"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
SEPTEMBER, 2005

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9/30 Howdy all -

Here's a link to testimony to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet in reference to Katrina communications "review" processes (the Subcommittee Web Site may not yet have the information posted on yesterday's testimonies but it should be the same). The testimony was given by Art Botterell and is very interesting, philosophically, in reference to communications issues...

www.incident.com/blog/

As far as that goes, I just discovered this incident.com blog after getting referred to it by a friend and it is pretty interesting in its own right. Gotta love the practical philosophers.

Also I can't resist commenting on the void of information coming out of the southern california area from federal government sources. Good thing I have access to CNN and a 209 password!

Be safe out there-

- still learning (usually the hard way)
9/30 Hurricane relief performed by wildland firefighters:

Just a quick note on what is going on in East Texas. I arrived with my crew, the South Dakota Black Hats (type 2IA), in Lufkin TX. on the 26th. The original mission of the Incident Command Team we are assigned with was utilizing hand crews to clear roads and homes of downed trees. That rapidly changed when we found out that the basic needs of folks (water, ice & food) were not being fully met. Now the team is managing 10 Points Of Distribution (POD) that I know of. Most crews have been split into 2 modules with each module managing a single POD and a DIVS overseeing several PODs within several miles of each other. From what I have been told by my DIVS the other PODs are being operated like the one we are managing here in Pineland TX. Open for business at 07:00, hand out ice, drinking water and MREs until 20:00, go back to the local High School for dinner and a shower. Our POD has been serving 1500 cars a day and we go through an entire trailer load of water, a load of meals and half a load of ice a day. No word on when our assignment will change, but as nice as we get treated by the locals, we would be happy working here for some time.

Matthew Branch
South Dakota State Wildland Fire
Hand Crew Superintendent

9/30 Hurricane relief performed by wildland firefighters:

Abs and all:

Hoping this finds you all well. I am currently deployed in San Antonio assisting with Katrina and Rita evacuees. I work in Region 1, and am one of five 20 person type 2 crews flown out of Montana on a charter plane. I wanted to write you all (texas slang) and let you know what we have been up to. Currently we are working in an evacuee shelter on the decommissioned Kelly air force base. We are working night shifts, 7pm to 7am. After about 5 days of haggling with the Red Cross and FEMA, we finally have our responsibilities lined out. We are supporting the Red Cross, and our duties are a lot along the lines of a camp crew, with a personalized twist added in. We set up and take down cots, manage supply of basic necessities including water and hygiene products, and are tasked with taking care of those evacuees that sometimes walk into our shelter with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Granted there are many here that genuinely need our help, but there are others that are here taking advantage of "the system". Residents here get medical care, 3 meals a day, showers, laundry services, a cool place to sleep, phone and internet access, television (news) and a little compassion. We are being assisted by the San Antonio Police, National Guard, and Texas State Guard, as the activities in a normal population still occur, prostitution, drug deals, fighting etc.

Initially when we arrived, there were logistical problems with finding us a place to stay. We were put in a building with approximately 500 other "assistants" with showers, food and A/C, a necessity in 100 degree temps. Our first night we were fed by the Red Cross, and afterwards, by the Mexican Army's Kitchen, set up a lot like fire camp. This is the first time since the Alamo that they have occupied Texas soil. With all the evacuees form the greater Houston area, they determined that they would use our housing for a special needs medical facility so for two nights we stayed in another abandoned building. It was a general disaster. The toilets were plugged, sinks filled with dirty water, no trash cans, A/C or showers, a pretty miserable experience. We had 3 (3 HOUR) periods of uninterrupted sleep in the first 48 hours. Thankfully that problem has been resolved and we are actually getting adequate rest in a lot better facilities.

With approximately 3,000 people in our shelter, people have been getting sick. We have been trying to remain healthy and hydrated. Some of our crewmembers have come down with the flu or upper respiratory infections. We had a confirmed case of the chicken pox (resident) earlier tonight. Those considered infectious have been moved to areas away from the general public.

We have been told that our occupation here is to establish some sort of consistency for groups like the Red Cross, that have ambiguous management strategies that often change on a daily basis. Although this is frustrating, things are getting better, and the difficult personalities are being weeded out or reassigned elsewhere.

Overall the assignment is a lot like fighting fire, with the personal danger not being in the flames, but becoming overwhelmed by those around us. The paycheck is the same, and every night (morning actually) we go back to our hotel knowing that we made life better for these people. They know that those of us in the "yellow shirts" are here to help, human beings first and "forestry technicians" in classification only.

MT FIREFLY

Thanks for the glimpse of your assignment, MT Firefly. Ab.

9/30 Quite a long time ago one of your ffs wrote an article. His name was Fire Killer. I have kept that article, have shown it to everyone I know, and if Fire Killer is still around, I just wanted to say YOU ROCK.

jd from salt lake city utah

Reprint of the Fire Killer piece below. As Fire Killer says, it is just land, and land that knows and needs fire... And the interface homes, well, bottom line is that they're just another kind of fuel -- true, beloved fuel to their owners, but not worth a firefighter's life. Be Safe All. Ab.

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

7/25/03
Today two families are in sorrow. Friends mourn. In the near
future, two new holes will be dug in the ground, flags will fly at
half mast, two new crosses will be erected, bagpipes will wail out.
Why must we morn again losses of fellow firefighters? Why? Why
did these two young men believe they had to save this piece of land
so bad that it cost them their lives? Every loss affects us all.

These are not acceptable losses.

I did not know these two. But I very well could have met them
and shared a simple handshake at the helibase. I mourn their loss.

Lest this happen again, let us remember what we fight- wildland fire,
not a structure fire with a kid hanging out the window. This loss is
not right.

May we remember that it is not a command of god to "save" this
piece of land. Land is only that, a piece of land that evolved with
fire on it. We are a family, and to lose two from our midst over a
piece of land is truely tragic.

We are not separate in our feelings of loss or in our desire for
understanding. Nor contractor, nor hotshot crew alike, these
deaths affect us all. Let us morn these losses in respect by finding
out what happened and not repeating mistakes if there were any.

My dearest respects to the family, to firefighters, and to friends
alike. We all share a bond that will not be broken. May these two
be in our thoughts and prayers - as we continue to mourn - while
continuing with our duties - as the job calls. Stay safe. Let's make
these the last deaths this year, and for all years to come. We are
one, yet we continue without two..., again...

Fire Killer

9/29 From Firescribe:

Los Angeles KCAL 9:
Topanga Fires Burn more than 17,000 acres
with link to video

List of SoCal news media with stories, photos and video of the fires.

Thanks, I made a summary table here: SoCal Fires '05 and put it at the top of the theysaid forum. Ab.

9/29 I know the fire in SoCal is LA County and Ventura County jurisdiction. After reading a post about the Forest Service not doing a good job getting us media coverage, well here is another example of not getting credit. I just watched the local news and they gave a list of agencies who are out fighting the Topanga Fire and here they are.

Ventura County
LA County
National Park Service
Department of Forestry
Local Agencies (?)

I know for a fact that my Forest alone has sent a strike team of engines, a handcrew, helitanker, and overhead and we are neighboring the Angles, so who knows what they have sent. It really amazes me on how many times we get left out as a participating agency.

frustrated

Someone wrote a personal email this morning saying that the 209 for the Topanga fire listed 5 strike teams of hotshots and 4 type 1 helicopters fighting the fire, but listed the number of FS personnel as only 25 -- and what did that mean? I think Topanga Fire overhead were scrambling to gather resources and it's hard to keep track of the numbers and what agency they hail from... The CNN reporter I saw at lunchtime talked about a crew of hotshots that had saved a community of homes in Thousand Oaks by successfully burning out their line. He didn't say they were FS, but they were. Ab.

9/29 Ab, can you post this? Jerry passed away on Saturday.

Carol

JERRY ROBERT BISHOP
(small photo of Jerry)

Jerry was born to Virgil and Isabel Bishop on August 24, 1955, in Clovis, CA, lived in North Fork all of his life, and graduated from Sierra High School in 1973. He passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, September 17, 2005.

His family, wife Mari, son Joey and daughter Jamie, were everything to him. It showed as he watched Joey play basketball, Jamie play soccer or softball, and early morning walks with Mari. Jerry and Mari's 30 years together were blessed with many memories, much love and devotion.

Over his 33 year career with the U.S. Forest Service, he touched many young men and women's lives. As Captain of Engine 51, his crew was his second love. Engine 51 was known as "Jerry's" engine.

His ability to work with children and his love of basketball was shown by his many years of coaching at North Fork School and teams in the Mountain Area Youth Basketball League. Jerry was known for his kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, selfless consideration of others and his gentle heart.

Mari, Joey and Jamie wish to express their heartfelt gratitude to the Forest Service Family and the North Fork Community for their love, kindness, support, prayers and endless help, day or night, during this difficult time.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Isabelle Bishop; brother Bobby; and sisters, Olga and Della. He is survived by his wife Mari; son Joey; daughter Jamie; loving dogs Chewie and Paco; brothers Ernie, Virgil Jr. and Eddie; sisters Mary Ellen and Ada; and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Jerry's Life will be held at the North Fork Town Hall on Monday, October 3, 2005, at 11:00 a.m.

The family requests donations in Jerry's name to the North Fork Elementary School's Basketball Sports Program, 33087 Road 228, North Fork, CA 93643, (559-877-2215).

Carol and all of Jerry's friends and family,
I am so sorry for the loss of Jerry. I didn't know him personally, but I do know many of you who called him most excellent friend, firefighter, mentor, and teacher. Ab.

9/29 A reminder.... The International Association of Wildland Fire maintains a public calendar of planned events of interest to the wildland fire community. If you have any wildland fire related events, meetings, or conferences that you want to publicize, send me an e-mail. We don't include training, since there are other sites dedicated to fire training. You can see the calendar at our web site, www.iawfonline.org ---click on Upcoming Events.

Bill Gabbert
Executive Director
e-mail: iawf at iawfonline.org (substitute "@" for "at")
9/29 Ken's Run Pledgers!

As of today, we've received just under $17,000 (about 37% ) of the $46,000 that was pledged by our wildland firefighting community for Ken's Run.

Payments were really strong the first couple of weeks, but have lessened over time. As a reminder to everyone, in the interest of not using the funds to pay for postage or a billing system, we are accepting pledge payments on our website through PayPal, over the phone with your credit card, or through the mail. You can send your pledge to

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way,
Boise, Idaho 83705

If you don't remember what you pledged, don't be shy! Call me and I can tell you what the damages are - we want to make this as painless as possible!

Thank you ALL for your support!

Melissa
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

If you've forgotten you can also email Ab and I'll look it up. The 1st of the month paychecks will be coming in soon, like tomorrow if you have automatic deposit. Hopefully, a number of people will get their pledge in then. Ab.

9/29 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated. Ab.
9/29 Joatmon:

Any letter writing campaign must be a coordinated effort. If you have folks all over trying to say the same thing but presenting it in different, uncoordinated ways, at some point the recipients of the letters are going to ask "what is it that they really want?"

That's not to say that as a federal wildland firefighter you can't write your own representative and say whatever you want about the issues. But its important that whatever message you send is the same message that others are sending to their elected officials.

So, lets start with you. If you want to e-mail me directly at FWFSAlobby@aol and simply let me know what state you live in and where, I'll e-mail you back with contact information for both that person's district & DC office.

While the FWFSA certainly doesn't hold a monopoly on educating and communicating with congress, it would be nice to get a copy of whatever is sent out to elected officials to ensure we're all on the same page.

With respect to agencies being embarrassed, most federal agencies we have to deal with do enough to embarrass themselves each day to the media without our help. We've also got to ensure we don't look like a bunch of malcontent whiners. That's why, at least in my opinion, it is far better to educate than criticize... yes I know, I can be somewhat critical of things myself. However there is a time and place for it.

I guess what I'm trying to suggest is that if you or anyone wants to become proactive, let's make sure it is a coordinated effort to ensure we get the right message to those it is directed to.

Casey
9/29 Here is a nice view of a column from Mt. Wilson. I'm not sure which fire it is,
but is sure is burning hot!

http://webcambiglook.com/wilson.phpl

Also, we have a vacancy for a GS-455-6/7 Dispatcher, which just opened
today in Roswell, NM. Would appreciate your help in getting the word out.

Thanks!
Vivian : )

P.S. Feel free to give my number, to anyone interested in the vacancy.

I posted the info on the jobs page as well. Ab.

9/29 Firefighters,

Keep up the good work of saving homes while fighting fire safely in SoCal.

I heard an interview on CNN from a grateful homeowner in Thousand Oaks.
She tagged a comment on the end. "We appreciate what these guys do...
That's why we need to keep our firefighters, our teachers and our police."

Good plug for the firefighters and against the propositions in the CA
"Terminator's" special election.

SoCal CDF

9/29 Any idea why "Q" says that ADs can't be EDSPs in R-5
I go on fire assignments as EDSD or EDSP in other regions (in Expanded)
and the room is full of ADs.

Rick

Ab comments as a taxpayer:
It could be problematic to have a non-govt person overseeing those who decide which resources are dispatched or directly deciding which resources are dispatched to a fire. Money is involved. There could be a real or perceived conflict of interest. For example, it might be hard to defend against future claims of favoritism or cronyism if ADs have the last say in which non-fed fire suppression resources are ordered. In the last few years there have been two non-R5 teams that have had to evaluate whether their team members from the private sector steered more business to their business co-workers. An AD who does not work for a company (or state, local non-fed etc) fire organization would be in a somewhat different category. But if that AD has affiliations they could profit from as a result of their decisions, a real or apparent conflict of interest could exist. Ab.

9/29 Casey,

Ahhh, the second way was the, "knee-jerk" reaction......I'm just wondering if a river of
letters might trigger one....

We've all seen how fast the agencies can change policy when they become embarrassed...

So what do you think? Should we all write letters to the mainstream media everyday or
do you think it's a waste of time?

Respectfully,
Joatmon
9/29 Firenwater,

Here are names and numbers you may need-FEMA PIO-Bill Laymon-504-202-xxxx,
Jim Krugman`s type 1 team PIO-Dennis Neill-407-703-xxxx.

I hope this may help. And yes we are here in numbers and we are being used everywhere
you can imagine and some I am sure you cannot imagine unless you were here.

Take care and stay safe,

Arlo

Thanks Arlo. Ab is passing these numbers on to firenwater. Anyone else needs them, please email.

9/28 Ab, here are some photos of air tankers. All were taken at Fox (Air Tanker Base) Field in Lancaster, CA a few years ago. I don't recall the date. I just take pictures of aircraft as a hobby, I was in aerospace 31 years. I can't give you any info on these planes, except for the type, C-54, C-130 etc.

Anyway enjoy.

Bob West

Thanks I put them on the AirTankers 20 photo page. Ab.

9/28 From Firescribe:

Fire Near Chatsworth CA Erupts Amid Strong Winds

Fires Burn More Than 2,500 Acres in Calif.

Could someone please let us know about the injured firefighter. Best wishes. Ab.

9/28 Ab,

Here are some photos from the Topanga Fire I took this afternoon
at the Helispot in Simi Valley.

-Amanda

Thanks for the quick photos. Ab.

9/28 Robwn Foam Fix:

I am trying to get this out to all of the frustrated Robwen users especially
those that have an S&S rig. I would also like to hear some feed back on
this modification.
Thanks-

Ben H

Ab will pass the ppt on.

9/28 Lots of fires in SoCal today. See the Hot List Forum.
I heard from my mom that they're even making news
on CNN.

Todd

9/28 To: Proud of my job,

Are you really? If you were you wouldn't compare or even mention the fast food industry in the same sentence with the fire service. The FWFSA is doing everything they can do to try and fix the issues, problems and shortcomings that have been placed upon the USFS. They are doing it the right way and not the way that could delay positive outcomes. I worked for the USFS for 12 years ( Hotshots and engines) and felt the pain of low pay and substandard benefits. I also had the privilege of working with the best people in the world that always kept a positive attitude and led us well. So to hear a fellow firefighter even belittle what we do for a living really pisses me off. Do yourself a favor, take a part time job at one of those before mentioned places and tell me if the grass is still greener. Or better yet be proactive join the FWFSA, write letters or join a support group for sniveling pot stirrers.

Signed,

I only flip burgers at crew functions
9/28 I am taking a firefighting class and have been asked to define the following "wildland" terms. I have looked everywhere and cannot locate the following two:

1. Wide Canyon
2. Saddles

Also - What determines the color of a flame? Give an example.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Your web site has already helped me a GREAT deal! Thanks!

LV

For the color of flame question, google on the following: "color of flame" combustion.
Alternatively, Ask Jeeves "Why are fire and flames colored?" (Hint: Think of what is required for fire to burn.)

Look up Canyon in the dictionary.
A Wide Canyon is just a wide one: the Grand Canyon is one grand extreme. Canyons increase the possibility for fire to spread into fuels across the drainage due to spotting or radiation. All other things being equal, the narrower the canyon, the more likely such spread will occur. Canyons also influence air flow which influences direction of fire spread, rate of spread or intensity. Such air flow is likely to change during the day. During a fire, it's good to ask locals if there are typical up-canyon or down-canyon breezes or winds at particular times of day. Set trigger points to reevaluate fire behavior in light of the expected shift in air flow.

For Saddle go to our acronym glossary page (link at the top of theysaid) and then, under definitions in the top box, choose the Complete NWCG - ICS Fire Glossary (pdf). Hint: Think of the shape of a cowboy's saddle.) Air movement influences direction, intensity and rate of fire spread. Saddles and mountain passes constrict air movement and can speed it up or create an upslope wind. This happened on the Cedar Fire and was a contributing factor to the deadly burnover. Know how to read a topo map and visually evaluate the topography you find yourself in when you're fighting fire.

Ab comment: Before your training is done, be sure you know the effects of slope, aspect (N, S, E or W facing slope) and time of day on fire behavior.

Have fun.

Ab.

9/28 Joatmon:

You stand corrected on your assessment that there are only two ways to improve pay and benefits for federal wildland firefighters, 1) being join the FWFSA or 2) the quicker way and write letters. (There is no quick way)

There is only one way...Join the FWFSA AND help with a coordinated letter writing effort.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
9/28 Firen Water,

I agree with writing the Media. There are only two ways Federal Firefighters ...(oops, thanks Dan... TECHNICIANS )....will ever get the pay and recognition deserved from the agencies...

1. Join the FWFSA and change law.

OR

2. Cause a knee-jerk reaction. (this seems to be the faster way to do biz...)

If everybody writes a letter a day (or more...) to the mainstream media, how long would it really take for them to run a story?... I mean, that's alot of letters!! I'm not talking about writing to them about ALL our issues, let's just start with recognition for our IMTs and crews involved in the disaster work...

WANNA TRY IT FOLKS??!!......let's keep it short and sweet.....

There, I just wrote to:

-Good Morning America (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=158076)
-The O'Rielly Factor (www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,77538,00.phpl)

Joatmon

Ab added the contact links.

9/28 Hey all!

I've been following the hurricane response by "federal agencies" and am completely baffled as to why there is virtually no mention in the national media of the wildland fire service and its personnel, who are helping with all aspects of the recovery effort. According to the link Ab posted below, we have over 5000 folks out there. A local paper has a picture with a flattened landscape and firefighters in nomex walking in the foreground. I could't find that picture on the internet, but found this one: In receding floodwaters, more damage found. Why is it our people are not mentioned?? On CNN there was a report about a couple of native crews from the southwest, but they were referred to as "law enforcement crews". What's up with that??

With all the Incident Management Teams out there, isn't there one single Information Officer that is working to get us proper recognition? Or dare I suggest that there is some effort at the Washington level to downplay our involvement so that the public and congress won't recognize that the the old firefighting workforce has completely crossed the line into national incident and emergency management professionals? Maybe there is a little paranoia that the wildland fire service might get taken away from the agencies and joined together in a professional organization with a clear mission having nothing to do with cleaning the toilets in campgrounds.

Many of us already know our incident management teams provide the leadership and organization FEMA is sadly lacking. We are the ones that have been teaching THEM, not the other way around.

At the very least, I would encourage people to ask your Congressman or Senator if they know how much support the wildland fire service is providing for hurricane support. Do it in relation to the effort of the FWFSA in getting HR 408 passed, or if you are radical enough, ask them why the Wildland fire service isn't its own entity.

And while you are at it, write in to CNN or Fox or your favorite news service and ask them why they haven't noticed the thousands of incident management personnel sponsored by the resource management agencies. Haven't they figured out what yellow and green nomex looks like?

FirenWater

Current Info:
Current Katrina-Rita Briefing Paper (pdf file)
Map of Resources (pdf file)

9/28 Just wondered if there is information out there on what roles our
FF's have in the hurricane relief.

Merci
9/28 Well 'Proud of my job'...

You apparently miss Lobotomy's point! I am proud of my job too, but when they
kick me out at 57 after dedicating my career to 'saving lives, property, resources,
as well as helping people in need' I would like to be somewhere above the poverty
line. Lobotomy and others work tirelessly to help better our lot as federal firefighters...
um... 'forestry technicians', and that should be lauded, not degraded with flippant
posts on this board.

Dan Felix (yes, I signed my real name because I believe this is important!)
9/28 Well AB,
I have been gone for awhile once again and am trying to keep up with what everybody has been up to and what is being said.

Reading what Casey was saying about the government contracting out firefighting work is worrisome. It may seem at this time that it will never be done, but the rising cost of fighting fire nowadays you never know with those people in DC. If they think they can get someone else to do it cheaper, ( I didn't say safer) they will do it.

Now onto a funnier side, how's this for a t-shirt? On the front it says," Smoking is Hazardous for your Health." and on the back it shows a smoker with a cigarette butt at their feet and a fire burning in the distance and he is being advanced upon by two fire fighters carrying pulaskies. Wouldn't that scare you into not smoking? I know I've a sick sense of humor.

Cris
9/28 Ab,

Since everyone has a cell phone these days to keep in touch with families, friends, etc., I thought I would pass this on. The last thing you need during a fire is this going on...

31 days from Aug. 27 (this means in the next day or so), cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls. You will be charged for these calls.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: (888) 382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

Or you can register online at www.donotcall.gov.

Hope everyone is staying safe out there during these rescue and cleanup operations in the South and all the lightening fires in the West. Call home, get rest, and be careful!!

Lori

Lori, that specific email about the 31 days has been floating around: it's listed as an urban legend. BUT Consumer Union (which puts out Consumer Report) had to fight hard to get cell phones included on the do not call registry, thereby letting consumers control who they get calls from and what they get charged. Urban legend or not, I recommend that people put their cell phone numbers on the do not call list. My whole family and many friends have. Why give the money grubbing marketers so much as a potential foot in the door? Can you tell I hate those harassing calls? Ab.

9/28 Proud of my job,

hmmmm, I'm proud of my job too.....

I sure don't like the pay comparisons much though. Does that mean I should quit also? BROTHER, if I hear another person blab, "If you don't like it, don't cash the check..." I'll friggin' puke. Come up with something better will ya folks? We ALL have pride in our work.

You MUST be from R-5..................yeah i'm kidding. Don't forget, not all regions are the same......

If you are from R-5, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Oh, and by the way, "In-N-Out" serves it piping hot!

-Joatmon
9/28 Proud of my job,

You are correct….. McDonalds is also hiring, but they have lost their edge as an entry level employer of choice in many areas. After years of being the “employer of choice”, McDonalds has lost their competitiveness in the fast food industry.

The important fact is that McDonalds is hiring, but they are having a hard time competing with In-N-Out burger because In-N-Out offers better wages, benefits, working conditions, and work schedules. (Yes, McDonalds is receiving the greatest budget (income) than others in the industry, but they are also some of the poorest examples of making a buck off employees just to sell burgers or meet their mission.) Being the biggest does not necessarily account for being the best as employees are concerned.

The federal wildland fire agencies are also having the same problems as McDonalds in that the federal wildland fire agencies compete to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. The big difference is that it takes lots of training, experience, and mentoring to develop wildland firefighters and fire managers to keep people safe and meet the mission.

If you consistently offer lower wages, benefits, working conditions, and work schedules than others in your industry or profession, you will not be able to maintain a stable and safe workforce. This causes recruitment and retention issues at all levels regardless of how much someone enjoys or has pride in a career. People need to have a salary and benefits package commensurate with the risks of the profession. This is a simple business model concept.

McDonalds can rely upon a constant supply of “willing and able” new employees to revolve through their hiring process and then leave for better jobs. Federal Wildland fire agencies cannot. The basis is safety. We need to be able to recruit, retain, and train the “cream of the crop” who are concentrated on safety while accomplishing the wildland fire mission.

Safety is near the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Also, near the bottom of the pyramid are basic things such as clothing, shelter, and food that wildland firefighters must provide for themselves and their families. Pride is near the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy and frequently causes failures at the lowest levels.

When you invert Maslow’s pyramid, bad things start happening. When Pride overtakes basic needs of survival, as vividly shown in Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why?, accidents begin to occur. If the pyramid is inverted, bad things start happening to good people at all levels. Psychology and sociology are some of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the wildland fire community that we are all just beginning to learn about.

Did someone say I was going to quit?

Not to get too religious on you but remember that Pride is one of the 7 Deadly (Cardinal) Sins. http://www.whitestonejournal.com/seven/pride.phpl . Don’t topple the pyramid by being too proud of what you do as a wildland firefighter.

When you are so proud, you lose sight of the basic needs of yourself, your family, and others around you with the simple hint that you provided….. You said, “We must still remember the fact that we take home more than just a paycheck, yes it would be nice to take home a larger one. However we also take home pride, pride of saving lives, property, resources, as well as helping people in need of more than just a tasty burger.”

B.S (Bravo Shiite). - Concentrate on the basics. The basics are the root of safety and productivity when you start understanding the science as I and others are trying to do. Pride does not feed the family, or provide for safety, or buy you a house in the area you work in. “Bad things happen to good people” if we continue to forget the basics of psychology and sociology as they drive our decisions as wildland firefighters and managers for our needs to feel good over our basic needs of SAFETY.

Lobotomy
9/28 I think Mollysboy said it best, Doesn’t matter on the color of the uniform that they used to wear, just as long as they know what they are doing, can train others to know what they are doing, is a good person, and fights fire aggressively, having provided for safety first…….right!!! Why not have a little pride in your outfit and welcome some new blood to the engine.

I work in south west R-6, and I would love to have some new people around, new captain, new AFMO, new FMO, new fire staff. Heck new management all around.

Just remember, if yer’ not fightin’ fire, your gittn’ ready to fight fire.

Fire Cat
9/27 This is in response to the gentlemen who made the comparison of our wages
and a local burger joint in California. We must still remember the fact
that we take home more than just a paycheck, yes it would be nice to take
home a larger one. However we also take home pride, pride of saving lives,
property, resources, as well as helping people in need of more than just a
tasty burger. So if you don't like it quit I hear McDonalds is hiring as
well.

Signed
Proud of my job
9/27 Abs here, but no emails to post.

An Ab and an "Ab in training" are having a great time "playing" this morning. "Original", we hope you're having as much fun as we are! Wish you were here or that we were there!

Lightning fires (CA) reported on the Hot List Forum. Thanks for taking care of business, firefighters...

Ab.

9/26 Getting some lightning in northern and southern CA and in NV as well.

https://thunderstorm.vaisala.com/tux/jsp/explorer/explorer.jsp

Todd

9/26 North Cal. has also sent Redding IHC, Mad River T2 (SRF), Trinity T2 (SHF), and
Redding Smokejumpers put together a T1 crew also, all are down TX & MS way
helping out with Katrina and Rita recovery.

NOPSer
9/26 Follow-up note regarding the Plumas Hotshot who lost some teeth:
I called dispatch. He's doing fine and is with the crew.

Mellie

9/26 Regarding the comments about USFS Info Officers not doing enough to tell the success stories of Fire folks supporting the Hurricane recovery efforts, try to understand that they don't always "march to their own beat".

The Forest Service is under the Department of Ag (hence the boring name "USDA Forest Service" instead of the old US Forest Service that us old timers still use!), and the Assistant Secretaries like Mark Rey and Jim Lyons have kept a tight rein on the news that goes out: Democrat or Republican, they bring their "own folks" into key PAO positions to be sure that the news releases support the Administration's official position: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!"

When FEMA started getting blasted a few weeks ago, Mark Rey authorized the USFS Info Officers at NIFC to start telling the Federal Fire success stories from Katrina, Ophelia and Rita (check out the www.fs.fed.us/fire web site for a good PR release. "See, there are Fed agencies doing real good stuff to support the Hurricane effort!")

It's been like that for mucho years, be it Hurricane support, fire investigation results or positions on roading areas that impact T&E species: the Agencies work for the Prez, and have to toe the line and spout the company position (or lack of one).

Aberdeen
9/26 Dear Thinking Outside the Box:

You summed it up quite well with respect to advertising campaigns... they are expensive. I recently looked at placing an ad regarding needed support for HR 408 in a paper that most members of congress look at each day and the price was about $5,000.

The important thing to know is that those (in congress) that can make a difference in your life and affect positive change in pay, benefits and working conditions are being educated each day by the FWFSA on what you do, how you do it, etc.

In fact as you may recall recently on They Said, I posted a "Dear Colleague" letter from Congressman Pombo sent to the rest of his congressional colleagues which reminded them of what you do and the work many of you are doing in the Gulf States.

Those folks - the ones who authorize and appropriate the dollars to the land-management agencies - are the ones who really need to be constantly educated. Ad campaigns are nice. In fact, I will be proposing to the FWFSA Board that prior to next fire season we contact networks and offer to do some public service announcements.

Additionally, there is certainly nothing wrong with each and every one of you writing, faxing, e-mailing or calling, your congressional representatives. Tell them who you are (a voter # 1), what you do, what you want them to know about the issues that affect you and what they can do to help.

We'll have some grass roots lobbying ideas presented at our Conference in Reno.

So for now, please know that the message about who you are and what you do is getting to the right people. Also please keep in mind that we are competing with every other group, business or entity that wants $$ from congress so we need to be persistent without being pesky. I cannot tell you how important the local firefighter's voice is in all of this.

If anyone wants information on who to contact and how to contact them with respect to educating them on what you do and what your issues are, please feel free to e-mail me directly at FWFSAlobby@aol.com.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
9/26 From a variety of sources this is what we're hearing on California IHCs and RHCs heading to hurricane relief...

From SoCal...

  • Arroyo Seco RHC, ANF, en route to Lufkin TX.
  • Horseshoe Meadow IHC en route to Lufkin TX.
  • Palomar RHC,
  • Stanislaus IHC is going to Stennis MS,
  • Vista Grande IHC, BDF, is on the way to TX.

IHCs and RHCs from NorCal are also flying to Texas to support Hurricane Rita today:

  • Diamond Mountain IHC,
  • Elk Mountain,
  • Plumas IHC, PNF, to Lufkin TX
  • Shasta Lake.

Anyone know any others from anywhere in the US?

Keep your saws sharp, keep water outta your gas! Be safe.

JS

9/26 Dear Yac:

The concept of getting fire & aviation out of the land-management agencies is certainly not new. As an organization, the FWFSA has discussed the issue informally and I frequently address it in DC. However a strategic plan to accomplish this has not been adopted formally by the FWFSA.

Perhaps the single greatest reason is the complexity of the action. As you may know, DoD federal firefighters are apparently headed to being under Homeland Security. As a result, employee rights will be diminished substantially in the name of national security. Additionally, labor unions (NFFE) who represent federal wildland firefighters contractually, would have to weigh in on any such proposal since they have exclusive bargaining rights. The complexity of getting such a move done exists, despite the idea itself being relatively simple.

The issues the FWFSA is tackling now have been the issues brought forth through the voice of its members for many, many years. Quite candidly, I think we've progressed a bit more rapidly since our disaffiliation from the IAFF and thus our ability to move our legislative agenda the way we want to.

We have to take on the issues that present themselves currently... that is the fact that our firefighters are employed by the land-management agencies. As we progress on bringing pay, benefits and working conditions up to speed, we obviously send out feelers about the idea of moving fire and aviation out of the Agencies.

If however, on a personal note, you are a member of the FWFSA, then the appropriate course of action would be to attend the conference in Reno and submit a resolution to the membership that addresses the issue, outlines a strategic plan and allows the membership to take action on the proposal.

There have also been a couple of tries at looking at a federal wildland fire agency and in fact the GAO (General Accounting Office) submitted a report to Congress a number of years ago suggesting the idea was not a good one. Of course, we all know times have changed and maybe it deserves another look.

Call me any time to discuss this.

Casey
9/26 Ab,

Our teams, crews and other resources are working hard.

Status of Fire (All Risk) Resources on Hurricanes Katrina & Rita:
http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/intelligence/KatrinaBriefingPaper.pdf (pdf file)

Map of Katrina-Rita Resources:
http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/intelligence/Resource_Map.pdf (pdf file)

Todd

9/26 Re: "...Our Public Info Officers are also missing the boat when there is SO LITTLE mention of our efforts in the disaster in the media!..."

If the US Forest Service was a private corporation the entire Marketing Department would have been fired a long time ago. In my career as a "Forestry Technician" no one knows what I do for the US Forest Service, never less that we fight fire, or even have the Largest Fire Department in the US. I am called every thing from a park ranger to a CDF firefighter almost on a weekly basis. I would like to applaud the CDF for their Marketing efforts. There are excellent, the USFS has a lot to learn. No wonder FEMA is getting all of the credit for the IMTs and crews working at Katrina.

I have never once seen a commercial or ad to come and visit our National Forests. The National Public has no clue to who the US Forest Service is. There are all kinds of ads out there for total bazaar things brought to you by the Ad Council for federal programs, but I never have seen one for Federal Firefighters or the US Forest Service. It seems there is money out there for other Government Agencies, heck the US Postal Service used to sponsor a cycling team, and the armed forces sponsor Nascar Teams.

As a FWFSA Member I would not mind seeing an ad campaign in the media, but I am realistic and know with only a few hundred members out of the thousands of Federal Wildland Firefighters we could never afford it. But thanks to Casey and all of the FWFSA Members for all of your hard work on a shoestring budget.

Thanks Ab for the Site and all you do for the Wildland Fire Community.

Thinking Outside the Box

9/26 Charlie Lafferty "Rattlesnake Fire" is my grandfather:

Hello,

My name is Maureen C. Lafferty/Ervin and I am the 5th born grandchild to Charlie Lafferty. We all called him, "Pappy" when he was alive. He died about twelve years ago or so in Willows, CA and he was 93 years old. His wife, my grandmother, aka, "Mimi" Flora Lafferty just died last August, 2004. She was 92 years of age, she also died in Willows, CA.

I would like to first off thank you for allowing myself and other family members to learn about our grandfather more than we did. The Rattlesnake Fire Story blew my mind..... as a little girl I can remember how boring and unfair it would be on the fourth of July, because Pappy would never ever let us play with fireworks, let alone sparklers even. One year Mimi finally talked Pappy into letting my brother and older sister and I light some sparklers and hold them, but Pappy never came outside to watch us. I remember Mimi saying something like, "Pappy has a terrible sad memory of a very big fire he once experienced" so I just left it at that. I always wondered why he was so filled with anger and darkness inside of himself as I was growing up, but I always just figured that it was best to let it be. I loved him despite his negativity, for there were some happy, good times that I have memories of.

If you could, can you please send me an email response and/or any photos of my grandfather during the Rattlesnake Fire? Please, anything would be so great. Thank you so much for reading this, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Shalom,
Maureen C. Lafferty/Ervin

Ab will forward any emails to Maureen.

9/26 Casey / Lobotomy,

You want the proper compensation, benefits, recognition and respect wildland firefighters deserve? The only way that is ever going to happen along with proper training, staffing and retention is to GET THE FIRE AND AVIATION PROGRAMS OUT OF THE LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCIES!

Do you really think that line officers and the agencies will agree that lowly “forestry and range techs” should be classified as “firefighters” and have the opportunity to put more dollars on their paychecks than the “professionals” in the land management agencies?

