"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland
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
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
I didn't realize that CA no longer has 5 IMTs. Which one disbanded?
you gotta be trolling! :O)
I know the teams change year to year and ¿apparently? even within one
The thing I rediscovered earlier today by looking closely at who is on
is that they are remarkably diverse and, from what I've observed in
members like each other and work well together! Hallelujah!!
||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.
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
rain beat down incessantly on my rain fly. Cozy and comfortable I
off to sleep while being paid for my wilderness experience. I have heard
epic tales of jumper survival camps, ranging from 3-day snowstorms
cannibalism is discussed, to making the most of an experience while
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
build a shelter, stay dry, light a fire in inclement weather, use maps
compass, etc.. It sounds like the Salmon-Challis is going to discuss
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.
||I have a few comments on the Safenet filed by the Salmon-Challis
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.
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!
||Well, I took a look at the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return Plan
and came up with the following observations:
In Chapter 2, Section VII - Fire Management
Item D - Objectives
1. Firefighter and public safety is the first priority in every fire
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
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
Disturbed areas within wilderness will be restored to as natural an
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.
||Mellie - Wally Bennett of the Northern Rockies is retired USFS
(Flathead NF) and currently with Montana DNRC out of Kalispell, not the
Mellie - Alaska only has 1 National IMT, and the Southern Region kicked
in a 2nd team when California backed down to 4.
||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.
||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:
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
Excellent slide show on LEADERSHIP by Colin Powell. I added the
quote to the
Quotes list. Ab.
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
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
Hmmmm, 17. I thought there were 16... Type I teams
I learned something.
Fedfire, thanks for the reply.
Southern Area lists both Red team and Blue team as Type I, that
is, before they took down their main info pages. Ab.
||Anyone know why all the www.fs.fed.us sites are slower than usual?
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.
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.
||Ab et all,
I am setting up a display honoring the fallen wildland firefighters. Do
have a count on the number of fatalities since Mann Gulch?
Where could I get that number?
Here's some info: NWCG
Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910 - 1996 pdf file. Ab.
||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
of going to a place that cares a little more about you before you get
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.
||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
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
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)
This is a message from the Department of Homeland Security/U.S.
You may submit your comments or request additional information by
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
"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
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
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.
||Does this SAFEnet address current USFS policy?
Supplemental Corrective Action
Supplemental Corrective Action
I THINK NOT!!!
Firefighter SAFETY should come FIRST. Action should be taken prior to
situation becoming a full blown medical emergency! The Salmon-Challis
should NOT be allowed to continue putting firefighters at risk! The
simply yells FIREFIGHTER LIVES ON THIS FOREST ARE NOT VALUED!
It's an atmosphere in which accidents are encouraged to happen! My god,
does it take for these people to learn the Corrective Action should be
Cover Your Ass??
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
||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
Never Forget; Never Again!
Bruce Lodge FC
( Thanks again AB ! )
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
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
or not engage.
This is based on experience and what level of training and experience
on strike teams have.
The lesson learned here is that strike teams, crews, single resources
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
actions will be a safer tool to use out on the line.
EW will probably reply to this to clarify further the actions carried
5 minutes early, not 5 seconds late....
||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
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
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.
||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."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
I posted a photo of sent in by Steve L on
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
Thanks contributors. As always, your photos reveal what you do and
are interesting to look at.
||MJ, sure I’ll hand out coffee. At least we would be helping someone
instead of sitting on our backsides waiting for a fire.
||Does anyone have any beef about structure protection vs wildland
the Fischer Fire and safety? I know there were lots of politics and
behavior involved. I heard at least one structure protection ST refused
assignment and got called wusses. I would like to know more of the whole
There may be some lessons to be learned for interagency, interface
with big media coverage and dangerous conditions.
||FOBS73 - could you be specific about IAPs during the past 5 years that
DIVS with a span of control of "twenty to thirty to one".
Which Incident? Which IMT? Which Agency/Location?
Ab would be happy to pass the info on privately.
||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
Any clarification will be appreciated.
|Attached is a interest survey
for Union IHC Squadleader GS-6 14/12 PSE.|
Please distribute widely. Response due by 10/30/04
I talked to Vance Hazelton's mother on Friday. She said he is back to
on light duty. She said that his spirits are up since returning to be
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
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
it on to them.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise ID 83705
||Does anyone know how Vance Hazleton (Midewin HS) is doing? I heard he
home from the hospital in May but have heard nothing since then.
||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
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!
||my friend eva's flight home
Thanks BN. Ab.
||T-27 on the Left Hand fire in Boulder Co. September of 2004.
