March, 2007

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3/31 Squirtgun,

I've bounced around R1, mostly in western MT, although
I had a two-season stint with the BLM in eastern MT. 
This year I'm headed to northern ID. I'd appreciate
an email; either Ab can pass my addy to you or yours
to me. I've worked with a few R5 helitack crews on
large helibases before, but I really have no clue
about most of the crews in the region (locations,
contacts, etc).


Thanks for the advice. I've seen a few outreaches on
the R5 outreach page, but have yet to see if the ones
I was interested in had started taking applications
yet. I'll keep an eye out for the new 5/6

Cheers all.

Young and Dumb in Region One
3/31 Ab and folks:

I just thought I'd let you all know that I will be traveling from here in Western New York to the Klamath NF to ride along and offer my support to Brian Janes as he attempts (and he says he will complete) the amazing feat of running a 220 mile circuit to raise awareness (and $$$) for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Those of you who know me are aware that the Foundation and the folks there are near and dear to my heart. Anyone willing to accomplish a huge undertaking such as this for the Foundation and for the firefighters and families the Foundation supports, is near and dear to me as well.

So, log on to www.wffoundation.org/ and make your pledge, or make a donation, or, better yet, join the 52 Club if you have not done so already. Come on up and joins us, to run along with Brian, or just to cheer him on. 

Stay tuned for updates as the run progresses....

Heather's Mom

Thank you. Thanks also to Brian and his helpers. Ab.

3/31 Question:

Is R5 forest service going to fly GS-05 positions DEMO again? 

If not, Young and Dumb in R1 and many others cannot even consider these 
jobs without going to the WFAP or getting a DEMO job another region and 

3/31 Dear Midwest FMO:

There was a previous post from someone who indicated that they were not sure throwing money at the problem would help so I was trying to respond to all the comments collectively. I apologize if anyone inferred I was suggesting that was your comment.

I certainly agree with your "location" assessment. However, even in areas where feds do better financially than state or local firefighters, we still want to ensure fundamental pay & benefit reform. This goes for all five land-management agencies and across the country.

A few of the Southern California forests have developed some draft plans with respect to retention in the high cost areas there. As a nationwide organization, we of course support what ever they can successfully get for those areas but have also let them know that organizationally, our focus is ensuring the fundamental pay & benefit problems are fixed, regardless of location.

Let's face it, R5 is a world in itself. There are dynamics there that no one else experiences. But we also see some extremely disconcerting, nutty things going on in the middle of the country like 17 fire positions being cut on the San Juan National Forest in Colorado thanks to the Workforce Planning Group that apparently thinks having ecologists command fire incidents and operate engines is better than having fire people do it.

The Forest Service Fire & Aviation leadership knows about this as does Senator's Allard & Salazar from Colorado who have yet to receive a response to their inquiry from the Forest Service. And obviously there is more dysfunctional behavior being demonstrated elsewhere in the fire program by folks that unfortunately have virtually no practical fire expertise or experience.

Although we primarily represent federal wildland firefighters (Forestry & Range Technicians) we have a number of members from some of the other occupations you mentioned. Additionally, most of our legislative proposals would benefit many of them based upon their peripheral fire duties. Suffice it to say, our legislative proposals would benefit far more than just our members and the number of non-members who would benefit currently far outweigh our membership even though our membership is "footing the bill" to try and bring these benefits to so many.

Just food for thought.

3/31 Regarding "shelter in place" 

During the Cedar fire in 2003 San Diego Country Estates (part of Ramona) was threatened early on, parts less than 3 miles from origin of the fire. Most of the homes predate the 2000 code requirements, some (few) even have shake roofs and wooden siding. The fire, over 3 days burned almost totally around the area, with some homes lost; however evacuation was only ordered around the NE facing perimeters (to the best of my knowledge). A lot of friends who live farther away from the open land were not ordered to leave. Barona Mesa, part of the fire district and the first area to get the fire front (and engines to protect it) is a newer area and survived well because of adequate clearance and fire resistant construction. Some Deputies and campers survived the burn through in Featherstone Canyon (in Barona area) by parking vehicles in an open field and staying inside them.

I feel shelter in place is a viable option; not to replace "getting out of Dodge" if time permits.

Also some of the fatalities would not have occurred, had those who became victims sheltered in place.

Thanks Ab


3/31 Casey,

Let me clarify my point.

My experience in the locations that I have lived and worked is this: the state organizations do not pay as well as federal and I have been able to hire some very talented and experienced people away from them. Its a location thing. And there are more locations where federal land management agencies pay better than the state agencies than the situation you have in California where CALFIRE and local fire organizations pay better than the feds. 

People develop strong attachments to agency mission, organizational cultures, locations and ways of doing things. On the surface it appears that the USFS in California has not been able to develop strong attachments to its organizational culture, its way of doing things, nor inspired people to have a strong loyalty to its leaders and they have not been able to keep compensation in line with local markets. I have known a number of foresters that have left federal service to work for state and private industry for less pay. But they get to do forestry work. And I have had firefighters and wildlife biologist tell me that they don't want to leave the state because my agency has too much BS to deal with. And folks in my agency look at what the USFS has to deal with and say, no I'm just fine here. And I think the pay scale problem is more local than national in scope. The Federal Government does not solve local problems well. A serious review of the locality pay policy needs to be made. But I recall that is more tied to cost of living than competition for a limited number of qualified candidates. So it may be of little help in stopping the hemorrhaging.

