damage estimate for the Oakland Hills Fire.
Reference the following site that estimates the damages at $1.5 Billion.
www.firewise.org/pubs/theOaklandBerkeleyHillsFire/
click on Abstract in the Table of Contents.

GH
Asst Chief, Operations
CDF / BEU

Thanks for the link and info. Ab.
9/21 Ex-shot

It looks like the hotshot webpage just covers the Interagency crews
(nationally funded) and not the Regional ones. I understand they all need
to meet the same standards, but there are still many conflicts between the
types of crews (mostly amongst themselves). I for one wish they'd get
over it, a Type I crew is a Type I crew. I do understand there have been
instances where crews that have not been certified as type one, have signed
into fires as such. That kind of thing just adds to the conflict.

BTW - Has anyone heard or seen the proposal to reduce the numbers of
type I crews and increase the crew strength on the remaining crews? I've
just heard rumors that it is being made, not even sure by who.

TC
9/21 Plane Missing with 4 Forest Service employees on board

Here's the link to the billings newspaper. Haven't
heard anything on the S&R.

Search for missing plane continues in northwestern Montana
www.billingsgazette.com

BB

9/21 California Hotshots www.californiahotshotcrews.org
have their own website run by the Arrowhead Hotshots.
The site is dedicated mainly to crew histories. My
only question I can't get answered by them, is why do
they ignore the fact of several crews existence? Brit,
are you trying ignore that Groveland, Samon River,
Springerville, Vandenberg Hotshots Exist? As well as
a few others I keep forgetting the names of? Not to
mention the type 1 crews that are held to the NIHCOG
stricter than The NPS crews. They dig line together and
sometimes better, and are held to the same standards,
but why are they not included?

ex-shot
9/21 Dear Abs,

I feel sad as I read about Eva on They Said. I reflect on our Wildland Fire Community and am thankful that we have a place to post, where we can communicate, share and grow.

At the Foundation this past Saturday, we hosted the Grayback families and a survivor of the Hayman Fire van accident.

We provided lunch and a large gathering room for them – they all came. What happened was a special day of healing. The families shared their children’s and their lives. As I looked across the room, I saw such love in those faces. Two years ago there was nothing but pain. They sat and shared like we do here on They Said.

We learned that the families want to come together. There is an energy that helps them heal as they share. We are going to sponsor an annual event where fallen firefighters’ families can come and be with each other. I told Allen Wyatt’s widow about it this morning and she was very excited. She has been corresponding with Wayne Turner’s (pilot) widow – our get-together will give them a chance to meet. Both women are looking forward to meeting each other.

Our community’s Foundation will help pay their expenses for this family gathering - all of the families. To support them, we will need as many of you on the 52 as we possible. Shane Heath’s mother asked me if Eva’s marker at the monument could be placed next to Jeff (Allen) and Shane’s marker. She said she wanted to take care of Eva’s marker for Eva’s family. She will be waiting to meet them.

As I have met with the Storm King families, they have told me that the gift in all of this is the meeting and sharing with other families.

I want you to know that whenever we send out a statue or financial help, we always say this is from every Wildland Firefighter across our Nation.

I guess what I am trying to share is that each of you who contribute to the Foundation and all of you who have joined the 52 Club, are not only helping families with financial help in their time of immediate need, we as a community are creating a place for families to heal with each other -- and that is creating a safe place for Eva’s family to begin their journey.

My heart wells up when I see each of you firefighters sign your posts with your 52 CLUB membership #. It will take a lot more of us joining the 52 Club to continue to take care of our fallen firefighter families.

Vicki Minor - 52 CLUB - member #54
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Wildland Firefighter Foundation, 52 Club

Well said, Vicki. I know why they call you an angel. Thank you for all you do. Burk, thank you also for your outreach with the trailer.

The Abs of wildlandfire.com, #1 on the 52 Club Gold List.

9/21 Jeff (#765), Steve (#443), Rush (#425), I knew NorCal Team II is a class act,
but it does me very proud that you guys from my neck'o'the'woods joined the
"ONES" and put your Team's name out there! Sorry I overlooked you,
Rush and Steve! Can NorCal II be the first from CA to sign up all their
members?

"Another CDF BC" I was really proud of CDF and the fire community yesterday.
I was also reminded of Eva as I drove past every station between NorCal and San
Francisco and saw the flags at half staff. I thought of others lost, too --Steve
Rucker's family, friends, and coworkers as we passed his station in Novato.

Healing the loss of a loved one takes time. I hope the CDFers and others who put
such time and love into the ceremony will also join the Wildland Firefighter Foundation
52 Club. Families of fallen firefighters and all in the fire community need the
opportunity for healing the Foundation provides.

Thanks Ab for the forum.

Mellie, living the dream "The Power of One" ("ONE" #7)

9/21 AB:

Haven't posted for some time now, but thought I would tell you after making the trip to Calaveras County to observe and attend the memorial service for our CDF fallen firefighter Eva Schike, I can't tell you how proud I am to be a member of CDF!

Hats off to the leadership of CDF to put on a class act service for Eva's family, the local unit, and future CDF'ers to come. You spared nothing and history will remember you well for what you did for Eva yesterday.

To all the member departments that supported CDF in this time of tragedy, a heartfelt thanks. The fire service is truely one family.

The healing has begun.

"Another CDF BC"
9/21 On the passing of Fred Terzo, Los Angeles County Fire, Fred was one of my
foremen, back when I had my first fire job at Camp 2. (Yes, this was decades
ago). Fred was an excellent coach and mentor, he cared about his people. I
remember that it was said he had worked the camps long enough to see the
entire county burn at least once! Certainly nobody knew fire behavior
better. I was blessed to have worked under him. His example will live long
after his passing and reside in many of us who learned from him.

Contract County Guy
9/21 Ab,

Thanks for posting the green sheet on the Tuolumne burnover. I printed a
copy and sent it with one of our instructors teaching S-130/190 in Boise
this week.

Sadly, this tragedy brings added relevance to the discussions of downhill
line construction and the common denominators.

I was struck by the times given in the preliminary report: the wind shift
lasted less than 2 minutes, and the fire flared for just 30 seconds. But, I
guess that's all it takes.

vfd cap'n
9/21 The Jobs page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages are updated.

I posted some really fine photos of the French Fire on Fire 24. Thanks to Andrew H for the fine shots of the Bear and French fires.

Also posted some good photos of engines at work by Nick B and biggins on the Engines 11 and Engines 12 photo pages. Take a look at the photo description pages for the full story.

There are some photos on Handcrews 15 of the Apple Valley (Helicopter 554) crew in 2003 on the Black Mountain Fire outside Missoula, MT compliments of Don G.

Posted some Fireboss airtanker photos sent in by Jorge, a Spanish firefighter, on Airtankers 12.

A CZU firefighter sent in a photo of a CDF dozer and transport. That's on Equipment 8.

Thanks contributors.

Ab.

9/21 In keeping with the FRA, SRA, and LRA thread….. Now that everybody has an idea what FRA, SRA, and LRA is and how DPA fits in, here is the big factor for confusing many in the wildland arena who have to serve as ICs…. Federal, State, or Local.

It relates to the “who orders/who pays discussion“ that has been burdening IC‘s in the field but not yet presented on “They Said“ as a topic……. I don’t think that the “30 Mile Abatements” ever realized what real complexities an ICT3 has to deal with in an urban interface environment…. Or any environment where a fire was multi-agency or multi-jurisdictional. If you have ever been in Unified Command with over 4 other agencies during an initial and/or extended attack incident, you know what I mean. Unified Command is the norm in wildland-urban interface areas…. From Type 4 to Type 1 incidents.

Here’s some examples from my Region:

Local Agreements
.. Between each Department (Local, State, or Federal Government)

California Fire Assistance Agreement (California OES, CDF, USFS, BLM, NPS, and FWS)
.. www.oes.ca.gov/Operational (pdf file)

California Master Mutual Aid Agreement (Agreements between the State and Local Government Responders)
.. No Federal Signatories due to Federal Law. Local Govt. orders resources to protect their DPA.

California Four-Party Agreement (California Land Management Agencies)
.. California CDF, USFS, BLM, and National Park Service

Emergency Equipment Rental Agreements
.. Agreements between Land Management Agencies and local contractors.

P.S. - If you think this is a California problem only….. Ask folks about the Leona Fire outside of Republic, Washington, or the Black Mtn. #2 fire in Missoula, Montana or any of the many other wildland urban interface incidents in our country during the last ten years.

Lobotomy
9/21 MJ-

Not sure where you got your information from. The proliferation of mountaineering boots is the direct result of hours upon hours of field testing of boots such as the La Sportiva Glacier by smokejumpers. Whether or not volunteer or rookie firefighters have been wearing them is irrelevant.

Although Whites and Nicks are good boots, sometimes the rising costs of such a product is the direct result of demand and not a continually superior product. Glacier construction is superior for ankle support, rubber (yes they are vibram soles and they have withstood high temps by this firefighter) and rough out leather. It is true however, that they are tad bit warmer but still breathable enough to be considered useful for fire. These were all considerations for hotshot crews, jumpers, rappel crews and other firefighters now making the transition to Glaciers.

La Sportiva also makes a 10 and 12 inch upper, the Eigers are one model I believe but there is no data available on these yet. I own both the Glaciers and Whites. On occasion I wear both. From a cost standpoint, the Glaciers are a better deal but both have their attributes. Just because a product is new, does not automatically mean it is inferior to something that has been the norm. Trying new products that provide another viable option to the standard is part of the developing career we have all chosen. Change is not always a bad thing.

AC

AC, if you are the rep, email advertising@wildlandfire.com for a classified ad. Ab.

9/21 Regarding the use of mountaineering boots on fires. Having worn a pair of LaSportiva Makalus on fires this season, I must say that I'm impressed.

The good: very comfortable boots that according to physical therapists, are better for your knees and ankles in the long run than White's. The high heel on logging boots tends to shorten the achilles over time. The mountaineering boots are stiffer at first, but once they're broken in, very nice and comfy. They hold up to the hiking, and feel fine with a pack and while working. They weigh half as much as a typical pair of white's. They're a lot cheaper than logger boots. Another nice plus is that they keep your feet warmer on nights when you're coyoted. They DO meet the requirements for working on the line, and I even had mine measured by an overzealous Safety Officer. The bottom line is that logger style boots are 1930s technology with virtually no improvements in the last 70 years. Take a White's and a Lasportiva to a physical therapist and ask them for a comparison. I recommend giving them a try for a season and if you don't like them, go back to whites and you'll have a good pair of hiking boots for the winter. Or, if you're like me, the white's will be collecting dust on the shelf.

The bad: Like the other person said, they weren't designed for firefighting. They were designed for mountaineering. The soles are glued on, and will delaminate if you get them too hot (it takes a lot though). Getting them wet isn't too bad, but soaking them entirely time after time (Alaska) will tear them up pretty fast. The leather isn't as thick, and the stitching not as burly. They're not fully rebuildable but they can be resoled.

The ideal thing would be if the mountaineering companies would produce a fire boot (stitched soles) based on the mountaineering style. That way we could keep our knees and ankles a while longer but not have to buy a new pair every season.

The BLM Boise Smokejumpers tested them pretty extensively this season, and the Bonneville Hotshots did this season and last. They probably would have the best feedback of anyone.

RD
9/21 Red Flag Warnings in Southern California

San Bernardino and Cleveland NF's http://fire.boi.noaa.gov/FIREWX/LAXFWFSGX.phpl

Angeles and Los Padres NF's http://fire.boi.noaa.gov/FIREWX/LAXFWFLOX.phpl

Hopefully these early season Santa Ana's will also mean early rain in the future...

Wx Observer
9/21 Tommy, thanks for the info on Fred's passing. He will be missed.

Blair
9/20 Today Eva Schike's family, friends, anyone who's life she touched, and the entire CA FF community paid respect to honor another fallen firefighter. In addition to the thousands who attended Eva's memorial ceremony in that small town, hundreds more along the route stood with tears running down their faces in a tremendous outpouring of grief and tribute - God speed, Eva!

We rant & rave about FF lives lost and we want to know why whenever a tragedy such as this happens - unfortunately sometimes there is no definitive answer.

Words are inadequate to express my sincere condolences to Eva's family. May God grant you peace.

R5erMom
9/20 From Firescribe:

Thousands Gather To Remember Eva Schicke
including video of the procession

9/20 REST IN PEACE EVA

SOCaL FF
9/20 A sad note. Retired foreman Fred Terzo passed away this morning. Fred worked
for Los Angeles Co. Fire Dept. and was assigned to Camp 2 for most of his
career. He retired in 1982. I don't have any details on the funeral. He will
be greatly missed.

Tommy
9/20 I've worn a lot of good and expensive hiking boots and done some very long
hikes. Hiking boots are for hiking, not for firefighting. I had two pairs
of Whites in a 26 year period of my career. The second pair were rebuilt
the first time just before I retired and would have had at least another 5
years on that rebuild and who knows how many on the second rebuild. White's
are not just resoled, they are rebuilt. Quite a bit of difference. My first
pair were rebuilt 3 times and 5 weeks of crew bossing an army crew in
Yellowstone in 1988 finally wore them out. It was real difficult to
actually go to the dumpster and put these boots in the trash. They
could not be worn again, due to a nail just starting to protrude into the
inner sole, so I could not even give them to a thrift store.

Working in the field in recreation I could be digging holes, cleaning
restrooms, pouring concrete, marking hazard trees, moving rocks with a
digging bar, walking in heavy brush to pick up litter, cleaning out fire
rings, and a whole lot of other tasks. I could then be called for a fire
and walk a crew in 10 to 15 miles in the middle of the night, hiking at a
three mile per hour pace with a 25 pound IA pack and not even feel a hot
spot.

In college I could not afford the nearly $100 dollar price of a pair of
Whites so I opted for paying $52 for a pair of Red Wings. The Red Wings
lasted two years and were shot. The price per year of these boots was $26.
My first pair of Whites lasted 12 years and with three rebuilds and the
purchase price cost me $19 per year. The Red Wings were a lousy boot and
gave me blisters and did not have he arch or ankle support that the Whites
had. As an earlier post said building line and mopping up in steep country
puts a lot of lateral stress on the boot and cheap work boots and hiking
boots just don't have the stuff to stand up to these pressures.

My hiking boots included Lowa's, Merrills, and some light Vasques for short
day hikes. I had some Merrills for cross country skiing that lasted 11
years and about 1000 miles of backcountry skiing. The Lowa's were an
outstanding rough and cross country boot that handled crampons, lots of
weight, boulder hopping, and 100 mile plus trips. I was never tempted to
use these boots on fire assignments, I would have ruined them with exposure
to ash, retardant, foam, wet water, and heat. Although very expensive,
these hiking boots just can't take the punishment wildland firefighting
gives footwear.

Another piece of advice on good fire line products. Try looking at the
Camelbak website and click onto military and government products. After I
retired I found the ideal day pack among their military gear. I'm not sure
how well it would do in the constant bending over and moving laterally that
firefighting involves, but the three plus quart water bag is great, with
room to optionally add another two quarts. I use the pack for peakbagging,
cross country skiing, and long and short day hikes. You have your choice of
a couple of different camo color schemes and good old military green. The
military and government products are very different from the civilian stuff
you find in an outdoor shop.

I'll be working around the house today, alone, and keeping quiet, while
thinking of Eva and her service going on just over the hill from me. Sorry
I could not make it, but my thoughts will be with her all day.

Retired Forester
9/20 Mellie,

Thanks for the mention of membership in Club 52. I would like to acknowledge my Nor Cal Teammates that joined before me Steven Davis (443) and Rush Alexander (425). Its my pleasure to join such a dedicated group of "ones".

Sincerely,
Jeff
9/20 About mountaineering boots on the line:

remember,
Hiking up and down mountains is just part of wildland fire. Exposure to constant wetting and drying during mopup, chemicals such as retardants, foam, and alkaline from the wet ashes, these all affect the leather. Heavy, oiled leather, such as Whites, etc. is the only type of boot that will stand up to these conditions for very long. Some mountaineering boots are silicone treated, and this might help with being water repellent, but then they don't breathe as well, and your feet sweat more, and that means more blisters.

Also, the heavier leather provides more ankle support, remember, you're not just hiking, you're swinging a tool or dragging hose up that mountain, and that causes lateral stress on the boots that hiking alone doesn't. Hotshots and Jumpers that spend weeks working in their boots wear Whites, Nicks, or those kind of boot because they last a long time. Some mountain boots might be more comfortable for the short term, but properly broken in.

Whites can be resoled at least 2 times, how many mountaineering boots can?

Remember, to be approved for wildland use, boots have to be: 100% leather, (no synthetic materials), At least 8" tops, (most of us use 10" or taller), Lug sole, (Vibram is the most popular), and be lace-up. (No boot zippers, velcro, or other closure approved). Most of the folks I've seen wearing mountaineering boots on the line are part-time firefighters, (volunteers or contractors) , or rookies that can't afford good fire boots yet.

Remember, a Safety Officer can send you home from a fire for not having approved boots!!. taking care of your feet is very important on a wildland fire, and I'm sticking with Whites for now, until someone PROVES and APPROVES another kind of boot.

-MJ
9/19 I would like to know what folks think about the use of mountaineering boots for use on the line. I am beginning to see more and more wildland firefighters wearing boots like the La Sportiva Glaciers as oppossed to the traditional Whites/ Nicks/ Westco's etc. I have heard they are approved for use. Makes sense as the technology is more modern and dailed for what we do. Anyone out there using them and if so, what do you think?

Just Want To Know
9/19 Ab, please ask everyone who is planning to attend the service to arrive early, as CDF is expecting a very large crowd. Thank you. Rush
9/19 . . . per TCU Unit Chief Fred McVay

Fallen Firefighter Eva Marie Schicke will begin her final journey home on September 20th, 2004. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, requests all California fire agencies observe a moment of silence at 1000 hours, Monday September 20th to honor Eva and reflect upon her ultimate act of service and commitment as she begins her final response.

9/19 "Jeffrey Buscher, NorCal Team II, CA" 52 Club member

Jeff, THANK YOU for being the first CA IMT member to join the Wildland Firefighter Foundation 52 Club. I know there are CA firefighters who are also team members who have joined as individuals, but Jeff, I really appreciate the public acknowledgement of your Team membership after your name. For this kind of support of our fire families to really work, we need everyone's support, including team members' support. I hear there's a challenge out there in R5. Thanks for that as well.

Many thanks to other teams especially the Great Basin teams and hotshot crews who took up the torch for this cause early this fire season. Thanks also to Chief Bosworth for his support in more ways than one, including "walking the walk" with his membership check.

Mellie, living the dream "The Power of One"

9/19 Hi All.

Minor, very minor issue here. DPA is duplicated in your Fire Acronyms
section.

Website looks great! I just read the 72 hour report on the fatal burnover
on the STF. I must say, I shed a tear for the poor young soul. I feel for
those who are left to sort out the facts and live with unresolved issues. I
hope they can resolve the internal ones and continue to do good things for
the citizens of California.

Been watching the Lafever incident up on the Kaibab Forest from my deck.
AT's have been flying over my house on their way from Cedar City to the
fire. The hair raises on my arms every time. I guess some of us can retire
but never get the smoke out of our veins.

Hunter

Thanks Hunter, I'll fix the DPA duplication. BTW, we've missed you in chat. Cum'mon down. Our Ember is great moderator. Ab.
9/19 Does anyone know who the cadre and members of the Augusta Hot Shots are
these days?

I use to be on the crew and I'm Just curious.

barry

www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/hotshots/IHC_list.phpl#augusta Ab.

9/19 hi ab,

the acronyms that are coming out in a big way are starting to drive me
crackers, is it that hard to write it out in layman's English, I think it is
due to laziness to tired to put it all down on paper. I don't know about the
rest of you over state-side but I think all fire fighters should be issued
with a dictionary but that would not work as a new one comes out of the
bureaucrats every day.

as you get older it gets harder,
ken (down under)

I agree. Layman's English would be an excellent idea. Absent that, our Acronyms List works well for US fire acronyms. Ab.

9/18 72 hour Greensheet on the Toulumne Fire Burnover

Thanks contributor, Ab.
9/18 Ab, here's a few more WildCad pages if nobody has already sent them in:

Central Nevada
http://63.196.254.151/WildWeb/WCNVCNC.php

Vas Vegas, NV
http://63.196.254.151/WildWeb/WCNVLIC.php

South Central Idaho
http://63.196.254.151/WildWeb/WCIDSIC.php

Rogue Rivers

Many thanks, Original Ab will add those as time permits. Ab.
9/18 More on SRA/FRA/LRA

Having done some line drawing on these areas I'll add my understanding and
then see if anyone wants to talk about DPA!
FRA=Lands owned by the federal government.
SRA=Private lands and state owned lands which are Timber producing and/or
are watershed (including grazing) lands.
LRA=Lands under "permanent" irrigation or developed.

SRA is formally reviewed every five years by law. Land moved between, most
often, SRA and LRA needs to be in about 250 acre chunks, contiguous with
similar lands (no islands). There is movement of federal lands into private
ownership due to consolidation efforts at the federal level as well as
resource preservation inside SRA. Examples are the alternating
checker-board sections of ex-railroad lands inside the NFs and BLM's
acquiring river shoreline in the Sac Valley.

Technically there is no "private FRA". There are SRA parcels within Federal
Direct Protection Areas as there is FRA inside of State Direct Protection
Areas (I slipped that one in!). The DPAs are an agreed upon administrative
areas for primary fire protection including fire prevention. Federal
agencies enforce state law on private ownerships inside the FRA.

The "color books" (Green/USFS, Yellow/BLM, Gray/Contract Counties) still go
by their old designations but with the "balancing of acres" initiative
started many years ago there is very little money pre-paid between federal
agencies and the state.

Wanna see some pictures of SRA morphing into LRA; pretty sexy stuff; (yawn).
Staff work is so invigorating.................

On another topic -- ACRONYMs

In the Airtanker world before ICS typing there were Small, Medium, and
Large airtankers. The large AT's were known as GBMFs: Great Big Muther
F______'s. Now, in the more sensitive ordering process, there are LATs
(including mediums because too many resource orders requested Type 1-Turbine
only), SEATs (because the single engine airtanker was reinvented), and the
small guys still called Type 3. At least change is the most common element
of life. Anyway, when someone yelled "here comes a GBMF'" you knew what was
inbound.

J.Watt

9/18 Here is the real scoop on R7. I have a map of all the regions shown on the cover of an old "Health and Safety Code". Region Seven was the "Northeast Region and included the states of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and New Jersey. The Regional Office was originally in Washington, D.C., but was later moved to Philadelphia in 1941 and then on to Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

At approximately the same time you had the "North Central States Region" with the headquarters in Milwaukee. It consisted of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. During these time Congress was establishing purchase units for new eastern and Midwestern National Forests, the Forest Service would purchase parts of them, then Congress would later abandon the idea of purchasing up the land to create a National Forest. A very dynamic situation. Adjustments with Region 8 were occurring during this dynamic time also.

Very little, of any, of the eastern National Forests were made up of vacant public land and part of the General Land Survey. Rather the land was made up of farms and private timberland which was going fallow as a result of people moving to cities for industrial jobs and by the depression. Congress bought up much of these lands so that the eastern states would have public land in the future and to help with the many foreclosures of large areas of land divided into small parcels. Much of the land was very useful for timber production, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, grazing, and recreation.

Meanwhile the same thing was happening in the south, and adjustments between Region 8, Region9, and Region 7 were occurring with frequency near the line where these Regions boarder now.

In 1965 a study was done which compared the workloads of Ranger Districts, Forests, and Regions, recommending some adjustments in boundaries to gain more consistency in workload between units. The study looked the proper span of control for a Region as being 15-19 Forests. As a result of this report and all the various incremental changes done with the boundaries of the three regions over the years, a more comprehensive move was made just after 1965 in which the boundaries of Regions 7, 8 and 9 were adjusted, the North Central States Region became the Eastern Region (9) with its headquarters in Milwaukee. The Eastern Region retained its name and lost its headquarters and number. The Upper North Central Region lost its name, retained its number, and kept its headquarters in this move.

In the early part of my career, when this change was fairly fresh in many employees minds, we used to joke that if someone screwed up, they would be promoted and become a district ranger in R7. On the Toiyabe National Forest once per year we used to have an annual Forest meeting with a catered dinner, a speech or two, awards for safety and performance, and usually a Forest Service history trivia game. Whatever group they put me with always one the trivia game. I also possess a copy of the first piece of FS correspondence, which Roosevelt sent to Pinchot following the re-designation of Forest Preserves to National Forest and a copy of Pinchot's "Use Book:", the forerunner to the Forest Service Manual/Handbook system.

As Pinchot used to say "Go forth and do good (just not in Region 7 right now)" Emphasis added by the author.

Retired Forester
9/18 Welcome back Hutch. You're an important source of all kinds of information and wisdom.
And, dang it, we just love you!

<big HUG>

Also sending out best wishes and lots of love to Shane's family and Eva's family and the
Greyback families who are visiting the Monument today. We all miss our fallen brothers
and sisters. May their families and close friends find Peace.