Thanks cowboy. I put it on the Air
Tankers 12 photo page. Ab.
||From the Sit Report: Where the Type I IMTs are and what they're doing.
Take a look at the
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
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
Frye's Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team has been
||Does anyone have any information about IHCs and other wildland
crews currently working on hurricane assignments? What tasks are they
||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.
Fire history story of the MN Boundary Waters.
The Forest for the Trees
||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
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
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
With Great Respect & Sincerity to all of our CDF Brothers and Sisters:
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
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.
||The Table of Contents of the Autumn "Montana The Magazine of Western
History" has been posted on the web at:
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
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.
||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.
||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.
Cutting and removing of trees to reduce the threat of wildfire
will be exempt
from timber harvesting plan requirements if various requirements are
AB2420, by Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Biggs.
hi my name is kevin im on a tsi crew in seirra national forest just
if any body has more info on how this may affect timber harvesting-
this mean we will once again be able to cut 30 dbh trees for harvest
wondering any further info would be great.
||Some of the bills signed into law yesterday by Schwarzenegger:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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
Fire Location is about 2 1/2 miles south of Banning on a track of 160
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.
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
||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.
||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?
||As to where the inmates get their boots, I believe that one of the CDC
(possibly Chowchilla) makes all the footwear in house for
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).
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.
||What do Bill Gates and Homeland Security Department have in common?
I assume you can make a fire connection here? Ab.
||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?
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Fire Burns 100 acres on the LP
Hot List Forum says there's a column building since this article
came out. Ab.
||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.
Ab will pass any info along.
||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
get the kind of fire experience needed maximize safety and to build the
of professional fire managers. Such experience wouldn't have been so
with only the existing IHCs.
In my estimation, they're equal and deserve equal respect.
||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."
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.
||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
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.
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
||Bruce and Ab.
Thanks for the photo of Copter 404 and the crew. I
will remember Eva smiling.
I put it on
Helicopters 16 photo page. Ab.
||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
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?
||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
Well there's more I could speculate on, but I'll stop. Like Steve, I
believe that the fire organization will go on.
Draft NIMO Report is in pdf:
||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
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
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
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.
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.
||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
This cycle of the boots discussion got me wondering what boots
the inmate crews get. Can someone fill us in?
||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
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
Great news! Firescribe contributed this link: 2
Walk Away 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
Never Forget; Never Again! Bruce
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.
||I put some engine photos on Engines
12 photo page. Ab.
||here are some pics for the taylor complex in alaska, courtesy of Alaska State Forestry, Tok Area Office
Huge flamage. Thanks CN. I posted them on Fire
24 and Handcrews
15 photo pages. Ab.
||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.
||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.
||My thoughts and prayers are with Eva Schicke's family and crew.
||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.
||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
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
Thanks for the post, Bruce. Let Mr. Paulson hear the outrage and
Thanks for the link to the photos that reflect her spirit, her
athleticism and good cheer. She is missed. Ab.
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.
404 crew members including Eva. Ron got this from the CDF pdf
information file linked to several days ago and sent it in. Ab.
||CDF did a fine job of sending F/F Schicke to rest. To finish the
service with an
OV-10 in formation
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
people killed in plane crash
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would really appreciate the help and make next spring a lot more enjoyable.
||GH and Abercrombie,
Thanks for the link and info... it'll come in handy for a report on
insurance and WUI relationship.
||I have a pair of Wesco boots right now but am in the market for a new
What in your opinion are the better boots, Whites or Nicks? Thanks!
||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
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.
||The IHC Steering Committee does not decide who is an IHC. Who will be
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,
did and were turned down. If the agency does not recognize you as being
why will anyone else?
STOP trying so hard to be an IHC. RHCs knew from their conception what
role was, and it was not totally the same as IHCs.
You can't have everything IHCs have! (ie., IHC web site!!)
||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
spending $$ based on rumors.
||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
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!
||Local TV news has confirmed that the USFS-chartered aircraft has been
with NO survivors. On board were the pilot, 3 USFS Rocky Mountain Expt
Station folks, and a Flathead NF radio tech.
Condolences to the families, friends and co-workers. Ab.
||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
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
||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.
No need to light off fusees over this. Just my opinion. 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.
click on Abstract in the Table of Contents.
Asst Chief, Operations
CDF / BEU
Thanks for the link and info. Ab.
