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2/28 Brian,

I also started out as a PA State crew guy, and after going out west one year decided it was for me. Now as a Squad Leader on a Type 1 crew I picked up a few things along the way. I was also told as a rookie to carry extra socks, extra shirts, etc…, but I have learned you just need to carry the basics. As a member of a PA State Crew, 9 out of 10 times you will not be spiked out, or too far away from the bus, so just put in to the pack that you really need. Too much weight can kill your moral, after awhile. All of our crew carries the majority of the same stuff, but the extras are spread out through the entire crew, so not one crewmember carries too much, except the saw teams. What you carry in your pack is up to you since there is no SOP for your crew, but here is what we have our folks put in theirs:

Your Fire Shelter (New Generation)
Minimum of 4 quarts of water
4 fusees
1 Bastard File (w/ handle & sheath)
Safety Glasses (clear and dark lenses)
Space Blanket
2 Pairs Gloves (1 used & 1 spare)
Individual First Aid Kit
2 Extra Pairs Ear Plugs
Headlamp (plus extra batteries)
1 M.R.E. (Enough for 2 meals)
20' P-Cord
Toilet Paper
1 Roll of Pink Flagging
2 Light Sticks
Rain Poncho
Cold Wx Gear (Beanie, thermal shirt, etc…)
Sigg Bottles (as assigned)
Sawyer Gear (as assigned)
Box of Batteries (as assigned)
Fiber Tape (as assigned)
Extra Rolls of Flagging (as assigned)
Water Filtration Kit (as assigned)
Belt Weather Kit (as assigned)
Kestrel (as assigned)

As far as what pack to use, that is a tuff one. If you are on a hotshot crew one is given to you so they all look alike, but they are pretty spendy if you are purchasing just one. All of the pack manufactures will tell you that theirs are the best, but I have found that Ruffian Specialties who make ours really hold up to the abuse they go through each year. If you are just going to come out west one or twice every couple of years, I would probably not spend the money like I did when I was in your shoes. The FSS pack is good enough for one trip a year, but that’s it, those things suck if you have to wear it day in and day out.

Hope this helps.

2/28 For Zimm,

I am on a state crew in PA. I have been accumulating stuff since day one and the pack has gotten heavy and over stuffed. (Granted it may also be the pack), which could bring up another question. What does everybody think regarding packs? Is the yellow federal pack good (that is what I have and it has worked for me)? I have been looking at all these other packs out there and there are so many options to choose from what have all of you had experience with?

2/28 Hello All,

Does anyone know how many new jumpers were hired on this season at Redmond? It's just a rumor, but the word on the street is that some well qualified and experienced jumpers were passed over for some much less experienced and much newer personnel, but I'm not believing this unsubstantiated bit of gossip and I figured someone here would know. It was a major topic of heated discussion at a recent mini-reunion, and from the sounds of it a coming topic of discussion for more than just a few of us groundpounders. It wouldn't make good sense from a financial and safety standpoint to hire and train newby types when there are unemployed and trained experienced personnel around, would it? So I'll just assume it's not true unless I learn otherwise.

Fire Ape
2/27 NMAirBear,

I have to agree with Jon Stewart and the Daily Show's assessment of what it takes to work for the current administration. To think up a proposal to cut 21,000 jobs from the U.S. Forest Service and have the huevos to call it the "Green Plan" - it must really take some big trousers to fit those walnuts.

What will they come up with next?

vfd cap'n
2/27 Ab: I just got this from a friend. I am not sure what the source is but it looks like a press article. It should be of considerable interest to TheySaid readers....... NMAirBear

Thousands of Ranger, Biologist, Smoke-Jumper Jobs Out to Bid

Washington, DC —The U.S. Forest Service is studying how to contract out more than two-thirds of its total workforce by 2009, according to agency planning documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Coming on the heels of Bush administration plans to sell off 300,000 acres of Forest Service land, the agency is also looking to potentially privatize large portions of its environmental, law enforcement, fire-fighting and research operations.

Under the agency plans, 21,350 full-time jobs will soon be under review for possible replacement by private sector firms. The Forest Service has a total of 31,625 full-time jobs, according to Office of Personnel Management figures for FY 2003:

During the current fiscal year, 500 fire-fighting jobs in the aviation program, including the famed smoke-jumpers, will be examined for outplacement to interested contractors;

  • In FY 2007, approximately half of the agency’s law enforcement agents and rangers (600 positions), the jobs of all of its geologists (500 jobs) and 1,100 biologists who prepare environmental studies on the impacts of timber sales, oil and gas leasing and other actions on national forest lands may be put out to bid;
  • In FY 2008, the agency’s entire network of scientists and other researchers (2,000 slots) and 3,000 foresters and range conservation staff positions will be reviewed for outsourcing potential
  • “The Forest Service appears to be having an internal fire sale, with the heart of our national forests put out for bid on eBay,” stated Jeff Ruch, PEER Executive Director. “We may soon see the Weyerhaeuser National Forest patrolled by rent-a-rangers, overseen by private consultants.”

In 2003, an outsourcing plan of similar scope, designed to meet Bush administration outsourcing quotas prior to the 2004 election, was halted by Congressional action. Then, as now, one of the major concerns was the added cost to the Forest Service to conduct the studies and stage the competitions. In its latest proposed budget, the Bush administration is cutting back Forest Service operating funds without providing any new funds to pay for this broad undertaking. In 2003, the Forest Service spent an estimated $360 million on studies but produced no identifiable savings.

Large scale outsourcing also has a dampening impact on sagging employee morale, already depressed by shrinking budgets. To make matters more contentious, the Forest Service is advancing its plan without consulting the unions representing affected employees.

“For decades, this agency has invoked the phrase ‘Forest Service family’ to connote a cohesive, close-knit organization, but this plan puts whole branches of the family on the auction block,” Ruch added, noting that effective contract management has not been one of the strong suits of the federal government. “This whole misguided effort is an example of mindless management by slogan lacking in any analysis as to how to make the Forest Service actually run better or more efficiently.”


Read the new Forest Service Outsourcing Plan (pdf file)

This is the Outsourcing Review process that all of the FS is undergoing, dictated by Congress. Readers can ask Tom Harbour about this at the Chief Officers Meeting in Reno tomorrow. Ab.

2/27 According to norcalfire group -
600 acres escaped control burn north of Weed, California on Hwy 97 this past
weekend. One structure lost, strike teams formed from ShastaT NF and TGU

It had been quite warm here in norcal for a week, but heavy rain now.


2/27 Ab and All,

We burned star thistle on our meadow in Trinity County over the weekend. This was following a full week of sun and some drying winds. Boy was it dry flashy fuel. It was awesome! Good we didn't have winds when it was burning.

Love that little drip torch. (What are the proportions of diesel to gas? My nephew mixed it up and we didn't blow up! Phew. It dripped just fine! What fun!)

I'll send in some photos when I get a chance.


2/27 Hey ab,

is all the rain and snow in california and the pac nw have any significant effect on the fire season?

thanks dan

2/27 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated.


2/27 Lobotomy,

You have compared the Forest Officer pay scale in a number of posts. I don't know how a Forest Officer compares with the GS 3 and 4 job duties but I suspect the Forest Officer has more responsibilities in law enforcement and as an engine operator. The other two Fire fighter positions used by ODF are the Laborer 1 and 2 series and are the most common positions used in most Districts. These two positions are considered entry level fire positions. The Forest Officer position less so...

Laborer 1 - $1,506 to $ 1,999 per month (eight seasons to make it to the top of the pay scale)
Laborer 2 - $ 1,764 to $2,258 per month. (same as above)

Portal to Portal pay? I wouldn't bet on it... Wouldn't turn it down either...or would I?

2/27 AB-

Go to www.scalefirebombers.com to see a few pictures of the aircraft
mentioned in this thread. Click “Fixed Wing-Part 1 and 2”. They are
all there.

“Tanker Fan”
2/27 re Sis-Q Flying Service

I'm glad there are still some folks around that remember. My father was a mechanic at Sis-Q for a number of years. (Dave Greeson) Unfortunately dad passed on Aug. 2004. I remember spending a few long nights on tanker 49. Hope everybody from that place and those days are well.

Jeff Greeson

2/27 Richard Murillo,

Need to talk to you about fire season! Please contact Firestormers.

Firestormer 360-880-3473
2/26 Hey Ab,

I have a question for anybody that might have an answer. I heard that the FS is officially testing the "Super tanker 747"?????

Since I am here, what the heck I might as well ask this too. Since the MEL buildup, has anyone really been at the 100% of MEL?? I am asking cause I know that my forest has only been about 60% and that is a day when all engines are on duty and all crews as well. Alot of engines in north zone are only 5 day effective, because we have folks who say that we have no money!! My question to them is WHY NOT? I know there are funds redirected to other agenda items but fire is fire and that money is for fire plain and simple.

If R5 loses the so called 40 engines, how many are NOPS vs OSC? I believe we will hear alot at the meeting this week, so let's make sure we ask about this and remain FIRM!! One last thing to add to this, who knows where they are gonna make the cuts? If you do the math, 40 engines equals 280 positions cut or 200 depending on the daily staffing levels of the engines. Now if you add all these modules up --just in salaries for 5 day staffing figured as year round it's easier that way-- this is a savings of 89 million dollars. Now if they surplus the engines figuring they will get rid of the older stuff first, at say $25,000 each, it's 1 million... so $90 million saved with the cuts. For 90 million dollars saved I bet that this can become real folks, so we need to make a stand and fight! It's our jobs plain and simple and if you're a new hire with little time in well here is the door, is something you might hear very soon!!

I hope this kinda opens some eyes to this issue cause I know if they are able to save 90 million dollars going back to the pre MEL staffing it looks good on paper!!!!!


You yourself can ask Tom Harbour these questions on Tuesday at the R5 Chief Officers' Meeting. Ask away... Somebody's got to. Ab.

2/26 So much is now on the table regarding “Doctrine”….

Here you go folks...a doctrine to make anyone step back and think (hopefully)…

( A bit of introduction….I have four children…three of which are now out in the world on their own. One – an 11 year old – is in my face…demanding my attention as a focused adult)

…and this is what I have to say…

“Five words…Courage…Integrity…Leadership…Curiosity…and Concern…”

Any program…education and/or institutional…or (whatever else there might be out there…) address these issues and you’ll be on the right track.

Hey…WO…pay attention….If we can’t raise our children on these basics…how can we raise you?

With utmost hope…

Shari Downhill
2/26 Time flies, so they say.

It seems just like yesterday. Sis Q flying service actually lost three F7F's
in 1974. All within thirty days. Mike Fagen, crashed on take off from
Rhonerville, CA. Bill Benedict and Dick Miller I believe hit trees. Not real
positive on that though.

Bob Forbes
2/25 what to put into a pack:

An answer for Brian in cleaning out his pack. Is he an engine or crew guy. If crew travel
a bit light but have: socks X 3, toothbrush, leatherman, washcloth, 4 liters water (In my
younger days 4 one liter or 1/5 liter bottles), 3 mre (make sure they are ones you like
and none that are old, they taste terrible after a while), 1 extra tshirt, handbook, at least
1 fuses, taskbook, redcard, and what ever else fits.

If engine travel heavy, remember the engine can carry a lot, but your daypack can be light.


2/25 Re SIS-Q Flying Service:


Back in the 70's SIS-Q flying service flew out Santa Rosa,Ukiah, Paso
Robles fleet included DC-6s, F7Fs, PBY and S2Fs. In 1974 SIS-Q lost
two pilots and two F7F air tankers one accident occurred on take off
from Rohnerville and one near Hopland tail number E31.


2/25 Re: Health Hazards of Smoke

Has anyone in the research world of wildland fire considered the health hazards associated with Fusarium Mycotoxins. Of particular interest is the compound called Butenolide.

Fusarium Mycotoxins are fungi found in the soils and within wildland vegetation. When burned, they produce a compound called Butenolide. Butenolide has been found to be harmful to key organs (liver, kidneys, lungs) and is considered to be carcinogenic. The MTDC studies on the health hazards of smoke do not appear to have addressed this hazard.

Hazards from Butenolide are from inhalation and ingestion. When combined with moisture, they may also be an absorption hazard. Allergenic effects have also been noted.

Butenolide compounds can be transported home with you if you bring dirty nomex, boots, or yourself home without proper decontamination. Don’t bring a hazard home.


1) Re-Open and fund the MTDC Health Hazards of Smoke Program.
2) Wash all PPE at work prior to bringing it home.
3) If exposed to smoke, shower before returning home.
4) Start tracking cancers among wildland firefighters and their families.
5) Start a retro study on cancers among firefighters.
6) Again…. Re-open and fund the MTDC Health Hazards of Smoke Program.

2/25 Ab and all:

Before this year starts I am cleaning out my line pack. I was wondering what everybody carries so I can get some advice in deciding what to leave and what to get rid (not carry on the line but have available) of. This part of the request may come off strange but I will do my best in asking this part of the question clearly. With packs being customizable, what do you carry in the "full" line pack compared to just the harness and accessory pouch(es)? Also, what do you find works well for fluid storage i.e. the GSA bottles, back pack hydration system, military surplus canteens, or other types of containers or a combination of different ones?

Thank You
2/25 Ab,

Here's a good idea for changing the ways we do investigations. I believe it's
similar to the peer review process for academic and scientific papers.


Tahoe Terrie

2/25 To Bob Nance:

Siskiyou Flying Service was one of the early tanker operators in California and flew F7F's and TBMs for CDF as well as the USFS. They were based in Montague in Siskiyou County and later moved their operation to Santa Rosa at the Sonoma County Airport.F7F's flew during the late 50's,60's and 70's and were a fast airtanker. Some pilots made the comment that it was a joy to fly a airtanker with fighter performance.

2/25 re Katrina Lessons Learned,

Thanks Rogue Rivers for your comments. Ditto on those.

Here are two additional items from the report that have potential effects on the wildland fire program.

"ESF-9 must include the United States Forest Service’s (USFS), DOI and EPA capabilities to perform search and rescue operations. USFS is given the role as primary agency under ESF-4: Firefighting and as supporting agency under ESF-9. DOI is a principal partner with USFS in carrying out ESF-4 functions. As firefighters make up a large percentage of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams, their expertise and capabilities should also contribute to search and rescue operations. Under SF-9, the mission statements of USFS and DOI should include the availability of firefighting personnel, not just equipment and supplies, for use in search and rescue operations. ESF-9 must include the capabilities of all participants in the National Search and Rescue Committee.

"In addition, USDA’s Forest Service deployed approximately 300-350 law enforcement officers to the affected area as members of ESF-4 Incident Management Teams. Eventually, over 3,500 Federal law enforcement officers were deployed to the region."

It seems to me and seemed so at the time that the Forest Service performed well and provided the first contingent of federal law enforcement officers, set up good camps, but was under utilized in the fire arena and the ESF function 4 responsibilities.

This is much like H-527 being turned around enroute to Louisiana, as fires burned.


2/24 Bluesman,

You got it all jacked up. The discussion was about having CDL drivers who have attended an engine academy. It is a potential regional policy that all CDL drivers that have not attended an engine academy would not be allowed to drive a fire engine. It is probably a result of the two accidents last year on the Cleveland National Forest.

It was focused on the significance of using apprentices to fill vacant AFEO positions, totally irrelevant from the triggering accident(s) causing review of policies and an un-neccessary knee jerk reaction. Much like how 401 is going to MAKE FIREFIGHTERS SAFER.

Was the BOD meeting a joke? Speak freely and feel free to use a moniker.

2/24 Bluesman, which part of my questioning a "rumor" was incorrect?

I saw the RO memo directing 5 day coverage as an alternative to stay within allocated budgets..It also said my Forest couldn't hire any temporary firefighters....should hold off on hiring non-essential fire positions, etc....  . Which fire positions are non-essential?..... . ya can't hide that as a rumor. It is also pretty clear that Region 5 is in a world of hurt when it comes to this years budget.... EVERY forest was underfunded for the buildups they made under the NFP.

A loss of 40+ engine modules was discussed.... it was also discussed as a part of cost containment measures... don't forget that.

If the letter that came out of the RO is incorrect direction or advice, it should be retracted.

2/24 We're pleased to announce that National Fire Fighter has a new direct link from our Classifieds Page.  We appreciate the companies and organizations who chose us to help market their business.  You can help support us by using our classifieds page as your one-stop shopping gateway.  If you know of other honest and reliable vendors you think should have a place on the page, please let us know about them. 

Thanks, OA.

2/24 Interesting letter on British Columbia's decision to not use fire shelters.


See the link below.  fire-shelter.pdf  Thanks to the other folks who sent this in. Ab.

2/24 Pretty interesting viewpoint and decision. This info would also help
during discussions on Situational Awareness and entrapment avoidance

fire-shelters.pdf  (2,206K pdf file)

Pass it along.


2/24 Does Anybody Know...


was there a tanker company called siskue aviation, a friend of mine named
Norm Silver said he flew F7F;s for them in the 70's.


Bob Nance
(retired fireman/helicopter pilot)

2/24 Gizmo's post is not correct. The rumor he refers to was from notes
generated at the last BOD meeting and has to do with leadership and having
2 qualified CDL drivers on an engine module to respond to any incident.
Given the slow pace of filling vacant positions in the region, some modules
will be without either qualified leaders or drivers or both and have to cut
back on days effective or be put out of service for the season. Has nothing
to do with MEL.

Sign me "Bluesman"

Thanks for setting the record straight. Ab.

2/24 Ab,

Re: the Tactical Truths.

Has it been six years already since I sent that in? Maybe that helps
explain why I just can't remember where I got it. It could have been email,
or one of those things you see a heavily-xeroxed copy of on the wall of a
crew's ready room, or maybe someone gave it to me in a desperate hope that
some of it would sink in.

I don't think I added much, but I reorganized it to the way it's printed on
your site so that it would be a bit easier to use.

There's some pretty good stuff in there.

2/24 Ab,

FYI --The Roseburg, Oregon school shooting victim is the son of
the late Vic Monti, of Lassen NF.

Student Critically Injured In Roseburg, Oregon School Shooting


We'll keep him in our thoughts and prayers. Ab.

2/24 Re: Recruitment and Retention…. it’s just a California Problem?

For those looking at entry level or second year employment as a wildland firefighter in the Western U.S., here is the pay you can expect for the 2006 fire season:

Forest Service Temporary Pay – Rest of U.S.
GS-3 - $1881.00 per month / No Benefits
GS-4 - $2111.50 per month / No Benefits

Oregon Department of Forestry
Forest Officer - $2,001 - $2,713 Monthly w/ Benefits (Possible Portal to portal pay in the future)

Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments, Forestry Division
Helicopter Crewmember - $2080 - $2600 Monthly / Benefits Unknown

Washington Department of Natural Resources
Natural Resource Worker 2 - $2021 - $2537 Monthly / Benefits Unknown

Nevada Division of Forestry
Seasonal Firefighter 1 - $2371.58 - $3441.67 Monthly / Benefits Unknown
Seasonal Firefighter 2 - $2571.67 - $3753.17 Monthly / Benefits Unknown

Idaho State Department of Lands

Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
Forestry Technician - $1648.40 - $2281.07 Monthly / Benefits Unknown

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Various Positions - $1599.87 Monthly / Benefits Unknown

California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection
Firefighter 1 - $2333.00 - $2837.00 Monthly w/ Benefits (Including portal to portal pay)

2/24 > From The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

Appendix A – Recommendations

"All Federal departments and agencies should align their response structures to NIMS. In accordance with this alignment, the entire Federal response structure should be NIMS based, reporting through one unified command using the same terminology and basic organizational structure. Although ICS is a field command structure, developing an understanding of the ICS at all levels will eliminate confusion, standardize operations throughout the government, and limit unnecessary interference with field command. DHS should lead a review of all Federal department and agency response operations plans to guarantee conformance with NIMS and the NRP, from response teams to command post operations."

Appendix B - What Went Right

"About 3,000 members of the Forest Service also deployed to the region to support response efforts. Arriving in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama, Forest Service personnel established support camps, provided aviation assistance, and transported desperately needed supplies to relief workers. The base camps they established were capable of supporting 1,000 emergency responders at each site. They bolstered the destroyed aircraft infrastructure in the region with their own fixed wing planes and helicopters. They also helped navigate the Federal procurement system and successfully obtained needed emergency response supplies. These activities allowed local and state emergency response personnel to focus on response rather than worrying about the supplies and other support they needed."

I would have to wonder how things would have gone better if they allowed more of the Incident Management Teams to manage incidents rather than just providing logistical support in many cases? The press articles today saying the response should be in the hands of the military needs to be really rethought.... they should be in the hands of incident managers.

Rogue Rivers

2/24 Abs,

I'm pretty sure that the sayings attributed to Rand Kapral below are actually from Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini.  He had a small section of those witticisms in the back of his book Fire Command.  He's now got a book out entitled Timeless Tactical Truths, from which these come.

As a secondary note, I'm now relaxing/recovering after a long week at the Firehouse World conference in San Diego.  It was great so see many of my brothers in blue and even some of those wearing green.  Marc Hawkins and Kelly Gouette put on a great class on the ins and outs of being a Structure Protection Group Sup.  There were several other wildland oriented classes as well, including S290 and S215.  Nice to see us all training in the same sandbox.  I'm pushing the sponsors hard to include more classes to interest the wildland folks.  The more we train and socialize together the better we'll be collectively.

2/24 Re: Centralizing Functions within the Forest Service

Since the Forest Service has been hog wild lately centralizing functions
(law enforcement, human resources, communications, information
services, etc.), isn't it time for a discussion on centralizing fire?

I work on a Forest that has had a centralized the fire program for over
10 years and it seems to work very well.

2/24 Would the person using the following I.D. please re-contact the FWFSA regarding your question:
SoCal_firefightersshouldcontinuetobepaidasone. Your e-mail address was invalid.

We are not aware of what you are talking about or the background of your comments. Please
contact the FWFSA with additional information or clarification.

2/24 There are rumors floating around that Region 5 may be losing 40+ engines
this coming fire season due to budget cuts. There also are rumors that many
fire engines will only be covered five days a week instead of seven.

It's amazing how fast 100% MEL came and went.......

2/24 For the information I requested:

thank you so much!!!

DelRosa IHC reunion guy

2/23 Just a notice to those of you that know Darrell Wittke, a former
smokejumper who jumped out of Boise. Darrell was killed in a motorcycle
accident last weekend near Helena, Montana. More information can be found
in the obituary section of the Helena Daily Record.

Todd Camm
South Zone Fire Management Officer
Middle Fork RD Willamette NF

Ab note from the paper: A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Retz Funeral Home Chapel, Helena. A reception will follow at the West Valley Fire Hall on Forestvale Road. Memorials in Darrell’s name are suggested to the Darrell Wittke’s Children Education Fund, c/o the Elkhorn Federal Credit Union at Fort Harrison, MT 59636.

Todd, please give our condolences to his family if you have an opportunity to speak with them. Ab.

2/23 Kamie-

Thanx. That is basically the info I was looking for. I've read the same thing about them from others but not from someone on the line. I will probably find myself around the ICP since I am trained as an FBAN, RESL, SOF2 or DMOB Unit Leader. Those Corcorans may be well placed in an office/light duty setting. Thanx again. The search continues.


2/23 The Katrina Lessons Learned Report is out.

DHS Website, Press Room

It's 228 pages. The guts of the report is 85 pages, but the recommendations are in the appendix, hmmmm... 17 sections of recommendations... I'm interested in what they think NIMs should be and do. Hopefully they don't recommend undoing any of NIMs. This is of concern because it will determine the next set of policy changes... if any.

Could be a weekend read, in the sun at the ranch, glass of lemonade, large straw hat, feet propped up, while the guys dig the trench... Yeah, right...


2/23 Aberdeen -

Generally I just wore my regular work boots, 8" terra lites that are gortex and steel toed. I work in a multi-task workplace with firefighting generally taking up no more than 20% of my time. I decided to buy a 10" unlined boot to use solely for wildland firefighting. The terra's are a good boot but fire wrecks havoc on them and I have no back-up pair. Last weekend I strolled into the local army surplus and was surprised to see a brand new pair of Corcoran jump boots sitting on the shelf. I picked them up. I never seemed to have the time when out west to question the guys or gals on the unit crews which type of boot they preferred or how they maintained them. Thanx for responding.

Dawg Fude

2/23 Dawg Fude...

I'm just assuming here but you must stand morning inspections in them Corcoran's because that's about the only thing they're good for. Ask any Paratrooper, who has more than 5 jumps, about Corcorans. I spent 5 years in Army Airborne units (236 jumps) and my Corcoran's stayed highly shined, but out of the way until the next Class "A" inspection. On the fireline you'd probably be better off with a pair of flip-flops.


2/23 Dawg Fude - a quick question regarding your post about boots. Since you stated that you've been out West as a DIVS, what kind of footwear were you wearing when you were a FFT2, FFT1, Crew Boss, Strike Team Leader and earlier assignments as a DIVS?

2/23 "A good scare is always better than good advice."

Written by the Navajo Scouts on the back of their time card next to a sketch of the
Dude Fire portrayed as a monster throwing fire balls over them as they escaped,
not knowing that the fire had killed 6 of 11 entrapped Perryville Crew behind them.
Experience is a great teacher until it kills you. Teaching is a great experience, but is
good it enough to save you?

Old Sawyer.

2/23 Re firewood, etc

Amazing but not surprising…

I just want to personally send my appreciation to all of you who jumped so quickly when you realized what was needed. Often that’s all it takes. There are so many people who want to help but really aren’t sure how. And, sadly, there are also many people who could really use help, but don’t know exactly how to ask. Hopefully, the “Wood For Krs” effort will send a message in a gentle way…. If you need something…or know someone who needs something, just let it be known. If you don’t feel comfortable posting the information or request in such a public venue as this, contact Vicky Minor or any of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation crew (208) 336-2996) . They are facilitators extraordinaire. Thanks to you too Abs, for your valuable role in this.

Now…for world peace…

Shari Downhill

Remember that OUR Wildland Firefighter Foundation needs 52 Club memberships.
It's a new year. This is our community's "security blanket". OUR Foundation has demonstrated this over and over; this is no BS. The Foundation steps up but only if we SIGN UP! Get your crew to sign up! Ab.

2/23 A firefighter that I have a ton of respect for once told me

”If you over order on a fire and you stop it, you will hear about it for
the rest of the season, If you under order on a fire and you lose it,
you will hear about it for the rest of your career”!!


2/23 Hi Ab,

I've been looking over the articles on the "they said" page and I have a
question regarding footwear that is probably a little redundant.