Do you really think that agencies that continue to put line and staff officers with minimal or NO fire qualifications in charge of National, Regional and District Fire and Aviation Programs are ever going to “get it” when it comes to proper classification, staffing and training and therefore firefighter safety??

While I have long supported the FWFSA as a member, and will continue to do so, I am not so sure that proper classification, compensation, recognition, retention and the increased safety for wildland firefighters that will follow will happen until the Land Management Agencies are stripped of the Fire and Aviation Programs…

Reynolds,

Pretty interesting the dollars we spend on Aviation assets, in particular helicopters and their support, while we pinch pennies with the ground troops .....

Yet every tactics class I have attended and / or taught stresses that the aviation resources are there to support the ground troops...... hmmmmmmm

IMTs and Supply,

Give the HOTSHOTS and other ground firefighting units what they need to get the job done!!!!!!! Who the #$%$@@%^ do you think puts out the fires???

Abs,
As always, Thanks for the forum!

With the utmost respect for the work Casey Judd, Lobotomy and others are doing for wildland firefighters,

yactak
9/26 It's good to see Rax and his crew deployed to
Gulfport, MS. It's about time the FS sends the best
and brightest to help in this time of need. I know
for a fact that this deployment did not come from the
top down, but rather from the other direction. How
about R-5 sending some more Type 1 folks down
including aircraft! I see other regions are stepping
up to the plate with deployments of Type 1 crews and
even an aerial taskforce. Good luck Rax!

Still Waiting to Help
9/25 My buddy just called me from Mississippi at the end of his assignment as a DIVS there for FEMA.

A couple of thoughts about that:

He got there early (the media must have missed that) and his FEMA briefing was short and inadequate, but as a "Forestry Tech" he is used to ' other duties as assigned'. He and his fellow "Forestry Techs" decided their mission was to 'go forth and do good things' and this became their motto.

He entered the 5 counties that were his division without knowing how to obtain fuel, food or lodging, but he made contacts (one of which threatened to throw him in jail when he identified himself as working for FEMA) and has gone on to 'do good things', teaching ICS, providing necessities to residents and rescuers alike, and becoming a confidant of the man that wanted to put him in hand cuffs.

He has fended for himself, made allies of the local politicians/community leaders, has done well with little direction and he is a GS-8 who makes less than $50,000 a year.

His reward may well be 'high 5' instead of 'high 3' and reduced support for health insurance in his retirement.

He also noted that until the IMTs got there it was chaos! While the President, DHS and FEMA give lip service to the value of ICS, they do not follow through and follow the lead of lowly 'Forestry Techs' even though we are the ones that know how to deal with incidents of ANY KIND!

Just the fact that an Engine Captain (a very savvy one, I will admit) could walk in to the worst natural disaster in this countries history and create order out of chaos should be enough for Congress and the public to realize the resource that they have in the wildland firefighter community and reward us for our efforts instead of penalize us!

If RQ and the R5 bigwigs do not see a problem with retention when this DIVS and I, and you other FSers could easily get a job elsewhere; CDF, FEMA, or other departments that pay us what we are worth, they are putting there heads in the sand.

Our Public Info Officers are also missing the boat when there is SO LITTLE mention of our efforts in the disaster in the media!

I say WAKE UP! We are the first line of defense in more than wildfires, it is time we are recognized!

Sign me,

Waiting
9/25 Dear Confused: (aren't we all!)

First and foremost, I consider "outsourcing" as the wholesale elimination of the federal wildland firefighter occupation/workforce as we know it by contracting with some mega entity to take over the job.

Yes the bean-counters in Washington like outsourcing. But when it comes to federal firefighters, congress has recognized the importance of federal employees doing the job. So much so that congress created a moratorium on contracting (outsourcing) out Dept. of Defense firefighter positions...the exception being a limited period when a military facility is being closed.

Two years ago I desperately sought the IAFF's (International Association of Fire Fighters) help when the FWFSA was still affiliated with them, to support an amendment I had written to that moratorium which would have included federal wildland firefighters as being "off limits" from outsourcing. The IAFF didn't want to "open a can of worms" and rejected our request for support.

Since then, and in fact historically, the Dept, of Defense has periodically offered legislation (quietly tucked inside massive DoD legislation) to remove the moratorium. Congress has steadfastly refused to eliminate the moratorium. As a result, you may see, or hear the land management agencies plan studies on outsourcing firefighter positions, but I truly don't see it happening.

Those in congress who don't hold the Forest Service in high regard are keenly aware of the large amount of contract operations in the Northwest and their associated costs. As an organization educating congress on those costs and suggesting to it that some of those costs get redirected to the government's own wildland firefighters (that would be you), the FWFSA has to walk a fine line.

We need support for our legislation from the very members of congress whose constituents are those contract folks in the Northwest. Thus we have actively illustrated the enormous costs of contractors and cooperators versus federal firefighters in our fight to bring you proper compensation, all the while making it clear we are not advocating the total elimination of the use of contractors and cooperators, but rather a reduction in the over-reliance of these higher-priced resources.

What would be helpful is for federal firefighters from R6 and other regions to communicate their concerns with the congressional offices from that area that we are working with to support HR 408. All anyone needs to do is e-mail me, let me know where you live and I can provide you the name and contact information for the offices we are seeking support from.

The bottom line is that despite what you hear from the land-management agencies about reduced budgets etc., and despite the increasing frequency of congressional inquiries as to how the Forest Service spends its suppression dollars, the money is still free-flowing from congress to the agencies, giving the agencies no incentive to become more cost-effective and efficient by reducing their reliance on the higher priced folks and re-directing those funds to their own firefighters by paying them properly.

All of the issues you raise are incorporated into our effort to educate congress as to what the heck is going on out in the field. The agencies certainly aren't going to tell them. Thus it becomes our job. Since those in Congress dole out the bucks expecting it to be spent on certain things, it becomes our responsibility when we discover that congress' expectations aren't being met by the agencies. Thus, I am very hopeful the FWFSA has become the proverbial thorn in the side of those agencies unwilling to properly compensate their own firefighters.

We are a small thorn right now...actively seeking to work with (what a concept) the agencies to provide you all with the compensation and benefits you deserve. However, I have no problem becoming an infection to ensure our federal wildland firefighters get not only the compensation and benefits they deserve, but also the recognition and respect that has seemed to envelop firefighters across the country since 9/11...unfortunately to the exclusion of our wildland firefighters.

Casey
9/25 need a job?

Someone mailed me this the other day...I think it was
one of my people trying to tell me something.

www.fema.gov/fima/recoveryemployment.shtm

Hickman

9/25 Fossilbird has brought up a topic that not enough folks have stood up for. Being on 10+ major fires this all with Type 1 or Type 2 IMTs on them it is getting harder to do business as a Hotshotcrew.

In the INTERAGENCY INCIDENT BUSINESS MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK CHAPTER 30 – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Page 6 of 14 states:

4. B.
...The incident agency may authorize, through written documentation, replacement of government property items that have been destroyed or rendered otherwise unserviceable while being used on the incident. However, non-standard cache items should be replaced by the home unit. The incident agency may require that damaged property be turned in before replacement is authorized....

Non standard cache items should be replaced by the home unit. about only 40% of the items used by most Hotshot crews are cache items, and that is a generous percentage. I am curious if whoever wrote this has ever been on a hotshot crew. If we were to only use cache items and no specialty items, it would be a joke. We are not looking at getting items to be used after the fire season, or for personal use, but stuff to make our crew more productive and versatile while on assignment. With exception of a few items such as our packs, sleeping bags and tents (tents and sleeping bags available on Pro deal) we are able to purchase most items that are not available through the cache through GSA Advantage as the mandatory source for purchasing government supplies. Why can not we replace items purchased by government funds through the mandatory source that were damaged or lost on assignment? This is boggling to me.

Yes we can get some of these items replaced through Supply Numbers while on assignment, but the scrutiny we have to go through is unbearable. On the last assignment in R4 we had to have the Finance Section Chief and Supply Unit Leader APPROVE all items, then the list went to the forest that the fire was on and they had to approve the items. We still have not received our Supply Numbers - 12 days later - while our finance folks on our home unit are requiring us to allocate the funds we still have to purchase for the past fiscal year, but cannot because we are waiting for the Forest in R4 to send us the Incident Replace Requisition with the Supply numbers so the items can be ordered. All we are asking for is a stream lined way to get our damaged supplies replaced so we can be fire ready for the next large incident.

On this same incident with over 20 shot crews out on the lines, requisition of a saw guy to be in camp was turned down because it would cost $12,000 just to bring him into camp. To me this is critical link in the chain to have all of our saws working and saw parts on hand in camp so there is no down time fixing saws. They sure were not in a hurry to demobe helicopters off of Helibase when Helibase was costing $200,000 a day before rotors were even turning. Maybe I am comparing apples to oranges, but this is a big deal to me and my crew.

On the subject of not giving out vitamins at camp where it is 20 degrees in the morning and no showers available is just wrong, and should be changed immediately.

Thanks Ab for the site.

Reynolds

9/25 Re: the CDF Captains Exam Boycott

Mollysboy,

First, I don't plan on jumping ship anytime soon.

> From the In-N-Out burger website:

http://www.in-n-out.com/employment_restaurant.asp

"Great Benefits: We start all our new Associates at a minimum of $9.00 an hour for one simple reason...you are important to us! And our commitment to a higher starting wage is just one of the ways in which we show it. Another way is through offering excellent benefits like flexible schedules to accommodate school and other activities, paid vacations, free meals, comprehensive training, and a 401k plan. For our full time Associates, we provide a benefits package that also includes medical, dental, vision, life and travel insurance coverage."

For those of us not in the fast food profession, $9.00 per hour plus excellent benefits is a darn good salary and benefits package for an entry level person in their industry.

In contrast, we expect new federal wildland firefighters to make $8.63 to $9.41 per hour, have no benefits, and only work for 3-6 months of the year while accepting personal rsik and shunning family. At the same time, all levels (entry level to upper management) of the federal wildland firefighting community wonder will it ever change and how long will it take to recognize that wildland fire management is a whole lot different than forestry, range, and natural resource management. Yes, they are related and tied at the hip, but they are different professions all the same, just like biology, botany, archaeology, and countless other professions that support the federal mission of protecting the wildlands . Just like the differences between In-N-Out Burger and being a firefighter.

In-N-Out has made a commitment to being competitive to draw the best employees who are interested in the fast food industry and retain them. CDF, various state wildland agencies, and municipalities have made the same commitment. When it comes to recruitment and retention in the fire service, safety is the paramount concern. I wonder if the federal land managers and political appointees will ever get it?

Lobotomy

If you missed it, I did create this page that lists the differences... Comparison of Burger benefits to Firefighter Job. Ab.

9/24 Here is some people doing what they do best (Medford Fuels)

Jerry S

I put them on the Handcrews 19 photo page. Ab.

9/24

More handcrew photos from Washington and Oregon. Check the Handcrews 19 photo page. Ab.

Ahtanum 20 series: More photos of the Ahtanum 20 person fire crew, for Washington State DNR. These were taken while working the Wood Gulch fire, in Bickleton, WA. Photos compliments of Kris B.

Farmington Regulars: On the Blossom Complex, Agnes, Oregon, 2005. Photo Compliments of Forrest P.

9/24 Yet more handcrew and one HAZMAT photos, this time from Italy. Ab.

Nucleo di Protezion Civile A.N.A. Squadra di 2°Livello Antincendi Boschivi Regione Lombardia; Villa D'Alme' (Bergamo) Italy.

BYE BYE.
Geom. Dolce Gabriele.

9/24 Casey,

I have a question for you about the persons in DC waiting to jump on the land management agencies when they "start dissecting our firefighters, start looking at out-sourcing etc.". Are they aware of the fact that there are forests in Region 6 that contract a large amount of operations to non federal employees?

I was looking at our contract payments for the fire season and on my management zone alone, I believe that I added up payment for severity resources to over 180 thousand dollars. This is outrageous in MY opinion.

If I am doing my math correctly (I'm sure there are factors that I am unaware of to add up costs) this could pay for at least a ten person crew for an entire season ( maybe even a 20 person crew) and that crew would not be just sitting on a compound waiting for a fire to occur. They could be out doing fuels reduction work or something more productive.

Now granted, I do not know much about costs of staffing at this point in my career, but some of these things do not make sense to me at all.

I do not want the contract world to think that I don't appreciate them. The contractors are a great asset to us. One group of the contract engines that we did pay some of this money to helped out immensely and wanted to do anything they could to assist our daily operations. They went out and posted signs for us, cleaned up trash at dispersed camp sites, did patrols, and asked to do training with our regular module.

But there were times when we had severity resources just sit there for 2 weeks and not even attempt to get involved.

There is a time and place for contract resources but some of the LARGE amount of money could be used for a regular work force.

Do you have any insight to this kind of management? do you consider some of this "Outsourcing" or am I mistaken on the way that I am using the word?

sign me,

Confused about finances.
9/24 I wanted to comment on the recent postings about the CDF boycott and the idea of "hopping the fence" for better pay and benefits.

I've had the unique opportunity to not only represent federal wildland firefighters, but also Dept. of Defense (DoD) federal firefighters while also serving as a member of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) Executive Board. The CPF Executive Board includes the CDF as its "6th District" whereas DoD federal firefighters in California make up the 5th district, a position I had the honor of serving in for 5 years.

The act of jumping fences from the federal sector to the municipal or state sector is nothing new. It has been happening for years and was a primary force behind pay reform for DoD federal firefighters in the late '90's and also serves as a focal point of our recruitment and retention concerns as we push for pay reform for our federal wildland firefighters.

The FWFSA works every day to bring our federal wildland firefighters closer to realizing the compensation and benefits they deserve that are long overdue. It is a daunting task to educate congress on what you folks do just so they can be educated on how current pay & personnel policies adversely affect our firefighters.

I would suspect that most of our federal wildland firefighters got into the business because they love what they do, not that they would get rich. However I know the frustration of watching the gap between pay and benefits for federal firefighters grow larger as compared to their counterparts.

Let's face it, the primary reason for this is that current law excludes pay and benefits from the negotiation process in the federal sector. The CDF and other agencies have the ability to negotiate such benefits. The ONLY way to improve federal pay and benefits is to change the law... and that is what the FWFSA is all about.

How do I convey to new federal wildland firefighters that staying in the federal system will make sense sooner, rather than later? How do I convince those that need to support their families that they do have a voice in their futures and can make a difference and make a change for their careers and those that follow?

How do I convince those that have put so much time in the current federal system not to retire early and create an even greater void in the infrastructure of the federal wildland firefighting community?

Personally, I make less than most federal wildland firefighters yet perform the duties that some in this business do who make 10 times as much as I do. Why? For the same reasons that those of you sticking with the federal system stay... it is our passion... It is our affection for our crews and those on the lines.

Should I and the rest of the FWFSA simply give up and watch the federal wildland firefighting community self-destruct, or do we keep working hard to bring you what you deserve? I know the easy road is to go for the bucks and I certainly admire the CDF and what it has done for its employees. But I'm here to tell you that all of you can, and should become more involved and deliver the same to our federal wildland firefighters.

Changing the law is not easy, its not quick. But I dare say there are many folks out there benefiting from the elimination of the overtime pay cap that we accomplished a few years ago. Even more will benefit if we are successful in securing portal to portal for you, proper classification, health benefits for seasonal/temp employees, hazard pay for prescribed burns etc.

We've got the attention of congress but we've got to get the attention of all of you out there that are cynical about your ability to make a difference. It's there for the taking right now, but you have to become active. Make your own federal wildland fire service "the place" to work and make a career.

A few hundred members of the FWFSA are working... and paying the freight, to bring these benefits to thousands of federal wildland firefighters across the country... many who are only now starting to hear about us and what we do, others still cynical of the federal government enough that they won't take the time to improve their own pay & benefits package.

I want to reiterate what Congressman Jon Porter (R-NV), Chairman of the Subcommittee on The Federal Workforce & Agency Organization said on the record at hearings for HR 408 just last month. He stated that his priorities were to "properly classify our federal wildland firefighters and bring them the compensation reform they deserve."

Further, if a representative from the Nevada Professional Firefighters can appear at the hearings and offer their support for our federal wildland firefighters, and testify that you deserve portal to portal pay and other benefits that the FWFSA is working for, then surely you can join our own efforts to improve your lives, improve your safety and bring greater peace of mind to your families.

I don't know if the FWFSA will take a position on the "boycott." But at this point, having busted my butt for so long and watched others spend years doing the same for federal wildland firefighters, I would urge all of you to stay where you're at in the federal system. Don't fall victim to the bureaucratic rhetoric from the Agencies about budget cuts, reduced staffing etc.

We've got folks in DC just waiting to go after the land-management agencies if they start dissecting our firefighters, start looking at out-sourcing etc. However, you all must realize that it makes our job that much harder if we don't have a strong voice across the federal wildland firefighting community.

You want to go to the CDF or other "greener pastures"? Go Ahead. If you want to do what you do best and fight, and claw and get dirty for what you believe, then I'm right along side of you. I've always told the members of the FWFSA that I want them to know that when they are on the lines, in some remote, inhospitable place, tired, hungry, smelly etc., that someone (the FWFSA) has their backs and is fighting for them just as hard as they are fighting in the field.

If you want to join us, you know where to find us. FWFSAlobby @aol.com or (916) 515-1224.

I'm waitin' for the call...

With Great Respect for All of you,

Casey Judd
Business Manager
Federal Wildland Fire Service Assn.

9/24 Re Boycott of the CDF Captain testing:
Mollysboy, it wasn’t a joke. I see it in my area also.

I read the request for a boycott of the CDF Captain testing the same way… I think. But, I don’t work for CDF so I don’t profess to know why they opened the hiring process again to people from outside of CDF, but I do know some good folks from CDF that were former federal wildland firefighters that are now Division Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs, Fire Captains, Engineers (FAE), Firefighter 2, and Firefighter 1 employees.

My guess is that CDF is probably having similar problems as the federal agencies are having….. lower pay than surrounding agencies that are affecting recruitment and retention of the most qualified employees and the safety that comes with experience and training.

If I am correct, in some areas of California, a CDF employee can apply to become a Firefighter 1 and then promote to FC-A or FC-B within just four to six years after completing CAL-JATP due to the extreme number of vacancies and the need to provide jurisdictional protection of natural resources and communities?

I know that in some areas of California, the progression is usually from Firefighter 1 (Seasonal) to Firefighter 2 to FAE to FC-A or FC-B (That version may take an additional year or so)….. In most areas that do not have Schedule A contracts (most of the state), the usual progression is Firefighter 1 to FAE to Captain… in as little as four years for people who know how to work the system, take promotional exams, and fill out supplemental questionnaires.

If I was a member of a Union or the CPF, I would look at safety as the over-riding factor and not send out those e-mails and press releases that Local 2881, CPF, and the IAFF did.

Those press releases were a big slap in the face of the wildland fire community once again. Everyone who is a true wildland firefighter wants the most qualified, experienced, and trained supervisor they can get to be their boss at all levels of the wildland fire community, regardless of the former color of their shirts or fire engines. The goal is not money… it is for everyone in the wildland fire community, regardless of agency or affiliation, to come home safe after each fire.

Rogue Rivers
9/24 CDF

I just finished my APP and it will be in the mail on Monday. Molly I agreed with everything you said up until you slammed CDF with your comment on the Cedar and Tuolumne fires. All agencies have lost firefighters in the line of duty, we can't finger point to one agency. If you're with a Federal agency, are you proud of the Cramer or Storm King fires? That is why I feel we can't finger point when a tragedy happens to a specific agency. Instead we need to look at what happened and share with everyone how that tragedy could be avoided no matter what agency you're with.

Maybe an ex-R5er

9/24 CDF

I strongly urge those who desire to take the upcoming Calif. Department of Forestry and Fire Protection examination for Fire Captain to do so! Why would you purposely deny yourself a chance at a better position? I believe the union is making a terrible mistake on this one! They (Union) don't want the current TAU Engineer's to take the exam but I'm sure that they will take dues from whoever passes the thing. Bad advice from the Union...TAKE THE EXAM, you can always choose not to accept any positions offered if you are successful. Good luck.

COPTER100

9/23 hey folks,

just wanted to throw a "get well" out there to the plumas hotshot who got his teeth
smashed out by some sort of flying crap after that snag fell....

hope you can grin and bear it.....: )

hope your other folks are OK too....

also just wanted to ask the community their opinions about being taken off the clock
@ 2030 and sent out into the green, with nothing but a space-blanket? does that
really constitute "reasonable accommodations"?

sign me,
still loving the green team...
9/23 Here is one of many excellent examples of Interagency Incident Management Teams performing the ESF function (ESF 4 – Firefighting) of the National Response Plan. (From the ICS-209).

It is also an excellent example of an IIMT doing what they do best, managing an incident as a team, or through Unified Command.

1: Date
09/23/2005

2: Time
1700

5: Incident Name
Katrina Holy Cross

6: Incident Kind
Hurricane

9: Incident Commander
Anderson

14: Short Location Description (in reference to nearest town):
New Orleans

34: Significant events today (closures, evacuations, significant progress made, etc.):
Three emergency calls were responded to. The area was under a tropical storm warning most of the day. Rain squalls, high winds, tornado warnings and funnel cloud sightings were experienced throughout last night and today. Several leaks and breeches of the levees were reported as well as renewal flooding in portions of the city.

39: Actions planned for next operational period:
Continue staffing fire stations where possible and providing fire and emergency response to the City of New Orleans. Continue monitoring Hurricane Rita and evaluating necessity of evacuating from New Orleans. Determine extent of flooding due to Hurricane Rita.

44: Remarks:
This incident is being managed under unified command with PNW Team 3, New Orleans FD, New York FD, and Illinois FD. An evacuation plan has been prepared and is ready to be implemented in the event that Hurricane Rita threatens the area, although it no longer appears to be a serious threat to New Orleans.

Lobotomy

And this use of wildland firefighters is multiplied many times over: Katrina-Rita Resources Map (pdf file). Ab.

9/23 I’m confused. Are you guys complaining about the CDF pay? Hasn’t this website
been talking about portal to portal and better pay and benefits? Ignore the CPF and
CDFF boycott. If the in house FAEs are worth anything, they will do fine on the
test. If they can’t do well, would you really want them in a red hat?

Apply

“Another CDF BC”
9/23 Here is a collection of news articles about communications during Katrina.

Katrina - Interoperability of Communications

COMT

Looks interesting. Ab.

9/23 state rappellers reply

The California Department of Forestry does not rappel, but they do perform “short haul” rescues. Under strict rules/procedures, if a firefighter on the line is injured and they can not be transported by other means, the CDF Helitack crew is trained to deploy a rescuer at the scene.

The helicopter is rigged for the short haul; the rescuer is lowered by those in the helicopter to the ground. After the rescuer assesses the victim, a Stokes and additional rescuers can be lowered to the ground. The victim is loaded/secured in the Stokes, attached to the rope along with a rescuer and flown hanging under the helicopter to the nearest appropriate landing site.

Firefly

9/23 Ab,

Here are some pictures of the new Stanza Memorial that was dedicated at the end of
July. The memorial is located in Chester, Ca. As you can see it is still a work in progress.

I'm from the Klamath and I personally have seen what remains of the engine and so I think
these pics should be up to respect the crew.

thanks, Risky

Memorial to Heather, Steve & John

9/23 Dam*..

A CDF Crew Captain or Engine Captain makes the same amount on a base salary that I do with 800 hours of overtime and they get paid for all hours away from home and don't have to sleep in the dirt or in tents.... and I have been with the feds for over twenty years....... Why wouldn't I jump ship and take a downgrade in position and get to be able to communicate with my family amd friends and stay in a nice place when recuperating from fires?

I wonder what a CDF Captain would make with 800 hrs. of unplanned overtime? Why would I not want to “Double Your Salary and Triple Your Benefits and Retirement” as Just the Facts said.

Gizmo
9/23 "Just the Facts" - your latest post was just a big joke, right?

The CDF Union and CPF Union don't really expect qualified and competent folks from outside of CDF to boycott an application process that would allow them to make nearly $75,000 per year so that no "great harm would come to their CDF brothers and sisters"? A greater risk for "harm" comes from have less than the best as your leaders in a fire situation!

Always seemed to me that Mother Nature and wildland fire never looked at your Union pin before it kicked your butt! I've always wanted the best and the brightest to cover my backside in a tight situation, not just someone who "paid their Union dues". If the most highly qualified candidate comes from outside the CDF, so be it: maybe we won't have to read another "Cedar" fire or "Tuolumne" fire fatality report in the years ahead.

Want to get promoted because you're a member of the "good ole boys club"? Become a lawyer and apply for the job as Director of FEMA. Want to be a front-line wildland fire supervisor: be the best qualified and beat out all competitors, regardless of the color of the shirt you now wear! The safety of others will likely depend on you and your skills!

Mollysboy
9/23 Sign Me… Just the Facts… you omitted the CDF benefit package.

* inexpensive medical, dental & vision insurance; training & travel expense
reimbursement; uniform allowance; physical fitness allowance; and an
incredible safety retirement plan with built in COLAs.

Does any other state offer similar benefits?
Professional wildland firefighting has never been "even ground".
Hope springs eternal.

northzone

9/22 /HC/

I went to the CPF site and Steven, John, and Heather's names are all listed as being on the memorial. It doesn't say what year they were put on there so I can't help you there. I remember meeting Steve at a retirement party up in Chester. What a character! He definitely made an impression and John and I were saddened upon hearing of his death. John enjoyed working with him and everyone else up on the Almanor Ranger District while he was on a detail up there.

Lori Greeno
9/22 The names of the fallen firefighters from the Stanza tragedy have been added
to the wall in Sacramento. Also the Memorial has finally been finished at the
Alamanor Ranger District office in Chester.

Pyrolysis

I'm working on some photos of the new memorial at Chester. Ab.

9/22 Ab,

How many IMT’s are there in the country? Are there 4 Area Command Teams?

Pumba

Check the Type I and II IMT pages. Look on the Links page under federal. Ab.

9/22 Have the names of those lost at the Stanza Fire already been added to the
monument in Sacramento? I noticed in Lori Greeno's note that there were
names back to 2002 and was wondering about those folks.

Thanks,
/HC/

9/22 Re: CDF Captains Exam and "Is There Competition with In-N-Out Burger"? www.fire.ca.gov/php/careers_content/downloads/05FCBull.pdf

Fire Captain

Range A $3648 - $4432 (plus planned overtime of $1857 - $2256 per month)

Range B $4004 - $4865 (plus planned overtime of $2037 - $2476 per month)

CDF Firefighter 1 (Seasonal Firefighter)

$2333 - $2837, plus planned overtime and benefits.

CDF Food Service Technician 1 (Ab, could you provide a link here for the 2/18/2005 post from Lobotomy regarding In-N-Out burger and how they have better pay and benefits etc…thanks)

$1929 - $2343, plus state benefits.

The contents of the following two e-mail press releases are circulating around. I thought they should be made more visible to highlight three things… 1) How poorly federal wildland firefighters are paid in relation to their counterparts in California and nationwide, 2) How certain groups are afraid of the qualifications and experience from federal wildland agencies may affect their hiring, promotion, and retention, and 3) Why the USFS is losing its “cream of the crop” to other agencies and professions nationwide due to poor pay, benefits, and working conditions.

CPF Requests Boycott of CDF Fire Captains Exam

The California Professional Firefighters are echoing the call made by CDF Firefighters Local 2881 to boycott the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection open Fire Captains Exam.

The Exam announcement went out late last week, and goes against the policy of CDF Firefighters Local 2881, that appointments made to the CDF Fire Captain classification come from within CDF through closed promotional exams only. Fire service personnel who file for the exam do so at great harm to their CDF Firefighters brothers and sisters. We are requesting the support and compliance from our brothers and sisters to not file for this exam. We thank you for your consideration in this matter. If you have any questions you may contact CDF Firefighters Local 2881 at (916) 609-8700.

(and)

CDF Firefighters Local 2881 Calls for Exam Boycott

September 12, 2005 – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) Firefighters Local 2881 is calling for a boycott of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection open Fire Captains Exam.

The availability of the exam was announced earlier this month; however, the open exam goes against Local 2881’s promotion policy which dictates that in order for a fire fighter to be appointed to the CDF Fire Captain Classification, the applicant must already be a CDF employee who has completed the California Joint Apprenticeship program as a journeyman and is performing the duties of a fire apparatus engineer.

Opening captains’ positions to everyone effectively takes away a promotional opportunity from the affiliate’s members and permits non-journeyed employees to hold company officers positions within the CDF.

For more information about the boycott, contact CDF Firefighters Local 2881 at (916) 609-8700.

I feel the pain of the groups that oppose the open recruitment list but it’s a game of “Double Your Salary and Triple Your Benefits and Retirement”.

Heck, even the Food Service Technician 1 position will double the salary and benefits that an entry level federal wildland firefighter gets, and the only requirements are “Six months of experience in an institution, hotel, or restaurant, either serving, cleaning food service areas, or assisting with the preparation and service of foods and beverages. (Completion of the eighth grade may be substituted for the required experience.)

A CDF Fire Captain (with planned overtime) makes the base salary of our Deputy Chief (Forest AFMO).

“Employees in the class of Food Service Technician I are assigned to help the cooking staff in the kitchen, serve food in a dining area, stock the food, and to clean up after meals are served. Food is served cafeteria style. In the dining areas, employees will be required to do table work (e.g., refill condiments, clean tables). In the kitchen areas, employees perform the routine work of preparing food for cooking, cleaning and maintaining equipment, utensils, and supplies.”

Sign Me… Just the Facts…

…. And, a word of advice for the folks worried about CDF Food Service Technicians and their recruitment… they need to get a Food Service Technician Union that concentrates on safety before better pay and benefits. In-N-Out burger seems to be a strong competitor that is stealing their best employees and possibly is providing unqualified Fire Captain candidates. (Tongue in firmly in cheek). Maybe safety, pay, benefits, etc. all come into the equation when it comes to recruitment and retention of quality employees.
9/21 state rappellers reply

North Carolina dept. of forestry has/ or had a military-style fast rope
program for its convict crew helitack for IA in the more mountainous areas
of the state.

Don.

9/21 Just a note of possible interest. The California Firefighters Memorial will have their ceremony on Oct. 15, 2005 on the East side of Capitol Park, Sacramento. There will be 11 wildland firefighters names put on it this year. They include:

2005
John Greeno USFS
Paul Cockrell USFS
Thomas Lynch USFS
Brian Bruns USFS
Chris Kanton CDF
Andy Towner CDF
2004
Daniel Holmes NPS
2003
Kenneth Moiseve LACo
Phillip Gibbs LACo
2002
Steven Wass USFS
Michael Davis USFS

Just wanted to pass this along in case anyone wanted to be there. It starts at 11:30. If anyone comes, please look for me. I would love to meet some of you and find out who is lurking behind those pseudonyms.....

Lori Greeno
9/21 Here is another very important bill that is in Congress that all of us should consider calling our elected representatives about. It has two versions, one in the House and one in the Senate. This bill makes the government responsible to prove a rare or debilitating illness is NOT work related rather than the responsibility of a federal firefighter or his or her family to prove that it IS.

Fact Sheet: www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/0505fedpresumptivefactsheet.php
Key Points: www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/0505fedpresumptivekeypoints.php

"HR 697 amends the Federal Employee Compensation Act to create a rebuttable presumption that cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and infectious diseases are job-related for purposes of workers compensation and disability retirement."

There are other versions of similar bills out there in Congress, but the discussion about the hidden dangers of being a wildland firefighter must begin at sometime.

Lobotomy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2005 (Introduced in House)

HR 697 IH
109th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 697

To amend title 5, United States Code, to create a presumption that disability of a Federal employee in fire protection activities caused by certain conditions is presumed to result from the performance of such employee's duty.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 9, 2005

Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia (for herself and Mrs. CAPPS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

A BILL
To amend title 5, United States Code, to create a presumption that disability of a Federal employee in fire protection activities caused by certain conditions is presumed to result from the performance of such employee's duty.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2005'.

SEC. 2. CERTAIN DISEASES PRESUMED TO BE WORK-RELATED CAUSE OF DISABILITY OR DEATH FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IN FIRE PROTECTION ACTIVITIES.

(a) In General- Section 8102 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(c)(1) With regard to an employee in fire protection activities, a disease specified in paragraph (2) shall be presumed to be proximately caused by the employment of such employee. The disability or death of an employee in fire protection activities due to such a disease shall be presumed to result from personal injury sustained while in the performance of such employee's duty. Such presumptions may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

(2) The diseases specified in this paragraph are the following:

`(A) Heart disease.

`(B) Lung disease.

`(C) The following cancers:
  1. Brain cancer.
  2. Cancer of the blood or lymphatic systems.
  3. Leukemia.
  4. Lymphoma (except Hodgkin's disease).
  5. Multiple myeloma.
  6. Bladder cancer.
  7. Kidney cancer.
  8. Prostate cancer.
  9. Testicular cancer.
  10. Cancer of the digestive system.
  11. Colon cancer.
  12. Liver cancer.
  13. Skin cancer.
  14. Breast cancer.
  15. Lung cancer.

`(D) The following infectious diseases:

  1. Tuberculosis.
  2. Hepatitis A, B, or C.
  3. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  4. Diphtheria.
  5. Hemorrhagic fever.
  6. Meningococcal disease.
  7. Rabies.
  8. Any uncommon infectious disease the contraction of which the Secretary of Labor determines to be related to the hazards to which an employee in fire protection activities may be subject.

`(3) The term `employee in fire protection activities' means an employee, including a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous materials worker, who--

`(A) is trained in fire suppression, has the legal authority and responsibility to engage in fire suppression; and

`(B) is engaged in the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.'.

(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by this section applies to an injury that is first diagnosed, or a death that occurs, on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

9/21 JP, A few contractors are involved in the Katrina arena- showers, caterers, grey water and supply truckers. If you read thru the National Response Plan you'll note that there is only one sentence in the whole plan addressing contractors. The Gov't. feels that they have no responsibility to order and dispatch the private sector- most GACCs are busy trying to get their own folks on the Relief effort (to help cover the cost of the Gov't. employee's salary). Alot of the GACCs feel they have had no directive to help put the private sector to work and thus, won't. I agree with you that the private sector is a huge resource, but let's face it, the private sector is considered the ugly stepchild and they (the state and federal dispatch centers) have no desire to put the privates to work. The dispatch offices still consider the private companies as competition. Most dispatch centers won't even help you volunteer for disaster work. The FEM A net page is a joke- there is no real info for the private sector. Calling the various IM Teams won't get you anywhere- they usually just file your faxed info in the circular file. It's too bad that closed minds keep this valuable resource down and out. Write your elected officials and call the news agencies, tell your friends, spread the word that thousands of available resources are not being utilized. If you belong to an Association, see if they can help get you noticed, you are paying dues and some salaries. Exagent
9/20 RE: Young & Dumb in Region One

I am not sure on any other state agency, but I do know, that Washington
State DNR does not have any type of rappel program, within their helitack
crews.

Kris
9/20 Abs and All,

With regards to Rita, all area Chiefs in our part of east TX are already planning and
have to attend MANDATORY EOC Conference Thursday nite. We have been told
that 8 USAR teams and 3 DMED teams are being predeployed into Dallas-Fort Worth
beginning tomorrow. It appears that she will be a doozy.

Stay Safe,
Keith
9/20 ALL RISK Breaking News on Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans and Hurricane Rita preparation in Texas and Louisiana:

All Texas resources working on Katrina relief are being recalled by the Texas governor Perry. Hurricane Rita is expected to be a category 4 hurricane by 1400 EDT tomorrow (131-155 mph sustained winds; storm surge 13-18 feet). It is expected to make landfall late Friday evening to early Saturday morning, someplace along the Gulf coast of Texas, possibly between Galveston and Matagorda Island or, slightly less likely, in western Louisiana.

A briefing by the New Orleans Mayor Nagin, LA Governor Blanco, General Honore, and Vice Admiral Allen is being held in New Orleans now. Extensive plans are being made to evacuate citizens and to house first responders. Among other things, a field hospital is being set up in New Orleans in case the hurricane impacts that city.