Mellie

9/18 I have been grinning with some of the comments about where did R-7 go.

In 1966 the Forest Service did a massive reorganization. At that time R-7 (Eastern Region) which was headquartered in Pennsylvania was consolidated administratively with the current Region 9 and abolished. During the same reorg. the Northeastern and Southeastern Area State and Private Forestry offices were created to address the coordination role of the forest service with the respective state agencies in the two geographic areas. The S&PF work had previously been done by the regional offices and this was to improve the coordination flow. If you want to check go get Michael Fromes book "The Forest Service" . Used it as a text book several decades ago in college. (There never was a Region 11)

HUTCH

Thanks HUTCH. It's great to have you posting again. Ab.
9/18 Dear Abs

After much searching thru the internet, I can't find anywhere that gives an estimate of
the $$ damages from the Tunnel Fire (aka Oakland Hills) in '91. CDF"s website gives
the acres, structures and lives lost, but I thought they used to give a $ damage as well.
Any info your readers can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks
Rex
9/18 Been reading the media reports about the CDF burnover and fatality on the Stanislaus NF:
they all report that none of the 7 firefighters deployed fire shelters.

Hope the Investigation Team addresses escape routes, safety & survival zones, and the
use/non-use of shelters.

Lots of lessons to be learned?

Aberdeen

The 72 hour Greensheet should be out. Anyone have a copy? Ab.

9/18 Contract County Guy, good explanation. did you intentionally omit OA in the CA alphabet soup? unless shorthand use has changed in the last year, counties, CDF & OES use the "OA" acronym. operational areas, usually associated with a city or county entity's jurisdiction.

btw, did anyone notice last weeks news clip about the Governator's latest contract interim director of his Office of Emergency Services or whatever it's called now? Dallas Jones may be out of a job as director of OES, but he continues to address state fire related topics, unlike his predecessor.

keep your sense of humor and be safe y'all.
northzone5
9/17 From Firescribe:

Death of young firefighter sobering for her colleagues

9/17 Missing R7 ---

I am not an expert on this one, and have no
documentation to back this up...BUT

I was once told that there used to be an USFS R7
somewhat encompassing somewhere around a portion of
nebraska/missouri/texas/arkansas ... kind of....+

It was then merged into the surrounding regions some
time ago due to lack of management issues. (not much
stuff to manage)

How's that for a bunch of non-specific hearsay.

-AXE

Forest Service's old Northeast Region - Region 7 - included Virginia's Jefferson National Forest (JNF) and Kentucky's Jefferson and Cumberland (now the Daniel Boone) National Forest... Ab.
9/17 Thanks for the 209 info.

County FF
9/17 I don't even know why there is no R7. It's not because it's BLM!
Was 7 someone's lucky number so it wasn't assigned? Did it get
removed for bad behavior? Did it used to be Nevada? Ab, this one
should get added to the IMWTK list.

Mellie

Did it. Ab.

9/17 Re South Ops Intel, I heard someone good at South Ops moved on to a job
back East and a replacement hasn't been chosen. Some of the intel isn't getting
posted.

AL
9/17 AB

209 Issues

LGR - Local Government Resources

Section 45 on the 209 - California's Supplemental Committed Resources
HELTK - Helitanker
FIXW - Fixed Wing Aircraft, including airtankers
TRKCO - Aerial Truck Companies
RESMD - Rescue/Medical Unit
LTAIR - Lighting and Breathing Air Support Unit

Over-educated hotshot
9/17 I wondered the same thing about R7.

I was new to firefighting this season. Back in June one of my ff on my crew said that R stands for Region. I knew that. I didn't know only Forest Service has regions like we call them R this and R that. This guy said there is no Forest Service in R7 because there are no forests in what would be R7, only BLM lands. He said he knew because he used to work for the BLM. Now I don't know if this is true because this guy is a real trikster. He also said that regions used to go up to 11. I told him I thought that was BS. But this question about what happened to R7 is not the kind of a question new guys ask too many people. I try to save my questions for things that help you survive, like What's a blue room? and what do you mean by "cluster"? and this meat shouldn't be green, should it?

KSS

PS Thinking about it now, he was pulling my leg. What did happen to R7. Someone couldn't count?

9/17 Another Stumper

Type One Resource Status

My question is where is R7?

R1 www.fs.fed.us/r1/fire/nrcc/predictiveservices/intell/resource_status.pdf

R2 www.fs.fed.us/r2/fire/daily_resource_status.php

R3 www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/swapredictive/swaintel/daily/sit300.php

R4 FSWEB Access Only

R5 South ????????

R5 North FSWEB Access Only

R6 www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/nwcc-reports/AMreport/amreport.php

R7 ?

R8 www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/sacc/Intelligence_Products/SACCMorningReport.php

R9 www.fs.fed.us/mntp/Hotshots/IHC_FamilyInfo.php

R10 http://fire.ak.blm.gov/docs/misc/type1crewlist.asp

Okay Only Kidding about R7, but is there a resource
status site for R5 South Ops?


Very Bored and Curious Hotshot
9/17 Mellie, AWESOME... I have a question too on the 209.

What do the following abbreviations mean on the resources categories of the 209?
HELTK ?helitanker; if so, does this include helitack or would they come under Type I handcrew.
FIXW ?fixedwing; including ATGS platform, jumper ship, gps monitoring plane, smaller ATs like SEATs??
TRKCO ?
RESMD ?
LGTAIR ?large air tanker

Does LGR under Agency mean local group? (other Agency categories include USFS, BLM, ST (state), PRI (private))

County FF
9/17 Mellie,

I did not answer all of the question relative to FRA lands. Just like the designation of SRA lands, I don't think the landowner has to much to do with the process. I can see large landowners wanting to appeal not being included in SRA and approaching the State Board of Forestry with their reasons that some of all of the criteria for SRA being present on their land when CDF may have made a decision that those criteria did not exist for that land. As for previously designated SRA becoming "greenbook land" or FRA, I'm not really sure what role, if any, a private land owner would have in that case. Most private land owners are far more active trying to make sure that their land is in a local fire district so they can actually buy fire insurance for their structures. So the landowner doesn't really make their lands FRA, the state classifies them as SRA and then makes deals with the Federal agencies as to how best protect those lands.

Retired Forester
9/17 Thanks everyone. I just came across the term "private FRA" and wondered if it could
apply to inholdings in the National Forest. I hdn't really thought about it before. As usual
I'm amazed at the good info available! Sometimes it's so much more interesting to throw
a question out here than to pick up the phone and call a FS or CDF friend.

Mellie
9/17 Mellie's Question on Private FRA:

I've never heard the term "FRA" lands, but I can take a real good stab at what they might be. National Forests and areas of BLM administered lands, as well as in much fewer cases U.S. Fish and Wildlife administered lands and units of the National Park Service contain private lands within their boundaries which would quality to be SRA. They are in the area, with the specified vegetation and watershed characteristics which the California Board of Forestry deemed to be SRA under state law. These lands can also be scattered and only be a small part of the overall acreage which is predominately Federal. If CDF tried to place stations to cover these lands it would be very inefficient due to the numbers of stations involved and the low number of responses generated. Meanwhile the Federal agencies already have sufficient stations and equipment to provide good response times and the added workload is just a small part of the Fed's overall workload in the area. The Fed's also have good prevention unit coverage and can administer the PRC (California Public Resource Code) on these private lands more efficiently. So CDF and the Federal agencies get together, usually on a National Forest/Park Unit/BLM Field Office/Refuge and CDF ranger unit level and figure out what is best for meeting the closest available resource concept. In some cases the FS is paid by CDF for prevention and suppression of SRA lands and back when I was dealing with these lands we called them "green book" lands because each Ranger Unit had a green book of maps and agreements which showed were the FS and BLM got paid by CDF to provide protection for these SRA lands. In other areas, agencies many trade lands for fire protection purposes. I almost forgot the fifth partner in Federal land fire protection and that is the BIA. In some areas where tribal lands are scattered and remote from other tribal lands, the BIA pays CDF to provide wildland fire protection. I believe this is the case for some tribal trust lands in southern California. Up in the northern part of the state, I believe that BLM lands in the Redding, Ukiah, and Arcata Field Offices (with the exception of the King Range National Conservation Area) contract with CDF for wildland fire protection of those lands as the Northern California BLM "district" or NOD does not have personnel or equipment in those field offices.

Where I live in the eastern Sierra, Mono County is part of the San Bernardino Ranger Unit, Owens Valley Division. The Toiyabe and Inyo National Forests provide protection for all the SRA lands inside the Forest boundaries and are paid to do so. With the BLM, a trade was made and the BLM provides all fire protection for SRA outside the Forest boundaries in Mono County, while CDF provides all fire protection for all the BLM lands in the Owens Valley Field Office in Inyo County. As a result,. I don't believe there are any funds exchanged for normal initial attack. If a fire on the BLM gets really big CDF is either paid more, or BLM runs the incident an incurs the costs. CDF already had two stations in the valley to provide protection for the 250,000 acres of LADWP land in the Owens Valley, and the BLM land is just adjacent to these and other private lands classified as SRA. Thus CDF did not have to build any stations in Mono County, and BLM did not have to build any stations in Inyo County, except for those portions of the California Desert National Conservation Area or CA Desert District, BLM, which provide direct protection of those lands. The private land within the CA Desert NCA probably do not qualify as SRA so there may not be any relationship CDF to BLM in that case.

I stopped in the Owens Valley Conservation Camp about three weeks ago to discuss much of this issue in relation to my need to know for possibly buying some land outside city and fire district limits and to provide advice for some friends looking in to doing the same. They said that there are changes in greenbook lands, trades, new contracts with local agencies such a fire districts, cities, and counties almost every day - a very dynamic situation. They did not mention the term "FRA" in relation to private or federal agency administered land, but in putting it in context with the other information I dealt with as an FS employee in the eastern Sierra for the last 18 years of my career, I would bet you that I have come close to the meaning.

All of this shows that the fire services are really one big family and truly one service. We may haggle a bit at times, and have disagreements, but the preplanning that has been done in California to make sure that each agency is doing business as efficiently as possible is quite good. Far better than I've seen in the other four states I've lived and worked in for the FS.

I think that may answer your question, Mellie. If not, I have some buddies in CDF locally who are still working (not retired like me) who could provide additional information if it is needed.

Retired Forester
9/17 Mellie: the alphabet soup of land designation in California is,

FRA - Federal Responsibility Area: National Forest Land, National Park Lands, BLM Public Lands, National Wildlife refuges, Military Reservations, etc.

SRA- State Responsibility Area: Watershed lands designated by the State legislature. These include State Parks but more often are private lands that have watershed characteristics. These lands are always unincorporated, outside of City jurisdictions.

LRA- Local Responsibility Area: These lands are private lands outside of watershed areas designated by the state, or lands incorporated into cities.

In response to your question, "what are private FRA Lands"....well that really isn't a designation. But what you are probably talking about are private lands that are within National Forests or Parks that are "inholdings". These lands are the result of long term ownership sometime preceding establishment of the federal reserve like old railroad entitlements, ranches, etc. that are within the congressionally designated Forest or Park boundary but remain private. In California, these lands are often also designated as SRA. What CDF and the Forest Service do is sometimes contract with each other for protection. Say an inholding is SRA but deep within the National Forest. CDF will pay the Forest Service to protect the SRA using federal resources because they provide the closest response. Likewise, isolated National Forest lands may be protected by CDF under similar arrangements when their equipment is closest. Examples here are the Los Padres National Forest piece north of San Luis Obispo and portions of the Giant Sequoia National Monument where CDF provides protection under contract. These lands are "traded" back and forth across California. Similarly, 6 counties in California which have their own County Fire Departments are also "Contract Counties" and protect SRA in their Counties under similar direct protection agreements.

One more twist, sometimes CDF will contract to protect LRA that is adjacent to and has "like characteristics" to SRA. And example is an agreement for several thousand acres in the City of Anaheim that is basically wildland. Anaheim is glad to have the contract cause they have no wildland resources and won't have to pay for alot of air tankers and other costly support if they have a fire. CDF provides in this case a form of cheap insurance.

Confused yet?? ;) All this plays big into fire economics any more. Your figuring out who pays along with your initial control objectives. Hope this helps.

Contract County Guy
9/17 AB;

All this talk about Wheel Chock made me take a picture of my NFPA 1906 Compliant Wheel Chocks I had made to meet the specs. I got almost $300.00 into my set for my 22.5 inch Wheels on my Water Tender. I had to add a little to them to make them 1/2 inch wider and 1 inch taller so they would fit the tires according to the Code. At the beginning of 2004 Season they required these to meet the specs, people complained  then they allowed rubber ones and even a guy who made a set out of wood 4X4s Banded together with Banding Straps?! Maybe this year they will go back to the 1906 NFPA Codes and it will be worth the trouble & money I went thru to get these made! They do work good for the job intended.

Mark

You are quite handy... If you list the "ingredients" you might even win the recipe contest. Ab.

9/17 Mellie asked:

"Can anyone tell me... what are private FRA lands? If SRA are State Responsibility
Area, are they Fed Responsibility Area? If so, what private owners would make
their lands FRA?"

Just a guess but private buildings on Federal land? Examples being the many cabins on National Forests land leased to individuals, the concessionaires buildings in the National parks (Awhanie (sp?) hotel or Camp Curry in Yosemite, buildings on mining claims, ranch land etc on BLM and USFS land.

Question for Everyone:

Looking at returning to the wildland, can anyone suggest progressive NPS, USFS, BLM, F&WS (Federal WL) in Northern / Central CA, (but would consider Western Nevada) that would be interested in a well trained structural FF with company officer experience that also has USFS experience as an SFEO (GS7)? I understand the majority of Fed WL agencies won't be getting ladder trucks anytime soon but I can't take the "we don't do that attitude" . Just looking for suggestions, so I can narrow my searching.

The kid is now old enough to understand why I would be gone for days or week at a time and I'm really missing the wildland. Also, I need trees and water, no deserts.

What is the current hiring method used now, the USFS seems to have gone through several and some of the others seem to go back and forth with USAJOBS and their own thing. Thanks

AW

9/17 Mellie,

Private FRA lands are small parcels of private land surrounded by Fed lands, Like in the Ruth lake area of the SRF. It wouldn't make much sense to have the closest CDF engine (50 miles away) to respond there when a FS engine is right there, so the Feds and the State do a "Transfer of acres" , and determine DPA, or "Designated Response Areas", based on the closest resource concept. There are parcels of USFS land that CDF takes care of, and private lands that USFS takes care of. That's about it!

-MJ
9/17 Can anyone tell me... what are private FRA lands? If SRA are State Responsibility
Area, are they Fed Responsibility Area? If so, what private owners would make
their lands FRA?

Good one Oliver! Mellie never cuts slack.
I think we should have a contest for the best Wheel Chocks Recipe.

Mellie

9/17 FULL HONORS PROCESSION AND FUNERAL FOR FALLEN FIREFIGHTER

A Full Honors Procession and Funeral for fallen CDF Firefighter Eva Schicke, tragically killed in the line of duty while fighting the Tuolumne Fire, will be held Monday, September 20, 2004, at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds amphitheater in Angels Camp, California. Federal, State, and Local Government Firefighters as well as emergency service personnel from throughout the state are expected to attend.

The procession, which will be composed of a very large contingency of fire apparatus, will start at 12:00 Noon at the intersection of Murphys Grade Road and SR 49 on the north end of Angels Camp. It will follow a route south on SR 49, through the heart of downtown Angels Camp, to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. An open funeral service is then scheduled to commence at 2:00 PM. Members of the public are encouraged to show their respect and honor for Eva and her family by lining the procession route.

In addition to the procession, a formal escort for Eva will start at 10:00 AM at the Terzich & Wilson Funeral Home in Sonora. Her casket will be formally loaded onto CDF Engine 4474 out of Arnold and escorted by 60 plus pieces of local CDF, USFS, and local government fire apparatus from Tuolumne and Calaveras County. The escort will travel through downtown Sonora north on SR 49 to Parrotts Ferry Road. North on Parrotts Ferry Road, it will go through the town of Columbia to its intersection with SR 4. It will then head east to the town of Murphys where it will turn off through the downtown on Murphys Grade Road. West on Murphys Grade Road, it is projected to intersect SR 49 at 12:00 to lead the procession to the fairgrounds.

The family requests that anyone wishing to send cards, letters, and flowers do so at either of the following locations;

Schicke Family c/o

CDF Arnold Station Ebbetts Pass FPD Station 1
2517 Highway 4 1028 Manuel Road
Arnold, CA 95223 Arnold, CA 95223

Additionally, a Memorial Fund has been established at Merchants National Bank. Checks should be made payable to ‘CDF Firefighters Eva Schicke Memorial Fund’, and mailed to Merchants National Bank, P.O. Box 747, Sacramento, CA 95812.

General information can be obtained by calling the CDF Information Center at (209) 533-6981. Updates and maps will follow this release.
9/16 Congratulations are in order!!!!!

Congratulations to Diane Tolosano on her service with the McCloud VFD.

Diane Tolosano was recognized for her 29 years of dedication and commitment to the the community with the McCloud Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance.

Both Diane and Peter Tolosano have been active members of their community for a long time and are great examples of the commitment of wildland firefighters and their families to the communities they protect and serve.

www.mtshastanews.com

Raymond Zanni was also congratulated after 29 years of service as a volunteer firefighter and EMT II. Raymond, if you ever view wildlandfire.com.... Congrats to you and best wishes in your future endeavors.

Congratulations Diane and Raymond!!!!!!

Lobotomy
9/16 I wish I would have seen the chili recipe earlier. I would have attempted building a pot for our end of the year safety picnic this afternoon. I can't believe I used the words... end of the year... when we still have October to face.

Some of the safety awards to be presented at our safety picnic this year are:

Speaking of wheel chocks... An award for leaving wheel chocks on fires, at the station and in front of Quackie Mac's while getting an egg MCmucous for breakfast. This award is a wheel chock replica to be worn as bling bling jewelry around the neck.

Annual award for uttering the words - I think we can catch it ...early on in the IA mode.

Poison Oak award - Five of the eight engine crews will receive this award.

Objects Are Closer Than They Appear Award

and finally $25 to $100 gift certificates for anyone not receiving one of the above mentioned awards.

Oliver...

and YES some of this diatribe is tongue in cheek...so mellie if you cut me some slack I will concede that some of my best memories were made in California... including Crescent City... both rekas, Medicine Lake and on the Klamath River. Oh.... and the one night stop in San Diego that lasted a week back in 72 or was it 73?
9/16 Yummmmm on Original Ab's chili. I go 1.5 times the ingredients, add
a large can of chicken broth and make it more of a white bean chili soup.
My extended family's favorite. Might go make some now...

Gotta try that wheel chocks recipe, too. Thanks for that, MT Smokey.

Mellie

Ab, please add:

Tahoe Terrie, wasn't there something on the National Incident
Management Organization (NIMO) from NWCG last year?

Let me google it... Ah, here it is, a ppt. NIMO on this site.
Wonder what came out of that?

Wow, this came up too.
www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/swamgmt/admin/swcg/swcg_documents/nimo_report-draft_6_e.pdf
hmmm (goes a to d for the full draft)

9/16 Look at all the Incident Management Teams responding to the hurricanes.

Yesterday's SIT REPORT.

9 IMTs
involved... and
2 Area Command Teams.

For Frances: 3IIMTs -- Kearney, Vail, Oltrogge;
3IIMTs Bennett, Anderson and Ferguson have been ordered.
Area Command Team -- Mann's Team

For Ivan
: 3 IIMTs --Wilcock, Lohrey, Sexton;
Area Command Team -- Williams-Rhodes' Team

Look at the 16 Type I IMTs we have, of which 9 are committed or in transition and
the 4 Area Command Teams, of which 2 are committed. Half the resources committed.

What if simultaneously with hurricanes we were having another fire year like last year with the SoCal fires? or a year like 2000... and very few large Air Tankers? Last year we needed all the teams and all the resources in our toolbox simply to handle FIRE.

What if, god forbid, there was also some terrorist incident?

Who decides? As someone asked, can team members say no? I'm not saying they should... Have these issues been discussed at the Regional Level or by the WO? There is increasing complexity, responsibility and risk in our jobs that is not being addressed with job descriptions, with attention to retention issues, with firefighter job series. The CREEP in all those areas is a bit frightening. We are professionals. My friends and I act as professionals even without the recognition.

Training is doing better. I do see the Academy bringing bright and capable new people along and trying to get them college credit, but experience takes experiences of the right sort. We don't have BD crews, we don't have fire behavior experience/training on the ground with live fire that we had when we did have BD crews. Where do you get that experience in fire behavior on the ground so you don't get deposited on a southfacing slope at 1330 with a light NW breeze and fire flashing over you and your crew?

We certainly don't have HAZMAT in many places or training in how to deal with biological contamination.

We don't keep some really good potential leaders of the future that we work so hard to train and mentor along. What's the point in training them?

I love the FS and I mostly love my job, but I wonder if anyone looks at the larger picture at a level higher than where I'm at. Where's the vision? When is it going to filter down in some critical ways I've mentioned? Will it take the creation of a Federal Fire Service for wildland firefighting before some changes occur?

Thanks Ab for adding links...

cum'on Toto, bring your nomex
Tahoe Terrie, feeling like she's living in a "state of OZ"

Yer welcome. Ab.

9/16 Wheel chocks:

NFPA Standard 1906 for Wildland Fire Apparatus
2 wheel chocks with solid bottoms
Each wheel chock must hold a fully loaded vehicle on a 15% slope
2 wheel chocks must hold a fully loaded vehicle on a 30% slope
Wheel chocks must have a height as high as the bottom of the rims on the
truck that it will be used with
Wheel chocks must have a solid bottom to prevent sinking in soft soil
Wheel chock must have a face beveled at a 30-50 degree angle
Wheel chock must be 2/3 as wide as the tire
Wheel chock base must be 1.4 times the height or greater
Wheel chock must have a heel behind the top tire contact point of the chock
as long as 1/2 the height of the wheel chock

The source of this information was the NRCG equipment inspectors workshop,
hope that helps.

MT Smokey

9/16 Has the firefighter who was backfiring on the Cedar explained what they were doing,
what they were aware of, what their plan was, if they even saw the Novato engine? I
can imagine that all was chaos in those SoCal fires. But like Dick Mangan has said in
the past, differing stories give a more rounded perspective of what happened.

Mellie

9/16 Caught my eye from the Inaja Incident reported in the Cedar Fire document. "Flashover" occurred sometime shortly after 7:45 PM. Overhead were from northern CA.

G. Personnel.
The leaders on the Inaja fire were capable and experienced. They were trained in accordance with recognized Forest Service standards. There is, however, need for more intensive advanced fire behavior training for key fire supervisory personnel.

Recommendations of the Investigative Team
A. It was strongly brought out by the investigation that better knowledge of fire behavior must be developed as an essential means of preventing future fire tragedies.

Todd

9/16 AXE

I hope we're not headed in the same direction as the aerospace program...
where the issue of wheel chocks mimics the $400 wrench scenario. I'm
with you on the size of the block in relation to the rim, but why not use
wood if it can be cut to meet the same specs? (Please don't tell me that
it's because it's flammable.)

NWRG
9/16 The Novato Fire District has just released their Cedar Fire document. It can be found at

www.novatofire.org/cedar_fire.aspx#Cedar_Fire_Final_Report_Released

Novato FPD should be applauded for their honesty and commitment to firefighter safety.
District representatives are presenting a program in areas around the San Francisco area.
If you get a chance to attend it is well worth it.

Bless Eva and Steve and those who have given all before them

Bless the survivors of these type incidents I hope they have found or will find tranquility
and peace.

JB

The report is a very fat (almost 6000K) pdf file that takes quite some time to download even on a high speed system. They've included the greensheet and a report on the Inaja Burnover. Be patient. If you have trouble, you could try downloading it when activity on their server is low. You could also email me for an alternative idea. Ab.

9/16 Retired Forester,

I have to say i compliment you on your dedication to your people. That is a rare thing and not just in the forest service.

But, from the posts on here, and my own experiences you seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
If there were more such as yourself who had actually taken the time to understand the jobs that are done by the fire fighters then I personally think that the whole organization would be much better off.

My own experiences are similar to the previous posts.

Focusing in on the media aspect of Bone's post... it does seem that the upper echelon of the FS doesn't seem to think that publicity is a good thing, nor that the average ground pounder can answer questions from the media. I can't count how many times i've seen CDF in the news, regardless of weather or not it was a CDF, or FS fire. Now, i'm not saying it's bad at all. It's extremely smart. Everyone knows who CDF is. Some people don't even know that the FS has firefighters, i've been asked if i work for CDF while standing in my nomex and crew shirt, with USFS plastered all over.

From what i've personally seen, there is alot of lip service given to the various fire crews about how important they are etc... but then there is important training that's put on the back burner so that apparently more important things can get done... like cleaning campgrounds, or planting trees. Granted, we all have to help one another, but who will it help when a fire crew is not "ready" on a fire but MAN can they pick up trash.

