"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland
That was a good one!
CDF finally got around to striping the wildland nomex with reflective
the rate change comes to this organization, look for your change in about 10
We will not depart from double layering anytime soon.
“Another CDF BC”
I will start by saying what I know is limited so take it for what it is
We have been testing a BDU type of pant. Currently I believe our L.E.
personnel have them as an optional pant to wear. The BDU is being tested
around the State and I believe it is specifically being looked at for our
Fire Crew Captains. I'm unaware of us getting rid of the nomex pant. I
believe we still subscribe to the double layering for safety. The BDU pant
would be great for the type of work environment our Crew Captains are in day
in and day out. The best pants I wore as a Crew Captain was the old green
levis. Very comfortable and durable for our daily crew projects. Our
thoughts are with our brothers and sisters on the line in Texas and
Oklahoma. Keep one foot in the burn and the wind to your back!
Regarding the change in fire clothing: As far as I know, there is currently
sign that CDF is changing its policy of a two layer system. Some different
types and brands of uniform pants are currently being field tested by
which may look like the fire pants worn by other agencies (the pants, not
the employees!), but that's as far as it is going right now.
Here is a question for the folks from CDF.
I have noticed allot of the County and City Departments around my area in
SoCal getting rid of the yellow nomex pants (double layer) and going to the
navy blue nomex crewboss pants. Any talk of CDF making a change?
Firefighters Exposed to Electrical Hazards During Wildland Fire Operations
(Beginning of the CIP Bulletin...)
The recent wildland fires in Texas and Oklahoma are a reminder that
among the various hazards fire fighters face during wildland fire
suppression activities, and one that is often overlooked, is electrical
Fire fighters performing fireground operations near power lines may be
exposed to electrical shock hazards as a result of the damage caused by
the flame, heat, and smoke from the fire.
The most common hazard is through direct or indirect contact with downed
energized power lines. Fire fighters should look out for power lines
that fall onto, and energize, equipment and materials located on the
fireground. It is also important to remember that electrical currents
can flow through the ground and extend several feet in any direction
(Click the link to read the rest.)
Fires update from TX:
We are not getting a break as of yet. Worked another
day today with several
departments, lost 2 structures but saved several also. Heard that we could
expect some crews from TN and at least 1 helo, possibly by tomorrow.
I checked on FF Hancock a short while ago and found that he is stable. He
had developed a little fluid on the lungs through last night but they had
to get that under control and he was doing better today.
I really want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and best
him and his family, just one of the reasons that I am proud to call myself a
The link to this article was posted on the Hot List Forum. Ab.
Residents Sift Through Burned Remains of Homes
The 2005 Timber Faller Roundtable was held in Corvallis Dec. 9 & 10. The
results – in various forms – will be available in two locations by the end
of January: the NWSA Prof. Timber Faller website
and the OSU Faller Study website:
I’ll also be giving a verbal report at the NWSA national conference in Reno
in February, and constructing written reports for the PNWCG and the NWCG
For those of you interested in the subject of commercial timber fallers
working on the fireline, I encourage you to review this material, which will
include presentations in streaming video and work group portfolio results.
After reviewing this information… and hopefully digesting it for a time…
please consider providing your comments in a section provided for that
Comments, observations and positions from all perspectives are welcome, and
will be incorporated in the faller study, provided you are willing to
identify yourself, or at least your position & agency (you don’t have to
provide your actual name). (So…Oliver…check it out…) This information is
important to establish the context of your comments for the research
reviewer and reader once it’s published.
The five major areas of focus at the Faller Roundtable included:
- Standards, Experience & Integrity;
- Safety for Fireline Fallers;
- Faller Mobilization (Dispatch);
- Faller Module Program Specifications; and
- Hazard Tree Assessment & Identification.
If any of you have access to, or can point me in the direction of,
resources, information, etc. relating to the subject of commercial timber
fallers in general, and timber industry fallers working on wildland fire,
including historical experience and/or equipment requirements, hiring
practices, etc. I sure would appreciate it. Just when I think I’ve found it
all, something else emerges…so I’m certain there must be more helpful
information out there…
Thanks for your input. It all matters.
Hope the F/F's in the lone star state get a break with the weather soon, and
do we here in Nor-Cal. The song we keep hearing is an old Johnny Cash tune.
You know it, "How Highs the water Mama?".
The Sac river is cresting tonight here and we're high and dry so far (it
but the weather forecast for the weekend looks ugly! We may be in for the
one along next Tuesday. 15000 sandbags are ready. The "Quad Squad" is
Till then, have a safe and Happy New Year and Keep your feet dry.
To Sympathetic, But Practical and NZ Helitack,
I appreciate your comments on the vegan thing. Thanks for your insight.
And I even appreciate the humorous comments, too!
I noticed a post that said someone couldn't access the refresher training
info on the NIFC website, and I'm getting some calls from NE FS folks as
well. There is a serious network snafu and they are working on it. No
estimate yet of it being back on line, but hopefully it won't be much
longer. It's a BLM hosted site and they've got other e-problems right now
just fyi -
Thanks Rose. Ab.
This is not a drill...
Been quite awhile since I have made any comments on
here, usually I just lurk and listen to everyone else carry on. But I
thought I would tell any of you who are sitting around with nothing to do,
itching for a fight, that we are pretty much getting our collective you know
whats handed to us in Texas right at the moment.
Lost over a 100 homes and 3 lives yesterday across the state and they see
no let up for at least the next 30 days. We have been on two in excess of
1000 acres in our district alone, which contrary to popular belief about our
state is not all flat. Unfortunately no resources are being ordered up as of
this morning on a paid basis, that may change by this evening but I do not
know that to be a fact. So if you have red bag, will travel...
I saw the 30-40 ft flame lengths on CNN after reading some of the info
on the Hot List Forum. Excellent comments on CNN from the woman
information officer of the TX Forest Service. She said they have
firefighters coming in from Tennessee and a few other SE states. Be Safe!
Residents, Officials Begin To Survey Fire Damage NBC-5 dallas/ft worth
photos & video
Fires sweep through parched Texas Kilgore News Herald
Grass fires scorch Oklahoma, Texas CNN Governors activate emergency
operations as winds fan flame
Dozens of grass fires raged Tuesday across tinder-dry central
Oklahoma and parts of Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry declared a disaster
and dispatched National Guard troops to help battle the flames.
My wife and I held a fund-raiser to help a local family in need
(savebabyaustin.com) . I recently attended a class held at VAFB on
IOF3, I want to thank each and everyone of those who attended the class and
donated to the cause. Firefighters are in the business of serving the
communities, whether it be their own or some where else. They really stepped
up !!! The fund-raiser generated a little over $10,000 and the
family was able to take their home off the market. My wife and I had a
opportunity to present the funds to the parents and it was, to say the
overwhelming in the response we received. You guys are all true heros in
the eyes of the Bence family. For further updates on Austyn please visit
the website. May all you and yours be blessed........ again Thank you.....
First, I hope you take the kidding you are receiving in stride.
Second, and quite seriously, under current rules for PPE there is no getting
around "leather gloves" and "all leather, lace-type work boots with non-slip
(Vibram type) melt-resistant soles and heels when working on fires. The
leather top must be at least 8 inches (20.3 cm) in height, measured from the
top of the heel." At least as far as I can tell.
If there is a suitable substitute for the above I am unaware of it.
Furthermore, even if there was it would be a minor miracle to convince the
powers that be to make an exception or change the rules.
I do not want to discourage you, just being realistic.
Maybe you too, need to be realistic and just make the choice between
convictions and the job.
Sympathetic, but practical
Anyone wanting to make donations to Kenneth Hancock, New Summerfield
Volunteer Fire Fighter, that was injured on 12-24-05, when the tanker he was
driving collided with an Union Pacific Locomotive, can do so at any Austin
Please remember that Kenneth and all other Volunteer Fire Fighters are not
paid fire fighters. Kenneth volunteers his time to help others in need.
On behalf of New Summerfield Volunteer Fire Dept. we say "Thank You" to
everyone that has given support by phone calls, donations, and most
importantly through prayers. Please continue your support. This is going to
be a long recovery for Kenneth and the New Summerfield Volunteer Fire Dept.
New Summerfield Volunteer Fire Dept.
New Summerfield Volunteer Fire Dept.
New Summerfield Volunteer Fire Dept.
c/o Kenneth Hancock
P.O. Box 429
New Summerfield, TX 75780
Thanks for keeping me as Zimm, this is first change to look and see
what is going
on. Snow on I-90 in a big way, glad I live in the "flats" of Washington.
EVERYONE HAVE HAPPY NEW YEAR AND BE SAFE FOR 2006!!!!
Annual refresher Training:
I have been trying to access the refresher training website, but it doesn't
seem to load up.
Anyone have any idea if there is a problem? I have to set up our annual
training and was
also wondering when the 2006 information might be up. We start fire season
here in the southwest, and its time to get the training planned.
I guess I'll put some serious thought into the question
about vegan fireline items.
I once was a practicing vegan, that is until I joined a hotshot crew. To
put it quite simply, my physician strongly advised me that I would need to
change my diet just to simply meet the caloric input vs output needs of
firefighting. As far as a "vegan," ppe items, they really are not out there
yet, not to say they could not be developed but, from a person who goes
through a new pair of NICKs a year, I would be hard pressed to recommend
anything other that "animal byproduct," foot wear if you choose to engage in
wildland fire suppression.
Sorry to say that, but thats the facts that I have faced so far.
Kenneth Hancock, the firefighter that involved in the train vs. tender
was updated from critical to fair status today, Thanks to everyone for all
of the prayers
and keep them coming. I know that he and his family appreciate them.
Thanks for the update Keith. Glad he's on the mend. It was good
to hear your drawling TX accent on my message machine on Christmas. We were
out building fence as our Christmas afternoon activity. Ab.
If you read my post I said it was important to be prepared. The state of
Calif. has tried to tell the people of the state to be prepared for years. 3
days of food and water, 1st aid kit, medications, flashlight w/ extra batts,
radio, etc,etc,etc. The folks of Louisiana that cried out that the help
didn't come soon enough, they were not prepared. Some people just don't
listen. Then they blame others for problems they helped create. You can lead
a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
Remember the run on plastic sheeting and duct tape a few yrs ago, remember
the Small Pox vac's all first responders were supposed to get, remember the
people standing in line last yr waiting for flu shots for a flu that didn't
arrive ??? Lets not dull the senses of those we are trying to protect. Don't
Good first responders, (even those that don't live out in the sticks),
should be ready for the worst. Maybe because I live out in the sticks I
understand that the Govt. will not arrive to help us in a timely basis
because they are taking care of all the morons in the city that didn't
Maybe I'm just fed up with folks that sit on their backside and blame others
for their own mistakes ? (Mayor Nagan)
Pls don't think I'm mad at you Terrie cuz I'm not. My prediction is, The
Bird Flu Pandemic will be a flash in the pan. But as a good F/F I will
always have a contingency plan. That's what good F/F's do.
Perhaps the boot and glove issue could be addressed by wearing Birkenstocks
Nomex socks? Oops, sorry, Birkenstocks are usually leather. Um, hands and
wrapped in organically grown lettuce leaves, tied with linguini?
Still Out There as ad AD
Danfromord, if you live in farmlands/woods rather than a city and have
skills... resources like farmers have, you are possibly always prepared. Not
so, people in dense urban areas & WUI.
Many of us live in cities or WUI surrounded by people that expect to be
rescued in an emergency. In my thinking, they could do with
preparation. Cities and towns could have pandemic plans to minimize
confusion. So preparation...Don't knock it. At the federal level, it's our
business even if we're not up to speed yet. At the individual & family
level, it's a Darwin issue. Being prepared means no hysteria, means when
push comes to shove you could stay at home to avoid contact with sick people
that sneeze and cough germs that could kill you & your family.
If city people are not prepared and self-sufficient when this thing hits,
they'll be coming to your farming community, Joe's wilderness resort
area and my forest --for food ewtc like some of those fleeing
hurricanes would of if they could have. Not necessarily bad if we have the
resources, but... some unprepared people could bring their hysterical "save
me" and "feed me" attitudes with them and bring their sickies to boot. I'd
rather we all --and THEY be as ready as they can where they are.
Danfromord, what's wrong with creating a culture of being prepared? Does
it go against our tough firefighter, can-do attitude? Too much to think
about? Won't do any good anyway? Well, I beg to differ on that last one.
Being prepared even a little gives you options. If you don't have to join
people shopping at the grocery store, you won't be one of the unprepared
spreading the bug to families in your community.
Re hysterical: If chat discussion indicates anything, no one writing in here
about bird flu is hysterical-- No one is chicken little. No shortages, no
pressure right now. Just preppin', just dealin', then no needs to think
When I finished getting ready with some food/ water/ alternatives to deal
with essential things, I thought: OK, I've done what I can, that's all I
need to do. I've met my responsibilities. The rest is up to god to sort out.
Ka-ching, I could move on. Now I can help my community. Those who are doing
similar service, thank you...
For me and my family, it was a simply GREAT carefree Christmas!
Dan, the only reason Mike wrote in about the Baikal duck is he knows there
are federal monitoring stations on National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and
Parks that are monitoring and he's trying to find the fed contact for the
Lompoc area. Mike, I'm also trying to find the contact for you. Many people
are home with family this week and out of touch with their station. Thanks
for the heads-up... (Please let me know via Ab if the duck moves on or if
you get the info you want.)
Here's to a mighty fine NEW Year! Cheers!
AB, to those out there worried about the bird flu and an Asian Duck spotted
in Calif., well get a grip, OMG, Birds from Siberia wave been wintering in
this area since ??? Only God knows. I personally killed a Snow Goose in this
region that had a Russian tag on it back in the early 70's. So, lets not
lose anymore sleep over this. If it happens, it happens. Yes! we need to be
prepared but lets stop all the hysteria PLEASE! Am I being too complacent
about this, I don't think so and I'll bet a lot of folks out there feel the
same as I do. I want to reach out through this screen and grab Chicken
Little by the throat! "SQUAWK!!!"