Ab.

9/20 This is being disseminated...

In working with the Interagency Operations Steering Committee on the
re-write for the 2006 310-1 revision the Interagency Helicopter Operations
Steering Committee is supporting the attached proposal to combine HCWN and
HELB back into one position. What would result is having only one position
code for Helicopter Manager. Please share this with your Aviation Managers
and Helicopter folks, we are looking for a short turn around on feedback
for this idea. Please respond back to me no later than 09/30, call if you
have any questions......brad (gibbs)

IOS Briefing 2005

9/20 Hello. Here are some photos from this season that I took while working for the Fort Howes Helitack crew.

MainCrew2small is the 2005 Fort Howes Helitack crew at the Fort Howes Helibase.

2BHElk1 is helicopter 2BH, a Bell 206L3, with bucket on the Elk Creek fire, Custer NF 2005.

73HSup1 and 73HSup2 are both helicopter 73H, a Bell 205++, on the I-90 Complex, Superior helibase, Lolo NF 2005.

790Drop4 is helitanker 790 on the I-90 Complex, Lolo NF 2005.

MirrorMirror is helicopter 66HJ, the Missoula National Helitack ship, on the I-90 Complex, Lolo NF 2005.

Border5 is helicopter 2BH on the Border fire, Custer NF 2005

Thanks for all you guys do for the wildland community!

Justin

Thanks, Justin. I put them on Helicopters 20 photo page. Ab.

9/20 Ab,

Here are few AirTanker shots from the Ramona AAB, during the Volcan Fire
and some helicopter photos from the CAMVU-7518.

Ron S.

Thanks Ron. I put them on AirTankers 20 and Helicopters 20 photo pages. Ab.

9/20 Hello,

Find enclosed some of my personal pic of my country from France south.

Zag

Thanks Zag. I put them on AirTankers 19 and AirTankers 20 photo pages. Ab.

9/20 For posting: This bit of creative writing was found abandoned on a scrap of paper found at a demobed spike camp on the "Long Ruggles" fire in Idaho, August 2005. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Firefighter Pride

It breaks my heart
To watch it burn
I fight my best
And try to learn
With tool in hand
I hold it back
To save the green
From turning black
The trees they cry
And moan in pain
Across the hills
To blackened stain
The choppers roar
And planes soar past
Still the flames
Come so fast
Burning all
Within its path
There’s no escaping
The fires wrath
Smoke fills the air
Soot on my face
It feels like hell
Out in this place
My brothers fight
Right by my side
I’m a firefighter
And I fight with pride

“Smiley”
ICIO Red Hotz Crew

Found & Submitted (no claim to authorship) by:
Mark A. Smith
Fire & Aviation Technician
Craig Mountain PFD
Idaho Dept. of Lands
9/20 JP,

I talked to someone out in Baton Rouge yesterday to see what was going on.
They stated that besides the fact they have no place to put anyone- "there
is a lack of floor to sleep on"- FEMA is also focusing on hiring the
displaced people for any jobs they would be qualified for. They have
hundreds of thousands of people that need jobs and they are trying to
triage what job skills they can employ from the locals and displaced.
Patience is the name of the game- they are going from recovery to
evacuation again so more people in the area isn't a help just yet.

These people have lost everything and part of the rebuilding process will
be letting them help put their region back together and getting them
employed.

Wishing I was out there too,
BLMgirl
9/20 Anyone know where the IMTs and Military in Louisiana will be sleeping if Rita's wrath and rain come in like alligators snapping? The New Orleans wildlanders were sleeping in the heat and humidity and DARK and SILENCE in tents near Jackson Square. Our military were in NOISY air conditioned big white tents on the tarmac at the airport. Wind and rain will carry all those tents away even if old ma nature doesn't launch that hurricane right at the city.

Evangeline, take care girl.

Robey

9/20 The report from Rounsaville's Area Command Team investigation into radios is now on the web.

www.nifc.gov/nicc/administrative/nmac/radio_com/radio_rpt.phpl

Interesting.........

Radio Guy
9/20 Hello,

Why are private wildland fire fighters not being used in the clean up of Katrina disaster?
They are willing and able men and women out there who would like to be hired.
What steps are required for first responders in the private arena to get hired here?

Thank
JP
9/20 Hi Abs and everyone else,

Does anyone know if any state agencies (CDF, ODF, WA DNR, IDL, etc) have helitack
crews that are running rappel operations for fire? I'm just curious to know if any non-federal
agencies are rappelling, have rappelled, or are looking at rappelling in the future.

Young & Dumb in Region One
9/20 HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa to Fire Babe!

Thanks to -thinkingtoomuch in theoryville. Lots to sort through and digest on that bigMAC one.

Mellie

9/19 Ab wants to mention that this email is posted all in good fun. ...tongue firmly in cheek...

Fish asked, "So what would be the five major components that make up a Ray Quint?"

A Ray Quint:
We don't know about his pump or his hose, but it looks like his water tank capabilities have shrunk because he's been working out... (see photograph below). He has a lot of ground ladders and strong aerial support. He has all he needs... Oh, no bucket there! He's also quite flexible with his pieces of apparatus. You hear about the wildland firefighter's toolbox; a Ray Quint (supported by his crew) is the toolbox.

Here's a good picture of this not-so-typical Ray Quint with the wildland firefighter statue. (The Ray Quint is the one not in bronze.)
Please note: This Quint is not so well known in the structure world, but very much appreciated in the wildland fire world. Some structure quints have been criticized in that they're a compromise. Unlike those, there is no compromise here!

Fire Babe

9/19 Ab –

Interesting article: "DHS Inspector General Initiates Special Office for Hurricane Katrina Oversight" at:

www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=4827.

Also, the National Response Plan (NRP) is located at for those looking for some light reading:

www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=14&content=4264

DANGER: Theory ahead!

Just to echo the thoughts of others on this board, this is The New Framework (my words) for emergency response in the post-9/11 world, and is only eight months old. This plan, and the corresponding NIMS, represents a massive, not to mention fast (bureaucratically speaking), effort to plan for an integrated government response for local, state, tribal, and federal levels. HSPD-5 was issued Fed 28, 2003 (almost a year and a half after 9/11). Those reading the first few paragraphs of HSPD-5 (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030228-9.phpl) and the NIMS are likely to find that the role of incident management itself and many of the decisions lie with local and/or state governments in whose jurisdictions incidents reside.

From a theoretical standpoint, questions about whether Interagency wildland fire IMTs can or should manage or coordinate these incidents, the reality is that complex policy and jurisdictional questions come into play at just about any level. My guess on why a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) is needed is due the complex laws and extreme levels of government coordination that must occur, and probably as a delegation of some authority from FEMA and thus the DHS Secretary who I believe is ultimately responsible for management of the disaster. Not that a Team couldn’t maybe handle some of it, but this is really a different sort of management than managing an actual incident. I am not sure that an IMT is exactly what is needed at some of these levels; however, the use of ICS within the framework would probably be helpful. I am a-guessin that this is part of what the Area Command Teams are helping with.

The use of the Multi-Agency Coordination system (MAC) concept can be very useful in this sort of effort, but must be adapted. For those not familiar with MAC, it is a group that forms where those who are voting members have jurisdictional or resource authority over a given area and can change policies or priorities for coordination or mobilization of incidents or resources within that area to assist with management of the emergency. Wildland fire has MACs at every geographic area, California has a state-wide one and one at each GACC, and a National MAC made up of basically the NWCG members (NMAC or “big MAC”, ha ha). Some local/state governments and other ICS theorists have worked on adapting the MAC process to EOCs (Emergency Operations Centers) which exist at state and local levels. This is probably the closest thing to what may be needed to help the PFO function the best. There is a sort of super-MAC concept built into this whole response effort at the Washington level, where all agencies get together and deal with stuff that comes up similar to what any other MAC group would do, but that’s about all I know about that. It seems to be working pretty well in many ways. I don't think it's called a MAC group, but it looks like the concept is there.

The Area Command concept can also be used, or Unified Area Command, but I think the key difference between the Area Command concept and the MAC is that AC is still working very closely to the incident level. Generally, Area Command manages a group of incidents similar in geographical location or in incident type (such as a bunch of tornadoes over a wide area) and works directly with IMTs or ICs, coordinating incident priorities, resource ordering, possibly information, etc. to help the ICs/IMTs work more efficiently, etc. but not to do the actual incident management. Generally, there is also some sort of delegation of authority to manage a group of incidents.

It is my understanding that the Area Command Teams fire has deployed are probably working with FEMA and the states to understand how ICS (and the mobilization systems in fire!) can help coordination of these incidents. The tricky part of this whole Katrina management problem though is that management of these massive incidents is extremely multi-faceted. As I understand it, FEMA's primary role in the NRP is to coordinate the federal response efforts and to try to coordinate well with state and local government needs. ESF-4 and other ESF assets in the government and other sectors are mobilized per requests from the localities through FEMA.

And here are some thoughts... how are these things being mobilized? IE: what systems? How are folks tracked? Supplies purchased? Safety considerations managed? Etc? Fire is only one piece of this puzzle, but it looks like one piece that has already worked through a lot of these considerations. As near as I can tell, every ESF and every government and state/local assisting agency has its own IT systems, rules, policies, etc. Some look to be inventing new systems right now.

My hope is that the lessons learned from all of this will show that the NRP concept is a good one and an excellent framework to start with. Furthermore, taking a few more pages out of the original NIIMS may be helpful: Two key parts come to mind:

1) the INTERAGENCY MOBILIZATION process and organization (rules first, resource typing, then systems)
2) the fire CACHE system (management/tracking/mobilization/rehabilitation/staging and standards for supplies)

Clearly the size and scope of this situation are larger than anything ever coordinated before, and the wildland fire business model has very many other helpful pieces to it (such as those which facilitate easy prepositioning or severity funding, the use of predictive services/intelligence for decision support, and so on) that may come into play in the next phase of disaster planning in the US. I will probably say this again, but if you have some skills or knowledge in this area, you may want to start looking at a career in this area, because the demand for knowledgeable ICS folks is hopefully only going to increase.

I will lastly say this. There are a lot of problems with this response. But, there is a lot of really amazing stuff happening too. I thank heavens or whoever every day that the NRP has been put together because if this type of thing had occurred before 9/11 who knows how much more “challenging” the response coordination may have been. For all its horror, 9/11 woke us up to much needed improvements in government in emergency coordination. Part of the real amazement now is the volume and number of folks in federal government pulled into emergency management, like it or not. It’s the end-of-the-year, budget wise, so it adds complications there, and there are data calls and number needs and unlimited issues to deal with from everything from HR to how to get folks from here to there with no mobilization system or framework for doing so. The fire folks are in many ways lucky to have been through this already for 30 years… there are policies on everything from safety to business management. Lots of fire folks know how to sign FEMA/ESF mission taskings and what they mean, how to manage billing, etc. The rest of the government, under all of these ESFs, is not necessarily so experienced, many have never done this before, and sometimes folks are having to invent it as they go. I doubt very much that down the road this is a point that will be missed.

Well, I've talked so long I'm starting to need some caffeine myself to stay awake. :)

I will be crossing my fingers this week and hoping Rita does not turn out to be anything near as horrid as Katrina. Be safe out there-

-thinkingtoomuch in theoryville

Thanks very much for the info and the thoughts, Ab.

9/19 KG-

There is overtime when working for FEMA.
Basic pay stuff- your agency pays your base 8s.
FEMA pays overtime on anything over your basic 40. There is no "true"
overtime for exempt employees. Right now they are looking at 12-16 hour
shifts from what I've heard.

The following was sent to me regarding the rules of overtime and affects
exempt employees (GS-11 and up).

Hope this helps,
BLMgirl
....................................................................................................

Here are the rules on overtime from the OPM Handbook on Pay and Leave Benefits for Federal Employees Affected by Severe Weather Conditions or Other Emergency Situations:

Overtime pay for employees who are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e., FLSA-exempt employees) generally is earned for hours of work officially ordered or approved in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

For employees with rates of basic pay equal to or less than the rate of basic pay for GS-10, step 1, the overtime hourly
rate is the employee’s hourly rate of basic pay multiplied by 1.5. For employees with rates of basic pay greater than the rate for GS-10, step 1, the overtime hourly rate is the greater of—

  1. the hourly rate of basic pay for GS-10, step 1, multiplied by 1.5, or
  2. the employee’s hourly rate of basic pay.

The hourly overtime pay limitation does not apply to prevailing rate (wage) employees or to FLSA overtime pay. Additional information on overtime pay for FLSA-exempt employees is available at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/FACTOT.asp.

Overtime pay for Federal employees who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e., FLSA-nonexempt employees) is subject to special rules. Under the FLSA, overtime pay is determined by multiplying the employee’s “straight time rate of pay” by all overtime hours worked, plus one-half of the employee’s “hourly regular rate of pay” times all overtime hours worked. All overtime work that is ordered or approved or “suffered or permitted” must be compensated. (See 5 CFR part 551.) Additional information on overtime pay for FLSA-covered employees is available at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/computeflsa.asp.

For law enforcement officers, agencies must use the GS-10, step 1, special base rate for law enforcement officers. (See 5 CFR 550.113(a).) Also see information on availability pay for law enforcement officers at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/AP.php.

Special rules apply for wildland firefighters under 5 U.S.C. 5542(a)(5). Special pay computation rules also apply to GS-081 firefighters under 5 CFR part 550, subpart M.

9/19 Ab,

They way I learned it.........

Engines: 5 of the same type = a strike team type 1's ect....ect
Crews: 2 of the same type = a strike team
Dozers: 2 of the same type = a strike team
Overhead: of two or more ( a disaster waiting to happen) ha ha.

If I'm wrong please correct me.

Are there discrepancies with typing in the fire service? My question might sound silly but the folks I have been around were taught the same. Is it ego or different schools of thought that make our typing systems so different? In my humble opinion Ken Perry is a Type 1 stud for his huge contribution to the Fire Family. His support staff did a bang up job as well. His ICT is welcome up here in North Zone anytime. I ask that all of us, regardless of agency, learn from his run and stick together. The guys and gals that work for the Forest Service are more of Firefighters than I am and I work at a Municipality. They are not "Techs", "Aids" etc...etc....They are FIREFIGHTERS, they deserve equal pay and benefits. I hope that the crap that the WO and other political types are putting on them is heavily publicized. If the public only knew how poorly you guys were compensated they would poop a purple Chihuahua. The amount of much appreciated hard work that a Shot crew or Engine puts out in one shift is inspiring. If we had that kind of work ethic at our fire house, I would personally buy a case of BEER a week for a year to everyone in it. Bottom line, better PAY, Full Benny's and a FIREFIGHTER classification. Once a month I banter the same song, I promise to keep BITCHING until someone helps out our fellow Forest Service Brethren and Sisteren.

Signed,
FED up

9/19 As waters recede we're finding more bodies.

Evangeline

9/19 OlympicFF and NorCal Tom,

FEMA doesn't understand the skill set that the incident management teams could
bring to the table in an emergency. Right now teams are just tapped for logistics.
They're not being used optimally.

I think it ludicrous that FEMA says they have 8,500 responders on the Katrina
aftermath as though it's FEMA doing the work. FEMA only has 1,200 employees
total! Near as I can tell, the Land Management Agencies have the most responders:
the FS has 3,000+ people and DOI has 1,900+ people. Good grief! Why aren't
the agencies using this opportunity IN THE MEDIA to tell the public what we do
with approximately 5,000 of the 8,500??? That's 60% of the resources
attributed to FEMA coming from the Land Management agencies.

That's newsworthy! And they're talking about cutting the budget for those resources??

NorCal Tom, nice piece. I'm thinking through a "backat'cha" on the IMT discussion.

Tahoe Terrie

example: briefing USDA Forest Service Non-Fire Emergency Management, Interagency Hurricane Support (pdf file)

9/19 DM & AL, anyone else:

Anybody know if the teams working on hurricane relief get OT? Is that
only for fire "suppression"? How did getting OT go with Newcastle Disease
all risk incident and Columbia Disaster all risk incident? Since Katrina
recovery seems like it will go on a while, how are we going to get people
to volunteer to be pulled away from their regular land mgmt jobs?

Then in CA there's the drawdown issue too.

KG

9/19 DM,

So far as I have been able to figure out, fed firefighters working on Katrina relief do
not get hazard pay. I'm fairly sure you earn hazard pay for suppression fire and
WFU only. Used to be only suppression, then there was some question about
ff working on WFU and Rx getting it. I think the WFU people do now, but not
Rx since it's supposed to be "controlled".

AL

9/19 Re: IMT Role in Disaster

Abs and all.

I have been watching and read the posting on this site for sometime now and have finally decided to throw in my two cents!!

Kristina has shown the best and worst of the Federal response to large scale natural disaster. FEMA was gutted and trying to reinvent the wheel. The teams had become interagency, so they had the needed specialists on the rosters to handle all risk assignments.

Several postings have shown, that after nearly thirty years, we still do not have an standardized system that is used by all agencies, both law enforcement and fire/EMS for ordering, communications or for operational configurations of resources.

Finally the US military is a great organization, with great leadership and personnel at all levels, BUT! they are not trained nor equipped to handle or be the primary, long term disaster management agency. FEMA, with the help of the fire/rescue/ems organizations and the four major federal land management agencies, should continue as the nation lead in these types of situations.

OlympicFF

9/19 Setting a New Standard, I just read your recent post and applaud your commitment to raising contractor standards. Unfortunately, most federal agency higher-ups couldn't care less. In Region 5 (California), for example, the recent Engine Contract awarded 5 engine position contracts to the cheapest price company and another award went to two out of state companies. One company, only had one previous season of experience and the low bidder company has one of the worst reputations in the country; dubious credentials, shady insurance coverage and over-weight trucks. Several firms with stellar reputations were completely passed-over in favor of the lower standard companies. Region 5 has thrown the Best Value (for the Taxpayer) system out the door in favor of the lowest buck and lowest value standard. Region 5 only allowed 15 wildland engines to qualify for the contract, several longstanding companies, who employ many folks, are now faced with an uncertain future and no way of getting their engines hired. I know that the average agency personnel had nothing to do with the award decision but the Contracting Officers involved showed that they cared nothing about safety, experience or professionalism. Firefighters on the ground in R5 will be wise to keep a eye on their private counterparts- your life may depend on it. Exagent
9/19 I don't know if you can use any of this but I thought is was well worth reading.
Your site is frequented by many 1st responders that may benefit from it?

Katrina, What Went Right, a commentary

JR

JR, it's too bad a commentary that gives well-deserved credit to first responders also bashes the media, who in this case did give an important heads up that people were dying in the immediate areas that they (the media) had access to. To have Lessons Learned, we must look at all the lessons. That's all this Ab will say.

9/18 A VERY GOOD SUNDAY MORNING TO ALL YOU ABS!

LORI
9/18 Vitamin C

This item is considered to be a personal product and not a preventative product to the
Buying teams. Not sure how this saving the tax payer money. I think that one trip to the
hospital would cost more then 10 bottles of 200 count vitamin c tablet. Not sure this is
the place to cut cost.

Fossilbird

9/18
GOOD SUNDAY MORNING TO ALL.

The Abs.

9/18 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated. Ab.
9/17 Hi Some of you may be interested in this.

The university of Western Australia is doing a study into respiratory health effects
of occupational exposure to bushfire smoke. Phase 2 of the study into which filter
provides the best protection for fire fighters will be conducted during prescribed
burns in September/October 2005!

Cheers
be safe
West Aussie Flame

9/17 FEMA in the news again. The attached link is pretty interesting as stories hit todays media that people were using their FEMA provided ATM cards to buy alcohol and lap dances in strip clubs in Houston!!

Regarding FEMA assistance during the Southern California Fires of 2003:
www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/nation/12673600.php

Darn, I missed out on some "free" money from the government.

Gizmo
9/17 Dear Concerned Customer:

Since you addressed your post to me I'm going to address it wearing two hats: 1) The business manager for the FWFSA & 2) just a guy who's been battling the DC establishment and bureaucrats for nearly 15 years.

The FWFSA will be holding its membership conference in Reno on December 2-3. The registration for the event, which every member has received, is due by October 15th. This will allow me sufficient time to lay out the ground rules for submitting resolutions, issues etc., to the conference attendees. (Yes, those of you who are members or those of you thinking about joining soon can consider this another friendly reminder to register).

I expect that the issue of staffing, budgets etc., will be addressed at the conference and the Board of Directors given direction from the members as to how to address those issues. Since I take my marching orders from the Board, I'd be premature in indicating how I would respond to the issues as the Business Manager.

As a lobbyist, with great affection and respect for our federal wildland firefighters, I can tell you that I already have congressmen (and women) chomping at the bit, lined up to go on the offensive against the land management agencies if they try to come up with some nutty reason why staffing should be cut etc.

First things first. Let's have the Forest Service return the $100 million it raked off the fire budget to move its Human Resources department to New Mexico. Then, let's have congress, once and for all, demand fiscal responsibility, efficiency and effectiveness from the agencies.

The Forest Service can't even come up with a working model to determine future budgets. Most importantly, if the land-management agencies are going to try and tell our firefighters that staffing and budgets need to be reduced because of the hurricane relief costs... those same members of congress will tell them otherwise.

That's another issue for another day. Our current legislation will allow the land management agencies to pay you properly and still save money. Yes I know, a hard-to-swallow proposal for some in congress. Thus, in my humble opinion, if the Forest Service or any other land-management agency comes remotely close to doing anything other than yaking about budgets and staffing cuts, I would suspect quite a public response and a public relations disaster for the agencies.

Again, that's simply my opinion as John Q. Public... with an inside understanding of what goes on in DC and a better than average relationship with a number of folks on Capitol Hill that will do just about anything for our firefighters.

More to follow.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
9/17 Aberdeen

You couldn't have explained it better! Yeah I totally agree, it's a system that works great. Sure there were growing pains and still are in many different aspects and there will always be, but the system works great. Just FYI, having friends in law enforcement there is a bill in congress right now trying to get all police and like law enforcement agencies to have a clear text system that can be used by all law enforcement such as "ten codes" . I know in SoCal that CHP has different codes than local agencies. But as well, they are trying to get Fire agencies to communicate with law enforcement. That was a recommendation from the 9/11 commission, which I do think is important but so is safety for those folks on many aspects. But anyway, good point!

SoCal FF

9/17 bluezebra - you're absolutely right about the numerical differences between strike teams of engines, crews, dozers, etc; I got into the "engine mindset" and didn't completely think thru my post.

My real point was, and still is, that a Strike Team indicates that all the resources are the same: all T-1 crews, all T-3 engines, all "whatevers", where a Task Force is a mix of different types of resources. Don't want to get into splitting a bunch of hairs, just hoping to standardize communications between all the ordering, dispatching and responding units to any "incident" where interoperability might be important.

Aberdeen
9/17 The IMT Role in Disaster:

In his speech to the nation from New Orleans on September 15, President Bush mentioned that the military alone was prepared to provide significant disaster response. One wonders if reforms in the National Response Plan, inevitably to be made in the wake of the Katrina disasters - the hurricane, the flooding of New Orleans, and the halting federal response - will reduce or eliminate the participation of Incident Management Teams in the planned response to both disaster and terrorist events.

Should IMTs remain a vital component of the country’s response to disaster? Should we rely on the military alone to provide the response?

Our IMTs are practiced, current, adaptable, and more than willing to serve. Accustomed to working on short notice with affected and participating entities, IMTs have proven their ability to direct and/or contribute many times, in emergencies of all sorts and magnitudes. The principle mission of wildland fire suppression builds and binds the teams, and the flexibility inherent in the ICS enables teams to contribute to order whatever the circumstance.

Certainly, the military possesses resources in kind and number like no other entity, as well as the capability to employ them, but when called to respond to an incident, the military is substantially burdened with its internal protocols, authorities, and boundaries. Coordination within and between units and branches is complex and time-sensitive. Meanwhile, meeting with local affected officials and resources, gathering and displaying initial intelligence, conducting needs assessment, and laying operational frameworks are well within the capability of IMTs. Liaison with military units are established and assurances given that the military will likely be branched and will not be hindered in its conduct of operations. The military rightfully guards its autonomy from civilian authority; understanding this and artful diplomacy must characterize the relationships between IMTs and military assets. It’s never easy, but the result offers a far more effective use of public resources and a more capable response.

Effectiveness when the need arises is fostered when planning occurs and relationships are encouraged. Late in the 1990s, FEMA assessed the potential for disasters nationally and initiated planning efforts in several parts of the country. The best available projections were used as the basis for appraising local capabilities and limitations in the event of potential events, bringing together federal, local, and state resources, and holding tabletop exercises with broad participation. After 9/11, however, the enormous shift in priorities allowed those efforts to languish.

It will be tempting for many to find essential fault with the NRP and to call for the creation of a from-the-ground-up plan, and there may be strong and visible support for that effort in order to hold blameless those who had responsibilities to act. Katrina does not offer a sound test of the NRP or the capabilities within it. Newsweek’s September 12 issue gives a full and clear accounting of the tortuous steps that occurred between the disaster and recognition of its effects at the White House, DHS, and FEMA, notification, approval, mobilization, and effective response. Last year’s response to the Florida hurricanes, even though the impacts were so much less than those of Katrina, provides a better example of the nation’s capability to initiate a response, inasmuch as federal authorities were in place, and mobilization and prepositioning of resources occurred in advance of the event.

Hopefully, the investigations and inquiries to come will clearly separate the soundness of the NRP from its performance in Katrina. I believe we will all be best served if we build upon the NRP, and provide the funding and focus to improve our mutual performance under the Plan. Clearly, the victims of disaster cannot fend for themselves beyond some level of impact, and the need for an integrated, national strategy is absolute. That strategy is already provided in the National Response Plan.

NorCal Tom

9/17 Hi,

Can you please tell me if a wildfire burned through Wantastiquet Mountain in New Hampshire. Its in Cheshire County in the southwestern part of the state. I have been looking all over the internet to find out and i cannot find anything useful. The mountain is in a park, although not state or nat'l. Perhaps a fire from Vermont burned it; not likely though as there is a river inbetween. Wantastiquet is across the Connecticut River from Brattleboro Vermont.

Thanks so much,
Hooma
9/17 Ab,

Here is a link (for your education page) to Mesa Community College in central Arizona. We teach FSC 110, which is the basic wildland fire program including: S-130, S-190, I-100 and L-180. This is a certified class through the Arizona State Fire Management.

www.mc.maricopa.edu/

They have a complete fire science department. We are working on getting other wildland classes set up, and are also in the beginning stages of trying to get a Type 2/3 engine contract and Type 2 hand crew set up with fire science/wildland fire students and local area engine/crewboss and squad bosses.

Sincerely,
Todd Foster

I put it on the page that lists 2 and 4 year schools with fire education. If anyone has additions, send 'em in. Ab.

9/17 Regarding the Geary Fire on the Six Rivers,

It started just before dark on a Sunday night on a sheer bluff and ran uphill fast. 50 foot flame lengths in brush and timber not burned since the 1970's, and boulders the size of desks were coming down the hill so fast they were denting the steel guardrail 2 feet in. The slope was 90% to 100%, in brush so thick you couldn't see through it, with no place to put a safety zone. So no, we did not put anyone on direct attack until daylight. There were structures in the area, so we set up structure protection for the night, and started making plans for day shift.

By daylight, it was already almost the full 175 acres, and we went direct on it with handline, supported by bucket work. On the east side of the fire, it was a roadless area all the way up into Wooly Creek and the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area, and the fire was heading that way. If we had not hit it hard the next day, the fire could have burned through the entire wilderness area for 20,000 acres plus. As for ordering the T2 team, I don't know how others do it, but on the SRF we use a Complexity Analysis worksheet to decide the complexity, and on the first night, this fire had too many "Yes " boxes checked, and by policy, had to go to T2. The team ordered up most of the aircraft, and that drove the cost way up. To save the Oak Bottom Station, over 20,000 gallons of retardant, and 60,000 gallons of bucket drops were needed.

I agree, we should be able to get Fuels money in advance, but this fire's location would have never been treated anyway due to the slope. We have had more fires in the area lately, all of suspicious origin, so it's not lightning lighting these.

Folks shouldn't second guess the I.C. unless they have had to make the same decisions in their careers, sometimes these choices are tough, but under those conditions, would YOU have gone direct on this fire at nighttime?

-MJ

9/17 Aberdeen,

I don't mean to be tough on you, but you statement of expecting "5 of whatever" when you ask for a strike illustrates two other problems.

First, not all resources come 5 to a strike team. Crews and dozers are examples. This may be a California vs the World difference. In California, a crew strike team is two crews w/leader. Dozer strike teams are two dozers w/leader and a dozer tender. Additional operators are typically additional (overhead) requests, but not always. The additional operators are for 24 hour operation.

Secondly, the federal agencies outside of California are not as keen as California on ordering strike teams. Most of the times I have dealt with requesting federal resources outside of California, the order is for, typically, 5 single resource engines. Later, at the incident, they may be formed into a strike team, and a STEN is ordered on a separate overhead order.

California, due to it's large number of resources, is much more comfortable with strike team ordering.

bluezebra

9/17 Jess T - based on your response to my earlier post about Strike Team versus Task Force, I rest my case: we are not talking the same language, and it's causing confusion.

ICS starts with the premise that we're working on an INCIDENT, be it a wildfire, structural fire, rock concert, or Olympic event. When I ask for a Strike Team, I expect 5 "like" units, be they ambulances, rescue boats, bull dozers or whatever.

The confusion arises when the group in charge (the IC and Staff) don't define terminology for all the players, including Dispatch and incoming resources. Back in November 1980, when a bunch of us Large Fire Team members from Oregon flew to SoCal for the big Thanksgiving fire bust, the USFS, LACFD and CDF had a briefing tent set up at the airport to explain ICS: "you used to be a Line Boss, but now you're an Ops Chief; you used to be a Fire Boss, now you're an Incident Commander".

It got us all on the same sheet of music, and greatly simplified communications.

Maybe "Katrina" assignments should take the same approach - your system or mine - just as long as we all talk the same language!

Aberdeen
9/16 Hey all,

I'm back online! Hallelujah! I finally can tell everyone what a wonderful experience it was watching Ken be Superman. I had some great experiences and still am replaying alot of great memories in my mind. One of the best was the one time that we were all stuck in the traffic that Ken talked about. I had my Run Ken Run magnet on the back of my car along with the Wildland Firefighter ribbon. This car pulled up a couple of lanes over from me and the lady yelled over at me "Who is Ken and why is he running?" I laughed my ass off and then gave her the full explanation. She was so impressed that she wanted to know where he was finishing his run. I told her and, sure enough, she was there.

The Texas Canyon Hotshots were awesome and Jaime was so impressive. I'm waiting to see if he will try to do the whole thing next year. I truly would not be surprised if he did. The man has the heart of a lion. Thanks to all the hotshots for their hospitality at their base and for the use of the bathroom! It was a long time between stops!

Melissa and Tony - what can I say. Not only was Melissa a great roommate but the girl can sure bike too! And if I hear Tony say one more time about him being an old man, well, I might have to do some butt kicking. He was great....

Thank you Wendy and Ken for your hospitality after the race. You guys are just fantastic and I am really looking forward to next year. I will be there to cheer everyone on with more goodies.

Lobotomy, it was great to meet you, but next time tell me who you are!!

Now down to serious business. I have heard from Dave about the cookies and brownies, but if I owe anyone else some, please email me with your address. I'm hoping that Dave isn't the only one who was able to get their crew to pledge. If I'm not mistaken, I saw a few others that looked like the whole crew pledged. So, if you want them you have to let me know. I start baking tomorrow.....

Lori
9/16 Chainsaws:

The dull chain issue be batted around here is simple, yes there may be a few take this saw and go cut, and lot of experienced keep-the-chain-sharp folks are there also. The keep-it-sharp folks are probably tired of sharpening their chain after every cut... Why? Flooding with all the sediments, etc have settled, embedded into the bark or surface of whatever needs to be cut.

Mt. Saint Helens created a whole new (temporary) job in the timber industry when recovery of lumber started. At first chains were discarded after very few bucks. The new job created was a person going ahead of the sawyer clearing the bark from the trunk of the tree all the way around at the mark for the buck, extending the life of the chain in the Blast down timber. The fine ash from the eruptions was very abrasive to the chains.

Not in NO yet,
Chogi

9/16 Hi Mellie and Ab,

Be nice you two, not all of us are well read in wildland term and gab. I too am a city dude now and didn't know what a QUINT was until I was laughed out of my firehouse one night. I miss my wildland and crew days. Some places can draft and some just set up pumps ( to answer anymore questions). Lets all do better at mentorship, leadership and instruction, cuz in the end that is what gets us home. Stay safe all.... Take care Mellie and Ab you guys/gals rule.

Signed,
5 2 A STRIKE Team
9/16 Tom Cable, Incident Commander News Release

Hurricane Katrina
Jackson Support Base, New Orleans, LA
Friday, September 16, 2005 - 12:00
Incident Information
Contact: Martin Esparza or Tom Lavagnino

New Orleans, LA. (Jackson Support Base), -- The flood waters in New Orleans are receding quicker than expected as more pumps are installed to meet the high priority of draining the city. City officials will begin to open dry parts of the city in controlled phases to begin the recovery of the business district, the French Quarter, and other residential sections beginning tomorrow. Rescue and recovery workers will have additional concerns as citizens begin to re-enter closed areas and begin to assess the impacts and start their recovery process. Law enforcement remains a priority in the city especially now that citizens will begin to re-enter the city. A majority of the meals served at the Jackson Support Base are supporting law enforcement agencies and units of the National Guard assigned to patrol the city.

Support operations at the Holy Cross College in Algiers (south of New Orleans, across the Mississippi River) will be split from the California Interagency Incident Management Team 5(CA-IIMT #5) and will now be managed by the Pacific Northwest IIMT #3, under the command of Bob Anderson. This base supports the operations of the New York Fire Department and fire departments from the states of Virginia, Delaware and other north eastern cities.

Last night President George W. Bush addressed the nation about recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina in Jackson Square, located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Three hand crews from the Jackson Support Base worked hard the past few days to clean up the storm damage in preparation for the presidential visit and speech. The hand crews were: Mescalero Crew from New Mexico, Navajo Scouts #2 and #3 from Arizona, and crew members from the US Coast Guard.

Additional V.I.P. visits are expected in the future as the city begins to open and recover. Today, hand crews will be busy clearing storm debris from the banks of the Mississippi River along the French Quarter and business district of New Orleans.

Thanks Martin and Tom. Sorry for the delay in posting. This got caught in the spam filter. Please continue to let us know what's happening. BTW, the crew with the Fort Apache banner were on CNN tonight. Ab.

9/16 CDF message from LA:

Hello from Louisiana,

Plenty to say, little time to say it. As you can imagine after three or four days this has been an incredible incident to witness or be involved with. We have 10 of our normal 22 person Team #10 members, plus an additional three non-Team #10 CDF personnel added to the Plans Section.

They are calling us CDF Katrina Task Force. Our assignment or task is to help the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Department (who is the Incident Command for this incident) implement the ICS system and help plan their response to hurricane Katrina. A lot of the people assigned to the state of Louisiana or FEMA are not very knowledgeable or fluent in ICS. Each one of our CDF personnel is assigned to our equivalent counter part for the state of Louisiana. The expectation is that we advise, teach, give technical expertise or help in anyway possible. I work with Operations Section Chief Colonel Bill Doran. He is very capable, has been great to work with, and very much appreciates our input.

We’ve been accepted with open arms and have made great strides. We’ve been sleeping (a few hours a night) in an open tent that houses about 100 cots/metal beds. CHP has a tent of 110 personnel in a tent across from us. Don’t feel too sorry for us, there is Cajun caterer called Monda’s that has prepared three outstanding meals a day. After the initial day of meeting our counterparts and receiving some down and dirty briefings we went to work. By the end of the first day we had the Colonel Cliff Oliver who is the IC saying we need to do that “Unified Command Thing” with FEMA on this hurricane. Our team is working out of the State EOC in Baton Rouge where the state response is based out of and the Joint Field Office (JFO as the locals refer to it) where the Federal or FEMA response is based out of also in Baton Rouge. The second morning we did an operational briefing for the approximately 200 people working on the EOC floor. They said it was the first briefing that they’ve had. The second day the Louisiana personnel did the first of their briefings and are doing very well.