It looks like the hotshot webpage just covers the Interagency crews
(nationally funded) and not the Regional ones. I understand they all
to meet the same standards, but there are still many conflicts between
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
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.
||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
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?
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
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.
||Jeff (#765), Steve (#443), Rush (#425), I knew NorCal Team II is a
but it does me very proud that you guys from my neck'o'the'woods joined
"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
"Another CDF BC" I was really proud of CDF and the fire
I was also reminded of Eva as I drove past every station between NorCal
Francisco and saw the flags at half staff. I thought of others lost, too
Rucker's family, friends, and coworkers as we passed his station in
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
52 Club. Families of fallen firefighters and all in the fire community
opportunity for healing the Foundation provides.
Thanks Ab for the forum.
Mellie, living the dream "The Power of One" ("ONE" #7)
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
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"
||On the passing of Fred Terzo, Los Angeles County Fire, Fred was one of
foremen, back when I had my first fire job at Camp 2. (Yes, this was
ago). Fred was an excellent coach and mentor, he cared about his people.
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
after his passing and reside in many of us who learned from him.
Contract County Guy
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
Sadly, this tragedy brings added relevance to the discussions of
line construction and the common denominators.
I was struck by the times given in the preliminary report: the wind
lasted less than 2 minutes, and the fire flared for just 30 seconds.
guess that's all it takes.
||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
Also posted some good photos of engines at work by Nick B and biggins on
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
Posted some Fireboss airtanker photos sent in by Jorge, a Spanish
A CZU firefighter sent in a photo of a CDF dozer and transport.
|| 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:
.. 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
.. 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.
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
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
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, if you are the rep, email
email@example.com for a classified ad. Ab.
|| 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
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 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.
|| Red Flag Warnings in Southern California
San Bernardino and Cleveland NF's
Angeles and Los Padres NF's
Hopefully these early season Santa Ana's will also mean early rain in
|| Tommy, thanks for the info on Fred's passing. He will be missed.
|| 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
Words are inadequate to express my sincere condolences to Eva's family.
May God grant you peace.
|| From Firescribe:
Thousands Gather To Remember Eva Schicke
including video of the procession
||REST IN PEACE EVA
||A sad note. Retired foreman Fred Terzo passed away this morning. Fred
for Los Angeles Co. Fire Dept. and was assigned to Camp 2 for most of
career. He retired in 1982. I don't have any details on the funeral. He
be greatly missed.
||I've worn a lot of good and expensive hiking boots and done some very
hikes. Hiking boots are for hiking, not for firefighting. I had two
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
years on that rebuild and who knows how many on the second rebuild.
are not just resoled, they are rebuilt. Quite a bit of difference. My
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
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
three mile per hour pace with a 25 pound IA pack and not even feel a hot
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
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
had. As an earlier post said building line and mopping up in steep
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
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
to ash, retardant, foam, wet water, and heat. Although very expensive,
these hiking boots just can't take the punishment wildland firefighting
Another piece of advice on good fire line products. Try looking at the
Camelbak website and click onto military and government products. After
retired I found the ideal day pack among their military gear. I'm not
how well it would do in the constant bending over and moving laterally
firefighting involves, but the three plus quart water bag is great, with
room to optionally add another two quarts. I use the pack for
cross country skiing, and long and short day hikes. You have your choice
a couple of different camo color schemes and good old military green.
military and government products are very different from the civilian
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.
I could not make it, but my thoughts will be with her all day.
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".
||About mountaineering boots on the line:
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
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.
||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
Just Want To Know
||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
||. . . 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.
||"Jeffrey Buscher, NorCal Team II, CA" 52
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"
Minor, very minor issue here. DPA is duplicated in your Fire Acronyms
Website looks great! I just read the 72 hour report on the fatal
on the STF. I must say, I shed a tear for the poor young soul. I feel
those who are left to sort out the facts and live with unresolved
hope they can resolve the internal ones and continue to do good things
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
but never get the smoke out of our veins.
Thanks Hunter, I'll fix the DPA duplication. BTW, we've missed you in
chat. Cum'mon down. Our Ember is great moderator. Ab.
||Does anyone know who the cadre and members of the Augusta Hot Shots
I use to be on the crew and I'm Just curious.
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
due to laziness to tired to put it all down on paper. I don't know about
rest of you over state-side but I think all fire fighters should be
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,
List works well for US fire acronyms. Ab.