I did not suggest that money be thrown at the problem. Nor did I say you were proposing that money be thrown at the problem. You have identified a number of issues that affect recruitment and retention in the federal service. I know that your mission is tied to "Federal Wildland Firefighters". But if its good for temporary and permanent "fire fighters" then it is also good for temporary and permanent recreation technicians, range conservationist, forestry technicians, maintenance persons, tractor operators, admin clerks, foresters etc. 

Midwest FMO
3/31 I was told last night by a 6 yr old holding a flaming marshmallow being roasted 
over a campfire: "Mellie, don't you know?  a marshmallow is only another 
fuel type?" OMG!

We're having fun burning piles!


3/31 Young and Dumb in Region 1,

While you may have seen jobs only being flown as a 6, all jobs are now flown multi-grade with the 6 being the target grade. We have been having to wait for all the new announcement numbers to come out, and this is happening slowly, so this may be why you are only seeing the GS-6. I believe that when it does it will be ADS07-FSJOBS-HLTK-0506G and ADS07-FSJOBS-HLTK-0506DP. Keep looking for it or if you want to give your email to Ab, I can contact you when it comes out. We have had this trouble with other positions - FPT 5/6, etc, so hang in there if you are interested. These jobs are now done as open and continuous vacancies, so make sure that when you do apply you check on your app every 2 months to make sure it is still active. You can also go in and change locations as you find out who has openings as they come up. From what I have heard, there could be several openings coming up in the next few months. Any questions? Feel free to contact me. 

aka The AVUE Queen :-p
3/31 Shari,

I would like to give you and your son some words of advice and encouragement in regards to his apprenticeship position. I grew up in Sonora, went to high school in Sonora, and worked for 4 years on the Stanislaus as a seasonal firefighter. I, until recently, held a position in Region 6 as an apprentice. I really loved my time as an apprentice. It gave me a multitude of experiences as I was afforded the opportunity to do many different things. I was able to work on an engine, as a prevention technician, on a hotshot crew, and also on a heli rappel crew. It was a great time. The only reason that I left to program without completing it first is because I was given the opportunity to pursue a job as a FS LEO. I would have stayed with fire if not for this chance to do something else that I wanted to. I was actually pointed in this direction while I was an apprentice working as a prevention tech. The apprenticeship program is wonderful for getting training in management and fire as well as seeing other opportunities. I hope that your son has a good time doing this job and if there are any questions, feel free to ask the Abs for my e mail address. I will give any words of advice that I can.

Young and dumb in R-1,

Where do you work in R-1? I may be able to help you with your question and once I am done with some training I will be back in R1. If you want, feel free to get my e mail from the abs and I can see if I can help you find what you are looking for in regards to some of the R5 jobs.

Squirtgun (soon to be Guns-n-hoses)

3/30 I keep hearing about these retention problems, and
numerous open positions, and I have a question: How
does one apply for these positions?

To be more specific, I'm a helitack person with six
seasons looking for a 5 or 5/6 (entry-level)
appointment on a helitack crew. I'd be more than
interested in applying for jobs in R5 if I knew what
crews had openings and what vacancy announcement to
apply to. I've seen the GS-6 CA announcements, but
don't have enough time in as a 5 to apply for a 6.

So, any R5 helitack folks want to enlighten me what
crews are hiring and off of what announcements? It's
confusing to someone from outside the region trying to
figure out who's who down there...

Young and Dumb in Region 1
3/30 Dear Midwest FMO & "Different Pseudonym":

There are certainly areas of the country where a federal wildland firefighter can have a pretty good standard of living. The FWFSA is not, and never has, endorsed a "pay raise" which is a misnomer for what we have been trying to accomplish.

Let's face it. There are a number of outdated, archaic pay & personnel policies adversely affecting our Nation's federal wildland firefighters whether it be classification, lack of benefits for temporary firefighters, portal to portal etc. I do not consider the portal to portal issue to be a "pay raise." I consider it to be fundamental compensation in the 21st century, enjoyed by the vast majority of paid, professional firefighters in this country. Federal wildland firefighters deserve no less. It is very basic & fundamental.

So too is the classification issue. As simple and fundamental as it is, it is stunning that it has been tossed around for decades without serious action.

So too are health benefits and eligibility to FEGLI for temporary firefighters...basic & fundamental.

I don't believe correcting these archaic pay & personnel policies is akin to "throwing money at the problem." Throwing money at a problem rarely produces a long-term correction. Implementing simple pay & personnel policies that can be paid for within the current confines of the land-management agency budgets (sorry bean-counters and non-fire budget folks) can have a significant impact on recruitment & retention and go a long way to saving America's taxpayers stunning sums of money.

It is time for the federal government, whether it be the land-management agencies, OPM, or whomever to recognize that we are in the 21st century. Ironically, Linda Springer, Director of OPM has voiced her concerns over the loss of federal employees and that "retention" is a priority of OPM."