We also have been working with an USFS Area Command Team out of the Southwest and Washington D.C. to help implement unified command. Some of the FEMA people are even completing a real basic ICS-215 and starting to do a planning cycle.

I haven’t flown over the devastated area yet, but a couple people from our team have and tell me you can’t believe it until you see it. Besides the ICS stuff I mentioned, the local, state, and federal people have significant body recovery, long-term housing, hot political issues and other major recovery items that they will be dealing with for a long time. There is year’s worth of work to do here regardless or what they decide to do.

The security and news media really increased today; there is an army of TV and satellite trucks parked outside of the SEOC and the JFO. It was rumored that President Bush and Vice President Chaney were going to be here today, but I didn’t see them. I did see General Hanore and almost tripped over the Reverend Jessie Jackson who was sitting in the EOC lobby this afternoon.

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of them yet, but our team has been sending daily briefings back to Sacramento H.Q. on a daily basis. It’s my understanding that Sacramento is encouraging the local units to distribute media releases, etc. regarding CDF’s response to the hurricane.

I better get going and go to bed. I’ll be checking my email periodically and my cell phone service/coverage has been very good if anyone needs to get a hold of me. I’ll talk to you soon.

Thanks,
Kevin

9/16 Aberdeen...

I believe the ICS you are referring to is wildland related. In the municipal fire service different departments use different terminology according to their geographic location, some departments refer to a grouping of engine/truck companies as a "Strike Force" or "Task Force" depending local sop, but they use the Nationally taught ICS (the last 30+ years) and the Unified Command System but theres no mention of "type 6 engines" LMAO. Not meaning to be critical but there is a more complex side to firefighting than wildland fire. But what do I know I just teach for the National Fire Academy and Mellie...A Quint doesn't not necessarily have to have a bucket on the end of the aerial, a Quint is just a beefed up pumper with a aerial stuck on it lol.

About these blogs about National IMTs managing major incidents, anyone that knows any better, knows that the National IMTs do just fine handling the logistics of an major incident as was posted earlier here. Just because the political lackey that was the head of FEMA didn't know his butt and a hole in the ground, doesn't mean that people need to go screaming for a major change as to who takes charge of a major incident. FEMA now has a top notch man running the show, a REAL Firefighter. Keep the National IMTs doing what they do best.

Jess T
Division Chief

Hi Jess, in your kind of ICS, what are the ICS training requirements for the leader of your "strike team" of 5 varied resources? I'd like to know if they're the same as the requirements for our "task force" of 5 varied resources. If there are no common terms and training in the shared system, how do we know if those we work with are qualified? For that matter, when the IC gets on the horn asking for a specific kind of resources, how does he know what he will get? Ab.

9/16 Mellie,

You're on the money with your assessment of quints. A long time ago (before there were wildland firefighters and city firefighters) someone defined components of a fire engine. The components were a pump, hose, water tank, large numbers of ground ladders and an aerial ladder. So, the standard engine is a Triple Combination Pumper. LA City still calls them that with some frequency. They have a pump, tank and hose. Before aerial ladder trucks became popular, many cities added a large number of ground ladders to a Triple to create a Quad. They're not so much in favor these days, mostly because folks have added aerial ladders to them, thus creating a Quint. They're pretty flexible pieces of apparatus, but as with many compromises tend to not do everything well. They just can't carry all of the engine company equipment and all of the truck company equipment. Here's a good picture of a typical quint. http://tinyurl.com/czqzs

Fish

PS We've got two quints on order. I could try to name one Ray, but I just don't think anyone would get it. So what would be the five major components that make up a Ray Quint?
9/16 Mellie,

I am a ex-wildlander turned structure firefighter. I can tell you that most city or county engines have the capability to draft water. In certain areas there may not be any hydrants around so a engine may have to get water form a stream, lake or in extreme cases, swimming pools. There are lot of those around. I may be in the structure firefighting now but my heart will always be out there in the wildlands. Take care every one lets finish this season safely and come home.

Firenorm
9/16 Aberdeen,

<rolling on floor laughing>

I think a quint is one of those long engines with a telescoping ladder with
bucket on top that can put out high-up fires and rescue people from tall
buildings.

Do city engines not have drafting capabilities at all?

Mellie

9/16 Battalion Chief Wes - glad that you and your folks were able to go down to New Orleans area and help out.

Just a "minor" correction to your post (if I may) since communications and the use of ICS has been so important/lacking during the whole "Katrina" event: you talked about sending a Strike Team of 2 engines, a tender, 1 heavy rescue and a Quint (hadn't heard that Ray Q went down too!).

Under ICS, a Strike Team consists of 5 "like units" such as Type 6 Engines; you described a "Task Force". Not meaning to be too critical, but establishing common communications and terminology is a key component of insuring "interoperability" in such a complex world.

Good info in your post - appreciate the info exchange from the "front lines".

Aberdeen
9/16 Additional Information on radio frequencies:

Congress is in fact working on legislation to make more spectrum available for public safety
agencies however it is tied to the transition from analog to digital television... a controversial
issue.

Energy & Commerce is planning to move a spectrum bill this session of Congress and Rep.s
Weldon & Harmon held a press conference a few days ago to push for quick action on
the spectrum issue in light of the interoperability problems stemming from Katrina.

I'll post more as it becomes available.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

9/16 Excerpts from a regional workforce planning document.

Casey, have you heard about these potential reductions in our firefighting workforce? Do our elected officials know about this pending decision by the WO?

* Increases in funding for the National Fire Plan were provided as “emergency” appropriations in FY 2001. This funding is expected to continue in FY 2006 as part of the Agency’s base budget. Continued emphasis on fire preparedness staffing and funding is made with the goal of controlling 99% of all unplanned fires during initial attack; we are expecting decisions very soon from the Washington Office that could lead to some reduction in our Firefighting Protection Capability (FFPC).

* Fire apprentice hiring – decisions on the level of hiring in the future are dependent on what the final allocation and FFPC level will be for FY 2006 and what level of emergency funding might be available to reach the FFPC level.

A concerned customer
9/16 After reading some of the chainsaw thread, I paid more attention to the TV
footage of clean-up/road clearing operations, and saw some of the same see-saw
chainsawing and lack of big ribbon-like wood chips coming from the saws. It
was rather 'dull' to watch... (pun intended).

Someone down there tell the apparently novice sawyers what my first saw
instructor told me... "Let the dogs bite!"

Oh yeah, once again, Awesome (expletive deleted) Job on the run, Ken and everyone!

-FireBill

Readers, please keep fulfilling your pledges to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Thanks. Ab.

9/16 Sharp chainsaws were used effectively by the crews that cleaned up
Jackson Square for the President's talk last night.

Mescalaro Apache

9/16 Wes,

Welcome home. My comments regarding chainsaw use specifically deal with hazard tree
felling and removal, not pitched roof emergency entries. As far as I’m concerned, that’s
way beyond what I’m willing to comment on. Unfortunately, documented chainsaw injuries
related to Hurricane Katrina are steadily increasing in number across the board. I’m sure
you saw a lot of disturbing things while you were down south. Our best to you, sir.

Shari
9/16 Ab,

Not sure where to start, but here goes.

Firehead must not be given false hope. To be a private contractor is very difficult (politics play a huge role) and expensive.

We have two top of the line type 6 engines and trained crews (we also have a no tolerance rule) from our local fire departments (this was to help us out crew wise and help local dept get their people out for more training). This is our second year of struggling. Contractors have a bad name just about everywhere any of them go and the govt hasn't helped to resolve the situation to weed the bad from the good (on every assignment we have had we have received an excellent performance review); but that hasn't helped to continue to promote a good working relationship to mend the fences as far as contractors go. Our mission statement is "Setting a new standard".

Firehead is better off getting on volunteer department and going forward that way. They are always accepting volunteers.

As for us, we won't give up until we absolutely have to (financially) but the govt has to give us the chance, and our contracting officers I think should help to promote us -- especially when we have proven how exceptional some of the contractors are with good working equipment and crew members with all of their credentials.

Setting a new standard.

9/16 Wes - Battalion Chief

Thanks for going to help New Orleans. The USAR team and other resources from California definitely provided some needed skills from what I've heard.

You're absolutely right on in saying I should update my research on fast response times. The times I posted were from 2000 - the BIG WILDLAND FIRE season when the military came to assist the IMTs. Now that's always uncomfortable with both sides going thru the "mating dance". (Not surprising with the alpha male leadership thing - and I'm PROUD of both groups. Both my parents were military.) Anyway, the military at that time of the 2000 conflagration said they didn't have as quick a response capability as the IMTs. We all know that practice makes perfect, or at least faster; and the Iraq War has provided lots of practice for quick response for the military since then. So, as you suggest, I will check and update.

That said, I don't think this should be a "deployment time competition" between the military and the IMTs. I do think we need to figure out how to use our real capability as best we can to have the fastest response possible. I do think there's a better use of both military and IMTs for this country than what is currently being suggested. It will take planning to coordinate it and a leader with the President's ear to oversee it.

As far as my comment about Cavuto, you're absolutely right. With some more research, I've found it was Cafferty. I didn't remember which person at CNN I wrote to. I guess Cafferty is fairly new in his function on that segment of CNN and may still have name recognition problems. [I usually don't watch much TV and I don't think I ever watch Fox (?). So when I was writing to theysaid and couldn't remember, I hollered out into a room of people "who's the media guy who asks questions and you send emails in and they read them on the air?" Some names got hollered back and I picked the wrong one. Oopsie. Thanks for the correction. (With embarrassing similarly, I was educated by this theysaid bunch several years ago as to who Vanna White is. <grin>)]

On another note, I talked with a friend working relief in New Orleans last night. He told me about people still being rescued (by the military). One 91 year old house-bound woman was rescued yesterday. She hadn't the means or the money for evacuation beforehand. After the storm passed and the levee broke, she was in a wheel chair and alone and couldn't escape. The water had risen up her body to her neck following the levee break, then it stopped at her chin. It slowly receded. Weeks of time went by. She had drunk the water to stay alive and eaten packages of food that had floated by, she had pooped as she sat. The water was at calf and ankle level for many days. It finally got low enough for her to push debris aside, wheel herself to her door and to catch her rescuers' attention. Now I'd say that's a case of serious Deep Survival. With spirit, courage, resourcefulness and commitment like that as an example, it seems we could all come together to figure out how to craft a truly workable rapid response plan for this country.

Finally, if anyone knows and could tell us about the difference (and pros and cons) regarding the Federal Response Plan (FRP) that had FEMA stand alone in contrast with the newer National Response Plan (NRP) under DHS, I'd like to hear it... FEMA has always been cumbersome, but FEMA tapped the agencies. What about the NRP? I know they can tap the agencies as well, but with an added level of bureaucracy. Is there any built-in standard in the NRP that they activate the IMTs automatically?

On human factors... When we get thru the "deer in the headlights" initial mental chaos phase of any emergency, individually and collectively, we fall back on what's known and practiced. When we don't know and haven't practiced the optimal responses for collective survival, bureaucracy (and rules) may provide a level of comfort for those in charge, whether federal, state or local. It's no wonder there was a "relaxed mobilization" in the case of Katrina. It's an effect of human factors at every level. I think we can PLAN and PRACTICE to do better.

Wes, thanks again for your contributions to the effort. Seeing those USAR and fire resources from my state in the city of my childhood made me feel a tad bit better - less helpless anyway, like someone was there to try to help those I couldn't help.

Mellie

9/16 Klamathman (they said 9/15) asked why we could spend $17,000 an acre in
suppression and not get $1000 an acre for presuppression treating of fuels.
This is just another example of the two modes people (myself included)
operate under, panic and apathy. Sorry there's no middle ground. The same
goes for many areas, like the funds to pump water out of New Orleans now vs
reduced money for levee maintenance last year. Its just easier to get
money build a new road than to maintain the current ones. It takes an
emergency to get results, and even then, after the noise dies down, the
funds dry up. Whether it's fire or storms, this is unlikely to change.

As for chainsaws, Shari Downhill nailed it (they said 9/15). In the
current effort, there's no oversight on who gets to use a chainsaw. I once
asked "how many chain saw accidents do you see?" of the folks in the
emergency room. The small county seat in a town of 8000 people had many
folks who used wood to heat their homes.

"About once a week" they responded. It made me realize I know absolutely
nothing about running a chainsaw! Handsaws may not be much safer, but I've
found cutting down and sawing up 4-8 inch trees by hand is fairly easy and
good exercise! I do realize that if ya have more than one tree to cut, a
chainsaw can speed up the job a bit.

Sedgehead
9/16 It is no wonder that U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thad Allen was named to replace the former FEMA director. The Coast Guard has been using ICS for many years and it is a part of their mission and training, while FEMA is just now trying to get people trained to the basic levels of I-100 and I-200. I would venture to guess the political appointee at the helm of FEMA never even heard of the Incident Command System or understood his responsibilites under NIMS. I guess it is the same at many levels of the government, especially the wildland fire agencies. Political appointees try to manage something they have limited or no real knowledge of.

Here is the Coast Guard version of the command structure -ICS : www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mor/media/Chapter12.pdf

The Coast Guard version looks alot like the wildland version that came from Southern California after the Bel Aire, Laguna, and Bear Fires over 30 years ago....

I have to wonder though.... (and Admiral Allen is doing great and not a political appointee for sure... I've had several Coasties in my ICS classes in the last "few" years and really appreciate the jobs they do) ....what if Director Chertoff had appointed a sitting federal agency Area Commander or Team Incident Commander to the post of FOSC (Federal On Scene Coordinator) who has been using ICS their whole career to manage complex incidents?....

The public and all of us have an honest gripe about how the response to Hurricane Katrina and past disasters have been handled. We all know it can be done better.... heck, even President Bush said it earlier tonight. There are also lessons to be learned here for us in the future.

Lobotomy
9/16 When President Bush in his speech tonight introduced the concept that the military should become more involved with disaster management I had a quick mixed reaction. My dyed-in-the-wool, wildland firefighter side doesn't have a problem whatsoever with the military taking the ball. Yet on the other hand with the success that teams have had and the ability to perform is well documented, and when it comes to getting the job done does it really matter what uniform or outfit that you show up wearing. It doesn't. Is it surprising that FEMA has been perceived as under performing, not to me, especially after being around them last year at Hurricane Ivan. FEMA is a paper pushing, money spending organization, beyond that it does not appear as if they understood how to approach the situations they are dealt. Ok, so the military is going to become more involved, what will that do for the NIMO concept. Here is a guess, it will be obsolete before it can get fully implemented.

All said, my bags are packed, and will be out door when our team gets ordered. The mindset never changes, the family understands, and the dogs get over it.

Sincerely,
Into the wind.
9/16 Klamathman...

Let me offer a belated congratulations to the men and women who fought the Geary Fire.
They hit it hard on IA and had the fire 50% contained by the time the team mobilized.

I agree that fuels treatment is a lot cheaper than open checkbook fire fighting. Who knows,
maybe the pendulum will swing and fuels management and logging will take precedence
over owls and other critters.

viejo

9/16 Ab:
I just returned from New Orleans, My department sent a USAR Team and a Strike Team (2 Engines, 1 Tender, 1 heavy Rescue and 1 Quint) along with 2 Rescue Boats. We arrived in New Orleans early Tuesday morning and went right into rescue operations. I would like to address some of the posts here this evening.

Mellie...You might want to update your research regarding Military Deployment. The advance element of the 82nd Airborne Division's Ready Brigade was here in New Orleans early Tuesday morning, less than 8 hours AFTER they got the green light to deploy, they were primed and ready for any mission given to them. I believe, after seeing the incident first hand, that if it wasn't for the ACTIVE Military quick involvement, the casualty toll would have been much higher. The active military component there was very organized and dedicated where the National Guard was waiting for the Governor to make crucial decisions in a timely manner which never happened. In my opinion the Military should take a command structure OVER Federal IMTs on any major incident/disaster. I thought Cavuto was on Fox Network not CNN.

Shari... In the 2 weeks in New Orleans I seen a lot of roofs opened up by SAR, FireFighters, Coast Guard using chain saws and I never seen or heard of any injuries. I do know of numerous injuries involving homeowners and chain saws however. Have you ever cut into a pitched roof with a chain saw or chop saw?, most firefighters have used chain saws for ventilation ops, entrapments (structure collapse, not to be confused with burnover).

The IMTs I saw the last week have been doing a great job with the logistics and getting some semblance of organization in the affected regions. The good news is that The Government FINALLY got a Professional to head up FEMA, Dave Paulson, former Miami-Dade Fire/Rescue Chief, is getting a firm handle on the situation. Early on during the confusion in New Orleans, an enterprising wildland contract company set up 2 solar powered radio repeaters on 2 of New Orleans highest buildings, along with their satellite communications system and some of the communications problems were reduced.

Wes
Battalion Chief
9/16 Re: Hurricane Response

Some interesting quotes from the following CDF web link: www.fire.ca.gov/php/fire_er_katrina.php

“When Captain Craw first arrived at the FEMA JFO he began to establish a relationship with his FEMA counterpart in order to provide State representation and advice on Incident Action Plan (IAP) development.” 9/14/2005

“His accomplishments to date include assisting FEMA with proper IAP development and insertion of an Incident Command System-203 into the IAP.” 9/14/2005

“Captain Craw is preparing to teach I-100 and I-200 to interested FEMA and State personnel that are working out of the JFO.” 9/14/2005

“Yesterday, Chief Smith and his USFS OSC counterpart had an opportunity to introduce the ICS-215 process to FEMA and State personnel during the Planning Meeting at the FEMA JFO.” 9/14/2005

“Chief Winton is pleased with the performance of the Task Force and believes that they are headed down the right path. He encourages the Task Force to continually re-evaluate their mission, maintain situational awareness, and provide the mentorship necessary to make the State of Louisiana successful in the aftermath of an unprecedented natural disaster.” 9/14/2005

Here are some additional links that may be of interest.

www.fema.gov/txt/nims/nims_ics_position_paper.txt
www.fema.gov/txt/nims/nims_is700.txt
www.fema.gov/txt/nims/letter_to_governors_09082004.txt
www.fema.gov/txt/nims/nims_compliance_fy2005.txt
www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030228-9.phpl
www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031217-6.phpl
www.fema.gov/txt/nims/nrp_letter_from_secretary_ridge.txt

Lobotomy

9/16 Dear "Narrowbanded" re radio frequencies:

You may get an answer from another source sooner, but I have contacted
an acquaintance who is a staff person for the House Homeland Security
Committee and will post info just as soon as I receive it.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

9/16 Klamathman

I think it's funny that you would bring up the fire on the Six River because that is one of the most costly fires I've seen for the acres involved. I'm sorry but what was the Six Rivers thinking?

At one time there was over 500 people on an incident that wasn't growing very fast. I really wish someone would audit this fire and see how ridiculous the spending really was. With all the resources that were on that forest at the time of the incident they should have had a pretty good handle on the fire by the second day. Also how do you justify the Type 2 team for less than three days. But I guess the <snip> that was left over <snip>. And before I get a bunch of people mad at me yes I was on the fire and yes I'm from the Six Rivers, one more question is everybody in the Region running their base, overtime and vehicle mileage on severity?

Later,
Billfire

If it the incident falls in the severity category, people should be using the correct code. Ab.

9/15 Hi to All:

Congressman Richard Pombo, author of HR 408, The federal Wildland Firefighter Emergency Response Compensation Act, has sent out the following letter to fellow members of Congress as it relates to educating them on the fact that our federal wildland firefighters are working in the Gulf States side by side with others. It is unfortunate that the land-management agencies haven't felt the need to educate the media that these folks are there as well as others from across the country. If you have any questions, please contact the FWFSA at (916) 515-1224.

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

September 15, 2005

Federal Wildland Firefighters Respond to Katrina

Dear Colleague:

Our Nation's federal wildland firefighters continue to risk their lives battling devastating blazes throughout the West to save many lives and property of others. Now the call of duty has brought them to save lives and property where Hurricane Katrina has uprooted families and communities. Once again these brave men and women work side by side those who toil in the same harrowing conditions, but are not paid equally for their valor. These firefighters deserve our federal support by rectifying long-standing inequities in their pay system.

The standard pay system forces these firefighters to work long and dangerous hours to receive premium overtime compensation. The high risks and poor pay not only create safety hazards, but also hurt the recruitment and retention of quality firefighters. And when the need arises, be it fires in the West or rising waters in the South, these federal firefighters respond. Government should issue equal pay for equal work.

The federal Wildland Fire Service Association (FWFSA) reports, "whether they are 10 miles from home or 3000 miles from home, federal wildland firefighters are paid for only part of any 24 hour period while the federal government pays other firefighters on the same fire their full, 24 hour salaries."

Further, the FWFSA says "in many instances, our federal wildland firefighters are dispatched for up to 21 days away from home. They may go from one fire to the next without returning to their home state for 3 weeks." The catastrophic devastation in New Orleans and elsewhere is a poignant reminder of the heroic work of our firefighters who respond in time of need.

The Federal Wildland Firefighter Emergency Response Compensation Act will properly compensate these firefighters for all their time on the job and allow their retirements to be supplemented for their hazardous service. For more information, or to become a cosponsor of this bill, please contact me or Lucas Frances at 5-1947.

Sincerely,

RICHARD POMBO

9/15 Here's the letter on digital radios in aircraft

JR

Aviation P25 Radio Implementation within the All-Risk/Fire Community

9/15 This came in from Team 5. Ab.

Tom Cable, Incident Commander
News Release Hurricane Katrina, Jackson Support Base, New Orleans, LA
Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 12:00
Incident Information
Contact: Martin Esparza or Tom Lavagnino

New Orleans, LA., -- Important logistical support for the various emergency workers and agencies continues and expands as the California Interagency Incident Management Team 5, under the command of Tom Cable, organizes and coordinates facilities to provide hot meals, wash stations and showers in and around the City of New Orleans at different support bases.

The base camp established at the City of New Orleans Water Treatment Plant is in full operation and city workers now have a location where they may comfortably and safely live while repairing the entire water distribution system. One of the top priorities for the city before citizens may re-enter the city is an adequate supply of potable water. The treatment plant did not sustain major flood or wind damage, but the water distribution infrastructure throughout the city must be inspected and repaired as needed. City workers will stage their operations from the treatment plant each day and return at night to a hot meal, showers, and a cool place to sleep.

Hand crews assigned to the Jackson Support Base are cleaning up important parks, historic sites and public places in the city. One example is the Jackson Square Park which sustained heavy wind damage in the storm. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this recently cleaned park may serve as the stage for elected officials to address the media and demonstrate the recovery of the city.

The morale of the emergency workers and members of the military remains high as their basic living conditions are met and enhanced. Each day many obvious improvements to the city become evident as the recovery and clean-up progresses. Full recovery from the storm will take many months to complete. The long-term health and welfare, or maintenance of the emergency and recovery workers is an important function in the restoration from Hurricane Katrina.

The Incident Command System (ICS) has proved itself time and again as a reliable and flexible organizational tool ready for any major incident. This major interagency effort brings together many recovery and relief agencies whom have learned to appreciate the power and success of this universal system. ICS provides a common "language" and structure for all agencies and the military to use when communicating with each other. Wildland fire fighters have successfully used this system for years along with many police and structural fire fighting organizations. As more agencies are introduced to the merits and concepts of ICS, a greater acceptance will develop. The emergency response to Hurricane Katrina will be studied for years, and ICS will be one of the many highlights of the overall effort. California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 is proud to be a part of this historic emergency recovery effort.

9/15 Anyone have any information on the radio spectrum Congress is considering as part of Home Land Security changes that was presented to congress by FEMA? This topic was mentioned on PBS the other night and a Representative said they were close to adopting new nationwide radio spectrums for emergency management so ALL agencies would have common frequencies when responding to disasters such as hurricanes, floods and other events.

My concerns are many...A number of Fire Departments in my state have migrated to 800 megahertz and this has made it harder to interface with my engines that are using VHF frequencies. It's common to have a mixture of 800 and VHF on local wildfire incidents and many FF's are forced to carry two portables to maintain communications with all resources. Will wildland go to 800 or will Fire Departments/LE and others come back to VHF?

Early reports from New Orleans mentioned that part of the communication problems came about with a complete failure of the 800 system. I haven't had a lot of exposure to the 800 radio systems.. so the questions I have are... which is better?...the 800 megahertz or forestry and natural resource VHF systems? Would the same system failures have happened to a VHF system? Our mountain top repeaters have back-up battery/solar/propane so a power outage wouldn't bring the system down. Is the 800 system a linked system so if one chain in the link goes out the whole system goes down?

Where is the compromise and how do you reach agreement on a nationwide system that would place LE, Fire and other Emergency Service Providers (including wildland) on a common channel? I know a little bit about the so called "black box" technology and can see it working in some instances but with the little knowledge I have I don't think it's workable on incidents over a wide geographical area.... I might be wrong.

My limited understanding of the "black box" technology (just to show my ignorance) is that it is a computer based system that is able to "hear" all frequencies and selectively re-transmit (?) on identified frequencies. Right? Wrong?

I can clone or re-program my King at the fire (incident) to many of the VHF channels but what does it take to re-program an 800 radio?

The last question I have is how does this Home Land Insecurity (haw) /FEMA radio spectrum proposal match up with all of the interoperability plans that many agencies have submitted over the past several years?

Oliverfeelingalittlenarrowbandedthismorning
9/15 Ab,

If anyone is in a position to read this and do something about it, please do…

Re: Katrina chainsaw accidents…SHARPEN THE CHAIN….

Anyone watching the news with the chainsaws running? No chips flying means dull chain. Dull chain means more time futility “sawing” on the wood (that unnecessary constant back and forth motion you see some folks using in an attempt to “get more bite”),… more time in danger’s way, and less likelihood the operator knows what they are doing.

We’ve offered immediate in-field saw training for Katrina agency sawyer resources. But, alas… Many of them may know what they’re doing. Many, many obviously do not. It’s frustrating to know there are people getting injured with chainsaws when many of these accidents could be avoided with some basic operation, maintenance and safety instruction, and a seasoned faller or agency chainsaw coordinator there to mentor when necessary. And yes, this could be done “on the fly” during tree clearing operations. Someone might suggest that an emergency is no time for training. I would argue that it is a prime time for it. It’s real time… real tasks… real pressure. It certainly is a poor time to send inadequately trained and equipped chainsaw operators into the field solo.

We know of an excellent mobile chainsaw shop vendor who has been assigned to the Katrina incident in the Mississippi area. He is very knowledgeable about saw operation and maintenance, and would be more than happy to show chainsaw operators there how to maintain a properly sharpened chain. He says he hasn’t been that busy. He’s not just there for kicks… sawyers should be utilizing him. His knowledge and skills are extensive. He’s there to help.

Why is it that “everybody” knows how to operate a chainsaw? Truth is, not everybody does know how to safely and efficiently perform a sawyers’/fallers’ tasks. Chainsaw accidents are seldom, if ever, minor. It’s sort of like flying… getting a plane in the air is much easier than maneuvering it safely back to the ground. Most of us can pull the starter rope on a saw. Some just shouldn’t.

Shari Downhill
9/15 Ohhhh Viejo-
To hit on an old subject, you had complaints about not being aggressive enough and wasting money on the Blossom complex. The cost of direct fire fighting and using all available resources is no cheap deal either. The Geary fire on the Six Rivers Nat'l forest was 175 acres. The cost.... nearly 3 million dollars. Approximately 5 air tankers, 4 helicopters, 7 shot crews, and many, many engines were used. Do I dare say this to the wildland fire fighting community... but my point is, perhaps we are spending money in the wrong place. Why do we have the unlimited budget for fighting fire, but very little funding to treat fuels at a landscape level. Thats over $17,000 dollars an acre. But we cant come up with $1000 dollars an acre to treat fuels. A bit frustrating to many people at many levels.

thanks for the forum,
Klamathman
9/15 I’ve been stewing on this post for two weeks… and since 9-11-2001…...

As the federal and state Incident Management Teams (Type 1 and 2) get deeper and deeper into all risk responses year after year, the question has to be asked…. Why not let Incident Management Teams manage incidents rather than providing logistical or planning support for FEMA?

Incident Management Teams stretch across all of the ESF boundaries and know how to get the job done and manage an incident. Yes, the IMT’s are mobilized under ESF #4 and USDA mandates, but they also provide the capability for serving as a command structure for getting the following ESF functions done in a timely and well coordinated effort (ie- Incident Management) when the command structures fail at local, state, and federal levels (and they will during a disaster....hence the word disaster):

ESF #1 – Transportation
  • Federal and civil transportation support
  • Transportation safety
  • Restoration/recovery of transportation infrastructure
  • Movement restrictions
  • Damage and impact assessment

ESF #2 – Communications

  • Coordination with telecommunications industry
  • Restoration/repair of telecommunications infrastructure
  • Protection, restoration, and sustainment of national cyber and information technology resources

ESF #3 - Public Works and Engineering

  • Infrastructure protection and emergency repair
  • Infrastructure restoration
  • Engineering services, construction management
  • Critical infrastructure liaison

ESF #4 - Firefighting

  • Firefighting activities on Federal lands
  • Resource support to rural and urban firefighting operations

ESF #5 - Emergency Management

  • Coordination of incident management efforts
  • Issuance of mission assignments
  • Resource and human capital
  • Incident action planning
  • Financial management

ESF #6 - Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services

  • Mass care
  • Disaster housing
  • Human services

ESF #7 - Resource Support

  • Resource support (facility space, office equipment and supplies, contracting services, etc.)

ESF #8 - Public Health and Medical Service

  • Public health
  • Medical
  • Mental health services
  • Mortuary services

ESF #9 - Urban Search and Rescue

  • Life-saving assistance
  • Urban search and rescue

ESF #10 - Oil and Hazardous Materials Response

  • Oil and hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological, etc.) response
  • Environmental safety and short- and long-term cleanup

ESF #11 - Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Nutrition assistance
  • Animal and plant disease/pest response
  • Food safety and security
  • Natural and cultural resources and historic properties protection and restoration

ESF #12 - Energy

  • Energy infrastructure assessment, repair, and restoration
  • Energy industry utilities coordination
  • Energy forecast

ESF #13 - Public Safety and Security

  • Facility and resource security
  • Security planning and technical and resource assistance
  • Public safety/security support
  • Support to access, traffic, and crowd control

ESF #14 - Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation

  • Social and economic community impact assessment
  • Long-term community recovery assistance to States, local governments, and the private sector
  • Mitigation analysis and program implementation

ESF #15 - External Affairs

  • Emergency public information and protective action guidance
  • Media and community relations
  • Congressional and international affairs
  • Tribal and insular affairs

If you think it could never work… think of each of the ESF functions as a Branch Director (A qualified Branch Director ordered for his or her skills representing the Agency with the NRP responsibilities of the responsible agency)…. The system is already in place… it is called the Incident Command System or National Incident Management System. FEMA and DHS has no clue on how it should really work when it is implemented properly.

All of the ESF Functions would just fall under the Command and General Staff of existing IMTs through a letter of delegation. It’s a pretty easy concept… Let IMTs manage incidents and continue to get the specialists they need as they have always done in the past. The Northridge Earthquake and Northern California Floods were great examples of letting Incident Management Teams do what they do best, manage incidents.

1) Incident Commanders and their command staff know how to manage incidents......
2) Operations Section Chiefs know how to perform operational elements of the mission or who to delegate those missions to.....
3) Logistics Section Chiefs know how to provide for the support of the mission and the team...
4) Planning Section Chiefs know how to organize a plan to get the mission done.......
5) Finance Section Chiefs know how to keep track of and manage the costs of the incident and how to get the bills paid and how to get things purchased or contracts secured to obtain the mission......

Sorry for the rant… ICS and NIMS works well, the process for incident management needs some big corrections when a Federal Disaster Declaration is obtained in the future.. it means we need federal help and assistance and are welcoming it without resistance...!!! Just a thought… Turf wars are not an excuse..... There needs to be some discussion about letting Incident Management Teams actually manage incidents they are called to.....

Lobotomy

9/15 Folks,

I finally viewed a positive media report about the federal government yesterday morning on CNN. Although the reporter really had no clue about what the 5 land management agencies are all about, he started his live broadcast by saying "one federal agency known for emergency operations in remote locations is making a difference here in N.O. and they are the Forest Service". He proceeded to interview Tom Cable who did an outstanding job with the interview discussing how his team has been relocated to N.O. to develop a new camp.

Casey and all with the power of the keyboard,

1. We MUST make sure that the work of the 5 land management agencies are doing is known to everyone that has a say in the budget process.

2. Any White House review, Presidential commission, House or Senate inquiry or any group that will be formally asked to review the Katrina response, must know how our Land Management Fire Managers and employees performed. They must know of our efforts, they must know what our agencies can bring to the table to develop a better national response to emergencies. They must know of our sincere desire to get more involved. They must know what the MEL funding of 2001 did for our agencies and negative effects of the projected FY2006, 2007 and 2008 budgets will do for national emergency response. No formal report should be issued without the names of our agencies clearly recognized for our efforts, leadership and additionally document are abilities to manage emergencies while working with local and state governments and the military.

Portal to portal, HP for retirement----> OK that's important, however energy needs to be shifted immediately to a new priority------> Maintain our current MEL organizations and improving our role in national emergency management is now MISSION CRITICAL !

The average American family and for that matter probably the average American Congressional representative when they see us in our NPS, BLM, FS, BIA fire trucks or at our fire stations, campground or visitor centers, they say "look kids over there are Smokey's Helpers". That must change to: "look kids there are some of the America's finest emergency responders".

Whether we are in front of a camera like Cable or in front of our computer screens, we must get the word out about what we do. And more importantly, what we could do if given the authority and funding to perform.

Signed,

No Boundaries

HEAR HEAR. Ab.

9/15 I discovered the full Tuolumne Fire Investigation Report on the CDF web
page for those of you who have not read it. It has probably been there for
a while but it was somewhat hidden...go to the CDF home page...Main Links
on the left...News Releases...scroll down to the last line in August
2005...click on accident investigation report (even though it says
executive summary it will open up to the full report page). It is divided
up in segments for easier downloading. Download it and take some time to
read it, there are many lessons to be learned.

stm

Excellent. It's good they divided the report into downloadable chunks (pdf files). I put the link with the others on our Documents Worth Reading page. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard at getting this report up on the internet, including Colorado Firecamp which has a html version, and various people in the private sector and in the USFS who contacted CDF to press a bit. Thanks also to those in CDF who worked on this and dealt with the various bureaucratic and political pressures. Ab.

9/15 So with all these concerns of diseases and other
lovely stuff are they giving wildland firefighters
hazard pay?

DM
9/15 I have been buzzing around on the various GACC sites since Katrina to glean
some info and am delighted to see that most have gone to a new format, and/or
have some great info.

The notable exception is the SoCal site...

I thought SoCal was supposed to be a leader in such things...

Disappointed.

PS. TIA means, Thanks in advance.

I updated several critical wlf.com pages the other day. In researching updates for our links page, I found that SOUTH OPS does have the beginning of their new GACC format, HERE. Hopefully they'll upgrade News and Notes as time permits.

FYI, I also updated our Type I and Type II teams pages and added a page for FUM teams, since they no longer have their own site. If new sites are created by any of those teams, please let us know. Ab.

9/15 Ab,

Now is the time to let the media know what the IMTs do so well. Cavuto on CNN asked the question the other night: "Should the military should take over in natural disasters?"

I thought HELL NO, the IMTs should be given authority to do it. The military is pretty fast at organizing for disasters; years ago I did some research and like they could do it in 48 hrs. BUT, the IMTs are able to organize even faster, by half a day. AND their mission/vision/experience is not military, but disaster relief oriented. Water and food and formula drops would have been among first actions... along with rescue. Why is this country not using what we have? Cut thru the bureaucratic stuff and just let IMTs do their job!