I've bought a pair of Corcoran "jump" boots and am going through the
painful break-in. Do you or anyone you know use these boots for wildland
FF? I've read they are a great jump and parade boot but may be a tad
hard on the feet for heavy field use. Also, from most of the articles and
advice I've gotten, I've decided to treat them with a a leather conditioner
and Nikwax. I've been west fighting fires as a Div Sup and of course see
these hotshot crews working diligently on their boots (probably a better
chance getting a date with their girlfriends than borrowing their boots for
an evening).

Anywho, this is a rookie request so before the pros jump on a "boot"
question, I'll let you know I've researched the subject way too much but
have yet to get an opinion(s) from someone who has actually put their
boots to the black. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dawg Fude

2/22 thanks sting!!! Good reading. I thought it would be good to share with people that hate to look at links.


> From Rand Kapral as posted in the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center:


* The very worst fire plan is no plan (the next worse is two plans).
* The only safe wildfire assumption is assume the worst.
* If you have lots of ideas, you will need lots of help.
* A little effort in the beginning can eliminate the need for lots of effort at the end.
* Move quick--young conditions are easier to control than old ones.
* It is better to get out five minutes too soon than five seconds too late.
* Very little on a fire falls up.
* Don't ever let your inclination to gamble outdistance your fear.
* Safe firefighters are smart firefighters.
* Never confuse repeat fires for routine fires; the same basic deadly elements are present at every fire--there are no routine fires.
* Don't stand too close to people who are always bandaged up.
* If you panic, be certain to run in the correct direction.
* Safety prevents meetings, reviews, and investigations.
* Fires all go out eventually.
* Trust safety, not luck.
* When you're having problems take a partner.
* Don't spend all your chips--always have a tactical reserve.
* Losing your temper generally represents the incipient stage of rectal-
cranial inversion.
* Good procedures are so simple you don't need to write them down to remember them or use a dictionary to understand them.
* When someone screws up, yell at them -- they'll love it.
* Keep working on the basics -- most of us are not advanced enough to make advanced mistakes.
* Be careful of people who close their eyes and open their mouths.
* Educational times on the fire are not always fun times.
* If you don't have a plan, don't add additional resources.
* If you're gonna order, you gotta pay the check.
* Beware of Kamikaze pilots who have gone on 65 missions.
* Experience and education are like oregano--they must be mixed with alot of other stuff to be good.
* Be careful around people who attach status to knowing things you don't.
* Never is a long time.
* Beware of the supervisor who says, "Don't do anything until I get there."
* If you think the cost of fire training is expensive, check out the cost of ignorance.
* There ain't no fair fights on a fire.
* It is difficult to get just a little bit exited.
* Some days on the fireline the best it gets is so-so.
* When you lose your head, the next thing is your ass.
* If the forest burns don't take it personally, you didn't make the woods combustible and you didn't start the bloomin thing.
* If looking at a fire makes you crazy, don't look at it.
* If you can't control yourself, you can't control anything.
* Surprises are nice on your birthday, not on a fire.
* Take firefighting seriously but do not take yourself seriously.
* Always take care of people who are trying to make you look good and make it easy as possible for them to do so.
* Hope for the best -- plan for the worst.
* Everything on a fire is "too" something.
* If you aren't dressed to play, stay in the bleachers and off of the field.
* There are no credit cards on a fire -- you pay for everything you do at the time you do it.
* There aren't any "time outs" on a wildfire.
* The next tragedy will take the pressure off the last tragedy.
* If you are not willing to disagree with a decision and to really THINK, stay home and watch the fire on TV.
* Every fire situation has a limited number of decisions -- they can be made by you or the fire.
* Do not think that you are communicating just because you are talking.
* Most of the time, the first five minutes are worth the next five hours.
* The longer you wait to make a decision, the fewer options you will have.
* Be careful of what you say in difficult situations--offhanded, dumb comments are like aluminum cans--they last forever in the environment.
* The further you are from the last fire the closer you are to the next one.
* There is no connection between the amount of hose on a fire and the amount of water put on the fire.
* Smart people on a fire can tell what is going to happen -- anyone can tell what has happened.
* Don't trust smoke--it can hide what is really going on.
* The most important fire is the one you're on now.
* The more routine decisions you make prior to a fire the more time you will have to make critical decisions during the fire.
* Don't change the rules by breaking them.

Sting and Lobotomy, thanks. Mellie, good memory.

Ab did a search on "Fires give the test just ahead of the lesson" and look what I found from BLM Bob in 2000. He had more "truths" in categories -- We even made a page for them: Tactical Truths

  • Fire Ops,
  • Planning,
  • Working with People,
  • Taking Care of Yourself, and
  • Important Things You Will Learn.

Hey BLM Bob, do you know where these came from? Clearly they've been around for a while... part of wildland firefighter culture.

Searched on this one, too: "Experience is knowledge you gain, right after you need it." Boo (Texas Forest Service) sent that in first time in 2000. That got added to Bob's list and posted later on the Scratch Lines page (in 2004). Good stuff. I'm adding BLM Bob's Tactical Truth link to the Links Page under Miscellaneous so we don't loose track of it again.


2/22 What both Bob and NorCal Capt said is correct about having EMS equipment on a fire truck. You never know where you will be or when that kit will be needed. Been there.

My only suggestion on getting a kit is to write down every thing you think you will need and stick with the most necessary items. Gloves, burn kit, gauze etc. My jump kit weights in at around 65lbs and trying to run around with that slung over your shoulder is not easy.

One more vital thing is to get the training because it doesn't do you one bit of good if you have no idea what in the H*LL you are doing.

That may seem pretty strong for a few and I am not out to start a fight, but it is the truth. If you are out of your local area and you end up on a serious accident make sure you get with the local TTC and get the briefing done.

TTC is trained trauma counselor.


2/22 For those of you ex-Del Rosa Hotshots, don't forget to sign up for the
Del Rosa Hotshot's 60th. Anniversary Reunion.

We are still trying to locate Jose (Joe) Cruz, retired W.O. Director of
Fire and Aviation Management for the Forest Service and former member
of the Del Rosa Hotshots. Any help would be appreciated.... thanks!!


He's in Oregon. Ab.

2/22 USDA Forest Service

Tonto National Forest

Rim Forests Begin Fire Restrictions

PHOENIX: February 21, 2006

Drought conditions and increased fire danger have resulted in the implementation of fire restrictions for the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino and Tonto national forests beginning February 23 at 8 a.m.

Centered on the Mogollon Rim, the restrictions place limitations on campfires, charcoal fires and smoking. The Tonto National Forest also restricts chainsaw use, welding, operating machinery without spark arresters and discharge of firearms, except while engaged in legal hunting activities. Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices are allowed within the areas where restrictions apply, and some developed campgrounds are also exempted from these restrictions.

On the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, fire restrictions cover the area between the Rim Road (Forest Road 300) and the edge of the Mogollon Rim and an area immediately south of Highway 260 bordered by the Young Road (Forest Road 512) on the east and the Mogollon Rim on the south and west. On the Coconino National Forest, restrictions are in place along the Mogollon Rim, east of Highway 87, between the Rim and the Rim Road (Forest Road 300). Fire restrictions on the Tonto National Forest cover all land north of the Control Road (Forest Road 64) between the Irving Power Plant and the Young Road .

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has also implemented a forest closure on Promontory Butte adjacent to the Rim Road . This area is closed to public entry due to high fire danger and the lack of a safe route of travel in the event of a wildfire.

For further information regarding recreation sites and fire restrictions, including maps and additional camping information, please contact the appropriate forest:

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, (928) 333-4301, www.fs.fed.us/r3/ansf
Coconino National Forest, (928) 527-3600, www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino
Tonto National Forest, (602) 225-5200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto

For general information on fire activity and restrictions in Arizona visit the Southwest Region website at http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc or call toll-free 877-864-6985.
2/22 Dear Rogue:

Don't be shy about dropping names from the Policy Implications report. One of the report participants...Forest Service Director of Fire & Aviation Tom Harbour.

I have shopped that and a number of other pertinent agency generated documents to DC staff for sometime now and also referred to the report during my testimony before the House Federal W& Agency Organization subcommittee last summer.

There is no secret left for the agencies to hide from all of us. The FWFSA's membership structure provides us with a wealth of data & information with members from entry-level to chief officers and now even a US Attorney.

The smoke & mirrors will not work anymore and from my conversations with a number of top brass at the Forest Service, they want us to succeed in getting portal to portal & other benefits. Of course they won't risk their political rear-ends to say so publicly.

The FWFSA has established sufficient credibility on Capitol Hill to the point that the agencies can no longer ignore us or ignore the impact we're making.

The portal to portal issue goes back over 20 years. Each of the land management agencies and a number of reports conclude it makes good policy and, if done the way we want it to be done, save significant tax dollars while reducing, if not entirely eliminating recruitment & retention problems.

OPM & congress discussed basic health benefits for temporary firefighters 14 years ago. So... my face to face question to the Acting Director of OPM last July... who, by the way didn't know our federal firefighters were GS employees or that temporary firefighters don't get benefits was "what are you waiting for... we're here to help."

So don't be shy about name dropping. It is simply clearly time to get the agencies to re-think they way they spend money and take care of their own and save the American taxpayer lots of money in the process and still get a greater "bang for the buck."

I think Mr. Harbour would agree...off the record of course.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
2/22 Tell DM to find out what type SCBAs he has; check web for
local dealer; they may be able to do a train the trainer class
for him.

Past vol. chief in NJ

2/22 Looks like I've gone from "It's cold so I better chop s'more pallets"
("Borrowed" from behind Harbor Freight & Lowes) to "Where am
I going to put all this wood?" in about 3 days.

Jack Sevelson & Ryan Bauer of Plumas IHC showed up Monday
with a load and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation stepped up today
with 2 cords. So it looks like not only will I be warm for the rest of
this winter, but I prolly have a good start on next year.

It really amazes me the number of people who have asked "What
can I do?" in this- I had no idea I was in the hearts and minds of so
many after this long. I really appreciate the help- I'm honestly
surprised by the number of people who wanted to provide some

I thank all profusely- and my appreciation will continue every time
I load the stove.

Thanks Much-

Good enough. There are still willing helpers in the works, so don't hesitate to ask for next winter. Ab.

2/21 j. candlish,

I would assume that the NWSA offers that training. Also, in my area, as part of the EERA process, the Forest Service has been offering the training to contractors.

I would check the NWSA site or ask the local Forest Service contracting officer C.O.) or contracting officers representative (C.O.R) where you should obtain approved training.

Rogue Rivers
2/21 Ab,

Since you asked, I have a couple of suggestions for j candlish. But one of them is anatomically impossible.

The other suggestion is that if j candlish wishes to have any kind of decent working relationships with the people who will be signing his/her shift tickets in the future, he/she might want to show some respect for them. His/her post does not portray competence or a safe attitude.

Misery Whip

Could just be lack of knowledge/experience with firefighting?

2/21 I may be late,

I haven't been on in a while, so I may be a little late. I live in Chico, and would be more than happy to help Krs with warmth this winter or next. I can provide manpower only since I am car bound, I do have a saw though. ABs can pass on my e-mail to anyone, I will help in any way possible.


Thanks, I'll pass the message along. Ab.

2/21 Honor Guard video/pics -

I would bet that the folks in the Naches RD on the Okanogan/Wenatchee NF would have some pictures of the USFS Honor Guard from the 30 Mile memorial service. The FMO is Gary J<snip>, also IC of WA IMT #1.


I passed the info on. Thanks, Ab.

2/21 I'd like to jump in and agree with NORCAL CAPT regarding the wisdom of having EMS gear on all apparatus regardless of each departments designated role. One of the key lessons learned as a result of the Cedar Fire was the value of having this type of equipment available in the event of a serious firefighter injury.

So much emphasis has was placed on pointing fingers and assigning blame for the fatality that focus on many other things that were learned from this incident have lost the attention that they deserve. These need to be brought to the forefront so that others might benefit and learn from this tragedy. At the time of the Cedar Fire, EMS equipment was not part of the regular equipment carried on Novato's Type 3 engines. Fortunately, the crew of engine 6132 had the foresight to pack EMS equipment and IV kits prior to heading down to Southern California.

Their decision to do so quite possibly prevented the Cedar burnover from being a double fatality. The availability of having this equipment allowed the other members of this crew to begin critical treatment for Captain McDonald prior to the arrival of other rescue workers. Novato further benefited by the fact that all members of their crew were paramedics giving an added edge in starting IV's and recognizing that there was a need for an ALS helicopter with a nurse to allow for rapid sequence intubation. This probably saved Captain McDonald's life.

Although it is not realistic to think that paramedics can be assigned to every wildland crew, it is probably to at least prudent to have basic EMS equipment and enough training to intervene in the event of a serious injury. While not having any background in firefighting, it is easy to imagine circumstances that would prevent medical support from reaching the scene of an accident in a timely manner.

Now that the dust is finally settling a bit with the Cedar Fire, I would hope that everyone could reexamine the other lessons from this incident including things such as medical gear, stainless steel brake lines and carbon monoxide monitors for wildland firefighters. Although nothing can change the events of that day, everyone can at least learn from what happened so that things are safer for those that follow on future wildland fires. Both the Novato and Niosh reports outline some recommendations that deserve serious attention to reduce risk as a result of what was learned from this incident.

Keep safe!
Bob Rucker

Novato Report (large pdf file)
Niosh Report

2/21 Readers,

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation (Vicki) is in need of photos and/or video footage of the Forest Service Honor Guard as soon as possible. If anyone has some, please call Burk at the Foundation at (208) 336-2996 to make arrangements to get 'em to them. Vicki is out sick today. Send her some LOVE. We need her healthy and doing her good work.



2/21 RJM and all,

I believe the NPS got approval to train for INSIDE structure
firefighting because they 1. are generally isolated and outside of any
fire protection district boundaries, 2. have responsibility for many
buildings including administrative and motels/lodges/stores/restaurants
etc. inside the park boundaries. Think about Yellowstone or Glacier or
Crater Lake, what are the response times from local communities if there is
a fire or accident.

The Rangers are generally the ones who would respond to a structure
incident with appropriate training and equipment, because they are
responsible for public safety in the parks.

The Forest Service has always had the OK to attack structure fires from the
outside of the structure, and to assist other agencies in structure
firefighting when there is a threat to the wildland or under mutual aid
agreements. As far as I know many Forests have SCBA training and use them
when responding to vehicle fires and structure fires.

I don't know where the FS is not providing training to handle other than
wildland incidents. I received this type of training from day one on an
engine in 1976 and have trained my firefighters to safely work on these
incidents ever since. We worked with local city fire departments and cross
trained with them on, structure, vehicle, propane, hazmat incidents and
vehicle accident extrication so we could safely respond and help until
higher trained crews arrived. We help the city guys with wildland training
as well.

Of course the head shed geeks in D.C. and Boise don't support us being
classified as firefighters or being paid as such. Sorry to say that is an
issue that will remain with us until long after I am out of the business.

Regardless of that it is our best interest and our responsibility to train
our Foresters, Forestry Technicians, 401 Biologists and Range Technicians
to safely deal with these incidents within our agency guidelines and to
work with our friends in congress and the FWFSA to change the rules so we
can recognize federal firefighters for what they are, dedicated fire
service professionals.


2/21 Quality high-res images are needed by Audubon Magazine. Anybody have any or know where Audubon could get some? Ab.


I'm interested in some of the Biscuit Fire photos on your website for a story in
Audubon Magazine. Are there high-res (300 dpi at 8x10) images available?
Please let me know.

Photo Editor

2/21 Any updates on Steve Burns, the Dechutes NF firefighter injured in TX?

2/21 Lobotomy

I would appreciate it if you did ask that at the
meeting in Reno next week. Thanks for the concern and
I hope you can accomplish what we can't.

2/21 Ab (as always, in my non professional, outsider opinion)

NORCAL CAPT seems to be right on line. Listening to the scanner CNF seems to take on MVAs, assist MVU on medicals, respond to structures; but likely to protect exposures and brush.

Have heard them dispatched to assist with extended CPR, car fires, structures.

NPS does all, trained for it. Why not USFS? (Let me guess, the troops are anything but firefighters, in the eyes of the beancounters.) NPS rangers are not "firefighters" as primary job either, but they have Red Cards and structural quals also.

Looking at the WILDCAD it also appears that various other USFS units respond to MVAs.

Guess I just do not understand all the underlying politics. I was thought 50+ years ago, by the Fire Captain who got me interested in the fire service, if you are ever in any kind of situation "call the fire Department".

I realize a lot of people have had nothing but wildland training, it might scare them to tackle other situations. As NORCAL CAPT implies you gotta handle it all. The service should provide the training.

Most of the crews I spoke with during the Cedar Fire were metro, not wildland but they were doing wildland work. Every engine I saw was rigged for "bump and run" and self defense. That is WUI/wildland tactics, not urban; but they were rigged.

Hoping that the issues can be resolved so that any qualified firefighter can work any type of incident. Also hoping that the beancounters will fund the fire service for what thy have to do; year round.

praying for rain here in SoCAL.

2/21 All,

Here are 4 papers written in 1991 (pdf file) about the growing interface responsibilities,
changing wildland firefighter roles and mutual aid.  I understand that one of the co-authors
is currently the Special Assistant to Chief Dale Bosworth.



by Hanna J. Cortner, Robert M. Swinford, Michael R. Williams

Introduction. The wildland firefighters' Job is changing, due in large measure to problems associated with the wildland/urban interface. More development is occurring at the edge of forest boundaries, on tracts of private land within forest boundaries, and in metropolitan areas within easy drives of the forest. There are more residents, more tourists, and increased values at risk. Wildland firefighters are increasingly encountering structural fires and other non-wildland fire emergency assistance situations. Historically, it has been common practice for wildland firefighters in the USDA Forest Service to respond to reported structural fires, vehicle fires, vehicle accidents, and other situations where. emergency assistance is required. However, the frequency of these situations is increasing as interface pressures intensify. There are concerns that wildland fire fighting resources are being committed to structural protection at the expense of wildland resources. Moreover, managers, crews, and cooperators are concerned whether their wildland training and equipment adequately prepare them to deal with the increasing and varied emergency response situations they now face.

Questions have also been raised that perhaps it is the complex set of cooperative and mutual aid agreements with State and local fire and emergency response organizations that are placing personnel in non-wildland fire situations. Do the agreements have explicit provisions or create informal expectations that wildland organizations will move beyond their traditional wildland fire fighting role?

These concerns, highlighted by the serious interface fire events of recent years, led the Forest Service to undertake a. policy analysis examining these issues. The study examined agency policy and the actions Forests have taken, or anticipate will be taken, to respond, equip and train in the areas of structural fire, search and rescue, emergency medical assistance, and hazardous materials. <etc>

by Hanna J. Cortner
Abstract. In response to the wildland/urban fire interface, many cooperative activities involving both wildland and structural fire organizations have occurred. Drawing from a policy analysis study conducted by the USDA Forest Service, the paper discusses the role of mutual aid and cooperative activities in solving interface problems. Generally, most participants in cooperative agreements see more benefits than costs to agreements. Nevertheless, improvements can be made to remove inequities, reduce exposure to situations that pose risks, and ensure that mutual aid and other forms of cooperative arrangements do not create more interface problems than they solve.

by Hanna J. Cortner, Robert M. Swinford, Michael R. Williams
Abstract. Increasing human presence in wildland areas is changing the traditional role of the wildland firefighter. Wildland fire crews are being exposed to more non-wildland fire emergencies, including structural fire, search and rescue, medical assists, and hazardous materials incidents. This paper reports on a policy analysis done by one wildland agency, the USDA Forest Service, that gathered information from field-level. employees and agency cooperators about the scope and magnitude of these types of emergency responses. While no one wanted the Forest Service to become a full-fledged structural fire department or an all-risk emergency responder, several issues that need addressing were identified. They include: training and equipment requirements, accounting and compensation procedures, and cooperative agreements and activities with public safety organizations and the development community.

by Hanna J. Cortner and Ted Lorensen
Abstract. The paper explores the issue of fire suppression priorities in the wildland-urban interface. Tradeoffs between natural resources and structures can occur in two instances: single fire incidents where the presence of structures may influence decisions about what strategies and tactics to use; and multiple fire incidents where resources are sent to the fires where structures are threatened. The entire set of fire planning, analysis, and operational procedures leads to the determination of fire suppression priorities as life, property, and then natural resources. Likewise, social and behavioral factors tip fire suppression priorities toward structures. Options to deal with the threat to resources and the potential resource losses being created by growth of the wildland-urban interface range from maintaining the status quo to reordering suppression priorities.

2/21 Quotes from official Forest Service documents and the quest for ODF
portal-to-portal pay:

> Policy Implications of Large Fire Management: A Strategic Assessment of Factors Influencing Costs

"For example, on the Kirk Complex, State and local employees were paid based on a
“Portal to Portal” concept. That is, they are paid from the time they leave their official
station to the time they return. Their hourly rates are also more – about $42/hour for
State and local fire employees compared to about $24/hour for a Federal employee. A
typical shift length for a Federal employee was 14 hours; 24 hours for a nonfederal
employee. In terms of costs to the fire, this translates into about $1,006 per shift for the
State and local employee and $360 per shift for the Federal employee. Clearly, this
creates an issue of morale. Working side by side, one would expect equal pay for equal
work. This inequity must be corrected."

You'd be amazed to see the people who signed that document and the positions they now occupy in the federal government.

Rogue Rivers

2/21 Mellie & Tom,

I found it over on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. Here is a link to the main page :


The document is located here:




2/21 Re SCBAs

I'm sure this is blasphemous but you might want to check with your local BLM counterparts in NorCal. Nameless people tried to take the SCBAs off of CA BLM's rigs in 2004ish and the BLM (up the ranks in CA) fought for the right to give the guys on the ground the equipment they need. Part of the negotiations with Boise led to standardized statewide training including CDs and checklists and stuff on SCBAs. I don't have details but the Ops guys out there do. Do that interagency thing you do so well :-)

Use what you have to stay safe,

2/21 Mornin':

Do yall do safety training? I'm a wildfire helicopter pilot turned water tender
operator and the forest circus tells me I have to have 8 hours safety training.
They also gave me your company name as a possible source for the training.

j candlish

Readers, any suggestions for j candlish? Ab.

2/21 re: is it 1958 or 2006?

The neat thing about time is the way it comes in cycles. Get to the end of the week, and look, it's Monday again. Save your old calendars - just write in the current year when the days line up right again.

In the mid-50's the push was to actually get rid of the Fire Control series, so the agency firefighters could be classified as forestry and range techs. The reason? Fire managers were losing their good people because the career ladder was so short.

In the 60's, the rest of the country complained about California hotshot crews using the camp title "superintendent" out on the fireline, just the way people whine about today's collar brass. (Helpful hint: those aren't really bugles on the collar, it's a cluster of toilet plungers. The more you have, the more cr*p you get to deal with.)

Is it surprising that SCBAs sit in unopened boxes inside a locked chicken-wire cache? No. The same was probably true of the nomex shirts and fire shelters that first showed up. (When I first got on in the 80's, I heard that airpaks were for sissies anyway. Then I learned that old smoke-eaters never really get old. One look at an open casket funeral tells why they die in their fifties.)

vfd cap'n
2/21 Here are two website you can bookmark if you're interested in following breaking bird flu articles around the world. New articles come out every 5 minutes.



Bird flu (H5N1) may not seem to be a problem in the United States yet, but it is present in birds in Africa, the Middle East and Europe now and in humans in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, India Asia and Southeast Asia.  The virus could easily go pandemic, efficiently infecting humans around the world if it changes genetically to acquire a few more "polymorphisms" (genetic variations). It will have that opportunity in Europe over the next few weeks (or months) to pick up the genetic changes.  When migrating birds return from Africa next week, recombination (sharing of genes) can occur in European pigs if they become co-infected with H5N1 while already carrying H1N1 (the 1918 pandemic strain).


My friends, please prepare. Doesn't have to be elaborate, as Striker said on the Flu Watchout page. Consider it an insurance policy for your family, if nothing else:
oil (polyunsaturated oil, or lard -keeps without refrigeration, good for flavor),
canned tomatoes, sauce or puree (contain vitamin C),
daily multivitamin & vitamin C supplement
whatever else you like to eat

2/20 re SCBA


Good ideas but the problem is we don't have any
local fire dept. within 2 hours of our stations, and
training cost money so you can see where that argument
will go. The forest says every year that it is going
to set up the training then doesn't give it because of
the budget. I would train my crews if I actually got
trained myself but until then the equipment stays in
the boxes in my cache.


2/20 Re: Changes within the Forest Service



Hear, Hear!! Well said! 2006 bears little resemblance to 1958 much less 1906...
100 years.. Gifford and the fella's did a great job getting the FS off of the ground...
but times have changed...

2/20 DM,

Money spent for safety is the best expenditure you could ever make within the
federal government. The second best expenditure would be for your forest to
spend some money and train on those "anchor weights".

If safety equipment has been sitting in boxes due to lack of training, that is a
problem that needs to be corrected. Someone or a few people saw that SCBAs
or turnouts were needed and went through the process to obtain it.

I'll ask the Chair of the R-5 engine captains group about your concerns when I
am in Reno next week.

2/20 I spoke with Krs at around 1900 tonight.  He let me know that Jack and Ryan from the Plumas Hotshots had come by with a good truckload of wood to fill the immediate need.  I'll pass on anymore as I hear it.  OA.
2/20 Evidently the mission is on to get some wood to Krs today. Heating in winter and cooling in summer are big expenses for him. Maybe we could also help with some donations for air conditioning this summer.

Hopefully OA will have a report later.

Thanks to all who volunteered to come from Idaho, Reno, etc with a load of wood.


2/20 Does anyone see the Liaison Officer ICS position being used more now and in
the future? Last year, I was seeing the position in some Unable To Fill
lists and ran into a few people who had been doing some of the training.
Right now, there aren't many Type 1 teams traveling with the position. What
do you know about what might happen with this position?

Still Out There As An AD
2/20 Class C Sagebrush Faller....

Portal to portal pay is the first thing that comes to mind.


2/20 viejo,

Forest Service personnel that engage in wildland fire and all risk assignments are
NOT recognized as firefighters! We are Forestry Technicians and Forestry Aids!

OK, you may argue that we get firefighter retirement, but I don't know of many
that get kicked out at 57 years old that do not have to get another job.

So, are these the benefits of being 'firemen' that you refer to?

2/20 Ab,

Any idea what length firewood Krs uses? I've been mulling over the thought of taking a load to him. My stuff is about 17-18" and I have some split from two seasons ago or some in rounds from last summer though I imagine he'd need it split. Its about 600 miles down there and I could take about 3/4 cord or so; if I stop in Reno and get lucky I could pay for the trip. If I'm not lucky, well, so it goes.