Greensheet on the Toulumne Fire Burnover
Thanks contributor, Ab.
||Ab, here's a few more WildCad pages if nobody has already sent them
Vas Vegas, NV
South Central Idaho
Many thanks, Original Ab will add those as time permits. Ab.
||More on SRA/FRA/LRA
Having done some line drawing on these areas I'll add my understanding
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
are watershed (including grazing) lands.
LRA=Lands under "permanent" irrigation or developed.
SRA is formally reviewed every five years by law. Land moved between,
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
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
Direct Protection Areas as there is FRA inside of State Direct
Areas (I slipped that one in!). The DPAs are an agreed upon
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
by their old designations but with the "balancing of acres" initiative
started many years ago there is very little money pre-paid between
agencies and the state.
Wanna see some pictures of SRA morphing into LRA; pretty sexy stuff;
Staff work is so invigorating.................
On another topic --
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
only), SEATs (because the single engine airtanker was reinvented), and
small guys still called Type 3. At least change is the most common
of life. Anyway, when someone yelled "here comes a GBMF'" you knew what
||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
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.
||Welcome back Hutch. You're an important source of all kinds of
information and wisdom.
And, dang it, we just love you!
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
and sisters. May their families and close friends find Peace.
||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)
Thanks HUTCH. It's great to have you posting again. Ab.
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
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.
||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?
The 72 hour Greensheet should be out. Anyone have a copy?
||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
keep your sense of humor and be safe y'all.
Death of young firefighter sobering for her colleagues
||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.
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.
||Thanks for the 209 info.
||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
Did it. Ab.
||Re South Ops Intel, I heard someone good at South Ops moved on to a
back East and a replacement hasn't been chosen. Some of the intel isn't
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
||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,
PS Thinking about it now, he was pulling my leg. What did happen to
R7. Someone couldn't count?
Type One Resource Status
My question is where is R7?
R4 FSWEB Access Only
R5 South ????????
R5 North FSWEB Access Only
Okay Only Kidding about R7, but is there a resource
status site for R5 South Ops?
Very Bored and Curious Hotshot
||Mellie, AWESOME... I have a question too on the 209.
What do the following abbreviations mean on the resources categories of
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??
LGTAIR ?large air tanker
Does LGR under Agency mean local group? (other Agency categories include
USFS, BLM, ST (state), PRI (private))
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.
||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
||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.
||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
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
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
Contract County Guy
All this talk about Wheel Chock made me take a picture of my NFPA
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.
You are quite handy... If you list the "ingredients" you might even
win the recipe contest. Ab.
"Can anyone tell me... what are private FRA lands? If SRA are State
Area, are they Fed Responsibility Area? If so, what private owners would
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
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!
||Can anyone tell me... what are private FRA lands? If SRA are State
Area, are they Fed Responsibility Area? If so, what private owners would
their lands FRA?
Good one Oliver! Mellie never cuts slack.
I think we should have a contest for the best Wheel Chocks Recipe.
||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
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.
||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
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
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
Congratulations Diane and Raymond!!!!!!
||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
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
Objects Are Closer Than They Appear Award
and finally $25 to $100 gift certificates for anyone not receiving one
of the above mentioned awards.
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?
||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
My extended family's favorite. Might go make some now...
Gotta try that wheel chocks recipe, too. Thanks for that, MT Smokey.
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.
on this site.
Wonder what came out of that?
Wow, this came up too.
hmmm (goes a to d for the full draft)
||Look at all the Incident Management Teams responding to the
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
I IMTs we have, of which 9 are committed or in transition and
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
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.
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
as long as 1/2 the height of the wheel chock
The source of this information was the NRCG equipment inspectors
hope that helps.
||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
||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.
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.
I hope we're not headed in the same direction as the aerospace
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
wood if it can be cut to meet the same specs? (Please don't tell me that
it's because it's flammable.)
||The Novato Fire District has just released their Cedar Fire document.
It can be found at
Novato FPD should be applauded for their honesty and commitment to
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
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.
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
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.
||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
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
||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).
||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)
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:
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
A single series.... GS-2 through GS-15 and SES..... That's how to make
the wildland fire community safer.
Addendum - Firefighter Classification Info Sheet
||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
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.
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.
If you follow the recipe and don't like it, send it to me. I'll eat it!
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
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
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.
||Ok folks ncbrush6 is now putting away his nomex and getting on the wet
the engine is hi and dry and the boat is now 10-8..
ok ivan come and get me.
ncbrush6 aka ncboat6
||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,
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
||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.
||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
6? Are they attached with a cord, etc....
||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
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.