Great...haven't seen a dam* thing from OPM about doing anything [emphasis added] without twisting its arm to correct retention problems in the land-management agency fire programs, primarily the Forest Service. I can only hope that Chief Kimbell will take that message to OPM, OMB and whoever else to demonstrate to her firefighters that she is concerned about the "brain drain" and committed to do what's necessary to reduce it or curtail it and work to strengthen the infrastructure of the Nation's federal wildland firefighting corps.

3/30 Shari:

Thanks for the kind words. I'm sorry I didn't know I was speaking to your son since I had just talked to you the day before.

Course we'll see his application for membership soon...won't we ??!!


The RO is obviously limited by what they can unilaterally do at the regional level but as I emphatically suggested to Mr. Harbour's Deputy in Portland a week or so ago, the leadership of the fire program at the RO & WO levels can, and I believe do, have a duty to address the issues with the Chief and make recommendations to the Administration & Congress.

Ironically already Congress is aware of the simple solutions to fix these problems courtesy of the FWFSA. Unfortunately some still on the Hill are waiting for the Agency to embrace the same ideas or to offer their own or at the very least, explain why our proposals won't work. Silence because you're part of the Administration is simply not an alternative because now there is a significant impact on taxpayers and safety in general.

It is also incumbent upon the WO to educate OMB and others in the Administration and hopefully join with us to implement simple solutions that will go a VERY long way in fixing complex problems. I know Ed is aware of the bleeding and I believe it will be on the agenda of the BOD.

Suffice it to say at this point, a collective effort would certainly help i.e. FWFSA, the RO, and the WO need to step up collectively and offer recommendations to fix this mess. The FWFSA has already done so and now we've got to somehow encourage the leadership to stop worrying about political appointed rear-ends and do what is right to make the FS and other land-management agency fire programs the place to make a career.

I can assure everyone who reads this board that the sense of many in Congress is if the Agency sat elbow to elbow with the FWFSA and jointly offered our recommendations for fundamental change in pay & personnel policy to the Administration & Congress, something I might add, MANY on Capitol Hill are waiting for, the changes would be almost immediate.

If the Agency chooses not to, we'll continue with our efforts. We had no support from the Agency, OPM or even labor unions in 1999 when we were the only group to secure the elimination of the OT pay cap for federal wildland firefighters. It may take a bit longer without the Agency's help but hopefully this "exodus" will open their eyes to the fact that they have a duty to their firefighters and the American taxpayer.

3/30 Midwest FMO-

The "solution" I referred to in an earlier post has already been tried, back
in 1990, so I know it can be done. It doesn't look like our current Chief
will ask Congress for more money even if a pay raise was proposed, so we'd
have to absorb the pay raise and not be able to fill other positions, with
a net loss of firefighters, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid.
But the fact remains that someone pulled it off once before.

When the forestry technicians in the four southern California forests
received a 25% pay raise, I remember listening to the announcement over
dispatch that the pay raise had been enacted, and characteristically
enough, the first words I heard in response were negative.. something like
"someone in X town will be able to buy a lot more house than me in Y town".
So, if the past is any indication, even a pay raise isn't going to make
everyone happy. And unless it is applied to everyone in the underpaid
agency, there will be lots of morale issues with the other folks who didn't
get the raise, as happened back in 1990.

But it can be done!

Sign me: I think I've used a different pseudonym every time I've posted.
3/30 AB,
Regarding Shelter in Place development, here is a link to the article in San Diego's North County Times


Here is a link to a website by locals who oppose the idea : www.llcfire.com

3/30 Ab-
Could you post this for me please?

As we go into the next season I think there's some
things everyone needs to know before that injury

"It won't happen to me" you think? That's exactly what
I thought & look where I am.

Fire burns. Rocks roll. Trees fall. Anything can
happen in the best of circumstances- Even when
everyone is as safe as possible. If it's a small
injury consider yourself lucky. If it's a "career
ending event".. Not so much.

What should you know? I wrote most of it down. As I
think of more stuff I may add to the list, but for now
you can get a pretty good idea of what you might be in
for here: http://crew13.com/delete/aboutowcp.php

3/30 Picker,

Thanks for your comments. I partly agree with you in relation to apprentices. However, I do not believe cloaking or softening the current FS organizational disturbance so that it doesn’t taint the young ‘uns is wise or necessary. As a mother, I’ve tried very hard to teach my kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Even in light of (or in contradiction to) that personal parenting philosophy, quite frankly, I’ve done just about everything within my power to dissuade my son from becoming a firefighter. You see how successful I was?… That’s because (I think) each of my kids knows at a very deep level that I will support them in their passions. And, somehow, that boy has smoke in his veins. So, there it is. What about engineering? Medicine? Law? Business? Nope. Fire.

So, it’s fire.