And i'm still confused as to how we aren't considered professional firefighters. The only reason that I can see why we aren't, is that they don't want to PAY as much as they would have to. Granted i'm just a GS4, lead FF, but as a FF series i was told that would be more like GS7or 8 if i remember correctly.

And just as a side note.... the fact that we aren't "all risk". There is NO reason why the FS couldn't or shouldn't do this. Most fire stations are in remote areas, where there is (albeit somewhat few) homes, vehicles, etc... We run medical aids, we are usually first on scene for TC's, we go to structure fires but aren't able to go inside (try and keep me out if someone's in there). If it's a training issue, most of the firefighters that I know have previous experience in fire besides wildland (volley dept etc...).


I could go on, but it would basically turn into more of a gripe session. I have (just like everyone else) plenty of gripes, and ideas on how to make things better. But to come full circle, and to tell the truth, there is nobody who would listen to the ideas of a simple GS4 firefighter.

Now don't get me wrong, I do so love my job, it's the first job i've had that i love to go to work. Just that things could always be better.

EngineSlug
9/16 FS Slug -- Wheel chocks....

Here's my take on the wheel chocks. (As you can bet,
I'm slow too -- since I'm researching wheel chocks).
What I can find in the guidebooks (such as the
addendum to the yellow book for contract stuff) is
that the chock blocks should be of "industry
standard".

Anyway, to me, industry standard means that the block
is a height near or greater than the height of the
lower portion of the rim (this distance from he ground
to to the bottom of the rim).

I don't think the string matters; BUT I've always felt
that they have to be commercially manufactured -- a
block of wood doesn't cut it.

I think I'll go back to checking out that chilli
recipe now.

-AXE
9/15 Good post Bone,

The irony is that many of the 'professional' managers are relying on 'technicians' like me to design fuels projects to manage the forest. I am just a knuckle dragging firefighter converted to a fuels manager (collateral duty) after 20 years of fighting fire. The biologists, botanists and even the Rangers around my neck of the woods do not attempt, nor have the skills to design projects that both protect communities (both human and wildlife) and help to restore the ecosystem to its natural fire dependant regime.

They also rely on myself and many others like me to respond to the wildfires to protect above resources and do, at times, praise us for our ability to do so. However, when they do not agree with our proposals to restore the ecosystems, protect communities and resources, they point to our lack of 'good science'. We are not 'published' so our 20 or 30 years of experience in fire, fire behavior, and even fire effects is discounted as anecdotal and not worthy of consideration.

This may appear to be off the subject, but I maintain that it is not, and Jack Blackwell and Q would be wise to understand the connection. I believe that most/many of us are professional fire managers and many straddle the line between suppression, fuels and resource management. This applies to everyone from the 'stick stacker' in the off season, to the fuels planners. We are multi-dimensional just as Eva and deserve the respect (when we work for it).

BB
9/15 Bone, you are right on the money.

I am a “technician” also. I have worked for the Federal Government since 1984. During those years, I have progressed through the ranks from a Hotshot Firefighter to a Fire Manager. I have always considered our calling as wildland firefighters to be a profession. Wildland firefighters are all professionals….. But THEY SHOULD NOT BE GS-0462 Forestry Technicians, GS-0455 Range Technicians, GS-0025 Park Rangers, GS-0460 Foresters, GS-0401 Biological, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences Professionals, OR ANY of the other 20 plus series that wildland firefighters are currently classified under.

I’m currently at a location in my career where many fire managers sit. I have over 100 semester credits of college education, mostly in fire science. My agency doesn’t consider my classes in fire management, fire physics, safety management, or fire program management as being appropriate for advancement to higher levels. The agency does consider (tongue in cheek) classes in bird watching (Those of you at the Region 5 Division Chiefs conference know what I’m talking about.) The 0401 Fire Program Management Standard requires 24 units of college credit in biological sciences, natural resources, wildland fire management, forestry, or agriculture course work. Educational course work must include at least 18 semester hours of upper division (junior/senior) course work.

If you are a wildland firefighter and ever plan on progressing through the ranks, take a look at the draft GS-0401 Standard to see how well wildland firefighters are covered: www.opm.gov/fedclass/0400/gs0401.asp

O.K….. so where’s the fix located? The fix is located from within the strength of the wildland fire community to DEMAND a series that accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities of their positions and properly compensates them for the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have.

A single series.... GS-2 through GS-15 and SES..... That's how to make the wildland fire community safer.

Lobotomy

Addendum - Firefighter Classification Info Sheet
9/15 This is my reaction to Bone's comments, especially where he related the statements a Forest Supervisor on the Tonto made. He was dead wrong and could not be any further from the truth. Professionalism and dedication, passion for what one is doing, is not confined to what job series one occupies. Never has, never will. I'm a graduate forester and started as a tech between my sophomore and junior years. After graduation I purposely delayed putting myself on the tech to forester conversion roster, delaying it for almost two years. I was told by some that I was wasting my time, I knew better. My four years in fire management were a solid foundation for much of what I did the rest of my career. I became qualified for many jobs and served in the "militia" faithfully and with dedication. Many of my coworkers had this anti fire type attitude, but then again some in fire had an anti-resource management attitude. I thought an "anti" anything attitude was really unproductive and I liked the people and got along with every function in the USFS. I never made a big distinction between 0462, 0460, 0454, and 0450. Nobody I worked with or worked for me made distinctions like this either. I got along with fire great and sometimes worked my days off filling in on an engine when they were short, while working in recreation as a forester.

Once a forest supervisor came on the district and questioned one of my employees in the hall and upon finding out he was a tech, responded with "Oh, you are just a technician". I sent him a message telling him the next time he came to our district and addressed the people I worked for (I worked for the employees who I supervised - it was my job to get them the tools, knowledge, time, and materials so they could get their jobs done) he would do better not to insult them. I never really got along with that supervisor.

I found in my career that my degree was very helpful, and I spent the majority working in recreation management. It was easier and quicker for me to apply data collection and statistics to my job and get management to change direction because I could do good analysis and write well. Often I would do this after a technician alerted me to a problem which had existed for quite some time, which some of my "professional" predecessors ignored because it was too long term of a problem to take on before they transferred. When I had a large workload in hazard tree management in developed sites and on improved roads, I learned the techniques of identifying hazards and diseases from forest pathologists very quickly, then independently prepare timber sales and administered them without having to involve timber management folks very much. I could use tools like air photos and make measurements from them and find land corners using air photos the first time they were given to me because I had many units in air photo interpretation. Everything that I knew was done by technicians also, once they were trained. I had a multiresource degree and found that I could understand other functions quicker than some of the techs and could spot problems and conflicts between resources sooner. I could talk with the other disciplines using their language and science fairly quickly. But most of the techs who had been around for many years could do the same. They may not have been able to write it up using statistics as well sometimes, but most good and dedicated techs with more than 10-15 years were worth more than a recent college grad. I had the privilege of "working for" a number of techs with twenty or more years under their belts and learned a lot from them, and they hopefully from me. After 7 years as a Recreation and Lands Officer at the GS-11 level, I took a voluntary downgrade to a GS-9 recreation supervisor position where I spent the last 11 years of my career. It was a job that was listed for both 0460's and 0462's and it allowed and demanded I be in the field 60% of the time, minimum. It was the best job I ever had. I began to look at some professionals and thought many of them were "carpet baggers" who moved on in their "professional" careers too quickly to see the long term effects of their decisions.

I believe for every Forest Supervisor like the one on the Tonto and the one on my second to last forest who said such insulting things, there were at least 30 who would never say nor think in the same way. That was my experience anyway. It takes a lot of different kind of people to make a good team, and those that devalue input from some of those people because they don't have a diploma over their desk, will never have a team reach its true and full potential. Not to mention that both of those Forest Supervisors and myself were not as experienced and well grounded in many tasks as my fellow "techs".

I received a number of compliments for my performance in my career, with the most valuable and memorable ones coming from the techs and GS-9 and below levels. I knew I had worked very had to deserve these compliments and I now treasure those more than the cash award certificates on the "wall of shame" above my desk.

I hope that everyone who hears someone in management say something like "Bone" related can shrug such crap off and realize that they have heard someone showing their true ignorance.

Retired Forester
9/15 Bear advises,

If it's cold and rainy where you are and you're bummed out about a lagging fire season, here's
a quick "pick me up". Whip yerself up a pot of Abercrombie's Southwestern White Chili! The
recipe can be found here, under the Wildland Firefighter Family Recipes.

www.wildlandfire.com/recipes/white_chili.php

If you follow the recipe and don't like it, send it to me. I'll eat it!

Bear
9/15 Dear Friends,

Seems like tragedy brings out the worst and best in any community. Ours is no different. One of the things I noticed in the course of a read of all your comments was the notion that they never call us professionals until one of us is killed. That struck a nerve and got me to thinking about professionalism and what it means us as firefighters.

Some years ago a Forest Supervisor on the Tonto NF was quoted as saying that “technicians don’t have careers, they have jobs”. Being of the 462 persuasion for my entire “career” in the FS this naturally rankled me quite a bit. I resolved once again, as I had before that this would be the drive to make me as professional as the best of them.

I’ll launch off on what might seem to be a tangent here, but I think I can bring it around to closure. My line of thought since I read that first comment is, why do people treat firefighters that way? What is it about us that creates that need to control?

One caveat before I launch any further. Professionalism transcends grade, series, education and any other mark that some folks have put on it. As such, my friends who were or are in the 401,460, etc. series should look at this with the same sense as the rest. If you’re a professional it shows, you know it, DON’T take offense.

Still and all, the fact remains that firefighters often get treated as undesirables. Keep them in the closet, let them out when we need them, control the scope of their mission without any feedback and for gosh sakes don’t let them talk to the media. Why?

My strongest feeling is that the firefighting force in this country is in the wrong place. I am a lifelong, heartfelt advocate of wildland management agencies. Absent the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, USFW and BIA, there wouldn’t be any land for us to enjoy in this country. It takes little imagination to see a country bought out by the well to do with no room for the common guy absent the foresight of those who planned the federal holdings.

That notwithstanding, it seems that the evolution of this country has left fire management, indeed all of emergency management in the wrong management group. Wildlife managers, foresters, hydrologists, and the like are key to managing the functions of a forest or rangeland. In each of these disciplines there is time to ponder, examine and propose solutions to problems. Unfortunately, these same folks become the Agency Administrators who are charged with the total management of these same lands. Enter Fire Management.

Fire doesn’t fit. Yes, it is a natural process. Yes, it has an integral role in the cycle of ecosystems. Yes I applaud the application of more prescribed fire and Fire Use. The problem arises when decisions have to be made in critical time frames, like in urban defense. Ask yourself how many large incidents occur any more without some structure involvement. Since 1989, I can remember two or three out of dozens I attended. When fire comes roaring out of the woods, we go back to trying to apply age old solutions to current problems and they don’t fit.

The agency posture has and is, “the defense of private land is the counties, states, somebody elses, problem.” I think this is baloney, in my humble opinion. If that is the mission then the responsibility for that mission must change. The current approach by many managers is to bury their head in the sand and hope it doesn’t happen on their watch. That doesn’t sell to a public who are fed a steady diet of agency mismanagement stories by the media. This indecision has reached the culmination in events such as the one in Oregon a couple of years ago where a District Ranger refused to let fire crews leave the District Office to attack a fire. The line of reasoning to this was that the fire was in chaparral and it was too dangerous to go fight. This type of ignorance, fear, and misunderstanding is prevalent in the wildland agencies. It leads to indecision which leads to inaction which leads to failed strategy and worse, exposes us as firefighters to increased risk.

So how do we as firefighters affect our surrounding. We can spend time bitching about how stupid management is. That’s a waste of time. I would suggest another approach.

First, ask yourself, Am I All I Can Be? Do I present a professional image to my superiors? It’s in everything you do, what you write, how you speak, how you dress, how your equipment looks and performs. Fireline Leadership courses sent a shock wave through the organizations. If you missed it, too bad. Go back and look again. The ones who get heard are the ones who exhibit leadership and professional attitude.

Second, use that professionalism to further your goals. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not. However you believe, make yourself heard. This forum is a great place to flex your wings. Don’t stop there, there are Congressmen, Senators at both the state and federal level who need to hear what you think. There are also organizations such as NWSA that ought to be helping. Think they are just for contractors? If you do they and you are missing the boat. Their mission and that of the agencies ought to be the same. I’ll save that for another rant.

Bone
9/15 Ok folks ncbrush6 is now putting away his nomex and getting on the wet suit..
the engine is hi and dry and the boat is now 10-8..
ok ivan come and get me.

ncbrush6 aka ncboat6
9/15 Eva Schicke Services

To: All Public Agencies and Friends

A Full Honors Procession and Funeral for fallen CDF Firefighter Eva Schicke will be held Monday, September 20, 2004, 2:00 PM at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds amphitheater. CDF is requesting that all those planning to attend please respond by noon Sunday, September 19, 2004.

The following numbers are available for your RSVP; (209)533-6612, 533-6613, 533-6614. Fire agencies are asked to provide number of apparatus with identifiers, number of personnel, and chief officer’s name. Similarly law enforcement should provide number of cars, personnel, and lead officer. Dignitaries and public officials are asked to call so that we can follow-up with further details. Large departments and individual CDF Units should call from a single point of contact.

Federal Agencies are asked to respond within their own organizations as follows; attendees representing the USDA Forest Service should call Sandy Beardon at (209) 532-3671 ext 232, and all Bureaus within the Department of Interior should call Ken Hood at (916) 212-3108.

The family requests that all those wishing to send cards, letters, and flowers do so at either of the following locations;

Schicke Family c/o
CDF Arnold Station, Ebbetts Pass FPD Station 1
2517 Highway 4 1028 Manuel Road
Arnold, CA 95223 Arnold, CA 95223

Additionally, a Memorial Fund has been established at Merchants National Bank. Checks should be made payable to ‘CDF Firefighters Eva Schicke Memorial Fund’, and mailed to Merchants National Bank, P.O. Box 747, Sacramento, CA 95812.

RSVP lines will be operated from 8:00 AM to 5 PM PST. General public information can be obtained by calling the CDF Information Center at (209) 533-6981. Further details concerning the procession and funeral will follow.

Sincerely,
Fred McVay,
Unit Chief

9/15 It continues to become harder and harder to learn of a death in the wildland firefighting community the older I get. When you retire you seem to be able to look at these incidents and experience them more fully, knowing that you don't have to suck it in so you can face the danger yourself again and soon. Eva was working towards becoming a nurse, something my sister did for nearly 40 years. When I started with the USFS in the early 70's, my generation was taking on public service careers in mass. So much so that it was very hard to get into college and follow this career path. How things have changed and career fire jobs are being advertised for people on the street to apply, not the difficult path of just trying to find a register someplace, where you could just apply to get your name on a long list.

This makes Eva's loss all the more difficult because it seems like firefighting and natural resource management are not held in the same esteem that they were when I began my career path. It seems like there are fewer of us to grieve and remember each loss.

Please take the time to sign in on Eva's Guestbook, you won't be sorry you did.

In tears,

Retired Forester
9/15 Hey Ab et. All -

I bet one of my co-workers a cold frosty one about the wheel chocks
required for a wildland engine.

Where can I find the exact description for what is required for a USFS Type
6? Are they attached with a cord, etc....

Thanks,

FS Slug
9/15 I was just reading through the terms area, some funny stuff that i hadn't heard before.

Noticed that both pumpkin patch, and hide/hiding the iron weren't in there.

Pumpkin patch..... inmate crew found (usually at night) sitting/laying as the headlamp shines over them looks just like a pumpkin patch.

Hide the iron/ playing hide the iron... When there are FAR too many engines on a fire that's pretty much dead. Spend most of the time looking for smokes that just aren't there. The local district is charging the added iron to the fire so there are more resources available for a new start.

EngineSlug

Added them to the funny terms list. Ab.

9/14 Here's a link to Brian Kornegay's site where you can add virtual
condolences and messages to family, friends and co-workers of
Eva Schicke.

Condolences and Reflections for
Eva Marie Schicke, 24, Firefighter
Arnold, CA

Here's the letter that came out from CDF Chief Geldert.

SoCal CDF

9/14 This has come in from a number of sources. Ab.

24-hr Brief on the Tuolumne Burnover
 

9/14 Condolences to the family and friends of Eva Schicke. Best wishes for a
speedy recovery to the injured helitack crew.

We at Wildland Firefighter Foundation have been in contact with CDF's
family liaison to see if there's any way we can provide assistance. CDF
seems to have a good handle on lending the support needed at this time.

On behalf of all wildland firefighters, we are sending a bronze wildland
firefighter statue honoring Eva. If anyone would like to join the 52 Club
to help fund the statue, please do so. This process works via your
contributions.

Highest regards to firefighters working on the CA fires. Be safe.

Burk Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

52 Club

9/14 We updated the Jobs page and Wildland Firefighter stoopid Forestry and Range Technician Series 0462 & Series 0455, selecting for the fire designation. (Feeling pissed this morning that wildland firefighters are called "professional" firefighters only when they die. Until then, the designation is forestry tech, range tech, biologist, etc. Thanks to the Region 5 Forester Jack Blackwell for supporting a Wildland Firefighter series.) Ab.
9/14 Thoughts and prayers go out to the crew and families.

It is time to stop killing firefighters on wildland fires. We are supposed to learn from the past. South Canyon, 30 Mile, Cramer to name just a few. We read the reports and listen to who's to blame, but each season we repeat the past. I have 27 years chasing fire from the seat of a dozer. All of us need to use the most important tool we have. Our eyes and our brains. If the conditions aren't right, back off and catch it when it improves. Remember the 10's and 18's. All the brush and trees aren't worth losing a life over. After it burns, it will grow back. We all feel the loss of a fellow firefighter. Enough is enough. Be safe and stay heads up.

VNC Dozer 3
9/14 hello All,

I am currently applying to the apprenticeship program and don't really understand
everything everyone is talking/writing about. From my point of view it seems like
a great program especially when you cant really afford to go seasonal/temp with
no benefits or guaranteed work hours. If you have any information I would
appreciate it. If you would just add it to your column I don't have an email
address right now. Thank you and I apologize for all the spelling errors: its late.

Jeff

Best info on the web about the program is at the website: www.wfap.net/index.phpl Read back over the comments on theysaid and make a list of questions. Scott Whitmire is willing to answer them. 916-640-1061 Give him a call. Ab.
9/14 Flags at the capitol and throughout CA are being flown half mast in honor of Eva Schicke.

God bless and comfort family, friends, crewmembers, and the entire FF community. Best
wishes to the injured.

northzone5
9/14 To all of our Brothers & Sisters of the CDF:

On behalf of the members of the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
nationwide, we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy, prayers and thoughts
to the family of Eva and those injured.

The federal wildland firefighter community mourns your loss as ours.

Casey Judd
Business Manager

Michael Preasmeyer
President

9/13 New incident page for the Tuolumne Fire.

www.fs.fed.us/r5/stanislaus/incident/tuolumne/index.php

Mellie

I added it to the CA and US Fires, 2004 pages. Ab.

9/13 Baja Fire Spreads North Near Campo It started in Mexico.
www.signonsandiego.com

Evacuations are underway in Canyon City, San Diego Co., USA

Be Safe,
SoCal CDF.

9/13 Ab,

CDF internet site has information on the incident. Could you attach the link

CDF Jake

from LD: www.fire.ca.gov/php/fire_er_fatalities.php

Thanks everyone for the timely info. Ab.

9/13 From the CDF Briefing:
Deceased Firefighter Eva Schicke - 24
CDF Injured Firefighters
Fire Captain Jonah Winger – 29
Firefighter Jon Andahl – 23
Firefighter Josh Augustin – 29
Firefighter Thomas Frazer – 25
Firefighter Jeff Boatman – 29
Firefighter Shane Neveau - 24

Photo of the Columbia Helitack crew pdf file.

Photo of Eva Schicke

9/13 From LD, updated articles:
www.mymotherlode.com/
9/13 The CDF burnover info just came in on the Hot List Forum.

Ab.

9/13 Would someone please send in the report that CDF put out in that 10:00 press
conference. I haven't been able to find a station that's carrying it, you have to
have a fax to get it from the PIO, and it's not up under press releases on the
CDF website.

Thnx Ab,
CDF mom

9/13 Mellie,

The CIS folks are meeting with firefighters now. The Accident Investigation
Team is in Sonora. The CDF briefing started at 1000. My heart is heavy, but
we carry on.

Tahoe Terrie

9/13 Our thoughts and prayers go out to the the families and personnel affected by this tragedy.
May god bless and comfort you in your time of need.

Northern Nevada Firefighters
9/13 Toulumne Fire Burnover:

I hope all involved are getting Critical Incident Stress Debriefing. It's very important
that people who have experienced trauma have a chance to talk with trained counselors
in the first 24 to 48 hours.

Mellie
9/13 Condolences to the families and crew.

Fire season is not over for California

www.fs.fed.us/land/wfas/fd_cls_f.gif

Please be safe everyone.

Todd

9/13 NWSA would like to express our sympathy for CDF's loss of a firefighter and
our thoughts are with the families of that firefighter and also with those that were
injured.

Debbie Miley
Executive Secretary
NWSA
9/13 Here's an article with photos by Al Golub, a fire photographer with at least one
firefighter in the family.

Modesto Bee
Firefighter dies in Sierra blaze

JC

9/13 Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and crew members impacted by the SNF tragedy.

northzone
9/12 Update:

Firefighter killed while battling Stanislaus forest fire

CDF spokeswoman Sharon Torrence said the group was part of a seasonal,
Sonora, Calif.-based helicopter crew and had been dropped off in the forest
to fight the blaze from the ground.

So sad. So Cal CDF

9/12 I have received the same information regarding the tragic loss of a CDF
firefighter in the SNF. Our hearts go out to the families of all of those
impacted by this tragedy. According to my sources the CDF will be addressing
the media tomorrow morning, or once next of kin have been notified.

With a heavy heart,

Craig A. Rose
9/12 My son is with the CDF unit that responded to the Tuolumne Fire where one has died
and several are injured. The injured are being treated at the UCD medical center burn
unit in Sacramento CA. My son would have been on that crew but he stayed behind to
do some work on one of the engines. My son was burned over two years ago... My
prayers go out to all the families.

Stephen Ousby
9/12 Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at CDF.

New Jersey Forest Fire Service
9/12 Ab,

A firefighter I know with CDF, says his agency is reporting very bad news. One firefighter from his agency has lost his life on the Stanislaus National Forest and 6 others were injured in a burn over. No further information will be released until a press conference tomorrow.

Please use your discretion on posting this. The incident has been confirmed and a statewide e-mail has been distributed, but notification of the families of those involved is still pending per the e-mail. An investigation team of CDF and USFS is looking into the incident.

Our prayers go out for the injured and the families and friends of all involved.

FyrEtr

We received the official announcement below. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those involved. Ab.
9/12 Sacramento – Seven firefighters with the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) were overrun by fire this
afternoon in the Tuolomne River Canyon on the Stanislaus National
Forest. One firefighter was killed, one suffered moderate injuries,
five sustained minor injuries. The firefighters are not being
identified at this time pending notification of their families. The
six injured firefighters are all receiving medical attention.

A joint CDF-US Forest Service Major Accident Investigation Team has
been activated and will conduct a complete investigation of this
incident. A CDF liaison has been assigned to assist each family.

No further information will be released this evening. A media
briefing is planned for tomorrow, Monday, September 13, 2004 at 10
a.m. at CDF Headquarters, 1416 9th St., Sacramento.

am
9/12 Firefighters Injured Battling Blaze

Several firefighters have been injured battling the Tuolumne Fire Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters are battling the fire in a remote section of the Stanislaus National Forest,
about 11 miles east of Groveland.

Two firefighters have been burned and one firefighter was reported missing...

Hot List Forum contributor

Updates: Other information is being reported as it's released. Check for links to more recent articles at the end. Ab.

9/12 Most of you are right. FEMA doesn't have a lot in the way of on the ground
resources. One resource they do have in the way of on the ground incident
management is called an Incident Support Team, or IST. Note the difference
in semantics between an Incident Support Team and an Incident Management
Team. The ISTs do not receive a letter of delegation.

The FEMA mindset for the ISTs is that the home agency retains command of
the incident, while the IST supports the local's actions and supports the
several US&R taskforces that may be on scene. The ISTs are made up of
mostly local folks from the US&R teams. Thus they're much more all-risk.
For the most part they're talented folks.

They don't have much of a training program other than team level drills and
they don't require any sort of NWCG certification. I'm not so sure a guy
who's essentially functioning as a division/group sup coordinating several
task forces really needs time on a wildfire when his day to day job is as a
company officer on a rescue company in Philadelphia. On the other hand some
NIIMS experience would probably benefit the planning folks.

I'm curious to see what the functional differences will be between the ISTs
and IMTs assigned to the hurricane area.

On a side note, many of the California teams have members who are affiliated
with FEMA's US&R program. My team currently has at least four of us who
also function with US&R. We used to have the guys who were the day and
night ops for FEMA at 9/11. And we're a Type 2 team. It probably doesn't
get much stronger in all risk than that.