Added them to the
funny terms list. Ab.
||Here's a link to Brian Kornegay's site where you can add virtual
condolences and messages to family, friends and co-workers of
Condolences and Reflections for
Eva Marie Schicke, 24, Firefighter
letter that came out from CDF Chief Geldert.
||This has come in from a number of sources. Ab.
on the Tuolumne Burnover
||Condolences to the family and friends of Eva Schicke. Best wishes for
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
firefighter statue honoring Eva. If anyone would like to join the 52
to help fund the statue, please do so. This process works via your
Highest regards to firefighters working on the CA fires. Be safe.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
||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.
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
I am currently applying to the apprenticeship program and don't really
everything everyone is talking/writing about. From my point of view it
a great program especially when you cant really afford to go
no benefits or guaranteed work hours. If you have any information I
appreciate it. If you would just add it to your column I don't have an
address right now. Thank you and I apologize for all the spelling
errors: its late.
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.
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
wishes to the injured.
To all of our Brothers & Sisters of the CDF:
On behalf of the members of the Federal Wildland Fire Service
nationwide, we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy, prayers and
to the family of Eva and those injured.
The federal wildland firefighter community mourns your loss as ours.
New incident page for the Tuolumne Fire.
I added it to the CA and US Fires, 2004 pages. Ab.
Baja Fire Spreads North Near Campo It started in Mexico.
Evacuations are underway in Canyon City, San Diego Co., USA
CDF internet site has information on the incident. Could you attach the
Thanks everyone for the timely info. Ab.
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.
From LD, updated articles:
The CDF burnover info just came in on the Hot List Forum.
Would someone please send in the report that CDF put out in that 10:00
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
The CIS folks are meeting with firefighters now. The Accident
Team is in Sonora. The CDF briefing started at 1000. My heart is heavy,
we carry on.
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
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
in the first 24 to 48 hours.
Condolences to the families and crew.
Fire season is not over for California
Please be safe everyone.
NWSA would like to express our sympathy for CDF's loss of a firefighter
our thoughts are with the families of that firefighter and also with
those that were
Here's an article with photos by Al Golub, a fire photographer with at
firefighter in the family.
Firefighter dies in Sierra blaze
Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and crew members impacted by
the SNF tragedy.
Firefighter killed while battling Stanislaus forest fire
CDF spokeswoman Sharon Torrence said the group was part of a
Sonora, Calif.-based helicopter crew and had been dropped off in the
to fight the blaze from the ground.
So sad. So Cal CDF
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
impacted by this tragedy. According to my sources the CDF will be
the media tomorrow morning, or once next of kin have been notified.
With a heavy heart,
Craig A. Rose
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
do some work on one of the engines. My son was burned over two years
prayers go out to all the families.
Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at CDF.
New Jersey Forest Fire Service
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
We received the official announcement below. Our thoughts and prayers
go out to those involved. Ab.
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.
Firefighters Injured Battling Blaze
Several firefighters have been injured battling the Tuolumne Fire
Firefighters are battling the fire in a remote section of the Stanislaus
about 11 miles east of Groveland.
Two firefighters have been burned and one firefighter was reported
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.
||Most of you are right. FEMA doesn't have a lot in the way of on the
resources. One resource they do have in the way of on the ground
management is called an Incident Support Team, or IST. Note the
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
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
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
task forces really needs time on a wildfire when his day to day job is
company officer on a rescue company in Philadelphia. On the other hand
NIIMS experience would probably benefit the planning folks.
I'm curious to see what the functional differences will be between the
and IMTs assigned to the hurricane area.
On a side note, many of the California teams have members who are
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.
||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
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
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.
"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
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!)
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
||Historically any change in gov't policy is a frustrating, cumbersome &
this article lists proposed legislation and should be of interest to
Governor told to OK fire bills --
California's firefighters say they appreciate Gov. Arnold
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
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.
||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
I have rambled enough,
||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
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.
||Well i am staying put for now here in n.c.. we have floods and wind
lots of standing water and folks flooded out of their homes.. More on
||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
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.
(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.)
||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
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
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
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
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
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
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.....
||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
teams out there to operate on the really large scale or multiple
If so, it's scary that no one is talking about where "fire"
careers might take us.
Headin' for the Academy
||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’
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
||-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
||Oh my, I heard the Inspector General's Report on the Cramer Fire will
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?
||Another preliminary call filtered down to the field this morning
resources going to Fla. At this time there's just a bunch of unanswered
concerning who, what, when, where and how. I would imagine Ivan factors
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.
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?