Check the post above. I think some wood is on the way. Hopefully OA will tell us if more is needed. Thanks, Ab.

2/20 Hi Ab,

I am sorry Albatross, but I feel you are off base here. If you want to stay behind in times then please feel free. I have been in the fire service as long as you have, and I am sure we have had the same complaints a time or two, but what you are saying is wrong. I am a strong believer that the forest service is way behind in times. Yes, fire training for wildland is top notch but for what we are facing with all risk, its so far behind that it's dangerous. I agree there.

When you have collar brass as one of the topics of your discussion, that's unbelievable. What I figured I would have heard from an FMO is, yes, we need to have the training and be ready for anything. Maybe all you want to do is wildland, but when we keep hearing about this bird flu and more terror attacks on the USA, who in the h*ll are they gonna call, FMO? You and me!

I am sorry if I sound harsh here, but its 2006 not 1958. Lassie is dead and so is Smokey; we need to remember them but, hey, we are in a war overseas and another one here at home. Do you really think that if all these possibilities everyone keeps talking about happen, that the municipal folks can handle it all? WRONG. They cant because they will be tapped in just under a few minutes.

Now, I hope that you are not taking this as an argument. I am just trying to help educate you on what is happening outside of your district. In region 5, well, all the other regions as well, we all have interface problems, right? Who is responsible for them -- US or the Municipal folks? I bet you say the red trucks, right? Well, in a court of law even if you say it's not in our mission, too bad. 'Cause your truck says FIRE on it, Mr FMO, you're guilty as charged and you've lost the lawsuit or, even worse, going to jail for misrepresentation as a fire dept. The public does not know the difference between Red, White, purple ,brown, Yellow and even GREEN fire engines. All they know is FIRE means help and they need it.

You said there's not a place to carry all the gear on the engine. I agree it's alot of stuff and there is not always room for everything, but EMS gear should be standard for all fire rigs. "What about your folks on the engine?" Suppose they get hurt. Are you going to wait for the volunteers? I did not think so!

Now that I am sure I have pissed a few people off, I will apologize for that. SORRY. I hope that you Albatross, you can understand that we are an AGENCY, not just individuals that hate California's ways of firefighting. Out here in Cali we do have the need to go outside of the mission and, well, maybe it's wrong, so why not help us out and ask for the training that we need to meet our needs out here. Don't just sit back watch us try to move forward while you are an anchor. That goes for all of you out there that think we are those dang R5 guys. Remember R5 started the ICS and we also started the Air tanker program so everything in R5 ain't that bad, LOL!

Thanks for your time and if you have to comment please feel free, which I know most will.
Just to say that I am all for us becoming an organized fire service. TRAINING and EDUCATION is key for all of us nation wide.


2/20 Mellie,

"Fires give the test just ahead of the lesson"

Don't know the origin and I can't remember where I got it many years ago
but it's 3 pages of great, thought provoking stuff. I've used many of the
sayings for safety briefings over the years.


2/19 DM,

You stated that you have worked for 3 seasons and are still not familiar with the SCBA that are on your engine. Instead of waiting for the forest to put on the training, why not take the initiative to create the training opportunities? How about taking 1-2 training day(s) every month and setting up training sessions with the local fire dept. Have them teach you about vehicle fires, scba usage etc. and you teach them about wildfire tactics, ICS or whatever . This can also go along way at building interagency cohesion.

I do agree that we should not put people at risk when they are not properly trained or equipped.

Stay safe,
2/19 Ab,

We have an outstanding fire academy program including wildland. How can
we add College of the Siskiyous to your training site?

Dennis DeRoss
Dean, Career & Technical Education
College of the Siskiyous

Welcome, Dennis. I added it to the Two Year College List. Ab.

2/19 Hey Viejo,

What benefits?

Class C Sagebrush Faller
2/19 Old Fire Guy, 6, Pulaski, AZ Trailblazer, Original Ab...

What's that old fire saying about firefighting lessons... something like
"delivery of the lesson and the test in fire are often simultaneous?
I looked on the  quotes to live by page and didn't see the exact quote...
Original Ab, did you tell me that years ago?


2/19 6,

Your confusion about the newly adopted doctrine is understandable. I believe we are poised on the threshold of an interesting period. As I read it, doctrine is intended to be an umbrella philosophy that will shape all of the institutional changes that will follow in the coming years. I would be surprised if our senior leaders are not grappling with your question right now. My SA tells me this will be a huge task, maybe one of the biggest the United States Forest Service has ever faced. It will take time to develop an action plan, and for the information and effects to trickle downhill.

My guess is that doctrine will eventually change the shape and size of our organization. In theory, by placing a new emphasis on culture and error resilience, we will eventually create a safer and more efficient wildland firefighting workforce. Figuring out which firefighter decisions are still bound by unbreakable rules, and which are subject to individual discretion, is likely to generate fierce controversy, and will take some time to sort out.

In the end, our leaders will need to clearly communicate “the new way”, whatever that is determined to be, to all wildland firefighters before it can produce the desired effect. Our interagency partners will need to understand our “new way” of doing business as well.

Many of us look forward to going back to the good old days when commander’s intent and individual discretion were the norm. I hope we succeed. And I hope it doesn’t take too long for doctrine to “trickle downhill”, but my hunch is that it will take at least several years to reach saturation among the troops.

Other aspects of doctrine will be on display immediately. Now that the new doctrine is official, it will be interesting to see how we deal with future burnovers/fatalities. If our agency behaves like a High Reliability Organization instead of looking for scapegoats, doctrine will get a boost. But if we have another Cramer-type result, doctrine will be seen by the troops as just another government feel-good initiative.


Good stuff lately. My assessment is that the 2004 "Feedback Control - Expectation Management Audit Controls" paper that you referenced is outdated, and that it will need to be altered in light of the development of doctrine which would seem to be in conflict with parts of the paper. Hopefully new doctrine trumps old audit controls.

Check out the 2005 Human Performance in FAM paper on the doctrine site. I heard recently that the WO is working on a new Human Performance AD position and associated issues right now. As I read it, this position will be huge when it comes to implementing doctrinal change. Anybody know more about this?

Abs & all,

I’ve been rereading some of the recent posts concerning doctrine on They Said, and it occurred to me that this website is an important example of what doctrine is all about. For many of us, if you want to hear the unvarnished truth, if you want to know what is happening in the wildland fire world today, if you need support or want to share support, or if you just want to blow off steam, this website has become the safety valve, nerve center, bulletin board and debating society for the wildland fire community. Our government institutions could learn a thing or two from the people who host this site.

A small selection of recent posts provide great examples of doctrinal thinking. Krs needs wood? Everyone in They Said land knows about Krs and his incredibly difficult situation. Boom, the wildland fire community figures out how to make it happen now. Kudos to Shari, Ken, Dan, & all who are helping Krs.

Rich Hawkins is fighting fire with both hands and besieged by hordes of press after standing tall and taking responsibility for a highly publicized escaped prescribed fire, yet he finds time to write They Said to elaborate on a statement he made to the press. Guys like Rich make you proud of this community; his is the kind of Leadership we need more of. His post is also a great statement about the Leadership of the Abs & They Said.

Mike Lohrey wants to get out a press release on NIMO jobs out to as wide a wildland fire audience as possible. Send it to They Said, problem solved.

In a fine example of sharing cutting-edge wildland fire scientific data internationally, Mollysboy posts an Australian report that indicates wildfires may significantly increase in some areas due to global warming.

Maybe Uncle Sugar should be subsidizing the Abs & They Said for fulfilling a basic doctrinal need; you provide a medium for honest, open, and timely communications.

Honest and open communications seem to be in short supply these days. Just watch the news.

If you want to see how faulty organizational communications can negatively affect safety, check out the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. I found many striking similarities between the problems that NASA and the Forest Service have faced during the past few decades. I warn you, this report is large but it contains a great deal of wisdom. Here’s the link:

I just finished reading an excellent book entitled “Apollo, Challenger, Columbia; The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational Communication” by Philip K Tompkins. Dr. Tompkins has worked closely with NASA since the 1960’s and analyzes the gradual decline of NASA’s ability to operate within acceptable safety margins. Dr. Tompkins makes an excellent case that organizations are constituted by communication, and that many of the problems faced by organizations like ours can be improved by promoting open and honest communications.

On the flip side, here are some examples of the opposite of open and honest communications:

NASA Becoming More Politicized, Critics Contend

And this lovely gem:

Federal Officials Throw Gasoline on OSU Forestry Fire

And so it goes.

Misery Whip

Misery Whip, thanks for the kind words. We know we fill a need. We work hard at doing our share, but so does each contributor that makes this community what it is. Thanks to all. Ab.

2/19 Ab:

Attached is an interesting briefing paper with interpretive photos on the
WUI treatments which made it safe for firefighters to protect the structures,
and stopped the running crown fire. I would only add that the thinning by
the Arizona State Land Department and Bray Creek Ranch, LLC,
pursuant to a grant, also helped.

All is quiet now.

Mike J.

Thanks for resending that Mike.
Readers, here's the briefing paper on  fuel treatments that impacted fire behavior on the February Fire in AZ. There art some excellent instructive photos in this.

This is a 60K msword doc that will download if you click this link:  fuel treatment February Fire (60K doc file) Ab.

2/19 Re: Update on Sponsors and Co-Sponsors of H.R. 408. New Co-Sponsor added on Valentines Day.

Keep spreading the word and speaking with your elected officials. 13% of the House of Representatives has now sponsored/cosponsored the Federal Wildland Firefighter Emergency Response Compensation Act of 2005. Many other representatives have expressed their support. All it takes is 50% plus one vote to send the bill to the Senate.

Also, check out the new and improved FWFSA website for more information and a much easier process for joining.

Rep Pombo, Richard W. [CA-11] - 1/26/2005

	Rep Honda, Michael [CA-15] -1/26/05       Rep Cunningham, (Duke) [CA-50] -1/26/05
	Rep Otter, C.L.(Butch) [ID-1] -1/26/05    Rep Simpson, Michael [ID-2] -1/26/05
	Rep Napolitano, Grace [CA-38] -1/26/05    Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] -1/26/05
	Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2] -2/1/05            Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] -2/1/05
	Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] -2/8/05            Rep Weldon, Curt [PA-7] -2/8/05
	Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] -2/8/05          Rep Simmons, Rob [CT-2] -2/9/05
	Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] -3/1/05          Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] -3/1/05
	Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] -3/8/05           Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] -4/6/05
	Rep Michaud, Michael [ME-2] -4/12/05      Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] -4/20/05
	Rep Tauscher, Ellen [CA-10] -4/20/05      Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-27] -4/21/05
	Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] -5/24/05      Rep Hayworth, J. D. [AZ-5] -5/24/05
	Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] -6/15/05      Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] -6/16/05
	Rep Bono, Mary [CA-45] -6/16/05           Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] -6/16/05
	Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] -6/22/05            Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] -6/22/05
	Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] -7/13/05    Rep Gibbons, Jim [NV-2] -7/25/05
	Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] -11/15/05     Rep Lantos, Tom [CA-12] -2/14/06
FWFSA Member
2/19 Student of fire

You make some good points but what about the forest in R5 that have very little urban interface and we still have to carry these anchor weights (aka SCBAs). I don't understand why the Forest Service in some of these areas even put out the money for SCBAs and turnouts when we could spend that money more wisely. I don't think going out one day a year and putting out a simulated car fire is proper training. I'm going on my third season on a forest in NW Cali and we spent all this money on gear and we still haven't had a training on how to use it. So it still sits in the boxes and we spend thousands every season getting everything tested (equipment and People) but we still don't use it. I'll guarantee that structure firefighters get more than one day of training on cars fires. I don't think every forest in R5 needs to carry all this expensive gear because it never gets used. I think alot of it is people not wanting to be one-up'd by their counter parts down south, well if their doing it we have to.

I just think some of our leaders need to realize that we are wildland firefighters and thats it. We don't need to put our people at further risk, especially when they aren't properly trained.

Still in R5

2/18 Onelick, Dan, the Ken(s), Kent (and all…)

Thanks for this good start. There is a small jag of wood being dropped off to Krs Wednesday – enough to get him through a few days, until we can get a good load delivered. Ken K. found a couple of firewood sellers in the Chico area. The cost range is about standard for this part of the year, but split up between us is completely doable. For simplicity sake, those wishing to pitch in can send a bit ‘o cash to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation tagged as “Wood for Krs Evans.” That way, those who need it can use the donation as a tax write-off. I’ll coordinate with Vicky Minor to get the money to Krs so he can pay the woodman. If somebody else comes up with a good load of wood before that, all the better, Krs can use the $ for parts for the new trike he’s building to get himself around town economically.

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
“Wood for Krs Evans”
2049 Airport Way.
Boise, ID 83705

I’m heading to the east coast until midweek, but will be available via cell or email. Ab has both if anyone has an epiphany. Once we get this little project wrapped up we can turn our attention to world peace.

2/18 Toy Hose Roller Testers Needed!

This past winter I've been working on a 3/4" hose roller prototype-
Which I think I finally have close to completion. I've identified a
few things I want to change for the production model, but they're all
aesthetic. What I need is some real world testing, since I only have
one piece of hose. Any of you guys up for it?

You can see it here: http://crew13.com/hoseroller.php Once you've had
a look & want to test it, hit the 'send mail' link & I'll take the
first 10. Test it, fill out a small online form when you're done, and
you get to keep it with my thanks.

I'm pretty sure this version is fairly bomber, but I know the folks we
work with, so if it can be broken I'd like to find out now so I can
build a better one before the season hits.

Thanks to all-

2/18 Old Fire Guy,

You said,

"My view on this is that leaders allowing employees to engage houses, vehicles, dumps etc., (emergency actions we are not trained for, and nor equipped for) begs for the criticism and the question of 'where's the leadership' we have heard following the tragedies since 1994." You also said, "...we need to ensure we operate within our authority."

I agree that training and equipment are important. I also agree that authority is needed. We have all of these in my area.

Foundational Doctrine answers that question and others you ask.

Since the late 1980's, several of the Southern California forests began equipping and training to put out or prevent our traditional ignition sources from extending into the wildland (houses, vehicles, dumps, and traffic collisions). The corner stone of this decision was based upon "Operational Environment" and it was approved by Line Officers (The people who HAVE authority) far before Foundational Doctrine was ever heard of. Was it covered by the "mission"?... it depends how you interpret "Caring for the Land, Serving People"... aka Commanders Intent.

Many urbanized forests (aka WUI areas) do not have the same traditional ignition sources as some forests. In those forests, the traditional ignition sources may be lightning, campfires, or logging operations. People concentrate on mitigating those ignition sources. Likewise, some urbanized forests concentrate on mitigating their ignition sources. They are not undergoing a "mission shift" just concentrating on the safest, most effective, and efficient way to achieve the mission.

While it may not be happening yet in your area now, as National Forests get more urbanized the mission stays the same, but the way you accomplish the mission is decided by leaders. Leaders are adaptable and open to new ideas and change. If they recognize a hazard that is re-occurring (ie vehicle fire ignition sources) they train, equip, and counter the new hazard.

Student of Fire Science

also... we still do not enter burning structures, confined spaces, or go swimming in shark infested waters. If you have people responding to structure, vehicle, and dump fires etc. without proper training and equipment (and it is needed to accomplish the "mission" in your area), step up and be a leader.... Start talking to your line officer about making things safer... All it takes is a JHA to start the ball rolling.... . If it doesn't apply to your area... great... stop bagging on us that it does apply to.

2/18 I have to agree with Old Fire Guy: our (Forest Service) training and mission is wildland fire.

On my district all we have is type 6 engines and tractor/plows. We have a hard time finding enough room for all the wildland equipment, I cant imagine carrying structural equipment/PPE and well as EMS gear. We train and work closely with our local fire depts. and the county 911 dispatchers. We all know our roles, where we overlap and our limitations. In every part of the country that I have worked, the public knows that when a green engine rolls up, we only do wildland and exterior structure protection. When we are dispatched either by the interagency dispatch or the county 911, we all know before we arrive--if structures even have the possibility of being threatened, the fire dept. is paged out as well. Unless our engines are on patrol in the right in the place the fire starts, the fire depts will usually be the first on scene in the interface. Thats their job, be close to the populated areas and protect the structures.

I dont mean to start an argument of Cali vs. the other 49 states, but California (mainly SoCal) folks need to understand that they work in a totally different environment. I am not arguing with the California FF's arguments, but I believe from most people that I have worked with, we dont always have the same concerns/arguments.

-Most of us outside of Cali dont want anything to do with structural/EMS. We compliment and support each other, but are trained and equipped differently.

-Many of us want nothing to do with brass on our collars, and would resist it if we had to wear it.

I am a district FMO with 20 years in the FS, and maybe its just the "old school" in me talking. I dont want to start another "they said" argument with our brother and sister firefighters from California, I would just like to stress that many of the arguments on this board are unique to California. I truly hope that this doesnt start an argument. I would like to hear from other non R5/ Cali. firefighters to see if I am way off base on this or not.

Ab, thanks for having place for honest, open discussion.


2/17 Re: The Forest Service Foundational Doctrine

I was looking at all the documents on the new Forest Service Doctrine site, and I came to a paper called "Feedback Control - Expectation Management Audit Controls". It can be found at:

I believe the document was written in 2004 and has some contradictions to Foundational Doctrine in it. There are seven pages of questions within the document for the Regional Offices, Forests, and Districts to answer validating the implementation of Foundational Doctrine. No questions to be asked at the WO level?

Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but is seven pages of "validation" keeping it simple? Many of the items are post 30 Mile Abatements and Cramer action items that painted us into a box in the first place.

Check for yourself..... Do "Feedback Control - Expectation Management Audit Controls" and "2005 -The First Pulaski Conference" conflict with each other? and if so, why is it being used as a validation tool for the implementation of Foundational Doctrine?

My observation would be to develop an audit/validation tool that follows the six key ideas of doctrine and what the Commanders Intent is:

Leadership & Accountability
Cost Management
Risk & Risk Management

2/17 Shari,

I took the liberty of taking Krs's need for firewood to the Arboristsite.com.
There are many firefighters from that area that post regularly on that site. I
don't think they know about Theysaid. I hope this helps, it's about as much
as I can do here on the East Coast.


Hi Onelick. Glad yer still lurking. Tell those folks about theysaid! Ab.

2/17 I don't think the public cares what agency you work for or the
color of your engine... if you arrive at the scene of an emergency
in vehicle equipped with red lights and a siren and a big sign on it
that says "FIRE" I think the public can reasonably expect trained,
professional action.

If you are going to accept the benefits of firemen, you should be
expected to perform as one.

2/17 Dan,

I wish I knew some local cutters (firewood or commercial fallers) around Chico, but I don’t. Anybody out there in the close vicinity with a bit of firewood you’d be willing to let go of?

Re: Ag inspectors…Last time we went barreling across the border with firewood for Krs in our F350 nobody gave us a second look. The ag check points don’t seem to be manned these days anyway, and I swear I could be eating an orange when we stopped there in the past and they’d still ask us if we had any produce in the vehicle, and wave us through. Always seemed like a waste of tax payer money to me.

Still trying to make this thing work… Thanks for your $ offer. We’ll figure out how to do this in the next few days. Krs’ stash runs out by late next week.

Shari Downhill
2/17 Oliver et al,

There is a very critical point to be made here on what our fire mission is, and what "leadership" is..... and thank Ab we've got a great forum to debate that point.

My view on this is that leaders allowing employees to engage houses, vehicles, dumps etc., (emergency actions we are not trained for, and nor equipped for) begs for the criticism and the question of "where's the leadership" we have heard following the tragedies since 1994.

Leaders/managers that permit their troops to engage in actions where they lack quals is accepting of and promoting the "make do" attitude. However much we want to get into the mix, take action, and not be on the sidelines or spectators...... we must constrain ourselves to our training, experience, and equipment.

Where else would we draw the line? Got a dozer sitting in a vacant lot without a qualified operator? Why not ask one of the crew to jump into the driver's seat? How about a helicopter when the pilot is off duty? Accident victim with signs of internal bleeding...... where's that spleen? These examples seem ridiculous, and they are. No responsible manager would assign a crew to such a task.

But where's the line? And what are the "trigger points"? Immediate threat to life? Risk of losing a million dollar home? How about a trailer? Or the saving of 100 acres of brush?

I would not be adverse to a change in policy that accepts an expanded role. But until we accept that as part of our mission, and until we provide the training and equipment to perform safely, we need to ensure we operate within our authority. We need our leaders to have the courage to lead. And sometimes that means telling folks to disengage, no matter how unpopular that decision may be.

Old Fire Guy

2/17 Is there anyone else who is confused by the new foundational doctrine? I am reading the stuff on the internet, but still do not understand all of what they are trying to say. I like the philosophy behind it but have been confused by the following statement:

"27. Using principles requires judgment in application, while adherence to rules does not. In combination principles and rules guide our fundamental wildland fire suppression practices and behaviors, and are mutually understood at every level of command"

"Rules cover those things that senior leadership identifies as too important to leave to judgment. They neither require, nor do they benefit from interpretation or discretion."

www.fs.fed.us/fire/doctrine/genesis_and_evolution/presentations/2005_posters.ppt (powerpoint)

I can't find anywhere what the "rules" are. Are they the 10 standard fire orders, or are they all of the myriad of existing rules that have caused the situation we are currently in? Or is it somewhere between?

Any thoughts, wisdom, or knowledge out there?

Thanks, 6

2/17 Firefighter died in Australia. Sad news. Ab.
This came in from OB:

From http://cfaonline.cfa.vic.gov.au/mycfa/Show?pageId=publicShowNews&audience=PUBLIC.

This is the 2nd CFA firefighter to be lost this season...

Loss of a CFA firefighter


It is with deep regret that CFA announces a volunteer firefighter today died on active duty at Barnawartha, near Wodonga, in the state's north east.

A grassfire broke out about 1.30pm and was contained about an hour later.

A female volunteer, aged 41, died after being involved in a tragic vehicle accident on the fireground.

Her family is also involved in the brigade and has been notified.

CFA CEO, Neil Bibby, said:

"While there are no words that can adequately express our grief, our deepest condolences go out to the member's family, friends and fellow brigade personnel.

"There is nothing we can say to alleviate their pain, but we will be there for them. As always, the CFA family will stand behind its members and anyone affected by this devastating loss can be assured of our full support.

"I encourage any CFA member affected by the tragedy to speak to their fellow members and use available counseling services," Mr Bibby said.

The accident is being investigated by CFA, Workcover, police and the coroner.

2/17 Oliver

Seems to me I've seen something like that in colorado papers some time or other.


2/17 Ab...Old Fire Guy

Both of you are correct...it is happening (suppression of non wildland fires) and it appears policy is directing fire crews not to engage in any suppressive actions of vehicles, structures and dumps unless it meets certain criteria.

The fireline leadership question is... how can you allow people to work outside of the scope of their duties and be at risk personally for their actions without the legal backing of the agency? Isn't the caveat for legal liability coverage from your employer based upon performing within the scope of your assigned duties?

The agency leadership question is ...have you lost your collective minds? Imagine the front page of the local newspaper showing several wildland engines sitting idle watching an attached garage/carport go up in flames and spreading to the home.

Headline? USFS FIRE WATCHERS REPLACE LOCAL FIRE FIGHTING CREWS damage is estimated in the millions...cont. on page 3

2/17 What a great service to support Krs with some firewood, a couple ideas come
to mind on this. Renting a UHAUL could cost as much as having a couple of
cords delivered by a local wood cutter closer to Krs's home. We would
pitch in some cash for that. Also do the California Agriculture inspectors
at the border allow firewood to pass through? I would hate for someone to
get turned around at the check point because of a bug or some other foulup.
Let me know what you decide and if we can send some $ to help out.

Dan Fiorito, Union IHC
2/17 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated.


2/17 Contributors,

If something you send does not make it to theysaid, please resend it with a question. (Unless it's photos; I'm behind on those.) Sometimes keywords or attachments get a message tossed into the spam filter either at the server level or at our local computer level. This can occur even if the message comes from a long-time sender. (I pulled Mollysboy out of the trash just yesterday.) Original Ab and I do not have everyone white-listed on all our computers. When I'm away, I post via laptop, for example. It's definitely not as "learned up" as the Abs big wlf.com computers.

I usually tell people when I'd rather not post their message and why. Of course, to tell you I need to be able to reply to your email. If you email and expect a reply if/when your message isn't posted, make sure that you're sending from a valid e-mail addy. I have to laugh when someone's post gets filtered, Ab get flamed, and the flamer has wasted a lot  of go-juice because he or she doesn't have a valid reply email addy. Not Ab's problem...

To the "most recent person" with the bogus email addy: if you'd like, feel free to resend your post with a valid addy and we can have a dialog, if necessary. It may not be necessary; whatever you sent may be perfectly fine for posting. I don't know, as Ab doesn't have a recent message from you; it likely got filtered or you didn't hit the send button.

To chat-ers and those that network through Ab behind the scenes, thanks for sharing information with those who are looking for it. The private messages with good info provide a service to others, too. Ab.

2/17 Ab,

If Shari doesn't get enough people interested in supporting Krs, let me know. I will rent a U-Haul and haul firewood up there myself. I was on the fireline in Kentucky when Krs was injured... just a few miles away and listened to the whole incident.

I feel guilty about this accident because myself and the SOFR had been battling local fire management about the use of the 101st Airborne Division medics and airlift capability in the event of an injury just days before.... we got shut down on our suggestions and normal operating procedures out west..... It may or may not have made a difference but I would have known the best care available would have been provided..... at least ALS care.


2/17 Ab,

Maybe see if there are any R-6 Apprentices around that use this website going
down to Sacramento For the Academy --that could pick up that wood in Grants
Pass and deliver it to Chico. Just a thought.


R6 Readers, please ask around to new Academy folks. Ab.

2/17 Ab,

The Forest Service website has a new section on Foundational Doctrine.www.fs.fed.us/fire/doctrine/

Attached is an 88 kb .pdf file made by combining Chief Bosworth's cover letter and the 30 principles/beliefs of official doctrine.

vfd cap'n

At the Forest Service site, expand the top link Fire Suppression link for menus leading to all sorts of interesting reading. Ab.

2/17 Re: Leadership and Keeping Firefighters Safe

> From the Congressional Fire Services Institute, Press Release:

LEADERSHIP SAVES LIVES…SO EVERYONE GOES HOME: 18th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars To Focus On Importance of Strong Leadership

More than 2,000 state and national homeland security leaders are expected to attend the 18th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars on April 6th in our nation's capital. Hosted by the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), the annual tribute will draw attention to protecting our nation's first responders through strong leadership at the local, state and national level.