I don't want to make response seem like it could, should, or would happen instantaneously, but you gotta admit, we have LEADERS with training and EXPERIENCE in setting up the practical priorities for survival, as well as the legal and financial structure for disaster response.

Anyway, I wrote in to CNN's Cavuto (first time ever doing the TV-media blog thing <snort>). It was only moments in my west coast time before Wolf Blitzer read answers on the air. So he obviously didn't read mine. But hopefully it and other responses like it will prompt CNN to look at the teams. Do they realize that the teams do most of the work. Look at this map! I tell you all...Those are FIRE TEAMS! Let's get the WORD out to the media!

Mellie

9/14

Safety Fax
IMT Safety Officers
Larry Grimes – Safety Team Leader
Hurricane Katrina Emergency Response
Date: September 14, 2005
PPE Fact Sheet for Flood Response Work

The Safety Assistance Team in consultation with the Center for Disease Control, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides the following interim guidelines and warnings to flood cleanup workers. The hazards in flood waters are likely variable and can include sewage, household chemicals and cleaning solutions, petroleum products, hazardous industrial chemicals, pesticides, and flammable liquids. Workers must also be aware of dangers from physical hazards such as obstacles covered by flood waters (storm debris, depressions, drainage openings, ground erosion) and from displaced reptiles or other animals.

Workers and volunteers involved with flood cleanup should avoid direct skin contact with flood waters if possible and through the use of appropriate PPE and clothing. In most instances, the selection of PPE will be dependent on site-specific conditions, hazards, and tasks. The list below provides interim guidance on PPE and clothing for flood response workers responding to Hurricane Katrina:

  • Workers who must walk through debris and building material should wear serviceable workboots. Tennis shoes or sneakers should not be worn because they will transfer contamination and will not prevent punctures, bites, or crush injuries. Hip waders may be appropriate to help prevent contact with flood waters.
  • Heavy, waterproof, cut-resistant work gloves or other types of protective gloves may be required if handling identified material hazards; gloves not disposed of after use should be cleaned with soap and water and dried between uses.
  • Wear goggles, safety glasses with side shields or full face shields. Sun/glare-protective lenses may be needed in some work settings.
  • Wear soft hat or other protective head cover. Wear an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rated hardhat if there is any danger of falling debris or electrical hazards.
  • Hearing protection is needed (when working in an environment with any noise that you must shout over to be heard.
  • Comfortable, light weight clothing including long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or coveralls should be the standard dress unless otherwise indicated by a hazard assessment.
  • Cleanup operations involving incidental exposure to airborne dust produced by drying silt or mist from pumping floodwater should include the use of NIOSH approved, N-95 dust masks. Those given the N-95 dust masks should be instructed on the proper donning and use. For work involving higher, prolonged level of exposures, an occupational safety and health professional should be consulted to reevaluate PPE selection for particular tasks.
  • In the event of skin contact with the contaminated water or debris, employees should wash thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible.

In all instances, workers are advised to wash their hands with soap and clean water, especially before eating or drinking. Workers should be encouraged to carry and use liquid hand sanitizer. Protect any cuts or abrasions with waterproof gloves and dressings.

Flood waters are associated with strong odors but these odors do not indicate the need for use of respirators. However, additional PPE, respiratory protection, or clothing may be required when specific exposure hazards are identified or expected at the work site. In some instances, the protective ensemble components (garment, boots and gloves) may need to be resistant to contaminated flood or other site-specific chemical, physical, or biological hazards.

The use of insect repellant, sun block and lip balm may also be required for some work environments. Drink plenty of bottled water and take frequent rest breaks to avoid overexertion. Updated vaccinations (within the last 10 years) for Tetanus-Diphtheria are recommended but not required for workers involved in hurricane response.

Contact: Larry Grimes or Allison Good (678) 441-5125

9/14 Tahoe Terrie,

Here's what several people have told me about safety in New Orleans.

The Agencies with fire teams and crews are working hard, with daily conference calls to address firefighter safety. HR and Environmental Safety folks are involved. Safety advisories have come out and are pushed to the field (we hope) as as new issues have been identified. There'll be new safety guidelines that come out soon, perhaps tonight, that address respiratory protection and clothing, among other things, for crews in the field.

Everyone going to hurricane recovery country to help should

  • know what you're getting into
  • expect and demand safety briefings; each Agency should be doing safety briefings
  • follow the safety advisories; even if they're just recommendations, get the crews to follow them
  • be careful when you're there, even a simple scratch can be dangerous
  • if you have safety concerns you feel are not being addressed on site, raise your concerns up the chain of command.
  • If you're an ESF4, you are not supposed to be assigned without being under the supervision of an IMT.

This is a watchout situation, like going to a new region to fight fire in terrain and fuels that are not in your experience. Firefighters who worked at the Twin Towers did not know the air they breathed was a health risk. It's like that. Study up, then ask yourself what else could be dangerous.

New Orleans is reportedly a very ugly scene to see, smell, taste in the back of your throat, and feel. It is quiet, no gunshots lately, but here are some things I've been told that people have said stay in their minds:

  • buildings like the superdome and Convention Center are so awful in smell, look, feel and health risk that they'll likely have to be condemned; there's no escaping the fact that people were there and suffered on a grand scale
  • there's hazardous germ-y standing water and, in places that are drained, a thick layer of toxic stinking sludge
  • there are piles of dangerous refuse everywhere, including medical refuse
  • hundreds of thousands of houses are damaged by water and are being taken over inside by mold
  • bodies still must be recovered and identified
  • pets are waiting, sometimes crying for their owners on the porches surrounded by water
  • there's a pervading stench of rotting flesh, fuel, and chemicals, made worse by the heat and humidity

Molumby's Type I Team with FEMA set up the Disaster Mortuary Operation Response Team (DMORT) for New Orleans. Paul's Type II Orca Team may now be aiding with process of recovering the dead. (I haven't been able to confirm that.) Cable's Type I Team is working in the French Quarter.

The NICC website has good information on Health and Safety.
The Center for Disease Control - Health and Safety website is pertinent.

Those in New Orleans and elsewhere are still having problems with communication. If you don't know about services for emergency personnel, there were two new services begun after 9/11 to help responders get a dial tone when phone systems are overwhelmed by everyone wanting to use them.

  • WPS (Wireless Priority Service) is a service you can have added to your cell phone, set up by your cell provider, but it has to be authorized.
  • GETS (Government Emergency Telephone Service) works on land lines. You get a phone card. When you use it, you get the next dial tone that's available. If you're going to help, look into these ahead of time or when there talk to the Communication folks who can tell you if you qualify and when you can use it.

When our folks get home, recognize what they're likely to have gone through. Be supportive.

If anyone has more to add or corrections, feel free to chime in.

Ab.

9/14 Rocky Mountain Member,

Actually, the question was posted by me, not LW. Thanks very much for the further clarification that you provided however! The reason I asked my question is that I wanted to know when Krugman's team would be up again. I worked with y'all in Alaska last year and thoroughly enjoyed my assignment. I've also worked with ICs Martin and Sexton when they were part of Carvelo's team, and would love an assignment with those guys too. I guess in short, there are a lot of good folks out there to work with, but it is always nice to see familiar faces/teams! Keep up the good work!

Information Diva
9/14 You can see from the Katrina Resource map where the Teams are, but
does anyone know which Crews are working in the New Orleans area
and what they're doing?

I've had safety concerns since I've heard some are dealing with body
retrieval and storage. Even refuse collection could be very dangerous.
Do people know that?

CNN reported last night that there have been more than 100 chain saw
accidents and some other kind of accident (can't remember). I think our firefighters
are trained in those, but I wonder about long term medical risk - the crap
and heavy metals and PCBs and rotting carcasses left when the water recedes
and the mold and germs.

As Mollysboy said -this recovery could go on for a while. What shouts
watchout? What's being done to insure safety?

Tahoe Terrie

PS The second one was carbon monoxide poisoning from running equipment like a
generator in an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless gas that
replaces oxygen in your blood and starves the brain of oxygen.

9/14 Mollysboy,

As far as I know, the "powers that be" are in daily conference calls when
necessary to talk about "draw-down". They have reached the limit of what
NWCG, in conference with the GACGs, has said they can allow to go to
hurricane response as far as teams are concerned. Unless they change the
decision they made a couple of weeks ago and have continually re-validated,
there will not be a rise in the numbers of type 1 and 2 teams being sent
overall. Some teams may be sent to replace some rotating out, but after a
couple of days off that makes the teams rotating out available again for
fire assignments. I am hoping that there are still enough single resources
available to fill those positions needed on fires should we run into
another heavy fall fire season, especially in CA. My understanding is that
logistical support people are not available except for those committed to
the teams that have not yet been assigned to Katrina.

I do know that they are trying to recruit all kinds of type 3 teams yet as
I have a friend in Colorado that was asked to go as part of his county's
type 3 team. They had to turn it down because their members are also on
type 1 and 2 teams, either already committed to an assignment or awaiting
assignment.

Yes, this could be a very interesting fall and winter!

RMAM
9/14 All Risk Resource Demands and failure of FPA as a workable budgeting tool:

The year teams did hurricane, chicken, etc assignments everyone got pretty burned out. The fact that IFPM requirement deadlines are being pushed back indicates the need to look at the BIG manpower (& womanpower) issue... but at the same time top-down management is telling everyone that the federal fire budget is being cut significantly over the next few years.

I have a few things to say about the new fire budgeting program... It's being called it a train wreck... The new fire budgeting program (FPA = Fire Program Analysis) that replaces NFMAS is not workable or fixable. It's pie in the sky of some academic economist's mind. As the FS WO works on putting bandaids on the levee break, the Agencies, Congress and the Public are being flooded softly with BS as the water and the costs slowly but surely rise. By the time the higher ups admit there's a budget program problem with no solution, we'll have another financial and resource disaster on our hands. We will have spent millions on the Emperor's non-existent "new clothes". (OK what other nursery rhymes, kids stories and analogies can I throw in here???)

Bottom line is that FPA program DOES NOT WORK and the fact is being covered up.

NorCal Tom

PS. Excellent group effort on the socal ultra-run. Thanks Ken Perry and all. Thanks for the "window" on the action, Abs and reporters.

9/14 Some thoughts of an idle mind, while enjoying a 3rd cup of coffee this early Fall morning:
We (the natural resources agencies fire folks) have 2 Area Command Teams, 7 T-1 IMTs, 11 T-2 IMTs, 5 Logistic Teams and 3 NPS All-Risk Teams assigned to "Katrina", a total of 3000+ folks. Now a T-2 IMT has been activated in anticipation of "Ophelia" making landfall in the Carolinas.

And there are still 45 days left in the "declared" hurricane season that ends about November 1st.

What happens if NorCal and SoCal both decided to have serious fire events like late 2003: can we respond? Does USFS tell FEMA that they can't redeem their ESF4 response requirements? How many of those Team folks are going to be willing to go on recurring Hurricane assignments throughout the Fall, Winter, Holiday season, and yes.....even into next Spring before family, bosses at home and individual burnout all say: ENOUGH!!! "Katrina" promises to be a bigger and longer duration operation than Columbia Recovery.

No answers, just questions and random thoughts. The coffee cup is dry, time to get some work done.

Mollysboy

There are 3 Type II Teams assigned to Katrina and parts of 2 CDF Teams. Does anyone have info on whether other western state teams have been called up? Ab.

9/14 Good question, LW! Yes, there is only one Type 1 team in the Rocky
Mountain area - Krugman. There are two teams in Eastern/Western Great
Basin areas - Sexton and Martin. A dozen or so years ago the areas were
combined for rotation purposes to even out the assignments and make it more
equitable for everyone. As you can see how it would be, the Rocky Mountain
team was on call all of the time because they were the only ones in "their"
region. So, although there are Basin teams and a Rocky Mountain team that
may identify themselves by their specific geographic area (as in Rocky
Mountain or Great Basin) the combined areas call them Rocky Basin teams.
I'm on the Rocky Mountain team, and might I add it's an honor to serve in
the same area as the Basin teams.

Rocky Mountain Member
9/14 Ab and everyone,

Thanks all for your kind and encouraging words and advice. From the responses I read, it sounds like I might still be able to get into the game as a temporary/seasonal firefighter. Where does a person with little knowledge seek information about those temporary jobs? I'd like to know what kinds of jobs would be available and some more in-depth information about those jobs. I'm just getting started on my quest here and I won't give up until somebody slams the door so I could use some help in finding resources. Thanks, again, everyone.

Firehead
9/14 Re: Ken Perry’s 52 Mile Mega-Run

Ken Perry's Run was AWESOME..... He showed what being a wildland firefighter was all about!!!!!

BLM Bob, Mollysboy, and the cynic, (Thanks for pledging!!!)

A quick flash-back to 7/22/05…. Ken Perry posted his initial thoughts about making a Mega-Run in support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

> From 7/22-7/28… the challenge began…. It began with discussions and

thoughts… sometimes personal, sometimes open and accusatory, sometimes quiet ideas of how to get the job done…. It is still great communication any way you look at it. It is how the wildland fire community has always worked.

As of today (9/13/2005, 5:30 P.M.), Ken Perry’s run has raised over $45,950.84 for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and caused the wildland fire community to come together in ways we all are proud of and remember from the past.

As Ab said on 9/10/2005, the pledge page would be left open for awhile to let a few more Washington, Regional Office, and Forest Fire Staff folks step up and meet the challenge of Jack’s e-mail…. $116.33 per mile left to go in the pledge goal….. Will they step up?.. It’s all in fun…. It’s just another wildland firefighter challenge to their peers like Hotshots and Smokejumpers do everyday at work, just this time it's to the folks who make the big bucks and make the wildland fire decisions…… I can’t wait until next year and to see if the WO e-mail gets folks to wake up and pledge to such a worthy cause!!!!

Keep safe and keep the families even safer….. I know ya’all will.

Lobotomy

It's pretty close. The WFF is saying that some people are donating more than they pledged and that others who did not pledge before hand are donating. We've taken down the pledge page itself. It's a matter of the work involved in keeping up with and merging additional pledges in the database that goes to the WFF. New folks can donate to the Foundation directly and say to put it toward that event. The WFF page is updated.

OA may rig us up some system that shows how much of the amount that's been pledged has actually been donated. Folks, keep sending in those donations. It would be rewarding to feel we'd hit the $52,000 goal with this. Ab.

9/13 Now this is an interesting change in IFPM requirements for temporary firefighters:

www.ifpm.nifc.gov/documents/Decision_Paper_3_Final.pdf

Decision:
To ensure that fire management is able to fill these vital (temporary firefighter at the GS-05 and GS-06 level) positions and to provide consistency in IFPM Implementation all temporary employees will have until October 1, 2009 to meet the NWCG Incident Management Qualifications and Additional Required Training as outlined in the IFPM Standard. However, all OPM requirements must be met at the time of hire. Temporary employees will not be required to sign a condition of employment. After October 1, 2009, all temporary employees must meet all of the Minimum Qualification Standards at the time of hire.

For more on IFPM, go to the website: www.ifpm.nifc.gov/newdevelopments.php

Nice job on the Run (Ken & Jaime, shots, etc) and on the support and fundraising Everyone. Awesome!

Mellie

9/13 Firehead,

Unfortunately you have aged too much to be considered for permanent firefighting jobs. You can still fulfill your dream, however, as a temporary employee with the USFS, BLM, BIA, FWS, NPS, any state land management agency, or a private contractor. All you need is the physical and mental ability to do the job and do it safely. If I were you, I would personally make contact with any and all agencies that hire may hire wildland firefighters in your local area or any area where you may want to work. Organizational directories are available through the links on this website. Make personal visits so your prospective employer can see the passion in your eyes. I facilitated getting a firefighting job for a person just like you several years ago so I know it can happen. In 1983 I hired a 70 year old retired Coast Guardsman for an engine job. He did great! Right now I'm retired so passing on this info is the best I can do for you.

Tom
9/13 Kris,

Yes, you can walk from the airport to the Monument. In city life it would be 5 or 6 blocks. The Foundation office is very close, if you call, we can run over and pick you up.

We had a call from a person wanting to support Ken's Run, but they wanted to know if the money was going toward the Monument. The BLM takes care of the maintenance, but we have been asked to organize a "Friends of the Monument" clean up day once a month. The BLM also pays for the line of duty death markers. We, and or friends & families, pay for any other markers. Your donated dollars to the Foundation are not spent on the Monument. The Monument is there to be experienced, it was paid for with many donations, years ago.

Vicki Minor
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation
9/13 Kris,

NIFC is right by the airport, you should be able to walk there in about ten minutes.
Seems to me your biggest problem will be the time it takes to go through security
when you get back to the airport.

Sunil R
9/13 firehead,

you can always explore the contract side of firefighting. depending on your local it
might be a good option for you to "explore your interest".

Please sign me

Contract Firefighter
9/13 One good thing might come out of the Katrina incident; better planning at
the national level. The incident and its management reminds me of the WTC
when 80 agencies tried to coordinate chaos. FEMA tries to manage from the
top down to needs that come from the bottom up. How has this happened
before?

We developed standardized hose and fittings around 1900 when multiple
cities firefighters showed up at a large fire and nobody's hose fitting
matched.

ICS developed out of the foothills fires in southern California in the
1960s when many firefighters showed up and nobody could talk on the radio
and find out who was doing what where.

To me, its obvious there is a burning need for disaster coordination
similar to what ICS uses on fire incidents. It would be wise to look at
this situation and figure out a way to provide some assistance from the top
down, despite some resistance to federal mandates. Some sort of compromise
is called for. In the present situation, the problems are obvious, like
hoses that don't fit the hydrant or radios using many frequencies. In this
case, multiple demands by multiple local and state agencies were not met
promptly due to the confusion. We should give a Nobel Peace Prize to the
one who can figure out how we can have our cake (local independence) and
eat it too (national response).

Southern resource dude.

PS: I also heard from someone on one of the "Planning Teams". It was
indeed a planning section from an IMT sent to assist a FEMA office.
Perhaps the need for more interagency planning and coordination will
happen, and even fire folks incorporated seamlessly into a smooth operating
disaster relief system. With dreams, reality never happens.

9/13 Hello, Abercrombie...

I've dreamed of wildland firefighting for years. Only recently have I had the time to consider it seriously--I had two children to raise as a single father. That task completed, I find myself not growing any younger and still immensely interested in the prospect of fighting fire in the mountains. My question is: Am I too old, now? Are there age restrictions? Seems like I read a bit about older guys doing this but I can't find specific age requirements. I'm forty seven, have kept myself in peak physical shape and bike or run daily. I've read enough material to know that competition is stiff and jobs are hard to get. However, I don't want to let go of this dream. I'm aware of the physical requirements and feel confident in my abilities. What chance does an old geezer like me have? Am I insane? Thanks in advance for your response.

Firehead

To get a permanent career path firefighting job (primary fire) with the feds you must not have reached your 37th birthday. Readers, feel free to speak to other options. Ab.

9/13 Rocky Basin Teams:

Sexton, Krugman, Martin- combination of the Region 2 and 4

LW

9/13 Ab,

I just had a question for you, I don't mean for this to be posted (in case I'm asking a dumb question even though there are no dumb questions!).......... On the National Rotation Schedule, the #1 and #2 teams are listed as Rocky Basin Area. However, on your list of Type I teams, there is only one Rocky Basin Team listed. When I go to their web site, I see that they indeed have only one Type I team with this name. My question is, if there is only one Rocky Basin Type I Team, why does the National Rotation Schedule have them listed as #1 and #2?

If you don't know the answer to this, I'm willing to post my mail. However, I didn't want to ask a dumb question, because after all, I am,

Information Diva

Readers? (She said I could post it.)

9/13 I have a quick question regarding the Wildland Firefighter memorial in Boise. I am flying
home for a few days, and I have a 1 hour and 25 minute layover in Boise. Is the memorial
site within walking distance of the airport? I would like to stop by there while I have the
chance, and I was wondering if I would have enough time to walk there and back.

-kris
9/12 Sunday night, I spent 90 minutes reading the website. I had tears just going down my cheeks during some of the reading because this "crazy" idea of Ken's has evolved into an "AWE-INSPIRING" event.

I wanted to send an e-mail to AB just to say that two little boys (Ken's nephews Connor 7 and Sean 4) were sleeping very soundly after their wonderful adventure of watching and cheering their Uncle Ken onto to victory. They still believe it was a race and the other guys just couldn't catch up to him. We finally just explained that it was a race against time. Maybe someday they will understand that everyday is a race against time for a firefighter - a hotshot or a smokejumper and we are the fortunate ones when they beat that clock on the fire. I also wanted to give thanks to Lori for the comic relief she gave the kids and those fabulous brownies and cookies (which Ian and I were enjoying at 8:30 pm).

Sunday morning, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw how bright eyed and bushy tailed Ken was and the first thing he said to me was "You and the boys up for IHOP?" Ian and I were searching for Excedrin while Ken was lacing up his shoes with a smile. (Amazing stuff that Gatorade and Cytomax - maybe the support crew should have been drinking that too.) We went to a victory breakfast and then back to Ken and Wendy's house for a great morning of watching digital picture slideshows and the raw footage video Ian shot of the run. Ken held steadfast and strong throughout the entire run. Never did his footing falter and never did he give the impression that he couldn't finish. Tony and Melissa were also fantastic with their encouragement and guidance. Phenomenal were all of the other Firefighters and Hotshots running in support with Ken. A Big Thanks to all the Forest Service at Texas Canyon, Bear Divide and LA County FD for traffic support and the BIGGEST and BEST FINALE. Everybody went the extra mile to show his or her support and it is greatly appreciated.

Watching Ken run a distance that most people would only do for an out of town commute gave me the inspiration to start running too. So he gave me some shoe advice and a couple of hours later, I completed 4 miles on the treadmill and I ran 2 of them. It was a good feeling. Almost as good as the feeling of excitement for next years run!

Thanks for having the website available for posts.

Paula Perry

Fun for us too. Thanks for your family's participation. Ab.

9/12 Dear Ab,

Burk and I just returned from the Valley Road Fire last night. This morning we had the pleasure of having the family of Kirk Smith, the former Mormon Lake Hot Shot sup here with us. Kirk passed away 3 years ago yesterday. Allen Wyatt's wife and parents also came by this morning.

I just sat down to the computer and started to catch up on Theysaid. As I read about Ken's run and the community support literally and figuratively running behind him tears welled up. When I was young, my mother always reminded me to say "Thank You". But "Thank You" seams so inadequate today. What I am really felling is Gratitude, with a capital G. The money is wonderful and necessary, but my feeling of Gratitude comes from way more than the monetary support. It comes from seeing the self-described Forest Gump poster child -- Ken -- running with all those wonderful fire folks behind him. Everyone involved clearly feels of the pride of belonging.

I am so grateful to ALL of you,
I want to thank Ken and also the Abs. I believe this website is the needle that weaves the different fabrics of us all together.
I know this office would not be what is today without our wonderful Melissa. (P.S. She is single.)
I'm pretty proud of ALL OF YOU........................

Vicki Minor
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Seems to us theysaid has been called names relating to needles, pricks, and other pointy objects before. (haw, haw) Saturday's run demonstrated once again that the value of the website is the community working together, whether sharing ideas or co-creating a project. There's amplified power for the good in collective voice and effort; the sum is greater than the parts. It's called synergy. The Abs on behalf of the community thank you for the compliment. (deep bows) We merely played our parts. We're proud of ALL of us too. The Abs.

9/12 Hello. I'm trying to find any information about the new style of fire boot
I'm seeing crews wearing. They look like regular hiking boots. I got an
email about NIFC not approving them earlier this summer, but my wife
recently talked to a jumper form Missoula that said they where going to.
Any ideas?

BMcM

There was a discussion in mid-July on La Sportiva boots. I think the issue had to do with how tall the boot was and that was only an issue for smaller people (who wore smaller boots). Do a search of that month and see what you find. Ab.

9/12 Re Ken Perry Run:

I just submitted my donation.

Kris B
Ahtanum 20

9/12 Wow...

It was, well, awesome. To keep checking the progress of Ken's run, and to see all those pictures, and more importantly, all the supporters in the pictures. Way to go!!!

I knew that the little 52 people x $52 challenge I threw down for Ken's run would be met. But look at all that cash. $45k and climbing. That doesn't include money coming from Nick's and Nimrod. I am awed, and inspired.

Way to go!

-FireBill

P.S. I jut sent an e-mail to find out how the WFF can be added to my agency's combined fund drive. I'll let you all know how that goes.
9/12 Ab,

I have to agree with TF in wondering "why the Forest Service is so completely silent about the Tuolumne investigation?" It may be true that CDF has the lead but the investigation report (I have read every word of it) is clearly an interagency endeavor between CDF and USFS beginning with the agency logos and signatures on the front page.

There is again a growing concern amongst firefighters that high level management still supports the notion that management failure cannot possibly result in firefighter tragedies. The findings of this report seem to indicate that all blame lies entirely with those who were on the ground at the time of the burnover. Most of us know that it is never as simple as that if lessons are to be learned from tragedy fires. Management actions always play a role in the "Swiss Cheese Model" sequence of events that become tragedy fires. This was a doctrine statement after South Canyon.

All involved levels of interagency fire management must pony up to the discussion. Could a lack of fire behavior training have caused those on the ground to not recognize an impending bad situation? Could management demands for overly aggressive and unsafe suppression action cause those on the ground to disregard safety? Could management silence after fatality fires lead to similar future fatality fires?

Open and truthful discussion is what will cause lessons to truly be learned. I too am waiting for more from all involved including the USFS.

Eva Schicke we all miss you and vow to make the firefighter world a better, safer place.

And oh yeah: GREAT EFFORT FOR A GREAT CAUSE KENNETH PERRY!!!!

TCS
9/12 Next year we need someone to do press releases.

Todd

Hi Todd, I heard from Melissa that she and others did quite a number of press releases. The story was picked up by the Santa Clarita Signal and the hardcopy article had photos; it was described by the AP writer; and the LA Times even had a small story, which is big stuff. Melissa says thanks to Stanton Florea and Laurene Lopez of the Angeles National Forest for their hard work on getting the word out. Ab.

9/12 This Sacramento Bee (AP) article came in from Pat H:

Former smokejumper runs to raise money for firefighters' families

9/12 Everyone,

I just wanted to say thank you AGAIN to everyone that pledged and to all of the supporters that stuck it out with me on Saturday. When I first came to Vicki with this idea, I had no expectations as to all that did, in fact, happen. I figured we might raise a few thousand dollars at most, and that it would be Tony and Wendy following a lone runner down the mountain.

I felt a little like Forest Gump with all the Texas Canyon and Bear Divide Hotshots running behind me all that way. The encouragement expressed by them was incredible, and they would even back off a bit and give me a little privacy when I needed to vomit… that was nice.

Now Jaime….. Here is a guy that had never run more than 18 miles in his life (and that was 10 years ago) and he turns into an Ultra-Marathon man running 30.2 miles. It was fun for me to call out his personal bests along the route…18.1 miles, 26.2 miles. Then I got to talk with him a bit just before I continued on from T.C. I was concerned that he would hurt himself and miss a fire or something. I mean all I’ve got to do after this is sit in an office or airplane. But he’s going to have to… you know... do what Hotshots do. So I was a bit surprised just down the road when I saw him still running. He wanted to make it (at least) to an even 30 miles. What an inspiration for me!

Then we were coming out into Santa Clarita and we had two Hotshot buggies an FS engine and engine and squad 111 from LACO. As we are nearing the first lighted intersection, I notice the squad and engine flip on their light-bars and pull into the middle of the intersection. I figured there had been a call for these guys, and they were getting going. But they just sat there. So I asked Melissa what was going on, and she told me they were stopping traffic for us. Nobody had asked them to do that…they just did. And for the rest of the course, we got to just cruise through red lights. Now to be honest, at that point I was looking forward to “waiting” for a few red lights. But it certainly pepped me up a bit. So I would run through and wave and thank everyone for stopping for us. Of course there were a few citizens that were bit “put out” having to wait those 30 seconds… That’s LA for you.

One of the things that’s pretty common for ultra-runners is that your mind kind of goes… well… a little wacko. I think I mentioned it in an earlier post, but you get into this emotional roller coaster thing. One minute, you’re happy and bubbly. And the next, you feel like a cry baby. You don’t know when the highs or lows are going to come. Physically the same thing happens, but you can kind of tell when it’s coming on. It’s not a quick a change. And it’s not as embarrassing. So I felt a little bad after T..C. and when the Bear Divide Hotshots joined in at Haskell Canyon, because I needed to isolate myself. I had the i-Pod on, and I could zone out. But believe me, I knew they were back there, and I was inspired nonetheless.

The last two mile was a loop around the Valencia Town Center Mall, so we kind of passed the “finish line” on that eastbound leg down Magic Mountain Parkway. As I looked down Citrus St. and saw the ladder trucks, and Hotshot buggies, I did get another little pepping up, but I also got a little choked up. I was thinking, oh man I hope I’m high on the roller coaster when we get there….hold it together, man! An LACO engine escorted us all the way around, and right through the middle of the mall. There were some priceless looks we got in there. Around the parking lot, and out onto Citrus again, and there were a hundred firefighters lining the street. My nephews Connor and Sean were holding a “fire line do not cross” ribbon. What a cool deal it was.

That’s what I remember.

I must thank a few folks.

First, my wife Wendy. She puts up with my obsession. And a better support person, you could not ask for.
Capt. Hall Stratten and all the guys at stations 126, 111 and 76, and all of LA County Fire Dept. What they did was way beyond what they needed to do, or what I expected…Thanks guys.
The Texas Canyon and Bear Divide Hotshots Eng. 135 and 136 for running with me and all of the support.
Lori Greeno. What a great person she is. And I did eat some of her brownies…and I did not throw them back up.
Tony Duprey and Melissa for riding along. I still think I was better off running in that wind than they were riding in it.
Ken Kempter. Sending all the reports into “They Said” was pretty cool. I enjoyed getting reports from you guys about the reports on they said.
Ab. Of course. Without your web-site, I surely don’t think this would have taken off the way it did.
Vicki and the WFF…..’nuff said.
The Angeles National Forest staff. Pretty cool that they allowed the shots and engines to help out with this thing.

All of the other supporters. My brother and his wife and family. They designed and paid for the t-shirts and bumper stickers. Tami, who was just going to stop by at Bouquet and Elizabeth road…..there she was at the end.

And finally, Jaime. No kidding…I truly felt inspired watching him pump out those 30.2 miles.

I hope I didn’t leave anyone out. I had a great time, and I hope we can do 52X2 next year.

Kenneth C. Perry

Here's to next year! Ab.

9/12 It's that time of year again! The National Wildland Firefighter
Apprenticeship Program is recruiting crew bosses, assistant crew bosses,
instructors and staff to help with the 2006 Academy season. There will be
three large Advanced Academies and four Basics.

Please go to www.wfap.net for applications. Look under Recruitment.

Thanks.
Scott Whitmire,
Assistant Coordinator

9/12 Good Morning!

I can't express how much FUN and how wonderful EVERYONE was that helped with Ken's Run. There are so many people to thank - right off the bat I wanted to thank the Texas County Hot Shots, L.A. County Fire Department - Stations 111 and 126, specifically, the Bear Divide Hot Shots, our wonderful support team (Beth and Mike Lynn, Ken's brother and his wife, and the other people that were a part of our car/truck caravan), a big thank you to Tony Duprey for being Ken's #1 go-to-guy and Lori Greeno for being a fabulous tour-guide, roomie, and all around Ken and WFF cheerleader! You guys and gals were all AWESOME!

Now, on to "how do we make our pledges?" As we all gathered at Ken's house Saturday night nursing our sore muscles and reliving the events of the day, I told the group that they could let people know, and I'll get our website up and current too, that pledges can be made on our website through "general donations" just make sure in the notes section you indicate that your donation is for "Ken's Run". We really don't want to incur the expense of mailing a statement, reminder, or other type of "snail mail" to everyone - that saves on the expense of postage, envelopes, etc. For those that we don't hear from right away, we will send a reminder via email.

You can also mail your pledge to us at:

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise ID 83705

If you'd like to pay by credit card, give a call. 208-336-2996 (or if you have any questions).

Ken, and everyone else who helped with this run, are already talking about next year. I think making this an annual event is an awesome idea and we'll definitely plan for Ken's Run 2006!

Thanks again to everyone that helped pull this together and made it such a success. Beyond raising more than $45,000 - the firefighter family proved that they are a very close-knit group of brothers and sisters - an amazing community!

Melissa
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
9/12 I am watching the Discovery Channel depiction if Flight 93 where the passengers overtook the
terrorists, and thinking about recent events: Ken's run, Katrina and recent simple fires.

Despite all the BS put upon us by forces that we can or cannot affect, the human spirit prevails.

Folks stepped up and pledged to Ken's run.

Folks are donating millions to Katrina victims.

Firefighters kick ass on initial attack even though they are "Forestry Aids or Technicians".

Citizens stand up and do the right thing when the have the right info.

"Let's Roll!"

me
9/12 The check is in the mail !

Our $5/mile, plus my $52 faith in ORCA hooking Blossom, prior to the run is in the mail.

Ken, you are a saint!

XXOO
Rush & Linda

9/12 Ab,

Just wanted to say thanks for keeping your site updated the way you do. I was on the Payette National Forest from 94-97, and 99. From trail work, hand crews, engines and helitack, I experienced a lot of things that my co-workers can only dream about. I will always count firefighting as the best time of my life. Your site is great for helping me keep tabs on the life and friends that I love. Keep up the good work.

Craig

You're welcome. Ab.

9/12 Does anyone know why the Forest Service is so completely silent about the Tuolumne investigation? Not a word on a website, a news release, an all-employees e-mail, nothing. (True, CDF had the lead in the investigation, but it's not like the Forest Service to ignore this kind of thing). Given the media circus surrounding Storm King, Thirtymile, and Cramer, this is very odd. Not that I think that level of media circus should be repeated, but if we're going to learn from the investigation (which I thought was the whole purpose) people have to know it exists. Anybody know why the silence?

TF

CDF is in charge on this. They have not put the report up on their web or made it available on a large scale. To my knowledge, they have not announced it or released it to the media in any visible way. The FS is likely waiting on them, since that was the agreement. Here's the procedure our researcher had to follow. First you have to contact the CDF PIO who then contacts the CDF Legal Beagles, who burn a disk with the report and send it to you snail mail.

The procedure is likely complicated by bureaucracy and changing guidelines (or policy?). For example, in the future in federal investigative reports, firefighter positions only (not names) will identify firefighters involved. Reports will be written in such a way to make it clear that the person in a particular function did what without naming them. Lessons learned is about "the what not the who." The 2005 Accident Investigation Guide defines this. This investigative report, having been done in 2004, does not have to adhere to this new direction.

Regarding timing, remember, the Executive Summary was on the obscure CDF web location and discussed here weeks before the announcement of its location was officially made which then allowed the official FS letter to go out. I do think CDF will post it on their website fairly soon. In the meantime, you can read it via links HERE or HERE.

Accidents, burnovers, near misses, etc, etc "Lessons Learned" usually get discussed in the off season and included in training for the next year. I think that will happen with this report as well.

My thoughts and prayers for those feeling Eva's loss on this year anniversary of the burnover.

Ab.

9/12 Ab,

My thoughts and prayers are with Eva's family and friends today.

vfd cap'n

ps, Congratulations to Ken Perry for an amazing run.
9/11 Ab,

Just a note to let you know Joe is home. He gets up walks around a bit. He just is in a world of hurt. One thing starts feeling better and something else starts hurting. He probably will be in his neck brace from 4 to 8 weeks. Ken and I want to thank everyone for all the good thoughts and prayers. The firefighters have rallied around and are helping out. He hasn’t lost his sense of humor because when the nurse in the hospital asked him how he felt he said turdlike. It is just going to take awhile. And of course Vicki, Burke and Melissa have been so good to us. They do so very much for families and firefighters.