Now, it makes sense to me to do whatever I can to give him whatever tools I can unearth to help keep him safe. Now another chapter of parenting starts… What I DO NOT tell him is to follow the green machine blindly. I’ve never been, nor am I now, impressed with how the agency (an organizational animal that is very much alive) treats the family unit. Nor would I EVER encourage him to subvert his own intuition and thinking to make way for an organization to “think” for him. There are perhaps many out there who might disagree with me. But, I’ve seen family after family dissolve. I’ve seen marriage after marriage crumble under the weight. We could talk for sometime about the dismal pay. But, I won’t go there now. The fire world (in which the green machine is significantly involved) is a particularly difficult place to operate a family, or at least it proved so for us. All that considered, the siren song of firefighting is very real. By supporting my son’s desire to fight fire, I realize I’m validating his answer to that siren song. And the things that I do now to encourage him along his chosen path, at least on the outside, may make me look like a hypocrite. So be it. Nobody said parenting was going to make sense.

The first order of the day:” Strengthen your mind, son. Second – strengthen your body.” Without these two things, the fire world’s future leaders will be weak. And weakness is a dangerous thing in their particular line of work. It takes strength and courage to move through organizational waves of chaos such as exists right now, and remain standing when the new order emerges. And it will. Chaos always precedes reorganization. For those who’d like to delve a bit deeper into self-organizational concepts (yes, it involves quantum physics ((((shudder))) check out Ilya Prigogene’s work with dissipative structures, chaos theory and self organization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organization ).

There has been much discussion on They Said about “the new” Forest Service Doctrine, its birthing process, its application, and opinions about the relative success or failure of the Guiding Principles it sets out. I would argue that the ultimate value of these Guiding Principles won’t be seen for sometime. However, it’s the existence of such Guiding Principles that defines how a chaotic system will reorganize. If Prigogene’s research on dissipative structures is correct - and I think it is – a stable system needs to spin into chaos and largely disintegrate BEFORE it can reorganize into a new form that CAN survive in its new environment. It appears that’s exactly what is happening right now.

At this point I want to thank Mr. Mark Smith (Mission Centered Solutions), whom I met in Reno at the Regional Fire Council meeting for CA, NV & HI. Mr. Smith made a team presentation with Mr. Ed. Hollenshead. The two talked about a lot of very interesting things. To a great extent, their presentation was infused with self organization concepts and principles without them actually saying so. If they had, perhaps they would have “lost” the group they were speaking to. However, the most valuable piece of information I walked away with was not presented during their talk. In a brief discussion during a break, Mr. Smith asked me if I’d ever heard of John Boyd’s Energy Maneuverability Theory. He stressed the importance of the concepts behind Col. Boyd’s work, primarily accomplished during his tour with the Air Force. Funny thing though, as Boyd was making phenomenal ground breaking progress in aeronautics, his own organization considered him pretty much of a freak. When he died, only two Air Force officers attended his funeral. But, the lack of acceptance by his peers and superiors 1) didn’t hinder his passion about his work; and 2) didn’t lessen the impact and importance of it. I say that because the people with “the answers” are probably not those the organization is now looking to for those answers.

The reason I’m bringing Boyd into this conversation is to discuss his “OODA Loop” concept. (background here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_Loop). Take a gander at it. Look familiar? Boyd wasn’t a firefighter. However, I would argue his work has application in the firefighting world. OODA – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. LOOP! While initial decisions and actions may be accurate and appropriate, hitting the mental “refresh” button is critical. Thanks, Mark Smith. You’re a gem. I’ve utilized the OODA Loop in various situations unrelated to aeronautics or firefighting and it kicks a_ _. Now, I’m putting a package of info together to send to my son. Perhaps he’ll share it with his FF crew peers. Maybe it will inoculate a system and someday mean something to someone who is posed to make a decision that will affect many other lives. Oh, the grand hopes and dreams of a mother… Maybe it’s what keeps us sane with our children out in the world… a world that is burning.

Again, Picker, thank you for your comments. And thank you for joining me in encouraging my son in his chosen path. #(*$&%^*#(&$ it, anyway.


This old summary article which is about dissipative structures, chaos theory, complex adaptive systems and education in the 21st Century is a classic; I especially like Kelly's 9 "laws" of complex adaptive systems (toward the bottom of the article). Ab.

  • Distribute being: new organizations, ideas, arise from a field of many interacting parts;
  • Control from the bottom up. Overall governance must arise from the most humble interdependent acts done locally in parallel, not from top control.
  • Cultivate increasing returns. Each time you use a worthwhile idea or skill, reinforce it, make it more likely to be used again.
  • Grow by chunking. Begin with a simple system that works and build on that.
  • Maximize the fringes. Encourage diversity, a healthy fringe speeds new ideas, increases resilience, and is almost always the source of innovations.
  • Honor your errors. The process of being outside the conventional approach is often indistinguishable from error. Error is an integral part of any process of creation. Evolution can be thought of as systematic error management.
  • Don't pursue optima, have multiple goals. A complex system can only survive by "satisficing" a multitude of functions.
  • Seek persistent disequilibrium. Neither constancy nor relentless change Will support a new creation. Persistent disequilibrium is a state on the edge of chaos.
  • Change changes itself. Large complex systems coordinate change, and develop self-changing rules.
3/30 Re Staff Rides

To All,

I just wanted to extend again, a big thank you to the
Eldorado Fire Staff, and especially Mike Sandoval
Pacific B.C. We just completed a week long "All Fire
Overhead," meeting that included two visits to Staff
Ride Fires, the Honda Canyon Fire and the Spanish
Ranch Fire. This by far, has been the most progressive
"meeting," I have attended and allowed the Fire Staff
a time to bond as well as gear up for the upcoming
season, and have a tremendous educational experience
as well. I would encourage other forests to accomplish
this type of dynamic experience in the future.