"Leadership involves individuals and organizations emboldened to bring about positive changes to protect and prepare our nation's first responders, said CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb. "Our overriding goal should always be protecting lives and property, while at the same time ensuring that everyone goes home safe and sound. This is the message that should drive us in our missions and keep us committed to working together."

Information about the dinner and seminars is available on the CFSI website (http://www.cfsi.org/). The seminar schedule begins the afternoon of April 5th at the Hilton Washington and runs through the following morning and afternoon on Capitol Hill. A number of national fire service leaders and Administration officials are scheduled to take part, discussing a range of issues addressing federal programs and legislation, and safety and education initiatives.

The leadership of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus will continue the tradition of serving as honorary chairmen of the dinner, including Senator Joe Biden, Senator John McCain, Senator Paul Sarbanes, Senator Mike DeWine, Congressman Curt Weldon, Congressman Steny Hoyer, Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, and Congressman Rob Andrews. CFSI will pay special tribute to Senator Paul Sarbanes, who announced his retirement effective at the end of this year. One of the strongest advocates for our nation's fire service in the history of Congress, Senator Sarbanes wrote the legislation that created the United States Fire Administration and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

For current information about the CFSI dinner and seminars, continue to visit the CFSI website or contact CFSI at (T) 202-371-1277 or (email) cfsi@cfsi.org.

How many land managers, wildland fire managers, and policy makers from the Forest Service, BLM, National Park Service, FWS, and Bureau of Indian Affairs will be attending? With the new Forest Service Foundational Doctrine, I would expect a large number of Forest Service employees as well as the FWFSA to be in attendance. Yes it is centered on fire management, but at some point, we must realize the common thread between fire management and land management. I hope they don't appear to be apples and oranges to many folks.... leadership is leadership regardless of education. Fire managers are best suited to managing a fire program. Fire managers gain experience and education from working their way up thorugh the ranks, not by being educated in the biological sciences.

Thanks to everyone on the chat tonight (last night). I learned alot from all of your opinions. It is good to see folks from other parts of the country discussing the basics of safety and how things change for the better or worse.

2/17 There are certainly good arguments to be made for expanding the role of Federal agencies beyond wildland fuels fires to include structures, vehicles, dumps etc. especially in urbanized forests. Such arguments have been made before, and maybe in time will prevail.

Until such time that we do expand our role, and we support that with training and equipment, supervisors need to provide the leadership to ensure their folks follow current policy, and work safely. Until such time that structure quals, and vehicle quals are made additions to red cards, it is our duty to not engage them. Responsible leadership carries that imperative.

Old Fire Guy

Old Fire Guy, I say this with lots of respect for you. Regardless of the stated role of Fed wildland firefighters, wildland firefighters in the west already act as first responders, deal with hazardous materials and, on occasion, fight structure fires until the "official" fire department arrives, sometimes as much as an hour or more later. The interface is too extensive and the western distances are too great to do otherwise. Ab.

2/16 I-5 Trek? Grant's Pass to Chico or beyond?

Is anybody out there making a North/South trek down Interstate 5 past Grants Pass and heading to or past Chico? Krs Evans needs a load of firewood for his monster stove and we’d like to get some to him. However, we won’t be able to get down that way for a few weeks yet. But, with all the training going on in all three Western states and rigs driving up and down I-5 pretty much non-stop we’re hoping to talk someone into stopping by with a truck so we could fill it with firewood for Krs. Any big hearted hot shots out there willing to help? Spring is coming but not soon enough for Krs’ firewood stash.

If you’re interested and able to help us coordinate on this, have Ab forward your email to me.

Shari Downhill

Good idea, Shari. I'll put people in touch. Ab.

2/16 FYI,

I just returned from 23 days in Eastern Oklahoma (Including Travel).
Some of the friendliest people I have had the pleasure of knowing.

My Engine/Crew did 16 fires with 10 days of Hazard Pay. (We had a few 2-3 fires/day.)
I just want to thank Casey Judd and the FWFSA for their effort in allowing me to put Interior Code 113 (OT Fire Exempt) on my time sheet. With roughly 100 hours OT to that code, it has paid my dues to the FWFSA this year alone, and I still have 10 months more to reap the benefits of their hard work. (Not to mention what is coming down the Pike with HR 408.)

Thankyou FWFSA,

Lucky Lindy
MN Fins and Feathers

Click the logo at the top of the page to go to the FWFSA website. Ab.

2/16 From the IAWF "Firenet" web site, sent in by Tony Blanks from Tasmania:

This is to alert you to a CSIRO report released today, 14 February 2006 by the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon Ian Campbell on the possible changes in fire weather under future climate change scenarios.

The following text has been adapted for FireNet's international subscribers from the latest Australian Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre information update. The reported work is specific to Australia but should be of interest to fire managers worldwide.

The Australian Bushfire CRC funded research on historical fire weather data undertaken by Dr Chris Lucas at the Bureau of Meteorology and supervised by Dr Neville Nicholls was a critical input to the CSIRO work.

The CSIRO was contracted by the Australian Greenhouse Office, and the Tasmanian, New South Wales and Victorian state Governments to assess the potential changes in fire weather over southeast Australia under climate change scenarios.

The study, undertaken by Dr Kevin Hennessy at the Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research with Bushfire CRC researchers Dr Chris Lucas and Dr Neville Nicholls from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology uses projections of likely climate in 2020 and 2050 under a range of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions drawn from two CSIRO climate models as the basis for the likely climate in those years.

The researchers conclude that at most sites the frequencies of very high or extreme fire weather days would increase by 4-25% by 2020 and 15-70% by 2050 if the model projections are correct. The changes are greatest in the inland, and relatively less along the coast and in Tasmania.

Is extreme fire weather is a highly unusual event, and the climate models may not necessarily simulate the statistical distribution of these extremes correctly, the study uses the historical distribution of fire weather as a base and modifies these distributions by the simulated climate changes to estimate the likely change in fire weather climatology. The historical distribution of observed fire weather was computed in the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre as part of the Bushfire CRC research conducted there.

The study acknowledges a number of limitations, including the possibility of different results being obtained from different climate models, the quality of some of the data used in generating the historical fire danger time series, and that fuel availability, rainfall distribution, and possible circulation changes may also affect the fire weather regime in the future.

As part of the Bureau of Meteorology's cooperative research with the Bushfire CRC, a project is underway to assess the potential for seasonal prediction of fire weather in Australia. This is a long term project that is establishing high quality climate data sets of fire weather elements, and aims to understand the relationships between variability in these elements and the global circulation features that influence their variability as the first step to potential prediction. The results of this study will be applicable to future climate change studies.

Bushfire CRC chief executive officer Kevin O'Loughlin said the research was a welcome addition to the debate on the potential impact of climate change and would help refine ongoing related research within the Bushfire CRC.

"The cooperative work on understanding the historical data being undertaken by the Bureau for the Bushfire CRC's fire agency partners is invaluable," Mr O'Loughlin said.

"Fire-fighting and land management agencies will now be able to better prepare for the long-term impact of climate change. If climate change means that bushfires could become an even more regular feature on the landscape then planning must begin on how best to allocate resources to fire prevention, land management and fire fighting."

A copy of the Minister's press release can be found at:


and the report can be downloaded from:

www.greenhouse.gov.au/impacts/publications/pubs/bushfire-report.pdf (pdf file)


2/16 Re: hydration

Batchmaster beat me to the send button on my first post.

I would agree that for simple hydration a mix of sports drink and water is best...In fact slightly salty water is probably best. But humans like sweet stuff, so adding some flavor to water, makes us drink more of it. But again, you need electrolyes (sodium potassium, etc.) and by diluting a sports drink too much, we are fooling ourselves into believing, we are getting enough. That list (down the page) put out by MTDC is a good one. Cytomax (which is on the list) is great stuff, I should own stock in the company I drink so much of it. But I think it has too much carbohydrate content in it. It'll work, but it will also make you sick if you drink too much of it...Better (and superb) after a shift, or work out, to prevent lactic acid buildup in your muscles.

Hyponetremia is a fairly newly recognized injury (illness). Marathon runners have been dropping dead for years, 15 to 20 minutes after finishing races, and it wasn't until the last few years that people started to figure out why, and start to warn of the dangers. Now they have less H20 stations and more gatorade (or other sponsor) stations along the route. I would venture to say that many many of the heat related injuries on the fireline in the past that have been attributed to heat exhaustion, were actually hyponetremia. Fortunately crew cohesiveness and the general concern for the well being of each other has allowed these injuries to be identified, unlike in a marathon or other race where number 1 looks out for only number1.

It's important for people to recognize the symptoms of all of these heat (sweat) related injuries. Unless you've personally experienced them, you can't rely among yourself to recognize it. It many of my WFF ultra-run posts, I spoke of the mental and emotional changes during my run. This is due to three main causes, I believe. Fatigue, hyponetremia, and hypoglycemia, two of which are preventable if you prepare and maintain electrolyte and sugar balances. And the same two are extremely dangerous, if you don't. Both leading to coma, and possibly death.

A lot of what we hear from the mainstream medical establishment about sodium intake (hypertension) and high fat and sugar intake (obesity), or the less mainstream Atkin's folks, is meant for the majority of Americans who sit around in their constant vegetative state. when it comes to endurance activities, it has to be taken with....well...a grain of salt. Although I've thought about it, if I could get it down the gullet without vomiting, I'm not suggesting eating sticks of butter coated in sea salt. But an endurance athlete needs, in addition to h2o, energy (fat, sugar carbohydrates) to fuel his muscles, and electrolytes (salts) to conduct electrical activity...to move the muscles (including the most important one, the heart) and to think and act decisively.

peace, KCP
2/16 I agree with what Lobotomy said.
One of the most ironic (weird?) factors in discussions that revolve around vehicle for structure fires and what the response will (not) be from Federal wildland personnel. And then we're (USFS) told that we should wear brass, have structural titles, etc..... Merging these two factors (cant fight structure fires & lets look like structure guys) always brings a smile (or frown) to my face. Just another item in the long list of the 'Federal Wildlandfire Mgt Identity Crisis' that been going on for a long time (since the late 80's early 90s?? maybe).

The Rambob
2/16 This came in from OB, the Aussie:

One dead in bushfire plane crash (16-02-2006)

A PILOT has been killed when his water-bomber aircraft crashed
while fighting a bushfire in south western NSW.

The full story is available at:

2/16 All--

Here's the draft of the NIFC National Wildland Fire Outlook for February through
June '06.


Thanks JS. Sorry for the rough formatting. I converted the fatty word doc to html. The photos were a problem. If anyone would like the original, let me know and I'll send it. Ab.

2/16 Re: 5 years forward and 30 years back for safety.... Revise the Annual Refresher Program!!!!

> From this years Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher.... WFSTAR...


The Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations, 2006 includes the following policy guidance. This direction is applicable to the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please consult Chapter 10 of the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations, 2006 (www.fire.blm.gov/Standards/redbook.php) and agency specific policies for additional information.

Structure Fires, Vehicle Fires, and Landfill Fires
Structure, vehicle, and dump fire suppression is not a functional responsibility of wildland fire suppression resources. These fires have the potential to emit high levels of toxic gases. Firefighters will not be dispatched to structure, vehicle, or dump fires unless there is a significant threat to lands and resources that are under agency protection, including by protection agreement. Firefighters will not take direct suppression action on structure, vehicle, or dump fires. This policy will be reflected in suppression response plans."

"Should firefighters encounter structure, vehicle, or dump fires during the performance of their normal wildland fire suppression duties, firefighting efforts will be limited to areas where the fire has spread onto agency protected lands. Structure protection will be limited to exterior efforts, and only when such actions can be accomplished safely and in accordance with established wildland fire operations standards."

It is time for land managers to understand that fire managers are managing fire of all kinds. Structure, vehicle, and dump fires are ignition sources. They are confined to a general location that is best suppressed from the confined location. If they expand into the wildlands, they increase the exposure to wildland firefighters. Trained wildland firefighters can safely extinguish a non-traditional ignition source from extending into the wildland. The most hazardous position is to be in an defensive fire posture and try to contain a fire that has escaped into the wildland areas.

When you make a policy that says, "Structure, vehicle, and dump fire suppression is not a functional responsibility of wildland fire suppression resources"..... "Should firefighters encounter structure, vehicle, or dump fires during the performance of their normal wildland fire suppression duties, firefighting efforts will be limited to areas where the fire has spread onto agency protected lands.".... "Firefighters will not take direct suppression action on structure, vehicle, or dump fires."

You folks making policy from glass offices need to get out some and see how much wildland is protected from wildland firefighters taking "direct action" on structural, vehicle, and dump fires. You also need to understand that firefighting is firefighting.... get over the fact that we (wildland firefighters) concentrate on wildland areas.... the science is fire science and it doesn't take a rocket scientist or biological scientist to understand it.... a normal person can.

If the current "policy" is in effect.... the urbanized forest areas will be operating directly against policy again...... Just like the 2003 siege that prompted the Foundational Doctrine...... When policies don't make sense.... wildland firefighters concentrate on safety. Educated line officers signed off on the procedures that local wildland firefighters are using. If you don't agree, attack the line officers who are authorizing the wildland firefighting actions...... not the wildland firefighters.
In any case, be prepared to be educated on the Fire Science of Wildland Fire if you question local line officer decisions or local fire manager decisions.

Bring it on.... Keep it simple... Stick to facts.... How many federal wildland firefighters have been injured or killed putting out vehicle fires, structural fires, or dump fires?..... How may wildland firefighters have been killed or injured from vehicle, structure, or dump fires that have escaped into the wildland?


2/16 Cris,

I guess I should have mentioned this in my first email. I'm in excellent physical shape and I'm not concerned about my heart or my ability to pass the pack test. I go to the gym 4 days a week and I work in the woods for my full time job.
What I am concerned about is the Fed. Gov. wasting money (just did my fed. tax form!) on a physical exam that does nothing to prevent someone from dropping over in the middle of the test. I realize the expense of having everyone do a stress test and EKG might be prohibitive but there has to be something in-between.

2/16 23 years ago today in Victoria, Australia, over 100 fires started on the 16th of February 1983, a day known as Ash Wednesday. 210,000 ha were burnt, 2,080 houses destroyed, and 47 people lost their lives. Property-related damage was estimated at over $A200m. More than 16,000 fire fighters, 1,000 police and 500 defense personnel fought the Victorian Ash Wednesday fires.

On the same day as the Victorian Ash Wednesday fires, the same weather pattern brought extreme fire behavior to the southeastern part of South Australia. The resulting fires, unrelated to those burning at the same time in Victoria burnt 208,000 ha, and 383 houses. 28 people were killed and property-related damage was estimated to be more than $A200m.

Sources: Wildland Fire Event Calendar at www.iawfonline.org  and http://avoca.vicnet.net.au/~gscfa/ash.php

Bill Gabbert
International Association of Wildland Fire
2/16 as any anatomy student remembers: Tricuspid, Pulmonic, Mitral,
Aortic (TPMA = Toilet Paper My A**)

Joe Hill
2/15 EasternFF,

One of the best ways for the heart to be checked for problems is by a CERTIFIED cardiologist. The test done for that is a stress test which involves walking on a tread mill with an EKG machine hook up for as long as possible and then having an ultrasound done on your heart immediately afterwards. They look for any problems within and around your heart. They check both the auricles, ventricles and the interior valves. (Sorry, I've forgotten what they are called).

As for the pack test, the main point of it is to test your physical fitness. Some problems can be found with the BP (blood pressure) but not always.

So stay fit and ready.
2/15 My doctor told me that most sports drinks have too high a concentration of
sugar which can actually make it more difficult for the body to take up the
fluid. He said children's fluid replacement is almost perfect. (It tastes
like salty, flat soda.) It seems like I've seen research similar to what has
already been added to this discussion: that the sports drinks work best when
balanced by water, but I thought the ratio was closer to 4/1 water/sports

On one of the fires in southern Utah last summer, we had someone in pretty
bad shape taken off the fire line. He had been drinking plenty of water but
without the salts and minerals, his electrolytes were way off, so the sports
drinks do provide some benefit when used reasonably.

Still Out There as an AD
2/15 Federal Firefighter,

You may want to try www.handelonthelaw.com. It appears to be a good source for legal info but Bill Handel was really bagging on wildland firefighters the other day. He didn't have the facts. It is a syndicated program heard throughout the U.S.

Hope that helps.

Rogue Rivers
2/15 Hello All,

Does anyone know of a good attorney who is experienced in dealing
with Civil Rights issues and the Forest Service? Preferably in the

Federal Firefighter
2/15 Ab,

On the 9th I sent you some info on 7 spot fires that were east of Ramona on SR78, to far from the Angel fire to be from embers.

Found this this evening:

Article reads:

SUV starts seven fires
By: North County Times

RAMONA ---- Fire officials were trying Friday to find the owner of a sport-utility vehicle that allegedly started seven spot fires beside Highway 78, about five miles east of Ramona.

The fires were caused by a faulty catalytic converter on the SUV, said Capt. Gary Eidsmoe, investigator for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Eidsmoe saw the small string of fires about 6:15 p.m. as he happened to drive down the highway. Someone else had spotted them, too.

"A witness physically pulled him (SUV driver) over and told him his vehicle was starting fires," Eidsmoe said. "He drove off."

The captain said the witness got a license plate number. The owner will be tracked down and told that if the vehicle starts any more fires he will be liable for any costs, Eidsmoe said.

(Eidsmoe is MVU Prevention 3321, I believe)


2/14 Strider and all,

The Missoula Technology and Development Center issued a publication by Brian Sharkey on nutritional supplements and firefighting in 2004. This publication is used by buying teams to determine which sports drinks can be purchased on fires that they support. There are likely more than these that meet the requirements by now since the publication is nearly 2 years old, but it is indeed a good guideline. Here's what it says:

Energy Supplement Selection Guide

Numerous energy supplements are available in the marketplace. The use of some supplements is supported by research. The use of others is not. This section is designed to help you select liquid and solid carbohydrate supplements that serve the needs of wildland firefighters.

Sports Drinks

These guidelines are intended to guide the purchase of energy replacement beverages for wildland firefighters. They are based on published studies, field research on firefighters (conducted by MTDC and University of Montana researchers), and on position statements published by the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Recommendation—Firefighters need 1 L of fluid for each hour of work. We recommend that sport drinks comprise one-third to one-half of fluid needs, with the balance supplied by water. That will ensure about 100 kcal of carbohydrate for each hour of work (for example, 1/3 of 300 kcal = 100 kcal/h). Additional carbohydrate can be supplied by solid supplements, such as energy bars.

      Sports Drinks                    |                                 |
  Guidelines—Consult the               |                                 |
  nutrition information                |                                 |
  label found on the                   |                                 |
  product’s package. The               |                                 |
  information covers the               |                                 |
  constituents in the                  |                                 |
  mixed or liquid state                |                                 |
  and is presented per                 |                                 |
  liter of fluid (1 L =                |                                 |
  1.0567 qt). Because                  |                                 |
  manufacturers list                   |                                 |
  products for 8, 12, or               |                                 |
  16 oz servings, it may               |                                 |
  be necessary to                      |                                 |
  convert ounces to                    |                                 |
  liters:                              |                                 |
       Multiply by      |              | 4.2 to convert an 8-oz serving  |
                        |              | to liters.                      |
                        |              | 2.8 to convert a 12-oz serving  |
                        |              | to liters.                      |
                        |              | 2.1 to convert a 16-oz serving  |
                        |              | to liters.                      |
  For 21 g of                          |                                 |
  carbohydrate in a                    |                                 |
  12-oz serving,                       |                                 |
  multiply 21 g by 2.8                 |                                 |
  to get grams per liter               |                                 |
  (21 x 2.8 = 58.8 g/L).               |                                 |
  Serving size          |              | 1 L                             |
  Calories per serving  |              | 180 to 320 kcal/L               |
| Carbohydrate          | Total        | 45 to 80 g/L (4.5 to 8 percent) |
| Carbohydrate          | Type         | glucose, sucrose, maltose,      |
|                       |              | maltodextrin, or fructose (try  |
|                       |              | to avoid products where fructose|
|                       |              | or high fructose corn syrup is  |
|                       |              | the first carbohydrate in the   |
|                       |              | list of ingredients)            |
  Sodium                |              | 140 to 500 mg/L                 |
  Potassium             |              | 80 to 308 mg/L                  |
  The following                        |                                 |
  ingredients are not                  |                                 |
  required, either                     |                                 |
  because the ingredient               |                                 |
  is provided in meals                 |                                 |
  or there is no                       |                                 |
  substantial proof that               |                                 |
  these ingredients                    |                                 |
  contribute to                        |                                 |
  performance or immune                |                                 |
  function when they are               |                                 |
  provided as a                        |                                 |
  supplement. Ephedra,                 |                                 |
  guarana, or other                    |                                 |
  herbal products are                  |                                 |
  not acceptable.                      |                                 |
  Vitamins should not                  |                                 |
  exceed 100 percent of                |                                 |
  the recommended                      |                                 |
  dietary allowance.                   |                                 |
  Protein               |              | 0 to 15 g/L                     |
  Magnesium             |              | 0 to 56 mg/L                    |
  Vitamin C             |              | 0 to 100 mg/L                   |
  Vitamin E             |              | 0 to 160 IU/L (international    |
                        |              | units per liter)                |
  Sports drinks that                   |                                 |
  meet the                             |                                 |
  specifications                       |                                 |
  include:                             |                                 |
  Advocare Pos-3*                      |                                 |
  All Sport*                           |                                 |
  Cytomax                              |                                 |
  Comp 1 (Arizona Sports               |                                 |
  Drink)                               |                                 |
  Enervit G*                           |                                 |
  Extran Thirstquencher*               |                                 |
  G Push**                             |                                 |
  GU20                                 |                                 |
  Gatorade                             |                                 |
  Powerade*                            |                                 |
  Revenge Sport                        |                                 |
  *High fructose, **High               |                                 |
  sodium                               |                                 |
  A higher carbohydrate                |                                 |
  concentration (for                   |                                 |
  instance, 10 percent                 |                                 |
  or 100 g/L and 400                   |                                 |
  kcal/L) can be                       |                                 |
  tolerated after work,                |                                 |
  when the crew is                     |                                 |
  traveling or awaiting                |                                 |
  transport. The                       |                                 |
  addition of some                     |                                 |
  protein (a ratio of 1                |                                 |
  g of protein for 4 g                 |                                 |
  of carbohydrate)                     |                                 |
  within 2 h after work                |                                 |
  may reduce muscle                    |                                 |
  stress and accelerate                |                                 |
  replacement of muscle                |                                 |
  glycogen. Fruit drinks               |                                 |
  or colas provide                     |                                 |
  carbohydrate, and                    |                                 |
  solid food snacks can                |                                 |
  supply additional                    |                                 |
  carbohydrate, protein,               |                                 |
  and electrolytes. A                  |                                 |
  total of 300 to 500                  |                                 |
  kcal of carbohydrate                 |                                 |
  energy (liquid and                   |                                 |
  solid) is recommended                |                                 |
  within 2 h after work.               |                                 |
Rocky Mountain Member
2/14 Ab and all,

I would just like to get people's opinions this topic.
I am a call-when-needed firefighter out here in the Northeast and we are getting ready for the yearly pack test. Part of this as you all know is having to fill out the Health Screening questionnaire. I was always told this is to hopefully figure out if some one is at risk of having a massive heart-attack during the middle of the test. A very good reason.

Well one of the questions on the Health Screen is do you ever take any prescribed or over the counter med. I checked this box because I take a daily med. Now this med. has NOTHING to do with my heart or anything even close, but it requires me to have a physical. Fine I figure the USFS will pay no problem. The only thing is that the physical they require the Doctor to do appears to me (and I'm not a MD) to do nothing to check your heart. Yes they listen to it and take your blood pressure but other than that nothing. More time is spent on hearing and vision.

If the goal is to save people from dying with a 45 lbs pack on their back this exam seem like a waste of time. Do others feel the same?


2/14 Dear Ab and All,

Thanks for all your help, i just got a job with a firefighting company out of Merrill, Oregon. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions on things i need to do before i get out there, ie equipment, and training. I would greatly appreciate it.


I'm fairly sure they'll train you, unless they said otherwise. As far as equipment, check here on the FAQ page and click the link to the list of suggestions: www.wildlandfire.com/docs/faq.php#what5. Readers, has anything changed? Any new items to add or old ones to delete? Ab.

2/14 Strider and all:

As a Div. I need to take care of team members working under me. Part of it is looking out for their well being during the shift by ensuring their taking care of themselves and that I'm supporting them.

Had a crew boss on a Type 2 IA crew last summer go down from dehydration and low blood sugar.

The point I want to make is the rest of the crew did not detect the "behavior" change this person experienced.
I told them they need to watch out for each other every day so the team will not suffer a loss. They said they did discuss signs, symptoms of heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration before the season hit.
They said it was not enough though when they encountered a very hot, dry day working on a South exposed rock slope.
Some members are more susceptible to heat than others and sometimes they will not tell you until it's to late.

Thanks to all other posts for the hydration tips!

2/13 Ab,

I don't know the details, but I think Gatoraide is not so good regarding
electrolytes for dehydration as first thought. My recollection is that it's not
as well constituted as it could be. Does anyone have more details?

NorCal Tom

2/13 Ab & all,

I was saddened to read about Steve Burns’s accident in Texas. I worked with Steve on the Deschutes NF on several occasions; I always enjoyed his consistently positive demeanor. My best wishes to Steve for a speedy and complete recovery.

It was nice to see that Senator Jon Kyl also thinks the Forest Service is underfunded in the proposed 2007 federal budget. From today’s National Ledger:

“While recognizing the positive steps made in the proposed 2007 federal budget, I’d be remiss if I did not note my concerns that enough funding isn’t allocated to prevent and contain wildfires in Arizona and the Southwest. As Arizona is seeing its driest winters in history, the fires that engulfed the Payson area have ravaged over 3000 acres of National Forest. The budget proposal for the Forest Service cuts fire preparedness by $10 million and other fire operations by nearly 36 percent. Preventing and containing wildfires on National Forests is a federal responsibility, and I am not convinced that there is enough funding in this budget to reduce the wildfire risk to our communities and the surrounding landscapes.”

Here’s the link to the whole article:


Thank you, Senator Kyl. Wildland firefighters truly appreciate the support of those elected officials who understand that diminished budgets directly impact our ability to safely and effectively suppress wildland fires.

Misery Whip

2/13 Strider,

I copied the information below from an ultra-running web-site. But as I’ve said before, there are obvious correlations, as wildland fire work is an endurance event. If you look at the symptoms below you will see some of the very things you were asking about. Look back at some of the long and hot shifts you’ve done, and ask yourself, if you or someone around you has had some of these symptoms? Unfortunately, plain old fatigue will have some of the same symptoms, to an extent, and it won’t be until much later (say when heat exhaustion is suspected) that it might make sense to the observer.