This bird flu didn't threaten a pandemic in the '70s. I'm
not certain anyone is exactly worried about the duck having it. Could be
Mike is just seeking info. Ab.
To the practicing vegan / Montana Sprout.
Don't eat them.
I don't mind a bit if you give them my number. We feel like their
Christmas had been pretty
well covered since it was so close, however he will have an extremely
long road to recovery
and that is what we are looking at.
If you or anyone that you feel needs to contact me, you can give them my
the one that you called earlier which is my home number or my cell. I
will be easier to catch
on the cell.
I know that we are all family as Firefighters and his family and him
need our prayers more
than anything right now.
(I finally saw some footage of his tanker earlier this morning, he was
truly in god's hands to
have survived at all.)
Thank you for your help,
Prayers are coming. Let the family know. Ab.
Tragedy in East TX
As a Tanker/Tender from the New Summerfield Texas
VFD was responding to a large Wildfire, it was struck by a train at a
grade crossing, the driver was airlifted to a local hospital where he is
in critical condition at this time.
The Wildfire he was responding to has so far consumed over 700 acres
including several structures. Units from Jacksonville, Earles Chapel and
Tyler Fire Department Haz-Mat were required to respond to the
tanker/train incident where they had a large fuel spill from one of the
locomotives. Units from Bullard, Flint-Gresham, Earles Chapel, Troup,
Arp, New Summerfield and North Cherokee VFD's as well as 3 plows from
Texas Forest Service have managed to contain the blaze after a favorable
One additional FF from North Cherokee VFD was burned on this incident
after a wind shift and blow-up. While all of this incident was unfolding
Bullard and Flint-Gresham forced to respond to a wildfire that
threatened several buildings, it was contained at 30 acres and no
Units in northern Smith County were kept busy on a wildfire that
consumed an estimated 300 acres of pasture and timber.
Everyone!!! please remember LCES and watchouts and
Keith, so sorry... I put in a message call to Vicki at the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Can I give her your number as a contact
to see if the family needs special help? Ab.
To our members and all wildland firefighters:
Today, Christmas Eve, is like every other day for me...filled with Pride
& Honor for having the opportunity to have the greatest job in the world
working with and for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters.
It is however, the appropriate time to express that thanks and gratitude
to our members, the Board of Directors and all who strive to increase
awareness of the issues that our federal wildland firefighters face.
Ever the optimist, I look at 2006 as a time of organizational growth and
accomplishment. There is no job I'd rather have (ok ok, President of the
United States would be cool), no group I'd rather work for than our
federal wildland firefighters.
It is my sincerest hope that all who visit this incredible site will use
these holidays to value their families, value the camaraderie we share
in this profession and accept the challenge in 2006 to be a part of a
movement that will enhance your career and benefit you and your families
for years to come.
Thank you for the honor of being a part of this community.
With Great Respect & Affection,
All C-130's have "jet engines". They are powered by Allison T-56's
turbo-props. Basically a jet engine that turns a propeller. I think what
you are referring to is what is called JATO or Jet Assisted Take-off
bottle. These bottles are ignited on the take-off roll and jettisoned
once airborne. This is a detachable solid rocket booster canister
(8-four on each side) that is attached to the back of the aircraft to
increase take off performance, comparable to a fifth engine.
As far as the C-119's and the P-2's, these aircraft have (or had) added
non-detachable turbo-jet engines that accompany the radial powerplants.
Usually Westinghouse J-34-WE-36's that also provide added take off
performance, and in the Airtanker roll, better climb performance after
the drop run. They are not jetisonable like the JATO bottles and don't
burn rocket or jet fuel.
Hope this short choppy reply helps answer your question. I have more
last minute X-mas shopping to do.
Merry Christmas to all and Long live the Heavy Tankers
I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on how a practicing vegan can
get around the leather boots & gloves requirement for the fireline?
Happy Holidays to all!
If the information about the C-130 JATO (jet assist take off) doesn't
answer your question, I think the engines on the C-130 are a turbo-prop
engine. These engine are essentially a jet engine with a propeller
attached to the front. A more correct term for these engines would be
Gas Turbine engine. Gas turbine engines are used for aviation,
industrial and maritime applications. An example would be that the
Allison 501-K17 engines on a P-3 orion are also used on Navy destroyers
(Burke and Spruance class) and cruisers (Ticonderoga class) to run their
generators. I also think that the Abrams tank uses a gas turbine engine
but I am not sure on that. Many different companies make gas turbines,
including Rolls Royce, which makes one of the more popular models for
Hope this helps and Happy Holidays!
Here is some news for you. There is a Baikal Teal Duck that resides from
Far East Asia in Lompoc right now. It is on the front cover of the news
This duck has never been seen in the area ever.
I am writing the news paper to find out who they have contacted to
get the bird
tested for the bird flu...
That would be good to know. Might check with Mike P on the LP. Ab.
To the entire fire community,
I just want to thank everyone for all the support and kindness they have
family during the past year. May you all have a safe and happy holiday
may your kindness be sent back to you tenfold.
Thanks also to the Abs for this wonderful forum. I have been enlightened
in so many
ways and keep on learning every time I check in. A holiday toast to you
Marcus and Montana
The USN Blue Angels have a C-130 with JATO (Jet Assisted Take
Off) they call "Fat Albert". Check out Cable/Dish TV for a demo. Several
planes from the 50s had JATO to assist with lifting off. The C-119s
mounted them on top, the C-130 on the fuselage pointing down at a 45
degree angle behind the wings. There are more aviation folks out there
to fill in the gaps. The P-2s are an example.
Merry Christmas to All!
Why sting, thank you very much!
Merry Christmas to All!
Would YOU want to drive a bus in NYC?????
And have you looked at rental rates there recently?????
I dont know about the C130, but its predecessor the C119 had a C119 J
version that had a jet assist
mounted on the top of the fuselage. There is a photo of it on the
airtanker.com site, just go to the tankers
section then tankers by type and look in type 2.
Lobotomy is apparently away working on his grand unifying theory of What
Threatens Firefighters? (abbreviated: gutWTF? - I understand the latter
part of which stands for something else entirely, but that also seems to
match Lobotomy's intuitively questioning attitude.) Because I don't have
any annual leave to burn up, here's an idea:
In their first HFACS paper (Feb. 2000) Shappell and Weigmann said this
of Reason's Swiss Cheese model:
"Unfortunately, however, it is simply a theory with few details
on how to apply it in a real-world setting. In other words, the
theory never defines what the “holes in the cheese” really are, at
least within the context of everyday operations."
So, naturally, it is quite possible to have different interpretations
of how the Swiss Cheese model should be applied to firefighter safety. A
person could conceivably attend a NWCG class and disagree with what the
instructor says are the "holes" are for wildland fire.
The Federal Aviation Administration has funded a series of research
projects to adapt the Swiss Cheese model from its first use with nuclear
plant accidents. At first, HFACS created the "taxonomy of unsafe
operations" by defining the holes for military aviation accidents.
Subsequent research has shown the validity for commercial and general
aviation (GA) accidents.
For one of the GA projects, they recruited 5 experienced pilots from the
Oklahoma City area and gave them a 16 hour course in HFACS. They then
had the pilots review the causal factors listed in GA accident reports.
With the first individual effort the pilots agreed on classifying 85% of
the factors in the HFACS taxonomy and resolved the other 15% with
discussion. (For instance, 2 pilots may have originally differed in
opinion whether a causal factor was a skill-based or perception error.
They eventually came to consensus and classified 100% of the causal
factors in HFACS.)
Perhaps this could be done for wildfire entrapments: both fatal and
near-miss incidents. If our DHS grant is approved, Colorado Firecamp
could possibly do that as part of our PMS-490 Lessons Learned curriculum
revision workshop. The original course put emphasis on the 5-step risk
I don't know if the 5-step process in something Shappell and Weigmann
had in mind when they wrote about "interest/fad-driven research
resulting in intervention strategies that peck around the edges of
accident causation, but do little to reduce the overall accident rate."
Maybe we could statistically prove the validity of the HFACS taxonomy
for wildfire accidents. And, then perhaps we could all agree what our
Swiss Cheese holes are.
IAWF Elects Board of Directors and President
December 22, 2005
The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF)
has recently completed elections for several expiring terms on its Board
of Directors, and is pleased to announce the following individuals have
- Marc Titus, Wildfire Prevention Coordinator for the State of
Washington Department of Natural Resources at Sedro Wooley, to a 3
year term on the Board;
- Chuck Bushey, owner/president of Montana Prescribed fire
Services in Billings and former IAWF Board member and
vice-president, was elected to a new 3-year term. Bushey has been
IAWF’s “Firenet” website.
- Rick Gale of Boise, Idaho, Retired National Park Service
Wildfire Director and currently with Organizational Quality
Associates, was re-elected to a new 3-year term on the Board.
In addition to the election of these 3 Board members, IAWF President
Dick Mangan was re-elected to a new 2-year term as President. Mangan, a
retired US Forest Service forester, is now owner/president of Blackbull
Wildfire Services in Missoula, Montana.
The Board also renewed the contract for Executive Director Bill Gabbert
of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Gabbert retired as a Fire Management
Officer with the US National Park Service, and is the owner/president of
Sagacity Wildfire Services in Hot Springs, and has served as the IAWF
Executive Director since January 2005.
The IAWF is an international organization founded to promote a better
understanding of wildland fire, built on the belief that an
understanding of this dynamic natural force is vital for natural
resource management, for firefighter safety, and for harmonious
interaction between people and their environment. IAWF has members
across the US, Canada, Australia, throughout Europe and Asia. It hosts
the annual Wildland Fire Safety Summit, a new series of Conferences
“Fire Behavior and Fuels”, and conducts wildland fire Policy Summits to
address critical issues in the wildland fire community.
Did I hear this right, a transit worker in New York (bus driver) earns
60K a year?
on the news last night.
You WO people are weak!
At 47K I'll be dropping all extra items on plate asap and look to moving
Hello abs and all,
I have a question for the forum regarding the education part of the
forest service. Does anyone know how online courses work and how do get
into them? I am a GS-4 apprentice and I am looking to advance in my
education and finish a degree in something. I do have some prior
education from a university in CA. Can I use my other credits from CA to
help me along? I am now in oregon and want to finish up to make myself
happy as well as those who have helped me for the education segments I
Any info would help and if you want to email me, ab can direct you to
Here's a question from a military man. Anybody?
Tell me more
about that C-130A with the jet engines. I'm very interested in it.
If you can't, perhaps you can steer me in the right path to some one
something about it...
It was a pleasure meeting you and the other survivors at the staff ride
for the Honda Canyon Fire. It is something I will never forget and will
learn from for a long time. Your book puts into perspective things that
were going on when folks started to arrive to the fire and when the
winds really started to blow. I just got done reading it for the second
time, it is funny how you pick things up that you missed the first time.
I hope to see you again when the Vandenberg Training Center hosts the
"Tactical Decision Game and Staff Ride Facilitator Course", we will be
doing the Honda Canyon Fire for the Staff Ride portion of the
facilitator course. I hope to get my dad out there also so he can share
what he was going through when he arrived at the fire.
I encourage those who have not read "Beyond Tranquillon Ridge " to do
so, it is an excellent read.
Joe, I lost your card from our last meeting, please come by the training
center some time after the holidays to say hi.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year,
All I want for Christmas is a Benefits Specialist / Workman's Comp.
help with some family denial claims.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
My son is a senior in High school in Northeast Florida. I am looking for
a college or
university nearby offering a 4yr degree in fire science. Do you have any
Bob, did you take a look at the
2- and 4-year
schools list? Florida firefighters, any other suggestions? Ab.
As you said, "Why mock that which is most enlightening"?
Lobotomy did not mock MCS, he only pointed out what may have been an
aberration with the contractor.
If the lapse in the training is true, and I trust Lobo because he has
offered reams of 'enlightenment' to this forum, it is a service to the
safety of our community to point it out.
I also wonder if you have read all of his posts regarding this manner,
he has shown that his position is respectful and well thought out. It
has hardly been 'mocking'.
I have kept quiet until now on this matter, I happen to disagree with
Lobotomy on many issues. But, to see you verge on slander towards him
gets my dander up.
Seeking Fairness and Rationality
Hi, my name is Justin Neville.
a seasonal FF with Forest Service out
of the Plumas NF. A few seasonals
and I are in Hancock County Mississippi helping a
non-profit organization, Foundation Hope,
We met them when my crew was
sent here in October through the agency and FEMA. The
efforts of the government to help the people were
highly disappointing. So three of us and one guy from
another crew came back after we got laid off to help
the nonprofit organization get started. We also came
down to remove debris from peoples' properties and
clear storm-damaged trees for free because contractors
are over-charging to do that work. We have been here
for about 9 days mostly remodeling an office for
Foundation Hope. We bought our own saws and some
supplies to come down here and work.
We have just
begun our saw work and debris removal, but we have run
into some problems. We need some supplies that we cannot
get down here. Mainly we need wedges of various
sizes, 3 hardhats, chaps 36s or 40s. We also need
some spare chains for 28" 50 gauge 3/8 pitch and 18"
50 G 3/8 pitch.
I am requesting that you post this
message on "They Said" in hopes that people of
wildland firefighting community might be willing to
donate these supplies to us. Also if anyone is
interested in helping work in Hancock County in the
off season, the help is much needed, and we would be
more then willing to accommodate.
My email is
My phone # is 510.703.4514.
My buddys brandon # is 918.822.1228.
We can be contacted
at either of these numbers or email address.
Thank you very much,
Justin Neville and Brandon Simmons
Ab checked their bona fides and they check out. Much of the saw
work is for already downed trees. Plastic wedges in a variety of sizes
should work best. Ab.
0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series
0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series
0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated. There are
some IHC and engine crew outreaches posted.
There's also an
announcement for the 2006 Redding IHC Leadership Development Program
Training Opportunity. You can view that via this link:
Dear Ab and All,
I wish all of you could be here in this office this time of year.