For the list(s) Dave Perera Helishot Captain now Placerville
BC, Mike Beckett Eldo Supt./ OSC.


3/30 Jumper --> Fire Manager

Ab, Great website.

Dewey Warner was a Redmond Smokejumper (1975-1983) and the Redmond
Smokejumper Unit Manager (1994-2003).

Also District Fire Management Officer, Klamath RD, Winema National Forest

Currently District Fire Management Officer, Spring Mtns. NRA,
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Las Vegas, NV.

Tim Short was a North Cascades Smokejumper and is currently District Ranger
on the Spring Mtns. NRA, Huboldt-Toiyabe Nat'l Forest.


Thanks, I entered that. Ab.

3/30 Hey Fire Geek,

I was one of Mary Tabor's "children" on the Bitterroot
IHC. To further make your point, she didn't just take a detail with us,
she took a leave of absence from her Ranger position for the summer to roll
with us as a "temp GS-4". That's one heck of a wage-cut, And she did it
just to get a feel for what its like to be a ground-pounder. Not only did
she "roll" with us, but she became one of us, and a part of the crew
forever! "Once a Hotshot, always a Hotshot." I wish more people in our
organization had the drive and yearning to actually learn their job, as she
does, instead of just trying to get ahead as fast as possible. Mary, if by
some chance your reading this, THANK YOU! Not only for putting your full
effort into learning and becoming a fellow Hotshot, but for everything
along the way. Whether it was trying to teach me Spanish or just sharing a
laugh and smile, it was my pleasure to spend the fire season of '03 working
next to you!

The Jimmy

3/30 The public is at it again. Some folks in Southern California are criticizing us (firefighters) for approving a new development’s fire plan that was designed with the concept of shelter in place. One group is accusing the local chief of being on the take (from the developer). They also claim “thousands of people” are going to die from smoke inhalation if they stay in the community during a wildfire. Well…

Anyway, we’ve written an opinion piece for the local paper and it will be going in this Sunday. Anyone out there have a perfect photo that shows how shelter in place can work? Something like a fire in the background with a new development up front with residents basically just standing in their yards watching the flames go by?

Gotta have the photo by tomorrow AM.


Readers, please help jimhart out with a photo. He does good work. Ab.

3/30 Shari and All,

Awesome that Casey was able to speak to the Module Leader Group on the STF. I'm sure he did his best to shed some optimism and to let them know he was there for all of us. As leaders and peers, we must be careful not to infect the new Apprentices with the pessimism that's currently running through the outfit. Let them savor the excitement, motivation, and pride that they possess at this time and allow them to figure out in the months/years to come whether or not the outfit is for them. Fragile times for them, and for many of us that have a huge investment in the outfit. Good luck to your son and may God keep him safe....

3/30 Ab,

Just a thought, but perhaps a link to a section titled: "Before hiking Mann Gulch"
might be useful for all those going to take the "tour."

We've already got a few excellent outlines of what to do.

3/30 I am at my computer listening to music...

That is how I deal with stress...

Two songs that I have just listened to are: "Baby Please Don't Go" and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place"... both by the Animals... Eric Burton and the Animals for all you folks that are too young to remember...

My good friend Lobotomy is much better at the 'facts' and 'solutions', I am just going to go to the 'gut'.

The music I refer to gives away my age and generation, so I feel free to spew my feelings...

The Forest Service has a rich history, rife with folks that give and gave their all... time, sweat, blood and tears!

This has come home to many of us with the events of last fall.

I understand, and even envy those who are young enough, smart enough and able to go to other agencies that will take better care of them... with financial compensation, benefits and retirement. Hence the song "We Got to Get Out of This Place".

However, I have to plead that the Forest Service can still be the best place in the world to work, to fight fire, to be a PUBLIC SERVANT! I may have to work at WalMart when I retire, but I will know that I have served the public! This is of little comfort to most of the audience here (and to me, truth be told) but, it is something to be proud of!

Ergo: "Baby Please Don't Go". Those of us that stay, for whatever reason, have to soldier on, and 'raise the bar'!

Do we whine and lament the state of things (I do, I admit that), or do we do what Casey, Lobotomy and many others do and fight for what is right?

I will try to put aside my negative feelings and push on! I hope more of us can too!


Re bleeding Green in R5:

We all have to be part of the solution. I'm not ready to quit the FS.

  • How do we get the word out to the Public of California that if we have a season like the last one there won't be as many federal fire forces available for IA, EA or Large Fires.
  • How do we get the word out to Congress that suppression costs are going to skyrocket even more because more expensive state and "local" personnel (like those working through Santa Maria Fire Department, etc) will be called on by dispatch on behalf of Incident Management when the fires go big, even if there is some FS cost czar squeezing the purse strings. Some of those more expensive fire forces who are called on will, no doubt, be firefighters who just jumped from green to red...


3/30 Re: IHC->Fire Manager project


For the question mark for Asheville H.S.,  the Asheville Hotshots started in 1989.