Fish
9/12 If the Federal IMT Teams are mobilized only as a support function, that mobilization is probably a waste of manpower. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the National Guard can all hand out cots and feed refugees.

It seems the Government is sending those teams to more and more all risk situations...terrorist attacks, mass casualty incidents, hurricane response etc. There lies the confusion. The Government apparently wants all risk teams and the USFS is supplying them. However, the Government does not want to recognize its employees as fire service personnel and grant them the training and the job benefits that come with that responsibility.

If the Incident Management Teams are to MANAGE an incident, they must direct operations and planning, otherwise they should be renamed as Incident Support Teams.

viejo

9/12

"Something I've been wondering for awhile that perhaps some of those who think the USFS & BLM have no business in the "all risk" area. Why is it that if I am injured or my car catches fire on a National Forest my health and safety isn't part of the mission, but if it happens in a National Park it is? Both have an engine, both are Series 0462's but only the Park Service includes putting out a fire in my cabin or car, and responding to my medical emergency in their job description." from Fedfire's post

The National Park Service has exclusive jurisdiction on many of the units they manage, including most of the older and larger parks. This means that their is no state authority for law enforcement, fire (wildland and structural), medical, search and rescue, fish and game, highways and roads, and a host of other functions too complicated to explain here. State and local agencies obviously respond at the request of the federal jurisdiction under mutual aid agreements. These exclusive jurisdictions were established by Congress in the enabling legislation for the Park, Monument, Historic Site, Lakeshore, etc. Exclusive jurisdictions include Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings, Lassen, and maybe some more in California. These are often called "Federal Islands" by people in natural resource and land management. The NPS assumes all risk responsibility because Congress gave them that responsibility. In other cases such as the 800 acre Devils Postpile National Monument, and in Death Valley National Park (formally a much smaller National Monument until 1994) Congress established a "concurrent" jurisdiction where the Park Service has jurisdiction over all risk incidents, but so do the state and local agencies. In some cases like Death Valley, California maintains CA State Highway 190 through the Park and has a CHP officer stationed at Cow Creek, the interagency work center and housing area near Furnace Creek. Inyo County also has a deputy stationed there. Furnace Creek ranch is private land owned by Xanterra Inc, the new version of Amfac, both of which used to be called Fred Harvey Enterprises, an outfit with concession permits in a number of National Parks. The deputy is there because of this private land and because the Shoshone Tribe owns land southwest of Furnace Creek ranch and do not have any tribal law enforcement.

Because the staffing of full time EMT and paramedic trained rangers in the Park's protection branch, the NPS provides EMS exclusively in most of the Park. They do most of the transports to the nearest medical facility as they have a couple of ambulances in the Park. They have a greater presence for law enforcement so they do much of the enforcing. Devils Postpile is more isolated from other Park units, is surrounded by National Forest land, so search and rescue and EMS services are provided by local authorities. They do have one commissioned officer and many of their resource rangers are EMT trained, so they take on a role in first responder most of the time. With concurrent jurisdictions the NPS and local authorities try to work out who will do what and when, depending on the resources of each, the history of who has provided services, and many other considerations. Often the NPS will take on a larger role than required because they feel that many resource management considerations can be affected by who does law enforcement and search and rescue, among other functions. In carrying out these function all risk functions in both exclusive and concurrent jurisdictions the NPS uses federal laws (United States Code) to cover everything from illegal campfires, to shoplifting, to murder. In the case of Death Valley they will respond to everything on the private land because all federal law enforcement officers have their POST certificate, or Peace Officer Standards and Training, the same that is required for all state and local law enforcement officers. In order to act as a state peace officer, the local county sheriff must approve that federal officers can act in this capacity. In almost all remote counties they have done this because they can have another set of personnel that can back up their own officers and serve on interagency response teams for large events and such.

The NPS is in the Interior department and it is used to having all risk personnel. The Forest Service is in the Dept. of Agriculture and if I remember correctly the USFS is the only land owning/managing agency in the department. They are not at all familiar with all risk and are even a little funny about owning land. Both the National Forests and BLM public lands are managed for multiple-use and are both under a third type of jurisdiction which is proprietary. That is they have jurisdiction over the use of the land for timber, range, watershed, recreation, and wildlife. By Congressional law state and local authority hold full civil powers over people and their activities, except where people and activities affect one of the five main multiple uses. Both have law enforcement officers who are trained in the same academy class at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center ("Flet-z") as the National Park Service rangers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers. From my perceptive the Forest Service, under the Department of Agriculture is constantly talking about what the agency should not do, not looking at what make sense on the ground. This includes fire, law enforcement, people control, special use permits, and every one of the thousands of tasks the agency has.

Now, look at all of this from the Region 5 perspective. There is the Forest Service and there is Region 5. It gets more recreation than any other region (25% of the USFS total with the other 8 regions getting the other 75%) in an atmosphere were people are used to having better governmental services than in any other western state, if not all the states. Much of this is because California has an atmosphere of necessity being greater, so it is a bigger "mother of invention" than other areas of the country. We have it all, mudslides, major wildland and structural fire (high rise, chemical plants, major seaports), law enforcements demands because of diversity and a high population and high growth rate, eastern like flooding on major rivers in the Central Valley and the landscape is more diverse for one state than any other, from the lowest point in the U.S. with the hottest weather in the world, to a major sea coast (with both developed and very remote areas) alpine mountains, volcanoes, coastal mountain ranges, and more wildland fuels not under Federal jurisdiction than any where else. The state has started many major programs as a result with the paramedic program starting in southern California, the first "Class I" fire departments, and ICS just to name three. California has the best state park agency and the best Office of Emergency Services in the U.S. With what occurs in the state, and how often, it better be able to make that claim. Region 5 has been a leader in many areas of National Forest management (especially in recreation, fire, and law enforcement) and being in the setting of California it has had to lead the way into many areas of work that the other regions will just shake their heads at and say "but they are doing things that aren't the Forest Service role". This was the reaction I got in a Region 4 recreation management meeting when a person reporting on what was being done in other areas of the country to manage off-highway vehicles, and a picture of a Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer, with full off highway motorcycles gear (a green and yellow suit with the letters USFS printed vertically down each leg of the suit, a large FS shield on his back, an FS green helmet with shields, and the bike boots to match), with a utility belt carrying handcuffs, pepper spray, a Glock (9 mm handgun), with the law enforcement standard badge in a protected holder on the belt. In this region-wide conference many were shocked and said that was the county sheriffs role. None of them knew the situation on the Angeles and that even with a very large county sheriff's office, the Sheriff declined to take on that role and had asked for more assistance in the form of law enforcement from the FS than probably anywhere in the country. They knew nothing about the situation in Little Rock Creek on the north portion of the Angeles when people used to illegally occupy Little Rock Creek canyon and keep everyone else out. The typical response was to get a CHP, LASO, and FS law enforcement team together to move up the canyon in mass and retake the canyon. Sometimes CHP and LASO did not have the resources to participate so the FS did it themselves. Canine units in the Forest Service? Unheard of for many, many years, in other parts of the country, but common practice for decades on the Angeles.

Lets get back to fire. Let's say a response was dispatched in Orange County in the 70's (pre CDF contract county days), CDF would move up and cover the county, then the FS (Cleveland) may move up and cover CDF or a Cleveland Engine would move down and cover a county station. All by mutual aid agreements. This move up also went the opposite direction (uphill towards the FS stations instead of downhill). FS engines were expected to have EMT' on board and one of those fold out ladders they were carrying at the time. It was required for the mutual aid/closest resource concept. FPTs with state fire marshal deputy appointments enforcing the CA Public Resource Code on private lands within and adjacent to the National Forest boundary. Meanwhile, in Region 3 at the time, the emergency or public services did not even have scanners in their mobile rigs or at dispatch and interagency was a word that people had to look up in a dictionary. I remember one day at home sick in Magdalena, New Mexico with the scanner going, hearing about a near another Ranger District on the Cibola National Forest near Grants. A fire was burning (just a single tree or group, started by lightning with precipitation containing the fire) southeast of Mt Taylor, where the Forest Service has jurisdiction, which meets a large land grant ranch, privately owned, which was the New Mexico State Forestry Division, which meets a portion of the Laguna or Acoma Pueblo (Southern Pueblos Agency), and that meets up with BLM, Albuquerque District all in a corner, almost like Four Corners where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado meet. The fire was within 1/2 mile of this corner and it was unknown which jurisdiction it was on. My scanner had the frequencies for all four agencies in it and I listened in disbelief as all four agencies sent a response independent of what the other agencies were doing. No one, from engines, to crews, to dispatch were scanning like I was. The aggregate response was four helicopters, four crews, and eight engines. The Cibola had a fixed wing up that day and was sending it also, but being the Cibola is so spread out, it was some distance away. No mutual aid, no inter-agency preplanned response, dispatchers who were not even talking with each other, at least on initial attack. The year? Somewhere between 1978 and 1981 while I worked on the Magdalena RD, Cibola NF. Back in California the FIRESCOPE program was 6 to 9 years old.

Now look at CDF. In the Owens Valley, most of U.S. 395 is covered by fire districts. North of Bishop there are none. Two semi-large subdivisions without any fire protection (Mustang Mesa and Rovana), a long stretch of 395 not covered by a local fire district in Inyo County. All this with a CDF conservation camp located almost centrally in this area. Bishop Rural will respond to traffic accidents due to morale considerations as I don't thing a formal mutual aid agreement exists for them for this area, but CDF filling in due to this "vacuum" of local services, responds to everything. CDF has BAs on their engines, but they aren't going to go charging inside a house on Mustang Mesa with a BA and two guys hold a 2 1/2 and confine the fire to the kitchen when the house is full of smoke. The FS has an engine at the top of the Sherwin Grade in Mono County and will respond to vehicle fires on the whole grade, even into Inyo County some distance from NF land because of the closest resource concept.

Meanwhile back in law enforcement, the Forest Service pays for increased local law enforcement presence on NF lands through a bit of federal legislation called the "Sisk Act". On some NFs there are deputies who are in locations in remote areas of the NF and draw almost all of their funding from Sisk Act funds. The theory being, the NF attracts the visitors with outdoor recreations opportunities and developed destinations and need to help the local authorities, who have little or no control over that happening. If the NF brings the visitors they should provide or pay for the services they need when they come.

Now I've given you a lot of reading on jurisdiction and what I saw during my FS career in four states. In California patrol units and engines commonly get dispatched to medical aids in campgrounds and for TCs on roads and highways. The mutual aid, closest available resource, morale responsibility, and being a member of the fire services in California drive this participation. It happens more often in south ops than in north, but it keyed closely to what capabilities the local agencies have, how much visitor use there is, how frequent incidents occur, how remote the area is, what kind of roads and traffic levels there are, and if the Forest Service has stations away from the Ranger District office. Again necessity is the mother of invention.

All the while in many areas without fire districts the public sort of assumes that the nearest CDF or Forest Service station will provide protection for their structure. CDF, in over 140 agreements statewide provides local fire protection and local fire department services, or some portion of them, in small counties and more remote areas. They have people who will break down your front door and have Type I engines. So, like the NPS they have the all risk responsibility in some areas the agency works. So in other areas where they do not have the responsibility, agency inertia and morale, not legal, responsibility causes them to do more. The Forest Service and BLM is being drawn into this also, more as time passes. Look at I-40 between Barstow and Needles, the Mojave National Preserve engine, and sometimes the BLM engine both from the "Hole in the Rock Station" provide most of the first engine in response on those long and remote areas of the Interstate. The Forest Service and BLM have very close scrutiny from Congress on this situation, particularly from a couple of Congressional committees who know all of the above very well. They have provided strict guidelines and fiscal direction for the purchase of such things as AEDs and BAs. They are very conscious that both agencies, due to their resources location could become the cops and fireman for much of the remote areas in the west, and look at any issue on these matters as possible subtle increments in the road heading in this direction.

So that is why you will get better care in a car accident somewhere between Wawona and the Valley in Yosemite, than you will get somewhere on the Minarets/Baysore loop east of North Fork on the Sierra National Forest not very far away? Congress made it that way and is keeping it that way, and tells the people on the ground that it is a state and local responsibility to increase the level of care on that road. Tell that to an engine captain at Clearwater Station who responds to a report of cardiac arrest at Clover Meadows and it doesn't make much sense. I think Congress should recognize areas like this, the unlikelihood of local authorities having it pencil out to establish a fire/medical station in these remote areas, and give the FS the means, authority, and responsibility to do what is right, to a certain basic level, and make that consistent nationwide. After all the FS and BLM have spent money to get the visitor there and provide the attraction for them to come and along with that should come the responsibility to handle what results, whether that be in the form of local government funding assistance, or with equipping and training the FS and BLM to be full partners in the fire service. In some areas like here in Mono County, California, there is countywide paramedic coverage, and U.S. 395 is covered by fire districts, so the BLM and FS engines in the area only respond to vehicle fires that have a chance of getting into the wildland. The policy should be flexible to meet local characteristics.

And finally, this comes from a guy who has lived and worked in four states, not counting that California has been in two different periods. I've seen the state from the outside quite a bit and have seen the "anti-anything that comes from California bias", as well as the provincial California attitude. I do not own either attitude.

Retired Forester (R3, R4, R5 and in that order too!)

9/12 engine slug

You are 100% right about AEDs on engines.. we need them. I have my own and carry it
on my engine. and yes have used it on a wildfire.. i now sell the aeds . Thay are a tool that
is needed and is a must.....i was also on a type six nps engine that had one on it. i also k
now of a few pvt engines that carry them.. They are a big cost but well worth it.

NCBRUSH6

9/12 Historically any change in gov't policy is a frustrating, cumbersome & slow process.

this article lists proposed legislation and should be of interest to California FFs:

Governor told to OK fire bills --

California's firefighters say they appreciate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's vocal
support following the October fire siege. Now they'd like his autograph – on some
pending legislation sitting on his desk.

Gregory Alan Gross in the San Diego Union-Trib -- 9/11/04

northzone

9/11 Joatmon:

In answer to your question on hours needed for the JAC...500 Hrs
is required for attendance at the academy.

A person may be admitted to the program with no fire experience.

D
9/11 Viejo and some to FedFire.

Viejo, Let me flaunt my ignorance. The incidents you described in your post, IMO are high risk, low probability. In my experience, most chemicals on farms are water soluble, fitting the low probability, but some farm chemicals are a high risk to health. As for qualifications, on my small crew of five out here in North Dakota, we have four EMT's who have all had their hepatitis shots. I have had more shots that I care to count due to my association with the Navy Reserve. (I get to get Anthrax shot sometime next year, NOT looking forward to that.) We have completed two separate Hazmat courses (for the USFS and our Volunteer EMT/structure fire activities). One of my crew members was on a hurricane cleanup crew last year.

But I agree with you. Most USFS/BLM/BIA/USPS/USFW do not train for all risk management. I was told that since our fall burn season is fast approaching that all off Forest (Prairie in my case) details were off. All risk management is not our mandate. And from what I have gleaned from this board, California is the only area where the USFS actually responds to a car fire or medical emergency. On my crew, we monitor State communication frequencies and will respond to a call if we are the closest to render aid, but the fact is, that is not what I am paid to do. If something was to happen to me while responding to a call (Hepatitis or AIDS exposure for example) I don't think the USFS would back me up. I would have to depend on my association with the local ambulance for that. BTW, we run Type 6 engines which are not much use on a car fire. If it ever happens that we have one, I will stay well away since I do not have SCBAs or class B foam and will stop the spread of any wildland fire it starts. That is what we do with tractor fires which are much more common out here :>).

I would love to see a push toward an All Risk Management approach, since that is where my heart is. Of course, there would be major political battles to be fought, but I think it is needed. In my opinion, the knowledge that most wildland fire management teams bring to the table are logistical and the ability to keep track of multiple resources spread out over hundreds of square miles. They have a lot of practice doing that. The one quote Viejo had from the team member getting on the plane could of come from a base camp manager. A base camp for fire is similar to a base camp for a hurricane. In that case, It doesn't sound so ignorant. Its probably been done already, but there should be a list of specialists to call for the various types of emergencies such as structural engineers or medical personnel to direct or advise operations.

I have rambled enough,
Domaque.
9/11 I've been trying for almost 2 years to get AED's on the engine. Still no luck. Would be so usefull for medical aids. But in my experience the FS has the mentality that we are at medicals as "support" to the volleys or whoever else. Regardless of the fact that the stations are in the middle of nowhere, and the time that it takes for anyone to get there for us to "support" pretty much uses the golden hour.

The AED's could also be extremely useful on the fireline. There are people out there who aren't in all that great of shape. They aren't necessarily firefighters, but are carded to go on the line, or at least out to the fire. How long until someone has a heart attack on the line? Then, without a defib, the chances of survival are pretty slim.

Pretty sad, that the cpr class qualified everyone who went to it (at least my district) to operate an AED, but none are available to use.

Oh well, seems as though the USFS is more reactionary than proactive. So just wonder how many people will die before they react.

EngineSlug
9/11 Well i am staying put for now here in n.c.. we have floods and wind falling trees.
lots of standing water and folks flooded out of their homes.. More on the way
with ivan.

NCBRUSH6
9/11 viejo makes a good point about the teams and it highlights the major problem I had (have) with the USFS's attitude that they only do wildland fire. The personnel are being used to perform tasks they are not being trained for.

To be fair though, not all the personnel are just wildland firefighters, one of the teams that responded to the 9/11 attacks was led by a Kern County firefighter (well actually a Chief I think) his name escapes me at the moment though.

As for sending all these crews though I can see lots of problems with using wildland oriented crews, the wildland agencies only provide wildland training; any other applicable training comes from other sources. Had I not had a structural background prior to working for the USFS, I would have been pitifully prepared for a good number of the responses I went on. I received excellent wildland training, but from the time I was a GS 3, I provided EMS, vehicle accident / fire and SCBA training to the crews I worked with since I was the most qualified to provide it. I finally received an official organized class from the USFS as a GS7, Suburban emergency response taught at Vandenberg, (a good class BTW) but in my opinion this class should be taught to every wildland firefighter their first season, not to a handful of people later in their careers.

As a structural firefighter the minimum training we get at my department is trench rescue technician, collapse rescue technician, confined space rescue technician, rope rescue technician, hazardous materials operations, weapons of mass destruction, auto extrication, swift water awareness, EMT, Firefighter 1 and we still meet the standards for NWCG regarding wildland. The thing is my job really isn't all that different from what I did with the USFS on an engine crew except I don't get to go to as many big wildland fires and I have a much smaller chance of going to a hurricane or earthquake.

Now I'm not saying that all USFS firefighters should receive all of this training but if the teams and crews are going to be responding to "all risk" incidents don't you think they should at least be brought up to the awareness levels for many of the specialties? I'm pretty sure in the aftermath of a hurricane they will see some confined spaces, collapsed buildings and be working near flooded areas.

As far as sending Type 1 or type 2 crews, who cares? What I want to know is where are the engine crews? They are the ones most likely to have any experience with the work. I keep forgetting USFS engine crews just keep the truck waxed (or so many think).

I'm all for the USFS providing disaster services but I hope they start providing the training before someone dies. Unfortunately the agencies history shows they will wait until OSHA forces them after a fatality. Any crews carrying semi-autodefibrilators yet? They have them in Walmarts now, kind of sad that you have a better chance of surviving a heart attack in Walmart than in a USFS Fire Station.

Also FEMA does have teams sort of, they provide funding for a number of USAR (Urban Search & Rescue) teams hosted by individual fire departments. When FEMA puts out a request these teams are mobilized (these are the crews that are seen after many earthquakes, the Oklahoma Federal building bombing, 9/11 etc) but these are not management teams and are not directly run by FEMA, like the management teams. These USAR teams are made up of personnel from a number of agencies. FEMA has no actual on the ground resources that I am aware of, they write the checks for the people that know how to do the work.

Something I've been wondering for awhile that perhaps some of those who think the USFS & BLM have no business in the "all risk" area. Why is it that if I am injured or my car catches fire on a National Forest my health and safety isn't part of the mission, but if it happens in a National Park it is? Both have an engine, both are Series 0462's but only the Park Service includes putting out a fire in my cabin or car, and responding to my medical emergency in their job description. Interesting if you read the full job description and see what gets left out of the USFS version.Ironically many of the USFS jobs are graded higher and work year round.

Oliver, lover the gator jokes.

Fedfire

(sorry grumpy as usual)

(Steve Gage, good leader, CIIMT 3, Pentagon team (photos); Pentagon and World Trade Center happened 3 years ago today. Read Liz Covasso's report of responding to 9-11. She's a team member. They didn't know if there would be more coming.)

9/10 Quite possibly the Fire IMT (both local and Federal) teams are the only large scale teams available for large scale disasters. Here in California, I have seen Fire Team deployments for fires, floods, earthquakes and chemical spills.

Many times, the Team members, who are the Incident Managers have little or no training on the exposure risk they are handling, and the workers suffer.

For instance, Fire and Rescue personnel were allowed to work on the Twin Towers (9/11 NYC) disaster without proper respiratory protection. Any old fire dog who worked thru the 1987 fire siege and saw the effects of breathing all of that ash and dust for two months could have predicted that NYFD was going to have a major comp case with respiratory infections. I think they have 400 or so out on disability as a result of that incident.

On a lesser scale, I know of one firefighter on permanent disability resulting from chemical exposure during the 1990 floods. Apparently some farm chemicals were concentrated in an eddy and he was unknowingly exposed.

In another case, several injuries including one permanent firefighter disability resulted from chemical exposure during the Canterra chemical spill which poisoned the Sacramento River in 1991.

If you are going to be an all risk team, you must prepare like one. I saw a team member interviewed as he boarded the plane for deployment on Hurricane Francis. He said he'd never "fought" a hurricane, but it couldn't be much different than a forest fire. To me, that man flaunting his ignorance, typified the attitude I see on this board. "No fires, lets go pick up sticks."

All risk means just that. Exposure to Hepatitis, Cholera, Aids, chemical exposure and God knows what else.

The fire services have always had a "can do" attitude. In our desire to provide public service lets temper our zeal with a bit of common sense.

viejo

9/10 dear scott,

first of all, my name is not "joatman" it's joatmon, so i encourage you to re-read my post.

second, i have talked with you on many an occasion and i respect you...... so i will take longer than usual to think about what i am saying here so that my "general tone" wont be quite so negative..... cause yeah, i'm a bit of a "hot-head" at times.

the service agreement..... it starts after the apprentice converts right? if not, the way the agreement reads is very misleading. some clarification here would be great. however, if it does start after conversion ( as the service agreement reads..), then by your math the length of commitment for a "newbie" can reach as far as 9.8 YEARS. (up to 4 years to convert, plus, up to 5.8 more in the service agreement.) ...... please tell me where i'm screwed up scott... i figure i gotta (or hope to) be at this point!!
also, the "typical" time to convert an apprentice is by your calculations 2-4 weeks, heavily depending on a home units ability to get the correct documentation to the academy. I AGREE. however, i merely stated that the conversion time legally has up to 120 days..... does it not?

the mobility agreement..... well folks, you read it at wfap's web site and then ask yourself if you were an apprentice, what would you think? i don't believe you need a mobility agreement to file for a hardship transfer.

the loss of some courses at the academy and the overtime issue...... believe what you say is true about the loss of S-230 for fireline leadership (which IS a great class...). my apologies if i jumped the gun on that one. it just seemed to be a coincidence that the big stink on over-time not being paid at the academy happened the year before the classes were cut from the basic and advanced, and that suddenly there was a lot more emphasis on the 8 hour day. however, it appears that the academy did cut the courses. are you saying they are still part of the curriculum taught in the class room?

the burden on home units with added supplemental training....... yes, before the academies the home units had full responsibility for training courses given to those who where ready to have them. now they have friggin' apprentices coming out there ears who GOTTA HAVE the supplemental stuff in a given time frame. so.... if you go back to my post and read it again, you'll see that i wrote, " it make's it damn hard for apprentices from less motivated districts to get the training needed to convert."..... talk to some apprentices this winter....see what they say about it huh?

retention problem..... HEY FOLKS OUT THERE....ANY RETENTION PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW APPRENTICES?? i would love to see some data on how many apprentices were hired this year vs. how many are still in employment right now. you know....didn't show up for work...fired... just stopped coming in........ and as for "really explaining to the apprentices what they are in for"... well heck, i still need clarification on the service agreement...

.... hey, are apprentices required to have 500 hours before being hired as an apprentice or just required to have it before academy? some clarification here would be nice also.

anyway scott, i know you are doing your best for the apprenticeship, and i truly appreciate your personal character. i know that when you say to the apprentices that you are "passionate about wildland firefighting"..... that you mean it.

maybe i will give you a jingle on the telephone.....

sincerely,
joatmon
9/10 Nerd put it simply
"FEMA…it seems to be primarily an instrument for distributing money to folks
who actually get things done."

Does that mean our fed fire teams are the primary or the only organizational ICS
teams out there to operate on the really large scale or multiple catastrophic events?

If so, it's scary that no one is talking about where "fire" careers might take us.