All of that white chalky stuff on your fire shirt and PG bag straps is salt, and it should be telling you something. Most simply think it means that we are consuming too much salt in our diets. And this is probably true, especially in American society. The problem lies in that your body becomes accustomed to that much salt, and therefore needs that much salt. Those with lower salt intake in their diets are not any more at risk of Hyponatremia than those with a lot.

When I was a hotshot, plain water was all we took with us out on the line. It may have been looked upon, as it may still today, as an unneeded luxury, or even a sign of weakness to carry Gatorade. I do know that the argument was that if you had Gatorade, you’d drink it too fast and run out of water. And I’m not going to say that is not a valid argument to an extent. But Hyponatremia is as deadly as heat-stroke is.

The Gatorade “Endurance” has a bit more sodium in it than the regular stuff, But even still may not be keeping up with sodium loss while sweating. I think mixing half and half H20 to Gatorade is not necessarily a good idea, either. I believe one tends to think, “I’m drinking Gatorade, so all is good”, and may miss some important indicators.

It is also important to stress that Hyponatremia and dehydration, are 2 different animals One can be fully hydrated (completely tanked up, and peeing absolutely clear fluid) and still drop dead from Hyponatremia.

During my ultra-runs, I will mix table salt (or sea salt) in my Gatorade, every so often. It tastes horrible, but it is important. I am planning on making salt capsules for the 104.8, just so that I don’t have to “drink” the stuff. Ultra-runners and Wildland Firefighters need 400 to 800 milligrams of sodium per hour during hot weather.

Pedia-lite is a great source of electrolytes, and I do use that during runs. Problem is I do not believe they make it in a powder form, so I think it would be prohibitive on the fireline. Nuts, potato chips, and generally many of the normal “junk foods” are good sources of sodium. It is a good idea to wean yourself off of the normal American sodium intake. But I wouldn’t try that during fire season. You may have noticed in the past, however, that as the season rolls on, the salt stains seem to be less evident. That is your body acclimating itself; knowing that it needs to learn to get by with less sodium. Just be careful.

Read on, and visit….


This is a condition in which there is a very low concentration of sodium in your blood. It is also seen in conjunction with WEIGHT GAIN (not weight loss) and most often occurs during endurance exercise lasting more than 5 to 7 hours. (From: http://www.halcyon.com/gasman/water.php) More specifically, hyponatremia develops as sodium and free water are lost and replaced by fluids, such as plain tap water, half-normal saline, or dextrose in water.. Basically, this condition occurs when a person takes in too much water and not enough salt.

The answer to this question is the scary part and why this is such a medical emergency when it occurs.

Many of the symptoms are NEUROLOGICAL in origin. Level of alertness can range from agitation to a coma state. Variable degrees of cognitive impairment (eg, difficulty with short-term recall; loss of orientation to person, place, or time; frank confusion or depression). Other symptoms include seizure activity and irrational behavior. In patients with acute severe hyponatremia, signs of brainstem herniation, including coma; fixed, unilateral, dilated pupil; decorticate or decerebrate posturing; and respiratory arrest. Coma and seizures usually occur only with acute reduction of the serum sodium concentration to less than 120 mEq/L.



2/13 Just back from the nearly 11,000 acre Sierra Fire in Orange County, CA. Our so called "winter" looks more like summer- fall in So Cal. Temps in the mid 80's, RH in the single digits. Last night the RH "recovery" made it ALL THE WAY UP to 8%! Not a drop of precipitation on the horizon even.... Should be one "peach" of a year ahead.

But the good news was the cooperativeness of the many agencies involved led to some great accomplishments. This was evident from the initial attack on. Great backfiring and engine & crew work held the line in tough places, including just keeping it out of the back yards of thousands of homes. Success was hard won given that flame lengths commonly ranged from 60-100 feet and Santa Ana winds blew at 40 mph.

Just as spectacular too was Rich Hawkins, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer from the CA-CNF. The press was after him at first like wolves on fresh kill, but Rich just stayed cool and professional, representing the facts but doing great stuff for image of the Forest Service. He still had time (and temperament) left over to offer some words of wisdom and kinship to all. He's a guy we could all aspire to be in times of stress and trouble!

Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this fire a success! A couple of photos are attached...

Contract County Guy

Thanks, nice ones. I put them on the Fires 29 photo page. I have a lot of photo catching up to do. I'd best get to it soon. Ab.

2/13 Ab and all,

Lately, some places in the central Rockies have received above-average snow levels, much to the delight of the ski resorts. In fact, places like Steamboat are now stockpiling sand bags in preparation for spring flooding. Here on the eastern front, we've had almost no snow in the past two months - might be due for a few inches this week, might not. But temps have been warm and the fires keep popping up:


Apparently parts of the southwest are still enjoying the effects of global warming as well, with 1,200 acres burnt near Payson, AZ in the last few days.

I don't know if we've had winters this dry in the past, or if this is some new trend towards year-round fire seasons in CO and the southwest. But some folks with impressive college degrees are saying it may be a new trend. Scientists are also apparently seeing a return to El Nina conditions, which typically mean lots of moisture for the Pacific northwest and increasing drought in the southern US. Wonder if nor'easters are a part of this pattern?

It may be too far off to tell what fire season's going to bring, but speculating on it at least helps pass the time...


2/13 Strider -

You can drink too much water!

Lots and lots of water is not good in the heat. Studies recommend 1/3 to 1/2 of fluid intake be in Gatorade type sports drinks (containing electrolytes). Firefighters should drink a quart of fluid each hour of work.

Too much water can cause hyponatremia (too much water). Hyponatremia causes a dangerous imbalance in your body chemistry. Basically, not enough salt in yer blood (under 135 mmoles/liter). This can be a problem especially when you drink too much water during physical activity when you lose salt through sweat. Initially, this can cause gastrointestinal symptoms or nausea. As your salts decrease, you may experience unusual fatigue, confusion, disorientation, a throbbing headache, vomiting, wheezy breathing, swollen hands and feet. Seizures, coma, and death are possible at very low levels (below 120 mmoles/liter).

Those at greatest risk are small persons, those who sweat a lot and lose lots of salt, drink lots of water before and during physical activity, and fail to replace electrolytes, especially sodium. A small body means it takes less water to dilute your body fluids.

To avoid hyponatremia include electrolyte sports drinks or put electrolytes (especially salt) in water to ensure sodium intake.

• Drink half a quart of fluid (water and sport drink) 2 to 3 hours before exertion in the heat.

• Drink a pint of fluid (water and sport drink) 10 to 20 minutes before exertion

• Replace fluids lost in sweat by drinking 6 to 12 oz of fluid (water and sport drink) every 15 to 20 minutes during exertion

• During meals, long breaks and after exertion replace fluids to restore fluid balance, electrolytes, and carbohydrates.

Firefighters should consume a quart (liter) of fluid (water and sport drink) for each hour of work in the heat. Gatorade type sport drinks should account for 1/3 to 1/2 of your fluid needs.

When hyponatremia is suspected, the treatment is to provide electrolyte fluids – not water.

2/13 Thanks Rich,

I sincerely felt there had been something taken out of context or twisted by the media. I was really afraid of the media jumping on the band wagon and taking us towards an area where lessons wouldn't be learned or the valuable tool of prescribed burning would be removed.

Having been involved in a significant escaped prescribed fire in the past, I know it is very personal to everyone involved. As soon as someone mentions "USAO" after Cramer, the lessons learned are never realized. A journey with the USAO is something none of us ever want to see while we are doing the duties within our scope.

We strive to make prescribed fire an exact science where there is never an escape, but like firefighter safety, accidents and incidents do occur. We can prevent the majority of them, but we must also accept that sometimes our best intended actions fail.... sometimes beyond our control.... and then we learn.

I hope the best for all involved.

2/13 Thanks to the Prineville Shots and the Redmond Jumpers


I would like to thank the Prineville Shots, Redmond Jumpers and everyone involved with the making of the Into the Firestorm series. I am a deployed reservist that is going to end up missing 2 fire seasons and that series has been some real entertainment for me. It reminds me why I want to get back to my ranger district and get back to work! The guys I am deployed with think I am nuts for working wildland fire, but can see a lot of the beauty of the job. I am sorry that the various crews received so much flak about the perceived safety violations. At least it sparked some good discussions.

I am also glad to see discussions about the Cramer fire have come up again. Thank you everyone (Miserywhip, NMairbear, Lobotomy, ETC) for continuing to think about it. That fire is very personal to me and the political repercussions of that fire are far-reaching. Safety of my crew is #1, but more rules and regulations just tend to confuse people. The KISS method should apply to safety.

I have been lurking quite a bit on this board, and it is also a lifeline to the business I so enjoy. You all be safe and have a good season!


P.S. Whenever I tell someone I work Wildland fires, I get the question "Are you a jumper?" I tell them that I am not, and that I am an Engine Slug, and they loose all interest. The dang Jumpers get all of the good press! :>)

2/13 Does anyone have stories of safety relating to dehydration? Clouded judgment, fuzzy
thinking, other symptoms? Guidelines for how much water should be consumed per
day in hot environments while pounding fireline? Info on rehydration if you or someone
gets dehydrated on the fireline in a remote area? Anyone carry with them a rehydration
mixture (salts) that can be added to water? Anyone know what that mix would be?
What about Pedialight? Gatoraide?

Doing some research... Thx...


2/13 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated.


2/12 To 'am I in left field',

No, I think you are right on! I wanted to say as much, but the abs do not
like us to bag on other agencies.

There was no shortage of hard work and desire from that crew, just lack
of experience and training.

Let us all get along, but let us also point out problems.
2/11 To Lobotomy and Beej:

Great posts! I appreciate the substance and find comfort in knowing there ARE folks in this business who know the difference between shampoo and feces.

To all:

The idea of "Commander's Intent" is absolutely applicable and leaves us with the basic task of fostering 'morally based intent' through due diligence. We have to be aware that legal doctrinal shifts, evident in the aftermath of the Cramer Fire, could very likely shift a "Commander's Intent" from a spirit of “Fighting fire aggressively but PROVIDING for SAFETY first” to that of a "Commander's Intent" of "Personal Liability Insulation." Previous discussion posted on this board sounds a lot like liability insulation through unconditional adherence to check-lists. In face of criminal/civil repercussions, you really can’t blame folks for having the intention of “Liability Insulation.” If that becomes a dominating theme in wildland firefighting, I'll get out of this profession faster than the proverbial fat kid in a game of dodge ball.

I ask all you readers, “What is your Intent?” This question should span the full spectrum of your duties because ultimately each component is a link in the safety “chain.” Whether hiring new firefighters, promoting individuals, or conducting a morning safety briefing, ask yourselves if your intent and concomitant objectives can withstand a jury of moral consequence. The objectives presented in this line of work scream true intent, which, on the fireline, leads to the phenomenon of “Electromagnetic olfactory particle transmission”, the ability to smell bull sh** over the radio.

The Law of Air Guitar

Minor point of technical insignificance: Like WMD in Iraq and Santa Clause, Zero-Risk environments only exist in the minds of those people incapable of comprehending reality.
2/11 Misery Whip,

All right, my friend, I see your tongue-in-cheek now and your attitude
towards especially safety.

After a 33 year career as a fed, now retired, I see threats to firefighter
safety as greater now than ever before. The reason is the same as it has
always been: poor leadership.

Hand in glove with that problem is threats to both the resource and to
the public's ability to enjoy it.

Maybe talk to you on chat some evening. We have been lacking lately
in serious subject matter and would sure appreciate your input. You
too, Backburnfs!

2/11 Robb in R3 expressed concern over Bush's proposal to
sell federal lands. I lost my trust in the ability of
the feds to sell land soon after I started working for
the USFS. I was told we could usually only trade
land, not sell it. The land sales I worked on traded
great bottom land with mature timber for upland rocky
ridges that will never grow a straight tree. Odd how
it was viewed as a "fair trade" acre traded for acre.
We trade off the best for the worst. Some of that
land we "gave" away is now valued at over $100,000 a
river bottom acre for $300 ridgetop acre.

Such is life. I won't trust any federal land trades
that I can't review ahead of time.

2/11 As I watch (for entertainment value) the Into The Firestorm series I to chuckle when I see high paid F.F.'s squirting water into the tops of bushes with a (1 inch line) and sitting on a 2 1/2 I guess pretreating the or watering the chaparral of So. Cal.what about the old but still legit WATER vs. FIRE book can we get L.A. County a copy? Hit the Base!!! Where are the Driptorchs for chasing fire around a structure is this practice obsolete? how about the old pull out let the fire hit and go back in and knock down what's left. No wait I know I got this from the S-205 course I just taught in "Sometimes the best structure protection is to just put the fire out" Haul chart anyone?

Just something for the masses to chew on besides Boots.

signed am I way out in left field?
2/11 I'll be getting the Draft National Wildland Fire Outlook for 2006 up tonight. Thanks to the multiple people who sent it in. You can stop now. ....haw, haw, haw.... Ab.
2/10 Oliver, NM Air Bear,

No sweat, from my perspective there is no beef. I thought the 2/8 post from backburnfs was amusing, flip, and politically pointed, so I responded in kind. I have a number of friends and co-workers who I disagree with vociferously when it comes to politics, but I enjoy their friendship and the discussions.

I grew up in an environment where people could flick each other a little sh*t and still have a beer and a laugh at the end of the day. I think backburnfs gets the joke, his last post was pretty funny. I was surprised he missed the old brush ape favorite, “Nuke the gay whales for Jesus”.

However, I am completely serious when it comes to shedding light on things that threaten federal wildland firefighters. If people want to look at my recent posts as politically slanted, that’s their business. But I regard what has been going on for the past several years as above politics, and a serious threat to the Forest Service and wildland firefighter safety.

If the Democrats were in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress right now, and making the same kinds of radical changes the federal land management agencies have been forced to endure since 2001, I would be challenging their actions with the same degree of dismay I’ve displayed of late. I can’t explain it much plainer than that.


Outstanding post, you’re a good writer and represent the dirtslinger perspective well. You need to post here more often.

Misery Whip

2/10 Read the comments today about liability and felt bad I had misspoke. I
should not have used the term U.S. Attorney in my comments about the
Sierra Fire. My intention was to say USDA-Office of the General Consul.
OGC will determine if all costs related to the incident must be paid for by
the FS. Some of these costs would be based on claims under the Federal
Tort Claims Act. Those claims can only be paid if the government is found
to be negligent. I should not have implied there would be any involvement by
the USAO as per the new policy regarding fatality fires. My apologies to
those who were upset to hear about USAO involvement. I do not believe
there will be any involvement in this issue by that group.

Rich Hawkins
Forest FMO
Cleveland N.F.

Rich, it's easy to misspeak when dealing with all the legalities. Maybe we need a substantial course in firefighter law in which we practice with all the legal terms and procedures so they roll right off our tongues. Thanks for writing in to clarify. Ab.

2/10 There are three vids on the AG flight crew program...some of it is PR stuff but worth
watching if you have a fast connection.



2/10 Quick! Sell it so that when it burns, we won't get stuck with the bill! (sarcasm, by the way...)
"Bush Administration Details $1B Land Sales"

How about just not slashing our budgets instead???

Robb in R3
2/10 Ab,

Steven Burns from the Deschutes National Forest  (OR) is in Critical but stable condition. He sustained a broken leg, broken pelvis, head injury, and broken vertebrae while working on a fire in TX, that's all we know for now..... JAM

This news release came out: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
News Release
from the Texas Forest Service


Date: February 10, 2006

Firefighter Injured on Montague County Wildfire

The Texas Forest Service reports that a wildland firefighter was injured yesterday evening while assisting on a wildland fire in Montague County. Steven Burns, 43, from Deschutes National Forest located in Bend, Oregon, is currently in critical but stable condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He has been with the U.S. Forest Service since 1989.

The injury occurred while Burns was working on the Hildreth Pool Road Fire at 7:45 pm last night. Paul Hannemann, Incident Commander on the North Central Texas Initial Attack Incident, said “It saddens us when any of our firefighters are hurt. Wildland firefighting is a dangerous business and the safety of our personnel is our top priority.”

Texas Forest Service Director, James Hull, stated “Our hearts and prayers go out to Steve and his family.” He continued, “The Texas Forest Service and the citizens of Texas thank Steve and those individuals who have responded to one of the worst fire seasons we have had in over 50 years.”

Steve's condition has been designated as serious, fir which we're all grateful. We hope he gets well soon. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is working with the liaison from the Deschutes NF to cover costs to his family. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Ab.

2/10 Re: Prescribed Burn Escapes and other incidents

Before I make my comments, it must be prefaced that whenever there is an incident or action gaining the attention of the media or public, it is usually perceived as negative to the wildland fire agencies. The recent possible prescribed burn escape illustrates the problem.

It must also be known that it is a personal experience for those involved at ALL LEVELS. It is O.K. to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to safety, but be prepared to be removed from the game if your information is not factually correct. Those people that are/were there have the most factual information. We all seek a safer and more productive workforce.

Early this morning, a series of "quotes" were heard on several Southern California radio stations and published in the written media.

These comments seemed to follow the ramifications of the Cramer Fire debacle.... hints of blame... negligence... and lack of lessons learned. These "quotes" were obviously/hopefully taken out of context for the local fire.

> From the listener perspective, they said (paraphrased from the KFI source)...

After the investigations are completed, they will be turned over to the U.S. Attorneys Office to see if negligence was involved. If negligence was involved, "they" will have to pay the suppression costs.

The way it was portrayed by the media was that the folks who lit the match were heading to the gallows. "They" is the question.....

> From a local perspective in fire management, I know my actions must be first reviewed by the OGC (Office of General Council)... OGC determines if my actions were within the scope of my duties.... OGC determines the facts of whether the Burn Boss is protected by the Federal Tort Claims Act or if they were negligent or grossly negligent in their duties.

After Cramer and 30 Mile, we know that "apparent" negligent or gross negligent actions are reviewed by non educated firefighters..... but the Scope must addressed if you are ever going to have someone be a burn boss or IC ever again.

If an action goes to the USAO.... there is a perception that a law has been broken.


2/10 MOC4546 (02/06)

Your FMO is playing games. It doesn't matter where you fought fire, if you have the documentation that you were on the fire in what ever position you held, you should be good to go.

A couple of things though,

As a volunteer fire chief on an Indian Reservation and FMO, anyone who comes to me looking for seasonal fire jobs for the summer, and who had previous fire experience, usually shows up with a red card from the previous year and any associated taskbooks. Further, a phone call to their previous employer, whoever they were, cleared up any questions. By the way, I still have everyone of my red cards since 1987.

Now, coming from California, we have a couple of new things going on this year. Under the current OES CICCS system, we are grandfathering folks who have documented fires and the positions that they held on those fires up until August of this year. What one has to do is go to the www.firescope.org website, lookup firescope, scroll down to training, and download the peer review application form:

All applicants MUST meet current requirements using the CICCS adopted January 2000 edition of National Wildfire Coordinating Group Wildland Qualifications Guide 310-1 or California Incident Command Certification System equivalencies.

Verifying official MUST verify requirements are true and correct, utilizing the CICCS Application Form.

Verifying official MUST verify experience for the position for which the applicant is applying, (Within the last 5 years, 3 years for aviation and dispatch positions) utilizing the CICCS Application-Experience.

All applicants MUST record pertinent training courses for the applied for position, utilizing the CICCS Application-Training.



Application consists of:
  1. Completed Application Form with all appropriate signatures.
  2. Completed Experience.
  3. Completed Training with attached copies of course completion certificates.
  4. Completed Position Task Book or documentation of historical experience that demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities for the applied for position.
  5. An original letter on Department letterhead and signed by the Fire Chief (or designee), describing the applicant’s specific background as it relates to the occupational experience requirement, must be included.

Applicants seeking 100/200 level certifications should submit applications to their Fire Chief.
Applicants seeking 300 level certification should submit applications to their OES Operational Area Coordinator.
Applicants seeking 400 level certification should submit applications to their OES Regional Coordinator.
Applicants seeking 500/600 level certifications should submit applications to the PACE V Committee through State Fire Training.

After August 2006, you will have to have the appropriate taskbooks signed off prior to performing a position on fire assignments, especially federal fire assignment in California. And of course as OES and California fire agencies become more involved in out of state assignments, it only makes sense to have this process in place.

As a fire service professional coming from Arizona and now working for CDF, the majority of my certifications did not apply to the California "system". Fortunately my red cards, taskbooks, and related documentation have served me well during the "peer review process". As a carded STEN/TFLD, MEDL, TNSP, and ICT3/DIV trainee, my quals have followed me into the CDF/OES ERD.

Further, I am currently working with my training folks in my CDF unit in adopting the "red card" system. We have several folks in our unit who have the potential in responding to out of state assignments or assist the feds with thier local volunteeer fire department, and it just makes sense that we offer our folks red cards to help them in their future endeavors.

Lets all remember, red cards are not a "federal" thing. Red cards is simply a document that proves that the individual is 1. properly trained for the position, 2. is physically "ready" for the position, and that they belong " to a reputable fire agency." As with everything out there, there are flaws.

Hope this clears up any questions that you have. Your FMO is wrong in saying that only fires fought by that agency counts. I wonder if that FMO has ever fought a fire on someone else's land. I'm sure if that person did, they counted it towards their fire experience (they would have to if they got paid to fight that fire!!)

AZ Trailblazer

Hi AZ Trailblazer, glad to see you're still lurking... and that you've still got MOC's back. Ab

2/10 Ab et al,

There are several issues that seem to have sparked some debate regarding the Discovery Channel Firestorm series. Questions of safety, the use of PPE, the notion of "professionalism", and the Agency image all seem to be generating discussion. Here are my thoughts.

As for safety, the first question has to be the accuracy of the finished product. This was not a documentary, and as far as I know, no Agency representative assisted in the commentary or previewed the show prior to it being aired. The film crew, following in the theme of danger, wanted to show excitement, not realistic firefighting. Off camera actions were not shown (i.e. safety briefings, escape routes, and lookouts), creative editing was used to create drama, and footage was routinely mixed, even to a casual observer, in both time and place.

Firefighting is inherently dangerous, and no amount of discussion, checklists, rules or guidelines will ever eliminate injuries and fatalities. Despite enhanced safety technology and extensive law enforcement, nationwide there were still 38,253 driving fatalities in 2004. Combine driving, steep slopes (rolling material), and tree hazards (every stick and log that burns on the forest floor got there by gravity), and someone will be injured or killed regardless of the best safety practices. This is an unfortunate fact, and the philosophy of "no more firefighter fatalities" is just not realistic. It is impossible to actively fight fire and mitigate all potential hazards. The critical decisions are whether to attack fires, where to fight them, and the strategies and tactics to employ. Once firefighters are engaged, their gloves and sleeves do not get them killed. This is not an argument that PPE is irrelevant, only that the critical decisions that put firefighters on fires with steep slopes and exposed terrain are not receiving the same scrutiny as the obvious, but minor PPE issues. Firefighters need to have, and wear, the best quality protective equipment. However, PPE alone will not protect firefighters from bad plans and poor supervision.

Are there better PPE products on the market than what is provided by GSA? Yes. Do firefighters have much say in what is stocked by GSA? Some, but not enough. So could higher quality PPE encourage more consistent use? Items like better fitting gloves, durable and comfortable pants, more comfortable line gear, and decent eye protection would be helpful. If every firefighter has the right to a safe assignment, and safety is always the first priority on every shift, cost should never be the issue. Don’t use cost to justify crap equipment (for example the Vertex radio).

Next, let's look at the effectiveness of current training. If we look at the basic fundamentals, the 10 and 18, as the building blocks of all fire training, then from day one we teach firefighters to break the Fire Orders. I quote from the NIFC website “The original arrangement of the Orders are logically organized to be implemented systematically and applied to all fire situations” and that “The 10 Standard Fire Orders are firm. We Don’t Break Them; We Don’t Bend Them. All firefighters have a Right to a Safe Assignment.” Please explain to me if you don’t bend the Fire Orders then how could many of the Watch outs Situations even exist? For example: “3.) Safety zones and escape routes not identified. 4.) Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior. 5.) Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards. 6.) Instructions and assignments not clear. 7.) No communication link between crewmembers and supervisors.” Having this contradiction exist in what is referred to almost reverentially as the “basics” reinforces the idea that there must be situations in which it is okay to break the Fire Orders. And this is reinforced again and again with Management Teams that give lip service to safety but still have terrible plans that value acreage over firefighter safety, Division Sups that never leave the road, and Safety Officers that in my experience have never stopped a bad plan.

Despite these management issues, Hotshot crews are still expected to go on the steepest slopes, on the hottest portions of the fires, and find a way to complete tasks safely. Effective leadership is the key to our success, and, unfortunately the hardest to judge from an edited television show. The notion of "professionalism" is difficult. Hotshot crews do not function like city fire departments that work and train together year round. Hotshot crews face a variety of assignments and an extremely demanding work schedule. We do not work or train together year-round, and have to hire seasonal employees based on many factors, work ability and experience being only a part. The ability to work on a team, to get along with others, and to have a good attitude in demanding circumstances are paramount. Some levity is critical for crew morale. Over several weeks of filming, the amount of film is enormous, and much of it will include jokes and comments that are a necessity for the crew to keep functioning cohesively. With no final say over what is used, it is inevitable that some will not be positive. If a photographer follows any crew for a length of time, some comments and actions made by crewmembers will be considered inappropriate. If that is a problem, then guidelines need to be established as to what can be shown on future shows. Send a city engine crew out for their sixth consecutive 14 day rotation sleeping in the dirt, and then ask them to be "professional."

As for the Agency image, Hotshots are not paid to be Agency spokespeople, and if the expectation is that we all "toe the company line", consider me out. A more pressing fear is that a film crew might record a serious discussion of some of the following real safety issues: employee morale as the job expectations change rapidly in the near future (401 series), the impending retirement and loss of experience coupled with the ensuing rapid advancement for some with questionable experience and judgment, funding and long-term job stability, recruitment and promotion practices, and the need for employee performance evaluations that mean something (and let’s all stop the practice of promotion to eliminate problem employees). Let’s keep the focus on these greater issues which will have much more impact on safety. Like tunnel vision or other effects of stress, is the discussion of PPE a way to solve the “easy problem” and avoid tackling the greater issues?