One person from the 1990 crew, Kevin (pronounced KEE-vin) Swain is/was an FMO somewhere in R-8.

Another person from the 1990 Crew was Gary (can't remember his last name). He is/was the Regional Fire Planner for Region 8 out of Atlanta a few years ago.

Asheville HS 1990
3/30 Hey Ab/anyone,

Can anyone pass along a list of recommended items to bring with you when reporting to work for the upcoming fire season. I got hired on with a hotshot crew and want to make sure that I bring all I need.
Maybe something like
1. Necessities
2. Recommended

...and so on.

Anything would be great.

Thanks in Advance!
brown clown

Take a look at the FAQ for the list of equipment, then take a look at the Hotlist -General Discussion subforum. AZwildlandSD asked a similar question there (General Firegear Questions) and we Abs and RJM (our hotlist mod) decided to let this recurring discussion go on there. Of course we'd be happy to post any replies here. Ab.

3/30 The current CAL FIRE "interest calls" to, and the face to face visits with current and retired Forest Service Battalion Chiefs and higher is still ongoing. Even some local government "interest calls and visits" are happening.

These calls and visits are from some fairly creditable folks.... mostly Unit Chiefs and Deputy Unit Chiefs from throughout the state. The purpose of the calls and visits?......... CAL FIRE is in critical need for Division Chiefs and the Forest Service folks are ripe for the picking.

On another note, I heard a rumor that over 100 "open list" positions for Fire Captain B were selected. The "rumor monger" also states that the majority of the positions were selected from the federal wildland firefighter ranks. To my CDF friends (Oops... freudian slip, meant my CAL FIRE friends), any truth to that?

Locally, we are being hit hard by the exodus at all levels. More than likely, there will be engines "sitting on blocks" and Type 1 Hotshot crews downgraded to Type 2 IA. When the dust settles, I will let Casey know even if I turn blue.

To everyone who is changing course but staying in fire, I wish you well and hope to see you on the next big one no matter what color of shirt you wear!! I am sure we will all cross paths this fire season (like it ever ended....).

3/30 What is Hollenshead going to do now?

Over the 2006 season I listened to his speech to a very tired fire crew. First he started out how happy he was to be running such a great region, followed by the “when I started” speech. Hollenshead then talked about how great it was to work in the woods, and then he started telling us how we need to “do this job for the sunsets” because we were never going to get paid like all those state and local government agencies. This was a little disheartening to a group of tired firefighters mid season, many of us young in our careers. So where are the sunsets now? Or even better, where is the R5 fire leadership with all this uproar? This is a great agency I would love to finish my career with a federal agency but the outlook for the Forest Service firefighters or wait…the forestry technicians…isn’t great in R5, and apparently neither is our leadership at the regional level.


I think some decisions will have to be made at the levels above Hollenshead. He doesn't have much control of the new direction of Forest Service fire, in my opinion. Decisions are being made at the top WO level without much input from regional professional fire folks in any region. Ab.

3/30 Ab and others,

Is there an online copy of the 2006 Region 5 Engine Captain's annual report available online? It is usually presented to the entire R-5 Chief Officers Conference, but this year it was only presented to the BOD and the Division Chiefs Steering Committee.

It has a relevant piece in it that references why the bailout is happening. It specifically addresses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and why folks who may love their jobs with the Forest Service have to leave to provide for the basics for themselves and their family.

I can't remember if it was this years or last years report, but the R-5 Captains also catalogued the housing costs for the entire state and what was required to purchase housing.

Thanks in advance for anyone who can provide a link to where this report is available for all to see. Like always, the R-5 Engine Captains annual report is good reading and factually based.

3/29 Matt - before hiking Mann Gulch:

1. Read "Young Men and Fire"; take it with you!
2. read Dick Rothermel's report "The Race that Couldn't be Won" at www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_int/int_gtr299.pdf
3. Read Karl Weick's Paper on "The collapse of Sense-Making on Mann Gulch" at http://projects.ischool.washington.edu/mcdonald/courses/insc598_wi04/supplement/weick-mann.gulch.pdf
4. Find the web site the the kids from Helena High School did a few years ago on the Mann Gulch fire;
5. MTDC's Dr. Jon Driessen did a great paper on "Crew Cohesion" using the Mann Gulch event at www.fs.fed.us/t-d/php/library_card.php?p_num=0251 2809
6. You can also do a Google search for info, but there are 160,000 listings.

Your trip to Mann Gulch should be a highlight of your professional career - enlightening, reflective, and sometimes a little spooky when you think about the times that you've been in a similar situation, but walked away.

3/29 From theysaid, 4/4/05. Ab.

I have created a web site that many who visit your web site would be interested in .
It is called "The Mann Gulch Virtual Field Trip", and it can be viewed at

Rod Benson
Helena High School

3/29 Hiking Mann Gulch:


I'm going to be in Montana in August and was considering hiking Mann Gulch.
Anyone have any tips for visiting this site?