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...
||> From the Region 8 Intel site:
· 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
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
||Found this link on the CDF website. It displays the 20 most
fires in California listed by structures lost . Majority in So Cal, but
Zone Shasta County (Redding et al) seems to be right up there.
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
Lookee when those fires burned. Ab.
||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
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.
-A Regular Temp
||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
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
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
Are you saying that FEMA will pay for a trainee but they want a
||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.
||Look at this airtanker they use in Spain.
Boss at Air Tanker base
I couldn't believe it. Spain also uses the Campbell Prediction System
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
predictions - trigger point, etc so strategy and tactics can be
Wish we used that. Checklists, checklists, that's what we're saddled
An astute observer noticed in your "They Said" archives a
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. Readers, I'll pass on any messages. If anyone has
contributions to Paul's
Tribute Pages, send em in. Ab.
||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
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.
||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.
||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
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,
Sometimes there is real time info on fire in California on the Highway
Patrol (CHP actions) website:
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.
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".
||Oliver, I don't understand your post.
Wilderness junkie fighting fire
||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
||It seems the original apprentice question has yet to be answered...
In the original thread, there was no question about the effectiveness of
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
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.
||Cities are a hostile work environment.
Wilderness junkie fighting fire
Thanks Hugh Carson and others for what you do.
If you ever need to find this organization, check the Classifieds
page under associations. Ab.
||If we have a terrorist attack with some kind of biological agent, have
talked with their people about whether they would go? Would there be
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.
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.
Slow Wildfire Season Tough on Private Firefighting Crews
||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
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.
||Ab, If it's not too unprofessional... I would have paid to see Scott
through broken glass on his belly naked! even without the glass...
PS In all seriousness, I hope the Academy can provide info here every
often. Training time approaches and we could all use a little (or a lot)
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!
||- 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?
||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
||The Jobs page has been
updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series
0462 & Series
||Howdy all -
Been reading all the hurricane discussion, interlaced with the
"pre-positioning" discussion, and had to chime in if only for
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
||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
N/B I-15 moving thru the center divider jumping to the S/B side thru
I believe the fire is on the Forest 40% contained.
||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
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...!
||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
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
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.
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.
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!
A little late to chime in on this subject but, on the subject of Type I
Type II crews for working on natural disaster assignments: If you have
crews available to go do you leave them behind for less experienced
Don't you think you would want the most organized folks to deal with
you have at hand? Ever had the chance to see what the saw work situation
after a storm of hurricane proportions blows through an area? I have and
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
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.
||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
from Frances so teams slow on ordering. Deployment of a couple of the
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
Chad before the election, opps, "H" already taken and
"K" coming up,
Hurricane Kerry perhaps? Or how about Hurricane Kevlar with all the
||Nerd on the Fireline
Many of us that worked on the Columbia Mission Search last year
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
that can be signed off on the task book when your assignment is not a
||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
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
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.
||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
||Hi Nerd on the line,
Well about where baby’s come from, first there was the birds, then the
Then the man upstairs said we need something else so he created
a hotshot, hotshots were the best at everything, xtream hackysack,
and yes even stacking sticks in FL.
If you need more info on the maybe one of the Ab’s can help you with
maybe ask BIG ERNIE.
In response to Vicky with WFF thank you for everything. Have you maybe
about getting purple ribbons as magnets that we can put on our POV, or
nice green or even red trucks?
||Nerd on the Fireline,
Speaking of experience, I also heard that FEMA won't use any ADs.
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
to share this captured moment because we, the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation, have had such support from the Chief. He not only has a
for FS firefighters, he cares about ALL firefighters. I want to thank
It is the "Power of One" who can make a difference to our
community. Each one of us can make a difference to the families of
and fallen firefighters.
Thanks Dale and Harry, we think you are the two best-looking guys
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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
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)
Slurry drop at Elk Heights fire in Eastern Washington to support
by Kitsap Interagency Wildland Team engines under state mobilization and
Thanks EAW. I put them on the AirTankers
12 photo page. Ab.
||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.
||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
And temp crews disbanding for the "off season". Hmmm. Mind
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.
||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,
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!
As always thanks for the great site. Really appreciate the medium you've
I'll include this photo with another to follow.
This heavy air tanker is lining up a final for structure protection drop
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.
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
||Ab, Here's a pic of a 1957 CDF Dodge Power Wagon restored by myself.
Veeeeeeery nice. Put it on the Engines
11 page. Ab.
Here is a photograph of the Italian AIB Volunteers Engine.