Headin' for the Academy

9/10 What continues to get me is the number of people from Florida, Coastal Texas, and places like that who say they’d never live in California because of the earthquakes. Sigh.

A Regular Temp confirmed very nicely exactly what I had believed about FEMA…it seems to be primarily an instrument for distributing money to folks who actually get things done. My first experience with emergency response was the Loma Prieta earthquake in ’89, and one thing we found in that situation was that FEMA didn’t know jack about earthquakes, and wasn’t listening to the locals. All risk comes down to a probability/exposure calculation; the infrastructure is best designed to handle high probability/low exposure incidents such as fires, or medium probability/high exposure incidents such as floods on the Mississippi or single strike hurricanes. When you get into low probability events such as earthquakes, multiple-hit hurricanes, disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks, or multiple major exposures at once (such as the scenarios A Regular Temp mentioned), the system breaks down.

Oliver (and A.R.T.) both mentioned inoculations…it actually surprises me that most firefighters I’ve talked to (especially feds) aren’t required to get the hep series shots, MMR, regular TB tests, rabies, regular tetanus, typhoid, typhus, and a few other choice goodies. I think all risk is something we’re just going to have to get used to. Ask any municipal department; sooner or later, we’re expected to do it all, rural, urban, industrial, SAR, and cats up trees. The “not my problem syndrome” has no place in emergency response. I keep hear wildland folks say things like “Jeez, you structure types are nuckin’ futs”.

Wilderness junkie is right…Cities are a hostile work environment. That said, why can’t we treat working in cities the same way we treat working on the fireline? Or in a confined space? Or a hazardous materials environment? LACES works across the board. It’s just a question of understanding the hazards and assimilating and new equivalent of the 10 and 18.

Todd made an excellent point (as did a few others) that what may be lacking is the mental preparation of on-call units to be all-risk.

Steve mentioned that he didn’t feel that ‘Shot crews were necessarily the appropriate units to call; I disagree. The great advantage of calling up a ‘Shot crew for any type of incident, even one they aren’t even remotely trained for, is the same that Pulaski mentioned for calling up IMTs…people management. ‘Shot crews come as a pre-fab team, with a hierarchy, hopefully with most of the interpersonal pissing matches ironed out, ready, willing, and able to function as a unit. You can make certain assumptions about the functionality of a ‘Shot crew that you can’t make about twenty random people pulled off the streets, or assembled out of various agencies and told to work as a team. A ‘Shot crew (theoretically) knows how to work as a team. Smoothes out the learning curve; all you have to get used to is the role of team in the task at hand, not the role of the individual within the team.

Okay, I’ve said enough.

Nerd on the Fireline

9/10 -A Regular Temp,

Thanks for the info. Somehow I always expected FEMA would be as big
as the FS and as capable. I'll respond to some other comments after work
today.

Tahoe Terrie

9/10 Oh my, I heard the Inspector General's Report on the Cramer Fire will be released
very soon and it's not good. Can anyone fill us in on the process? with the 3 reports
(FS, OSHA and OIG)? What's next legally?

NorCalTom
9/10 Another preliminary call filtered down to the field this morning concerning Eastern
resources going to Fla. At this time there's just a bunch of unanswered questions
concerning who, what, when, where and how. I would imagine Ivan factors heavily
in this. No one wants to be down there if he arrives. If he goes east of Fla. he could
be headed our way.

I'm off to the beach myself (while we still have one). Surf temp. is in the mid 70s
and 80% of the tourists are gone.

Startree

9/9 Hey Community,

Does anyone have an old blue school helmet they can donate to an excellent cause?
I know we asked this once before and got one donated (thanks) to the memorial site Shane Hearth's dad was creating at the Monument in Boise. That turned out well.

We want this one to give to Shane's parents and sister on his birthday. Shane would have been 24 years old a week from Saturday (9/18). Birthdays are hard for families who have lost a loved one and this family could use a big hug from our community. Vicki Minor and I (on behalf of everyone) would like to give them flowers in an old blue school helmet to show them they're not alone.

I do hope someone has a helmet to donate. I'd pay postage, maybe next day or second day or whatever to get it to Vicki in Boise to present to them on Saturday. Do I remember there was another one last time? -- maybe in Judy Carvelho's garage, guess whose helmet Joe?-- Or if they've given that one away or Joe's using it again, maybe someone else has one?... And the someone with a helmet would mail it to Boise... and I'd pay shipping??? Would that someone trust me for the dough? (I could give you my banker's phone # if you need a reference. <looks in mirror> Yepr, that's an honest face.)

Ab, could you find that pic of Shane in the blue helmet he loved?

Thanks,
Mellie

PS. This is a surprise for the Heaths, but Vicki sees them often and it is appropriate. I'm told they are not reading theysaid right now, so please don't tell them...

SHANE

9/9 > From the Region 8 Intel site:

HURRICANE IVAN

· Major Category 5 Hurricane with Max winds of at least 175 mph.
· Moving West-Northwest near 15 mph.
· Between 72 and 96 hours from South Florida.

Ivan was located about 535 miles east southeast of Jamaica this morning. It has slowed down slightly from yesterday and additional fluctuations in strength are likely. The minimum central pressure is down to 916 millibars, making it the 3rd most powerful storm in hurricane history. (Andrew was the previous 3rd place at 922 millibars.)

On its current track, Ivan is expected to move to the NW across the island of Jamaica during the day on Friday. The official forecast track then takes Ivan across central Cuba, and into the Florida mainland near Flamingo (extreme southern tip of FL), between midnight and daybreak Monday, September 13, 2004. This forecast track is likely to change during the next few days, and certainly Ivan will undergo some weakening as it interacts with the land masses of Jamaica and Cuba. Nevertheless, all interests in the Florida Keys, the Everglades, and the metropolitan areas from Homestead to Orlando; should monitor the progress of this storm closely. After landfall, Ivan is currently forecast to move northward (and slightly eastward) and be situated just southwest of the Orlando area late Monday night.

Tropical Depression Ten: Not a player for the US. It will move across the Azores Islands with winds to 35 mph over the next 48 hours.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> NPS Update

Southeast Region
Exit Frances, Enter Ivan

As parks in Florida and Georgia continue to clean up from Hurricane Frances, they’re keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Ivan – characterized by the National Hurricane Center as “an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane” with maximum sustained winds of nearly 160 mph and a barometric pressure of 27.20 – lower than Hurricane Andrew and eclipsed only by Hurricane Camille (1969) and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane (1935).

Meanwhile, parks along the Appalachians – particularly Blue Ridge Parkway – have been dealing with the deluge brought by the remnants of Frances. According to USGS, rainfall amounts of from 8 to 16 inches have been reported from western North Carolina (Phil Noblitt from Blue Ridge Parkway reports that the suburb of Asheville where he lives received 17 inches of rain in 36 hours). North Carolina DOT reports that more than 90 primary and secondary roads were impassable yesterday due to high water, and that I-40 was restricted in both directions due to a mud slide. Stream flows are very high in the area, some at hundred year levels.

Lobotomy
9/9 Found this link on the CDF website. It displays the 20 most destructive
fires in California listed by structures lost . Majority in So Cal, but N.
Zone Shasta County (Redding et al) seems to be right up there.

from
http://www.fire.ca.gov/FireEmergencyResponse/HistoricalStatistics/PDF/20LSTRUCTURES03.pdf

20 Largest California Wildland Fires (By Structures Destroyed)

FIRE NAME/          CAUSE           DATE    COUNTY         ACRES  STRUCT DEATH
1 TUNNEL          (REKINDLE)     Oct 1991   ALAMEDA         1,600  2,900   25
*2 CEDAR          (HUMAN)        Oct 2003   SAN DIEGO     273,246  2,820   15
*3 OLD            (HUMAN)        Oct 2003   SAN BERNARDINO 91,281  1,003    6
4 JONES           (UNDETERMINED) Oct 1999   SHASTA         26,200    954    1
5 PAINT           (ARSON)        Jun 1990   SANTA BARBARA   4,900    641    1
6 FOUNTAIN        (ARSON)        Aug 1992   SHASTA         63,960    636    0
7 CTY of BERKELEY (POWERLINES)   Sep 1923   ALAMEDA           130    584    0
8 BEL AIR         (UNDETERMINED) Nov 1961   LOS ANGELES     6,090    484    0
9 LAGUNA FIRE     (ARSON)        Oct 1993   ORANGE         14,437    441    0
*10 PARADISE      (HUMAN)        Oct 2003   SAN DIEGO      56,700    415    2
11 LAGUNA         (POWERLINES)   Sep 1970   SAN DIEGO     175,425    382    5
12 PANORAMA       (ARSON)        Nov 1980   SAN BERNARDINO 23,600    325    4
13 TOPANGA        (ARSON)        Nov 1993   LOS ANGELES    18,000    323    3
14 49ER           (BURN. DEBRIS) Sep 1988   NEVADA         33,700    312    0
*15 SIMI          (UNDER INVES.) Oct 2003   VENTURA       108,204    300    0 
16 SYCAMORE       (MISC. -KITE)  Jul 1977   SANTA BARBARA     805    234    0
17 CANYON         (VEHICLE)      Sep 1999   SHASTA          2,580    230    0
18 KANNAN         (ARSON)        Oct 1978   LOS ANGELES    25,385    224    0
19 KINNELOA       (CAMPFIRE)     Oct 1993   LOS ANGELES     5,485    196    1
*19 GRAND PRIX    (HUMAN)        Oct 2003   SAN BERNARDINO 69,894    136    0
20 OLD GULCH      (EQUIP.USE)    Aug 1992   CALAVERAS      17,386    170    0
4/22/2004 Note that this list does not include fire jurisdiction. These are the Top 20 within California, regardless of whether they were state, federal, or local responsibility. Also note that "structures" is meant to include all loss - homes and outbuildings, etc.
*(2003 fire statistics subject to change as final figures are tabulated.)

FirenWater

Lookee when those fires burned. Ab.

9/9 Howdy again... (warning! long post ahead! get some coffee!)

Tahoe Terry- good question of whether we've gotten stiffed on the bill. Not sure on that. The issue of pre-positioning does seem to be charting new ground in the non-wildfire world, as does all of it. The new National Response Plan will probably be coming out soon, with the biggest impacts on wildfire probably involving Incident Management Teams and the use of the NIFC communications cache. But the issues in there may not address other things firefighters, managers, and so on will have to deal with. The way I see it, the wildfire business itself has been able to figure out some things like work-rest guidelines, the issues with "true" overtime (which apply to suppression fire overtime only as I understand it), contracting, ADs, safety guidance, PPEs, etc. although these things are all constantly evolving. When you involve the wildfire community in all-risk responses you have a whole different set of safety, pay, reimbursement, spending, and other issues... these keep coming up in things like the Columbia Shuttle search and recovery (FEMA and NASA), the Exotic Newcastle's Disease response (coordinated by USDA and California State Food & Ag), and 9-11.

I guess my big question is whether anyone in the government anywhere is working on this stuff. Add that with questions about the "new" NIMS (National Incident Management System) the government is mandating and if it will be close enough to the wildfire NIIMS to not cause confusion all-around and really work well. I guess what I'd say for sure is that one way or another, wildfire is changing permanently, as it probably always is, and I'm sure as all things post 9-11 that this is the beginning of a new era in how the government deals with disaster.

Oh - and what is the story on FEMA? Okay, I'll try not to get started... but... Here's some things I think may be generally accurate. The Forest Service has about 40,000 employees. Seasonal firefighter estimates I saw once were @ 10,000 FS and 4,000 DOI - not counting contractors, etc. Permanent federal wildfire employees? Some video I saw once said @ 30,000, but it's probably a total wag. Looking at wildfire in the state of California alone, there are maybe between 4-5,000 FS fire staff, and CDF has 3,800 permanent and 1,400 seasonal staff. Add the local government agencies in California who fight wildfire and the incident management knowledge base alone in that one state is huge (let alone the retired folks!).

FEMA, on the other hand, is a tiny recovery oversight agency with around 1,200 full-time employees, and it's a bit top-heavy (especially in the SES and GS levels) - in other words, not a lot of "worker bees". I believe the US Fire Administration is still within FEMA as well. The bulk of their staff works in insurance and disaster response payments and mitigation, but FEMA has oversight for federal coordination of disaster response/recovery resources in the US, and is also responsible for administering the new NIMS and I believe most of the new National Response Plan. The new NIMS is based of course on the NIIMS developed by wildfire, but will be administered not by the agencies and local governments that have the bulk of the knowledge and experience, but by a fairly small and understaffed agency that is not out there dealing with the largest number of emergencies in the country (fires, wildfires, and medical aids). I don't have a specific point here except maybe to put some perspective out there. Will any of this work? Will airtankers of the future be diverted to put out structure fires? What will happen if the narrowbanding issue isn't fixed? What would happen if six Type I Teams were requested to help with major hurricane damage when wildfire was at Preparedness Level V and all the teams were assigned? (and by the way, FEMA doesn't have IMTs that in any way resemble the wildfire ones) Can FEMA take radios from NIFC when they are needed on wildfires? How do you know when you get ordered to assist with an avian flu outbreak if there is a risk to you - is there something in the ordering process that advises you of this? Will your family be concerned when you're called to respond to help with incident management on a USAR incident in a threat-level red zone? Will you want to go? Can you say no? Should you?

Okay, enough from me for a few weeks. Don't mean to cause concern, although it's probably too late, but I guess I am wondering if anyone else has these sorts of questions, and is anyone working on answering them? My money is on that at least one of them will need to be answered by a real situation in the next year.

Be safe!
-A Regular Temp
9/9 A couple of points and responses to various posts. These are based on living and working in Hurricane country my entire life, Being a long standing member of a Type 2 IMT and responding to Hurricane relief as a single resource and Team member many, many times over the last 20 years.

Pre-deployment or staging of Teams is a common practice that has evolved over the years from Lessons Learned. Often times the Team cannot get to the affected area at all if they are not pre-positioned, or timely response is severely compromised.

Saw work done by fire crews (State or Fed) is usually limited to opening up road right of ways or working on public properties (schools, parks, govt complexes, etc). The highly skilled arborists and tree companies are busy cutting trees off of peoples houses, which is a very lucrative endeavor for them. Cutting large trees, especially large crowned hardwood species that are blown down and jackstrawed, etc. is some of the trickiest, most dangerous saw work you will ever want (or not want to do). The stresses put on the wood are incredible and the subsequent reaction of it to being released by cutting is powerful. Rubber tired heavy equipment is often used in these operations, but saw work is still needed.

FEMA will pay for someone to go and function as a trainee. They do not intend to pay to double slot a position for an additional person to tag along as a trainee. Some of what went on at the Columbia response has been revisited since then.

There can be quite a few tasks in your task book to be signed off on at an all risk incident, it just depends on the position and what Section you are assigned to.

The States in the Southeast do respond to all risk, however FEMA is a fed agency and they do not usually order up State Teams. Many State Teams and resources respond under State to State compacts and agreements.

Hurricane response is always affected/infected by politics, whether it be at the National, State, or Local level. Lots of external influences come to bear on a Team trying to do its job.

And last but not least, Hurricane response is heartbreaking work, it is not charged with the adrenaline of a wildfire. Quite the opposite, it can be emotionally draining. I am sure I will be involved in many more such disasters before my career is over. I pray however that they may be few in number and minimal in impact. My thoughts and prayers to everyone in the State of Florida

Speedo

Are you saying that FEMA will pay for a trainee but they want a worker? Ab.
9/9 re: hurricane & type 1 team comments

From my perspective the advantage of using type 1 Fire IMT's in other non-fire emergencies is the experitse they provide in people management. IE: organizing and managing and supporting a huge group of people. This became very clear when a local IMT here was activated to organize and run tornado clean up several years ago. In my opinion, there is not any group or agency more prepared or experienced in doing this.

As far as shot crews go, the saw expertise would be very important and helpful, but other than that I dont see much of an advantage. ..and it would be a concern to me to have the majority of crews committed to non-fire incidents when so much of the west is still in fire season.

On FEMA footing the bill, from the tornado incident I was a part of, FEMA picked up a certain percent of the bill outright but at some point it was a matching type of thing with FEMA and the local government entities. I cant remember the exact details, but I do remember the thing that saved the local governmnet agencies was that they could count all the local volunteer help (at x dollars per hour) as part of their share as long as it was documented. Funny thing is that we had been toying with the idea of using a computer generated check-in system with our IMT (ie: writing the check-in info down on computer instead of hand writing it on paper). Luckily we did not do that, as if we didnt have the check-in documents hand written they would not have counted! ..I suppose FEMA is/was thinking it would be too easy to whip up bogus "volunteer labor" via computer.

Pulaski

9/9 Look at this airtanker they use in Spain.

Fire Boss at Air Tanker base

Fire Boss dropping

I couldn't believe it. Spain also uses the Campbell Prediction System to
determine the fire behavior potential on the ground, when it's safe and
not to fight fire. Their shift plans have maps that display fire behavior
predictions - trigger point, etc so strategy and tactics can be determined.

Wish we used that. Checklists, checklists, that's what we're saddled with.

AL

9/9 Greetings....

An astute observer noticed in your "They Said" archives a question from
someone wondering how to track down the Paul Gleason memorial program.
So they sent me a note, since I produced it. I don't see any reason
why we can't kick out some more copies if people are interested. Paul
Keller and Dennis Ghelfi had organized the original sales. Dennis
works at the ZigZag ranger district and Paul is a contractor available
by USFS email. They were using the excess funds for a charitable cause
of some sort. I will check with them and see if they want to continue
to handle the sales or just route them through me. The program is
available on VHS or DVD. I believe they were asking $20.00 for a copy.

Let me know if I can be of assistance here...

Thanks
Pat

Thanks Pat. Readers, I'll pass on any messages. If anyone has contributions to Paul's Tribute Pages, send em in. Ab.

9/9 There are lots more great new fire photos I just posted to Fire 23 Ely NV Rx and Fire 24, which so far contains only photos of the Bear Fire near Redding CA. Thanks to Andrew H.

Also a very nice CDF AT drop on the Bear Fire on Airtankers 12 photo page.

Mark H, nice looking Wet and Red Water tender. Didja squirt anybody during the nozzle test? I put them on the Equipment 8 page.

There are more excellent action photos on Engines 11 and Engines 12 photo pages. Several are related to the fine Rx burning conditions in NV, the other shows an unusual engine "turnaround" in MT.

Also thanks to Willy-N for his photos of the SiSi Fire in WA. Some very fine images of cranes and vertol. I posted them on Helicopters 16. Good image of a bambi bucket that holds a man... Urban legend?

Thanks all. Ab.

Here's the message on the engine turning around in MT.

Hey Ab whats up, heres a picture of our engine on the
fish creek fire in montana in 2003. It was the only
place we were able to turn around.

biggins

9/9 Hello my name is Nicholas B and I work for the BLM in Ely, Nevada and I was wondering if I could get some photos submitted that my crew member took of some prescribed burns that we conducted this year on our district. A little info on the fires would be that we had five plots ranging in size from 167 acres to 400 acres, and the objectives were that they wanted a mosaic burn pattern so that the sagebrush could grow back. The fuel type was pinion/juniper and sagebrush and grass. These burns were conducted in the first part of August 2004, and as you can see from the photos the burning conditions were ideal.

Nice ones. See links in Ab's post above.

9/9 FEMA rarely reimburses 100%. when they do, it is based on a specific disaster-by-disaster and very narrow type-of-event criteria. used to be maybe 40-50% for all costs regardless of agency.
unless it's a new wrinkle, FEMA does not have teams although they have personnel to certify "individuals" for special expertise (USAR dogs "sensitivity" quals). me thinks the FEMA reimbursement stuff is beyond the realm of comprehension to most of us; best not to speculate further.

Steve, you mentioned fire siege in the mid-90s <grins> "...I remember when..." many Shots made over $40K in one season. a fortune back then! (no BS, readers)

Ab, again, thanks for a great forum in which to share info.
<3 more cents, or SENSE: if you haven't already, join Club 52 @ www.wffoundation.org

safe season all,
R5erMom
9/9 Ab,

Sometimes there is real time info on fire in California on the Highway Patrol (CHP actions) website:

www.chp.ca.gov

Click on traffic information banner, then when the page opens under the center search option click on the "quick search" name from the pull down menu. This will bring up the popular search window, into which you enter fire. This will bring up fire incidents that CHP has units assigned to. Most are going to be vehicle fires, but if a wildfire is burning in an area where CHP has jurisdiction, you might find out some info. The incident information is abbreviations or dispatcher shorthand. Still it is another source to stay aware of what is going on.

Thanks to all the Abs for keeping the site running through the holiday. NIFC took a long holiday weekend, with no updates on the national sitstat for 4 days, and your links and readers info were about the only way to keep up on what was going on.

Stay Safe,

FyrEtr

Thanks for the thanks, we caught up on photos as well.
Re the CHP site, Original Ab built that into the News page options on the left under "CA Highway Patrol". Good description of the fire quick search. I think the Original set the link to open to fire... or maybe I just have my system "trained". Ab.

9/9 Oliver, I don't understand your post.

Wilderness junkie fighting fire

9/9 In the rush to federalism and all risk incident management I find it odd that nobody is talking about the safety issues and training for the hurricane response in the same manner and fervor as fire assignments. A recent post talked about the role of FF'S in terrorist attacks... can you spell inoculations?

The same people who whine about camp chow and bottled water will be busy pointing out the overheads failure to provide Gator sensitivity classes and structural engineering predictive resources.

My personal opinion is that the water walkers in the fire profession are an adaptable crowd and could perform any task assigned. But I also believe most of them have the innate knowledge that allows them to do so. The rest should stay home.

If you rescue a gator are you performing gator-aide? Hmmmm

Oliver
9/9 It seems the original apprentice question has yet to be answered...

In the original thread, there was no question about the effectiveness of the training.

Why wouldn't the FS allow people to pay for their own academy? There is tons of people with their GI bill just sitting there unused. Obviously prior military, and i've known quite a few who just won't sign another contract especially after the military. If they were allowed to pay for their own academy, it would obviously lower the risk level for the FS as far as retention (weather or not there is a major problem). Also, if we're going by the D.O.L standards, does it actually say there needs to be a period of indentured service? As far as I know it's an hours/training thing.

EngineSlug

There was more than just your question asked if you read back through theysaid, although yours is a good one. Scott clearly addressed a lot of issues raised regarding the program. Your "original" question may go more to policy and vision in creating the new firefighting work force in which their professionalism can be verified through a consistent curriculum and course of training. How might the program be impacted if you pay for it yourself via military educational benefits and others can't/don't? That mean a forest doesn't host you? How would you get the training components? Right now you can take classes at Junior Colleges and Universities without the commitment. 2- and 4-year schools Why not do that? Can anyone give us some insight into the vision behind the way the Academy system is set up? Ab.
9/9 Cities are a hostile work environment.

Wilderness junkie fighting fire
9/9 ADs UNITE!

www.adfirefighter.org

Thanks Hugh Carson and others for what you do.

CA AD

If you ever need to find this organization, check the Classifieds page under associations. Ab.

9/9 If we have a terrorist attack with some kind of biological agent, have the teams
talked with their people about whether they would go? Would there be pressure
to go? Maybe FEMA teams would go first. I don't know anything about
HAZMAT, only forest fires and I'm not real keen on cities anyway.

Todd

I don't think FEMA has teams. They're really a pretty small organization. Might scare all of us if we knew how much they expect us to do... Good questions. Ab.
9/9 From Firescribe:

Slow Wildfire Season Tough on Private Firefighting Crews
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com

9/9 Re: Steve’s post on 9/4 and the interesting replies.

Let me first say that I consider myself blessed to live in this age and have this type of forum to both express myself and listen to others. I always consider myself much wiser after reading the variety of perspectives here. At the least, you will know your enemies.

That being said, I would like to respond to some of the folks who read my post. One of the replies was the most amusing as the responder imposed their own, apparently limited perspective of fire on what my experience may or may not be. They advised me to call a dispatcher or an Intel person to find out what was really going on and what it all meant. They went on to suggest I hadn’t been around long enough to know the difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 Crew. This person replied and believed, “They wouldn't send that many T1 teams and crews and other resources down there if it weren't warranted”.

In my own defense, I must say that I’ve worked on/with and supervised Type 1 and Type 2 crews for around 25 years. I also have to say that I don’t believe everything I hear, even if someone with a shiny new Intel badge on his or her chest tells me it’s true. My 18 years of fireline and 9 years of dispatching experience include a couple of years as an ECC Manager. I learned my first year on the line that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear or read, but I know there are some folks who learn at a different pace. I respect people, positions, and GACC’s, but maybe not all at the same time. I meant or inferred no disrespect to any dispatch or GACC unit. I promise you, you will know the difference if or when that is my topic.