If this job isn’t satisfying or fun, why continue to do it? For the paycheck? I would argue that lack of job satisfaction and employees motivated primarily by money is a precursor to disaster much more than lack of PPE. Stress and focus that is not on the task at hand (and how can you focus well if you hate your job?), will certainly contribute to a climate where accidents are more common. So I encourage everyone to support the people squirting the water and swinging the tools. They need help, not criticism.

P.S. Leadership isn't always positive. Many people lead in the wrong direction, unfortunately quite effectively. Human history is marked by regression as well as advancement, and the fire world is no exception. What direction do you want to lead in?

Beej (Brendan O'Reilly Prineville IHC)

Good comments. I think those reading theysaid have gotten better perspective on the Firestorm Series since the discussion first erupted here. You're right, a good leader must have the training and experience to lead in the right direction. Thanks, Beej, your list of real safety issues deserve to be highlighted with bullets.


  • employee morale as the job expectations change rapidly in the near future (401 series),
  • the impending retirement and loss of experience coupled with the ensuing rapid advancement for some with questionable experience and judgment,
  • funding and long-term job stability,
  • recruitment and promotion practices, and
  • the need for employee performance evaluations that mean something (and let’s all stop the practice of promotion to eliminate problem employees).
2/10 CDF Seasonal FF Overtime:

tim, Deb,

Sorry it has taken so long to reply regarding the CDF FFI "guaranteed overtime" issue. This is a little confusing but very accurate.
Per our current MOU (contract) that is due to expire June 30, 2006 FFI's were the ONLY rank left out of the 5 year progressive overtime calculations. This was because of the "Firefighter Sleeptime Exemption Letter" that is due to expire at the same time as our contract. FFIIs, FAEs, FCs, HFEOs (dozer operators), Pilots, and BCs were the ranks that received the progressive OT calculation.

Currently a CDF FFI works a 96 hour workweek (4 24 hour days) with 5 hours being deducted per 24 hour day for the purposes of the OT calculation. That's why a FFI timesheet shows 19 hour days for a normal duty day. (Confusing isn't it?)

This will be a big issue as we enter into new negotiations for a new contract. The questions will be either to reduce their workweek to FSLA standards or to keep them on their current week and pay them true time and a half based on FSLA standards. Should be pretty interesting.

If you need more info let me know and I'll send you the specific sections etc. by email or FAX.

Hope this clears the muddy water somewhat.

Stay Safe!
2/10 old subject- mixer truck tenders:

I just happened to bumble across one of the old conversations somewhere about a mixer truck for a water tender and wanted ya'll to know a few things about it.

First it’s a little inefficient ,as the truck only holds 1500-2000 gallons, still not bad though.

Second they are useless in steep terrain due to the fact that the water will run out of the back of the drum unless they are going backwards uphill, backwards is not out of the question though. As a former mixer driver myself, I am capable of going 80 mph about anywhere.

The truck has generally 350 hp and 450- 600 flbs of torque. Water is roughly 8 lbs per gallon on the high side so 2000 gallons weighs roughly 16000 lbs . Concrete weighs roughly 4000 lbs per yard and a big mixer is capable of carrying up to 12 yards. Weight is not an issue.

The concrete chips that may come out of the drum can be ugly so you inform the driver not to "dry" the drum just get most of it out. Also just a tip: set up your suction as far away as you can from where the water is inlet to let sand and any debris fall out, also tell the batch plant that you can only have washed out trucks and you shouldn’t get much for chunks.


Im a 10 year red carded volly in western CO. Water can be a huge issue here! Everytime I flush I smile and think about cali!


2/10 Ab,

Just to pick apart a point for the logic of it, if a size 11 boot is proportionally scaled down to a size 6, doesn't it make sense that the person wearing the smaller boot is proportionally smaller than Mr. Bigfoot? And therefore the same portion of leg area is covered and protected by the boot at either size?

It's probable that the 8'' requirement has something to do with the risk of stepping in hot ash pits, and also with tool-related accidents. What if the most common firefighter injury, truly, is mangled feet from wearing ill-fitting boots in extreme terrain? I don't think I've met a single hotshot who hasn't experienced foot-abuse at some point.

As a small female, I find it sort of perplexing that I can't use the same, possibly better boots that guys are allowed to wear.

I agree with the idea that everyone who does this job has to do it to the same standards. I love the job and believe in the rules which are meant to keep us safe. I pass the same annual pack test, even though the pack is almost 50% of my body weight compared with 25% of what many of the guys weigh. I have a 26" inseam and a shorter stride than an 'average' person with 32" legs, but I meet the same distance/time as the guys. If I'm doing the same work, regardless of my size, shouldn't I get to wear the same gear?


Sounds logical to me. Ab.

2/10 Much has been said about boots lately, but for gods sake...they are HATHORNS not Hawthorns!
2/9 Radio talk fire bashing:

Jim Hart

I think I know who you are talking about. he is an intelligent man but I get so frustrated with his continued bashing of the fire service. He lives on the coast. No clue but, what he thinks. I usually respect his opinion but he does take crusades and fire service bashing is popular now (to him). He gets on it too often for me who only listens to him 30 to 40 minutes a day as I drive home. If we are talking the same man he does great for the Military and I respect that; however if you want, and Ab will share our addresses, let's organize a mail blitz to try and educate him.

He harps on "CDF telling the Sheriff not to use the 100 gallon bambi bucket" in smoke at sunset. The pilots are alive today. If they had tried, they may well not be. "Dem rules are written in blood". I talked with the CNF guys trying to deal with it, about 2030 Saturday, as it went west; they had too few resources and wind was coming up. They could have had every CDF and CNF engine and crew normally stationed in SD county and the outcome that first night would have not been too much different with the wind. Everyone wants to harp on what was lost; nobody mentions what was saved. By Sunday evening, I had imagined there would have been 20,000 structures destroyed. the troops that came in did a great job. Just too much wind driven fire and too many structures with no defendable space.


2/9 The City of Flagstaff has an opening for a Fuel Management Crew Members.  See the full ad and links to the details here: Flagstaff.  There's getting to be quite a few posting on the page, have a look and spread the word. 

Thanks, OA.

2/9 Ab

You folks aware that there are right now 3 fires on the MVU?

The Angel near Julian, another that started this Afternoon W of I15 near Fallbrook and another about an hour ago on SR78 a little East of Ramona. The last was reported by Prevention 3321 as he was driving by. He reported 7 spots. Not close enough to Angel Incident to be embers (in my humble opinion). He put the Witch Creek (first in) engine on the biggest spot and other engines and a "G" strike time from out of county, who answered up after leaving the Angel, on the rest. (may) scanner just said DO have that one contained and units available.

I ask why is arson, no matter how slight, not subject to the death penalty? FF's are at risk just responding, not just on the line. this includes structure and wildland.

Food for thought. FF's take too much risk on natural and accidental fires. Those @@@ who start fires should never have a chance to do it again.

My thoughts


Angel is contained at 35 acres. Another 10 acre fire - Camino - in MVU close to contained (80%). Good job. Be safe out there. Ab.

2/9 As the originator of the boot thread; thanks to all that have posted

I went to REI and tried the Glazier on. What a difference it made for my feet that
are unable to walk a full day in the White's due to my specific problem.

Nice thing about REI is 100% guarantee return, unless of course you are negligent
or burn them up.

One thing we haven't mentioned is Kevlar laces. I've had a pair on my hiking boots
for 8 years. They look new except for mud/dirt.

When we first bought boots, we had the 8" requirement. It wasn't the fact that
they didn't measure 8", it was that the manufacturer stated it was a 8" boot.

Am trying to find where LaSportiva states the height of the boot.


I'm not sure they say. It is an 8" boot for men's sizes, just not for small women's sizes. Ab.

2/9 Ab,

I've been fighting fires for just over ten years and since my second year I have been
wearing hawthorns, my opinion they are just as good. I have a pair of whites now
but I still wear my hawthorns. And have never had a problem getting them rebuilt.

Dod mistake
2/9 Fireout,

The soles of the Lasportivas are glued on. >From personal experience I found that they withstand the rocky terrain as well as the vibram soles of logger style boots (White's, Nick's, etc). Having hiked with typical line gear and hotshot packs, they withstand the terrain fine. Having talked to the jumpers who have packed out with them up to 120 pounds-they say they held up too.

You will find, though, that they will break down in extremely hot ash. The kind that appears to boil when you move it with your tool. The situations that give extreme "hot foot" in White's and the others will potentially delaminate the soles by melting the glue that holds them on. It depends on how hot and how long you stand there. (I don't recommend trying this out). The soles didn't fall off outright, but began to peel around the edges, exposing the glue to dirt and stuff. As far as the regular ash encountered while mopping up-they were fine.


Hey Misery Whip, 007 and all.

It's good to see that THEY SAID posters still have a sense of humor.

Try these on for size.

"Cut it back and burn it black." "Pave it and paint it green." "Earth
First we'll log the other planets later." "I may not be smart but I can
lift heavy objects."

"The tuna doesn't taste as good as it used to, since they took the dolphin
out." " We should have clear cut Mt. St. Helens."

"Tourism does not build roads or schools."

"Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary."

Sending a T2 crew to SW tomorrow.

Ya all have fun now and BSAFE.


2/9 Into the wind -
I used to take nice tents out on fires only to destroy them. After 4-500 bucks in destroyed tents I have found the cheapest alternative is to go to WalMart and buy a cheap one there. 25-30 dolalrs and I am set for the season. If it survives the season i give it o one of the boy scouts, if not, i toss it and keep the poles for the next round if i break em.

If you have room on your transport or engine use a chunk of PVC to store your tent in. With the end caps on it makes one tough container to store a tent.
just my two cents worth-
have fun and be safe all.
2/9 Hey Misery Whip, if we ever meet in person lets agree up front not to discuss politics ok?

I just got back this week from a trip to San Diego, Big Bear California, Death Valley and other desert locations. Good looking country...for Desert Big Horns and off road motorcycles. Saying the country is dry would be an understatement. How well does a Joshua tree burn? If any Federal authorities are lurking on "They Said" I would like to suggest that if you are still looking for Jimmy Hoffa it might be a good idea to look in Lucerne Valley.

2/9 Hi, my name is Cliff. I was just hired as a Range Technician (fire) in Prairie City, IA. I begin training in a month. I wanted to talk to someone who has done the job to get some first hand insight. If you or a contact of yours can help please e-mail me back. Thank-you.

Clifford Maddox

Cliff, probably your best bet is to come to chat in the evenings and ask questions. (Button is at the top of this page.) Many of the regulars from SoCal are fighting fire at the moment, but keep an eye on the chat room to see if anyone's there and drop in if there is. Ember is moderator. She can probably give you an idea of who might visit when. Ab.

2/9 Ab,

I thought that posting the story about the post-fire logging research controversy might pose a problem. Thanks for the reply.

The prescribed burn in the Cleveland National Forest that escaped this past week was an unfortunate accident and one that will be looked into carefully. Further prescribed burns have been cancelled in the Forest until the investigation is completed. There have been so many days of Santa Ana wind conditions and so little rain, I’m beginning to think last year was truly the exception and that we are returning to the long term drought conditions that have descended upon us over the last 9 years. Not good news.

The issue regarding the escape is one that has always bothered me concerning prescribed burns in chaparral. Fire frequencies have increased so dramatically over the past century in southern California that laying more fire to the ground multiplies the risk of type conversion to weedy grassland if indeed an escape occurs. This fire hammered a few groves of recovering Tecate Cypress from a previous fire so they’re finished. They won’t be coming back. A good number of the folks in the FS in charge of this fire recognize what happened and feel as badly about what happened as anybody.

I don’t know if anyone here is familiar with the Santa Ana Mountains, but there are really some remarkable plant communities including some knobcone pine clusters within the chaparral itself. My understanding is that there is one Tecate Cypress on Sierra Peak over 200 years old. Sierra Peak was where the escaped fire burned, so I’m hoping this old guy wasn’t one of the causalities. I’ve wanted to go up there to check these trees out, but have never had the chance.

Sometimes as a firefighter it is difficult to view chaparral as little more than fuel, but the place offers natural resources that have significant value; value that needs to be recognized at some point. I’m not talking about the typical “environmentalist” view of the world, but from a dad’s perspective who cares about finding quiet, native Californian places to take his kids. It’s our home and somehow I think it’s our responsibility keep as much of it in pure form as possible so our grandkids can still get lost in it. We’re fighting a growing population with less and less understanding about what we do (as evidenced by San Diego’s talk radio circuit demonizing the Forest Service this week) and appreciation for the natural world. I have a fair idea where this is leading us, but I’m hoping more few folks in responsible positions will think long term and recognize the need for not only community fire protection, but also protecting the natural resources so many take for granted.

When the current Fire and Aviation Officer in the Cleveland retires, I sure hope they find an equally qualified one. It ain’t gonna be easy.

Jim Hart
2/9 MG: Thanks for the heads up on some really cool images by Larry Schwarm.
Here's another link to more of his fire pics.


2/9 A note about white boots.

I have worn white's since 1966 and always have had very good luck with
them. I have had my boots rebuilt more than once without a problem.

Then the last time I wanted a pair rebuilt they called and told me the same
thing they couldn't rebuild them I had to buy a new pair. They weren't that
bad, just the soles were in bad shape. I have sent in whites that were in
much worse shape and they rebuilt them.

I don't think I will be buying anymore whites.



2/9 Weather Predictions:


Some information I found to share.
I believe in So. Cal our Fire Season never ended and we are rolling right into 2006 with increasing fire activity.

CDF Jake

830 AM EST THU JAN 19 2006

Summary of the outlook for non-technical users

The main factors which usually influence seasonal climate include

  1. EL NINO AND LA NINA - which together make up ElNino/southern
    oscillation or ENSO -
  2. TRENDS - the difference between the most recent 10 or 15 tear mean of
    temperature or precipitation for a given location and time of year and the
    30-year climatology period (currently 1971-2000) -
  3. TROPICAL 30-60-DAY OSCILLATION- which may affect climate
    variability within a season -
  5. PERSISTENTLY DRY or WET SOILS in the summer and SNOW and
    ICE COVER ANOMALIES in the winter.





2/9 Misery Whip and Backburnfs:

It is very evident that extremists from both sides (i.e. developers and extreme environmentalists) are trying hard to make public lands off limits to most other Americans.

Public lands belong to the American people and should continue to be affordably accessible to all Americans who are responsible enough to properly enjoy and utilize them. We play into the hands of extremists by arguing otherwise.

I think you guys probably agree on a whole lot more than you disagree on so let's try to keep this thread on point rather than making it seem like some kind of personal argument.

2/9 I am looking for a new tent to take of fires. Any suggestions? The
SSTs are too heavy and bulky, although have been using one for
ten years. It is time to replace and have not had much luck finding
the right one. Only specs are less than $200.00 and 5lbs or less.

Into the wind.
2/9 Question regarding the Lasportiva boots? Does anyone know how the soles are attached or have any experience with them on the fireline? I guess I'm wondering if they have what it takes to stand up to the rocky terrain and superheated ground my Whites have done for the last 19 seasons.

I would like to hear from the folks who have taken them through a season or two and still feel that they good enough to endorse. I have spoke with folks who swore by Danners initially but then said that the sides break down and walk over when put through the rigors of wet than dry, steep sidehills, etc. Don't misunderstand, I have had a pair of Whites disintegrate after a 5 months but that seemed to be an anomaly.

Any testimony to the Lasportiva's stoutness is appreciated.

2/9 For all of you living in the bay (SanFrancisco), There is a decent fire photography (no, nothing that even rivals this site) here in SF. It's up til the late 20's of Feb...some decent work...


Um yeah the pix are of fires in Kansas, so this may easily change yer mind....


You can look through some of the images online. Beautiful isolation of form, my opinion. More than just Kansas, also Louisiana. Ab.

2/9 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated.


2/8 A couple of friends have the size 38.5 women's (7--7 1/2) and they are 7 3/4 inches. Does anyone know of someone who has successfully sewn leather on theirs to make them work?

BTW, if whole shot crews are wearing these "new" boots, it stands to reason that some smaller women are wearing them as well. I guess it depends on how big a deal 1/4 of an inch is. I'm assuming that it is a big deal, but there has got to be a way to make them legal for everyone, not just the Bigfoots!

2/8 Backburnfs,

Wow, I never thought of it that way. You are so wise. When you put it like that, “we need more ski areas, they make jobs and are fun,” it makes all the sense in the world. I wish I had been exposed to such glowing wisdom before I sent my post. It really does excuse all the sleaziness and screwing of the taxpayers that is taking place every day under this administration and congress. You’ve convinced me. I’m a convert.


I assume that “fs” at the end of your moniker means that you are current or former FS. You’ll be glad to know the LEADERS you are defending are trying to sell the forests of the people of the United States of America out from under us. This article, “Forest Lands May Be on the Block,” was in the Missoulian today.

Hope you still have a forest on which to work and play when your LEADERS are done.

Since you seem to be worried about the “peoples forests” being placed off-limits, you should know that when some wealthy developer buys Forest Service land, it really will become off-limits to the American people. The only thing that prevents most people from experiencing backcountry Forest Service lands right now is laziness. If you really want to protect access to the “peoples forests,” a tall fence built around an expensive subdivision built on former Forest Service land is the most likely present threat to accessing the “peoples forests.”

By the way, Hillary doesn’t stand a chance against President Obama.

Okay, one more time just for fun: Hillary!

Misery Whip
2/8 Hello there Abs.

I didn't see this article on the News page search thing...Thought I'd send
it your way.
I know there are a LOT of California readers on They Said, I'm sure they
know more about this than USA Today.


Weather threatens as crews battle Calif. wildfires

Thanks Kel. Ab.

2/8 February Fire

Strong Northeast winds flowing off the Mogollon Rim in Arizona last night caused the fire to run and spot all night long. Low fuel moisture is causing fuels to burn fast and hot. Spots to a half mile. Regarding my little ranch "It rained spot fires all over us all night" and "We could not have saved the structures if we hadn't burned last November." The fire spotted through my place and ran south on the east and west sides around my place and ran West toward Webber Creek (Camp Geronimo and Geronimo Estates) where they are now doing structure prep work.

A Type II Team has been ordered (Philbin's Team I think). Tankers ordered from Missoula and Arkansas. Lost our waterline to the spring. Concern remains the fire may double back on the south and run back up canyon to my place. These winds are not unusual, so it's going to be a difficult fire season in Arizona.

Mike J.

Be Safe. Ab.

2/8 Good evening,

I purchased a pair of White's boots two and a half years ago and I've got
to say they were good wearing during that time. Back before Christmas I
sent them to Whites to be rebuilt. The nails that were holding the lug
soles in place were rusting and the soles were coming a part from the
boots. Upon receiving the invoice of what the cost repairs were going to
be, I gave the go ahead to do the rebuild. Then three weeks later I get a
call from them that they can not rebuild them to dry rot in the hill of the
boot (the hill cap). Being that they are a company that makes boots from
scratch you would think they could replace the hill cap and rebuild the
boots. Now with a typical rebuild costing around $186.00 you would think
the replacement of the hill cap wouldn't cost that much more. Since they
could not be rebuilt I would have to buy a new pair or do without. It's
amazing that a hill cap replacement would cost about $200.00 for a small
piece of leather (plus labor). That the difference of the cost for a new
pair of boots and rebuild price.

So, I just want to say really think about what kind of boots you are
buying. Can you afford to replace a set of Whites at the price of $390.00
every couple of years since their rebuild program isn't that good and are
the oils that Whites sell and recommend for their boots, the best for them
or just a product that will help them make more money.


2/8 In regard to Backburnfs' post concerning Misery Whip's entry dealing with Mark Rey and the ski resort, I think the point is cronyism in leadership positions and the negative effect it can have in decision making. If you want to politicize the issue feel free, however I feel that cheap Hillary shots do nothing to diminish the fact that often times political (both parties) appointees are unqualified or have other interests at heart than the agency and the American people... as for cheap shots, can you say Mike Brown?

2/8 Toni Martin,

Re, air crash in Alaska: Check with the National Transportation Safety Board.
They most likely did an investigation of the crash and produced a report.

S.R. Sparky
2/8 Lobotomy,

I wanted to briefly respond to your post regarding the differing opinions on what boots to wear. I agree that each individual must decide for themselves what type of boot is best for them. And of course, most importantly, that those boots meet the safety standards.

The Lasportiva Makalu and Glacier models DO meet the criteria you reference in your post in most sizes. The only case they don't meet the standard is in very small sizes that don't get up to the 8". If anyone out there has access to a store near them that has a full size range of either model, it would be great to find out what the smallest size that still meets the 8" criteria. I can only attest to the size 12 (47 Euro) measuring up. I just wanted to clarify so that those who are interested in trying them who have average and above average sized feet don't rule them out.

Rogue Drogue
2/8 to Misery Whip -

i had the exact same reaction to that article. I e-mailed it widely as an
example (unfortunately) of how the real world works . . . .


2/8 From Firescribe:

California wildfire believed started from escaped controlled burn


2/8 Ab

The Orange County Fire Authority is listing the fire cause as an "Escaped Prescription Burn"

I can't believe Cleveland NF burning on Sunday with the forecast the way it was.

Link www.ocfa.org/docs/sierra_fire.php

This link is on "Inciweb" where they still say cause is under investigation.

You know anything different?


Inciweb (accessible via our news page) says "human" cause. As I understand it, the burn was done last Thursday when there was no forecast of Santa Ana winds. The fire is thought to have been caused when holdover embers in a root system rekindled. There is a regional team investigating what was done (or not done) on the ground and what, if anything, could be done differently next time.

Ok just got some more info in and will post it above. Ab.

2/8 Toni

Searching the NTSB records showed no fatal helicopter accidents in
Alaska in 1981. Are your dates correct?

Here is the URL for your search



2/8 Misery Whip, so only Leaders that agree with you should be called Leaders?
We need more ski areas, they make jobs and are fun.

Don't get too upset in a couple of years maybe Hillary will be President
and several more million acres of the peoples forests will be placed off
limits, and we can rip out thousands of miles of roads while we are at it.

So how about those Steelers or should it be Stealers.

2/8 Ab,

I think that the series Into the Firestorm has good intentions on displaying the seasonal battle of wildland fires throughout the west. Moreover, the U.S. Forest Service is being recognized as a firefighting agency and the Hotshot organization is in the forefront. Unfortunately after last nights episode (airing Feb. 7) I feel the agency's name has taken a back seat.

Can someone tell me who is the U.S. Dept. of Forestry?

As far as I know I still work for the U.S. Forest Service!

After spending a good portion of the season interviewing and filming U.S. Forest Service employees,I would have expected film editors would have known who they were working with.


2/8 I watched Into the Firestorm last night

And if those homes had been in my area of Washington a lot of them would have burned for sure. We do not have those kinds of resources to fight homes that do not have a defendable space around them. Those home owners are putting Fire Fighters lives in danger and need a wake up call. It is criminal to live that way in my mind and then ask people to defend my stupidity way of living in a area ripe to burn out of control.

Region 6

2/7 Toni: Did you try the normal way of just going to ntsb.gov and searching with the date?

Lobotomy: Like Mary, I too would like to know what about the proper sized La Sportiva Glaciers don't meet the safety standards. I know that some sizes don't meet the criteria due to their small size, but mine were initially used to assess their compliance to standards, and they continue to be used for monitoring purposes and I was told that they did meet the standards.

Mary: I had a woman on my crew who had a very small size of 8" Whites and believe it or not, hers did not measure 8". Pretty darn close, but definitely not 8" and it wasn't even debatable. To make a long story short... They were sent back and she received a pair that did have the required 8". I have, in my collection of 4, two retired 8" pairs of Whites and both are at least 8". So this all may have something to do with sizes.

As for the boot discussion: Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, not one boot works for everyone's foot or feet. So when one person says he loves his Whites and they are the best thing since sliced bread, another person is justified in saying that he's only speaking for himself. I loved my Whites until I tried something else, I had no idea the difference it could make for someone like myself who was actually humping it on the line. But then again... That's just my opinion, and to each her and his own.

2/7 Hello,

I'm trying to find any available information about a helicopter crash at Alice Arm, Alaska on June 5, 1981 that took the life of my beloved friend Charlie Holmes at age 36. Charlie flew Medevac in Vietnam, and I knew him in Berkeley, California, just after his time in the service.

This is what I know about the accident: He was flying a new twin-engine helicopter, I think for commercial purposes, but not sure. He had a co-pilot, who lived - but is said to have lost a leg. The story I've just heard from Charlie's sister is that an engine blew, and Charlie proceeded from the landing site because a crash there would have injured many people on the ground, and the second engine blew before a second landing site was reached.

Can you point me to any information about the accident, the helicopter, the people who might have been there at the time?

Thank you,
Toni Martin
2/7 Good morning.

The February Fire along the Mogollon Rim (AZ) is an escaped camp fire, still above the Highline Trail. East side is against the prior Packrat Fire at North Sycamore Creek. West side is at the 1990 Bray Fire. They are using my place for helicopter dips, etc. The fuel break which we burned in November should protect our structures unless the fire goes way south where the fuel break was not fully burned yet.

Kehl Fire, Bray Fire, December Fire, Packrat Fire, Webber Fire, and now February! I would go up to the Ranch but have to teach Fire Law Thursday in Tucson. They know where the keys are to get out of the cold . . .

Mike J<snip>.

2/7 Ab,

I found this interesting and disturbing (not surprising) article this morning, here's the link:


Maybe we can start a new category on the Wildland Fire Leadership website: "Leaders
Who Don't Deserve to be Called Leaders."

Misery Whip
2/7 Ab,

The few paragraphs pasted below are the Epilogue from the Thirtymile Fire investigation report.

For inclusion in annual refresher training, these words offer a quick read of a great example of situational awareness and decision making. In this case, a firefighter's perception matched reality, she made a couple simple choices, and her decisive action saved 3 lives.

For people who question the simple choice of wearing gloves or sleeves rolled down, this is also a reminder that our perceptions should match reality, not a reality show.

vfd cap'n

- - -

The Investigation Team endeavored to provide meaning and context to this incident in the hope that our efforts will create a greater sense of urgency and commitment to safety. The Forest Service and all organizations involved in wildland fire suppression, and especially each individual, need to rededicate themselves to the fundamental principle that a choice for safety is the right choice -- every time.

Rebecca Welch had little experience to draw on as she watched the approaching fire. Her only assets at this time were her judgment, her training, and the fire shelter itself. But at a critical moment she decided to move to the road. There she positioned herself along the roadside, and moments later deployed her fire shelter, even sharing the precious space inside with two civilians, saving their lives as well. The simple choices she made had profound impacts on the lives of three people.

Safety is an uncompromising master. Most people compromise safety routinely in their daily activities, usually with no consequences. But neglect of safety eventually leads to "near misses," and near" misses lead to accidents, some with tragic consequences.