I posted it on the Engines
11 photo page. Ab.
||Couple of photos, Ab,
This is Heli-Tanker 780 dropping on the Calahan Fire just west of Red
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.
Posted one on Engines
11 and the other on Helicopters
Sonora (CA) vehicle fire and resulting wildland fire. 09/01/04'
Posted it on Helicopters
16. Birdseye view of the scene, eh? Ab.
||Just a few photos from Ft Lewis Washington.... Stay Safe,
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.
Attached is the GEOMAC thermal map of the Geysers fire.
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/#
||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
More as it develops. Stay safe and thanks to all the folks out there
working fires, and hurricane recovery. YOU'RE THE BEST!!
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,
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.
"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.
||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!
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.
||I am interested of the fire that is in Sonoma Co. in Calif. we were
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
||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!
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.
||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.
||Have a safe day tomorrow, everyone!
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.
||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.
||CNN is showing the Geysers Fire, north of San Francisco, talking about
evacuations, guess the hurricane news is getting stale. It's warm and
the northbay wine country, grapes burn. I think they said the fire is
than 14,000 acres.
northbay wildland ff
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
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."
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.
||Addressing the Issue of Type 1 vs. Type 2 crews on the Hurricane and
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.
||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
consider other aspects of disaster preparedness/response/relief
operational requirements; our WFF world is larger than most of us
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
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.
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.
I'm using 12 passenger vans and 2 six packs. Buggies seem too expensive
to start) and Federal Excess isn't all that abundant. I have seen Ford
and would like to know how they have worked out for others. Pictures
welcomed w/ a little info. included.
Welcome lurker. Ab.
||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
||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
||"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.
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.
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:
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
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.
||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.
||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
||Latest rumor about Florida, Type 2 crews being mobilized to help out
FEMA in FL. Sending agency crews that have home units willing to pay
||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
Ab comment: Seems fitting to feature a photo of an Alaska fire,
this was the summer of fires in Alaska, all records were broken for
burned, and we seem to be following a new (officially unspoken) fire
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
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
fires in Alaska. Lands are designated Critical, Full, Modified, or
Limited. In the Modified areas there is initial attack, but if it
succeed then the area is often treated as Limited and after mid-July
of the Modified is rolled to Limited. The areas designated as Limited
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
in the late 70's and early 80's, with 13 planning areas. The first
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
plan it is available as an Adobe document on the AFS external website at
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
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
burn actively. Aside from the above average acreage, several fires were
near communities which necessitated a larger or more expensive response
Most of the fires in the Upper Yukon Zone have simply been monitored
little site specific action taken. Even the fires that we put teams on
were still site specific actions, something the teams had a difficult
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,
a district with a lightning bust. Then he realized that the squares on
map were townships, not sections, and that we really only wanted his
to concentrate on about three areas. Getting the plan across to incoming
resources, especially management teams, was one of the challenges of the
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.
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
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.
||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
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.
||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
"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.
||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
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family still today,
Helena Hotshot # 11
||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
||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)
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
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.
||Six Type 1 Teams have been assigned to Hurricane Support under FEMA
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
resources and since he still hasn't gotten around to that it yet the
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.
||Here are some photos I found that slipped through the cracks last
May. Awesome reminder of what those Southern California fires were like
Here are a couple of pictures I took at the Cedar fire as it crossed
Cuyamuka Community. I hope you like them.
Jason Stevenson, Captain
Willow Oak Fire Prot. Dist
Cedar Fire 1
Cedar Fire 2
Thanks Jason. I added them to the Cedar
Fire photo page. Ab.
||Re Baker River Hotshot:
I just got off the phone yesterday with him and said that his rehab is
It has been a frustrating time for him, but his spirits have been
all the cards and letters sent to him from fellow firefighters.
He is a avid Washington Husky football fan, and said the athletic
has agreed to move his season tickets to a wheelchair accessible site in
Again, he thanks all the support from the fire community and hopes to be
the line for the start of the 2005 season.
||Vail, Studebaker, and McCombs Type I teams have been activated for
Frances support and an Area Command Team, I think Mann.
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
GACC or a dispatch center but the whole sheebang in one place. Anyone
know if something like that still exists?
||Some more locations of Memorial
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.
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.
||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
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.
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 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.
||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
Thanks Ken, I posted it with some other colorful patches and logos on
10 photo page. Thanks contributors. Ab.
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?
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.