3/29 Casey,

My son was in your audience when you visited the Stanislaus. This is his first year in the apprentice program. His second as a fed firefighter. He grew up on a FS station watching crop after crop of FF work their way through his father’s crew. He called me specifically yesterday to tell me about your presentation. He said, “Ya know Mom, it’s awesome to know someone like that is out there fighting for us. He’s really smart. He knows a lot of stuff.” I told him, “Yes, son. He does.”

Thanks, Casey, for all you do.

3/29 SIP,

My experience living and working in 5 different great plains/mid west states is the Feds pay better. Reasons folks have given me for staying in a lower paying agency a) They do not want to leave where they are at (town, county etc.) due to family or esthetics reasons (I love this valley and would not trade it for anything) b) They have a strong affinity for their agencies mission and culture c) They think there is too much BS in the federal agencies.

The retirement reason might explain why the over 35 crowd stay but does not explain why the 20 something's stay.

And location makes a big difference in the standard of living you can have. A GS-9 in many out state locations in the Midwest and Great Plains can have a significantly higher standard of living than some one located in a high cost of living area.

Midwest FMO
3/29 To: Thinking outside the Box,

Unfortunately someone in DC does recognize it, but quite frankly, they
don't give a damn. Someone wrote a few days back that there are numerous
opportunities to improve conditions, fix things and make things better, and
there are. But the agency isn't working to improve the program or fix the
problems because the forest service doesn't care. If the agency did, there
would be people working on both short and long term solutions. Leaders try
to improve things and head off problems in order to have capable and
properly functioning and operating organizations. Where is the forest
service leadership in DC? There isn't any. Maybe the agency wants the
positions cut next fiscal year as we hear more about major reductions in

On my own forest, the management team and the forest supervisor decided to
gut the fire program. Fire Management Officers and other knowledgeable fire
personnel on the districts strongly voiced our opinions against such an
action and we warned of the consequences. The gutting occurred anyway. When
my AFMO and I came up with numerous strategies, ten or more, to save
positions and stop the cuts, ways to save money, positions, etc Every time
we had a solution to a problem, they threw a roadblock in the way, all of
the roadblocks were based upon very weak arguments and downright wrong
management assumptions and analysis. I was LITERALLY told to shut up.

I think all we can do is keep fighting, keep standing for what is right,
provide the good leadership to our fire management employees that we do in
fire, suppress fires, conduct responsible prescribed burns, and keep our
firefighters safe.

When I started in the FS 31 years ago I would have never dreamed in a
million years that the forest service could have sunk so low and become so
dysfunctional. It was once so great and strong. I think the overlying
problem is the complete lack of leaders and leadership ability in the
administration of the agency.

Old C-Rat
3/29 I have worked as a hiring coordinator for the CDF, (OK…CalFire) for several years. This year, we have received many more firefighter 1 applications from USFS firefighters than ever before. This is partly due to the 3 day workweek and the enhanced salary the Department offers.

As a 30 year CDF employee, I am glad to see the influx of experienced USFS firefighters. The experience that they bring to the CDF will help to make the Department stronger and better than ever.

3/29 I was referenced to your '3/27 Theysaid note' regarding OWCP/Fire Stories.
Unfortunately, I have one to share. I received a severe traumatic brain
injury (TBI) in 1985. I have attached an article the local paper did in
their 'Getting to Know You' section on myself and my accident.

Compensation-wise, I struggled with OWCP assisting with and covering
rehabilitation costs for many years. At the time of the injury, I was in
the 12th year of a professional career, had worked on three different
National Forests in three different states. I had competed and ranked very
high on the rosters for promotion to District Ranger (Line Officer) in two
Regions of the FS. One year post accident, I was able to return to work as
part of my physical and cognitive rehabilitation in a significantly reduced
responsibility-wise job where I could work within my physical and,
particularly, cognitive abilities. The Forest Service was, and still is,
very supportive in helping me continue to be a productive employee; my

I pursued Loss of Wage Earning Capacity compensation for many years thru
every avenue I, Forest Supervisors, Regional Foresters, US Senators, OWCP
Claims Advisors, etc. found, suggested or supported. I eventually appealed
my case two years ago to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) in
Washington, D.C. and I (and wife) presented an Oral Argument to the Board
in D.C. I have a copy of the Power Point presentation I gave to the ECAB

They, not surprisingly, rendered a Decision that OWCP does not compensate
for what 'may have been'. I did not lose any wage-earning capacity
returning to the same pay, not the same job, post injury. The brain is
excluded from schedule award compensation in regulations for the FECA,
unless it affects another body part.

I was considered to have reached maximum medical improvement late last year
and have received some compensation for a percentage loss of some listed
body parts due to partial paralysis on my left side. It was a pittance
compared to the devastated professional career I lost directly from this on
the job fire injury, although I am appreciative for the compensation I
Brain injuries survivors are alot more common nowadays with advances made
in medical treatment, e.g. Bob Woodward story and others (signature wound
of the Iraq War). FECA and current regulations do not reflect advances
made in medical treatment for TBI.

I'd be happy to provide more information or answer any questions you may

(See attached file: Beckerfeaturestory.doc 1,200 K doc file)

Al Becker

Thanks for writing in Al. I'll forward your info to Shari. Ab.