It is full of Christmas cards, hot coffee, cookies, and lots of
Families come by... to talk about their beloved ones,
Some come... just to rest and see their firefighter's picture on the
People, well wishers and families, send cards of appreciation,
lauding the season and the firefighting community.
Parents call up... to say they're so touched to receive
something in memory of their son or daughter...
especially during the Holidays
when memories of those who are gone are often hard to bear.
Widows call... crying with joy because of the miracle
of some extra money sent by firefighters to help Santa treat the kids.
People calling, visiting, laughing, crying, eating cookies, hugging...
expressing thanks that SOMEONE REMEMBERED.
That SOMEONE who REMEMBERED is our Wildland Firefighting
That SOMEONE is the collective YOU,
YOU who are helping out so many, one person at a time.
Many Rich Blessings to All
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Thanks to all who help. Ab.
Ab, regarding the retirement party for Chaz... (announcement posted
below and on the Classifieds page)
"Chaz" is Charlie Stumpf. He's been
on the San
Bernardino and Cleveland National Forest. Charlie has done it all,
engines, shots, aviation. If you're looking for a fun after holiday
come on down!
Re: 1977 Honda Canyon fire that was on Vandenberg Air Force Base CA
In addition to the four who died in the fire, there were eight overruns
involving at least 40+ people. Here is a rundown of the overruns on the
morning of 20 December 1977.
Fire Overruns on South Vandenberg – December 20th 1977
Overrun of Vandenberg Engine#12 Crew. Time: 8:56 to 9:05 am.
Location: Near Origin on Tranquillon Ridge.
Effects: Engine#12 damaged (burned and blistered). Men seek cover behind
engine and on roadway and survive.
Overrun of Commander & base Fire Officials, SBCo BC and Dozer Operator.
Time: 9:36 to 10:00 am.
Location: Avery Road and Camera Pad.
Effects: Commander & base Fire Officials killed—when they exit vehicle
and run. SBCo BC and crew overrun in
vehicle. They suffer from smoke & heat but survive. Dozer operator
exposed to fire. Dies 19 days later.
Overrun of SBCo Strike Team, VAFB Engine#11, and Security Police. Time:
9:40 to 10:00 am.
Location: Delphy Road and Surf Road Intersection.
Effects: All stay in vehicles and all survive.
Overrun of Ambulance #3 transporting burned dozer operator. Time: 10:10
to 10:20 am.
Location: Coast Road. One half mile north of Delphy Road exit.
Effects: Fire impingement. Ambulance #3 backs out. Second attempt
Overrun of Vandenberg and County Bulldozers. Time: 10:55 to 11:20 am.
Location: Perimeter Road around east side of SLC-4 Complex.
Effects: D6 Bulldozers overrun, operators drive into ice-plant and
fenced areas for protection from firestorm.
Overrun of SLC-4 Titan Complex. Time: 11:00 to 11:20 am.
Location: Nearly all of SLC-4, including west and east pads.
Effects: Engine, Tanker and crews trapped. One firefighter injured
seriously, all survive. Injured fireman rescued.
Overrun of Vandenberg bulldozer and Rescue truck on Plato Road. Time:
About 2:00 pm.
Location: Plato Road, North of SLC-4 Titan Complex.
Effects: Caught by swift moving fire—cutting off exits. Dozer dives into
burned area. All Survive.
Overrun of Two Vandenberg Firefighters on Coast Road. Time: About 2:00
to 2:30 pm.
Location: Coast Road
Effects: Firefighters Alt and Scott are caught by swift moving fire.
Sustain burns and transferred to Hospital.
The highest recorded winds on Tranquillon Ridge was 103 knots (117 MPH).
Thanks, Joseph N. Valencia
Beyond Tranquillon Ridge
Why mock that which is most enlightening, when so little is shared in a
time when so many need to know more?
Compared to what the agencies had available for leadership training,
even less than five years ago, the firefighting community ought to be
very thankful for all the courses and work being shared now. There
should be no whining allowed. And for those who feel they can do better
- step up NOW and show us what you got. Perhaps some feedback on your
early postulations may increase your overall effort.
Why are we focusing so much on Leadership training and building the
skill bank. It all goes back to the mid-nineties when the Forest FMOs at
the annual conferences raised their hands when asked, "who will be gone
(retired or moved on,) in three years, five years, 10 years?"
Well that time has come and many have gone. Natural born leaders stand
up and take criticism, they build on it, to them "battery" is not lumps,
it is motivation. The wise leaders follows, and listens, and when
corralled - opens the corral to let new horses in.
What businesses like MC Solutions represent is the collectivities of
those leaders that have moved on. In their absence, we lean to the
science and the academic, proven and studied research.
Lobotomy, please give us a sampling of your work- forfeit one idea or
theory for the best interest of the crowd (readers.) In times of
derision the best advice is to share.
You up to the challenge?
-- old guy
Lobotomy sent an Ab message with his last clarifying
post saying that he's gone until the new year. He is working on a paper.
I just attended L-381, it is very effective and engaging. It builds on
concepts covered through the entire L-Series.
If you haven't seen it already, a good overview of the class can be
found at the MCS website here:
Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year to you Dear Lady,
Today, December 20, is the 28th anniversary of the 1977 Honda Canyon
fire that was on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Three people
were killed, including the Base Commander Colonel Joseph Turner, Fire
Chief Billy Bell, and Assistant Fire Chief Eugene Cooper. Additionally,
severe burns were experienced by Heavy Equipment Operator Clarence
McCauley. He later died due to complications from the burns. (source:
IAWF Wildland Fire Event Calendar)
International Association of Wildland Fire
JOIN US IN CELEBRATING
CHARLIE'S 34 YEARS OF SERVICE!
For date, time, location, & reservations, use this link:
(Post with Charlie's photo is on the
Thanks for doing this, Jim. The Abs.
Holiday Notice Last
They Said It readers get an exclusive
15% discount at
The Supply Cache.
Use discount code WFCOM01 (WFC"oh"M"zero"1) when shopping for wildland firefighter gifts!
Better hurry, their last shipping day is the 19th!
~The Abs, Jim & Diane and the crew from the Supply Cache
During this holiday season, I hope people continue to
prepare for being self sufficient for some months as we deal with
the avian flu. We definitely have a killer influenza virus on the
move, geographically and across species. It may not be airborne yet, but
it is ever more transmissible human to human. The genetics point to the
changes, as do the family clusters of infection in Jakarta Indonesia.
Scientists around the world are extremely concerned.
Local tests show Indonesian boy died of bird flu
The United Nations urged Jakarta to take steps to halt the spread
of the disease.
"We are losing the battle against this particular avian influenza
outbreak. It is a very nasty bird flu virus," David Nabarro, the
U.N. coordinator for avian influenza, told Indonesian officials at a
meeting in Jakarta.
"Act as though a pandemic influenza will start tomorrow. Don't think
we can wait around and not worry it won't start for six months or
one year," Nabarro said. "Once, it starts it is too late to
Children would be the most vulnerable group, he said.
Another report (on a business website) based on what the UN spokesman
World Is Losing Battle to Combat Bird Flu, UN Says
Outbreaks among birds in Ukraine, Romania and possibly Africa
show the deadly H5N1 avian flu strain is spreading, David Nabarro,
the UN's avian flu coordinator, told Indonesian government officials
and reporters today in Jakarta.
Does the Forest Service or the BLM have a business pandemic plan? Anyone
Business Forum: What if 30% of your workers call in sick?
Be sure your company is on solid legal ground, just in case.
Business Forum: History teaches what's best in a leader.
Whenever I ask prospective clients "How can I be the most help to
you?" the best executives answer: "Help me anticipate future
So I am distressed to pass on a Dec. 2 report from national
consulting firm Deloitte- Touche concluding that "American
businesses are only beginning to recognize that a flu pandemic would
present a danger to their employees, operations and bottom line."
Deeper in the report is the equally distressing news that a basic
pandemic risk-management technique -- waiving sick-leave
restrictions to encourage work from home -- is either rejected or
undecided by more than 73 percent of firms surveyed.
So, I ask you, when an employee reports his or her life-threatening
communicable disease, what exactly are you going to tell them?
Why are so many American companies sitting on their hands regarding
a possible flu pandemic?
A failure of leadership.
Read the rest of the article. Ask your bosses what's up?
I don't have experience with the Leadership-381 training. I'm curious.
What is L-381? What redcard positions require it? If it builds on L-380,
how does it do so? Does it go into human factors in greater depth?
Somebody send me the syllabus? Ab can put us in touch.
Lobotomy, I greatly appreciate the highly academic and
approach you bring to all you do. Wildland fire is lucky to have you as
advocate. If you're off on vacation, have a good one!
Thanks for the thoughtful response. Your independent research project
sounds interesting. I'll look forward to reading your paper when it is
published, particularly if it has been reviewed, and especially if it
has been reviewed by Dr. Reason.
Something that frustrates me about this forum is that, too often,
posters assume that the person on the other side of the conversation
knows nothing (particularly if they do not agree with that person, or
the other person challenges their thinking). You and I have similar
tastes in reading. I've read both Human Error by Reason and The Human
Factors Classification and Analysis System - HFACS by Shappell &
Wiegmann. I've spent a fair amount of time with this, and other,
material incorporating it into the work I do, and preparing myself to
teach others about both concepts. I must admit that by previous post was
a bit garbled, though I'm not sure the purist distinctions between are
important or useful for this discussion.
The Forest Service Accident Investigation Guide has little to do with
your original post or mine. You stated that you had listened to a
description of the Swiss Cheese Model in an L-381 class, and that they
"f*ed it all up," and used that as evidence of a "general lack of
understanding" of the model. I suppose that's what I most took issue
with. Your personal observation of a single instructor, in a single
course, supporting the conclusion that there is some "general lack of
understanding" of the Swiss Cheese Model. I really mean nothing
personally, but I don't agree with your assessment of a general lack of
understanding and I don't consider the incident you posted as evidence
of a general lack of understanding. In fact, I would have to say that,
in the last few years, awareness in the Federal fire agencies of the
model and the concept have gone from "0" to thousands of people
understanding the basic concept (largely due to the initiative of MCS.)
Thanks for including the citations, in case blackliner and I had not
done the reading. Plus its good for people to see stuff like that in a
forum like this. For my part, I've read them all before on my own. If I
understand right, you've chosen those citations to support your position
that Forest Service "hijacked" Reason's work and turned it into an
investigative, blame-placing tool. Well, that's changing the subject,
and while the application of primary research could be the subject of
another, long post, I won't go there.
As for inadvertently "dissing" MCS, it's not like I'm on their Christmas
card list; and they're not on mine, but I thought your post and
subsequent posts were out of line. We'll just chalk your post up to a
someone who didn't have all their facts before they posted (sorry I
couldn't pass that one up, and you earned it 8->) I will suggest that
when you're in touch with Mark Smith, in addition to registering your
complaints, you ask him about who at MCS has researched the model, their
backgrounds, and how many hours they've spent with that material. I
expect you'll be impressed.
Lobotomy, I do not question your intent, and never have. I do question
what you often portray as "facts." Again, intending no personal offense,
it is my experience that it is easy for a person to confuse their
understanding of events, interpretations they have made, conclusions
they have come to - in other words, their beliefs - with facts.
Good luck to you, keep us on the straight and narrow, keep fighting for
the safety of firefighters - get that paper done.
My "piling on" to Lobotomy's comment was not an attack on the training
vendor in question. It is an observation that I have previously
communicated to the Leadership development folks, as well as to NIFC and
regional Agency training/safety contacts.
Namely: by choosing not to develop their own curriculum for L-380 and
L-381, NWCG has given vendors the goose that lays the golden eggs.
My point is that the resulting high cost of a single seat in one of
these classes is more than many VFDs can budget for an entire year's
worth of training for their entire department. Even many local agency
units or whole forests can't afford the training, unless they get
special regional funds.
If you read the comments on the annual 5109 review, there are apparently
many in the field who believe L-380 should be required for the single
resource boss qual. You can almost hear the choking sound in the
official USFS response, as they consider the financial impact.
Of course, readers should take everything I post with a grain of salt.
My world view is clearly distorted by my volunteer and non-profit
ps, Excuse me for asking, but given the scope and depth of the
www.fireleadership.gov website, what could possibly be proprietary
in these classes?
GGfire and blackliner,
Thank you for your messages. I didn’t mention
MCS in my post and was unaware that they had proprietary rights in the
instruction of the leadership classes or I would have toned down my post
a bit. I am sure they do a great job 99% of the time. But like humans
and the Forest Service, sometimes they are capable of mistakes. Like I
said many times before, I am a full supporter of the leadership program
and the leaders they produce. I have many of them working with me, for
me, and above me.
That said, I’ll get back to the facts.
GGfire and blackliner, HFACS is not the Swiss Cheese Model. HFACS is
an analysis and classification database model introduced to the FAA by
Shappell & Wiegmann. That model somehow migrated to the Wildland Fire
Community as a potentially useful tool. The terms “Swiss Cheese Model”
and “HFACS” are not interchangeable.
The analysis and classification model they introduced was partially
based upon the work of Dr. James Reason but missed some of the very
important concepts that Dr. Reason speaks about…. Specifically, that it
is more important to concentrate on removing the “holes” in the latent
areas than concentrating most of the efforts in the active failures.
People f*up… they are human. Concentrate on the things you can fix such
as organizational, cultural, sociological, and psychological aspects of
The HFACS intent was to classify human factors so they could be
placed into an analysis system for future use such as investigative
procedures and prevention programs. HFACS is a great way to break down
the human factors associated with both the latent and active phases of
an accident or incident.
So where did the disconnect happen? Somewhere, the ideas of Dr.
Reason and others got hijacked to write investigative procedures that
focus on blame (pilot error, human error) and not the true holes in the
‘complex systems’ that could be fixed. The USFS guide on accident
investigations relies heavily on HFACS info as do many current policies
and procedures. Unfortunately, so do many aspects of our safety
programs. Somehow, causal factors have become the “active” failures that
assign blame and the contributory factors have become the
> Dr. James Reason, Human Errors
“There is a growing awareness within the human reliability
community that attempts to discover these latent failures will have
a greater beneficial effect upon safety than will localized efforts
to minimize active errors.”