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.
||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
the 2005 fire season. Government acquisition procedures have been
the last few years, and as a result Government Agencies no longer mail
paper copies of
meeting notices, Pre-Solicitation Notices, contract solicitations, and
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
some engine and crew vendor addresses has been dismantled. Therefore,
advertisements of meeting notices, solicitations, and other acquisition
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
regarding our National contracts. If you have any questions, please call
me at (208)
I'm curious about the new national contracts. They plan on making any
And are other agencies, ie, Park Service, BLM, Fish & feathers
planning on having any
Engine contractors haven't had much work since 2002. I suppose that's
government has so much of its own equipment these days.
||Vail's and Studebaker's T-1 teams from R5 are enroute to southeast for
||Heard a rumor that more than one Type 1 team is headed to the
be staged for Hurricane duty. Anyone know the details?
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.
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.
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.
||I just heard that NIFC is going to be doing a new Nationwide Engine
Any thoughts or opinions? I know I've got mine.
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
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.
||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
support. (except TNF) Crews are gearing up for Frances even though I'd
prefer a big-a*ss
Thanks again for all you(s) do. What would we do without this site.
Honestly, I ask you all!
Thanks Terrie. Wouldn't be half so interesting or informative without
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.
||Vicki, sounds like good news about Matt!
Say, can anyone update us about the Baker River 'Shot who was injured on
Being vollie we don't get much follow up info, thanks.
||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
||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"
||so....how's the latest round of apprentices doing in R-5?
darn well i hope....
any retention problems out there?
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
fire pants in the late 90's. 100-200 pants were sent to hot shots,
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
holes, material rips), the next year (1998) the evaluation pants were
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
They didn't offer a whole lot of protection from Mississippi briars or
mosquitos. The pants lasted into 2000. I then got a GSA pair that lasted
2003. (wore out the butt, I guess I do more thinkin' than chinkin'!) I
evaluated a pair of the original kevlar/nomex pants in 99 for the BLM
evaluation. The pants performed better in the briars and the AK skeets,
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
not on shift, different ffs wear levi's, wrangler's, carharts, or the
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
carrying their stuff around on a big flat rock. There are quite a few
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
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
ridge down to the river just because it needed it? I never have, I
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.
||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
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.
||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.
||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.
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.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Thanks for the help for him from the Foundation, thanks to all who used
the Foundation to funnel money to him.
Club, everybody. The list is growing. If yer not on it, yer missing
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.
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
Thanks Ron. Good to see them on the AirTanker
11 and 12
photo pages. 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.
I put them on the Helicopters
16 photo page. Ab.
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.
Thanks Al, I posted them on the Cedar
23 and on the Handcrews
14 photo pages. They include photos of the Laguna, Dalton and Idaho
City IHCs. Ab.
Here is a pic of AA430 at the Fresno Air Attack Base on 7/21/04.
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.
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.
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.
||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.
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
Thanks, I posted them on AirTankers
12 and Helicopters
16 photo pages. Ab.
That time of year again, neh...
Here's a shot of WA DNR Rotor 341 working NE Region, Highlands District,
Snags within the White Mountain burn, Colville Forest. Photo 2004,
While instructing this wildland firefighter class field day I lucked
out with the perfect example of unstable air. The students got the
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
23, and Handcrews
14 photo pages. Ab.
||Any wildland crew--contract, municipal or fed--that cannot take care
their own needs (fuel, food, water, basic sleeping equipment) for 24
needs to find a new day job. C'mon folks, do we need to go back to
||Self-sufficient= can pay for their own hotel? What? I was always under
impression that self-sufficient meant that the crew could operate for
hours out of their line packs and/or engine, and that after twenty-four
incident would get food and water to us. Hotel? What’s a hotel?
Nerd on the Fireline
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??!!"
P.S. you are correct mellie!! thank you for your fine
||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
and chronic poison oak areas. Over time, the body can reach a point
the exposures overexceed the amount of individual immunology. One can
then become susceptible after a matter of time as the poison builds up
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 -
often the inhalation of the poison oak gas (in smoke) that causes
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
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
lungs via the normal air passages. --- Smoke exposure of poison of
oak gases once in the lungs often spreads systemically. In a short,
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
can rage it is not addressed appropriately - and that could mean:
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.
||The Jobs page has been
updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series
0462 & Series
||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
* 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
||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
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
crews have a purchase card (PCMS) to cover employees who for whatever
do not have a travel card. Purchase cards can be used for this purpose
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.
Self sufficient is self sufficient.... there are no differences in the
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
up and put an undue strain upon the ordering unit.....