Thank you,

Ken and Kathy Brinkley

Glad to hear he's home. Ab.

9/11 Don't forget 343 Firefighters from FDNY paid the ultimate price for doing
their jobs as professionals with pride, four years ago today. As did
thousands of civilians paid the price. NEVER FORGET 9-11-01

GT

I got up this morning at 0500 to be ready to honor those who died at the World Trade Center with the rest of the US -- in the collective moment of silence at 0540whatever-early PDT. I was up early that morning of September 11, 2001 too. Like many of you, I remember exactly what I was doing when I first learned of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I was posting theysaid... when someone from the East Coast wrote in that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. It was the second email I opened. At that early hour, I immediately flipped on the tv and watched the horror unfold. I think my strongest lasting memory from watching various videos and reports that morning came after the first tower fell. The video went dark from the smoke and particles. All that remained was the sound of the doctor who was telling his story as it unfolded, and all the PASS alarms going off - which I knew indicated an inconceivable number of firefighters down and dying. I will never forget 9-11-01. Seems like a rich lifetime ago. I make every moment count.

Photos from the WTC and the Pentagon &
Elizabeth Cavasso's Journal

9/11 Ab,

That was the secret…I was running Quicktime in Firefox. I reinstalled using Internet Explorer
and it runs just fine. The videos are great, but what I wanted to see was the finish. It was
worth working through the technical hang ups just to witness it.

Shari

The finish was great! Carry on... Ab.

9/11 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated. Ab.
9/11 Hey Bro,

This is Johnny Mac and Murry Taylor writing to give you a high
five on your great run. You made us proud to say we knew you
and that you were an Alaska Smokejumper. Great spirit and thanks
for your inspiration.

Taylor and McColgan

9/11 I have to say, I was thinking, that this Ken Perry thing would not be a big deal, but it was a big deal, and I am truly surprised at how much money was raised. When I made my pledge, I felt like my $1/mi. wasn’t very much and I think in this age of saving the planet and worldwide disasters, we all kind say to ourselves, I’m just one person, what can I do? Well, Ken showed us all that one person can do something big, and every little bit helps.

Thanks Ken, and GOOD JOB!!!! I brought the whole fam out to see you at TC, dogs too, I can’t believe you ran 52 miles in 10 hrs, you’re a lot faster than I thought!!

Good job to you too, Ab, the maps and pictures were great!!

Jess

Thanks to those who continue pledging to the fund. Ab.

9/11 Ken's run:

Ken - All I can really say is thanks. What you did was
great and it really shows what type of person you are.


I have also been looking through the pledge list and
have notice there still are a lot of Hotshot crews,
Type 2 crews and engine crews who haven't pledged yet.
Come on people show some support and donate. It
wasn't that slow of a year for most.

BILLFIRE

9/11 I have done everything I could possibly think of to get the Quicktime videos to play…I’ve downloaded to latest version of Quicktime, updated my preferences, and still just get the audio and no video image. The little error dialog box tells me the correct compressor could not be found. Do you have any idea where I’m going wrong? I sure would like to see at least the race finish. Maybe there are some other folks who are having trouble with this too.

Abs, you all did an outstanding job disseminating information and I genuinely believe your efforts as a communications venue were pivotal – along with Ken’s incredible spirit – to the success of this WFF fund raiser. I also think there is very little chance this event won’t be repeated next year. It’ll be interesting to see its evolution over the next year and beyond. I think Ken and others have “inoculated” the wildland fire community, and I would wager there will be a number of likeminded spirits – both silently and visibly - who emerge as time goes on to participate in other such events, or future 52-mile runs.

Ken, good job, Mr….

Pledgers….excellent, excellent job.

While the glow from this event lingers, I think we need to consider how best to spread the word regarding the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. I think we’ve found that, while WFF is a very important part of many of our lives, there are lots of folks who absolutely have no idea what WFF is, or what they do. To them, it’s just one more non-profit looking for money. Vicki…perhaps you and Burke already have some ideas that could help us do that?

Shari

This Ab had trouble on my laptop yesterday until I downloaded it using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Normally I use Netscape (or Firefox). It may not have liked Netscape. Maybe I was just too busy to be trying to mess with loading a new program... Anyway, worked fine this morning in IE. After downloading iTunesSetup.exe, I ran it using the Run utility on the start menu (lower left green button) -->Ran it after browsing for where I downloaded the exe file to. It prompted for installing. As far as the video image... have you watched any other videos using a different program? Maybe your video card is not functioning... OA may have some other suggestions. If he does, I'll get him to email you. The sound was cool; now you know how our announcer sounds... and the wind, and the traffic... Video is even cooler. Ab.

9/11 Re 52 mile run:

Lori,

Thanks for bringing the brownies and cookies... they were the BEST!!!!! It was nice meeting you and seeing your great spirit cheering Ken, the runners, and the bikers on. What an inspirational day yesterday was......

It was awesome to see the wildland fire community come together so strongly to support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation during Ken's run. It is something everyone who was there, or contributed to by pledges or support, will remember for a lifetime. I am so proud of everyone who made Ken Perry's mega-run a success. It is the prime example of why wildland firefighters and their families choose this profession to be their "community".

Lobotomy

Could this be the beginning of an annual event? (OA, I'm feeling a little like Jerry Lewis, perish the thought!) I know, you don't ask questions about next year one until everyone has had one or more good nights of sleep... KCP's last email last night said he'd write in soon and he said

I had a great time. I feel amazingly good considering.. little sore, of course. But overall, great, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with my support team and everyone else.

I think I'll be enjoying the glow of Ken's accomplishment for a while... As one person said, this photo is priceless, Ken and Jaime lowering themselves to a sitting position as they get ready for the "official" photo. Discomfort there, the result of their 52 and 30 mile long runs... Awesome effort. The only part of my anatomy that was sore was my butt from the marathon of sitting while photo sizing and posting the great pics! Ab.

9/11 Abs

A great BIG THANK YOU to Ken Perry and all those folks that helped with his run. It just goes to show what a few dedicated folks can do. Ken’s and your efforts are going to make a great deal of difference in the foundation being able to respond to the needs of folks in the future. Thanks to all those folks who pledged to this effort.

While the needs of the folks in the southeast are great it doesn’t reduce the needs of the local communities and we need to remember all of those who are going to need some help as we go forward.

BeenThere
9/11 Whew, here I was a few short weeks ago thinking Ken's run would not do
as good as I hoped...but now...well...just super!! Kudo's to everyone
involved! Way to go!

....how do I pony up? ..just send it in to WFF?

Pulaski

Sure, you can send a check or call them with a credit card number. Melissa may be back in the office in Boise tomorrow or Tuesday to take your info. I guess you could also PayPal it via the website, but PayPal takes a cut. We're mailing a check.

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho 83705

Here's the website link for other options: www.wffoundation.org/index.phpl

9/11 Injured McCall jumper is Joe Brinkley. Fractured skull and lots of broken bones.
Snag nailed him. Payette folks say he should be home now, but pretty stove up.

noname

When Original Ab talked with Vicki yesterday, she said that Joe is doing fine, all things considered. As of yesterday, he was released from the hospital and is going or has gone home. He's stiff and sore and healing broken bones. His dad said if he wasn't so hard headed the probably would have been hurt worse than he was. Word is that the McCall jumpers are taking good care of him.

When I talked with Ken Brinkley, Joe's dad, on Friday, he said Joe has gotten excellent medical care and seems to have no injuries that won't mend fairly well over time. Luckily Ken has some emergency medical background and knows what kind of questions to ask regarding treatment and prognosis. Not to minimize Joe's injuries or the healing that's necessary, but things apparently look pretty good.

Our best to all the Brinkleys. They asked us to share that your comments here and the support and love you sent means a lot to them, as does the support of the WFF. Ab.

9/11 Anyone have info on the jumper from McCall who was recently hurt?

www.idahostatesman.com

Stanley
9/11 Does anyone know if NIFC, FEMA or some other web site has a list
of expected team rotations through the Katrina Assignments? I know
they are soliciting some teams for deployments in the near future.

Turbine

According to the Hot List Forum, Anderson's Team is en route. Ab.

9/11 Ab,

Just a note of thanks to the CA-SRF Fortuna ECC. A Wolf Creek HS needed an emergency demob to LeGrand, OR. Geary fire was in a remote location on the Klamath River on Hwy 96 near Somes Bar. Ground transportation was arranged to Arcata 2 hrs away. Fortuna ECC arranged a CWN aircraft for a direct flight from Arcata to LeGrand and had him on the plane by 1700. This was within 3 hrs of being notified in ICP Geary in Orleans, CA.

Also, a personal thank you to the California Highway Patrolman for extending a professional courtesy to our driver in his haste to make the airport on time, with only a very short delay!

Pass it on!
Pay it forward.

Rush w/NorCal Team2

Ed, Rick and the rest of the SRF dispatch crew, THANKS! Ab.

9/11 Ab,

In a recent post, Dr. DMOB asked if there was any IMT response to
the initial flooding . The attached shows the involvement of the Wildland
Fire Community from the early stages. Hope this helps.

Katrina resources timeline

Bubba

Would you please keep us updated so we can have a historical record? Thanks. Ab.

9/11 We found out who one of the photographers of the blue gel retardant drop is. He's Peter Armstrong who shot the photos of Tanker 90 at the "Redemeyer fire" in Ukiah on August 12, 2005. AT 19 Photo page. Ab.
9/11 I've finally updated my web page for the first time in a few weeks . . .

http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/h/phsh/fire.php

. . . and have separated the teams on fire vs hurricane in the charts. The web site charts the number of type I and type II teams and the number of crew active by date. Sorry I've slacked off on updating; no, I don't have the "fire detail" excuse. I've just been hauling out rotten wood, trash, and moldy books from a disaster area in my spare time. The location is a vacant and very damp house in NC (nope, not storm damage, just neglect).

Sincerely, Philip E. Hyatt

9/10 Yesterday a CDF Incident Command Team was deployed to Louisiana. I am not
sure if or where theyre assignment is at this time, but I know they have
arrived somewhere in state. CDF Team 10 with Lee Winton as the Incident
Commander. This is only the third time a CDF team has deployed outside the
state of California.

FC180
9/10 I have the last stage map completed and the finish line video is up, here's the link to the finish video if you want to link from TS to it also.

www.wildlandfire.com/kperry/video/100_0132.mov (quick time video)

I am so damn proud of all the folks who were able to attend and provide the support and help today and over the last couple of weeks. I am as proud as I've ever been to be a member of our wonderful wildfire community! I have to admit to having a bit of a lump in my throat as I watched the video of the end of the run. It's been a pleasure and an honor to be able to sit here and help provide the updates throughout the day on the maps page.

Thanks Ken Perry! You are awesome and inspiring!!! Way to go Melissa! Also a big thanks to Ken Kempter for providing the many phone calls and for helping make the run a little more real for us all stuck here in cyberland by providing us with near real time photos and videos. Thanks to Tony Duprey and the hotshot crews for keeping Ken company. Thanks to the LA County Fire Department for providing such a dang skippy finish area. And thanks to the hundreds of folks, from all walks of life, who pledged to make this a truly momentous occasion.

The pledge total is at $44,717.40 as I just entered my mother-in-law's pledge, thanks mom. At Vicki Minor's request, the pledge list will remain open and available for pledging until the close of business on Monday. I have no doubt we can pick up a few more thousand in that time to reach our goal.

Thanks again to all, including my hard working partner. OriginalAb.

Yeah, me too. Photos are done. Thanks all. See ya again tomorrow. Ab.

9/10 It was an awesome experience getting to see Ken do the run. It's just wonderful that he did this to support the WFF. I drove up Bouquet Canyon Rd. and pulled off to join the group that was with Ken the whole way through. Then I drove down to see him at Texas Canyon and to met Jess. =) It's great to see the numbers keep going up on the pledge list!

GOOD JOB KEN!!!!!

-Amanda
9/10 10 Hrs. 20 minutes from Ken Kempter. Finish Line video just arrived. Original Ab.

More photos just came in --Champagne! Give me a minute to size and add 'em. AMAZING! Ab.

9/10 The pledge list will remain open until Tuesday? Vicki told us that Jack Toyer R-4 director FS sent out a email to all upper management folks challenge them to pledge. Hopefully other managers will follow suit.

This has been and is so much fun for all involved.

THANK YOU EVERY ONE AND ALL!
Special thanks to Ken Perry (WOW), Wendy Perry, Tony Duprey (Ken's bike riding supporter who also briefed the Abs), Melissa Schwagerl (WFF bike rider who put up with my ribbing), Ken Kempter for his real-time photography, video clips and calls with updates, from Texas Canyon IHC -John Armstrong (Sup), Jeff Locke who ran 20 mi (!), Jaime Puente, who ran 30 miles(!)-, the rest of the Texas Canyon Hotshots and the the Bear Divide Hotshots who ran in support, USFS and LA Co engines that provided traffic control and support, Familysaid supporters who got together at Texas Canyon RD and elsewhere to cheer everyone on, Lori Greeno for support in so many ways including brownies, Shari, Lobotomy, FireBill and Others who kept beating the bushes in OR, WA, CA and elsewhere to keep the pledge list growing, GIS Girl for the original maps, Original Ab for weaving together numerous Google World maps and updating them, for posting Ken's real time video as well as for creating the pledge list database, Mike Lynn for the flyby and his wife Beth for support, Ken's family (brother, sister-in-law, and nephews Connor and Sean... and thanks to whomever else I didn't know about, probably some other fine folks at Lancaster Field. Anyone else? (Please let me know of any others so I can add 'em to this list!)

Thanks also to Laurene Lopez and Stanton Florea (ANF) for their good PR work with getting out the run info to news media.

Here's to a job very nicely done!

THANKS PLEDGERS!

Ab.

9/10 I just got off the phone, calling friends and family, hope it pans out.

Chogi

9/10 Just got a call from Ken that he finished! WHOOO HOOO! Photos coming right up! Didn't get the official time...

Ab.

9/10 They were at mile 48.4 several minutes ago and starting for the home stretch. Pledges are up to $44,483. Ken gave a thumbs up on that one! Nice job. Everyone is having a great time from what I am told.

Check the photos and the videos. Ken K, the event photographer, even got a close-up pic of Melissa's calf while dodging her backhand! Way to go!

Ab.

9/10 Got updates from both Tony and Ken K and some photos and quick time videos from Ken..

Ken Perry passed the 40 mile mark about 15 minutes ago, at McBean Parkway and Copper Hill Rd. Only 10 more miles to go. Original Ab has updated the map. Bear Divide Hotshots (red shirts in photos) are running along with the Texas Canyon Hotshots (in blue). LA County Fire is providing traffic control.

Ken Kempter says he thinks Ken is stepping up the pace as he nears the end. He said he stopped to upload photos and had to go quite a way to catch up. Estimated end time is 1700 or before.

Carry on! Pledges are up to $43,087.20. Nice work! Ab.

9/10 Mega Run Update:

Ken K called in at 1230 to say the runners were at the 29.6 mile marker. Jeff and Jaime ran with Ken to the reservoir in Spunky Canyon, almost a marathon length run! Good effort there! Jeff Locke stopped at the reservoir (20 mi) and Jaime Puente continued as he and Ken Perry were joined by a module of the Texas Canyon Hotshots. Jaime stopped at 29.6mi, but the hotshots will continue, to be joined by another module later and the Bear Divide Hotshots after that. (After the "lunch" break, Jaime later continued to complete 30.4 miles.)

Melissa and Tony continue to pedal.

Lots of good photos came in. This Ab is busy sizing them. Stay tuned. (Ken, we have a request for a photo of Melissa's calf muscles with her foot on the pedal.) Original Ab is looking for more quicktime of Ken running. Stay tuned on that, too.

People continue to pledge. We're at $42,463.20. Call your friends and family, your business acquaintances and suppliers. Get them to pledge! We can still do it!

Ab.

9/10 I echo Mellie's sentiments in regards to the Management Teams. I wonder if anyone can shed any light on whether any Teams were involved in the initial response to the New Orleans flooding . In reading the National Response Plan, it states that FEMA has teams that respond in the early stages to assist Local and State Government. However, I'm not clear on how active a role they play in sizing up the situation developing an Incident Action Plan in the absence of an established ICS structure. As an experienced "Fire Camp Slug" with many years of experience in California working with Federal Type I and II Teams as Well as CDF Type I Teams, it's frustrating to hear politicians talking about having the Military step in an manage things when I know there are many highly experienced Teams available to perform that function. Thank you Mellie for the link with the map of Team Commitments. That illustrates the important role that the Teams are playing. Which reminds me, I've seen a lot about ESF #4, which is the firefighting support function according to the ERP. It looks like virtually all the ESF functions are being Utilized, including ESF #5, Emergency Management. I think it's important for all the politicians and talking heads to realize that there are many State and Local Governments that are better prepared than what we've witnessed recently on the Gulf Coast.

Dr. DMOB
9/10 Mega Run Update:

Tony Duprey called in at mile marker 10.3 just before going out of cell phone range to say all are looking good and feeling fine. John Armstrong, Supt of the Texas Canyon Shots handed out water as runners and riders went by.

Ken K called in at 1035 to say they were at the 18.5 mile marker and finally out of the punishing wind. He said they had gotten up the steep part of Bouquet Canyon and were heading downhill toward Bouquet Reservoir. The TC Hotshots - Jeff Locke and Jaime Puente - are still hanging tough and Melissa and Tony are still with them on bikes.

The families wanted to know if pledges were up since the beginning of the run. I was pleased to report that pledges are creeping nearer to the 52,000 dollar goal. We're at $42,151.20. Call your friends and family, your business acquaintances and suppliers. Get them to pledge! We can do it!

Ab.

9/10 It was an honor to give my flying partner a send off this morning with a fly by.
As posted, Ken is off and running. I left him at 10 miles and headed to work.
He looked good as did all the others along with him. LA CO Fire Station 130
gave him a great fan fare as he ran by south of Fox Field.
Run Ken Run

Mike
ASM Bravo 5
9/10 Update from Virtual Run Central:

Tony's "chase vehicle" is his bike and he's chasing. Also running is Ken's wife Wendy and the two Texas Canyon hotshots. Currently the runners are at 50th and Quartz Hill, West of Lancaster, mile marker 8.35 and doing very well.

The first batch of photos have come in and we're working to get them out. OA is updating the maps for time. The line goes from yellow to green as they complete a section.

This is fun! Those who haven't yet jumped on board, PLEDGE!

Ab.

9/10 Good Morning All from MegaRun Central

Ken Kempter just called in saying that Ken Perry and his "entourage" just began the run. It's cold and windy. Not the best of conditions. Hopefully it will warm up. Two Texas Canyon Hotshots are currently running along. Melissa from the WFF is on her bike. Tony Duprey is in the chase vehicle. Ken K was heading back for his forgotten computer cable when he called. At some point soon we'll post photos of the start.

Here's a great map of the race route that OA carefully pieced together. It's from a variety of Google maps. You can make the map larger or smaller.

MAP of the full run

He's also broken it down into parts for repeated viewing. He's going to keep these updated with arrival times as Ken progresses along the route. You can access those from this list www.wildlandfire.com/kperry/maps.php

You can still make contributions. Please do! We will keep the pledge list open. It's good to see authors Murry Taylor (Jumping Fire), John Maclean (Fire on the Mountain) and photographer John McColgan ("Elk Bath") jumping on board. Thanks for your support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Have a great day, All.
Run Central over'n'out (for the moment).
Ab.

9/9 All

It is real good to see a couple of the fire truck builders (Pierce and BME) step-up and join the Ken Perry benefit run. I can sympathize with the folks out there trying to run a business and getting hit from every angle with folks trying to raise a dollar for their cause. But by the same token when we are making purchases, we need to keep in mind those that have decided that support of this community is important to them. While their support may not be the total deciding factor, it sure can become one of the things we consider. In those cases where everything else is equal, it sure will be a deciding factor for me about whom to go to. Maybe when this is all over Vicki can do some type of a post letting us know those companies that routinely support the foundation, especially those that do so very quietly.

Shari Downhill came down hard on <snip> but it sounds like whoever she talked to gave her ample reason. It was very nice to see her post acknowledging that the company had stepped up to the plate and changed their mind. How many of us would have griped about their stand and then failed to publicly acknowledge that they had changed their position. Way to go Shari.

Ken best of luck and I hope it is an easy run. If that distance can ever be easy.

BeenThere

Thanks Pierce and BME.
Thanks Western Shelter.

9/9 Mellie,

I'm not sure what a BT is. What I do know is that ESF4 stands for Emergency Support Function 4, or firefighting. The National Response Plan has a number of Emergency Support Functions which in whole are the face of the government. They include things such as housing, transportation, energy and the two which we as firefighters see the most, ESF4 firefighting and ESF9 urban search and rescue. For a primer on how the system works, which layer of government has what responsibilities and the ESF's go to: National Response Plan summary (pdf file).

Right now there's some poor sap (hi Brian!) sitting at the ESF4 desk in FEMA headquarters trying to keep track of all the DoA and DoI resources committed to the disaster. I imagine that there's some much higher ranking USFS rep sitting there deciding just how much the agencies can commit to the effort. The same should be happening at the more local levels as well.

Oh, I just looked closely at the map after I printed it out. BT shows up on the very bottom in the key as Buying Team.

Fish
9/9 To answer Mellies question in her 9/9 post....................BT is for
Buying team

mvt

9/9 Hi All,

It's great to see all the overhead team friends in LA, MS, AL, TX and GA working on Hurricane Katrina relief. That map with the Incident Management Team locations (or whatever.youcall'um) is awesome. http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/intelligence/Resource_Map.pdf I wish there was the same for all the crews.

Having grown up camping, hiking, riding, taking vacations, BoyScouting around (my dad was scoutmaster) New Orleans and surroundings, I have mental images of each of the areas that are the ICPs, camps and staging rectangles on the map. The vegetation, the Spanish moss, the green leaves and water, the heat and humidity; the birds speak a different language and so too the people sound different. There's a different rhythm and speed. I'm glad to see teams are staying for 30 days and managing sleep as they go.

I can't help but think Rusty W and Dennis O and others got experience with typhoon devastation in the South Pacific working with FEMA and how passionate they are about making a difference; I wonder how's Jim S feeling and about Hattisburg MS and the heat, how Tom C and Pat K are handling the flatland and mosquitoes around Baton Rouge and what Jean P-T thinks of the Stennis NASA Space Center area of MS. (It used to be a lovely area.) I'm sure they're all fine and doing their jobs well. I appreciate their service. Same for the rest of you I don't know 'cept by name or reputation... Thank you all. We're in good hands when you're up and running strong... I can't wait to hear the stories and see the pictures.

If anyone knows what the BT means (in the rectangular bubbles on that map of resources) and what that BT person does - and the same for ESF4 - I'd be much obliged if you'd tell me. Yes m'am, yes sir.

Great Work on the mega-run plans and pledging for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Thanks Ken and supporters. I'll have to check in tomorrow to see how it's all progressing. Vicki, love your fire heart illustrations. You're right about that!

Be Safe where ever you are!

Mellie

9/9 I know it's getting late in the process, but has
anyone contacted the local media in regards to Ken's
run. Especially the local ones near where he will be
running. A good human interest story that may generate
more funds for the cause. There is a lot generous and
caring people out there, they just need to know about
it. A couple quick calls or a few e-mails may be all
that's needed.

Dripptorch
9/9 Ken Perry/WFF Benefit

To All Fire Equipment Distributors,

We at National Fire Fighter Corp. have decided to increase our donation to this benefit based on the extremely positive work that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation does for our customers and the fire industry as a whole and the need for a big push to reach the $1,000/mile goal. We are offering up a challenge to our fellow distributors to match or beat our $10/mile donation. This is a great chance to support the firefighting industry in a positive and immediate way. We hope that you will join us in support of Ken Perry and the Foundation.

The Staff at National Fire Fighter Corp.

Nice move! You should come and watch the run. Ab.

9/9 Dear Abs & Community,

I am moved to tears as I read the posts and look at the pledge list.

I want to tell you what I know about Ken Perry. He called our office and told me about the 52 mile run he envisioned, 52 miles is a very long distance, he was wanting to bring awareness about the 52 Club. He said he was touched by the work we do here. What struck me about Ken is he was doing this for the pure sake of helping his fellow firefighter in a way that fits his lifestyle. There was no other motive in it for him. Let me tell you, we have a variety of people who come to us with ideas. Some have hidden motives about promoting themselves, but not this guy. Ken Perry has a FIRE HEART.

More about the FIRE HEART:
A while back a man -- a marketing consultant -- came to see me.
He says the first question you have to answer in conducting a marketing campaign is, "What’s in it for those who donate?" So he asked, "What do people get when they join the 52 CLUB?"
I said, "A patch, pin, and helmet sticker..."
"Is that all?" he replied.
I looked at him and said, "You don’t know fire people". What they want is to know that their fellow firefighters and their families will be taken care of should the unthinkable occur.

Ab and others, you know what I mean. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained with words. It’s a knowing. It’s a FIRE HEART that we have and that grows inside of us.

THANK YOU… ALL OF YOU, for your efforts in the fun…fundraising efforts.

Ken Perry THANK YOU. I am glad we don’t have to pay to fill you up with GAS $$ to go all those miles.

Vicki Minor

It's a feeling of being prepared for our families so we are free and can focus on the here-and-now with absolute single-mindedness.
Here's to all the FIRE HEARTS out there.
Ken and Participants, be safe on the road.
Ab.

9/9 Ken Perry,

Regardless of where you are at in 14 hours, I will honor my pledge for the full 52 miles.

sting

Ditto from the Abs.

9/9 Greetings,

One more day..... Tony Duprey and I just got back from one last look at the route...and we made a change at the end. Instead of ending at Sta. 76, the finish will be at Sta. 126 at the Valencia Town Center Mall. The reason for the change is, quite frankly, because it's a little nicer area, easier to run, and the folks at Sta. 126 are setting up quite the finish line.

The course from Fox to the mall (intersection of McBean and Magic Mountain Parkways) is unchanged, and the rest is just a 9 mile loop around the mall. So anyone that shows up can just hang out at Sta. 126. There is plenty of room to park at the mall, across the street.

To get to Sta. 126 turn left on Magic Mountain off McBean, and turn right on Citrus St. (within one mile...near the auto mall). The sta. is one block on the left...Can't miss it.

We will have the new maps at both Fox at 0700 and at Texas Canyon. Should be at T.C at around noon, and the finish line between 1700 and 1800.

Thanks again to all the pledgers, and we'll see you in the AM.

KCP

Original Ab and I talked this morning. I will be available to post updates that Tony Duprey calls in to "Virtual Race Central" and photos and e-mails that Ken Kempter emails in. It should be fun. OA and I will provide more info as the day progresses. If others besides Ken K take photos and have a way to send 'em in, we'll do our best to post 'em. Melissa from the WFF who is riding along has leg muscles that would do a firefighter proud. Someone should certainly get a pic of her! Say hi to the Familysaid folks too. Ab.

9/9 My hard hat's off to you Sherri! I think it was most wise to acknowledge
those companies that you verbally spanked.

Fair, equal and well put.

COPTER100

9/9 Ab,

As Cascade Fire took a lot of heat regarding the WFF fund raiser issue recently, I think it is incumbent upon me now to publicly thank the company’s owner, Mr. Daniel Lloyd, and his son Mr. Don Lloyd for taking the time to learn about Wildland Firefighter Foundation, its work, and the beneficiaries, and to pledge his and his company’s support of Ken’s run.

Mr. Lloyd (both of you), I appreciate your willingness to show you care in a tangible way about the men and women working within the firefighting industry. My daughter also wants to thank you for the light sticks you gave her this summer as she headed off to camp. They were quite popular, particularly during nighttime trips to the outhouse.

Regards,
Shari Downhill

Thank you Cascade Fire. Ab.

9/9 Update as of yesterday on resources responding to the hurricane:

Hurricane Katrina Response Daily Resource Summary
National Interagency Coordination Center
September 8, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Overhead/Crew Totals
Agency       Overhead  Crew Persons Agency Total
State/Other    448            490        938
BIA             17            280        297
BLM            112             40        152
FWS             99             20        119
NPS            147             60        207
USFS           978            320      1,298
Total People 1,801          1,210      3,011
Hurricane Katrina Crew Totals
Agency    Type 1   Type2 or   Camp   Total  Total
          Crews    2IA Crews  Crews  Crews  People
State/Other         23         3      26     490
BIA                  9        10      19     280
BLM          1       1                 2      40
FWS                  1                 1      20
NPS                  3                 3      60
USFS                11        10      21     320
Total Crews  1      48        23      72   1,210
Note: The data contained in this report is derived from the Resource Ordering Status System (ROSS). National Interagency Coordination Center, Boise, Idaho

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

Date: Friday, September 9, 2005 Time: 09:00 am
Topic: USDA Forest Service Non-Fire Emergency Management
Issue: Interagency support for Hurricane Katrina

The following table contains current information on the location of Interagency Resources:

Resource Committed Mission Location
*Area Command Team      - Williams-Rhodes  Incident Coordination Atlanta, GA
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Quesinberry      Mob. Center Meridian, MS
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Pincha-Tully     Mob.Center/Base Camp Stennis, MS
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Gelobter         Base Camp Gautier, MS
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Wilcock          Staging Area Mgmt Selma, AL
Incident Mgmt Team (T2) - Hildrieth        Base Camp Mobile, AL
Incident Mgmt Team (T2) - Thomas           Base Camp Gulfport, MS 
Incident Mgmt Team (T2) - Smith            Base Camp Camp Shelby, MS
Logistics Mgmt Team     - Prevey           Mob. Center Maxwell AFB, AL
Logistics Mgmt Team     - Humphrey         Mob. Center Meridian, MS
Logistics Mgmt Team     - Jenkins          Mob. Center Meridian, MS
*Area Command Team      - Ribar            Incident Coord. Baton Rouge, LA
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Custer           Base Camp New Orleans Airport, LA
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Molumby          Base Camp San Gabriel, LA
Incident Mgmt Team (T1) - Cable            Base Camp Baton Rouge, LA
Incident Mgmt Team (T2) - Mullinex         Base Camp San Antonio, TX
Incident Mgmt Team (T2) - Stanford         Base Camp Hammond, LA
Logistics Mgmt Team     - Linebeck         Staging Area Camp Beauregard, LA
Logistics Mgmt Team     - Floyd            Staging Area Barksdale AFB, LA
Key Points
  • There are 33 Type 2 crews, 15 Type 2-IA Crews, 22 Camp Crews (70 crews total), 5 aircraft, and 2,100 overhead totaling approximately 3,900 personnel on the incident. Personnel represent 47 states.
  • Currently the Forest Service has $215 million in spending authority.
  • Assignments include the loading and unloading of supplies from aircraft and trucks, sometimes in record time. One wide-bodied jet was unloaded and refueled in only 55 minutes. 98 law enforcement personnel are assigned to the incident. Thousands of truckloads of supplies are being received and turned around.
  • Two Type 2 non-FEMA tasked IMTs are assisting the National Forests in Mississippi in clearing downed trees and debris for opening roads on the Desoto National Forest and Chickasawhay Ranger District. Local families deep in the Desoto NF were happy to see the “saw teams” yesterday as access in and out of the area was restored.
  • IMT (Wilcock) is facilitating the delivery of mobile homes for temporary housing. The team will manage the trailers from time of delivery until they are shipped to their final destinations. Thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes are in the process of being readied for delivery and/ or refurbishing.
  • IMT (Philbin) is managing an evacuation center in Phoenix. A job fair was held at the AZ State Fairgrounds (evacuation site) with 44 employers participating. 50 evacuees attended and 30 were hired. There were 335 evacuees at the site yesterday.
  • Early this morning, Hurricane Ophelia weakened to a tropical storm and was drifting away From Florida’s NE coast. However, forecasters are warning of the possibility the storm could regain hurricane strength once again and hit the SE US coast.
  • On Wednesday, one of the largest solar flares on record was observed. NOAA forecasters predict this could cause significant solar eruptions for several days. This has the potential to disrupt power systems and high frequency communications for up to two weeks.

A link to a map with resources mobilized for Hurricane Katrina response is located at http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/intelligence/Resource_Map.pdf.

9/9 for Adam McDermott

You need to do as much as you can before you get hired, i.e. get a redcard. That is one of the things most places look for right off the back. You can get hired without one, but it is much easier if you already have it. In order to get a redcard you need to go to the basic fire school. This will include at least S-130 and S- 190 and have a pack test at the end of the week. To find your closest places with fire schools go to your local Wildland Fire managers and ask. The Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs should all have at least one fire person on hand during the winter to ask questions of.

I would say also go to your state and County fire people as well, but in recent years some of the classes given by non federal departments in the North East didn't meet the federal requirements. I believe that has been corrected, but it would still be better to go through the federal system if possible.

As for getting a wildland job, Avue is good, quickhire is good as well, www.usajobs.opm.gov has ALL federal jobs, you would want to look under series numbers 0455 and 0462.

The States and counties have their own hiring sites so you would have to decide where you wanted to work first then try and get in touch with someone there.

Private companies do a lot of hiring also, see the classifieds here for those.

hope this helps
Kirk
9/9 Hi Ab

Just getting caught up reading all the post's. I noticed on the 9/7/05 post someone has spoke about a guy named Gordon. My name is Gordon and I am a supervisor/Captain in So/Ca and I know they are not speaking of me. Could this please be clarified to whom they may be speaking about. I know alot of folks in So/Ca that read this and may think it is me.

Thank You
Gordon- another one

Readers, this SoCal Gordon is another person, not the Gordon writing in last week.
Ab sez: Don't pick on the Gordons out there. And please note: the "Gordon" of that 9/7 "bad boy" post may only be a moniker...

9/9 Companies supporting WFF:

I would like to agree with Shari. Choosing to spend your money at retailers that support your community is nothing new and it is a good way to hold business accountable to the community they profit from. Back in the old days most businesses were small general stores. Local people spent their money at a local store and that store put that money back into the business to offer more goods or services and spent that money at other local stores, making the whole community grow and supporting each other. Now fire equipment suppliers are not giants like Wal Mart, taking money from a community and then sending most of it to stockholders and CEOs in other states and even other countries instead of reinvesting back into the community that the money came from through living wages etc., but I would consider wildfire fire fighters and their families a sort of community and there are a few big suppliers of goods to this community.

There is nothing wrong with asking a company to help support the community that it profits off of, and there is nothing wrong with publicizing the response, or lack of, from that company. I know some people think this is a dirty word, but it is called 'activism'. Giving people in the community information so they can choose whether they want to spend money at a store that will not respond or respectful turn down a request for contributions is activism. The fund-raising itself is activism. Working for the greater good is not twisting arms, it's not like we are going to offices and staging sit ins and disrupting anyone's work, but information can bring powerful change. I don't see any slander or any other seriously uncool behavior going on, just a little pressure. People at companies will make up their own minds what to support and consumers will too. Hey, it's a free market baby !

I am happy with my Nick's boots and they'll be where I go for my next pair both because it is a good product AND they support a cause I believe in. There are good products from more than one company, what often tips the scales for me is the company's business practice. I think a little more awareness of how companies impact the lives and communities around them would go a long way, especially in America. Companies used to need a license to operate that had an expiration date on it and to get one they had to show how they would benefit the country. They needed to show that they provided a necessary service or goods that would help the country grow and prosper and the rights of a company were always subservient to the rights of the people. Now companies have more rights than people and they can even get politicians to use imminent domain to take prime real estate from its owners so they can line their pockets.

Sooo, keep up the good work and keep communicating with each other, you are making a difference!

Madfox

Well put. (Madfox, the delay in posting is that I just found this in the filter.) Ab.

9/9 Could someone with a recent Wildland Firefighter do me a favor. I'm looking
for a pocket organizer to hold a pen/irpg/notepads etc. and I think I saw
one in the back of a recent Wildland Firefighter. Can someone give me the
web address from the ad.

Thanks,
Jeff

You could have a look here:
www.firecache.com/prodinfo.asp?number=60.7455
www.firecache.com/products.asp?dept=76

FireCache/SupplyCache has excellent products and is a long time "give til it hurts" supporter of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Ab.