I am not against Hotshots doing what they do, but I think it is important to point out the difference between having the proper amount of Type 1 crews and their excellent fallers felling trees on the fireline as opposed to removing trees and limbs blocking paved roads or highways in Florida. I assume that Florida, like other places with big trees, has a virtually unlimited amount of tree surgeons and heavy equipment from county and city agencies to take care of all the “big stuff” lying around. I can’t buy into the chainsaw expertise as a reason for sending Hotshots. I can imagine a highly experienced hotshot lead sawyer doing his or her best lopping off big limbs and bucking the trunk, then here comes a huge 20 ton piece of equipment with big jaws or forks and yells at the Hotshot crew to get the heck outt’a their way. The big old front loader picks up the whole dang tree and hauls it away to a burn pile somewhere.

It’s not a wilderness; it isn’t a remote, extremely steep, difficult location that you have to hike for four hours to get to. It’s a state/county/city thing; they’ve been taking care of stuff like this for a couple of hundred years. Do you think the Hotshot crews need to be there to stand in line distributing hot meals or delivering drinking water to the needy?

I can’t buy into the self-contained argument either, for many reasons. How ya gonn’a be self-contained when your credit cards can’t buy a room or a meal because they are all closed due to no electricity or damage? Just how many MRE’s and how much drinking water can you carry on those crew buggies?

I’d rather see the Hotshot crews from California and the rest of the West stay where they are, they are already historically “pre-positioned”. Just because they are bored this year doesn’t mean they have to go somewhere they aren’t needed. I know, it’d be fun, but can any of you remember the Siege of 97? That turned out to be one of the best (ok, worst) fire years in the West. We’re just getting to that point of the season. What kind of moron would send their most productive fire resources to a flooded area when their own history of weather and fuels indicate they are primed to break all current fire records?

Just a bit more on the subject in closing. I still fail to understand the wisdom of pre-positioning of so many teams in such a small area. I find the idea ludicrous, and in case anyone wonders, yes, I have served time on a Type 1 team. My old team is one of the ones pre-positioned ones.

I think firebrat62, foxfire, and perhaps a couple of others know what I’m trying to say. The recent response to firebrat62’s post, comparing the US Armed Forces staging (pre-positioning) on Iraq’s border for an invasion to sending folks to Florida is extremely silly, isn’t it? There were others who tried comparing fires and firefighting to doughnuts, oranges, chickens, terrorists, or something equally inappropriate. That didn’t work for me either.

Thanks to Ab and the forum as always.

Steve
9/9 Ab, If it's not too unprofessional... I would have paid to see Scott crawl
through broken glass on his belly naked! even without the glass...

Mellie

PS In all seriousness, I hope the Academy can provide info here every so
often. Training time approaches and we could all use a little (or a lot) of
educating.

9/9 Scott,

I would have payed to see you crawl through broken glass on your belly!!!! (not naked though)

Seriously Scott, thanks for the excellent clarification and good points regarding the training put on
at the apprentice academy. Through the hard work and efforts of quite a few good folks, the current
academy program is just what the doctor ordered in my book.

In regards to any training we "have" to put on the home unit to satisfy the required supplemental
training....If we are not doing that anyway we are remiss in our employee development duties.

Keep up the good work!

Killer
9/9 - A Regular Temp

Thanks for the post. When I was a groundpounder I assumed teams went where they did because the FS sent them there. It's important to remember they're called and they work for whoever called them whether a forest or a reservation, some other part of the country or a typhoon in the Pacific. The issue of pay is an interesting one. As I understand it FEMA sometimes expects the FS or BLM or any other DOIers to just swallow the cost. OT... well that's another thing. We're charting new ground with prepositioning -- we ever gotten stiffed with the bill?

Tahoe Terry
9/9 posters, you ask why any gooferment agency, the Feds, will hire an AD before sending someone less experienced - an AD is less expensive!

in most cases the employer does not pay costs associated with retirement, vacation, health/dental insurance, etc. benefit contributions for an AD. take a look at your employer's contributions for your "keep" (it's on your pay stub).
a trainee can be a liability when things are rocking & rolling.

not gonna get into a heated debate about it, but isn't an AD expected to arrive already trained & bring skills based on years of experience? sounds like a win-win deal for tax payers, and those number crunchers who are so often bashed.

in CA state service, some "AD's" are retired irritants & are highly sought after because of their expertise. others retire to become expensive inefficient consultants, and <evil grin> others go on to be appointed officials... ooops!

be safe y'alll
northzone5
9/8 The Jobs page has been updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 & Series 0455. Ab.
9/8 Howdy all -

Been reading all the hurricane discussion, interlaced with the "pre-positioning" discussion, and had to chime in if only for a minute.

Any thoughts that any of this was a decision made by the firefighting community is probably wrong, as I could say with nearly 100% certainty that FEMA tasked the Forest Service for fire support under Emergency Support Function #4 (firefighting) under the old existing Federal Response Plan. DOI agencies (FWS, BLM, NPS, BIA) are support agencies to the Forest Service under this ESF. The way it works is, FEMA tasks USFS to do a particular thing, explains how they will pay (or partially pay) for it, and then USFS makes it happen by notifying the DOI folks and then usually by going through the National Interagency Coordination Center at NICC. Someone let me know if this is incorrect, but it appears to be the way things work.

Here comes the guessing part, totally hypothetical on my part. It is an election year. If I remember correctly, response by FEMA to Hurricane Andrew did not go over well in the south and many say it cost Bush I in the election. Especially in a new-DHS, post-9-11 world, it is probably better for FEMA as a whole to err on the side of over-preparing. Hurricane Frances was forecast to be so destructive at one point that it had potential to be the largest disaster in US history, depending of course on how you define that.

My take on pre-positioning is mixed - I think in the case of fire that some serious evaluation should occur as far as stats and money spent, as there are no hard numbers to say that X million spent on pre-positioning saved X00,000 million in suppression costs. However, the evidence leans toward the pre-positioning saving money. Fire does a poor job of tracking statistics and resources overall, however, for analysis purposes so any real solid research would be hard to do.

Okay, that's my take on that for today. Y'all be safe out there, whether it's stacking sticks in snake-and-flood-ridden Florida (happy not to be there) or the wild west (wish I was there).

- A Regular Temp
9/8 Came in at 1333:

More info on the "Runway Fire" in the Cajon pass between hwy.138 and Oak hills.
Fire is about 650 acres, evac. for 500 residents and was started by a traffic collision
N/B I-15 moving thru the center divider jumping to the S/B side thru Mormon rocks.
I believe the fire is on the Forest 40% contained.

FFA

9/8 Firebrat62 states her/his "dismay" over the staging of T-1 IMT's in Atlanta in anticipation of "Frances"
coming ashore in Florida, and asks about the "nice use of taxpayers money".

Good question! Let's expand it to the entire fire operations world: how much sense does it make to
pre-position Smokejumpers, IHC's, engines and Air tankers in advance of a predicted lightning storm?
How about mobilizing crews and engines to SoCal when the Santa Ana's are forecasted? Why do we
pay air tankers and helicopters "daily availability" at locations that we "think they may be needed"?

I've been pre-positioned and staged alot over my career: about 75% of the time it pays off, the other
25%, it's a bust! Playing the "Numbers Game", I'd say hitting .750 is a pretty good batting average!

A "Lesson Learned" from an old timer who's been there: if you're going to have a MAJOR natural disaster:
1. Don't do it in an election year; and,
2. Don't do it in the home State of the President's little brother!

Ask Don Rumsfeld about the wisdom of not "Staging" more troops on Iraq's borders before we invaded...!

Mollysboy
9/8 Re: Joatman's 8-29 post concerning apprenticeship program. A few "factual" corrections and explanations are in order for the sake of honest understanding.

The earliest an apprentice can convert is two years after indenture with the program. The average time to convert is 2-4 years. This depends upon the amount of previous experience, how busy the fire season is, etc…The maximum time necessary to fulfill the Service Agreement should be 5.8 years, a far cry from the nine years mentioned in Joatman's post. The service agreement is calculated at 2064 hours a year. The amount varies depending upon which academy the apprentice was in.

The typical time to process paperwork for conversion is 2-4 weeks, not 120 days. From the academy coordinator to the Department of Labor takes seven days, from D.O.L. back takes approximately two weeks. The biggest hang-up in this procedure has been getting appropriate documentation from the home units. This also highlights the need for the apprentices to keep copies of their own records.

The mobility agreement has proven to be a valuable asset for the apprentice. Implying that people can end up being converted somewhere they don't want to be, Joatman states, "I've never met anyone that this happened to". In fact, this has never happened. Quite the opposite occurs, as the mobility agreement has allowed placement of apprentices to accommodate hardships and family issues.

Joatman says, "they (the academy) were keeping students for much longer than 8-hours-per-day, and when confronted with the fact that they were going to have to pay over-time, they instead cut courses." The fact is the academy does not cut courses, nor does the academy pay for the student's overtime. Only the National Interagency Joint Apprenticeship Committee (NIJAC) has the authority to change the curriculum. And they respond to the needs of Fire Management. There is a minimal amount of overtime allotted for each academy. The respective forests and units pay for the student's overtime. Fire management determines the number of employees they need, hires them and then sends them to the academy. We train them then send them home to their respective units. The home unit decides where to place their employees.

As far as putting a "burden on the home units" for having to teach some related and supplemental classes, what burden did the home units have before the academy was created? The NIJAC decided, with input from fire management and the academy, to drop S-230 (crew boss) in order to put on Fireline Leadership. It was determined that individual units might better ascertain when an employee is ready to become a crew boss trainee. Different agencies, regions, units or forests might have different needs as far as a crew boss. It is much easier for the home unit to put on S-230 (crew boss) than Fireline Leadership, a class that is contracted out. We guarantee that all new career-conditional employees will receive this outstanding class. There is no guarantee that this would happen if left to the home units. And Fireline Leadership has become our best received class ever.

Joatman says, "as for the retention problem of new apprentices, I think nobody really explained to them what they were getting themselves into." First, is there a retention problem? Secondly, every apprentice signs a service, mobility and Dept. of Labor agreement. They are responsible for reading and understanding that agreement. The home unit is responsible for making sure the student gets a good orientation and briefing on the program. Some units have assigned past apprentices and academy staff to help with this training. Fortunately, all apprentices are also required to have 500 hours of actual fire experience before they can come to the Basic Academy. This was established to ensure that the employee know about the basic hardships and challenges of firefighting.

I helped with Academies 10 and 11, and it encourages me to see many of those young students now in positions of high responsibility. Out of these two classes we now have battalion chiefs, several hothot, engine and helitack captains, and several more leadership-types whom are making a name for themselves. I am also impressed with the quality of employee we have trained in the last two seasons. Even though they have been some of the youngest students ever, they have been engaged, respectful and passionate students. This bodes well for the future.

The general tone of Joatman's letter seemed to be one of dissatisfaction with the apprenticeship system. I believe the system is sound, and it continues to get better exponentially every year. We have certainly come a long way since the private contractor managed the program pre-1997.

Joatman, as well as any other reader, is encouraged to call either myself, Scott Whitmire, at 916-640-1061 or Shirley Sutliff at 916-640-1058 for further clarification or discussion. All interested personnel are also invited to our annual Unit Manager training in early December. Or they can read the operations plan and other pertinent documents on the web site at www.wfap.net.

Thanks.

Scott Whitmire

ps- I would have crawled on my belly through broken glass (naked) for an opportunity at a career job during my first 10 years of firefighting.

Thanks for the clarifications, Scott. Ab.

9/8 FEMA:

Long time lurker, first time writer! I just wanted to say that I received an assignment to go as a Community Liaison type (Info Officer) and had to turn back the order, because FEMA will not pay base pay to USDA or DOI. Unfortunately, the FS where I am stationed, doesn't have the luxury of spending project funding for FEMA causes. I was really bummed out because I thought it would be a good humanitarian type of thing to do and, since things are SO SLOW, it may be my last chance for an assignment this year. (haven't had an off-forest assignment yet). I have to wonder why they would pay ADs over agency employees. Probably cheaper over the long haul. I also echo others in my dismay about "staging" that many T1 teams in Atlanta for How long? About a week now? There is a nice use of taxpayers money! Are agencies covering that cost? Tisk, Tisk!

Firebrat62

9/8 Steve,

A little late to chime in on this subject but, on the subject of Type I vs.
Type II crews for working on natural disaster assignments: If you have shot
crews available to go do you leave them behind for less experienced crews?
Don't you think you would want the most organized folks to deal with what
you have at hand? Ever had the chance to see what the saw work situation is
after a storm of hurricane proportions blows through an area? I have and I
would want no less than the most experienced operators/ safety conscious
individuals I could get for opening roads, etc.

As for shot crews and Type I teams being involved with hurricanes the shot
crew I was on went to Louisiana for Georges with a Type I team in 98 and
for that hurricane there were at least a dozen Type I crews in the SE at
the time we were there.

Joe
9/8 You can serve as trainees on FEMA assignments. Was a strike team crew
trainee on the shuttle. YS is right, can sign off on some things but not
most on non-fire assignment. Latest rumor mill from FL. Damage not as bad
from Frances so teams slow on ordering. Deployment of a couple of the Type
I teams being delayed due to possible impact of Ivan. Even Type I teams
are not exempt from staging. Extended track puts Ivan on a Charlie type
trajectory in about 96 hours. Still looking at getting crews to finish
cleaning up from Charlie 3 weeks ago. Still waiting for Hurricane Hanging
Chad before the election, opps, "H" already taken and "K" coming up,
Hurricane Kerry perhaps? Or how about Hurricane Kevlar with all the pants
issues lately?

jimmyjoeraybob
9/8 Nerd on the Fireline

Many of us that worked on the Columbia Mission Search last year should
remember that there were many AD crews working and for trainees, I had
a trainee working under me for most of my two weeks . There is very little
that can be signed off on the task book when your assignment is not a
wildland fire.

YS

9/8 Friend in southzone (R5) just called, said flames on the horizon maybe 10 miles outside of Lancaster.
northzone news showed a GREEN rig on a CDF fire (not sure where); sure looked like a USFS crew burning out in dry grass.

"I’ve heard" implies rumors compounded by speculation & conjecture; too often = misinformation. (somewhere I have a great quote I had posted in my office - gotta find it for Abs).

re Frances recovery - "An Area Command Team and six Type 1 Incident Management Teams are assigned to support recovery efforts. Additional resources are being mobilized..." support via Mutual Aid. Post-hurricane is not IA, it is recovery and it will be "muddy" because of the sheer magnitude of Charlie & Franny double teaming FL. into that equation, add zillions of evacuees wanting to go home (many of them seniors with special needs) = logistic nightmare.

FEMA steps in when it's a major disaster, regardless of type. not to second guess Aberdeen, but I've looked at the calendar. Folks, what if the next disaster(s) response is not because of a natural disaster? are we prepared?

on a lighter note <grins> Aberdeen if it were an outbreak of mad cow, unlike Newcastle disease, who's gonna choke those beefy necks?

be safe y'all! it may be raining elsewhere but some states are blazing.
norhtzone
9/7 Batchmaster..... ADs are used on FEMA assignments the same as any other incident.... some states have 'held out' from joining in on all-risk incidents, therefore, some state employees are not sent to assignments other than wildland fire.

Nerd OTFL: I believe there is a misconception about the teams deployed to Hurricane Frances....I think the term FEMA Team is incorrect.... these Type 1 teams are the same teams who manage large wildland fires.... they are Incident Management Teams.... just that.... INCIDENT management..... all-risk incident management.... (remember the teams deployed to NYC 9/11) and are the same teams you will see throughout the country on fire assignments..... I can't answer why trainees are not accepted on FEMA assignments.... and don't know for fact that they are not.....

Foxfire
9/7 Hi Nerd on the line,

Well about where baby’s come from, first there was the birds, then the bee’s…..
Then the man upstairs said we need something else so he created something called
a hotshot, hotshots were the best at everything, xtream hackysack, sawing trees,
and yes even stacking sticks in FL.

If you need more info on the maybe one of the Ab’s can help you with that, or
maybe ask BIG ERNIE.

In response to Vicky with WFF thank you for everything. Have you maybe thought
about getting purple ribbons as magnets that we can put on our POV, or even those
nice green or even red trucks?

Stay Safe,
RR
9/7 Nerd on the Fireline,

Speaking of experience, I also heard that FEMA won't use any ADs.

- Batchmaster
9/7 Dear Ab,

I have a PHOTO to share of FS Chief Bosworth (left) and Harry Croft (right).

Harry Croft is our FS Board liaison in DC. He is presenting Chief Dale
Bosworth with his 52 CLUB membership and receiving his check. I want
to share this captured moment because we, the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation, have had such support from the Chief. He not only has a passion
for FS firefighters, he cares about ALL firefighters. I want to thank him for
that.

It is the "Power of One" who can make a difference to our extended fire
community. Each one of us can make a difference to the families of injured
and fallen firefighters.

Thanks Dale and Harry, we think you are the two best-looking guys in
Washington DC.

Vicki Minor
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

52 CLUB

9/7 Aberdeen;

Adding another bit of fuel to the fire: I’ve heard FEMA won’t pay for trainees on disaster
details (aka Frances). So where do baby FEMA IMTs come from? How do you make
sure you’ll have responders in the future if you don’t encourage (read: pay for) trainees
to get real experience?

Nerd on the Fireline (an eternal trainee in everything)
9/7 Abs,

Slurry drop at Elk Heights fire in Eastern Washington to support structure protection
by Kitsap Interagency Wildland Team engines under state mobilization and WA-DNR
hand crews.

EAW

Thanks EAW. I put them on the AirTankers 12 photo page. Ab.
9/7 We got some more Bear Fire photos. I posted the IA photos from Elaine back on Aug 11 on theysaid, but am just getting around to their permanent home on the Fire 24 photo page. The real time images that come in here are great. (heh, I try to get to them in a timely fashion).

The additional Bear Fire photos just came in from Andrew H. For newcomers, descriptions are available on the Descriptions page if you click the words under the photo. Andrew's descriptions follow.

Pyro Cumulus Day 2: This photo was taken the second day of the bear fire (8/12/04). That night the winds blew from the North and pushed the fire to the South destroying structures that were thought to be safe and out of danger.

Structures Threatened: This is a photo as the bear fire moved through the residential area of Jones Valley. The fire burnt 10,484 acres over a 4 day period. It destroyed 80 homes, and 30 outbuildings.

Homes in Trouble: Firefighters found themselves overwhelmed, and out numbered by the shear number of structures that were threatened or involved. Over 1,000 firefighters were called to duty to fight the fire by the next day.

Thanks contributors. Ab.

9/7 An imagined scenario: there are 6 T-1 IMTs committed to do Hurricane damage work in Florida. Hurricane "Ivan" hits Puerto Rico, then moves up into the Gulf of Mexico, raising Hell in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, all requiring more IMTs and ground crews to help out; fire season turns ugly in NorCal and SoCal at the same time, with multiple large fires on State and Federal protected lands across the State, and hundreds of homes are burning up daily; and, to "celebrate" September 11th, the bad guys pull off another Trade Center/Pentagon-type attack, this time in scattered locations across the US that also require large-scale ICS support. And then, more BSE ("mad cow disease") is discovered in a major US feedlot.

Just the idle wanderings of a chaos-oriented mind with too much time to think........!

Aberdeen

And temp crews disbanding for the "off season". Hmmm. Mind Wandering Ab.
9/7 Ab;

Eat my heart out, Steve (9/6). When I was 18, the Washington State Div
of Forestry (now DNR) issued me a brand new '57 Dodge Power Wagon pumper
with a disc plow and a brass badge that stuck out from my chest about a
foot. I was the state fire warden governing 450 sq miles at Chelan.

Today I still have the badge, and the plow, minus the Dodge Power Wagon.
But we do have a '53 Chev SDF fire warden pump truck in use back then,
here at the Fire Lookout Museum in Spokane.

Come see us if you're ever in the neighborhood. Bring along an hour of
your time. We'll have the coffee.

Ray Kresek
9/6 Interesting perspectives & recommendations posted about Franny IA and prepositioning teams. I've never been to FL (know a little about rain and floods), so will chime in just for ducks. surely the FL authorities (OES) aren't new at this type of event & and have a disaster response plan in place (same for other states Franny is now visiting). with zillions of displaced citizens, paramedics are probably in short supply. sawyers (with fuel) and stick stackers will be needed when the waters recede. as a tax payer, it makes no sense to send multiple teams to sit in some airport waiting for access until roads/airports, power/utilities are restored (food, potable water & fuel, etc). worse, if responders show up without being self sufficient & overload already limited resources! FEMA may be a gravy train, but...

much of R5 is experiencing triple digit daytime temps & low RH; red flag wind warnings may have been lifted in northzone but it's late summer fire season so hang on for more fires in this land of nuts and fruits <grape vineyards! ;)

be safe y'all!
northzone
9/6 Ab,
As always thanks for the great site. Really appreciate the medium you've
created here.

I'll include this photo with another to follow.

This heavy air tanker is lining up a final for structure protection drop on
the Eagle Rock Fire, WA DNR Highlands District. Smoke from the fire is
curling in on both north and south edges of photo.

A typical downslope, backing fire. Great time for a containment line. Eagle
Rock fire, Okanlgan Highlands. WA DNR NE Region

J. Foster, Highlands 26

Hi there, we do have a nice community, don't we? Nice AT photo. I put "Skyship" on the AirTankers 12 photo page and the backing fire on Fire 23. Ab.

9/6 Ab, Here's a pic of a 1957 CDF Dodge Power Wagon restored by myself.

Doug K.

Veeeeeeery nice. Put it on the Engines 11 page. Ab.
9/6 Ab,

Here is a photograph of the Italian AIB Volunteers Engine.

bruno zenoni

I posted it on the Engines 11 photo page. Ab.
9/6 Couple of photos, Ab,

This is Heli-Tanker 780 dropping on the Calahan Fire just west of Red Bluff California.
The second one is engine 223 out of Cottonwood. He was the first engine in on this 20
acre Locust fire. As you can see he had his work cut out for him.

Andrew H.

Posted one on Engines 11 and the other on Helicopters 16. Ab.
9/6 Ab,

Sonora (CA) vehicle fire and resulting wildland fire. 09/01/04'

MB

Posted it on Helicopters 16. Birdseye view of the scene, eh? Ab.
9/6 Just a few photos from Ft Lewis Washington.... Stay Safe,

RS

I posted just a few photos from a whole bunch sent in by RS of redcard certification training including for S-234 and a redcard burn. I picked a dozer photo and a torch photo to put on the Equipment 8 Photo Page page. Posted the patches on Logos 10. If anyone needs photos for a training powerpoint -- of handline construction, lookout posted, correct fireline garb, etc -- email Ab. Thanks R.
9/6 Ab,

Attached is the GEOMAC thermal map of the Geysers fire.

J.Watt

Excellent idea. The image didn't come through, but this is a great way to view the fire. Go to Geomac http://geomac.usgs.gov/#

9/6 The fire is not close to Cloverdale at all. It is in the Pine Flat area and then north and east back into Lake County. Just got up this morning, have yet to get a good idea what is going on via the trusty scanner. (Listening to the scanner will be tough if CDF & local gov. go to digital, I don't think I can afford a fancy new scanner.)

Right now the sky is kinda of clear not to much smoke yet. They have extended the red flag warnings to this afternoon due to poor humidity recovery and still warm, winds will be minimal, so the weather folks said.

More as it develops. Stay safe and thanks to all the folks out there working fires, and hurricane recovery. YOU'RE THE BEST!!

Retired L.A.V.E.
9/6 Hello all.

I have been watching the hurricane thread and am amused at how much the the attitude reflected in the posts reflect the attitude on my crew. "Since there is no fire, lets clean up a hurricane" is a reoccurring theme. On the Type 1 versus Type 2 debate, I agree that we should send a mix of crews if the call comes in. IMO, a shot crew's big advantage is that they work together all the time, and, generally have more time behind a saw. But there are many good Type 2 crews out there, many of which do a LOT of thinning as project work. Enuff said.

On the GSA thread, I have notices that the files you get from GSA are crap. I can straighten up aprox. one an a half pulaski's before the file wears out. (Yes, I use a file card, and don't pull the file backwards, I am not a total novice :>)).

Last, I need to build a mobile fire tool rack that I have seen in most small fire cache's. Does anyone have plans for one? I don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Thanks Abs for a wonderful site,

Domaque.
9/6 hi ab.
is the hot list down this a.m. or did it just clear itself of posts? the
left hand side of the screen is blank of incidents, just has the header
at the top. it was getting kind of full.
donna

"Hot List Ab" cleared it. It was getting long and most incidents had been picked up or now appear on the Sit Report. People voted to have the newest incidents at the top and it needed clearing for that. We're back up and ready to go. Ab.

9/6 Does anyone know why the USFS and CDF websites have removed the column for airtankers, but kept the helicopters, crews, etc.? It seems that the airtankers, heavies or seats are resources that should be accounted for but seem to have disappeared.. Maybe the philosophy that they are initial attack means they are not accounted for.

Also, the resignation of the USFS aviation head Tony Kern (going to the medical field to train doctors in stress management), is also big news for the airtanker companies who are trying to make a living but it is rumored that <snip>... so the companies are in for a long winter before they know if and how they will be working... Any insight would be appreciated!