Fire suppression can be a dangerous business, and it has a history of tragic deaths. Safety and fire suppression need not be mutually exclusive, and safety must come first. We need to drive this message home with every agency, every crew, every manager, and every wildland firefighter involved in fire management and suppression.

2/7 Hi Fireslug,

I don't know which half of what I said you don't agree with. I agree with all of your post.
If you want to talk more, send me an email and Ab will forward it on.


2/6 lobotomy,

You say in your post that La Sportiva Glacier boots do not meet the safety standard. Can you clarify? I've heard of a bunch of shot crews wearing them and was just about to buy a pair to relieve my poor feet. By the way, I've also read that the actual 8" Whites are not exactly 8"--I only have the 10" so can't speak to that.

I'm glad this discussion is going on. Some folks seem a bit affronted by it, but hey, if a different kind of boot works for someone, why knock it? We're all on the same side.

2/6 MOC4546,

I'm not sure which agency you work for, but if it's the FS, don't get your knickers in a bunch. The FMO is not meaning to impugn your integrity, just follow some recent and very stringent policy.

FS personnel have had to "prove" their quals in order to keep them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is annoying.
Folders for each employee have been established and those folders must contain complete documentation of training (course certificate or class list), task books for each position, and performance evaluations. Missing data can cost you a qual.

In these days of liability, long before the investigation asks "what went wrong" we will be asked to "show your records of qualification".

This system is not foolproof and has resulted in some folks I consider highly qualified having to take or re-take some training. Purpose is to ensure red card quals are appropriate.

Hang in there.

Old Fire Guy

MOC and OFG, you two have been posting here for years. Rather amazing to think how long this community has been sharing info. Ab.

2/6 Ab,

A wildfire that started this morning on the USFS - CNF in Orange County has already burned over 1200 acres this afternoon. The blaze, named the Sierra fire for a local peak, erupted about 4:30 a.m. in the Cleveland National Forest, as Red Flag conditions with gusty Santa Anas brought dry and warming to Southern California once again.

Flames are now heading southwest upon the rugged NF land east of the suburbs and the State Route 241 tollway, which firefighters hoped would act as a firebreak. Spot fires occurred beyond the tollway, but were kept small. Hundreds of state, federal and local firefighters were brought in, along with aircraft dropping retardant and several helicopters for water drops. A mix of mandatory and voluntary evacuations occurred in the area, which has mostly newer subdivisions nestled among rolling hills

Pungent smoke stained the skies for miles across the Los Angeles metropolitan region. Santa Ana winds gusted up to 60 mph early in the day, with sustained winds of about 30 mph, but moderated to about half that speed in this afternoon. The cause of the fire remained under investigation, said CNF spokeswoman Joan Wynn.

View real time camera image of wildfire from Mt. Wilson.

Ron S

Thanks Ron, we like updates here, but here's the best idea for breaking fire information. Go to the Fire News page (permanent button in the top menu of this page). If you haven't done so already, sign up for the Hot List Forum via that page. Firefighters are posting updates there and someone put up a link at the crack'o'dawn today to the Mt. Wilson cam. We've been watching the changing fire column all day. On the Fire News page there are also links to Inciweb, WildCad for tracking new incidents and resources in real time, the CHP Site including fire with road closures and evacuations, Fire News via the internet media including video clips, GACC news, and Fire Maps of various sorts. It's a rich resource. Thanks to Original Ab for gathering it all together and creating the "One Stop Fire News Page" page last year.

Be Safe. Ab.

2/6 Recently I was approached by our new FMO for my agency who said he "had a
problem with my wildland fire records in that I volunteer with a California
fire department and respond to wildfires with them". I asked him what the
problem was, and his response was "if you don't got to fire with our
agency, they don't count".

I have functioned as a volunteer firefighter with two organized fire
departments in California for more than 20 years, and with my seasonal
firefighter time, career fire fire time, and volunteer fire time, I have
about a five-page record of my wildland/forest fires with well over 300
fires over that time period.

He is also challenging the positions I held on those fires, both as a
volunteer and a federal firefighter. The guy wants me to get a letter from
my current volunteer chief, AND my old volunteer chief.

As I understand it, as long as you respond as part of an organized fire
agency, being a local government, state government, federal government,
certified private contractor, that those fires count. And the positions you
serve as (firefighter, engineer, captain, division supervisor, etc.) on
that fire is what you list as your position.

I can get the letter from the volunteer chiefs to state how many fires I
responded to and what my position was on those fires, but I find that his
request is offensive. My fires over 20 years are far more numerous than his
are because I kept track of all my fires, have all my EFF red timesheets
and CDF FC-42s receipts, and verified my fires from the unit logs and
timesheets. To falsify my records would be a criminal and unethical act,
and my career fire chief and training officer have no problems with my
wildland fire record.

This guy is playing games. Anyone have any other thoughts on this? I'd like
to hear from someone who knows the rules regarding the wildland fire

2/6 Here's a thought,

A lot of good people spent a lot of time in '05 assigned to the Hurricanes
Katrina-Rita-Wilma relief efforts. But I don't see any photos. How about
adding another photo category where hurricane photos can reside???

How about starting a thread about the "Best and Worst" from those who were
on the ground. What was the Best thing you saw or experienced? What was
the worst? Was there anything that you were grateful for having down
there? Did somebody go Above and Beyond? We've already heard and seen
the News Media's take. How about some stories from intelligent people who
actually KNOW.

- Batchmaster

2/6 Captain evil,

I am afraid your information is wrong.
Evan is absolutely correct, regarding cdf firefighter "1/2" time. CDF has been locked into a five year contract, and one of the benefits has been during those five years to slowly ramp up their "1/2" time to true time and a 1/2. the days of 1/2 time are over.


Got a link or phone number so the person asking -- Deb -- can clarify this? If Captain Evil is is incorrect, I can remove their post. I don't know CDF pay arrangements or who to call to find out. Ab.

2/6 From JS:

Experts Predict Devastating Ariz. Wildfire Season

2/6 SoCal fire season

New fire is taking off on the Cleveland NF, near Corona/Orange; 100 acres.
From 60 mi away looks like a summertime fire not like it's Feb. -- column is
building. It's dry, rainfall is 25% of normal. Engines from neighboring forests
are en route. I'll keep you posted as I'm able. Winds expected tomorrow.

SoCal Fed

Thanks for that heads up. Details with location and web cam link are posted on the Hot List Forum. Be safe. Ab.

2/6 Re: Doctrinal Review, the Discovery Channel, and Boots


I don't usually get into the boot discussion but it is important to the new people entering the wildland fire service. It is also important to all of us if there is a new "boot" out there that meets safety standards and is a better product for some users.

The Forest Service Health and Safety Code (FSH 6709.11.... a 514 page document) version 99-1 states:

"18.22 – Specific Requirement. For fire-related activities, wear all leather, lace up,
8-inch minimum (204 mm) boots, with nonskid or lug soles."

In looking at the La Sportiva's that people seem to be buying for firefighting (La Sportiva Glacier Mountaineering Boot), they seem to be a good boot. Just not the kind that meets my needs or the safety standard as found in the Health and Safety Code Handbook.

My first season, I bought a pair of Red Wings. I had been a Paid Call Firefighter with CDF and they had worked pretty well for me in the past. The problem was they fell apart on my second fire of the season. Luckily, my Superintendent had an extra pair of 8" Whites in his truck and gave them to me. I still have that pair of Whites and they are rebuilt every few years along with my other pairs. They are pretty darn good boots since they have lasted for nearly 22 years. My second season, I began ordering Whites with 12" uppers after burning myself in a stump hole in Montana. I have an assortment of Whites boots from 8" to 12" that I wear depending upon the circumstances.

There are also other great boots available. Nicks, Drews, Hawthorn, and others are all good boots to wear depending upon how well they meet your needs and the needs for safety. La Sportiva boots may also be a good boot for firefighting. I stuck with Whites because they met my needs and I was familiar with their performance.

So, what is my point?

New firefighters: Ask your new supervisor what type/style/size of boot you should buy for your first season. Shop around.

Returning firefighters: Use your knoggin to decide what boot is best for you and your wildland firefighting mission.

Supervisors: Impart your knowledge about "boots".

Fire and land managers: Rely upon your firefighters, supervisors, and fire managers to decide what "boot" is best. Continually re-evaluate safety and see if previous mission and safety standards are relevant to the conditions and circumstances, and correct things that could get people killed or severely injured. Disregard the trivial things such as gloves or sleeves rolled up, they don't kill people. Concentrate on the real basics.


P.S. - I could wear flip-flops and shorts for most of the fires I manage. Biggest safety hazard I have is stubbing a toe on the accelerator pedal and getting a sunburn on my legs if I wear shorts. I still wear my 8-12 inch Whites and my nomex pants depending upon the circumstances, but am open to hearing if a new style of boot might be appropriate for others or myself.

P.S.S. - From the Health and Safety Code, "Sentences in bold italic type indicate that a fatality resulted because of a failure to comply with a standard operating procedure or practice." Concentrate on those safety items first and validate the statements of operating procedures and practice that may or may not make firefighters safer.

2/6 Evan,

I am afraid your information is a little misleading. CDF FF's "guaranteed overtime",
the difference between a 96 hour work week and 76 hours, is paid at HALF their
hourly rate. True time and a half does not occur until they work a day off or their
sleep is interrupted between midnight and 0500.

2/5 Leo,

I couldn't follow your post and wasn't sure what the point you were trying to make. The only things I could make out was that you make $32,000 a year and you are qualified as an engine operator, take off and landing coordinator, helicopter crewmember, wildland firefighter 1 and 2, and a "COMML INST MULTI". I also understood that you used to be "in the Fire biz" and wished you could have stayed.

Your current qualifications would be the equivalent of a Senior Firefighter with the Forest Service. In the highest salary area (Southern California), a Senior Firefighter theoretically would make $32,755 IF they worked year-round. In most areas of the country, A Senior Firefighter makes $28,349 IF they work year-round. The problem is that most Senior Firefighters only work a 13/13 (thirteen pay periods on/13 pay periods off or intermittent) schedule or a WAE (When Actually Employed) 3-6 month schedule.

Rogue Rivers
2/5 Folks
I have spent some time reading all these posts

I sure wish I could have stayed on in the Fire biz
I own a pair of Whites and still put 'em for an occasional torch of a chunk of land or some 1/10 acre built up slash piles

you folks who are constantly squawking about the pay and now the bird flu .......take heed and read the National Response Plan and be especially cognizant.

All YOUR agency gods did sign on to it, and now you are basically a National Resource sort of like being in the National Guard without the uniform and h*ll you don't even have to to to the desert.

How do I know ?? I work as a Planning Specialist for State Emergency Mgmt Agency. I "gotta" read alot of this stuff day in and day out and account for ALOT of Homeland Security equipment that is bought for by grants

I am now an office geek and travel to assist rural fire departments to count widgets and SCBAs and occasion lend a helping hand to bunch of VFDs work on pumps and assist in drafting operations to ensure the ol' ROBWENs still suck both water and the occasional load of sand

I make a whopping 32 K a year and all the comp time (up to 200 hrs) then the mgrs start worrying when you go above 100 hours

So when I read these posts................... I say to my self

"Self, these people don't know how lucky they are and with AAALLLL the good training you you folks recieve, they are lucky to be either (1) a perm personnel or (2) temporary by choice due to other factors in their lives or because the Agency has been their agency self for more than 100 to 120 years"

Some people would love to be in your shoes. I know I would but now I dump skydivers out of airplanes for my adrenaline rush with my White boots on and I can coming screaming out of the air at about 120 kts to pick up another load.

People aren't perfect but, By G*D, out there where some people only dream about a vacation, YOU folks are really lucky to be where you are and when the Gov't, Agencies, DHS, and the National Response Plan are put into action, you are now working for the good of other people NOT the forest or district you are on... get ready to do some public service.... because the NRP puts YOU folks into that spot light and be dam* happy that DHS basically copied the FIRESCOPE plan of 1970 and borrowed all the ICS from you and your agencies.

So now its time to pay the piper YOU could be called to assist. I know I could be

And also be dam* happy you are working some FOMOCO line assemblyman or woman could be looking for a firefighting job this summer and what are you going to say to them?? they are not qualified??? Were you not before S130 /190 ??

I know I wasn't til I took it

2/5 Myself, and another Chat poster would like to know which La Sportiva
boot, specifically, is approved for wildland fire.


2/4 Into the Fire Storm:

I recently viewed episode two. I thought it was excellent. I'm an
ex-ground pounder myself, now tied to a computer. The series
showcases what wildland firefighters do. Most people don't have
a clue about what happens out there on the line or what a line is.

I saw safety briefings and safety zones being flagged. There were
discussions about tactics not to mention the finer points of cooking
Spam. The series shows wildland firefighters kicking some serious
butt. I did see some gloves off and rolled up sleeves. There was a
lot of experience out there and they know what they are doing. The
series depicts wildland firefighters and their respective agencies in
a positive light. Sorry for being so proactive. I would recommend
writing your regional FMO if the gloves off and rolled up sleeves
are keeping you up at night.

Sleepless in Boise

2/4  RE: 7107 on 2/3

Firefighting is evolving as I’m sure you’re aware of, it’s no different than anything else. I don’t think people are saying Whites are no good anymore there is just a newer technology of boots out there that are starting to catch on and fitting a bit better with the type of work we are doing. Yes Whites have been around forever with not much change in there design except for their cost which now can be over $400.00 bucks!! I compare it to buying a new car. Were not saying the old muscle car classics are not good anymore like the Mustang, Dodge Chargers, Challengers, Camaros and many others. Were just saying as times change and we get older we start looking for different things when buying new cars, Smoother ride, Faster, quieter, more comfortable, better mileage and lets not forget more car for less money. I can say for a field going person like myself I look for similar things in boots like a smother ride, lighter, more comfortable and again more boot for less money. Don’t get me wrong White have earned my respect and a spot in my house because they have carried me many miles. The old dogs though are starting to feel those hard miles and I can’t put all the blame on the boots some was just being young and dumb. Like the old classics don’t throw your old boots away, they have earned the right to hung in the garage, be thrown in a tree or I’ve even seen people plant flowers in them. I myself have crossed to the other side and have been wearing La Sportiva’s (mountaineering boots) for the last year and to be honest they don’t have the same feeling as Whites or quite the same support but man when you start to put on the miles, the Whites don’t compare with the Sportiva’s. They are still so new to our fire community it is difficult for people to step out side the box. If they did they might be surprised. Another great thing about the Sportiva is when you take them off at night and you wake up in your sleeping bag in camp and have to put them right back on, they go on fast an' easy with no boot fight or breakfast lasses as we call it on the shot crew. Even though I’m wearing the Sportiva’s more now, the old trusty whites are not far away, they still travel in the carrier. As for the lawn chairs, I must admit there has been times I would have paid $400.00 for one on my union 15 with some shade.

2/4 Ab,
This might be of interest to anyone who may have missed one or more of the early
episodes of Into the Firestorm.

On Monday, February 6th, during the day, the Discovery Channel will be running
a "mini marathon" of the first three episodes. The schedule for Mountain Standard
Time, for example, is (from the TV Guide Channel website):

The Burnout    | DSC - Monday, Feb 06 | 09:00 AM

Going South    | DSC - Monday, Feb 06 | 10:00 AM

No Rest          | DSC - Monday, Feb 06 | 11:00 AM

Also, this Tuesday evening's show will be the fourth new episode (again, MST):

Fire in the Hills | DSC - Tuesday, Feb 07 | 08:00 PM


Thanks for the heads up. I might record it so it's all on one tape. Ab.

2/4 Mellie,

Interesting discussion. Yes, I am trying to help folks understand the distinction between moral and legal duty, and why it makes a difference. I think you sort of got my point but not completely.

I don’t think the comparison of the New Orleans Police Department with wildland firefighters works for several reasons. First, the NOPD officers’ job descriptions presumably stated that their legal duties would obligate them to provide search-and-rescue capability and security during major civil disturbances and large-scale natural/unnatural events (floods, hurricanes, biological, chemical, or nuclear terrorist incidents).

Presumably, the NOPD officers were also informed when they were hired that they might be exposed to hazardous materials and situations while performing their legal duties, and that they would receive training and equipment (guns, body armor, weapons training, rubber gloves, etc) that would help them minimize the risks to themselves. One would hope they were paid accordingly for agreeing to take on such potential risks.

I can’t speculate about what happened inside the New Orleans Police Department after Katrina. But it seems pretty clear to me that they had a legal duty to perform their jobs after Katrina.

Moral duty is much less clear. Take CPR. Many people take annual CPR training with the noble idea that if a person in their vicinity has a cardiac arrest, they can do CPR and possibly save a life. No problem if the lucky recipient is your relative or friend. What do you do if you are walking downtown and encounter a filthy, sore-and-vomit-covered drug and alcohol abuser who is having a heart attack on the sidewalk, and no one else is around to help?

Do you have a moral duty do try to save the life of this person who has probably never given any consideration to his own health and likely has hepatitis, AIDS, or other diseases, or do you have a stronger moral duty to yourself and your family to stay healthy so you can continue to provide for your family and be a productive member of society?

According to the Good Samaritan laws in most states, once you begin to take action in such a circumstance, you are committed until either: the victim recovers, you are too tired to continue, or you are relieved by others. Decision time; risk possible exposure to a deadly disease or let a man die when you might be able to save his life. Hmm, moral duty is not such an easy decision after all, is it?

The analogy of a doctor walking out on a patient doesn’t work as a comparison with the present wildland/all-risk issue either. If you are a doctor, there is the underlying assumption that you were trained to be a doctor, and that you agreed to act as a doctor before you encountered the patient you were working on. If you were to apply that to our present discussion, it would be like walking in and telling a veterinarian that now they’re expected to be a doctor, putting the patient in front of them, and then wondering why the “doctor” would balk at providing care for the patient!

Doesn’t it seem strange that we won’t let a person on the fireline who doesn’t have all of the correct PPE, hasn’t taken all the right S-courses and had their annual fire safety refresher, yet now our federal government, through the National Response Plan, has committed to regularly exposing wildland firefighters to some of the most hazardous situations imaginable without any discussion of extra training, equipment, or pay? This must be what it feels like to be assimilated by the Borg: “Resistance is futile.”

The present administration does not have a good track record when it comes to using government employees. Good governance means that you demonstrate by word and deed that the well-being of your employees, today and tomorrow, is important. People like Kevin Joseph know all too well what the present reality is.

The fact that the interagency wildland firefighter community is presently better prepared to deal with the all-risk environment than other government disciplines doesn’t mean that we are the right tool, just the best one available. Why I should feel morally obligated to repeatedly place myself in extremely hazardous environments and expose myself and my family to deadly diseases and substances just because our government has failed to develop a national disaster response capability?

The NIMO teams are a good example of what should be happening on a much larger scale. These teams will be all-risk, team members will be trained in all-risk, and applicants will know before they apply for these teams what kind of work they will be expected to perform. NIMO meets both the legal and moral aspects of the employer-employee relationship.

vfd cap’n, I have much respect for people like you who have chosen occupations where you have to confront trauma, blood, and death on a regular basis. Many years ago, after working five winters as an EMT and ski patrolman, I decided that I was not cut out for that sort of work. It wasn’t so much the injured and dead people as the crying spouses and children that haunted me, and I had to give it up. I have the utmost respect for people who dedicate their lives to caring for others, because I can’t do it myself and remain in a healthy mental state.

Thus far, most of this discussion has focused on the physical hazards of all risk. We need to also think hard about the psychic hazards of all-risk, which may turn out to be a bigger problem in the long run than physical hazards. Just curious, I wonder how many other wildland firefighters besides me had to deal with post-traumatic stress after last year’s all-risk hurricane assignments?

Misery Whip
2/4 Ab and company:

So does the 'other duties as assigned' part of our job description mean the gov't can put us into any situation they please with a little obligatory 'training'? I'm a little leery of giving them carte blanche to use WLFF's for any task they please under the banner of 'All Risk' - at least in my corner of the Region 4 world, we are neither trained nor funded to be an 'all risk' outfit.

Many FF's jump at the chance to help out in a crisis, but I don't think that means every firefighter is obligated to face the risks of a situation outside of our primary purpose, suppressing wildfires.


2/3 Dear Deb;

You are correct in your assumption. CDF seasonal firefighters are paid their overtime in 28 day pay periods, separate from the monthly salary. Each week they earn 23 hours of "planned overtime", paid at the same rate as overtime on their day off or during the sleep time exemption. It totals out to 92 hours per payperiod.

2/3 Just going to ramble on some of the subjects.

I like the TV show, good action and it’s entertaining. I think it’s a Bad Idea, but having professional footage for an accident investigation would be a big plus. Also the Fire Refresher videos are getting old and some footage of a burnover with dramatic background music would make great TV. Just imagine the Immortality of being featured every spring, dissecting what went wrong while you were hamming it up for the camera and not paying attention. The trend for Reality TV Shows seems to be to exploit whatever they can, the more raw emotion, danger and action, the better, . You can only watch chopper builders so long.

Boots, a truly dear subject. The standards should be revised a bit to include the new tech. How about a boot similar to the GI desert issue (the heel could be a bit higher and narrower, and the sole not much wider than the foot), made of leather and Nomex/kevlar, what do you think? Having a breathable boot would be dandy. Most of the time, your boots never dry out, wear them all day and when you take them off, it’s too cold to dry them. Gall’s and Brigade Quartermaster has some leather boots that look good, but sole is not vibram. If you have stood in the coals long enough to melt the vibram, you probably got other problems going on.

Hate to say it, but the FS is viewed as a cheap source of highly skilled, motivated capable work force, that can be mobilized quickly. We have shown it each time we help. It is just not cost efficient to make up a workforce as skilled and experienced as the Teams, just to wait for the rare incidents to happen. One trend I don’t care for is non-fire people getting involved in ICS on fires to get experience. Have seen people at the bigger incidents from Agencies under DHS hanging out, it would be a big score for an Office Type to get out and have an adventure.

Duty or Family? I vaguely remember taking and/or signing an Oath of Office when I got permanent. That said, I did not volunteer for chicken choking, and avoided Happy Camp after hearing about the conditions at base, everyone was sick coming out of there. Coming home with the Crud is just not good for the Family, though the prevention at Campaign fires have improved a lot in just the past couple of years. The choice is really up to you.

And There I Was
2/3 Mellie,

Ive always liked your take on things... But this time I have to half disagree with you on the bird flue issue and F.S. fire fighters responding. On my forest we have a choice to turning down off forest assignments. My management backs our play when someone breaks the rules or we think its just to sketchy. Everyone has the right to refuse an assignment on the line, its in the IRPG. Fire fighters have a right to have there safety concerns addressed and mitigated before engaging. The "can do attitude" is gone, we are in a new generation that teaches us to think before acting.

Doctors and Cops take a legal oath of office, I'm sure it which binds them to perform. A first responder has the option not to engage if it's not an on the job response. Furthermore any medical responder probable would tell you the "what for" if they did not have the proper PPE.

I seem to remember a part in the job description about protecting "life, property and resources". From that statement we first protect and ensure the safety of the firefighter before all else! Be it medical, haz mat, fire response, or even project work

Its a dangerous job. We have these rule to protect us when respond to anything. Our rules were paid for in blood.

When we respond to those rare events like shuttle recovery or hurricane relief we still mitigate the hazards before taking action. That is were the rub comes in. Bird flue is scary stuff. The safety concerns would have to be addressed and mitigated, training and PPE would have to be provided. Then that might make the employee feel a little safer in attempting this type of work. We work an all risk job when we have the confidence to safely engage.

Id take the training, Id purchase the PPE for my forest, and....... yes I probably would respond.


2/3 Mellie and Misery Whip:

An employer has a legal duty to provide a safe workplace - enforceable for example by OSHA. Breach of a legal duty owed to another creates a cause of action enforceable in court. Strangers with no relationship have no legal duty to rescue each other, but a good samaritan, once the rescue is initiated, creates a legal duty on herself to complete the attempt with due care, the theory being that others including the person at risk are now relying on the good samaritan, which affects their own reactions or lack thereof. Laws have been adopted to immunize the good samaritan from a negligence claim, absent willful misconduct, but the legal duty is created. I understand my own moral duty to undertake the rescue of a stranger but can't speak for anyone else.

Firefighters will enjoy Professor Thackaberry's paper from the last IAWF Safety Summit: www.iawfonline.org/summit/2005%20Presentations/2005_pdf/Thackaberry.pdf (pdf file) explaining the evolution from "virtue ethic" to "duty ethic" in the fire service. I look forward to some shift back to virtue based ethic and away from duty based ethic with Doctrinal Change.

This is from the Professor's Abstract:

"Using ethical theory as a lens for analysis, the paper shows how the original Fire Orders attempted to codify an individual “virtue ethic” for firefighter safety traditionally managed through narrative write-ups. However, their introduction simultaneously ushered in an individual “duty ethic” that would come to eclipse the virtue ethic over time. The findings from the South Canyon fire accident investigation reflect an organization at odds with whether it manages safety as a virtue or safety as a duty."

Old Sawyer

2/3 Response to Kevin Joseph:

Dear Kevin:

I'm sure Vicki appreciates your comments but I would have to assume (Vicki, correct me if I'm wrong) that she would be the first to tell you to "call & join the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation does wonderful things for so many. However it is the FWFSA's primary goal and objective to improve pay, benefits and working conditions for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters through the legislative/political process.

Each issue you address is on our "political" plate. We rely on our members who span the entire spectrum of rank and responsibility in wildland firefighting, to inform us as to what is going on in any given region, forest, etc.

Since the FWFSA has earned and established its credibility in DC, we are in a position to address your particular concerns with the proper elected officials. All the land management agencies know the FWFSA is keenly aware that what congress appropriates for preparedness & fire, doesn't always get to where it should. They also know that, armed with accurate data about such issues, we will not hesitate to address the matter with the appropriate folks in DC.

However we need voices such as yours to be even more effective. It takes a great deal of time, effort & money to educate congress on your issues and secure their understanding and effective support for changing the status quo.

Whether you're Forest Service, Park Service, BLM, BIA or Fish & Wildlife, we help you ensure your voice is heard to effect positive change.

Strand up and let your voice be heard. Visit our web site at www.fwfsa.org or call me personally anytime at 208-775-4577. I look forward to hearing from you.

Casey Judd
Business Manager

I understand Vicki is out at some mtg hanging with some hotshots. She should be back to check her computer late today. Ab.

2/3 Fire Management Today, a publication produced by the USDA Forest Service, is seeking entries for its annual fire photo contest. Please share this information by adding a link on your website at www.wildlandfire.com, using mailing lists, or other means as possible. This contest is open to all, prizes are awarded, and the deadline is March 3, 2006.