“One of the consequences of the developments outlined above is that
complex tightly-coupled and highly defended systems have become
increasingly opaque to the people who manage, maintain, and operate
them. This opacity has two aspects: not knowing what is happening
and not understanding what the system can do.”
> Abstract, HFACS, Shappell & Wiegmann, 2000
“Human error has been implicated in 70 to 80% of all civil and
military aviation accidents. Yet, most accident reporting systems
are not designed around any theoretical framework of human error. As
a result, most accident databases are not conducive to a traditional
human error analysis, making the identification of intervention
strategies onerous. What is required is a general human error
framework around which new investigative methods can be designed and
existing accident databases restructured. Indeed, a comprehensive
human factors analysis and classification system (HFACS) has
recently been developed to meet those needs. Specifically, the HFACS
framework has been used within the military, commercial, and general
aviation sectors to systematically examine underlying human causal
factors and to improve aviation accident investigations. This paper
describes the development and theoretical underpinnings of HFACS in
the hope that it will help safety professionals reduce the aviation
accident rate through systematic, data-driven investment strategies
and objective evaluation of intervention programs.”
> David Learmount, Flight International
“The worlds flight safety specialists have given up trying to
eliminate human error. Now, the aim is to understand error and to
control, or "manage" it. This strategy holds the key to improving
airline flight safety, they say.”
> Dr. James Reason
"The best people can make the worst mistakes. Inattention,
forgetfulness, preoccupation are the least manageable parts of an
error sequence. Managing error-producing situations is better."
"They blame and train; write another procedure, search for a missing
piece of knowledge (in the person); or an inherent tendency to make
an error...[however] it is better to try to eliminate
P.S. – GGfire and blackliner, I have spent well over 200 hours in the
last year researching the Swiss Cheese Model for a future paper. I have
also been trying to contact Dr. Reason for some additional information
and hopefully for a review of my paper. When I finally write my paper, I
expect to have nearly 1,000 hours of research in it. If any instructor
on the Swiss Cheese Model wants to question my intent, Ab has my e-mail
address and I will happily correspond with them. All of this research is
on my own time and because I feel there are some mistakes being made in
the way we are currently doing business that ultimately makes wildland
firefighting unsafe. As hard as we try, wildland firefighters continue
Just read the post from Scott Whitmire, the Assistant Coordinator of the
Is that the same Scott Whitmire who rookied in Redding around 1986?
The Mayor of Pogueville? Barracks roommate of Jim Hanson? If is it is I
just wanted to send my regards as a fellow, former jumper who has not
heard hide nor hair of so many of the bros since I left to pursue "other
endeavors". Keep the faith, stand tall, eat rocks and glass, etc.
I order them from the National Association of State Foresters when I
order the Smokey Bear calendars.
Attached is the link to Smokey Bear page of their web site. There is
contact information for them there.
I found it very disturbing that Lobotomy and vfd cap'n both felt the
to rip on MCS's explanation of the Swiss Cheese Model and lament the
costs of their sessions. My experience in their class was outstanding
now make it a point to send our people to them. With respect to cost, it
is absolutely money well spent.
Thank you for your reply. I will be contacting you via e-mail with the
specifics and my concerns.
Here is a strange question for you. Does anyone know where you can get
clear plastic protective covers for the small Smokey Calendar books?
I felt compelled to write an observation regarding the
allegations made against Mission Centered Solutions (MCS). We have
utilized them for four years at the National Wildland Firefighter
Apprenticeship Program. In that time they have been the epitome of what
expect our instructors to be. Professional, knowledgeable, treating the
students with fairness and respect, we could not find a better provider.
And they have always endeavored to communicate and solicit feedback,
taking their lumps when necessary. I do not know what happened in the
session Lobotomy speaks of, but I do know that it is unfair to impugn
integrity of MCS. I have seen the result of their classes on over 1,000
people, and I have witnessed their performance as instructors and
I believe the taxpayer is served exceedingly well by our contract with
Scott Whitmire - Assistant Coordinator, Apprenticeship Program
Lobo, NMAB and all,
I would hope that Lobo had a serious discussion with the instructor and
the company prior to bad rappin them in this widely read forum. As you
have said in the past Lobotomy, FACTS! You seem to have posted
unsubstantiated innuendos which seem to serve no purpose other than
I must weigh in with GGFire on this issue. The contractor in question
has always presented a fantastic product for the wildland fire community
with an emphasis being on making it better. As with GGFire, I am not
affiliated with the company in question. I do however believe in their
product and do not feel as some do that have posted here that the Land
Management Agencies can produce the leadership program without the
partnership that has been formed with the contractor. Their instructors
that I have had the pleasure of observing are top notch, have life
experience and truly believe in the leadership program. They constantly
seem to be asking “are we making a difference”?
I attend their training sessions yearly at the Apprentice Academy as an
observer to see for myself that they were still “on track” and teaching
our apprentices the ‘right stuff”. Have you done that Lobotomy or are
you basing your perceptions on one encounter??
I heard that Ms Townsend will be in Boise next week.
That's this Ms
Press Gaggle After Avian Flu Tabletop Exercise with Homeland
Fran Townsend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt,
Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff
Do you think she's going to be trying to dial in the Incident
sign me MTWO
I just wanted to say- Thank you to all the folks who supported our Fire
GIS community. I was hoping to wait for the official (written) word from
the IOSWT but since I haven't seen it yet I thought I'd go on the fact
that we verified it with at least 3 separate IOSWT members' spoken
The GISS is back in the PMS 310-1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For those who can't comprehend why I'm so excited and thankful- I was
personally told a number of times that we had no chance at getting it
back in from varying levels of GS way higher than mine. So thank you Abs
for the forum to keep my spirits up and not give up. Thank you to the
fire community that uses our maps and spoke out, and especially to the
people who helped us lobby. Thank you to the NWCG IOSWT who listened to
the facts, respected the effort that was put into following the process,
and recognized that the standards are necessary.
Also if there are any lurkers out there that do fire GIS or are curious
about it- there is a new yahoogroup listserve (that requires membership)
that is being set up right now. It's replacing the old FIRESCOPE one
cause we're national now. We're just starting to get the word out.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GISS_group/ You are welcome to join our
geeky GIS group.
Now onto our Standard Operating Procedures-
Excellent!!! Ditto on the thanks to the community for
lending support for an important firefighting tool. Ab.
Hey Ed, good news!
Many thanks for the advice on
cooking Turkey in a kettle bar -b- q.
I will try it on Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas from Sydney Australia.
Welcome Malcolm. Happy eating! Ab.
Great thoughts on what I would consider a serious breach of contract by
trainers with the trainees to train them as leaders, and evidently you
You have a serious problem if Lobo's perceptions are correct and they
always have been in the past. Fix it.
All of us dedicated to cutting edge training in this business need to
uphold the highest standards period. No exceptions.
Wasn't there, so can't say that Lobotomy is incorrect on his assessment
of the presentation he witnessed. However, I will say that I am pretty
darn familiar with the contract provider and their work (no I am not
associated with the company). It so happens that very few people in the
wildland fire service would even know about James Reason or the HFACS
("Swiss Cheese Model") if it were not for MCS. Don't know Lobotomy or
their qualifications, but "surprised" would be an understatement if I
were to find that Lobotomy has better knowledge of Reason's work than
the people at MCS.
Maybe an individual instructor had a bad day and "f*ed it all up" today,
but people (including vfd cap'n) should be careful about piling on. The
company in question is responsible for much of the meaningful human
factors work being done in the wildland fire agencies.
No genius, but I do feel that because of considerable work in the human
factors field, I probably have a better understanding of the model than
the average bear. I've never responded on the subject before, (it
usually takes some slander to provoke me to post), but I must say, that
over time I have seen several people, including Lobotomy, citing James
Reason and the "Swiss Cheese Model" in this forum who I felt had, at
best, a somewhat tenuous grasp on the HFACS, and were distorting it's
principles to support their position.
I would hope that most They Said users, having experienced a
less-than-satisfactory contracted training experience would find a more
productive way to address their concerns than to nail the provider on a
Please sign me,
This is Mark Smith, from Mission-Centered Solutions. We are the provider
for L-381 Incident Leadership. "Lobotomy" expressed the following
concern in a post earlier today (12/15) -
"6) General lack of understanding of Dr. James Reason's Swiss Cheese
Model (I listened to a description in an L-381 class today, they f*ed it
all up). Can I say that? I would hope if someone is teaching a theory or
an idea that they completely research the foundation behind it.....
especially for $20,000 for two classes. Hopefully this was just an
MCS has been working with the Swiss Cheese Model, and more importantly,
the safety philosophies and error resilient systems design of high
reliability organizations that Dr. Reason espouses for over 13 years in
training aviation, wildland and military crews and teams, conducting
investigations and post-incident reports, training accident
investigation teams in the
Human Factors Analysis and Classification System and in the recent
foundational doctrinal work during the Pulaski Conference.
So for us, the concern "Lobotomy" raises is pretty serious. I am
currently checking with all six of the instructors of the two courses we
have running this week to see what feedback was given to them about
their presentations on the Human Error section of L-381, where James
Reason's Swiss Cheese Model for error causation is used.
I would also appreciate hearing from "Lobotomy" more specific feedback
on where he or she felt the presentation was not accurate. We try very
hard to practice what we teach and identify and break error chains when
they are detected. Clearly, we have a vested interest in not fu@%ing it
all up if we are to continue the important work of developing strong
leaders and getting more people home safe in the fire service.
email: MSmith@ MCSolutions.com
Lobotomy, you should give feedback to the company if you were
dissatisfied with some part of the class. I've heard they're responsive
to any suggestions and concerns.
I participated in L-380 last spring
and it was excellent! I know I
made the instructors a bit nervous
because I'm a stress psychologist,
but they had good info. Excellent
Apparently you can say that. And, said well, in my estimation.
I wonder about the proprietary curriculum development of the Leadership
courses, especially since most of the material comes from public domain
It's a shame that the high cost doesn't necessarily buy quality
even when most of the fire service can't afford it anyway.
For I'm Back and anyone else with specific questions concerning the
Apprenticeship Program, please feel free to contact any of the
Apprenticeship Program staff either on the phone or through e-mail. You
find our phone numbers here:
We are more than happy to answer any question that you have.
I can vouch for Cara. Any questions, give her a
call. Thanks Cara. Ab.
Ab, you have probably already heard this info. It was in the Redlands
Daily Facts a few days ago... my local newspaper and I saw a short blurb
on CNN. It adds some promise in preventing an avian flu influenza or
other flu pandemic in the future. It is pretty cool that they are
thinking outside of the box at other ways to produce a vaccine.
From Redlands Daily Facts, 12/12/2005:
Bird-flu vaccine may be near
BEN BAEDER, Staff Writer
A Cal Poly Pomona instructor and a team of Los Angeles-based researchers
say they are close to creating a vaccine against the avian flu, which
has caused 70 deaths in Asia and which scientists believe has the
potential to cause a worldwide pandemic.
Medical microbiologist Jill Adler-Moore and the team at the small Los
Angeles firm Molecular Express Inc., have developed a vaccine that seems
to be working in mice and has gained the attention of the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Dave Dagle, a CDC
"They are working on a universal influenza vaccine that has shown
promise," Dagle said. "It's in an early stage, but we are interested in
partnering with them."
For those who think Avian Flu and preparedness doesn't directly connect to
wildland fire discussions.... Please consider...
1) Fire Camps
2) Extended Families and Friends who could lose loved ones
3) Non-traditional responses that increase exposure needlessly
4) Airline travel that increases exposure
5) Lack of general preparedness or knowledge of the risks involved (much
like requiring a Professional Wildland Firefighter to become a biological
scientist, forester, etc "or the equivalent")
6) General lack of understanding of Dr. James Reason's Swiss Cheese
Model (I listened to a description in an L-381 class today, they f*ed
it all up). Can I say that? I would hope if someone is teaching a theory
or an idea that they completely research the foundation behind it.....
especially for $20,000 for two classes. Hopefully this was just an
6) and the reliance on letting someone else "take the charge"....."Hey,
they are already doing
something about it"... "I don't have to act or participate. I'll be fine
just doing it the way I have always done it".
Getting prepared = Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Facts speak
louder than opinions (for most people).
Can someone give me advice?
I seem to be stuck here. I am coming up on
my 8th season with the forest service. After the MEL year I received an
appointment and attended the academy in Sacramento. However my life took
a turn and I resigned from the Forest Service, but I was always a
wildland firefighter at heart. So I came back and worked on an engine
crew last year. I decided I wanted to come back for good, so I started
applying for AFEO positions. To cover my bases I applied for the
apprenticeship because I was nearing the end of my reinstatement
eligibility. Now I have been offered an apprenticeship position and I am
wondering a lot of things. Since I have already completed the Academy
will I have to go back? And what happens if one of the many AFEO
positions I have applied for comes through? Will I be held to the
infamous contract and owe the FS lots of money? If you guys don't know
the answers to these questions, can you tell me who to contact to answer
these for me? Thanks in advance and I want to thank the ABs for this
forum to get issues and questions resolved.
If no one knows, I'd be happy to contact someone at the Academy.
Hi to all:
For those that attended the FWFSA membership conference recently, if you
have any digital photos of the event you could e-mail me, I'd be
delighted to incorporate them into our next newsletter. Please e-mail
them to FWFSAlobby@ aol.com. Thanks in advance.