Ms N

I snipped something that was not so bad because we Abs have no knowledge of the new feds heading up the AT program. Seems only fair to us to let their actions define them. Ms N, I also understand why you're looking for info. I would be too. If anyone would like to contact Ms N to discuss fed AT leadership issues, we'd be happy to send your message to her. You can also post whatever you want at the airtanker pilots message board. Link is on the Links page under aviation. Ab.
9/5 I am interested of the fire that is in Sonoma Co. in Calif. we were told
that it has burnt some homes out in the Pine Flat area! How close is it
to the KOA west side of Cloverdale, Ca. We now live in Southern
Oregon, used to live in Cloverdale.

Any information would be helpful.
Than You, Don

LAVE, do you know? Don, you could always call the Geysers Fire Information 707-967-4207. I added the link for the fire to the CA Fires '04 list. They don't have a map. Maybe one of the news articles does, but I couldn't find any. Here's some location info: http://cbs5.com Ab.
9/5 Hi there, we live near Santa Rosa, CA and I stumbled across this site after 2 days of watching heroes fly over my house to fight the Geysers Fire. I live south of the airport so seeing the OV-10 and the S2T's fly over is pretty regular in the summer. But with the fire so near and large, the multiple missions and the addition of T-23 and T-25 (Both of which turned right over our house all day) to the normal crew, I decided to take my two kids to the Sonoma Air Attack Base at the airport and watch the crews.......WOW. Like NASCAR pits.

We were all impressed with these heroes. Thanks for the website so I could see and learn even more!

John

Firefighters, be they pilots or groundpounders, do not consider themselves heroes. Simply doing the job. We sure would like some pics of the airshow, though. Large air tankers were grounded this fire season, except for the CDF ships. We're just starting to get a few back, as their owners demonstrate airworthiness - which involves getting the paperwork on original structural engineering and flying hours on missions going back through World War II. Not so easy to do. It's good to have some ATs back in our firefighting "toolbox". If you have a camera, we'd appreciate it if you'd take some photos and send them in. Ab.
9/5 While everyone is looking to the south-east at all the wind and the rain, we out here in Nor-Cal are seeing smoke signals. The Geyser fire seems to be kicking butt and several times today we threw everything we had at some new starts that were luckily caught. But in my neck of the wood, tomorrow we get to play babysitter to 20,000 drunken, party starved, first time away from Mama, Chico State University students that float down the Sacramento River in anything that floats. Fire responders & Law enforcement from 2 counties and the state, A.B.C., State Parks & Rec. heck, even Fish & Feathers folks get into the fray. For all of us that are not "Girlie Men", Its a tough day on the eyes. All that sun you know..... I better go find my sunscreen.

danfromord
9/5 Have a safe day tomorrow, everyone!

Mellie

9/5

Info for firescribe:

Victory....
The Fresno Country Board of Supervisors today approved to contribute 66% of the growth of the Prop 172 funding passed by the voters in 1993. CDF Firefighters state this victory is shared by not only our County Fire District but every District across the entire state. More to come on this subject.

Orange County Fire Authority needs to talk to Fresno County Fire to see how CDF employees made this happen.

Captain Emmett

9/5 Regarding the hurricane,

The FEMA preparedness press release has only said that they are requesting 1000 CR (community Relations) personnel. No Red card ratings needed, many people volunteering are USFS office types. They will be working in Evac centers, they have not requested any crews to clean up yet. Some of the dispatch centers are making tentative lists just in case orders come in, but the national guard will have to be mobilized before fed crews will be used for cleanup. So the issue of T1 or T2 crews becomes moot, unless Hotshots want to hand out coffee at shelters, as that is all FEMA is asking for. The 500 crews rumor (That's 10,000 people), is just that, rumor.

-MJ
9/5 CNN is showing the Geysers Fire, north of San Francisco, talking about
evacuations, guess the hurricane news is getting stale. It's warm and dry in
the northbay wine country, grapes burn. I think they said the fire is more
than 14,000 acres.

northbay wildland ff
9/5 From Firescribe:

What's to be done with SoCal sales tax revenue? (scroll down about halfway thru the news items).

Voters will decide whether firefighters get a share of Proposition 172 law enforcement funds now given to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

www.sanluisobispo.com

In 1993, California voters approved Proposition 172, a half-cent tax increase with the money earmarked for public safety. Orange County allocated the money for law enforcement - 80 percent to the Sheriff's Department and 20 percent to the district attorney's office.

The Fire Authority has received nothing.

"The county's action violates the public mandate to enhance fire protection services," said Irvine Councilman Chris Mears, the city's representative to the Fire Authority board. "It also violates the moral mandate of Proposition 172, which was passed on the backs of firefighters."

9/5 Geysers Fire:

The wind has shifted and therefore the fire is going in a new direction.
It's burning to the northeast now, I think. Still hot with low humidity.

The I.C. just ordered 8 more tankers and 4 more helicopters.

The acreage was down sized this morning to 9,200 hundred acres.
I haven't heard how big the fire is now.

Retired L.A.V.E.
9/5 Addressing the Issue of Type 1 vs. Type 2 crews on the Hurricane and Other Issues:

It was not my intention in any way to malign the contributions made by Type 2 crews. Yes, Type 2 crews will suffice for the most part. The reasons I believe we should be send a few Type 1 crews are as follows:

1. Hotshot crews simply get a lot more accomplished. There are, of course, a few Type 2 crews out there that can go head to head with the shots, but usually Type 2 crews just can’t compete with the productivity of a shot crew. Not going to go into the various reasons why here but if we’ve got shots to spare, which we most certainly do, then we should send a few.

2. Shot crews come with SAW TEAMS which means with more people with higher saw quals. Hurricane recovery is going to require a whole lot of saw work. There are plenty of Type 2 crews out there that have very limited saw capabilities.

Another matter that people are failing to understand here is that we aren’t talking about prepositioning 300 crews. If we started ordering crews and overhead yesterday (particularly Type 2 crews that can often take an entire day to assemble) they wouldn’t have started to arrive until tonight or tomorrow IF they had them ordered for as soon as that. DISPATCHING TAKES TIME!! You have to send the order down the pipe, hunt around for the resource, then the resource has to pull things together and the dispatcher has to arrange travel before the resource even begins the process of actually traveling there! We needed the go ahead to start things moving. Now if they want crews and overhead they won’t be there until a few days into recovery efforts. We are not talking about propositioning, we are talking about getting resources there when they will be needed. And remember, orders can always be cancelled. Let’s not forget that when you put in an order you put in a date and time needed. We are talking about giving our dispatchers reasonable and realistic deadlines and time frames to work with.

I think at this time it is pretty safe to say that Florida is going to need our help.

OD
9/5 Kent Slaughter, thank you for your post! hopefully it silences some animosity and improves lower-48ers understanding. JOKE: only TX is smaller than AK, and they've never forgiven being usurped.

re FRANCES: maybe I'm missing a brain cell (Abs never misses an opportunity to warn me); someone suggested "teams positioned or on call for FL hurricane duty" please explain, have teams sitting in some airport for hours until FL is not awash?

to elaborate on what Steve posted, "there is no "disaster" to respond to". what would YOU have done had you been deployed? (after action report with emphasis on TAX dollars).

cool your jets & do what you do best, FIGHT WILDLAND FIRES... unless you like mop up in soggy land or are trained for all hazard response & recovery.

consider other aspects of disaster preparedness/response/relief operational requirements; our WFF world is larger than most of us realize.

been online & on the phone with RESIDENTS in FL = this Frances event is RAIN, and winds and more winds & rain - if your crew is sent, take pumps & fuel! prepare to be self sufficient for at least 10 days! one would presume the Feds will send sawyers to FL

northzone is blazing because of ugly north winds & southzone will soon because of Santa Ana's. whatever you do best, wherever you go, be safe!

northzone 5

I haven't heard any animosity over anything fire that's connected with Alaska. Maybe some envy that the lower 48 didn't burn like AK, but no animosity. Let's not create issues where there are none. Ab.
9/5 Ab,
Been lurking for several years, I greatly enjoy the site and include it with my daily
routine. Now I have a question that I need to bring to this forum.

I'm needing some crew transports for my County/ State Type 2IA crew. Currently
I'm using 12 passenger vans and 2 six packs. Buggies seem too expensive ($80,000
to start) and Federal Excess isn't all that abundant. I have seen Ford Excursions used
and would like to know how they have worked out for others. Pictures would be
welcomed w/ a little info. included.

Thanks,
Fireheavie
fireheavie@yahoo.com

Welcome lurker. Ab.
9/4 Am I the only one wondering about the WildWeb results as shown from the many dispatch centers? Is there any coherency involved in how the different centers input their information? It appears that when you look at "Incidents By Type/Vegetation Fires", that there isn't any standard. Many centers have smoke checks, resources orders, other agency reports, etc., included in their data. There are only a couple of centers who actually fill out or provide all of the data, and limit it to real vegetation fires on their unit.

Other than being very confusing when viewing them from my end, how will they be able to ever use their databases effectively when they have responses other than actual fires under the same type? There doesn't appear to be any two centers who use the program the same way.

Thanks for supplying them anyway, in a comprehensive, easy to use interface.

Curious Dude
9/4 Very interesting reading on Hurricane Frances response.....but I beg to differ on the comment "They have been talking mostly Type 2 crews though we all know that they SHOULD get some Type 1 out there...". As Steve suggested, when did hurricane clean-up become so technical that Type I crews should be deployed to assist, and when did Type I crews have a corner on the market of public service? Thinking Outside the Box said "With some pretty long travel times by road and a ton logistical needs if flown (ie saws and vehicles) don't you think someone wants to get the ball rolling." As with any incident management, the "closest forces" principal should apply to hurricane clean-up also. Southern and Eastern Areas have some well-trained, qualified Type 2 crews, many who have dealt with this type of incident before, and have a lot less "logistical needs" (ie saws and buggies).

I'm with Steve on this one "personally can't imagine any situation during the cleanup of what is basically a wind event with significant amounts of precip, that a Type 2 crew couldn't handle just as well as a Type 1."

Foxfire
9/4 "Steve" wants to know, " ... why the heck would we send 300-400 crews and hundreds of overhead to something that may all of a sudden fail to happen?"

It's called INTEL, honey. Ask a local dispatcher, and if they can't tell you, then call your nearest GACC and ask for the intel officer and they'll explain it for ya. This is what the professionals do. They wouldn't send that many T1 teams and crews and other resources down there if it weren't warranted.

Got google? Try a couple internet searches and look at what happened in Florida with their fire bust in 1998. They nearly choked. The intel folks (and the Texas State Forester) saw this coming and pre-positioned gobs of resources all over Texas that summer, including prevention teams, and Texas managed to side-step what surely should have been for them a firestorm like what Florida did that same season.

You ask what would pre-positioning might accomplish? That's easy, look at Florida and Texas in 1998 and do the math. You ask what Type 1 crews might could do that Type 2 crews couldn't do. Guess you haven't been around long enough to know the difference. The overhead and intel kids know what they're doing. You do a disservice to the T1 teams and crews and ESPECIALLY the intel folks at the GACCs with a post like that.

|chica|

Please contributors, let's keep this to issues. Discussion is fostered when we minimize the personal slams and look at what the person said, not what you think they said. There's no need to go tooth and claw. Did Steve say not to send Type 1 Teams? Heh, read his post again. He didn't. And that's all this Ab is going to say.
9/4 Steve,

Prepositioning type 1 teams is a great idea, but no type 1 crews. Why not put 10 or so totally self sufficient type 1 crews in the area so they can help in the first 24-48 hour period? I may be wrong but if we are in a "red" or Severe threat level for Homeland Security there will be prepositioning type one teams along with crews to help with any possible terrorist attack. This is where we fit in. We come with our own vehicles, saws, equipment and are able to be more or less self sufficient vs type 2 crews. Not knocking type 2 crews, but you can get a lot of more work done in a short time with limited supervision, when you have several Shot Crews working for you.

Long Time Shot

As per the IHC Ops Guide:

PROGRAM EMPHASIS
IHCs can be used to meet management objectives other than their primary mission of wildland fire operations.

Utilization of IHCs shall be initiated with strict compliance to accepted interagency and agency specific safety standards, e.g., Fire Line Handbook. Responsibility for compliance with these standards and the safe operation of an IHC ultimately lies with the Crew Superintendent. The priority for the use of IHCs will be as follows:

1. WILDLAND FIRE OPERATIONS
IHCs are staffed, conditioned, equipped, and qualified to meet a variety of strategic and tactical wildland fire assignments. The overhead structure allows the IHCs to form into squads and perform independent assignments.

2. DISASTER INCIDENT ASSISTANCE
Within the limits of their experience and qualifications, IHCs are capable of providing a disciplined, self-contained, and adaptable workforce to meet the needs of incident managers in a variety of situations and emergency incidents.

3. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES
When not committed to fire assignments, IHCs can provide a workforce to accomplish a variety of resource management objectives while maintaining availability for incident mobilization.

9/4 Interesting reading some of the comments in the posts on the incipient hurricane Frances. I agree with the current prepositioning of teams and perhaps limited resources, but question some comments wondering when the President is going to declare the "threatened" area a natural disaster. As I write this, the hurricane is just beginning to touch the coast, there is no "disaster" to respond to. This is the first time I know of that Type 1 teams have been prepositioned to a non-fire "predicted" event. I think that it is a wise decision. But why the heck would we send 300-400 crews and hundreds of overhead to something that may all of a sudden fail to happen? Hurricanes are also notorious for changing directions as they approach a land mass.

What would prepositioning 300 handcrews accomplish anyway? What would they be doing as the hurricane passes? I can't imagine them hiking outside, providing structure protection, or cutting line around some harbor. And on that note, why would anyone think it important to have any Type 1 Handcrews there? Someone said, "we all know that they SHOULD get some Type 1 out there". I disagree.

I personally can't imagine any situation during the cleanup of what is basically a wind event with significant amounts of precip, that a Type 2 crew couldn't handle just as well as a Type 1. If I'm on a really hot fireline with erratic fire behavior, I want those Hotshots with me, ok. . .in front of me. When it comes to cleaning up downed trees, limbs, and other newly formed trash, which is basically "stacking sticks", I think just about any Type 2 crew would suffice. Conducting a big backfire from the beach ain't gonn'a help in this case, neither is screaming "wolf" before the sheep are threatened.

Thanks to the Ab's for the great site and discussion, as always.

Steve
9/4 The skinny on the hurricane matters:

Last word was that even though they estimated needing from 300-500 crews for the hurricane aftermath ordeal, they were only going to send 100 from out West to prevent stripping fire resources in case something breaks out. So the other, possibly 400, crews would have to come from the Southern and Easter areas. They have been talking mostly Type 2 crews though we all know that they SHOULD get some Type 1 out there, but NIFC is being tight-lipped about that. Probably trying to keep the rumor mill under control. Still waiting for the word from FEMA. Apparently ::ruomor alert!:: they were hoping to have all the home units pay base eights, but that was rapidly squashed. Same old, same old with those accountants at FEMA. They are tight with the money since it comes out of the Big Cheese's own budget (that would be Senior W.) That's probably why we are still waiting . . . IF they end up saying that this is NOT a Natural Disaster and the Teams get sent home we are going to be fitting the bill for the jets that transported them out there and back. The cluster has already begun.

OD
9/4 Latest rumor about Florida, Type 2 crews being mobilized to help out with
FEMA in FL. Sending agency crews that have home units willing to pay base
wages??

DF
9/4 With 6 Type 1 IMT's staged for the Hurricane... Don't
you think they might need some help on the ground. As
of this morning there are 50+ Type 1 Crews available
Nationally. With some pretty long travel times by
road and a ton logistical needs if flown (ie saws and
vehicles) don't you think someone wants to get the
ball roling. Anyone have Bush's cell phone number?

Thinking Outside The Box
9/4

Ab comment: Seems fitting to feature a photo of an Alaska fire, given that
this was the summer of fires in Alaska, all records were broken for acres
burned, and we seem to be following a new (officially unspoken) fire policy
of allowing fires to burn in areas whose ecosystems are shaped by fire --
and only herding the fire away from communities and other resources of
interest.

A small correction to your comment that may broaden many people's
knowledge. The policy is not new nor is it unwritten or officially
unspoken. The Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan, Amended
October 1998, allows land mangers to designate four levels of response to
fires in Alaska. Lands are designated Critical, Full, Modified, or
Limited. In the Modified areas there is initial attack, but if it doesn't
succeed then the area is often treated as Limited and after mid-July most
of the Modified is rolled to Limited. The areas designated as Limited are
given site specific responses, whether it is protecting an allotment, a
permitted cabin, or a homesite. The majority of the land in the state is
designated as Limited. The appropriate response in Limited areas is
generally monitoring the fire. Even in Full areas once a fire escapes IA
the WFSA process allows us to just do site specific protection. The plan
explicitly mentions the role of fire in the ecosystem. The plan originated
in the late 70's and early 80's, with 13 planning areas. The first formal
plan was for the Tanana / Minchumina Planning area and had these four
levels of response and was completed in 1983, so parts of the state have
operated under this policy this for over 20 years. If you want to read the
plan it is available as an Adobe document on the AFS external website at
http://fire.ak.blm.gov/. Click on Fire Planning on the left side and you
can read the current plan, the TM plan, or the planning guidelines. This
is an interagency plan covering State, Federal, Native and private lands.

In an normal year we have somewhere around 1,000,000 acres burn, give or
take a few hundred thousand. This year set up to be above average by
mid-July, but then the August rains failed to appear, so fires continued to
burn actively. Aside from the above average acreage, several fires were
near communities which necessitated a larger or more expensive response
than normal.

Most of the fires in the Upper Yukon Zone have simply been monitored with a
little site specific action taken. Even the fires that we put teams on
were still site specific actions, something the teams had a difficult time
wrapping their heads around. I had one L48 T2 IC tell me that when we
gave him the map of the complex he thought it was not big deal, essentially
a district with a lightning bust. Then he realized that the squares on the
map were townships, not sections, and that we really only wanted his team
to concentrate on about three areas. Getting the plan across to incoming
resources, especially management teams, was one of the challenges of the
summer.

Things are finally winding down, but we still have crews, engines, and
helicopters out on fires and may keep them there until the snow flies.

Kent Slaughter
Upper Yukon Zone
BLM Alaska Fire Service

Glad things are winding down up there. Thanks, Kent, for the elaboration on AK policy. We all can learn something. Alaska is probably the most cutting edge on using the appropriate response to fire, given the piece of land burning and its management goals. R3 clearly makes that kind of discernment and as well. Other regions like R1 took much the same approach last season -- herding fire around as opposed to putting it out -- even though they may not have the policy in writing. (Can someone fill us in on written policy?) California was planning to allow more fire use fires where appropriate this season, until a letter came out. I don't know the thinking behind that... probably some good reasons relating to drought, deadwood, smoke, resources, etc. Maybe readers can let us know what written policies are in place for the regions other than Alaska? How do BLM policies differ from FS policies? Where does NIFC come down on all this?

In thinking about your comments, I realize what I meant by "officially unspoken", however relates not only to letting some areas burn as they've always done. It also gets into the creeping change that seems to be occurring in "wildland firefighting" from the ground level all the way on up to the IMT level without clear-cut interagency direction. Granted, the DOA USFS "caring for the land and serving people" still covers what firefighters do, but federal wildland firefighters -- at least FS firefighters -- do so much more than what is presented in their job descriptions. Fed firefighters also have the great potential to be called upon to respond to biological and radiological threat too -- an' this Ab ain't just talking chicken virus.

Is there a more specific FS FAM Mission? beyond the general FS Mission?

Seems we could use some discussion. We could also use some new and clear mission and vision statements from the WO-- and potentially some rewriting of position descriptions.

Had to go look up the DOI BLM mission:

"It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations."

Anyone know the BLM FAM Mission if there is one?
Haw haw, thanks for the forum! Ab.

9/4 OD: I got a call last night about a possible call for crews and overhead for Fla. over
the week end. As of 1645 no call back. I assume that Eastern Area was talking with
the boss about what was available.

The storm is moving slower than anticipated. But if there's significant damage I'm sure
the Pres. will send his bro. help in a hurry.

Startree

9/4 Update on the Geysers Fire (Sonoma Co. CA):

13:00 Sept. 4, 04
Ordering up more dozers. Calling for local fire department strike teams.
Air tankers grounded due to smoke.
Sounds as if the fire is trying to run to the South.
Not as windy as yesterday.
Lots of ash falling at the house, kinda like snow.

Take care and be safe. Going to go water the yard and listen to the scanner.

Retired L.A.V.E.

"Sonoma County REDCOM just announced the Geysers Fire at 14,000 acres." Red flag conditions (strong North winds), heavy fuels, steep terrain, difficult access. Rapid ROS, heavy spotting. From the Hot List Forum page. Ab.

9/4 Re Gila NF Memorial (Memorial Sites post yesterday)

I worked with that Helitack crew on the Gila that season, I am on the Helena Hotshot crew, and we were assigned to R3 for 35 days. On the last leg of our tour there I had the pleasure of working that fine crew on the "Running Fire" and "Mountain Fire" a week before that day. I will always remember "Vinny" Vincent because he enlightened our day during that week we spent I.A.'ing , he showed me his family pics and was so proud!! I enjoyed talking to him and visiting while waiting for the ship to shuttle us to the Helitack center. I remember that he had a cell phone, pager and a radio on him and he told us that he was never out of touch with the world - Family, dispatch (Silver City). I never really caught his last name but he made my day when I was so ready for a mini vacation (day 30). I have met so many people on fires and various assignments throughout my 15 year career - but "Vinny" always sticks out the most of my "Fire Memories".

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family still today,

Helena Hotshot # 11

9/4 Re Philmont Fire Photos:

Thanks so much for your help! I still don't have the photo of the stove at French Henry, but I found many other great photographs. We really appreciate what all the firefighters did that summer. Thanks to their efforts, the 2002 season happened and 22,500 young men and women hiked all the trails of Philmont this past summer.

Linda Cummings, Philmont Staff, 2000-2004

9/4 There's a new photo up on the wildlandfire.com home page, and a new wallpaper available on the Wallpaper page. Thanks to Jeff the webmaster of the Northern Arizona Team (NAZ) website.

Taylor Fire AK, 2004: This photo was sent in by AZ FF. It was taken by someone on the Northern Arizona Type II IMT which was on this Alaska fire.

Ab comment: Seems fitting to feature a photo of an Alaska fire, given that this was the summer of fires in Alaska, all records were broken for acres burned, and we seem to be following a new (officially unspoken) fire policy of allowing fires to burn in areas whose ecosystems are shaped by fire -- and only herding the fire away from communities and other resources of interest.

If anyone knows or can find out from the team who the photographer is, please let us know so we can give credit. If anyone has a story to share about this fire, please share that as well. What would be very interesting would be some comparative stats on acres burned in AK and the lower 48 in previous years compared with this year.

9/4 Six Type 1 Teams have been assigned to Hurricane Support under FEMA and are
being prepostioned in the south at this time. However, the President must declare it
a Natural Disaster before the teams can start the process of actually ordering any
resources and since he still hasn't gotten around to that it yet the whole point
prepositioning the teams has been defeated. The ball has stopped rolling. Guess maybe
he's too busy on the campaign trail. Hopefully the Whitehouse will get around to it today.

OD
9/3 Here are some photos I found that slipped through the cracks last May. Awesome reminder of what those Southern California fires were like last year:

Here are a couple of pictures I took at the Cedar fire as it crossed the Lake
Cuyamuka Community. I hope you like them.

Jason Stevenson, Captain
Willow Oak Fire Prot. Dist
Woodland, CA

Cedar Fire 1
Cedar Fire 2

Thanks Jason. I added them to the Cedar Fire photo page. Ab.

9/3 Re Baker River Hotshot:

C64,

I just got off the phone yesterday with him and said that his rehab is going
good.

It has been a frustrating time for him, but his spirits have been uplifted by
all the cards and letters sent to him from fellow firefighters.

He is a avid Washington Husky football fan, and said the athletic department
has agreed to move his season tickets to a wheelchair accessible site in Husky
stadium.

Again, he thanks all the support from the fire community and hopes to be on
the line for the start of the 2005 season.

r6r

9/3 Vail, Studebaker, and McCombs Type I teams have been activated for Hurricane
Frances support and an Area Command Team, I think Mann.

the Mouth
9/3 Hello,

My FOS and I have been looking for a site all summer. We both have
seen one like it in the past but it seems to have disappeared.

We are looking for a NATIONAL resource order site. Not just an individual
GACC or a dispatch center but the whole sheebang in one place. Anyone
know if something like that still exists?

Devlin
9/3 Some more locations of Memorial sites.

Missoula , MT
Dedicated as National Wildland Firefighters Memorial, May 8, 1991
for more information's about this memorial contact Wayne Williams at
Smokejumper base in Missoula. He was driving force behind this memorial.
wwilliams@fs.fed.us

New Mexico, Gila NF
Guide fire on July 12, 1994 on the Mimbres Ranger District, Gila NF
Victims: Helitack Crew Member Samuel Smith, AD firefighter Anthony
Guiterrez and pilot of Bell 206L-3 Bob Boomer
For brief description of the aircraft accident report go the National
Transportation Safety Board web site
Two survivors: John Lopez and Charles Sanchez, both AD firefighters. One
of them sustained serious injury, one minor injury (not sure who/which)

please, no name

I've added them to the Memorial Sites page. Thanks, Ab.