The attached flyer and winning photos from past contests are posted at www.fs.fed.us/fire/fmt/

Thank you for your consideration and assistance in distributing this announcement. Please contact me if you have any questions.

(See attached file: Flyer2006.pdf)
Karen Mora, for Fire Management Today

Those that want the flyer, email and Ab will send it.

2/3 Re: Duty to respond to non-fire incidents, eg floods, bird flu etc.

Remember that "Every firefighter is entitled to a safe assignment." is our standard. In firefighting safety is a platform supported by

  1. Training
  2. Experience
  3. Physical Fitness and
  4. PPE.

Remove any of those supports and the platform becomes unstable, and the assignment unsafe.

Just as in fire, you have the right, and the obligation to turn down an unsafe assignment. Do not accept those assignments for which you lack the training, experience, fitness, or PPE. Accepting such an assignment can only endanger yourself and others.

Old Fire Guy

2/3 Class C Sagebrush Faller,

Snook’s theory of “practical drift” and Vaughn’s theory of  “normalization of deviance” are interesting perspectives… but they are theories. Theories are cool, but facts speak louder than words. Unfortunately, I don’t have facts and can only offer my opinion also.

As I read Snook’s and Vaughn’s theories, they might apply to the specific organizations they are addressing. They are built upon a High Reliability Organization (HRO) that has a set of rules that have been “hard tested” to be fact. We all know that after tragedy fires, sometimes rules are made that don’t always increase firefighter safety, and in some cases, can increase the risks (South Canyon Fire, Thirty Mile Fire, Cramer Fire, etc.).

I liked the statement in J.M. Saveland’s paper that said, “A critical facet of leadership is creating an environment where the truth is heard and brutal facts confronted.” I am not sure that “practical drift” is the right term for what is happening in the Forest Service at the present time. “Practical Drift” is actually a negative term in the safety community. It assumes that rules for safety are “hard fast” and not open to interpretation, discussion, or appropriate implementation by our leaders. It limits the safety discussion in ways that could hurt the wildland firefighting community. The doctrinal review process and the future changes in policy, procedures, rules and guidelines, are not practical shifts… they are a return to the Foundational Doctrine that kept people safe, for the most part in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Those ideas came from the original Safety First Committee and the firefighters that followed their footsteps and continue to have Safety First as the utmost goal.

Here is the link: www.myfirecommunity.net/documents/Saveland.pdf (pdf file)

The Researcher
2/3 Region 6

Better look close at your job description. I'll bet it says 'other duties as assigned' or some facsimile. Besides if you're a federal firefighter you're probably just a forestry technician and this is an All Risk Management world and you will go choke chickens if that is your assignment. Anybody out there go to San Diego County during the Newcastles Disease outbreak a few years ago? We do go and will go to all and any assignment as requested. Pick a job; shuttle recovery, hurricane relief, earthquakes, floods, etc. And they did train us to choke chickens down south.


2/3 What has wildland fire fighting come to? Mountaineering Boots? Maybe they will
go well with the lawn chairs that became popular with structure protection strike
teams in so-cal. I have used white boots for thirty years and loved them.


7107 and other posters, please demonstrate those good leadership skills and keep discussion to issues. Attacking groups that are also members of the wildland firefighting community does not lead to dialog that informs us. Ab.

2/3 Abercrombie ol' friend, just a couple of thoughts,

Beer in fire camp and or on assignments at all was a regular part of the good ol' forest service, even at the stations after hours for a few cold ones before the night off, but times have changed probably for the better.
And if anybody is waiting for 390 or TFL class to learn and understand rate of spread then they are waiting way too long. You should know and understand ROS way before that. Right after you learn to 'Base all action on current and expected fire behavior' would be a good time. Look into FLAME or appendix B if any of you need help.

Take Care,

2/3 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) jobs pages and Series 0401 ("professional" Biologist) are updated.


2/2 I am a Fire Fighter and as far as the bird flu pandemic problem, that job is for another trained person to do. We are needed for fires or what we were trained for. If it happens, I am staying home with my family so I can maybe live another day and not infect them. When I was single, I joined the Army and volunteered for Vietnam to do my part for my Country. I was also trained to do this job and equipped to fight it. That is what I signed up for.

My family is first now, so I will try not to expose them to any more dangers than I have to. If it happens, I don’t see where Wildland Fire Fighters are going to be able to do that much. There are other groups set up for this and if they are not, they need to be! Wildland Fire Fighters are not pawns to be used for anything that comes along they did not plan for. We are not trained for this type of work and should not be doing it in my opinion.

Region 6

2/2 The Student Conservation Association has positions open in a couple of fields in many different locations.  See two  of their current announcements on the Jobs Page.


2/2 Misery Whip, regarding your comments (of Jan 28)

You talked about duty, basically making the distinction between a moral duty and the duty associated with your contracted job, so I guess that would be more like a legal duty, wouldn't it? It made me think. The police in New Orleans that left their posts bailed out on their "legal duty"; some may have felt that their "moral duty" to their families took precedence. Looking at their situation from a purely legal perspective, they should have resigned their position early on, or they should have not signed up in the first place. Otherwise it would feel a bit to me like deserting your post. But don't you also have a "contract" with your spouse, an obligation to protect and provide for your children?

A similar conflict might arise if a doctor who was responsible for patients just walked out, or a first responder performing CPR just quit without first getting someone to take over. In contrast is the retired doc who feels drawn to help in a crisis. Is moral duty more determined by feelings and legal duty determined by legal agreement only? Old Sawyer?

OK so what about someone on a fire team called to New York City or LA to handle DMORT during the bird flu pandemic? Say they had joined the team but don't know what they're getting into. They have no training in mitigating pandemic risk, they have limited PPE because the whole world is needing it at the same time, and they have children at home across the country who need their protection to survive?

Wooah, that's pretty heavy.... VFD Capt, do you have a family? Can you imagine yourself in that situation? What would you have to consider in making your decision? Misery Whip? Anyone? Any of those SJs out there had ethics classes on their way to getting their degrees? Hop right in. I don't think there's a right answer... just one you'd have to live with.

Mellie again

2/2 Class C Sagebrush Faller, I found your quote from Snook and your comments on "Practical Drift" of 1/29 captivating. My mind has returned there several times over the last few days. Thank you.

Lobotomy, any idea when we'll get to see the new Doctrine? The Sagebrush Faller's comments seem pertinent.

Good Firestorm show on the Discovery Channel last night. I look forward to them... Invite a different set of family and friends to each showing...

Tahoe Terry

2/2 Johnny Wanna Be a Hotshot and EMBO,

I laughed til I cried! EMBO, since it seems Johnny Wannabe isn't going to reply, would you tell us what you mighta been looking for in those questions? I assume it's not a particular answer in each case. Here, I'll go first:

1. If you were dispatched to choke chickens as many of us were a few years ago, would you be willing to choke your own chicken back at the farm or ranch which ever it may be?

Yes, pluck and cook 'er too. Need to bleed 'er out, then need boiling water for the plucking. (Would require PPE if there's a chance they're infected, but then why would we be cooking?) Glad you didn't ask me about choking my cat!

2. Say you're sitting in a scab flat in the middle of nowhere, your pack is off and you're shaded up waiting for the helicopter to come get you because your pack is too heavy, what meal would you want at that very moment? If it’s soup what kind of soup?

Abercrombie's white bean chicken chili soup. And a dill pickle, please.

3. You come across a fellow firefighter high grading the last pork rib MRE. You proceed to get in an altercation, what hold or move would you use to subdue the poacher, for instance half nelson, full nelson or maybe the elusive father nelson?

Full lip lock??? I'm not so good at the nelsons anymore, not even the willie-nelson, which I've used in the most dire circumstances. I figure the lip lock would make 'im cry uncle fastest just to get me off 'im!! Heck, he'd probably be thrilled to give me the last pork rib MRE!

4. Some of us carry pictures, letters or some sort of memento or keepsake, like a rock that would fit in your pocket to remind us of things that are important to us. What would you carry that you could pass on or even touch people with?

My little pink sandy stone from my Storm King hike. It evokes so many images, of the trip up there that Christmas day, of the hike in the snow, the silence, the peace, of my visit with the Brinkleys years later, the sense of shared community and commitment to safety, the feeling that we can never forget those we've lost and the lessons learned, the good friends and companions, the job well done without fanfare, just well done as it should be...

5. If you had to be involved emotionally or physically with a club, what kind of club would it be?

This community at theysaid, with get-togethers whenever the opportunity arose. (Gizmo I'm with you!) As a kid my favorite was swim team. Although I didn't spend much time actually socializing, we swam hours and hours of laps a day and were bonded physically, often rhythmically (reach, pull, glide) -- each in our solitary but unified pursuit of training to swim our swim, to win our event, to go beyond what we thought we could do. Just to be it.

6. If you were in a band in the off season and you didn’t have a real instrument while fighting fires, what imaginary instrument would you play?

Play right now, without time to practice? glockenspiel or cymbals or spoons, depending on my mood --because those were some I loved playing as a youth and my body knows them. If I were going to be in a band in the off season now and I could, I'd play base like Dennis Hulbert. Yep, if I was required to choose a new imaginary instrument today, I might have to practice up on "air base". Those deep (imagined) notes resonate...

Your turn...


2/2 To Vicki Minor,

I appreciate the work you do at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. It is important that someone speaks out on behalf of wildland firefighters. The "Rumor" that there will be cutbacks on wildland firefighters is, unfortunately, very true. We received drastic cutbacks last year in both USFS and BLM fire management programs on my unit and they are continuing. Some engines are staffed only 5 days per week with 3 on and some engines aren't staffed at all. We have numerous fire management program vacancies unfilled and we will not be filling ADFMO (Battalion Chief) positions as they become vacant. This is due to major budget cutbacks and reductions. My forest is at approximately 33% of MEL and when it gets to the ground on my district, 27%. 27% of the most efficient level is not very efficient. It's not very efficient when you have 1 or 2 type 6 engines available to respond to a 4 year average 104 wildfires per year, and more often than not multiple ignition lightning fires. Last year we had only 2 engines and I was unable to hire my unusual 6 USFS seasonal firefighters. This year, doesn't look much better. We're way behind on snowpack in southwest Colorado and we have experienced massive mortality in the pinyon and a substantial increase in cheat and other grasses. Fires here are getting bigger faster and burning hotter due to the hazardous fuel conditions and drought. We also have a large wildland urban interface problem. Problems like this exist throughout the nation, and fire management programs will suffer due to major reductions in budget and firefighting capability.

Serious fire problems puts the public and our firefighters at risk. Firefighter and public safety is, by policy, our first priority. It must be that way. All of our fire management plans and activities must reflect this commitment. The policies are very clear: "Take appropriate actions to ensure safe, efficient, and effective operations. Ensure that adequate resources are available to implement fire management operations. Regardless of funding level, provide a safe, effective, and efficient fire preparedness and fire use program. Take appropriate actions with escalating fire potential. Agencies will ensure their capability to provide safe, cost-effective fire management programs in support of land and resource management plans through appropriate planning, STAFFING, training, equipment, and management oversight." Unfilled positions and engines sitting idle is not appropriate staffing.

There is a point where enough is enough and we are at that point now. The basis for realizing our policy of public and firefighter safety begins on the ground at the district level. Strong, professional, highly trained, appropriately staffed, efficient, effective, and skilled field level fire management programs lead by skilled and experienced fire leadership is the catalyst for achieving our goal and policy of providing for firefighter and public safety as our first priority. The federal agencies must support this. We need the funding and the personnel to do the job. There is a point where safety suffers due to lack of personnel and support. We must do everything we can in support of the firefighter on the ground for the on the ground firefighter is the backbone of the fire management program.

Kevin Joseph
2/2 Thank you all who responded about my question regarding CDF FF1 pay. I am still a little confused about the overtime while working a normal shift.

HUUFC states "all time over 53 hours is paid at the time and a half rate."
But Allen says that "work 19 hours per day and are paid overtime for anything worked over that 19 hours"

If you are paid OT for hours over 53 hours worked and are on the clock 19 hours a day, does that mean you get 23 hours of OT regularly?

Thanks again
2/2 I had mentioned I had taken my Re-Fresher Class from Tom Harbour but I got the names mixed up. It was Tom Leuschen instead. He is the guy who developed the Potential Rate of Spread, Ignition Charts by studying the fires that firefighters lost their lives on due to blowups. Still gave a great class and explained these charts in detail and how to use them.

Region 6

Changed it. Ab.

2/2 Deb,

CDF Seasonal Firefighters (FF-1) are scheduled to work 96 hours per week. Or 4 days in a row. They work typically from 0800 in the morning to 1700 at night unless of course that have an emergency response. They are required to stay at the station and live in the barracks those four days. Because of the Fair Labor Standards Act their schedule on paper looks weird but they actually work 19 hours per day and are paid overtime for anything worked over that 19 hours. So, if they get an emergency response from 1200 to 0500 they get paid 5 hours OT. They of course get paid OT for anything over the four days a week.

Hope this is what you are looking for.

2/2 Re CDF Seasonals:

It's interesting to read the comments regarding the pay rate of CDF
seasonals. Their pay rate is higher than a lot of other agencies. The
overtime issue of 0000-0500 is even if you get toned out then canceled,
you still are paid the full 24hr. You take Forest Service or any other
Fed agency, once they come off the fire line, the clock stops at fire
camp or station. Many times you find crews elect to stay on line for 2
or more days without leaving the line in order to keep the hazard pay
etc. Once they are in camp, the fed crew are on "freebee" time, yet they
cannot leave either.

The 19 hour work week is still a good deal. Work 8-5pm, basically off at
dinner time. Maybe do some training with the volunteers (still on the
clock) or take the utility and head for an ice cream run (and still


2/2 Re: "Conference":

Thanks Gizmo and Old Sawyer.

The IAWF Safety Summit in late April in Pasadena, CA is shaping up to be just
such a conference. Many of us will be there. Besides serious business it will be fun.
I am looking forward to meeting you.

2/2 Mountaineering boots vs. Logger boots:

I think I echo the same sentiment that seems to be prevalent here- the mountaineering boots are better but don't stay together as long. As far a the warranty on the mountaineering boots: When I first realized that these boots may be an option for wildland firefighting, I contacted several of the major companies (Lowa, Lasportiva, etc) and described what we were going to do with them. Their immediate and obvious response was basically: "Go ahead, but they were not designed for those conditions and we will not provide warranty on those type of uses." So, from the getgo, I knew they were going to be a disposable boot. The soles will delaminate but can be glued back on with strong adhesive. The laces may melt but those cost $3. Which logger boot company holds up to a warranty? I've only worked with White's and tried unsuccessfully to get the following things warrantied: blown stitching on the boot, poor quality vibram that cracked/melted, and blown stitching/screws on the soles (all happened at various times early in the season, not after prolonged use). The best they could offer was a $175 rebuild.

I have taken a traditional Logger boot and a Mountaineering boot to both a podiatrist and physical therapist for their opinion on the best one ergonomi. The professionals felt that the mountaineering boot would be better for the body over the long haul. Yes, we've used the Logger boots for 65+ years, but in that time they have been virtually unchanged. The designers at the boot companies such as Lasportiva are at the cutting edge of what is going on in the mountaineering industry. I have used the Lasportivas for 3 1/2 seasons now and am sold. They're lightweight, more comfortable, more support, and cheaper.

On an unrelated note-
Does anyone know if the 2006 AD Rates are out yet and where to find a listing?

Rogue Drogue
2/2 How reliable in training and preparation are the 45lb weight vests?
Have you heard anything?

2/1 310-1

I took a peek at the new 310-1 and am dismayed that TFL candidates no
longer need S-390. I guess Rate of Spread is no longer important. I hope
I wasn’t the only one to comment on that change in the draft.

Perhaps the rain up here will stop soon. At least I’ll be able to snowboard
more this winter.

2/1 Good news in the Forest Service. Chief Dale Bosworth signed off on the new Forest Service Foundational Doctrine last week. Congratulations to all of the firefighters who are, or have been involved in this process. Also, thank you to the land managers who were open to the idea of a change in direction for firefighter safety. It will truly make things safer.

2/1 Ab,

I agree that the boots are comfortable. Also, they are known for separating and they do break down. But all do. The problem is getting them to fix them or replace. In fact if you have glued them together or tried to fix them in any way on your own, the warranty is void. So if they fall apart, leave them apart and walk around in your socks until you can send them back if you expect some service from the company. By the way it can take 4 to 6 weeks before they will get back to you.

But as some have said- " why can't some company make a good firefighting boot that is comfortable and will last". So what is the answer? Heavy boots that hurt your feet and give blisters but you can get a new pair the next day, (that will fit the same). Or buy something that feels good but when it breaks down walk around without or buy another pair to break in while you wait to see if it falls under their guide lines of warranty? You make the choice. (Not alot of choices)

By the way you better check closer on that warranty. Even though they are an approved boot by the Gov- La Sportiva does not necessarily warrant firefighting use! These are designed for the City type outdoorsman that wear the Makalu or Glacier on an occasional basis, not daily hard work or wear and tear.



2/1 SB:

Thanks for your response. I was beginning to think my post had gotten lost among all the Discovery Channel posts. Any aviation folks out there know anything about Safecoms selectively being posted online?


Here here!!! Great points on using modern technology for boots! I hate traditional fire boots - the heel causes even more force to be placed on the ball and toes of the foot (not a good thing on any slope for those of use with arches). I personally think there is a great niche out there for any boot maker who can make a comfortable, safe, quality fire boot! I like La Sportivas too - but they could be even better!


2/1 For Deb,

CDF FFI's are on duty for 4 days, 24 hours a day for a 96 hour week. If their sleep is uninterrupted 5 hours each night is subtracted for 20 hours a week. If they get dispatched they are paid the 5 hours of overtime. We are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act and as firefighters all time over 53 hours is paid at the time and a half rate. The trick is the half time is added to the base pay to even it out.

The agreement to do all this was negotiated with CDF Firefighters Local 2881, and lasted ten years. That agreement expires this spring. There will be big changes before fire season.

Sometimes the shift is tough but it keeps portal to portal intact and the 24 hour staffing of the engines.

2/1 To Deb:

The CDF Firefighter 1 duty week is one of the worst in the American workforce. You come on duty on day one and go home the morning of day 5. 96 straight. And you only get paid for working19 hours per day, or 76 per week. Of that 23 hours is paid at the 1.5 (overtime) rate. But you can't leave the station at night (the 5 hours you are not paid). But if you get a call or "sleep interruption" between 0000-0500, you get the full 5 hours of overtime. And if you miss any part of your three days off a week due to fire activity, you are compensated at the overtime rate hour for hour. Does this make any sense. Not much. But that's the way it is in our contract. In a quiet station, its not bad, but in a busy station it is murder.

2/1 Refresher Topics '06

They finally posted the 2006 Hot Topics on the wfstar web site www.nifc.gov/wfstar/index.php.
Of course the video and other material won't be out until March. The way it's looking in AZ
we will be way into fire season by then.


2/1 Gizmo,

Count me in for any such "conference", anywhere, any time.

Old Sawyer

2/1 Hycatal,

I have noticed the disappearing safecoms as well. My home unit was involved in a serious incident last summer, resulting in the pilot losing his OAS card, but it's not listed on the safecom site. The safecom was filed online. I also know of a handful of other safecoms filed on my unit, but none of them show up on the website. I would also be interested in an explanation. It could be a glitch with the website, but it is interesting that it only seems to affect certain units or certain incidents.


2/1 Task books were requested to be posted on Feb 1, 2006. Um that's today and
it hasn't happened as of now... So look for them in the next couple of

The documents regarding new positions and transitioning and such are
supposed to come out after the Change Management Board meets so I'd guess
by the end of February.

Things are a'happening,
2/1 Re: La Sportiva boots

Last season started with new Nicks and the usual assortment of blisters and lost toenails. After two months and an especially chilly tour with the daily struggle to get raw feet back into soaked-and-frozen Nicks, I decided to try La Sportivas.

The Sportivas felt like comfy bedroom slippers by comparison. Exponentially fewer blisters. The lowheel hiking boot form and wider base made for better balance, especially on loose, steep ground -- Hell's Canyon and better. The short upper wasn't so great when cutting, but I'm going to get a leather strip sewn around the top to give better coverage next season (there's a thought for the women's size issue, too).

What I'd really like to see is a sturdy, well-made, good-fitting HIKING BOOT that is designed specifically to fire specs using all the ergonomic technology that's out there. (That's what we do, HIKE and stand for 15.5 hours a day.) Why are we still accepting the old dog-biters as industry standard? We can improve the shelters, packs, even MRE's, but not the boots? I love the traditional look of Nicks and Whites, and I'll happily sport them in bars. But give me fireboots that will let me do the job safely without turning me into a gimp after a few seasons. Perhaps if enough of us ask for this change, La Sportiva (or better yet, some American company) will rise to the challenge.

2/1 We are now going onto 106 days without rain. The high country has no snow.
The prediction is a very bad fire season here starting as early as march! We
still have all the high grass from last yr's rains in the spring.

So be ready to spend the summer here !!

Tom (humboldt fire lookout, AZ )

2/1 Lobotomy;

I just took my Refresher Class from Tom Leuschen in Twisp, Washington. Risk
Management was one of the topics and taught quite well by him. I have a
different outlook on fires now and learned alot in the class! Wish all could get
their training from him, I know I will next year.

Region 6

2/1 Dear Ab and All,

I'd like to welcome Marc Rounsaville to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation's Board of Directors as our new Liaison from the Forest Service Chief's Office.

I was fortunate to spend some time last week in Washington DC with Dale Bosworth, Chief of the Forest Service.

I have been very concerned about the federal budget for fire and the fact that we are facing cutbacks. I wanted to express my concerns to him, in light of the work we do here at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, helping families of the fallen.

I also met with the Executive director of the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial, Ron Siarnicki. The goal of that meeting was to form a partnership that would benefit both wildland and structure firefighters and their families. As we created this partnership, we reviewed some staggering statistics:
  • We loose on average 100 structure and wildland firefighters a year.
  • 25% of those 100 deaths are deaths of wildland firefighters.
  • There are many more structure firefighters across the United States than there are wildland firefighters.

Breaking this down per capita:

  • We loose 1 in every 1,000 wildland firefighters per year.
  • In contrast, structure firefighters loose 1 in every 20,000 firefighters per year.

In comparison with other federal employees in high-risk jobs:

  • Next to astronauts, wildland firefighters suffer more losses per capita than any other federal employee.
  • Wildland firefighters have more losses even than the military.

In my visit with Dale Bosworth I asked him -- because of work we do here at the Foundation -- not to cut back on wildland firefighters. Cuts would stretch firefighting lines too thin and leave remaining firefighters far too vulnerable. He assured me that reduction in firefighter forces is only a rumor and that there will be no wildland firefighter cutbacks.

I feel that Dale truly cares about all of us in the federal wildland fire community and that his reply to me comes from his heart -- and is not filtered through the politics in Washington. I feel he will do his very best to connect what is handed to him for fire from Congress, with our firefighter reality on the ground. We must keep our wildland firefighters safe. One way to do this is to insure that we maintain the same numbers of trained and experienced firefighters on the ground so we can accomplish the firefighting job that our citizens expect.

I want to say again how very much I appreciate Dale's connection with the reality of firefighters on the ground and reiterate that he's a man of integrity and honor in Washington. I feel he has a fire heart.

Vicki Minor
Director, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

2/1 to First Firehead:

Per PMS310-1 (rev 1/2006) page 7, last paragraph states "The Ignition
Specialist positions (RXI1 & RXI2) have been replaced with the Firing Boss
(FIRB)". On page 70, you will find Firing Boss (FIRB).

/s/ Hippy Mike
2/1 ?
Have the LaSportiva's been approved yet.
If so, by whom and where do I find the paper.
What model also


Search wlf.com on the name. Last I heard they meet requirements for men but not for some smaller women in that they weren't tall enough (not 8") in smaller sizes. Ab.

2/1 I'm wondering about the reasoning behind eliminating the Ignition Specialist positions in the new 310-1. This is going to stop our prescribed burning program in its tracks. We just lost a handful of our RXI2 folks, and were planning on training some new ones this spring. I find it interesting that the RXI2 qualification was important enough to be implemented into the IFPM standards for Suppression Specialists and FMOs, but apparently not important enough to exist anymore. Anybody know the thought process behind this?

Also, does anybody know when the new task books (FFT1/ICT5, HELM, etc.) will be available?

First Firehead
2/1 Hello Ab, and all the rest

Just wanted to share my experience with the LaSportiva Boots that have made their way onto the market. I purchased a pair this last summer and put them through some pretty rough terrain for the last 3 months of the season. I have walked with them through some hot ash (I am older and smarter now and avoid standing in the real hot stuff if I can), up and down the deepest canyon in the states, had them soaked several times and have overall been very satisfied with their performance.

I dont know anything about the warranty as I have not needed it. The seams will pull apart after awhile but a little superglue and they are fixed. But who hasn't had to stitch the old leather boots time and time again. I have owned several pair of whites and am not impressed with them especially for $400. Whites seem to last me one summer and they are shot, and instead of spending the $180 bones to get them redone I will just get some Sportivas that are new.

The Sportivas have outdone anything that I have worn as far as comfort and I am a little sad that I didn't get a pair sooner and save a few years off my knees and feet. This is just my experience with the shoes, others are sure to be different but as far as I am concerned, they are worth the investment, especially at about half the price of Whites. As far as other boots I have tried, I blew through a pair of Westcos in about three weeks down in Arizona, and Redwings are just a joke. I am pretty hard on my boots as I am told I walk like someone just kicked me in the crotch, but hey that's the way God made me. Nothing but thumbs up on the Sportivas here.

Trick D
2/1 I know that in the past I have gone off the map on some of my questions About what's going on with the Forest Service. But Now I Need to be heard. All the collage courses in the world will not keep one firefighter safe and holding the forest service fire end of the USDA up to VISA is, to me, way out of line I know that old dogs like me just need to go away but I can't . The way I learned is fighting fires in all types of fuels and weather. I would be more than happy to train anybody on how to work in the fire service wildland and, like me, retire totally happy after 34 years . In my 15 years on the team I had to deal with the aftermath of the people before me in 1971 1979 1980 1987 1994 2002, so I have seen my nightmare and will until I do the Big Dirt Dance.

Tmo Spike

Sounds like you had a good career, Ab.

2/1 Hello,

I was wondering if anyone from the CDF can give me some details on the pay of a seasonal firefighter1. I understand they work 4- 24 hour shifts... do you get overtime after 8 hours worked every day? Over 40 hours in a week? Working a 72 hour work week sounds grueling. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

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