Here's the info on retired San Diego Fire Department BC Ken Rice's
All events will be on Monday, December 19, 2005
Memorial Service - 1000 Hours
Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church (Scripps Ranch)
11451 Blue Cypress Drive, San Diego, CA 92131
Graveside Service following Memorial Service (approx 1230 hrs)
El Camino Memorial Park, Firefighter's Rest
5600 Carrol Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92121
Celebration of Ken's life following Graveside Service (approx 1500 hrs)
1400 East Washington Avenue, El Cajon, CA
Active duty firefighters are requested to be in Class A uniform for the
graveside services. At Ken's request, Hawaiian attire is appropriate for
duty firefighters at the Elks Lodge. Retired personnel and civilians are
to wear Hawaiian attire for all events.
San Diego Fire Department
Thanks John. Ab.
A letter of appreciation and thanks!
It’s hard to believe it’s been a week already since I attended the FWFSA
conference in Reno. I’d planned to get this message written soon after
returning, but it seems time failed to pause as I struggled to get my
thoughts in order.
Regardless, it was indeed a great pleasure to meet and speak with many
of the FWFSA attendees and to find out they are participants and
contributors here. Many of them I’ve only known through their aliases or
monikers. It was also fun to meet several folks who admitted they are
long time lurkers. I encouraged them to write and express their opinions
on topics of interest, while respecting their preference. It’s my
experience that it’s just a matter of time – short or long - before a
person gets their button pushed and they won’t be able to remain
While enjoying the fine prime rib, conversation, and ceremonies during
the opening night banquet, I was surprised to hear my name called from
the podium. I was summoned to the front by Mr. Casey Judd who presented
me with an award from the FWFSA for “your efforts on behalf of Federal
Wildland Firefighters”. I was very pleased to have the FWFSA believe I
was worthy of such an honor, especially when there were several others
who received an award, whose efforts and accomplishments I consider much
more significant. I was so excited, I couldn’t think of a darn thing to
say, so I grabbed the plaque, shook Casey’s hand, and hurried back to my
Those of you who know me a bit are probably aware I’m far more
comfortable using a keyboard to communicate and I habitually avoid
speaking in front of an audience. Regardless of my social shortcomings,
I’m still very proud to have received the award from the FWFSA and have
placed it in a prominent location here in my office. I am happy we here
at Wildlandfire.com have been able to use our website and resources to
help promote and support what we consider an extremely important
wildland fire organization.
I realize there have been a few messages posted here skeptical of the
value or effectiveness of the FWFSA, but I doubt anyone is really dumb
enough to think our esteemed government leaders simply awoke one day and
decided the salary cap was unfair and should be abolished. Ten years
from now, new folks may hear of the long dead policy and be unable to
comprehend how it was ever allowed to exist. As a highly interested
observer of the process to have the salary cap removed, I can tell you
for a fact that without the FWFSA, the law would still be in effect. If
you are a federal wildland firefighter, I encourage you to take the time
and explore what the organization is and what it is doing for you.
Meanwhile, back at the conference, it seemed no sooner had I sat down
and dug back into my dinner than Vicki Minor of the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation was up and speaking. As I was deciding whether to eat one
more bite of the under cooked carrots or forget ‘em and polish off the
beef instead, Vicki called me back to the front of the audience. I
hurriedly chewed and tried swallowing a last mouthful of steak, while
she informed the audience I was being presented a bronze statute
humanitarian award from the WFF. As I made my way to the podium,
hundreds of thoughts and memories flashed through my mind. I again
thought of the other folks I knew who had received the highly
prestigious award and wondered that I was worthy. I thought of my trip
to Boise last Spring to the airport statue dedication and getting to
meet Vicki and her staff; I remembered how sad I was, then in some way
angry, as I visited the WFF offices and viewed the photographs on the
walls of way too many fallen firefighters; I thought of the Ken Perry
benefit run and how one person’s desire to help became such an
inspiration to us all. Now that was a shining example of how a simple
idea evolved to include outstanding support that steamrolled across all
the boundaries we wildland firefighters too often allow to impede our
I recalled the extraordinary pride I had in our They Said readers for
their quick and aggressive support to help resolve that little memorial
upkeep issue in Boise this year. And then, I thought of the person who
posted to They Said It advising us that writing letters to any of the
Idaho Congress members would be an effort in futility. The writer
declared with apparent authority that the local Senator didn’t want to
hear about anything to do with firefighters.
Then I mounted the steps, received the award, turned to face the
audience . . . and of course, I couldn’t think of anything profound to
say. One thing I was able to get across was to say “don’t let anyone
tell you something can’t be done”. As I’ve moseyed through my life thus
far, I’ve noticed there are always those who seemed happy to tell you
why it is impossible to do something. Were we all to have listened to
the above pessimist regarding the futility of taking any action on the
memorial issue and just sat on our hands, they would have been right. As
it turned out, it only took a couple of weeks of credible communication
to create a new arrangement more focused on listening and sharing. My
sincere congratulations to each and every one of you for your efforts on
this and other issues!
What I also tried to say was that I was deeply honored to receive the
award, but that I would only accept it on behalf of the thousands of
loyal and dedicated They Said It contributors. While we may provide a
place and opportunity to facilitate communication, it is only through
your active participation that our wildland firefighting family enjoys
any success or influence. I’ll plan on creating a representation of the
statue and find a nice place to share it with you all on They Said It.
We can look at it now and then, especially when one of those “my crew is
better than your crew” discussions threaten to erupt, and instead
reflect a moment on what we’ve accomplished when we’ve worked together.
My many thanks to you one and all. I enjoy continuing to learn from you
President – Wildlandfire.com LLC
Just found out 12/13/05 that Redding Smokejumper Chris Gunter
had passed away , not sure on details yet .
Just letting the fire community know we lost a good firefighter ....
David Juenke ( Rocko )
> From a tragic incident a few months ago.... Wear your damn
Preliminary Report (8/31/2005):
www.firefighterclosecalls.com/...pdf pdf file
Informational Summary Report (9/26/2005):
www.firefighterclosecalls.com/...pdf pdf file
Keep Safe and Those Around You Safe.
Also good advice for travel over the holidays. Ab.
In the spirit of this Christmas Season, we here at Wildlandfire.com are
pleased to present our faithful readers with a small reward.
Talking with Jim Felix of
The Supply Cache
over the weekend, we've come to an arrangement for our They Said It
viewers to receive a 15% discount on all orders placed through Dec.
If you're like us, you may not have finished your shopping yet and
some of you may not have started. There's less than a couple of weeks to
take advantage, so head over to Jim's site now for plenty of great gift
ideas for the wildland firefighters in your life.
During your checkout process you'll need to insert the discount code
of WFCOM01to qualify your order. The first round thing in the code is
the letter O (oh) and the second is the number 0 (zero).
Our thanks and a Merry Christmas to our community and Jim and his staff
for making this offer happen so quickly!
Thanks OA and Jim. Hi Kelly! (Are you one of Santa's helpers?)
I just talked to a co-worker of Ray Ruiz (Golden Eagles Hotshot) who is
in the ICU at Grossmont Hospital. She told me that Ray has 5 little
kids, ages 8 months to 11 years old. Mom is using any money sent to her
to pay bills, so Christmas is going to be lean. We have added them to
our list of families needing "Santa's Help" for Christmas. There were 12
kids of wildland firefighters originally on our list; now there are 17.
If there is still a little Santa left in you, please contact us (to be a
Santa, visit our website at
We will be sending the money we've received to our moms at the end of
this week, along with the names of each one of you tender-hearted
firefighter supporters who have contributed to this wonderful project.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Thanks, Vicki. Ab.
Retired SDFD Battalion Chief Kenny Rice died today at 1316 hrs.
For those who don't know, Kenny had been battling cancer for the
past several years. If I recall correctly, he retired in 2003.
Ken was well known both in San Diego and across the wildland
community. He was an Operations Section Chief of one of the SoCal
Type 2 Incident Management Teams. I'll post more about funeral
details when I learn about them.
San Diego Fire-Rescue
Please offer our condolences to his family
and do let us know about services in case some can go. Ab.
On the west coast of the US, Pacific time zone, the CNN Sanjay Gupta
"Killer Flu, just a breath away" is on at both 7pm and 10pm.
The National Geographic flu program (on the NG network) is on at 6pm and
I just explored answers to your question with a young friend of mine who
is currently a helo pilot working part time for Erickson Skycrane. He
does not have a military background but he is steadily building hours.
The key here is getting carded by the USFS to do mission-oriented helo
work (not point-to-point flying). The minimum number of flying hours to
be carded at all is still 1500 total hours with a minimum of 100 hours
in mission ("special use") flying or as co-pilot for mission flying.
Remember these are absolute minimums.
The bottom line here is to keep racking up those safe hours of flying be
it fixed wing or helo or, best for fire, mission helo. The more hours
airborne you have the more saleable you are to get the specialized OJT
that you need and maybe also some real work that leads into fire
Fly safe and stay with it. We need you!
Thanks Mellie, Sting and JR.
You need to get in touch with the contracting companies themselves.
There are many different companies that do contracting. Right now I can
only remember Erickson, Columbia, and Papillion, (sorry, brain cramp)
but there are many, many more out there. The individual companies will
tell you how they certify their pilots for fire fighting duty.
A lot of the pilots who have been doing this for years started out in
the military. I believe that is changing though, and we are getting less
and less military trained pilots in the fire program.
Scrape, re your question on the Swiss Cheese Model of Accident
archives, documents worth reading, and find the paper titled "Hugh
Carson on Accident Investigation". It is relevant to wildland fire.
If you search the internet try "Reasons Swiss Cheese Model", that'll get
you a bunch of hits. It is introduced in L-380 Fireline Leadership if
you ever go to the training.
Here's my situation- I currently work for a contractor in R6 and as most
would know, in a typical year the fire calls start up about July 20th. I
am available for fire calls from about June 1st through September 10th.
(not a school teacher, just able to manipulate my regular job). My
question(s) is can I work for more than one contractor? For example R4
during June and July and then follow the season up to R6 and even into
I realize a contractor doesn't want to lose a good firefighter during
the season and I can be flexible but I would like to keep my August
commitment with the R6 contractor I'm with now.
I understand I need to be registered with the Feds. Would each
contractor I work for have to do that? Seems redundant. Anybody out
there have similar situations?
Any contractors interested? I have a resume.
Still trying to be an Engine Boss
Ab will forward any messages on.
Whitehouse is having a Bird Flu Drill this morning.
National Geographic Channel:
Race against the Killer Flu video preview;
show to air tomorrow at 9PM eastern and pacific on the Discovery
This show comes before the CNN special:
Killer Flu, a Breath Away.
Scrape, it's all here -- Swiss Cheese Model of Accident Causation:
Summary fire-related comments by Hugh Carson in the
Documents Worth Reading Section of the Archives
Forest Service Accident Investigation Guide, 2003 (pdf file)
The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System–HFACS, 2000 (pdf
by Scott A. Shappell and Douglas A. Wiegmann, based on Reason's work on
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Federal Wildland Fire Service
Association, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who
helped make last weekend's conference a very special event.
Many members traveled great distances to attend with their spouses,
children and "significant others" who we wanted to know are also truly a
part of our FWFSA family.
To Original AB, AB and Vicki Minor of the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation, our sincerest gratitude for your time, affection and
To Bruce Burke of Firefighter Brands/Firefighter Beverages, a special
thank you for your organization's overwhelming generosity with hydration
& energy drinks and other goodies. It should go as no surprise that the
FWFSA is proud to endorse such superior products.
To Randy Reyes of TrueNorth & Ryan Davidson of the Mallory Company,
thank you for your gracious donations to our raffle and for providing
superior quality gear to the wildland firefighting community.
Most importantly to the members whose names and voices have become all
too familiar to me over the last couple of years and now a face to go
with it. It is my hope that the time and effort you spent in getting to
the event was worthwhile.
Over the next few weeks, we hope those that attended will return the
post-conference surveys so that we can ensure we improve upon our
efforts for the next conference.
I am also almost overly ecstatic to announce that a bid has been
accepted by the Board of Directors to modernize our web site so as to
provide a superior site to our members and future members. As I write
this, work is underway through the selected bidder and a committee of
members developed at the conference to get work underway.
Thanks to everyone who attended. It meant a great deal to all of us.
I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. I am only 18 years
old and am attending the Air Force Prep School, but I’m still looking at
all my options, especially in the field of Wildland Fire. My mother
works for the NPS and was a Wildland Firefighter before I was born. I
basically grew up knowing many people in the NPS involved with fire, but
I have one question they couldn’t answer and no one else seems to be
able to answer it either. How do I get a job flying Helos for any agency
involved with fire, federal or non-federal?
Does anybody here have a quick and dirty link to the original paper on
the swiss cheese model. A good friend of mine's community is going thru
some stuff and the only "tool" that they have is the phrase "Sierra
happens". From the good leadership of this group I believe I should
share our knowledge of human factors with her community and I believe
this will help them out alot.
Karl Petty - Leave Donor Program for Carol Maley Petty
Please post this as Carol needs help now! Karl jumped out of Redmond
for quite a few years before moving into the fire cache at Redmond. He
has fought the good fight against his illness but.........
Carol & Karl Petty, 7/05
On behalf of Karl, myself, Casey, and Jessie, we want to thank all of
our Forest Service family for your most generous past donations of
leave. We know who some of you are, but the vast majority remains
anonymous yet no less endeared. Karl has far exceeded what the doctors
expected and he continues to amaze me everyday with the strength and
exhibits. Though he’s in a great deal of pain 24/7 he pushes everyday
possible to walk and do some sort of project. He has truly become an
inspiration to those who know him.
Thanksgiving these days takes on a whole new meaning. Three years ago at
the end of November, Karl was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and so it
now has come to mark a milestone for us. Back when it all started we
didn’t have a clue as to the road ahead nor the toll it would bring with
it. All the procedures, chemo and the cancer itself have been hard on
Karl and our family. We continue to take it one day at a time. Without
your past leave donations, I simply don’t know how we would have
survived since the diagnosis.
Allowing the family to care for Karl and for him to remain home through
this time has given us some degree of comfort. Time is the most valuable
gift I can give Karl; I never before realized how precious it is. Every
aspect of our lives these days seems like a timed event. How much time
is left, is still unknown, but it is not indefinite either. I know I
can’t begin to repay what you have already done for us. It is with mixed
feelings that I find I am having to ask for more donated leave.