9/9 Does anyone know where I might be able to find unsold wildland fire t-shirts?
Every large wildland fire has t-shirt vendors who are trying to make a buck from
the fire and they always leave the area with unsold t-shirts. Where are those
guys? Is there a place that we can access and buy some of those unsold t-shirts?

John D
9/9 Hey AB

Whats up with <snip> company? If they cannot pledge or donate to something that helps all of us when we need it, GOD WILLING WE WONT, then why should we help them? I have spent alot of the tax payers money with them and now after I called them and got the same response I say hello Supply Cache..

Norcal Capt

Readers, I appreciate the strong response to Shari's post (thanks for "cutting through the BS", Shari), but please lets move on. I am not posting any more that names a company in a negative way than this one from Norcal Capt. (Hugh, gotta admit, your suggestion was particularly fun. And what did you call her? Girl warrior?)

I do hope that we all purchase products with a new consciousness, but remember that those who make big bucks off fire can't donate to the Foundation if no one has told them about it. We each can do a bit to educate and spread the word on what a great job the Foundation does. FireBill's way of thanking and also informing goes down pretty easy. Ab.

9/9 Thanks to Colorado Fire Camp for posting the following quotes from P. Michael Freeman on their website:

“Consistent with my objective of being completely candid about the Glen Allen Fire and its lessons, I have accepted this blunt yet effective teaching tool with full knowledge that it can be interpreted as being critical of many things. Yet, this tragic incident and this report must form the “anchor point” from which we shall progress, redoubling our efforts to prevent others from losing their lives in wildland fire fighting.”

“On that fateful afternoon, no one on Crew 2-2 intended to take extraordinary risks or to place themselves in jeopardy; none of them displayed a reckless disregard for their safety. Yet the sad outcome is now history. So that history does not repeat itself, this report must be accepted, not as a personal criticism of any individual or group, but as a recognition and sad reminder that the dynamics of a wildland fire have the capacity to mislead, deceive, maim and kill experienced, aggressive fire fighters.”

Colorado Fire Camp also said as part of their website, "Colorado Firecamp shares those beliefs. We believe the purpose of investigating these tragedies is to learn the lessons. The Tuolumne Fire report should be made public".

Thanks to the Colorado Fire Camp for putting on the heat and helping get the report released. Lessons learned are so important to the wildland fire community.

I challenge everyone who has not pledged or spread the word about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to do so now. I especially thank everyone who has already pledged and spread the word!!

Keep up the good work and keep the folks safe!!!! It is the least we all can do.

Lobotomy

9/9 Would the photographer who took the pic

www.wildlandfire.com/pics/wall/wildfire_biscuit.jpg

please email Ab. The graphic artist for the publisher would like to consider it for a book on disasters...

Ab.

9/9 Hi!

I've been combing through your site in search of the correct approach to getting myself hired as a forest firefighter. I'm a 24 year old college graduate from New England and I'm eager to work as a forest firefighter next season. I do not have any background in firefighting, my degree was in English. I am really physically fit and I'm confident that I have what it takes to be a forest firefighter but from the looks of it, the selection process is really competitive. Should I just start with blanketing the avue online hiring service or should I pursue training and education? I wouldn't mind taking some courses... where would you recommend I go?

Thanks for any advice or help! Best of luck,

Adam McDermott
9/8 To all,

I would like to publicly express my thanks to Ken and Wendy Perry for their willingness to “go the extra mile” to help their fellow firefighters and to express my appreciation at being asked to be part of this worthy cause. I am deeply honored to be a small part of this cause to help support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

We all donate to various causes for a variety of reasons. Donations are for many folks and organizations an extremely private affair. As the run approaches, let us not forget that the intent of Ken’s endeavor is from his heart.

GO KEN AND WENDY!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!!

Tony Duprey

Sounds like some Familysaid members might be gathering at Texas Canyon. Check Familysaid for Ken's estimate of times. We'll be keeping theysaid up with the progress if you call it in, Tony. Photos anyone? I'll be here... and willing to post... Ab.

9/8 Hi Ab,

Another great positive response from my e-mails this morning. See below.

-FireBill

----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Snider
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 2:51 PM
Subject: Re: Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Hello Bill,
Thanks for the tip on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, we are making a contribution today.
Sincerely,
Doug (Nimrod)

Thank you Nimrod. Ab.

9/8 Shari,

I appreciate your enthusiasm for the WFF and Ken's run. You have some good points about the choices we all have when it comes to where we spend our dollars, and I agree in choosing where we spend. May I suggest to make the calls but do not hold the companies hostage... to pay or we will make you pay. If they do not donate just do not use them anymore if that is your choice. The money built it - this run is a great thing But we do not need money by the twisting of arms, or threats. The world is full of well meaning, good people. The world is full of lying, greedy people. Walk through them with grace, Hold your head high and don't let the bast*rds get you down. Thanks for all your help for the WFF.

CW

9/8 LEONA, Casey, anyone and ALL.............

The Fire Suppression budget for 2008 is due into our Regional Offices sometime in February 2006. Fire Planning Analysis on most, if not all Interagency Fire Planning Units is showing a reduced organization or at a minimum an alternate organization. The FPA model is not working as planned (no one can deny that). Most of our employees don't know next year that Fire Planning Units need to develop transition plans for the fire organization for 08.

With everything going on, is it a good idea to use what FPA is telling us our organizations should be? The program is still being worked on to correct serious issues. FPA should not be used for the 2008 budget.

LEONA, shouldnt we request/work with OMB/Congress for a one year extension while we correct the flaws with FPA program ?????

Planning a reduction of firefighting resources for the 5 federal agencies in 2008 is not something we look forward to. All we and the public need to do is turn on CNN to see the results of reductions and changes at FEMA. Do the leaders of the 5 land management agencies really want to go down the same path ????

R2-D2
9/8 Just got a call from Cascade Fire Supply. They’re quite unhappy with my email…or rather that other people have read it and are discussing it.

It’s important to let all of the companies we deal with understand that we have the right and the ability to “vote” with our dollars, whether they like it or not. I would urge as many of you as possible to call your vendors and have this discussion with them. Asking that they consider supporting the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is not a crime. Sharing factual information with one another about these companies’ responses is not a crime. And, actually, turning your corporate head when the industry you make your money from is in need isn’t a crime either. But, we can all chose where to spend our purchasing dollars. Making this clear is DEFINITELY not a crime. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of complacency. And I’m sick to death of attorneys.

So, here it is folks….here’s an open challenge to call those people you spend thousands and thousands of dollars with to purchase fire shelters, tents, fire clothing, boots, nozzles, packs, sleeping bags, headlamps, training materials, etc. and rattle their cages. Maybe they just need to hear about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Maybe they just need to hear what happens to families when they lose a firefighter husband, wife, son, or daughter...or friend. Maybe they just need to understand how important this foundation IS to us, and why.

Shari Downhill

9/8 Hey Ab,

Here's the response I got from Nick's.

:) FireBill

> From: "Gary Scott - Nicks Custom Boots"
> Subject: RE: Wildland Firefighter Foundation
> Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 12:27:46 -0700
>
> Hi Bill, thank you for the high praise. Dick, the owner, printed out the
> form and is sending a donation in. Thanks for the heads up.
>
> Gary Scott
> Nicks Custom Boots

Thank you Nick's Boots. Ab.

9/8 More possible contacts:

Chief Supply -Jackie Jones or Jeff Tousa
Lab Safety Supply -Paul
LN Curtis -Paul Curtis
All Star -Joe Sposo
Fire Etc -Bill Black
Masterbody -James Coats
Darley -James Long
Firehouse Trade Show -Mary G
Mallory Company -Avery Loy
Drews Boots -Pat
Eagle Gear -Joey Colombo

What about Total Fire Group, FireStore.com, and Fisher Safety?

no-name

9/8 Hey folks,

I thought I'd try to drum up a little more support for the WFF and Ken's run,
so here's what I did.

I looked up the website for every piece of equipment I've purchased, helmet
to boots. I sent them a quick e-mail with thanks for the good products and
then a quick bit about the Foundation and Ken's run. I'll report back on the
responses I get.

-FireBill
9/8 I have contacted several of the fire gear companies listed on They Said
as potential donors to Ken Perry's fundraiser, asking them to make a
pledge. Perhaps others could also call or send emails in a last minute
effort to help Ken and the WFF reach their goal.

Here's to Ken- I hope you have a great run! Thank you!

Kerri in NorCal
9/8 Update on Joe Brinkley:

Vicki from the WFF just called in. She was over to see Joe Brinkley at the hospital. She says it's hard to articulate the thoughts and feelings there... thankfulness, concern, community, family, fire, love...

The whole Brinkley family has gathered, as well as a steady stream of firefighters who are managing to tease, harass and tell jokes as firefighters do. So imagine a hospital room with two beds, one bed with Joe and the other with visitors sitting and visitors and family standing around. As people speak to him, Joe asks them to come over closer so he can see them without having to turn his head. He's pretty beat up with stitches and a neck brace but reportedly is doing ok.

As I write this, the WFF staff is rounding up a few of Burk's soft shirts that can be modified to fit Joe without having to go over his head. They're also moving a large donated travel trailer into the hospital parking lot to support the family.

There's been a request for a large old fashioned, canvas-style yellow shirt, if anyone has one to donate. I think it would look just fine there in that hospital room. Contact Ab for where to send it.

9/8 TO: Cascade Fire Supply, Medford, Oregon

I just talked with one of your staff on the telephone regarding the Ken Perry fundraiser for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. I was a bit taken back by their response and their quickness to hang up the phone, as well as their expressed disinterest in the Wildland Firefighter Foundation fund raiser or the work they do. While I’m proud of you for donating to the Hurricane, I’m disappointed that your company is not interested in supporting a foundation put in place to assist wildland firefighters and their families. If you should decide to find out more about WFF, the website is: www.wffoundation.org.

As there are many companies which market firefighting equipment and supplies throughout the country, I will be purchasing the equipment, clothing and supplies I need to support my company and employees from those who have stepped to the plate to support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. I can only speak for myself, but I’m committed to making the money our company earns and spends count when and where I can. This is one place I can do that.

I hope you change your mind in terms of supporting the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. If so, we’ll see your name on the pledge list. If not, you won’t see my face in your warehouse, nor my check in your bank deposit envelope again.

Sincerely,
Shari Downhill
Northwest Timber Fallers, Inc.

Ab followed this up before posting and got the same abrupt response as Shari. Go figure.

9/7 With the exception of Ray Q. from Region 5, I have not seen many Washington Office or Regional Office fire staffs from the agencies give a .... or even local Forest Fire Staffs kick in a pledge to Ken Perry's run in support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.... I wonder how many of them have figured out what "Doctrinal Review" really means and the importance for change?

Rogue Rivers

9/7 I wonder if anyone has shared the story about Ken Perry's Run in support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation with the companies who advertise in the Wildfire and the Wildland Firefighter magazines? I am sure those companies would be the first to contribute the little extra needed to push the pledge goal over the top and beyond. Hopefully, way beyond the current goal!!!

Lobotomy
9/7 Potential donors:

What about E-one, Masterbody, Nextel, Motorola, Bendix King, Dell, even Wal-Mart, Oakley, Alaska Airlines, Time Warner (Ted Turner has a house in Montana.)?

The amount of money and support that some of these groups could give would be huge, and would really help out the WFF, and triple the goal for Ken.

How much do you think we all spend with our cell phones, and quite a few of us use Nextel, and they are at all of the major fire shows. If we all start to write letters or call, email etc. hopefully it would help.

RR

Want to check around for some contact info so we can email or call them? Ab.

9/7 Here's the beginning of a list of Fire Product Companies who should be contacted to pledge for Ken Perry's run to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. When pledges are collected, we will post a list of those who donated to the Foundation that provides a safety net for our firefighter families.

Companies and contact info:

National Firefighter Corp has pledged. Thank you.
The Supply Cache has pledged. Thank you!
True North Gear has pledged. Thank you.

Cascade Fire Equip Co 800-654-7049 or sales@cascadefire.com
Ben Meadows www.benmeadows.com/custserv/contactus.php
Galls 1-866-290-3390 help-desk@galls.com
L N Curtis & Sons 1-800-426-6633 or smackenzie@lncurtis.com or kwinsheimer@lncurtis.com or dsporleder@lncurtis.com
Stihl www.stihlusa.com/contact.phpl
All Star Fire Equipment, Arcadia CA 626-652-0900
Chief Supply www.chiefsupply.com/contact_us.phpl 800-824-4338

9/7 The Brinkleys wanted to let everyone know that Joe Brinkley (their son), working as the Division Sup at the Frank Church Fire, was injured by a widow maker yesterday. He has numerous stitches, a cracked skull, four broken vertebrae, two broken ribs, and many bruises, but everything works - he's doing okay and is currently at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. He may be out of the hospital by Thursday.

message from Ken & Kathy Brinkley via the WFF

Please give our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Joe and extra strength to Ken and Kathy, Seth, Josh and the rest of the family. What a heart stopper! WFF folks, you hang in there too. Melissa, we still expect you to make it to SoCal for Ken's run.

Readers, for those of you who haven't met the Brinkleys who lost their son Levi on Storm King, they are a wonderfully remarkable, positive, activist, Wildland Firefighter Foundation supporters and part of our firefighting community. Our thoughts and prayers for them.

Ken and Kath, give those grandbabies a hug too. We must count our blessings. You Brinkleys are among them. Ab.

9/7 Vicki, Melissa and Ab,

We may be a little late, it has been hectic here the last few weeks, but
<snip> and I want to try and help get the pledge amount to its goal. I have
wanted to do some sort of challenge to other distributors and business
owners
, but I don't like tooting my own horn. (You know me Vicki, I am very
much a behind the scenes kind of person.) So perhaps a challenge from the
foundation (or from Ab?) to get firefighters to call up their favorite fire
distributors and challenge them to pledge
. Companies like Cascade, National
Firefighter Corp, Ben Meadows, Galls, L N Curtis etc.etc. These are
companies that are far bigger than we are with deeper pockets. The community
should put the pressure on to get these guys to pony up.

The <snip> will pledge $<snip> a mile as part of our annual commitment to
the Foundation.

<snip> moniker

Readers - Call those companies that you buy fire products from and tell them to make a donation. Companies that are making big money off fire should also support our fire families. (FYI, National Firefighter Corp made a pledge/donation early on. Good for them.) Let's get those other distributors and businesses to pony up. There should be some big fire company names on our pledge list by run time. If someone wants to send in names and contact numbers so we can all get on the phone, please do that. We can keep a running list here that makes the contacting easier and lets us all know who's been contacted and who didn't pledge yet, as well as those who did. Carson Helicopters who was mentioned on theysaid over the last week should make a pledge, for example. Who else? Ab.

9/7 Gordon,

You, Buddy, have an attitude and it ain't a good one! It is distressing to know that there are individuals who knowingly and willingly ignore and break safety requirements. And then have the gall to brag about it. I hope I never see you on any fire that I am involved with. Ab is right, you're a disaster waiting to happen. I feel for the poor soul who has to do the paper work on you.

It is also distressing to know that there is one safety officer out there who didn't give you the correct safety equipment or have you return to camp and get the correct safety equipment. It's people such as yourself that give supervisors and safety officers night mares as well as too damn much paper work to do. We don't need people like you on the fire line!

I'm hoping that you are just being a moron and trying to get a rise out of people and that you aren't really serious about wearing inadequate and unacceptable safety equipment on the fire line. But, if you are serious............. do us all a favor and stay home. It is obvious that even if you have the correct equipment it doesn't mean you have the correct attitude.

OrFF

I didn't use the "D" word. My comments were strictly "tongue in cheek" (to keep from laughing). I doubt that Gordon is a risk to himself or anyone on the fireline. <tongue in cheek> Now that I consider it... Disaster? Well maybe... Ab.

9/6 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated. Ab.
9/6 Native Force Fire Song

We fight fires, we eat smoke.
We're number one and that's no joke!
When we've been at it for 21 days,
That's okay 'cause R&R pays.
When we get home and the money's just right,
We grab our baby and hold her tight.
We have fun, we smile all day,
But when it comes to work, we don't play.
Lonnie's our boss, our fearless leader,
If he won't go then we won't either!
These guys are my friends, they're all my bros,
Just listen to the song and see how it flows.
When we leave, you'll all remember us,
We're the ones singin' and a ridin' that bus!

Robert William Tonasket

Nice one. Ab.

9/6 Fire in SoCal, west of Julian:

http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/MLO.jpg

http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/MW.jpg

From the web cams. Mt Woodson and Laguna

SoCal CDF

9/6 The Tuolumne Fire Investigation Report is now online in its web quality version at wildlandfire.com. It is a joint CDF and Forest Service investigation on which CDF has the lead.

As we understand it, the Forest Service signed off on it on May 11, 2005 with the understanding that it would be CDF's place to release it. The person researching its status for us has told us that CDF plans to release it on their website. They have not yet done so, although it is currently and officially a matter of "Public Record". If you would like to obtain a digitized print quality version of the report, you can contact CDF and they will send you a CD containing the report including high quality photos and appendices which you can print out. The file that is for reading online and which we provide here is complete, but only of web or computer presentation quality.

The wlf.com link to it follows:

Tuolumne Fire Report in pdf format (5.95 MB, 183 pages with web quality photos, maps, etc)

Note: This is a large pdf file that takes several minutes to download if you have DSL. The report contains no redactions.

Readers, please remember that making such investigations available is about "Lessons Learned", the goal being that firefighters will recognize dangerous past situations so as to avoid similar situations in the future. Ideally the lessons get folded into training. Please remember as you read it that it is about understanding "the what, not the who" -- that is what happened and what we can learn from it, not who did what so as to place blame.

Colorado Firecamp had the report available briefly a week ago. They have made it available again via links in their left-hand table. They have divided the report into 2 parts: the Report Body and the Appendices. We understand they'll also make available separate photos for training powerpoints. Stay tuned there.

My thoughts and prayers for family, friends and others touched by this tragedy.

Be Safe All, the fire season is not over.

Ab.

9/6 Regarding Hurricane response orders coming to the wildland fire agencies,
here are some of the requests filtering to EACC (R-9)-

- 3-person saw crews (all three sawyer certified)
- Radio Operators
- Status Check-in Recorders
- Equipment Managers
- Ordering Managers
- Supply Unit Leaders
- Dispatchers and Dispatch Supervisors with Ross experience
- Security 1 & Security 2
- Information Officers
- Water tenders (some for potable water, some for Fire dept. use)
- Fuel trucks (minimum 500-1,000 gal capacity)

There is some discussion of Type 3 Logistics teams, no details yet given on
the desired make up of those teams.

Deepwoods
9/6 I guess saw work isn't needed?

www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197

JR

9/6 Dear Ab,

As the date for Ken's run approaches, I realized that the day of his run will be the 6 month anniversary of John's death. I was floored by that fact. It seems like just yesterday that I saw John's friends and coworkers coming up our driveway with tears in their eyes to tell me that John had been killed in a helicopter crash, and in that moment, our lives changed forever. While reflecting on this, I started to do some soul searching and came up with some thoughts that I wanted to shared will all you firefighters.

John, like all wildland firefighters, spent much - if not most - of his summers away from his home and family. Not only was firefighting John's job and passion, it became our way of life too. Everything revolved around where dad was, how long would he be gone, and when was he coming home. While we learned to cope with this and go on with our daily lives, thoughts of John would pop up constantly. Is he doing OK? Is he eating alright? Is he getting enough sleep? I wonder what the weather is like - I hope it's not too hot for them. Are we going to hear from him today or will it be days before he can get to a phone? We would watch the news hoping to get a glimpse of what he was facing, always aware of the dangers. Vacations weren't taken in the summer and birthdays were sometimes missed. Time would go by and then we would get the phone call we had all been waiting for - Dad's coming home!! We lived for hearing his helicopter flying over our house after a fire assignment to let us know they were safe and that John would be home soon.

What I hope you all realize is that our story is not unique. All of you have someone - mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend who lives with these same experiences and thoughts everyday. While you are out on the fire lines dealing with stressful situations and problems, the families that are left behind are dealing the their own set of problems and concerns. When you are involved in a firefighter's life, the fire gets into your blood also, and it's a flame that can't be put out. Although it may flicker and burn a little less intensely for me now, it will always be there. I guess this is what makes losing John so hard. Not only have I lost the person who loved the kids and me unconditionally and who was my piece of heaven on earth, but I've lost a lifestyle, one that revolved around John's job.

While I am finding it harder than ever to cope with my loss, I know that much tougher times are yet to come. One of the constants throughout this whole thing has been the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. My first contact with these wonderful folks came in the form of a check to help us through the first months until some money started coming in, and then with the presentation of the wildland firefighter's statue at John's service. However, over the last 6 months, they have become so much more to me. Vicki and her gang have given me a shoulder to cry on, a place to visit where fallen firefighters are treated with the utmost respect, and they're always willing to give me a helping hand whenever I need it. Knowing That I had somewhere to turn in the days and months following John's accident, and that they will be there for our family in the years to come is a huge comfort. The only thing they have ever asked from us is our friendship. Our family will get through this thanks to the support we have received from the entire fire community. Our deepest thanks to all of you. I hope and pray that none of you ever have to go through this experience, but know that the Foundation will always be there willing to help in any way they can. All of us need to support them, now and in the future. So, if you haven't signed up to support Ken in his 52 mile quest, please, do so now. And the next time you head out the door to a fire assignment, make sure you hold you family close and tell them that you love them.

Lori Greeno

Greeno lives on in spirit and you will always be a part of this community. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lori. Give the kids a hug from all of us. Readers, this is why we all need the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Ab.

9/6 From our RUNNER:

Greetings,

Just another update. For those that plan on being here for the run on Saturday, the latest weather report is calling for breezy conditions and drizzle in the LA basin. That is slightly different than yesterday's forecast which called for a warming trend over the weekend. Drizzle in the basin means more than likely a deep marine layer, which could extend into the Santa Clarita Valley (end of the run), so bring a windbreaker or sweater with you.. It shouldn't be that cool, however (70's to 80's). But bring sun block and warm Wx clothes too, for this afternoon Fritz may be telling us something completely different.

I will be out at Fox Air Base at 0630 on Sat. Clay Myers (base manager) will be there also to help us out. If you get there a little early, and the gate is closed, just hang out for a bit. The sunrises in the desert are awesome. Again, we will have a short briefing and hand out some maps. If you are a little late (after 0700) you can meet up with the group either at the fire sta. (130) on Ave J and 40th West (about 0745), or at the parking lot at Albertson's on Ave N and 50th West (about 0900) or along the route, of course. Just remember that this is not going to be a quick endeavor, so find a Starbucks, and hang out.

Again, thanks to all that have pledged this event. I am looking forward to this Saturday (even though I am also looking forward to a 52 mile headwind, if the forecast is accurate)....Thanks to all that show up, and to LA County Fire.... They're planning a visible presence. And to Wildlandfire.com for all of this help they've given.

See you Saturday @ 0630

KCP.

There's a hand-drawn map at the Foundation site above. Also, this post on maps came in several weeks ago from GIS Girl:

There are three (to scale) maps of Ken's run.
They are in PDF format
Start (1:24,000) 36x44
Finish (1:24,000) 36x44
overall run (1:150,000) 11x17

She was having trouble sending them over e-mails so she put them on an FTP site for you to check out.

ftp://ftp.nifc.gov/Statewide_GIS_Data/CALIFORNIA/WFF/

9/6 "Still out there as an AD" asked for info on R8 (USFS Southern Region)
considering the lack of need info on the R8 SACC website. I would say they
have probably been too busy to post info. Here's what I know.

The two Southern Region teams and many others are deployed. As today's sit
report says one team is providing logistical support for the New Orleans
airport and field hospital by providing "an evacuation center and base
camp".

The sit report fails to show the level of activity. I was told nearly 3000
"fire" personnel are active in R8, including the numerous teams listed in
the sit report, law enforcement is heavily involved, and many individuals,
2 person teams, and some crews. It is by far the busiest I've seen R8
dispatch (though I'm not directly involved with them).

All R8 USFS employees have been accounted for, though a few lost homes.
Damage to USFS lands is significant near the coast, but most buildings
survived. As the sit report notes two IMTs are headed to assist the
districts with the most damage to clear roads, etc. I'm sure other teams
and personnel are involved in similar activities elsewhere. The need will
be ongoing for some time; this won't go away in a hurry like a contained
fire.

As noted in the sit report, providing base camps for other rescue workers
(and in some cases for evacuees) is a big part of the effort. Assignments
change. For those who have been turned around after being ordered I would
say you know two things while on a detail (fire or disaster):
  • what your current assignment is and
  • everything else is a rumor.

R8 Guy

9/6 Re Aberdeen's post:

Being the Safety officer for our Dept, all I have too say is AMEN

Old Man of the Dept

<tongue in cheek> Yeah Gordon, and we all know if you try to outrun the Old Man of the Dept because he looks really ANCIENT, watch out. Undoubtedly he will outstay you, catch you and collar you - or worse. No firefighter has yet stepped up to admit they are older than he is and have passed the PACK test at the ARDUOUS level. My guess is that he's also old enough that he carries a "switch" for the bad boys... Ab. <carefully removing tongue from cheek>

9/6 Hello,

My name is James and I am 17. I am currently a senior in high school. In the middle of Kansas. I am on our volunteer fire department and have been really considering wild land firefighting. I know that there is some classes and such that I have to do. I am looking at Hutchinson Community College. Any way my question is What are the work schedules. Is it a 40 hour a week job or is it working 8 to 9 months out of the year. I did not know what kind of travel was involved either. Such as, you work at one spot and someone else somewhere else needs assistance, do you go. Also can jobs be achieved anywhere, or any state. I did not know if it was a seasonal job if you still had to live in the area. I guess i am just trying to figure out if i should pursue this or not. I do not know a lot of information as you can tell. I do know that there is nothing i love more though than fighting a rolling grass fire. I would greatly appreciate it if you would email me some info back. Thank you

James

Ab will forward any replies. Here's a good link for info on seasonal federal wildland firefighting for a start.

9/6 Good Monday morning All. I hope you had a safe weekend.
Thanks Original Ab for taking over.
Pledge on... for Ken's 52 Run! I'm glad Melissa got a bike on loan.
Ab.
9/6 Gordon - concerning your post about metal hard hats and the old orange cotton fire shirt, I offer two observations:
1. an ineffective SOFR who should have her/his quals checked for not doing better follow thru;
2. a firefighter who's motto is probably "don't confuse me with the facts; I've made up my mind and want to do it my way."

Do you have a good solid base of info that says that the metal hardhat and FR Cotton shirt offer better protection than the polycarbonate hardhat and Nomex shirt? Maybe you should apply for a job at MTDC and straighten them out about real PPE levels of protection. Another option: get on the NFPA 1977 Technical Committee that set the National standards for wildland fire PPE - they can always use the input from some one with your knowledge and background.

Glad I wasn't on that fire: sounds like you and the SOFR were disasters waiting to happen!

If you were so cavalier about breaking the rules on PPE, what is your attitude about following the 10/18/LCES? Safety is an attitude, and I have a problem seeing your comments as being reflective of a safe attitude........but that's just one SOFR's view of things.

Aberdeen
9/6 Hi,

I'm Evert de Graaf 45 years old and fireman in Houten (the Netherlands). Houten has 50.000 people in it. It's in the distance (5 km) frpm the big capitol city Utrecht. We have just like your perfect firesite also an fire site. It calls www.brandweerhouten.nl (means firedeptmenthouten) As you will see we have a worldfamous firehouse. And also an joung firebrigade. Our building got the stealprice of ironbildings. There are 2200 pictures, made by childeren of Houten, created moments of firehelps, (fire in houses, cars, boots, plains etc etc) in the color of the rainbow. look at; page "post Houten" (Click the top photo on right and you'll see the wall of kid's fire art. Ab.); brandweerhuis the fire house inside (click on picture for bigger size). page "fotoboeken" (fotobook) fotoboeken 2005.

I'll hope you will create a link from your beautiful site to our fire site in the Netherlands.

pleasure greetings, (i'll hope for response)

Evert de Graaf
Houten
The Netherlands

Hi Evert. I know there's not much wildland fire in the Netherlands, but it's interesting to visit your website. It would be easier for non-dutch speakers to navigate if you didn't use frames to restrict direct links. Ab.

9/5 AB, et al,

It gives one a warm fuzzy feeling when you look at the list of names of
contributors to 'The Run' and the members of the WFF. Seeing the names
of friends and family is very special. Pledge what you can while you
can!!

For what its worth we quit using metal hardhats in the early 80's. There
was resistance to the change as you couldn't paint the plastic ones that
great candy apple red that was so popular in those days. But the change
was for safety someone mentioned the electrical hazard, but the plastic
was (is) more impact worthy and puncture resistant, too. I developed a
test so people where less resistant to the change over. I placed
hardhats one metal and one plastic side by side on the ground and
dropped digging bars onto each. Each time the bar bounced off the
plastic hat and the metal hat was skewered to the ground by the bar. It
was an easy sell to plastic after that demonstration. Especially since
all the metal hardhats had holes on them.

anotherDave
9/5 Ab:

For those on chat last night who were interested in what is going on in the Salmon River Country:

www.inciweb.org/incident/141

Everybody be safe out there!

NMAirBear
9/5 Fires bustin' out in SoCal. Competition for resources? Read the Hot List Forum for more info.

Good progress on the pledges for Ken's Benefit Run. Keep up the good work! Challenge your friends! Ab.

9/5 RE: Metal hard hats.

I last used mine in 2004, along with my last blaze-orange cotton fire shirt.
The Safety Officer kept telling me to change into the 'real' PPE, and I told
him I would as soon as I got back to camp. I put him off for 4 days that
way. Never did wear my plastic hat or yellow nomex that entire assignment.

Gordon.
9/5 Here's more info on rooms
www.hurricanehousing.org/

MG

9/5 Re: The Wildland Firefighter Foundation and Ken Perry's Mega-Run:

We are over 50% of the way to the $1000 per mile goal. There are just five days
left to pledge. Please spread the word and pledge what you can!!!

Please accept and meet the challenges from the Hotshot Crews, the Smokejumpers,
the Incident Management Teams, the Engine Crews and other from throughout the
nation.....Give what you can...... It is for the family.

As Original Ab said.... these are the characteristics we all have in common... We are
all members of the wildland fire community and benefactors of the aid that the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation gives in times of need.

Let us all hope we never need the aid.... but let us all rest assured the aid they provide
is always there in case of emergencies for our families and friends. Step up and support
the wildland fire community with your pledge.

Lobotomy
9/4 Still an AD:

So far resources requested from our State, for Katrina Response,
have been three person saw teams, TFLDs and automotive mechanics.

Bill E. NJFFS
9/4 I used to have the letter from the WO mandating that we switch from metal to plastic hard hats due to electric shock hazard. At that time most of us in Region 6 had never seen a wild land fire mixed with power lines. I can't find the letter now now, but do remember that it was transmitted on the "DG"...the Forest Service's first nation wide electronic mail system. I kept it because it made me so mad to give up my nice light weight cool in the summer tin hat.

I have looked through my old fire pictures and see a few plastic hard hats showing up in Region 6 in 1986. They are worn by people from other regions. In 1988 I see the entire Blue Mt. type 2 team in Yellowstone all wearing tin. The Southwest crews on the same fire are wearing plastic. In 1989 I can find only one picture of a hard hat on a fire in R6 and it is on an Operations Chief from California. My pictures from 1990 show everyone in R6 wearing new shiny plastic hats.

Those that went through this traumatic transition will remember there was great resistance to make the switch and some people refused to switch for a year or so after that dreaded letter was issued. I had to take several large boxes of new never been worn metal hard hats to the dump. I wanted to take them home but was reminded that as government employees we must stay squeaky clean.

So there you have it. The last metal hats were worn about 1989.

Tom Jones
9/4 Although we are over 1000 miles from the Gulf Coast, my wife and I would
still like to offer a room in our home in Rapid City SDto any firefighter or
their family that may need a place to stay. As I may be out on assignment soon
please contact my wife Merci at (605) 430-4287.

Matthew Branch
State of South Dakota
Hand Crew Superintendent

9/4 Hand crews, volunteers, contractors, fire departments, dispatchers, engine crews, helitack, hotshots, ADs, IMT members, air tanker folks, foundations, other organizations, air attack bases, mothers, fathers, loved ones, friends, and family.

What do they all have in common? They have all made a pledge to support the Ken Perry/WFF Benefit Mega Run! Some have pledged fifty cents, others have been able to pledge more. But they all count and it has added up very quickly. Looking at the Pledge List today, I am excited to see we are now over halfway to our goal.

What I also observe is that for every engine crew proudly signing up, there are at least a thousand more engine crews who apparently haven't heard about it yet. For every hotshot crew, air attack base, and IMT hammering their names on the pledge list, there are so many more of their peers missing. For every contractor or business who's generously pledged, there must be a hundred more who are too busy or don't see any benefit in making a pledge. I'd go on, but I'm running out of possible excuses.

I thank each and everyone of you who has taken the time and sacrificed to make your pledge. I know you realize the value of our wildland fire family having and continuing to support the WFF as an organization, even though you know you NEVER want to have your family need their help.

I challenge all you who have already pledged to reach out to your peers and spread the word. If each of you can inform and get just one additional crew, engine, company, or individual to make a pledge, it will have a tremendous impact on Ken and the WFF reaching their goal. As I write this, we have just six days left to pull more attention to this event.

I know there are over 40,000 different folks reading this page every month. They Said It set yet another record during August for the number of monthly page views. If you are here and reading, you must have at least some interest in or concern about the wildland fire community. If each August viewer pledged just five cents per mile, it would come out to way over $104,000. Stop lurking, stop thinking it could never happen to you or someone you know, and support your wildland fire community!

Here's the link: Pledge Now

Original Ab.

PS: I'd love to see some of the viewers whose ISP numbers end in .wo begin pledging!
9/4 Regarding the lack of wildland fire aviation resources helping Hurricane Katrina relief efforts:

With over 450 military aircraft plus even more civilian government aircraft, and little in the way of coordination, both in frequency management and airborne supervision, the USFS/DOI aircraft would be grounded anyway. You could go and sit, and draw overtime, yes.

The unspoken desire is to have NO aircraft under USFS/DOI management, as it would be a disaster/no fly situation if all our aviation management guidelines were to be followed.

FEMA does not even have a handle on how many, or where, the aviation resources are located/working/being controlled by...

The Type I Overhead Teams are name-requesting various helitack units. These are being cancelled. NIFC is ordering Sky Cranes with no input from the field, and these are being cancelled, BUT FOR REASONS THAT WERE NOT RELAYED TO THE GROUND LEVELS.

They were cancelled because there is no structure in place to manage those resources consistent with USFS/DOI policies with all the other aircraft flying under various controls, frequencies, airspace, etc.

I'm not saying this is the correct strategy, just the way it is right now. I hope this helps explain the situation. I know it does not relieve frustration, as we in fire know what we could do to help people if we could get FEMA outta de way, and let the Type I Teams and the military run the relief effort. Oops, I said what we have all been thinking.....

LIONA
9/4 Hi ab,

Thought you might be interested in reading this story from the Mail Tribune.

Firefighting helos are in route from Oregon to drop water on burning buildings and rebuild public works.
www.mailtribune.com/archive/2005/0903/local/stories/02local.php

Regards,
red army wife
9/4 Metal Helmets:

As a helitack foreman on the Sawtooth NF in 1973 I wore a metal Bullard hard hat.
I still have it. The IR crew was also wearing them. I do think that in 1974 metal was
out.

JR

9/3 Reply to Casey Judd's message-----

right on!

Warren DuBois, FS retired

9/3 Hi all,

Anybody tell me the year metal helmets were last used?