9/3 Several fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties this afternoon. Sitting here listening to Air Attack on the scanner, it's tanker cut off soon. Have a going fire in the Geysers area, don't know how big or when it started. Have had some minor ash fall on the house. Fire is about 10 or 12 miles northwest.

It's been in the mid 90's with a warm north wind most of the day. Relative humidity has been in the low 20's.

I heard yesterday that CDF personnel has been frozen on duty. Also that they have prepositioned strike teams towards the Sierras due to the red flag warnings and the holiday weekend.

More when I have better intel. Stay safe and watch out. Northern Cal. fire season is here.

Retired L.A.V.E.
9/3 Ab,

Thanks for the plug on TheySaid. Regarding an auction page on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation website, Jim Felix (Supply Cache) is ready to go with several items as am I, whenever WFF is. We're going to exhibit at the JEMS Fire-Rescue Expo in Las Vegas and I do have my expo page up www.chuckroast.com/fire-safety/expo.phpl.

Chuck Henderson
Chuck Roast Equipment, Inc.

Contractors, some of you wanted wildlandfire.com to provide an expo page. Chuck is doing it. If you hear of events not on his list, shoot him an email. <haw, haw> Let me know if I should take this post down, Chuck. We may be digging you in way tooooo deep. Ab.
9/3 hi ab, here is our badge from jellat rural fire service south east
australia, new south wales. you have a top web-site keep up the good work.

take care,
ken hilder

Thanks Ken, I posted it with some other colorful patches and logos on the Logo 10 photo page. Thanks contributors. Ab.

9/3 Abs,

This is a picture of Ken and 3 of our 4 granddaughters standing by Levi's cross on Storm King on the 10 year anniversary. My cousin took this picture and she calls it "New Hope". I have been trying to send this to Vicki Minor but my computer says I've got the wrong address. Could you add it to memorials and send it on to her?

Thank you
Kathy B

Beautiful children, Kathy. Ken looks good too. New Hope is a fitting title. Thanks again for all the memorial photos you've sent in from time to time. As you can see, I'm getting to some of them. I sent the photo on to Vicki. From our and your firefighting community, our best to you and yours. Ab.
9/2 Kilo Bravo,

I heard that a lot of it is supposed to be different. It's supposed to be "Under New Management" so to speak. I really don't know if that's going to be a good thing or a bad thing.

Read a e-mail that said NIFC wasn't going to notify anybody when they are ready to go with their new nationwide contract. We have to keep our eyes open and watch the internet or we'll miss it again.

As far as the other Feds, ie, Park Service, BLM, Fish & feathers, etc., I was told that they could all (states too) use the NIFC contract because it's "Interagency". I also heard that FS wants to use it instead of local emergency rentals.

I suppose I'd like it if I got one of those and couldn't get a emergency rental anymore. Could be a sweet deal, or it might suck.

- Batchmaster
9/2 Info regarding the now defunct Engine Crew Mailing List and what you must do to get information. Ab.

United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
National Interagency Fire Center
3833 S. Development
Boise, ID 83705
Caring for the Land and Serving People Printed on Recycled Paper

Date: September 2, 2004

Potential National Wildland Engine and
National Type II Crew Offerors

RE: Mailing Lists

National Wildland Fire Engine and Type II Crew contracts will be re-solicited, and we
anticipate new National contracts to be negotiated and awarded by Jan McCluskey for
the 2005 fire season. Government acquisition procedures have been automated over
the last few years, and as a result Government Agencies no longer mail paper copies of
meeting notices, Pre-Solicitation Notices, contract solicitations, and other acquisition
documents to potential interested vendors.

At this time any existing mailing lists previously constructed by our office, are no longer
being maintained or used. Specifically the e-mail list our office had on file containing
some engine and crew vendor addresses has been dismantled. Therefore,
advertisements of meeting notices, solicitations, and other acquisition advertisements
are now being posted at http://www.fedbizopps.gov and it is the responsibility of
interested vendors to use this website to obtain acquisition information. Please consult
the Federal Business Opportunities website to obtain future acquisition information
regarding our National contracts. If you have any questions, please call me at (208)
387-5612.

Janet McCluskey
Contracting Officer

9/2 Batchmaster,

I'm curious about the new national contracts. They plan on making any major changes?
And are other agencies, ie, Park Service, BLM, Fish & feathers planning on having any
national contracts?

Engine contractors haven't had much work since 2002. I suppose that's because the
government has so much of its own equipment these days.

-Kilo Bravo-
9/2 Vail's and Studebaker's T-1 teams from R5 are enroute to southeast for
hurricane duty.

TC
9/2 Heard a rumor that more than one Type 1 team is headed to the southeast to
be staged for Hurricane duty. Anyone know the details?

FirenWater
9/2 C64 --

Update on Baker River Hotshot Injured by Boulder.

He got out of the hospital awhile ago, and is hobbling
along. Looks like a couple more months before he can
walk again (with out crutches).

He has acquired a big screen TV and Playstation, which
seems to be occupying his time.

He's a friend of mine and we speak regularly, this is
how I'm aware of his condition.

-AXE
9/2 Hello Ab,

Here's a picture you can add to the crew photos. Hensel Fire in Wyoming 2002 Divs. B. This a crew photo of the 5 type 2 handcrews I had on my division. Great bunch of personnel; enjoyed working with all them.

Here are some more photos, these are of the Manter Fire, 2000. The crew is my engine crew from the BLM South Fork Station. They were doing the firing operation at Kennedy Meadows. They were also on the IA. Both the fire photos are from Kennedy.

Thanks for a great site.
Dennis

Lots of firefighters. I added DIVS B to the Handcrews 15 page. Added the engine crew photo to the Engines 11 photo page. Put the fire photos on the bottom of the Manter Fire photo page. Ab.

9/2 I just heard that NIFC is going to be doing a new Nationwide Engine & Crew
contract AGAIN.

Any thoughts or opinions? I know I've got mine.

- Batchmaster
9/2 JUSTSAYNO:
Sorry, but I stand by my opinion for the most part. I was just taken aback by the all encompassing "all management is evil, dont waste your time going in that direction" attitude I perceived in your post. From what you said you gave it a shot, found it not for you and went back to something where you felt you could contribute something positive. I certainly have nothing against that. In fact after I sent my reply I wished I had added to my post that mgmt is not for everyone and if one feels they are best suited or feel they can contribute more positively somewhere lower on the food chain, then that is just fine, but we do need folks who came up through the ranks to move into management roles.

'nuff said

Ab's - Nice work on the new news page, I like it.

Poison Oak - Oh the stories I could tell! Its a funny thing, Some folks just think about it and get it and others can swim in it and never get it. It seems people change over time. My dad was raised in an area where there was no poison oak but as an adult when he moved to the west coast (starting in his mid 20's) he was subjected to it alot but never got it until one time when he was about 45 or so. From then on he got it pretty bad. For myself I was one of those unfortunates that it seemed like all they had to do was think about it and I would get it up the wazoo.. and bad! As a teenager I started taking some kind of immunizing stuff every year. Sometimes a shot others in varying pill form (even had one type of pill where you made your own capsule and upped the amount of stuff you put in the capsule every week or so). By the time I was an adult and started fighting fire I was to the point that I rarely got it and if I did it was a very mild blotch of it.

Pulaski
9/2 Ab, thanks for providing all the fire news in one place. Awesome page with lots of options.

I just took a look at resource orders that are reported by forest on the wildweb dispatch page.
Almost every CA forest has an order for resources to go to GA or SC or for hurricane
support. (except TNF) Crews are gearing up for Frances even though I'd prefer a big-a*ss
fire instead.

Thanks again for all you(s) do. What would we do without this site. Honestly, I ask you all!

Tahoe Terrie

Thanks Terrie. Wouldn't be half so interesting or informative without the community.

Readers,
Original Ab changed the WildWeb links on the map. Instead of going directly to fire incidents, they now go to the wildweb main pages. Several viewers suggested this as it makes it easier to check resource status and resource orders in addition to vegetation fires. The downside is that it takes many more clicks to access the newest vegetation fires info if that's your main interest. Could we have some behind the scenes feedback on preferences? We want this page to fill your needs and ours.

Another suggestion that we may implement is on the Hot List Forum: Several people have suggested putting the newest entries at the top so you don't have to scroll down to see breaking fires. This would be similar to the format here and the way most people set up their chat window. Again, could Hot List Forum readers send us a yes or no on newest at the top?

Thanks for everyone's help. Ab.

9/2 Vicki, sounds like good news about Matt!

Say, can anyone update us about the Baker River 'Shot who was injured on Icicle?
Being vollie we don't get much follow up info, thanks.

C64
9/2 Hi Ab and all,

Here's the remarks from yesterday morning's 209 on Hurricane Frances. We're getting ready. ICS is in place. Maybe we'll see some of ya'll.

The Park's established Hurricane Incident Command Team (ICT) invoked a hurricane shutdown for Biscayne National Park at 1230 on Wednesday, September 1st. Shutdown is 95% complete as of 1600, 09/01/04. All employees, except the ICT, were released at 1530.

On Thursday 9-2, 18 employees (including the ICT) will report at 0700 to complete shutdown. The park's ICT anticipates complete closure of park facilities and release of all employees at 1200 on Thursday 9-2.

As established by the National Hurricane Center, the chances (strike probability) of the center of the hurricane passing in close proximity (within 65 nautical miles) is as follows: Greater Miami Area = 18% on 9-2 through 0800 on 9-4 West Palm Beach = 20% from 2000 on 9-2 through 0800 on 9-4 Marathon = 13% from 2000 on 9-2 through 0800 on 9-4

FL-firefighter

9/2 Heard a pretty good rumor of 3 T-1 IMT's, Area Command and 50+ crews
heading South to get ready for the clean-up after "Frances" makes landfall.

Aberdeen
9/2 so....how's the latest round of apprentices doing in R-5?
darn well i hope....
any retention problems out there?

sincerely,
joatmon
9/2 Hi Ab,

Thanks for the forum. It sure sounds like some folks are sure fired up
about the pants. I do know that MTDC did do field evaluations with the bdu
fire pants in the late 90's. 100-200 pants were sent to hot shots, jumpers and
district crews. I was a "test rat" for the MTDC pants evaluation. The first
year (1997) evaluation pants were great except the material was too thin (burn
holes, material rips), the next year (1998) the evaluation pants were made of
heavier weight material and very similar to the final design now being
produced through GSA. I thought they were a whole lot better than the jeans style.
They didn't offer a whole lot of protection from Mississippi briars or AK
mosquitos. The pants lasted into 2000. I then got a GSA pair that lasted into
2003. (wore out the butt, I guess I do more thinkin' than chinkin'!) I also
evaluated a pair of the original kevlar/nomex pants in 99 for the BLM jumpers
evaluation. The pants performed better in the briars and the AK skeets, but
they didn't breath well, so there was a whole lot of swass and swalls going on in
the heat of Silver and GJ! Although they are not perfect, I personally
prefer the GSA pants; I can see why some don't. I guess its the same when we're
not on shift, different ffs wear levi's, wrangler's, carharts, or the younger
generation - baggyass pants.

The GSA fireline pack is designed like the MSO jumper pack. Jumpers have
been designing their own packs ever since Earl Cooley and Rufus Robinson were
carrying their stuff around on a big flat rock. There are quite a few jumper
packs out there, and MTDC did field evaluations, so i bet they are OK.
I don't know all about MTDC, but they are good folks, and do have a lot
of fire (jumper, hot shot, rapeller) experience. They don't deserve the name
calling. They have bosses, budgets, rules, regs and policies to follow.

How many times have you been on a nonfire-use fire and said that this
place needs to burn. I have many times. Have you ever burned it out from the
ridge down to the river just because it needed it? I never have, I followed the
rules, regs and policies and put it out.

Fire Terms - swass - (sweatty a$$)
swalls - (I'm sure you've got that one figured out!)

Thanks, 1 old jumper

Thanks for the info on research and the perspective on preferences. I've added the terms to the list of wildland firefighter terms. Ab.
9/2 Adding to Skids poison oak comments,

When cutting line near the oak plants, watch those roots and try to avoid any sap contact. Once when planting trees in early Spring, I wasn't too concerned as the plants were leafless and still dormant. The auger digging through the oak plant roots snapped and tore them so when I scooped out the loose dirt, the root ends apparently brushed against me between my shirt cuffs and gloves. It's very potent as it was the only time I had to miss a couple of days of work due to the reaction. My wrists and hands swoll to the the extent I couldn't even get my gloves on.

While this was tree planting, the same caution should be used when cutting line. Just because the leaves and stems are gone, it isn't necessarily safe. The sap can also remain on your clothing and gloves for a very long time.

Steve
9/1 Fells Naptha, big old yellow bar. Works pretty well if you catch the
oils quickly. Technu is better.

Don't eat poison oak, ivy or sumac! I knew a guy who did,
they had to give him a tracheotomy, his throat and mouth swelt up
so bad. He was lucky we were close to an ER.

It's not just in the smoke...
I got it once from breathing the dust. Someone ahead of us had dug
out the plants. We were finishing up to bare soil and putting up
quite a dust cloud. Next morning when some of us had eyes swollen
shut and looked like the Pillsbury dough boy we figured it out. Didn't
hurt or itch, just couldn't see. I think the skin cells were so outawack
they gave up on the itching.

That hippy guy, did he tell you it was fine to eat those orange cap
mushrooms that have the whitish spots on em? I was wondering if
he was the same guy that I talked to. I think he knew more ways to
kill himself than any other Joe I've met.

Skids

9/1 Like that other person said, It's a slow season, so we're talking about other things related to fire.

Thought I'd throw my two cents worth in on the poison oak topic. Nasty stuff. I remember being laid up for a few days with my eyes swollen shut in the middle of fire season. I had caught it through the smoke.

There are prescription pills available that will build up an immunity to poison oak over time. This should only be used only under a doctors supervision. And should only be done in the winter when there's no chance of exposure to poison oak.

Some hippy on an AD crew once told me that if you eat poison oak in small quantities that you will build an immunity to it. I never tried it, but he seemed to know what he was talking about.

Best thing to do if you know you've been exposed to it is to shower off and change all your clothes. But this can't always be done if you're spiked out. An old Captain of mine used to swear by that laundry bar soap called "Fells Snappa"

I recall the Ojai fire in 85, about three quarters of the crew had poison oak. They gave us a day of R&R at the Beach in Oxnard. That cleared it right up. Must have been the drying effect of the salt.

-Lucky-
9/1 Ab,

I just talked with Matt Taylor, our Prineville Hotshot. He told me that they took out 90% of his tumor, and will radiate and chemo what is left. He sounded very hopeful. Things look a lot better than when he was first diagnosed. I know he is grateful for all the support that the wildland firefighter community has given him and his family. Many of you have touched his life - thanks.

Vicki Minor
Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Good news.
Thanks for the help for him from the Foundation, thanks to all who used the Foundation to funnel money to him.
52 Club, everybody. The list is growing. If yer not on it, yer missing out.

Union HS Belt Buckle Auction:
Thanks to Dan Fiorito and Original Ab for setting up the belt buckle auction for Matt, and to Tony Duprey and Doug Kastner for going for it. Matt isn't out of the woods. I'm sure continued good thoughts and prayers are welcome too.

Vicki, when you get the new Foundation website set up, let's create an auction page for it. There were lots of contributors who wanted to do more to help. It was beyond the Abs' time and energy to work on it with fire season upon us. Thanks in advance to Chuck of ChuckRoast Nomex Fleece Jackets for work on an auction page that can handle multiple items. We'll have to work on a Foundation version of that -- when the rains come. Ab.

9/1 LAT photos.

Crowded Tanker Base (Minden)
Tanker 21 22 23 25
all on hold second day of Andrew Fire
Even the Air attacks are on the ground

CDF Tanker 100 helping out on the Andrew Fire
CDF Tanker 89 helping on the Andrew fire coming into Minden
Tanker 22 waiting for a load at Minden for Andrew Fire
Tanker 23 landing at Minden for Andrew Fire
Tanker 25 coming into Minden for load for the Andrew Fire
Tanker 26 at Minden with a day off after working the Waterfall Fire

Ron

Thanks Ron. Good to see them on the AirTanker 11 and 12 photo pages. Ab.
9/1 Ab -

Here are a couple of helo pics from the Redwood Hwy Fire in Cave
Junction, Oregon. They are both of a Carson Type 1 helo.

enjoy,
pro300

I put them on the Helicopters 16 photo page. Ab.
9/1 Howdy:

I am a producer for NBC News, based in our Southwestern Bureau in Dallas. I cover a lot of fires for the network. (I'm also a Redcarded FF2, have been for years). I was cleaning out some picture files and came across some frame captures of stuff I've shot in the last few years. I'll send out some from the Cedar Fire.

If the quality is acceptable, I've got some from the Sedgwick Fire from this year, Hot Creek from 2003, Robert from 2003, and some others, focusing on IHC crews.

Thanks for the great site.
Al Henkel

Thanks Al, I posted them on the Cedar Fire, Fire 23 and on the Handcrews 14 photo pages. They include photos of the Laguna, Dalton and Idaho City IHCs. Ab.

9/1 Howdy Abs!

Here is a pic of AA430 at the Fresno Air Attack Base on 7/21/04.

Captain Emmett

Thanks. I put it on the AirTankers 12 photo page. Thanks also to Dave for the AT dropping on the small fire started by the Union Pacific Railroad near Auburn CA. Ab.

9/1 Hey Ab,

Here are some pics of the Log Springs Fire on the Warm Springs Indian
Reservation OR. Copper River and Lone Peak Shots. Burnout, torching,
night firing, interface, etc.

Ben Croft

I put them on Handcrews 14 and Fire 23 photo pages. Anyone know what "kind" of hotshots the two crews are? They're not on the National list that I can find. Ab.

9/1 Just thought I'd pass along some photos from this season. I fly AA975 and have more pictures, but the disc they're on is currently missing.

Photos:

1. T-462 dropping water on the Silver Bow Fire near TPH 7/04
2. T-21 dropping on Wildcat Fire in the Jarbridge 8/04
3. Helitanker 780 launching for the Nickel Fire out of Mesquite 6/04

Cheers,
Ryan H

Thanks, I posted them on AirTankers 12 and Helicopters 16 photo pages. Ab.
9/1 Hola,
That time of year again, neh...
Here's a shot of WA DNR Rotor 341 working NE Region, Highlands District, Coby Fire.

Snags within the White Mountain burn, Colville Forest. Photo 2004, fire 1988.

While instructing this wildland firefighter class field day I lucked out with the perfect example of unstable air. The students got the message.

WA DNRNE Region Highlands 20 Crew awaiting a briefing during a command transition from Rotor 341 Helitac on Coby Fire.

J. Foster, Highlands 26.

Thanks J. I put them on Helicopters 16, Fire 23, and Handcrews 14 photo pages. Ab.

9/1 Any wildland crew--contract, municipal or fed--that cannot take care of
their own needs (fuel, food, water, basic sleeping equipment) for 24 hours
needs to find a new day job. C'mon folks, do we need to go back to
S-130/190?

S.R.Sparky
9/1 Self-sufficient= can pay for their own hotel? What? I was always under the
impression that self-sufficient meant that the crew could operate for twenty-four
hours out of their line packs and/or engine, and that after twenty-four hours the
incident would get food and water to us. Hotel? What’s a hotel?

Nerd on the Fireline
9/1 self sufficient?

you know....the need to be capable of buying your (crews, engines, single-person resource...) own rooms and meals is indeed part of being self sufficient. however, there is an even more important part to this. the part that should not even be in question....

anybody on the "wedge canyon fire" in R-1 last year....?

a quick summary of my issue with being....."self sufficient"

when somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 folks ( all contract crews and engines and one federal helitack crew...) got cut-off from returning to camp due to a major run from the fire, there was dam* near panic. not about the fire, but because almost NOBODY was "self sufficient" for a friggin' 24 hour shift! (almost nobody...guess which crew was still rock-solid...) so you know what happened? "pumpkin-time" was extended for a helicopter to deliver 2 separate daisy-chained sling-load missions of supplies..... hot buckets, sleeping bags/pads, H20, and some fools where even asking, "didn't they send any headlamps??!!"

AMAZING.

-joatmon

P.S. you are correct mellie!! thank you for your fine compliment....<blush>
9/1 Some things about Poison oak:

All people share the risk at one time of being susceptible to outbreaks
caused by poison oak - it's similar to those who do not react to bee
stings, who may over time get stung several times with no reaction - and
then one day get stung - and have a major reaction. This is not uncommon
among people who often work around, near, or in yellowjacket, bee habitat
and chronic poison oak areas. Over time, the body can reach a point where
the exposures overexceed the amount of individual immunology. One can
then become susceptible after a matter of time as the poison builds up in
the system.

About poison oak: in southwest Oregon, and northern coastal California -
there are several areas of very heavily laden areas of poison oak fuels:
when these areas burn, like a jackpot of poison oak vines and leaves - it's
often the inhalation of the poison oak gas (in smoke) that causes systemic
breakouts over the body or exposed body parts, including open wounds or
sores. In these cases - contact with poison oak or bee stings should not
be considered an accident and non-preventable - even if the hazard is
identified before hand - since smoke effects are often unknown until the
signs erupt. Unfortunately, you can't see these volatile oils all the time
in smoke exposure incidents. (The plant burns, emits a volatile oil and
gets mixed in with other fuel smoke and then ingested or brought into the
lungs via the normal air passages. --- Smoke exposure of poison of poison
oak gases once in the lungs often spreads systemically. In a short, acute
episode, APMC should pay for all the treatment. If the exposure cause
chronic infection and the need for other treatments, including possible
time loss - than it may better be handled as an OWCP claim. It really
depends on degree.

Those who have had bad exposures to poison oak will understand the havoc it
can rage it is not addressed appropriately - and that could mean: Washing
exposed clothing, getting rid of exposed gloves, avoiding cutting line
through poison oak areas, and of course - staying out of the smoke.

No one is immune all of the time; over exposure to the plant's allergen
does and can lead to being acutely allergic. - just something to know if
you don't work in these areas much.

ANON
9/1 The Jobs page has been updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 & Series 0455. Ab.
9/1 As a part of our ongoing effort to bring you wildland fire news, when you need it, we are developing a new Fire News & Information Area (also now available via the News button in the header). The new area consolidates links to current fire location and information from our website and many others.

Available subject areas include some of the most popular links from our Links Page, several new pages, and other informative websites. The new area includes links to:

* The Hot List Forum (requires registration).
* WildWEB Dispatch Centers information (no longer requires registration).
* The WLF News Search Page.
* The California Highway Patrol website.
* Links to all available GACC current news and reports.
* National GACC SIT reports.
* Fire Maps.
* Radio scanners.

Please submit ideas, items, or links you feel belong in this area to news@wildlandfire.com. My sincere thanks to the volunteers from the Chat Room who gave their time, comments, and ideas as this area developed over the last several weeks.

Most of the online scanners currently listed relate to Region 5, or California. Since most of my experience has been in California, I knew the frequencies or agencies most informative for initial attack. I will continue to listen and verify other regions and countries scanners as time permits. You can help us improve our efforts by telling us about reliable online scanner links in your area that relate mostly to wildland fire.

Thanks,
Original Ab.

9/1 Just as the term "Self Sufficient" suggests when this request is on the
order the expectation is that the crew is capable of handling their own
lodging and meal needs. Any manager who sends a crew out on an assignment
without this capability (ordered that way or not, T1, T2 or 2IA) is very
irresponsible for the welfare of their crew or crews! Travel card
applications are part of our hiring packages. All supervisors who take out
crews have a purchase card (PCMS) to cover employees who for whatever reason
do not have a travel card. Purchase cards can be used for this purpose in a
"fire emergency".

R6 AFMO
9/1 JT,

I can't speak for the rest of Region 5, but for our forest when we are ordering a crew or engine to be self-sufficient our expectation is that they will be able to support themselves with some type of government credit card and will be able to pay for meals and lodging and then make a travel claim to recoup their expenditures. When it is our request we are usually requesting a "federal only" resource because we know that they can be truly self-sufficient. We will support a crew or engine with meals and lodging if they aren't able to support themselves, but our choice is to have them be self-sufficient.
We have hosted several out of state crews and engines in the last couple of years and have done it both ways. We don't have BPA's set up for hotels and food, but we have set up several agreements that give the crews/engines the best possible price in the area. It still comes down to the fact that it is easier for crews to pay their way than for us to try to set up payment through the districts or to have dispatch try to make the payments.

That's my take.
SoCal Dispatcher
9/1 JT...

Self sufficient is self sufficient.... there are no differences in the ordering
process(es)...... Either crew, engine, or whatever type of module or
overhead that is requested......

Many times, resources that have been ordered to be "self sufficient" show
up and put an undue strain upon the ordering unit.....

Rogue Rivers
 
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