If you wish to contact me:
Carol Maley Petty
PNW Training Center
Deschutes National Forest
10001 SW Emkay Dr.
Bend, Oregon 97702
c/o Marleen Brown
mmbrown @ fs.fed.us
National Forest Designators
Hey Ab, is there a web site or document
that lists all of the National
Forests / Grasslands three letter designators? If so, please send me a
site address. I've looked everywhere and can't find them.
Links page, bottom of the fed category. Ab.
You asked "What does Tim Appenzeller say?"
Rather than me try to recount an hour-long program, I'd recommend his
article in the October National Geographic and their upcoming television
program this Sunday.
I'll watch it. Ab.
Here is a poem that I have loved.
It was written by a friend of mine, his name is Bob Lafleur,
He is a retired college teacher who lives in the sticks of Northern MN
on Music, Wood heat, Solar power and Wine,
He has given me permission to print this poem on they said.
This poem reminds me of so many night fires when we hooked it, and now
have a few minutes to relax before passing out with exhaustion, while
trying to hold it at the same time.
Oh yeah, back then we could claim a few hours on the time sheet when we
attempted to sleep all night on the side of a mountain with or without
sleeping bags, and not have to run to the FMO to get a justification to
break the 16 and 8, even though everyone knows that you never really
sleep, when you are trying to stay warm at 7,000 feet above sea level
with the flames 10 feet away.
ON A CLEAR, PERFECT EVENING
On a clear, perfect evening
I sit beneath the stars
watching flames leaping,
the fire burning down.
It's good to be here
good as any time, and yet
my feet remind me
why I'm here.
If I had feet that never tired,
I'd take a journey
half-way 'round the world
not because my feet
told me so,
but because I was there
on a clear, perfect evening
under the moon's golden glow
A starry night. I'd climb
the night sky ladder,
and like the flame,
that soon will wither,
as I sit
on a clear, perfect evening,
by the fire, burning down.
I, as well give my plug for the
52 club and FWFSA
Also it is looking to be a long winter in northern MN,
I have a few more fire poems, so if anyone wants to hear them let me
And hello to all the friends I have made in my 17 years of (Cheat Death,
Eat Smoke, Save Lives) 10 of them stationed out west, with a couple in
R-5 South Zone.
You should know who I am by this moniker.
Nice one. Thanks. Ab.
Personally, I'm looking forward to They Said returning to more fire
business. However, a few thoughts about the bird flu scare. (I am
listening to Tim Appenzeller, Senior Science Editor of National
Geographic talk on a radio program about Avian Flu as I write.)
I don't deny that an H5N1 pandemic is a possibility, but I am also
concerned that the media and Internet chat rooms are causing a panic.
Americans are generally paranoid, and a little fear goes a long way.
Remember the panic over the flu vaccine shortage last year? Remember
SARS? Remember Y2K?
The most important word associated with a bird flu pandemic is "if"
- Every expert's statement associated with bird flu is prefaced with "If
H5N1becomes contagious among humans", "If bird flu were to leave
Southeast Asia," if, if, if. Don't get me wrong. It is good to be
cautious. We should prepare. Our government's preparation has been
woefully inadequate and wrong-headed. However, it's also important to
maintain perspective. The Avian Flu pandemic is theoretical, not
The scientists predicting a pandemic are using the 1918 flu pandemic as
a model. Not so sure this is a good model. It's not 1918. The
displacement, by World War I, of millions of people, fueled the 1918
pandemic (not to mention that many other factors were different
including that hygiene was significantly less developed in this country
Avian flu may not mutate, leave Southeast Asia, become pandemic, etc,
etc for five to ten years. One of the big "ifs"
Hong Kong and Thailand (at the epicenter of the bird flu outbreak) have
"licked" the bird flu for all practical intents and purposes
I am not arguing with those They Said regulars who are concerned,
advocating preparedness, and showing concern for their brothers and
sisters. However, in light of all the information and opinion flying
around, I'd caution "Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act
decisively." I appreciate the efforts to raise our situational
awareness, but let's not panic.
What does Tim Appenzeller say?
I don't see anyone here panicking, only questioning, preparing and informing.
As always, send in your other kind of fire topics. New threads are
always welcome... Ab.
LOL.... when I said "jump" I meant "Smokejump".... communication
issue, "say what you mean and mean what you say".. which leads to ...
Have you perused the CDC Pandemic Influenza website? Lots of
interesting stuff there. I am sure you have, but it may be worth the
posting here for information.
Also this interesting emergency/crisis communication for leaders
"book" from the CDC website.
www.cdc.gov/communication/emergency/leaders.pdf (pdf file)
haw haw. Still stand by what I said. Ab.
Can you add our USFS Honor Guard website to your links section? I
launched a very simple page today, but its a start. I would appreciate
comments you have.
Here is the link:
I added it to the
links page under miscellaneous. Thanks for that. Ab.
Here's the USDA brochure that covers response to an avian flu outbreak
in the United States. As you can see in the response section, it says
that USDA-APHIS will take the lead in the event of a HPAI (Highly
Pathogenic Avian Influenza) outbreak.
Remember who supports APHIS, FEMA, DHS, DHHS, etc... in the event of a
national disaster.... federal incident management teams who bring with
them lots of federal wildland firefighters.
I also have another big concern. There has been statements that
firefighters, police, and medical workers would be the first to receive
prophylaxis antivirals and vaccines. These two things would be very
important in limiting the spread to our families, friends, and
> From what I understand, prophylaxis antivirals and vaccines help to
prevent infection and if infected, lower viral load and viral shedding.
In this case, are Forestry and Range Technicians, or other federal
wildland responders considered to be firefighters?
Last thought, if you are unfortunate enough to be the "guinea pig" for
the first responses to this form of disaster, consider this thought.
Before returning to your family, friends, and co-workers who hopefully
have been prepared and operating under some sort of plan..... consider a
self quarantine for yourself for two weeks to make sure you don't bring
death to their doorstep.
My sister is returning from Great Britain to get ready.
She sent me this one:
China Hiding Bird Flu Cases: Expert
Mellie, hang in there with the info. We need it. Todd
> From the post below:
"As we undertake these efforts, we are asking for your assistance
as well. In order to ensure maximum preparedness, business should
develop specific plans for the ways that you would protect your
employees and maintain operations during a pandemic. Companies that
provide critical infrastructure services, such as power and
telecommunications, also have a special responsibility to plan for
continued operation in a crisis and should plan accordingly. As with
any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential."
If the federal government wants the public (ie-business) to
adequately prepare, they should be the role model. As for me, I haven't
seen one "official" memo, policy letter, or even an e-mail addressing
agency preparedness or the development of a contingency plan. Maybe the
USDA-Forest Service and the USDI agencies feel they don't offer
Ask and you shall receive, thanks for the info. I too wish we could all
about something else besides the bird flu. I am praying every night for
cure or vaccine.
Avian flu isn't rocket science. It also isn't something to be messed
around with. I am glad you are taking the lead to get many of us
prepared. I am pretty disgusted with the general lack of concern by my
"leaders" and the folks I work for. I am more concerned with my
co-workers who just mull around, don't get prepared, and say it's like
the Y2K thing that never happened. They need to wake up and have it
beaten into their thick skulls that this is a real and potential
problem. This is a potential life or death decision. Be prepared -- or
ride the "wave".
"7.1 billion requested by President Bush."
"$9 million for planning and preparedness training and the development
of simulation models." (USDA, Nov., 2005).
Just over a tenth of 1 percent of the funding for planning and
preparedness. Some propose. Forget trying to correct the latent factors
-- lets go hog wild to prevent the active factors that WILL NEVER BE
PREVENTED (ie - pandemics happen - people make mistakes). Planning and
preparedness are the keys to safety.
Planning and preparedness are the things that will keep the most numbers
of people safe but received the lowest amount of PROPOSED funding. I
think it is part of the total disconnect with the field level
practitioners that has been happening for many years within the federal
Political appointees are going to be the death of of our country and our
society!!! They have to bare allegiance to the folks who appointed them
and disregard the science (if they even understand the science
marginally). It used to work when the most educated and experienced were
appointed to high positions. Now, it is all about your political
affiliation, how much you donated, and your rank among the food chain
(prior lobbyist, prior timber contractor, etc.). Nobody gives a rats ass
about the mission or the intent to keep people safe anymore if they are
political appointees -- its all me and my party nowadays. Who gets
elected or appointed next seems to be the over-riding concern.
Deep Survival is the #1 concern. It is and should be the focus -- not BS
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.
December 7, 2005
Ray's wife Denise has authorized the following for release concerning
Chief Ray Ruiz Sr. of the Sycuan Fire Department "Golden Eagles
located in El Cajon, California is in critical condition in ICU at
Grossmont Hospital. He has been in the hospital approximately four weeks
and is currently on a ventilator to help him breath. We are all praying
that he will have a full recovery. A Benevolent Fund has been set up at
the San Diego Firefighters Federal Credit Union to help Ray and his
with expenses. Ray's wife Denise would like to thank all of you ahead of
time for your support and prayers. The Golden Eagles Hotshot Crew has
up a watch at the hospital, and one of them is with Ray 24 hours a day.
you would like to make a contribution please send it to the following
San Diego Federal Credit Union
10509 san Diego Mission Road
San Diego, CA 92108-2196
Please indicate that this is for the Chief Ray Ruiz Sr. Benevolent Fund.
The account number is 4851-S
If you would like to send a card, or get well wishes, please send them
the following address:
Chief and Mrs. Ray Ruiz Sr.
C/O Sycuan Fire Department
5449 Dehesa Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
Capt. Jim Huston
C/O the Golden Eagles Hotshots
Our thoughts and prayers are with
Sending this out for my buddy Mike who asked about sauerkraut as an
avian flu remedy.
Flu the Coop... Fast facts about avian influenza
Look near the bottom.
Recipe for kimchi follows soon.
For the other Mike... who asked about
pandemic plans for public schools. I
just put out the word to try to find something, anything. Are there no
SURVIVORS advocating for our kids and grandkids? Hopefully someone
besides Canada is planning...
Aaaaarg, I wish all this would just go away and I could think about
training and other fun stuff! <reasoning brain like hamster on a treadmill>
OK, got one bit of school pandemic plan info for Mike:
American Embassy in India has a good one.
Hey, it's a small world, just a plane-flight away... Substitute San
Francisco or Los Angeles, Portland or Seattle for the Deli trigger
<little Ballywood smile> <sari caught in treadmill> <crash> <oof>
From a business relative... This is filtering its way out into the
business community along with links to
(and the checklist) and
Here's the letter that came out on Tuesday as everything birdflu started
to ramp up:
Pandemic Flu Business Letter
December 6, 2005
President Bush recently announced the Administration’s National Strategy
for Pandemic Influenza, a copy of which is enclosed. This strategy is
geared toward preparing the country or the possibility of an influenza
pandemic. As with any of the risks that we face as a country --
including natural disasters and the ongoing possibility another
terrorist attack -- it is imperative that all segments of society be
prepared for such a threat. We are writing to you today on behalf of the
Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Homeland
Security to enlist your support in encouraging preparedness for such an
event within the business community. We are requesting that you, as a
business leader, focus on the need for planning within your organization
for the possibility of an influenza pandemic.
It is important to note from the outset that there is not a human
influenza pandemic at this time, nor can we say that a pandemic is
imminent. However, as the President has noted, a new strain of influenza
virus (H5N1) has been found in birds in Asia, and it has been shown that
this virus can infect humans. If the virus mutates in certain ways, it
is possible that it could lead to a pandemic. Because this threat does
exist, we think it important for you to be knowledgeable about the risks
associated with the threat of an influenza pandemic and, in turn, to be
adequately prepared for the possibility of a pandemic that would have
significant social and economic costs.
In order to safeguard against the threat of a pandemic and to mitigate
the effects of a pandemic should one occur, President Bush has outlined
a coordinated government strategy that includes the establishment of a
new international partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, the
stockpiling of vaccines and antiviral medications, expansion of our
early-warning systems here and abroad, and new initiatives for local and
state level preparedness against the threat of a pandemic.
As we undertake these efforts, we are asking for your assistance as
well. In order to ensure maximum preparedness, business should develop
specific plans for the ways that you would protect your employees and
maintain operations during a pandemic. Companies that provide critical
infrastructure services, such as power and telecommunications, also have
a special responsibility to plan for continued operation in a crisis and
should plan accordingly. As with any catastrophe, having a contingency
plan is essential.
We are asking for your assistance in preparing your organization for the
possibility of an Avian Flu Pandemic. In addition to the National
Strategy, we have enclosed some guidelines developed by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention for preparing for the prospect of an
influenza pandemic. These materials include a checklist to assist you in
the planning for a pandemic outbreak as well as other comparable
catastrophes. For ongoing informational updates in both preparing for
and reacting to the possible onset of a pandemic, we also encourage you
to go to the Federal Government’s pandemic-related website:
pandemicflu.gov. This site will be continually updated with the latest
Thank you for playing an important role in this effort. Should you have
any questions regarding preparing your business for a pandemic, please
contact our offices through the following staff:
Senior Advisor to the Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
Director, Office of Business Liaison
Department of Commerce
Director, Infrastructure Partnerships Division
Department of Homeland Security
Secretary of Homeland Security
Michael O. Leavitt
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Carlos M. Gutierrez
Secretary of Commerce
COMT’s Christmas Wish for Wildland Fire Fighters,
I wish for a reliable radio that is easy to use.
I wish that they would Narrowband the King MPH, I just
liked that radio, had a better receiver than the EPH,
and the metal case held up better than the LPH. I
don’t need 400 pre-programmed channels if I can hand
program in what I need. 16 channels would be nice but
I could live with 14. Most people just use one group
Make it Analog only, A stash of P25 Digital radios for
those times when the situation calls for it can be
kept, the majority of Fire commo does not need the
secrecy that Digital offers, for those time it is
needed, use cell or sat phone.