Curious,
firewall

From IMWTK:

Q: When were hardhats first used?
A:
Started looking online for information on hardhats. Found on the National Agricultural Library pictures starting in 1952 where hardhats were showing up in pictures of western firefighters in Idaho. Colorado firefighters weren't using them in pictures about the same time. But from 1953 on hardhats were common, which the 'Saladbowl' appearing to be the choice. One picture in '63 showed the cap style, but that's the only one found. (Hickman)

9/3 As human beings and Americans, we can't help but feel for the residents of the disaster areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and elsewhere. Sadly, it is all too common for some, especially in the media, to create controversy about response times, resources, even race. We see and hear it daily in the reports from the area.

So many become experts and 2nd guess actions by the government, even bringing the war in Iraq into play rather than asking "what can I do to help." Those of you that have been in management positions on large scale incidents know the logistical nightmares that can take place, especially when multi-jurisdictional agencies descend on an area. Those incidents are dwarfed by what has occurred as a result of the hurricane.

So as all of us that are safe, fed, clothed etc., look upon the tragedy, I hope we will focus on our own community pride for our firefighters who have been dispatched to help. I hope our prayers and thoughts include them as well as their families who are sacrificing their loved ones to this horror.

It is no wonder why folks like Ab, myself, Vicki Minor and so many others have such an incredible passion for our wildland firefighter community. You are all truly remarkable and I pray for the safe return of those performing rescue and relief duties in the South as well as all of you still on the fire lines.

The season is not over yet and although it has been relatively slow, we all know September and October can be hellacious.

With Great Respect for all of you,

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
9/3 There's a warehouse fire on the Mississippi River near downtown
New Orleans. Could you send some of your big forest fire fighting
helicopters with the orange dipping bags. They would help. We
don't have water for anything. Even if it's flooded.

Evangeline

9/3 H-527 Cancelled

Well the Directors have done it again, we were canceled two hours into
flight to Mobile Alabama for Hurricane Katrina support. No reason....just
canceled. Don't they watch the news??? A Presidential declaration of
disaster... A media opportunity to show leadership and actually help our
citizens of this great nation! What is the FS thinking... work the disaster
you have, not the one you may or may not get.

S527

9/3 Hi All, we Abs thought this might be of interest. When we donate to helping organizations, we often don't know exactly where the money goes. We asked the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to break it down for us... Ken's run is coming up. Donors are getting on board. We hope you'll join us. Ken Perry/WFF Benefit Our community needs this support. The Foundation is our support funnel to our families in their and our time of need. Recent events show how critical it is to be prepared.

Where Did Your Money Go?

Did you know that more than $33 of your 52 Club Membership at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation goes directly to help families of fallen and injured wildland firefighters? We know that everyone wants 100% of their money to go toward the people we are here to serve. No one wants to help pay the rent, lights, or other necessary expenses. However, those expenses are necessary, and this Foundation strives to keep very low overhead.

We have 2.5 paid employees and one regular volunteer that work daily to answer calls, keep in contact with nearly 100 survivor family members, send out orders from our website, process 52 Club Memberships, correspond and reply to inquiries with a number of private, public, and government agencies. We attend a number of industry related conferences throughout the year. And, we work closely with spouses as they go through the process of getting, or appealing PSOBs, and provide a helping hand to agency and contract employers as they help spouses apply for benefits.

Our efforts for wildland firefighters are not all centered on raising money and processing 52’s. We have daily contact with many government and private individuals discussing and doing our share to recognize and tell the story of wildland firefighters. Our efforts this year have been big. Installing the first public piece of art and recognition for wildland firefighters in a public venue required enormous amounts of planning and diligence to come to fruition. The statue is gaining attention and will help in our efforts to install others in more public places.

Our first ever “Family Day” was an amazing event. We hosted 130 survivor family members at our warehouse over Memorial Weekend. Your 52 helped us pay for this wonderful gathering of families. So much more healing took place among these mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, and children than we could ever accomplish with phone calls, cards, or flowers. Laughter, tears, memories, and compassion flowed. The resounding input we’ve received from families: “We want this to be a yearly event. Yes, the memories still hurt and it stirs things up, but it is well worth it.” Next year we hope to have an actual fire camp set up for the families to get a feel for what their firefighter experienced as they worked the fire lines.

To give you an even better idea as to where your money goes, here’s a breakdown for you:

  • 22 memberships helped us pay for parents of an injured firefighter to get to his bedside.
  • 13 memberships pay for one bronze statue to be presented at a funeral or memorial.
  • It takes 97 memberships to send $5,000 to one family that loses a firefighter.
  • It took nearly 50 memberships to pay for 2 weeks hotel expenses for a wife to stay close to her husband while recovering from burns at a burn center in Minnesota.
  • One afternoon for our office to shut down and spend four hours with 3 airlines to get 23 crewmembers to New Hampshire so they could say good-bye to their fellow ‘shot - priceless.

These are just a few examples of where your money goes. We haven’t scratched the surface as to the ongoing support we provide to our families, new and “old”, as they continue to live each day with their loss. That support requires money. We receive no federal, city, or state money. Our funding comes from you – we work for you – our efforts are for you. The thanks for this support doesn’t come from us, it comes from those families that you have helped serve in a time in their lives when they are truly suffering the greatest loss they will ever know. For them, we thank you.

Wildland Firefighter Foundation

9/3 Thanks for those of you who have been keeping us updated re: team deployment, agency efforts and so forth for the hurricane. I'm wondering if anybody has a sense for what single resources are being activated. The Southern Region Recent Request List and Unable to Fill List haven't been updated all week; I don't know if they've been overwhelmed or if nothing is moving as a single resource. In the past I've found the lists useful to have a sense of what type, and how many, folks are moving through. Thanks for any info.

Still Out There as an AD
9/3 Thank you for coming to help us in Louisiana.

Evangeline

9/3 Personally I've heard enough complaints, on television, about the greatest nation's inability to manage the aftermath of the hurricane and flooding so I've decided to turn off the sound and just observe the video coverage on the nightly news. Even PBS coverage is mostly negative.

The frustration of not being used is evident in recent posts here on they said. I think many answers to the questions on how to improve national emergency communications, logistics and operations can and will be identified by the wild land fire fighter community. However, l think the expectation by many that everything should be running smoothly at day 3 or 4 is a bar set to high for a disaster of this magnitude especially with so many operational and logistical barriers.

I don't think that my bar is to low... I have the same desire as others to see vast improvements in emergency response at a national level and I agree that the solutions to some organizational problems can be solved by the wild fire community. My point is that this may be the largest search and rescue operation ever in the United States and due to this magnitude it will take time to bring help to all who need it.

I also understand that as emergency providers the agony of the images and cries for help on television tug at us. Our success with managing fire camps of 3,000 plus fire fighters and burned areas of tens of thousands of acres gives us the knowledge that we could make a difference. And we will, as evidenced by the national mobilization that is taking place as command and control operations are established or in most cases re-established.

The current situation in Louisiana and Mississippi is an unfolding tragedy on many levels. The lost of life and human suffering compels us to offer our services and charity... but as always moral support should be a given.

As teams and others are activated my hope and prayers are that they complete their mission safely and are able to bring their experiences home to share with others.

Oliver
9/3 Interim Immunization Recommendations for Emergency Responders: Hurricane Katrina

Required immunizations:
  1. Tetanus and diphtheria toxoid (receipt of primary series, and Td booster within 10 years)
  2. Hepatitis B vaccine series for persons who will be performing direct patient care or otherwise expected to have contact with bodily fluids

There is no indication for the following vaccines given the anticipated conditions in the region:

  • hepatitis A vaccine (low probability of exposure, even under these conditions, in U.S.) No transmission from contaminated water has been identified in the U.S. since the 1980's. Hepatitis A outbreaks have not occurred following other hurricanes or floods in other parts of the country, including the devastating hurricanes in Florida last year, and the Midwestern floods of the late 1990's. The Gulf Region has had few hepatitis A cases in recent years, with less than 10 in the past 3 months reported from the New Orleans area. Thus, even though the water and sewage systems are damaged or out of operation in many areas along the Gulf Coast, the risk of a hepatitis A epidemic is extremely low. Vaccine will take at least one to two weeks to provide substantial immunity.
  • typhoid vaccine (low probability of exposure, even under these conditions, in U.S.),
  • cholera vaccine (low probability of exposure, even under these conditions, in U.S., plus no licensed cholera vaccine available in the U.S.), or
  • meningococcal vaccine (no expectation of increased risk of meningococcal disease among emergency responders).
  • rabies vaccine series (the full series is required for protection). Persons who are exposed to potentially rabid animals should be evaluated and receive standard post-exposure prophylaxis, as clinically appropriate.
9/3 Ab-

Wanted to make sure this email made it to the wildland community on "FOH (Federal Occupational Health) Disaster Advisory #2, Vaccination Update". You may need to edit it a bit.

And I will go ahead and point out the obvious... they recommend "strict personal hygeine". I am sure this has been recommended, but if you are deploying to the South you may want to try to take hand/other sanitizer and use it frequently, or lots of packets or travel packs of hand wipes or baby wipes. Hospitals in the south are already seeing folks sick from drinking bad water so please be safe in any contacts, rescue work, etc. and our thoughts are with all of you who are responding and affected...

Take care-

-Anonymous.
_______________________________________________________
Hello all,

Please note the updated vaccination information below for those deploying to the hurricane response actions.

This is a significant change from the previous regarding the Hepatitis A vaccine, making this an "OPTIONAL" item, compared to the previous "RECOMMENDED". Therefore, we are recommending that individuals no longer undertake unusual efforts to obtain the vaccination although they may start the series if they can do so conveniently before deploying, such as if they are needed to update their tetanus vaccine anyway. Strict personal hygiene is essential for prevention regardless of their vaccination status.

Also, tetanus vaccine within the past 10 years is sufficient unless a significant puncture wound happens.

Sorry for the confusion and changing guidance, but we are trying to provide what is available from CDC and FOH as is comes out.

Robert J. Garbe, MPH, CIH
Occupational Health Programs Manager
Office of Occupational Health and Safety
US Department of the Interior
755 Parfet St.; Suite 365
Lakewood, CO 80215
------------------------------------------------------------
Attached is the updated FOH advisory. Note the change in Hep A from recommended to optional.

Also see post above. Ab.

9/2 Ab LTNS...

There are Wildland Firefighters on the ground (and in the air) in Louisiana (New Orleans) and other areas. We left home station (7 R4 helitack Guys) last Sunday with a USAR Task Force, we arrived in Louisiana tuesday at o'dark 30 and started right in working our way south towards the gulf. We've cleared routes (chain saws & skidders), searched areas and communities along the route of march. The last 3 days we have been evac'ing victims via helo & boat, we have 4 heavy helos with our task force and have been using hoists and helibaskets (with helitack goons attached lol) to accomplish the mission. So far we have evac'ed over 300 people and lifted in a few tons of water and mre's. If ya see Dopes on Ropes in yellow shirts, hangin from helos That Be Us!.

R4 Helitack Guy
9/2 RS, email me please. Ab will give you my addy, won't you Ab?

Mellie

Will do.

9/2 Bike for the Run

I want to say a BIG thank you to Mike and Beth Lynn for donating the use of Beth's bike
so that I can ride with Kenneth as he does his run. Mike is Ken's flying partner.

Thank you to everyone for your great support of this amazing effort! And, just to bring the
idea home as to how long a run this is - it's like running the Boston Marathon TWICE!

Go Ken Go! See Ken Run!

Melissa
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

There will be t-shirts for sale at the start of the mega-run... Ab.

9/2 STEX (Sand Table Exercises) and TDGS (Tactical Decision Games) adapt
readily and successfully to wildfire air operations, as you suggest. My
experiences with them started in 5/03, when the USFS air tactical community
presented a refresher in conjunction with MAFFS training in Boise. Sand
table exercises were used as a lab station and were well received by
participants.

The BLM's annual Aerial Supervision Module (ASM) training in Lancaster, CA
uses STEX/TDGS as a highly effective teaching tool, and the Aerial
Firefighting Institute (AFI) that is tasked with providing field
instruction to contract SEAT pilots in Safford, AZ relies extensively on
the sand table as a visual teaching and briefing aid. When foul weather
postpones field flying sessions, everyone retreats to the barn, where field
conditions are replicated on the sand table.
Incidentally, the SEAT training coordinator has assembled a very impressive
air force for his tables!

In the spring of 2005, a cadre of ATGS put on S-378, Air Tactical Group
Supervisor training at the Great Basin Training Center, Boise, and
STEX/TDGS was a principle training station during lab exercises. A
valuable addition was the use of headsets and hands-on experience with the
types of AM and FM radios that air attacks normally use while flying
missions. Boise Smokejumpers were the instructors at that station and did
an excellent job!

Finally, as you suggest, sand tables should be a valuable tool for pilot
and air operations briefings. The only problem is that unless they are
available locally they are a bit too heavy and bulky to expect a team Air
Ops unit to haul around with them. Even that problem is being fine-tuned,
however. I have seen recent versions that use packing peanuts or kitty
litter instead of sand, making a lighter, more portable unit. The pieces,
including aircraft, are easily obtainable from local stores. All air
operations folks have plenty of experiences to tap in creating scenarios
for briefings, so the sky is truly the limit in that regard.

I'm sure many more aerial firefighters have used sand tables as exposure to
them increases. They can be fun, challenging, and creative. If you plan
on making them a part of your package, it wouldn't hurt to attend formal
training in their use, but that isn't a prerequisite, just a suggestion.

Have fun,
Sky Snake
9/2 Arroyo Grande Helicopter 527 just got committed to Mississippi for disaster
relief..

MS

Be Safe. Ab.

9/2 This is in today's NPS "The Morning Report" about the hurricane response.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise is preparing for an even more extensive Interior/Agriculture commitment. In a report released yesterday, NIFC calculated what resources it could release for the recovery effort while still maintaining a sufficient reserve to fight wildland fires.

Managers of NIFC’s participating agencies are prepared to make available

  • 2 area command teams,
  • 8 Type 1 IMTs,
  • 20 Type 2 IMTs, and
  • 155 crews.

They are also prepared to dispatch

  • aircraft,
  • materials stored in the eleven geographic area caches,
  • radios, and
  • contracted services.

Shep

9/2 There's another nice looking Type 4 Engine for sale on the Classifieds Page at the bottom of the Heavy Equipment category. Over $30,000 invested, with an asking price of $25,000. Ab.
9/2 USDA Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management Briefing Paper
Date: Thursday, September 1, 2005
Time: 3 pm
Topic: USDA Forest Service Non-Fire Emergency Management

Issue: Interagency support for Hurricane Katrina

Background: Category 4 Hurricane Katrina made landfall with 140 mph winds on the gulf coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle Monday morning August 29, 2005. Damage assessments of the coastal and inland areas affected by the hurricane continue. Destruction of existing infrastructure in the affected areas has made travel and communications difficult. Initial assessments are still being conducted.

The following table contains current information on the location of Interagency Resources:
Resource Committed                            Mission             Location
Area Command Team          - Williams-Rhodes  Incident Coordnatn  Atlanta, GA
TypeI Incident Mgment Team - Custer           Base Camp           Baton Rouge, LA
TypeI Incident Mgment Team - Quesinberry      Mobilization Ctr    Meridian, MS
TypeI Incident Mgment Team - Pincha-Tully     Mobilization Ctr    Stennis, MS
TypeI Incident Mgment Team - Gelobter         Base Camp           Jackson, MS
Logistics Mgment Team      - Prevey           Mobilization Ctr    Maxwell AFB, AL
Logistics Mgment Team      - Humphrey         Mobilization Ctr    Meridian, MS
Logistics Mgment Team      - Jenkins          Mobilization Ctr    Meridian, MS
Logistics Mgment Team      - Lineback         Staging Area        Camp Beauregard, LA
Logistics Mgment Team      - Floyd            Staging Area        Barksdale ARB, LA
Planning Team              - Terry            Planning            Orlando, FL
Key Points
There are
  • 1 Area Command Team,
  • 4 Type I Incident Management Teams,
  • 5 Logistics Management Teams,
  • 1 Planning Team,
  • 37 Type II crews, and
  • 954 Overhead
  • totaling 1,674 personnel on the incident.

Currently the Forest Service is tasked with 30 mission assignments totaling 28 million dollars.

Anticipate an order for one additional Type I IMT for deployment in the New Orleans area.

All Southern Region Forest Service employees have been accounted for.

Contact: National Incident Information Center, 202-205-1450, niicfam @ fs.fed.us

9/2 it seems once again that federal and state agencies do not want to play together or know how to in order to help people. IT IS A SHAME. you would have thought after 9-11 that they would have figured it out by now. 9-11 was not run smooth. period. neither is this.

FEMA does teach ICS ( i actually took I-300 from a FEMA guy), but it doesn't seem like they are using it. it seems that chaos is king for the moment. as i watch the news, read newspapers, and gather more information from other sources (all have their own bias), i can't help but ask myself a few questions.
  • the first, who the hell is in charge? is it FEMA, senators and representatives, W, state police, the military, or an IMT?
  • the second, exactly what JW was saying, why does it seem that the wheel is being recreated?
  • lastly, if a IMT is not running the show, why aren't they running it? isn't this what an Incident Management Team does? are things so political, and people so prideful that they are not willing to let experienced people deal with the situation at hand?

it's hard to sit back and not get frustrated knowing that we have teams and a system, already set-up, that is effective and works.

i believe that the victims of this tragedy deserve the best, and right now, uncle sam, is not taking care of it's OWN people. let's hope and pray for better days to come.

nuff for now...

Hack

9/2 FEMA maybe trying to reinvent the wheel, but they are doing it because of Homeland Security Presidential Directive -5 (HSPD-5). It addressed National Incident Management System (NIMS) for all individuals from elected officials down to the first responder. If you look at the Incident Command requirement, they also recognize those classes provided through NWGC. If you look at their I-700 and I-100, you'll see the same information you got in your basic wildland classes, except some of the wording has been changed to emergency responder and not fire fighter. Presentations are geared for fire, law enforcement, emergency medical, public works, health, and management people who have a hardtime swallowing wildland fire training and California's FireScope. It's like NWCG recognizing some of the training structural fire fighters receive during their training.

When you get into the meat and taters of the Homeland Security Funding.... "Establishing a timeframe and developing a strategy for full NIMS implementation. States, territories, tribes, and local entities are encouraged to achieve full NIMS implementation during FY 2005. To the extent that full implementation is not possible during FY 2005, which ends on Sept. 30, 2005, federal preparedness assistance must be leveraged to complete NIMS implementation by Sept. 30, 2006. Beginning FY 2007 (Oct. 1, 2006), federal preparedness assistance will be conditioned by full compliance with the NIMS. States should work with the tribal and local governments to develop a strategy for statewide compliance with the NIMS... In order to receive FY 2006 preparedness funding, applicants will need to certify as part of their FY 2006 grant applications that they have met the FY 2005 NIMS requirements.... If you are not a Federal Agency and you are not trained in NIMS...no Federal Funding.

Hilbille
9/2 Sand tables for aerial briefings:

I would like to throw this idea or suggestion out to all of the AOBD, ASGS, and ATGS that are on a team. I was recently up in Montana on a fire assignment managing a helicopter. After our shift was over I went out to dinner with the pilots and I asked them what they thought of having a sand table at the morning and evening briefings. One of the pilots is a reservist for the Army and he thought it was a great idea, the other pilot didn't know what sands tables were until we explained it to him. After I explained the use of sand tables he also agreed what a great benefit they would be.

The sand table will give the pilots a visual of the terrain, hazards, fire perimeter, dip sites, and helispots. I think this would be a big benefit to the pilots and give them a more thorough and visual safety briefing. I think it will also get most of the pilots in the briefing to speak up if they have any input because they will have something to refer to and give a visual of what they are trying to explain.

What do folk's think about this?

An-R5er

9/2 Well i have my shots done and set to go south just waiting for the call. folks are trickling in to our area looking for help at times .. all the motels are full up from folks down south.. our ems unit has been running a few calls to the hotels for folks that are ill from all that water that is down there.. folks dont have there meds.. let reach out to all and give what we can....ps if any one know of any firefighters family that need a place to come to my wife and i will open our doors to them.. we live near the n.c and ga state line....... ncbrush6
9/2 Well i just gotta say that i know how business as usual has been in FEMA incidents but obviously as in 9/11 this isnt business as usual. This is a true test in emergency response planning and execution since the war on terror and all of us folks in the OPS business know that theres a lot more that can be done to save lives. There are a lot of hazards that we are well aware of, and many of us in the wildland community are prepared for that. In regards to what we could do to saving lives, after a weak or so it probably wouldnt be that significant. As in any life threatening event time is of the essence. Its time to think outside the box

CAIHCCAPT.
9/2 Ab,

The Tuolumne Fire one year anniversary is approaching. The accident investigation report has still not been posted on either the CDF or USFS websites.

In the last month, CDF mailed the complete report on disk to two entities: the USFS Washington Office and Colorado Firecamp. Had any media made a similar request, they too would have gotten the full report as a matter of public record. On Tuesday, we had the report briefly posted on our website, until we were asked to remove it so CDF and USFS could decide what they are going to do.

We have added some material from the 1993 Glen Allen Fire, where a helitack crew was overrun within 5 minutes of starting downhill line construction on underslung fireline on a steep slope with loose soil. The difference was that two firefighters were killed and two seriously injured on the Glen Allen. Oh, and, it took 6 minutes at Tuolumne.
www.coloradofirecamp.com/tuolumne_fire/index.php

vfd cap'n
9/1 Ab

Here's a link to another useful web page.
http://disasternews.net/index.php

And here's what the CDC recommends about infectious disease following a hurricane:
After a Hurricane: Key Facts About Infectious Disease (pdf file)

Hickman

9/1 This is what I observed working the Florida hurricanes last year. First, it
seemed like any qualifications and experience you might have from the fire
side of your experience means little to FEMA. Second, the agency seems
intent on reinventing the wheel. They have adopted the ICS system and have
developed their own variation and training. These added together mean that
you might spend a lot of time spinning your wheels taking an ICS-100 class
and other session where it's assumed you have no emergency experience.

One particularly disturbing element was that they had no means of tracking
resources. After getting home, I heard that one wildland agency sent folks
down just to try to track down where their employees were deployed. In a
situation like they have now, this omission could be deadly.

While the speaker was careful to say "present company excluded" one FEMA
leader made a comment to a whole roomful of people in front of me that the
fire folks on other teams were causing nothing but trouble and that she was
hoping some would be sent home. I know some of the people she was referring
to, and they are first-rate wildland responders with decades of experience!

MAYBE FEMA has learned something since last year.

In the past, I've known folks who took FEMA assignments as technical experts
of various types and they generally had positive experiences. Also, I heard
that they've had some folks shadow IMTs, so perhaps they'll be able to learn
from our experiences. It may just be they don't handle crowds of resources
well.

JW
9/1 Hey JW,

Can you elaborate on the working for FEMA vs. the IMT's? I have not been
assigned to a FEMA incident in the past and it looks like that might happen.
Any good advice or "watch outs"??

Thanks,
A.
9/1 FYI- BLMgirl

Apparently this email on vaccinations is circulating behind the scenes. Ab.

__________________________________

If possible, we should forward this email to the ICs and crews dispatched to the Katrina recovery effort. Federal Occupational Health recommends vaccination before arriving at the recovery effort. Vaccines could be obtained at the local clinics or hospitals before departing to the area. The individual's Agency would be responsible for the vaccine cost.

Personal hygiene is paramount to prevent transmission of Hepatitis A following work in a recovery zone. Please note the increased diligence on the Tetanus booster to the last five years versus the normal span of ten years.

The DOI contact for further information is Bob Garbe, DOI Office of Occupational Health and Safety, @ 303-236-7112.

If I can be of further assistance, please contact me at your convenience.

Kevin Jensen
Interagency Medical Standards Program Manager
1249 South Vinnell, Suite 110
Boise, Idaho 83709
208.947.3753 (phone)

Date: 8/30/2005

FOH Disaster Advisory #1 - Vaccinations

Several federal agencies are deploying folks to the disaster area to assist in the local and state recovery efforts. FOH staff may be getting questions regarding recommendations we have for vaccinating federal employees who might be traveling or working in the impacted area.

Here are our recommendations for deployment to the disaster:

All staff traveling to area should be given:
1. Tetanus. If not previously vaccinated within the last 5 years.
2. Hepatitis A vaccination. If not previously vaccinated with the two-shot Hepatitis A series. Should Hepatitis A vaccine become unavailable, staff should be given Hepatitis A Immunoglobulin. Employees DO NOT need both.

Staff participating in the following activities should be given the indicated vaccination:

Staff providing direct healthcare OR medical / rescue activities will need: Hepatitis B immunoglobulin. If not previously vaccinated with the Hepatitis B series. If time permits and the employee is likely complete the Hep B series go a head and start the vaccination series with the immunoglobulin. Otherwise, just give the immunoglobulin.

Staff providing support for animal control (e.g., dogs, bats, etc.), capture, treatment, or care should be given: Rabies immunoglobulin. All employees should be educated that they should avoid any encounter with an abandoned or loose pet. If they are bitten, it should be reported ASAP to the JFO (Joint Field Office) or local medical personnel.

Steve Scott, MD, MPH
Associate Medical Director
Federal Occupational Health
Seattle, WA 98121
I will stay in touch with the CDC and make sure as the situation changes we put out additional advisories.

9/1 52 club ultra-run

9 days to go. Again, I'd like to thank all that who have pledged for my ultra-run. And boy has it been taking off in the last few days.

I'm in the taper phase now. Eating lots of high calorie food (pedia-sure makes good shakes). Running low mileage. That's tough to do, but that's what works. Staying away from people with colds, etc.

Vicki seemed a bit worried this morning on the phone that I might injure myself, or push beyond limits. Well, let me say Ultra-running is all about finding those limits and going right to the edge of your personal ability. It always amuses me a little when firefighter friends say to me how crazy this all is to run this kind of mileage. I ask them if they have ever worked REALLY hard on a fire (digging line, climbing, hiking....with little food and or water) for 16 or even 24 hours straight? The answer is, of course. So, I get to eat and drink as much as I want, wearing a few ounces of clothes. Does anyone need to run this much? Absolutely not. 20-30 minutes a day is all you need to stay healthy, right? So again, it's simply about DOING IT. The same reason people climb Everest, yes? The same reason a few individuals show up at Badwater, Death Valley in July every year, and set off to run 130+ miles in 120+ degree heat halfway up Mt. Whitney. And if they do it in the allotted time, you know what they get? A belt buckle.....and the satisfaction (personal) that they accomplished what they set out to do. No money, no Wheaties box covers.

So for Vicki, and those that show up on the 10th...RULES, and warnings. (Clearly some of these are meant to be humorous, but true nonetheless)

I will be in a great mood at the start of this thing. Be advised that that mood may very well change. Unfortunately, I don't know when or where that will happen. My mood may swing. Giddy one minute depressed and sobbing the next. I WILL be confused later in the run...no doubt. Someone may look me straight in the eye, and ask me a question (Wendy can attest to this) and I may not answer, or give an answer to a question asked of me an hour ago.

Please don't give me any food that I did not bring with me. The stomach is extremely touchy about these things. Lori, I will eat as many of your cookies as I can after the run....Yes, and then promptly throw them back up again. Although, I may ask the bike riders to carry a pouch of pretzels, and or Gummy Bears. Or I may ask them to run an errand to the support rig for something specific....Thanks, in advance...because I may not thank you then.

The fluid thing is fairly scientific, so don't feel bad if I wave off Gatorade, or other "Ade".... However, anyone that is holding a bottle of Mt. Dew at mile 40, may get it swiped.

Folks riding bikes later on in the run, please, please don't weave too much. It's going to be an extremely slow ride, but last time I thought I was going to fall over a few times from vertigo.

Anyway, overall, even if at times I may not look like it, I will be having fun. But more importantly, it is again, about doing it. In the case doing it for a good cause. So for those that show up, please have fun also. And be safe out on the road.

Thanks again for everyone’s support. We’ll see many of you; hopefully, at Fox Air Base on Sept. 10th……. Run starts promptly at 0700.

KCP

9/1

TO ALL FWFSA MEMBERS

The registration deadline for the Membership Conference to be held in Reno on Dec. 2-3 has been extended from today, 9-1-05 to 10-15-05. The conference is extremely important to all federal wildland firefighters.

Registration for the event has been slower than anticipated so we'll chalk that up to the fire season. If you have misplaced your conference package and need new material, please contact Casey Judd directly at (916) 515-1224 or FWFSAlobby@aol.com for a new package.

For those who have recently contacted Casey regarding FWFSA membership, we thank you VERY much. Following through on that commitment is extremely important for the growth of the organization and thus our collective voice nationally. Please know that once your membership is confirmed, you too will receive conference registration information.

9/1 Shots are a good question. The Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta would be the best resource. I've spent some time in developing countries, and it seems like a lot of the shots take time: i.e., they're not effective right away, have to be repeated over weeks or months, etc. Some can also make you rather sick for a few days which would be a bummer going into a tough assignment. Used to be, they'd give a gamma-g (gammagobulin??) shot as a general immune-system booster. I don't know if they're still used. Your best bet is to keep a bunch of hand sanitizer on you at all times, and use it repeatedly: even getting in and out of rigs that may have splashed through water. Industrial-strength bug juice and a wide-brim hat hat are wise additions too.

Based on my experience with last year's hurricanes, I have been debating about whether or not to say anything about how FEMA assignments can go if you are assigned to work directly for them rather than one of our IMT teams. I know we all want to help in any way we can. I guess if you're aware that FEMA is an odd ducky, it might be easier to deal with.

JW

9/1 CAIHCCAPT was "wondering what the wildland fire fighting community is
providing to the humanitarian disaster in America?"

R8 teams typically set up distribution centers which rarely make the news.
So don't expect to see folks walking around in yellow shirts. The
distribution centers vary by incident. On one hurricane relief incident we
simply managed a parking lot of 18-wheelers. The trucks were staged at our
location and sent to specific sites from there (see my note of 8/30 on they
said). The trucks usually carried a single item (tarps, ice, generators,
etc) and were held until needed by specific local relief centers. On other
incidents, we broke into the 18-wheelers and reshuffled the stock by
pallet, sending a re-loaded truck with a mixture of resources to various
local relief centers. DeSotoNF (they said, 8/30) points out some
significant hazards to which I'd add heat, sun, and boredom. Things can be
pretty slow, though I suspect the current active teams would contest that
statement on this incident. Several folks note that the use of
firefighters and IMTs is evolving; that's for sure. Things will be
different on this incident. I just can't say how. I suspect the Red Cross
and others will be dealing with actual relief supply distribution to the
public and not the IMTs. But things always change.

One might envision firefighters combing through wreckage looking for
survivors and victims, but I've never seen that happen. Not to say it
won't happen. Other organizations with other specialized training seem to
carry that work forward.

Sedgehead.

9/1 If you have been mobed to the south or are getting mobed, is anyone gettin'
shots for all the disease that is going to be floating around very soon?

TM
9/1 The folks in R8 are awaiting establishment of a support system (food,
sleeping facilities, water etc like fire camps) before sending more folks
into the disaster area. Others, including the national situation report,
provide data on team status. The lack of power, water, shelter, etc limit
what can be done at this moment. No use sending in folks and creating a
larger problem. All Mississippi USFS employees are reported to the region
as "accounted for". Beyond that, all I would have is speculation, so I
won't create rumors.

signed:
R8 camp slug.

9/1 If anyone goes to help with Katrina, here's an elevation map showing where flooding is
inevitable and a good website for neighborhoods and demographics.

Thanks DeSoto NF for the info and watchouts. One time in my youth when there had
been a fire in City Park, I counted 7 HUGE (3-4 foot long) water moccasins that had
evidently moved out of the fire area. I exercised jumpers for wealthy owners and led City
Park trail rides so I was on horseback when I saw them, but those snakes were scary.
The horse was jittering and jingling along, all too happy to be out of there...

Be Safe
Mellie

9/1 Ab - here's one more on Katrina from USGS... also you can look at population,
pipelines, etc. on this by clicking on layers, redrawing map, etc-

Natural Hazards Support System map viewer: http://nhss.cr.usgs.gov/

-student of ICS
9/1 A Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued on 8/27 for Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. An Area Command Team (Williams-Rhodes) is deployed to the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, GA. for Hurricane Katrina Support. Numerous resources are being mobilized as part of the relief effort. In recognition of current and predicted support levels to Hurricane Katrina, the National Preparedness Level has been elevated from PL- 3 to PL-4.

Welcome again to the wildland part of the New All Risk World.

Hickman
9/1 Just wondering what the wildland fire fighting community is providing to the humanitarian disaster in America? I watched President Bush's speech and he said that no federal resource would be spared in this effort. Im watching fox news and countless areas still haven't seen any relief efforts and the folks in the wildland community have the skills and experience that would be a valuable resource in this time of need. Region 5 alone has almost twice the number of hotshot crews as it did just 3 yrs ago before MEL. Just wondering where we are on this, we al sat helpless on 9/11, this may have just as big an impact if not bigger on our country and our fellow Americans.

--CAIHCCAPT.

Crews have been called up. Two teams have gone or so I heard several days ago. Perhaps someone can fill us in on specifics. Ab.

9/1 For those folks looking for good information on Katrina impacts from a reliable
government source, there is a serious volume of resources, photos, geography, etc
and some excellent satellite and aerial photography at:

www.usgs.gov

Some of the pictures can be easily printed as .jpgs if you download, etc. For those
looking for info through the whole area this is an excellent source with very current info.

-student of ICS, etc
9/1 Abs,

FEMA is requesting fire service emergency assistance: 1,000 2-person
teams to assist with Katrina response. Details and application process at
www.iafc.org/news/article.asp?id=280

WRM
9/1 Howdy all-

Just a clarification as I took a quick peek on the site today. A Logistics Mgt Team is not the same as a Type I Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT). As a general rule, anything that makes the cut for the NIFC National Incident Mgt Situation Report will follow NWCG standards to the extent they are developed.

I think one of the biggest challenges of ICS and working within the new framework of the recently signed National Response Plan for this and other disasters will be working with the needs for non-fire emergencies for ICS versus very formalized and standardized wildland fire ICS terminology. I think that these terms for Logistics and Planning Management Teams are representations of these adaptations of ICS for all-hazard activities. My guess is that from several all-hazard responses in the last few years in which FEMA has worked increasingly with ICS that some of these terms and teams have evolved informally and are starting to get more regular use, although they are not yet formalized through NWCG NIIMS or the new national NIMS. While Planning and Logistics Teams are not the same as a standardized Type I or II IMT, I believe they are probably adaptations of the same concept geared for those general functional areas.

My heart and thoughts go out to all those folks in the south coping with this phenomenal disaster, and to the folks from our community who are affected by this or who will be responding. This will be the biggest test to date of the nation's new post-9/11 disaster response framework within the National Response Plan and using the nation's very young new version of NIMS (per HSPD-5). Being that NIMS is not formally required by the feds for state/local governments to get federal money until after Oct 1 (I think...), it is obviously not pervasive through the country yet and will take many years to be mature and well-functioning. Still, from a purely theoretical standpoint, this will probably be the largest application ever of ICS. Other than saying that I am speechless at the size and scope of the near total loss of an entire US city and good chunk of coastline, and the lives, land, and property that are forever changed.

Take care everyone and be safe; take care of each other down there-

-student of ICS
9/1 Casey,

Thanks for all that you do, you have certainly started to get the "office people," to
start realizing our profession, and mainly our livelihood. Its not so much that we
want to be "glamorized," but recognized for and by what we do. Every reader
on this site should be moved to join the battle... the battle for what we justly deserve.

NZ HELITACK

9/1 Abs and readers, thought you would appreciate this shortened version of emails from a very thankful Manton, CA family.

As soon as we were alerted about a fire, we rushed from work to ShingleTown to get our kids from school; rushed home to gather pets and important papers before heading to safer territory. Looking back, our home was obscured by towering flames.

Fire destroyed 30 structures in our tiny community, most of them homes. The tanker and helicopter pilots did a magnificent job. God bless all the firefighters and emergency personnel. Words cannot express our sincere thanks.

their home was saved
be safe all,
River

 
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