All these recent radios have been having problems that
the manufacturers have tried solving with software
changes. I miss the days of Solid State reliability,
before one errant bit can ruin your day.
Just give me a Analog radio that costs less, and works
when I want it to. Recent articles I have read are
pointing to a software driven radio that can do VHF to
800 MHz to provide interoperability, so look forward
to a radio that costs around 5K.
After having spent 32 years with the green machine, 18 on hotshot crews,
ONLY regrets are that I never jumped and I did not have the luxury of
more time with my family while my kids were growing up.... choices....
Well, I for one am glad you stuck with the FS, yactac. Many
are better, safer firefighters for your leadership and mentorship. The
organization is also better for your participation. Ab.
My name is Amanda <snip> and I am a journalist in the Army
stationed in South Korea.
I fought in the Roberts Complex fire in '03 with the West Fork Wildland
District (Bitterroot NF, Mt.) and I was wondering if you have any
pictures of that fire? I would greatly appreciate it if you did - I miss
the real world and the excitement
I will be in the states next week and will have access to some of my
pictures with the Forest Service that I could send.
Be safe Amanda. Anyone know of any photos? Ab.
Do what's best for your family. The structure dept will be a definite
change compared to what you're used to, but the time with the family
with be great. Unfortunately the fed agencies (especially in So Cal)
can't keep up with the cost of living as evidenced by all the posts here
in recent weeks. I know wayyyy too many guys who wished they had made
the switch years ago and didn't. Their biggest complaint was that they
missed many summers with their young children, who are now grown up.
Just a quick note to say a BIG THANK YOU to the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation and Vicki Minor for helping our FS employee in norcal!
(as Mellie would say..."hugs" to you)
firegirl, proud to be a member of the 52 club
I just went to the
Homepage. What a great idea to have a Santa fund. Cute kids. Part of
our community. Ab.
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Many of you have family members still living
who served in WWII. Do your best to tell them thanks for serving and
their commitment to our freedom. We also need to remember those who are
serving today. GOD BLESS THEM ALL!!
Dear Original Ab ~~
What an honor it was to present you with a humanitarian award. You have
done so much for this Foundation and the people it serves. You have
moved so quietly behind the scenes and helped with funding when we
wondered if we could keep the doors open. When I looked into your face,
I saw so many of the little kids whom you will never get to see but that
you have affected with your open heart and hand. It was surely my
pleasure to give this award to you, and all that you represent.
Casey Judd and the FWFSA Board of Directors ~~
You created and
presented an outstanding conference. I felt so honored and really
enjoyed the event. After attending the conference, I really began to
understand what you folks are doing for the "whole" of firefighters.
I think you should put your presentation on video and make it
available to everyone. You also did a great job.
I believe what I enjoyed the most were the families that attended. What
a sight to see kids on their dad's arms and spouses enjoying each other
while in attendance.
Let me change hats for a moment to something not Foundation
I had a large tent and put it up for sale on the classified page on
wildlandfire.com. It sold in a week.
So list the stuff you need to sell. It works kind of like ebay, but
faster & hotter!
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Many of us before you have come to that same decision day. I remember my
Forest Service days like they were yesterday and treasure my memories as
a hot shot and of the other crews and assignments I served. I thought I
was gonna be green forever.
But like you, other realities hit and I had to move on. Let me suggest
to you though that you try some other departments where you don't have
to hang up your whites forever. You say you work in R5, you can try CDF
or one of the contract county fire departments (LA, Orange, Ventura,
Santa Barbara, Marin, Kern). CDF has great opportunities and so do the
contract counties. The contract counties are also among the first to hit
the road in out-of-county (aka "off forest") assignments. Salary,
benefits, and days off are much better too. My outfit recently hired 2
USFS engine Capt's and a BLM helitack Capt. (and a couple CDF
I have spent 28 years in a career outside of the big green but every
year I get to visit my old (and new) wildland friends on the many fires
I have had the privilege to be part of. I get to be part of training
cadres each year and teach wildland courses for CDF and the feds. It's
not the same or as much wildland work as your doing but it's still all
good! I have made OPSC, PLSC, OPBD quals and attend a lot of fires. Some
years I've been gone about 8 weeks of the fire season- which more than
fills my bill. You can do the same and still treat that new family of
yours right. Wish feds did better by their quality people, they just
don't. Look into one of these outfits and you can keep your "stumpy"
Good luck to you!
Contract County Guy
Just went through the runaround with the BLM over the FIRES
website...thought I'd let all those seeking seasonal dispatch employment
know the BLM is opening Logistic Dispatcher positions this Friday
(12-16) & Fire Dispatch positions on next Tuesday (12-20). They'll run
on a 4-week opening period, which is a marked difference from past
years...The first wave of hiring for all the other seasonal positions
(engine, helitack, handcrew) closes tomorrow, December 8th, so hurry up
Anyone have any idea when the Forest Service is posting dispatch
positions? I'm looking to make the jump...
Interesting report about CA fire protection and CDF MOU..
I dont know if you have ever posted this or not.
I just received the following announcement for communications
I'm sure some of you will find it helpful. I've just skimmed it but it
seems well written and logical.
The direct link is:
(24 page .pdf)
Attached you will find an announcement for a new tool available from the
NWCG Wildland Fire Education Working Team: Best Practices: Communication
Planning. Please distribute this email to your working team members and
throughout your organizations. The Best Practices: Communication
Planning is a useful resource for field personnel and is available on
the NWCG website.
Thanks very much for your help and support.
Community Fire Planner, WUI, Fire Prevention and Firewise
USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area S&PF
Fire and Aviation Management
I have 15 years in and no family. I am in it for the long haul. I grew
up in a Forest Service House. If you have a job offer with a structure
department, and are serious about your desire to actually be there for
your family, TAKE IT!
Your quality of life will be much greater than where you are as well.
Your income vs. expenditures ratio will alone guarantee that. From my
own experiences, if you want to have any time in the summer with your
children and still have a decent life, Federal Fire isn't going to work.
That said, Federal Fire is a lifestyle like no other in the world. It is
an amazing collection of extremely intelligent and interesting people.
If you do go to the structure side of things, consider working with the
local fire departments that do wildland on your days off.
Good luck, hope I didn't make a hard decision even harder.
This just came in with the first section checklist. OMG, are we in deep
trouble! Wonder what the Governator thinks of this? SoCal CDF
are 11 sections in all. The whole thing is posted here:
Planning for pandemic influenza is critical. To assist you in
your efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed
the following checklist. It identifies important, specific
activities you can do now to prepare. Many are specific to pandemic
influenza, but a number also pertain to any public health emergency.
This checklist is based on the HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan,
Public Health Guidance for State and Local Partners, but is not
intended to set forth mandatory requirements. Each state and local
jurisdiction should determine for itself whether it is adequately
prepared for disease outbreaks in accordance with its own laws and
Community Preparedness Leadership and Networking [Preparedness
Goal 1—Increase the use and development of interventions known to
prevent human illness from chemical, biological, radiological agents,
and naturally occurring health threats.]
Completed, In Progress, Not Started
- Establish a Pandemic Preparedness Coordinating Committee that
represents all relevant stakeholders in the jurisdiction (including
governmental, public health, healthcare, emergency response,
agriculture, education, business, communication, community based,
and faith-based sectors, as well as private citizens) and that is
accountable for articulating strategic priorities and overseeing the
development and execution of the jurisdiction's operational pandemic
- Delineate accountability and responsibility, capabilities, and
resources for key stakeholders engaged in planning and executing
specific components of the operational plan. Assure that the plan
includes timelines, deliverables, and performance measures.
- Within every state, clarify which activities will be performed
at a state, local, or coordinated level, and indicate what role the
state will have in providing guidance and assistance.
- Assure that the operational plan for pandemic influenza response
is an integral element of the overall state and local emergency
response plan established under Federal Emergency Support Function 8
(ESF8): Health and medical service and compliant with National
Incident Management System.
- Address integration of state, local, tribal, territorial, and
regional plans across jurisdictional boundaries in the plan.
- Formalize agreements with neighboring jurisdictions and address
communication, mutual aid, and other cross-jurisdictional needs.
- Ensure existence of a demographic profile of the community
(including special needs populations and language minorities) and
ensure that the needs of these populations are addressed in the
- Address provision of psychosocial support services for the
community, including patients and their families, and those affected
by community containment procedures in the plan (see Supplement 11).
- Test the communication operational plan that addresses the needs
of targeted public, private sector, governmental, public health,
medical, and emergency response audiences; identifies priority
channels of communication; delineates the network of communication
personnel, including lead spokespersons and persons trained in
emergency risk communication; and links to other communication
networks (see Supplement 10).
- Identify for all stakeholders the legal authorities responsible
for executing the operational plan, especially those authorities
responsible for case identification, isolation, quarantine, movement
restriction, healthcare services, emergency care, and mutual aid.
- Make clear to all stakeholders the process for requesting,
coordinating, and approving requests for resources to state and
- Create an Incident Command System for the pandemic plan based on
the National Incident Management System and exercise this system
along with other operational elements of the plan.
- Assist in establishing and promoting community-based task forces
that support healthcare institutions on a local or regional basis.
- Identify the authority responsible for declaring a public health
emergency at the state and local levels and for officially
activating the pandemic influenza response plan.
- Identify the state and local law enforcement personnel who will
maintain public order and help implement control measures. Determine
in advance what will constitute a “law enforcement” emergency and
educate law enforcement officials so that they can pre-plan for
their families and sustain themselves during the emergency.
- Ensure that the plans are scalable, to the magnitude and
severity of the pandemic and available resources. Revise as
Mellie, thanks for kick starting the wildland fire community and getting
As of July 2005, the United States population was estimated at
295,734,134 (Source: CIA-The World Fact Book).
Using the estimates of Dr. Osterholm (30-60 percent infection rate) that
would mean roughly 89 million to 177 million people infected in the
Under the current losses of about 50 percent of those infected, that
would mean 44.5-88.5 million deaths in the United States.
If the virus emerges and spreads with the current rate of mortality, the
following deaths could occur:
On the high scale, that would mean a 30% loss in the U.S. population. On
the low scale, it would mean a 15% loss.
One variable would be whether the avian flu mutates through an
intermediary host (equine, feline, swine, etc.) or jumps directly to
humans without changing its pathogenicity. If I understand what I have
been reading and researching, the 1968 pandemic was an avian strain that
mutated through swine, while the 1918 pandemic came directly from birds,
and humans or birds were where the re-assortment occurred for
sustainable human-to-human transmission.
Dr. Osterholm said, "Even if a 1918-like scenario unfolds, 98 of 100
people will still be alive at the end of the pandemic; how do we
minimize their pain and suffering?" With a world population of
6,446,131,400 (Source: CIA-The World Fact Book), and a pandemic causing
180-360 million deaths worldwide (Osterholm, 2005), that would equate to
a 3 to 6 percent loss rate of the world population assuming the best in
medical care and the availability of antivirals that work. There is some
evidence that antivirals are ineffective according to Dr. Nguyen Tuong
Van of the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi who has treated many of
the first cases of avian flu (United Press International, Dec. 3, 2005).
To put it into perspective, I'll use the Forest Service folks as an
example. Let's look at what all this means:
Forest Service Employees as of June 2005 (FedScope): 45,586
30-60 percent infection rate (Osterholm, 2005): 13,676-27,352 sick employees
Worst Case Scenario (50% Death Rate of those infected): 6,838-16,411 deaths
Best Case Scenario (3-6% Death Rate of those infected): 410- 1,641 FS employee deaths
Wildland firefighters will be the highest exposed group within the USFS
due to latent factors (fire camps, non-traditional responses, and the
general "can do" attitude) and failures to correct them. Those latent
factors will be the same for all federal wildland firefighters
regardless of agency affiliation.
It hurts to lose just one co-worker or friend in our wildland fire
community when they are killed, injured or become ill... I can't imagine
why this potential has not been discussed in the open outside of the
People have tried to raise situational awareness. So far
the questions have been falling on deaf ears in Boise and Washington. In
my opinion we're set for a major burnover. The FS will face lawsuits for
many years afterwards if there is no pandemic business plan. Ab.
I am writing today only to express my current dilemma in
which I believe many Wildland Firefighters have dealt with and will
continue to deal with until change comes in regards to retention. The
dilemma that I am speaking of is whether I should continue in my
employment with the Forest Service.
The reasons for my dilemma are numerous, but I must first say that I
truly love being a wildland firefighter and that I love working for the
Forest Service. I have invested the past 9 years of my life to working
hard and learning all I could about fire suppression and land management
to prepare myself for my current position. The agency has also invested
tens of thousands of dollars in my training to prepare me for my next
logical promotion to captain.
As a young man working on the engine and the hotshot crew I loved to
be away from home and to work as much overtime as I could but as times
have changed a few years ago I married and with that my priorities
changed. Before my only priority was work but now with a wife, my new
family is my first priority. And here lies the dilemma, my wife and I
want to start a family this year and we both believe that the raising of
our children is the most important thing for us which will require her
to remain at home with the children.
The problem is living in southern California it costs about 2000
dollars a month to live here that includes rent, utilities, insurance,
two car payments, and gas, but I only take home $1000 a pay period as a
GS-07 and that is putting 15% in the TSP and I will still need to pay
for food, clothing and other miscellaneous things, currently my wife
takes home a little less than I so we are able to save some and pay down
college bills. We don't live extravagantly we have two economy cars, one
paid for, minimal credit card debt, we live in a small 800 square foot
house and try to be as thrifty as possible.
I recently spoke to a hotshot superintendent who expressed that he
wished he had invested more time in his family than away from home and
that he now encourages his guys to take time to spend with family in the
hope that their families won't follow the same fate as his. It is along
these lines that I am considering leaving the agency because to stay I
would have to depend upon overtime to provide for my family but
sacrificing my time with them.
Three weeks ago I tested with a fire department back east whose
firefighters start at the same rate as a captain here. A few days ago I
received a job offer, so now I find myself in a dilemma as to what to
do, continue doing what I love with the Forest Service and hope for a
raise or start over and move across the country so that I can ensure
that my wife and future family will be given the time and attention they
need. I still do not know what I will do but hope that others might know
of the difficulty involved in this decision and my wish that I would
rather not have to make it at all.
Sorry if this post seems a little bit off-topic, but I just can't seem
to get worked up about bird flu.
Anyway, we're still hoping to get our DHS grant for that "other"
homeland security threat: wildfire. The Fire Origins project would
digitize 50 wildland entrapment fatality reports during 2006, or
basically one report a week. To help get ourselves in shape, this week
we've added the 1998 fire behavior report of the South Canyon Fire.
Thanks to everyone for an excellent and fun FWFSA Conference. Great to
have folks from fed agencies other than the FS, from states other than
California, and young and old! Excellent food. Good raffle and
registration treats! Casey I need a pack that slings over the other
Original Ab was awarded the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation Humanitarian Award. I'm very proud of him and his
contributions to wildland firefighter groundpounders everywhere. In his
usual humble way, he gave credit to all of you who make his contribution
possible. Original Ab, send in a photo! We want to see the statue! It's
Vicki Minor got a mighty fine dramatic plaque from FWFSA made of
sandstone. She should send in a photo of that one. She said it's the
first award she's ever gotten. Yahoo! Congrats, Vicki!
Others got plaques too. Maybe Casey can remind us... Kent
Swartzlander, and some old original FWFSA members who weren't able to
attend and several honorees. We could add them to the fire awards page.
I had fun talking with the hotshots, engine capts, etc late into the
night on Friday. (One of 'em was pretty sure I'm a spy, so I agreed. I
might be a spy if I could just figure out who to sell all the secrets
to! I could auction the "goods" on eBay...) Also enjoyed meeting all of
you who post here and getting acquainted with spouses and kids.
Steve Griffin, very nice to meet you. I'm glad you don't think
I'm a spy. BIG CONGRATS on being elected to Dan Kleinman's spot on the
board. I'm sure you'll do us proud! Dan, thanks for your service. Sorry
you're stepping down, but we have a new live one as a replacement.
Re Pandemic Business Plan:
RG and Old Dude, I know the Forest Service
doesn't have a pandemic business plan. Neither does BLM or NPS. Good
question about when the Academy sends people home, RG... (Nerd, thanks
for your input on fire department plans. I listened to your link last
week. As far as projections,
Osterholm has projections here at CIDRAP - pdf file - Ab.)
I do know that 25 of the largest business in the US/world got
together last Friday with reps from H&HS to plan for the pandemic.
Shearson Lehman preceded them by a week in their planning. I haven't
heard what any of them came up with. I do know that business provides
85% of our national infrastructure -- as in food, water, medicine,
essential services, fuel, energy, banking/investment, etc. To get
through this incident whenever it comes and to rebuild most
expeditiously, there must be a plan and contingencies in place for as
many businesses as possible. People will continue to need the
essentials. How to keep them coming??? What is essential that the FS,
BLM, NPS, FWS, BIA does? Those things need to be defined and planned
Here's one good PANDEMIC BUSINESS PLAN I have recommended to several
local NorCal businesses. Microbix is willing to share it with whomever
wants to ask:
I already have most of the family and personal info and the ppe in the
powerpoint I presented at FWFSA. However, I was lacking some of the info
on this BUSINESS page:
The bottom of this page is also excellent. It brings practiced
behaviors right down to earth with practical examples.
You could develop scenarios for at the office. Maybe there would be some
logical places your safety officer could provide hand wipes, surface
disinfectant, whatever else is needed to mitigate office infection - for
as long as you need to physically be in the office.
(Hmmm, along the personal financial lines, I've got to think through
which is the safest kind of investment for retirement funds... Most
401Ks let you choose the kind...)
Dan, I am honing the powerpoint I presented and getting permission
for the maps from HN so as not to violate copyright. I'll let you know
when the powerpoint with handout suggestions is ready to share. Maybe
tomorrow or the next day.
Thanks to ALL - Abs included - for being the terrific people you are.
I'm proud to count you among my friends.
This is the first piece I've seen that actually talks
about a timetable for flu spread after effective
human-to-human transmission is achieved.
Nerd on the Fireline
Nerd, that Killer Flu show on PBS had a progression of infection
timetable. Much more dramatic to see it in print...
I've been watching the news lately too. I think Sec. Leavitt
(Health and Human Services) and Dr. Osterholm (DHS) know some things we
don't and are trying to prepare us... Dr. Osterholm was on CNN this
morning talking masks, food storage and his family's preparedness for
6-12 months. President Bush just met with Lee Jong-wook the
director-general of WHO at the White House. Wonder what they talked
Bird Flu (Thanks Mel)
Is there a plan for when the Academy shuts down?
of the first bird flu enters SF from Asia, it will soon be in Sac.
If it comes this training season, we need to have some plans
in place to get our kids home.
I called the public schools. They are following the county's lead.
I called the county. They don't have a plan.
What do we do about suggesting our communities get ready.
We're a bit remote. If I speak up, they'll guess I have some extra
food. I don't want anybody knocking on my door when the
little markets shelves are bare. Cities will have it worst. my bet.
This could be more about the crisis of not enough food, medicine,
gas as about people sick and dying. What about law enforcement.
We saw Katrina. We saw the local bully boys holding up the fed
caravans going to the airport and hijacking resources. There
were finally LEOs that defended the orders that got thru. Bet no
sheriffs in this case or not enough.
Dan was right that the FLTs are not going to address forest
that need to get prepared. If they would have a community meeting, no
one individual would have to show up in the crosshairs of the
unprepared later. Bureaucracy gets in the way of forests taking a
Maybe we need to invite an outsider in to talk.
The more prepped our community is, the better for all.
Anyone know what businesses are doing?
An article in the Stateman 12/2, I believe AP as it was in the business
section - recorded the results of a well known Think Tank whom Tommy
Thompson, one of the beltway's brightest is a board member - and the
article went like this.
The think tank contacted / surveyed over a thousand companies, major
manufacturers, builders, suppliers -etc - and asked if they had a plan
ready for a flu episode. Unfortunately, about 80% said "no." Now that's
scary. What's good though is that some of the industry leaders now in
U.S. are trying to educate businesses and companies about survival
This is a good thing.
So I ask - what is your agency, state, county, EMPLOYER's strategic
Responding to 007 and hoping one of those comfy but weathered FS houses
The Forest Service is actively selling off government real estate. Much
it those older but comfy government homes.
With budgets the way they are, districts fighting just to keep people
working - those good old days are gone.
The only government housing that may be rentable in the near future are
old lookouts, now in the rental recreation program.
Seriously folks - the land management agencies don't have any money; the
paradigm has inverted and behaving like Mae West!
-- old dude
Good conference, FWFSA. Casey, GOOD JOB, MAN.
Bush was talking birdflu this morning on Foxxx. They're stepping it
Reported 3,000 birds with H5N1 dropped dead in Ukraine over the
weekend. The Ukrainian officials declared a "state of emergency" and
they're culling flocks.
Wife of a Chinese friend says there's a news blackout on bird flu in
while one more case was officially declared.
I'm watching the news in a whole new way.
Thanks for the alert Mellie. I'm getting my family together tonight
plan a town run to sams club and smart&final. We will get beans and
rice, but add some other canned and dried things too. Picking up some
galvanized trash cans for storage. Everyone is thinking and making
We're telling the kids its like making Swiss Family Robinson plans.
Even they are into it. Thanks for that tip Mellie. Attitude is what its
Just got back from attending the FWFSA conference in Reno, just wanted
to write in a few comments.
It was a pleasure and an honor to finally meet you in person, I am only
sorry that we were not able to sit down and chat a little more. Your
presentation on the Bird Flu was very informative and scary at the same
time, thanks for your tireless efforts.
Original AB and Vicki,
Congratulations on your award's. Both of you are perfect examples of
integrity and compassion.
FWFSA Board Members,
Thanks for putting on this conference, it was nice being able to met
some of the other members that came from far away places. The conference
was allot of fun and I can't wait for 2007. I can't wait for the new web
page, it sounds like a huge improvement.
You out did yourself organizing this conference. Thank you for all of
your hard work and the nice goodies that we all got and let your wife
know that we appreciated all of her help also. You can count on me if
you need help in DC, GO LAKERS......
It was a great conference and family friendly. I hope folks will read
this post and think real hard about attending our next conference in
2007, you will truly benefit from it by meeting some great people and
your board members.
It was a most *excellent* meeting. Nice job Casey and all.
It was mighty fine to have significant others and kids in, out and
about. Thanks to Casey's wife for her work and activities for the kids.
just for information
the 12/2 comment by Zimm was not me. I am quite familiar with the SEATs and what they do and where they are. In the future I will be BC Zimmerman.
Nope, you've been Zimm for longer than dirt. The other person will
be zimm2. I changed the moniker. Ab.
Nope, none of the apprentices have been offered jobs yet. We are still awaiting
word on when we can go ahead and do this. Hopefully it will be soon.....
Fellow Wildland Firefighters:
The dialogue has again commenced within the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) Incident Business Practices Working Team (IBPWT) regarding 2006 Administratively Determined (AD) wildland firefighter wages and benefits. Rumor has it they have already decreed no changes in wages from last year. From this we can also assume no changes in benefits (which have always been zip nada, none).
The AD wage level was lowered about 5 years ago from several regional standards to one national standard for almost all AD employees. Since that time there has been no increase in wage rates and, in fact, last year there was a concerted effort by IBPWT to reduce most AD wages. That effort was tabled by NWCG after a great deal of angst was expressed from a wide array of folks including some politicians.
5 Years in a row with no upward adjustment of AD wages amounts to a de facto reduction in wages in terms of real income. (Again benefits remain zip, nada, none.)
Below is a list (in rough descending order of numbers of persons effected) of the categories of firefighters who continue to be negatively effected by the continuing efforts of the IBPWT to reduce AD rates:
1. Native American and Hispanic AD Crews
2. Contract firefighters who are paid on parity with AD firefighters
3. Volunteer Fire Departments when deployed on federal fires
4. State Employees when deployed as AD’s on federal fires (most of the mountain, southern and eastern states)
5. De facto seasonal employees such as spouses and schoolteachers who are the seasonal backbone of most western dispatch centers
6. Retired federal wildland fire specialists still working as AD’s
This is a very large, critically important, and diverse group of American wildland firefighters. Add hurricanes, floods, disasters, impending pandemics, etc. to their current and future workload and AD’s become even more integral to national incident management efforts.
If you are an AD you will continue to be negatively affected by the current course of the IBPWT. If you are a federal incident or land manager it is in your best interest to support better treatment of such a large group of de facto employees upon whom you depend so much.
It is again time to contact in writing your congressman and senators with your concerns regarding the continued IBPWT negative attitude towards better wages and benefits of AD firefighters. There will be forthcoming more information regarding an organized letter writing effort on TheySaid and other forums such as AD Firefighter Association.
Thanks Abs for this truly great forum!!
Does anyone know if the Apprenticeship hiring is completed in R5 yet? I thought
I heard a date of 12/1 but I can't remember for sure.
Are the SEATs back up and flying. They went down after the Utah incident
and I have not heard anything since. Also, did a cause of that SEAT’s accident
Are the comm. Caches ready to clone the new narrow band digital radios. We
just finished switching around from BK to EFJ. When we show up will they
have what we need to clone for the fire.
Thanks for the excellent reading.
Regarding the posts in response to the threat of Avian Flu and our
I believe that the recent hurricanes proved one thing
quite clearly -
the US is not even close to dealing with heavy impact emergencies.
For years we have done a fine job of mobilizing an army to war, but we
always behind the power curve
when it comes to fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and epidemics.
not that our emergency services are
grossly inept, I believe that it is because our citizens are 95%
about how the natural world works and how
our society's infrastructure interacts with the natural world around us.
Just watch a Southern Californian drive in the snow
and it becomes quite apparent that regular interaction with our
teaches us humans about how to react when the conditions change around
My first suggestion would be for every community in the US to have an
evacuation plan that specifies travel routes, time frames and logistical
to support a mass exodus. If a community is next to a large body of
perhaps a system of barges/boats could be employed to relieve the
congestion on the roads.
Aviation contractors need to be pre identified for SAR operations.
hospitals need to be cached along with medical supplies, food and
Bottom line- address the emergency before it arrives. Because the
earthquake is coming to Southern California, the flood to Salt Lake
the wildfire to Denver, the Tsunamis
to Anchorage and the pandemic to everywhere in between. It's not a
of if but when. All of us know this instinctively. Why does the
as a whole
fail to grasp the dynamic nature of life on planet earth? If a city lies
below sea level- its going to flood. If a city lies on top of a twisted
maze of earthquake faults the earth is going to fracture and shake. If
live in an area where the natural vegetation burns, you are going to
wildfires. If you have no natural resistance to disease, without medical
intervention chances are good that you will die. Every community should
take responsibility for developing their own comprehensive plans for
dealing with disasters.
Ask your community about it's emergency response plans- the answer
Chicken Little's Brother
checks for dee ann b., a quick search brought these up. i use image
checks. com and went through their portal, as they don't seem to have
today sign me
raining bambi buckets full outside
It appears that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in
is pushing for portal-to-portal pay for Oregon Department of Forestry
employees engaged in incident response.
Reply to Another Squaddie,
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation has the means to make patches, shirts,
coats, hats, or whatever you might need for your crew or group. I have been
making fire shirts for over 14 years. The Foundation would love to work
with any of you in fire service and is open to incorporating our logos and
images with your logos and designs. If you want more information, call me
at 208-336-2996. We would love to accommodate you in any way we can.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Good morning, Ab.
We've added a couple more historic documents to the Fire Origins section
the Colorado Firecamp website.
The first is the brief of the 1966 Loop Fire Analysis Group report.
The second is the 1967 report of the Fire Safety Review Team that was
in response to the Loop Fire tragedy.
Remember. Learn. Share.