3/29 Ab:

I still work for a federal agency, and used to work for the USFS in
California. In regards to the exodus of firefighters from the USFS to
CalFire, I have seen the same thing in the other two states I've worked in,
only in the opposite direction. I remember the first time a state employee
told me that he was "tired of training firefighters just so they can go to
work for the Forest Service and make more money". I could hardly believe
what I was hearing. Later on, in yet another state, I see that a state
district FMO makes exactly half of what a federal district FMO makes.

The way this relates to the CA situation is that anytime an agency offers
more money for the same work than another agency, there will be a net flow
of employees from the lower paying agency to the higher paying agency. The
only way to stop this is to offer more pay, but I suspect there will be
some resistance to this solution. There will always be those who prefer to
work for the lower paying agency for a variety of reasons, although I
highly suspect that the main "other" reason is the amount of time
(translated as credit towards retirement) that the individuals have
invested in their current position.


3/29 See_Faller_Firefighter_Public_Servant_for_the_greater_good

Re: CDF Age Limitations

Reference to your post yesterday regarding age limits within CDF, as long as you are able to pass the medical (provided to you as part of the OSHA 1910 130 respiratory program) you can work in fire control for the rest of your life. I have worked with seasonal firefighters in their 40's and LT engineers in their 50's.

Not sure if he is still around, but there was a unit chief way up north who was in his 70's and still coming to work everyday with a smile and positive attitude.

Best of luck to you. I know of several FS folks who are retiring out on FERS and joining CDF with a fresh beginning.

AZ Trailblazer

3/29 Thinking outside the Box, thanks for the tally, that's
really disturbing. That number is only sure to grow.

Its been a tough week watching colleagues make the
jump for various reasons and I really wonder what
going to happen after the dust settles.

What concerns me is that our newer employees are
seeing this exodus and wondering what if? CALFIRE
temps making similar to FS GS 5's and 6's? That's
scary. Work less, less length of appointment,
guaranteed overtime, benefits? Not a tough decision to
make when you think about it.

I have a feeling that once the FS folks go over and if
they have good experiences with CALFIRE, they'll
indirectly start recruiting a lot more FS people over.
I know of a few who are UPSET they didn't apply last
round and aren't going to let that happen again.

Bad cycle for the Forest Service. Bad.

3/29 HI all,

Just wanted to let everyone know that the final prep is going well for Footsteps for Firefighters. I appreciate all the support and hope that we can raise a lot of money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to help out the families of our brothers and sisters. Want to thanks those of you so far that have personally pledged per mile and want you to know that I will finish all 220 miles. Hope to see some of you out there during the run too. What a great way to get in shape for the upcoming fire season besides the usual pack test :) I will be sure to update this site as the days and miles go by.

Brian Janes

Thanks for the post Brian. We're wishing you the best and will be looking for updates.

Readers, hop on board with a donation to the Foundation. If you can make it to participate or cheer Brian and others on, here's where he'll be running. Ab.

Brian will start and end at the Klamath National Forest supervisors office in Yreka, California, and proceed in the following manner:

April 1, Sunday: 40 miles Yreka to Callahan (start at 8 a.m.)
April 2, Monday: 31 miles Callahan to Cecilville
April 3 Tuesday: 35 miles Cecilville to Somes Bar
April 4 Wednesday: 38 miles Somes Bar to Happy Camp
April 5 Thursday: 46 miles Happy Camp to Klamath River
April 6 Friday: 30 miles Klamath River to Yreka

3/29 NoName09, & Sidehill

I took the time to do a little math on the current positions not
filled in R5:  390.  And this is only at the GS-6 to GS-9 Range. 
Here is the Breakdown:

Current Positions Not Filled in R5:  390

Dispatch GS-7
Dispatch GS-9
Engine GS-6
Engine GS-7
Engine GS-8
District AFMO GS-9
Fuels GS-7
Fuels GS-9
Handcrew GS-6
Handcrew GS-7
Handcrew GS-8
Helitack GS-6
Helitack GS-8
Helitack GS-9
Hotshot GS-6
Hotshot GS-8
Hotshot GS-9
Prevention GS-6
Prevention GS-7
Smokejumper GS-6


*This does not count the GS-5 slots that are unfilled.

I hope that someone in DC realizes that we will be loosing an
additional 50 plus at the GS-8 to GS-13 positions here in R5

Thinking outside the Box

Appreciate the tally. Ab.

3/29 Ab and all,

It's hard to watch the posts about the R-5 exodus (having done my time, and having loved the region and the Forest I was on, and the people), but I think folks like Lobotomy and such would agree that the trickling started about 10 years ago; what you see now is the flood. When I reluctantly and sadly left the FS for the civilian life, I wasn't the only one that year. Most folks that were noobcakes with me in 1990 were gone by 1997 when I left; three years after I left, a good portion of the people I worked with went on to greener (bluer? tanner?) pastures. Ten years since my departure I'd be hard-pressed to find ten people I knew still in the green trucks (and I'm not even counting the plethora of retirements in this time period). Almost all of the captains/superintendents I knew have retired or moved on out of the FS--I can think of one captain that is still there as a sup, a former engineer who is in prevention, and another sup that has moved up to BC, but that's all in terms of red hats.

One of the problems in my short time were folks getting picked up as JACs, only to depart a year or so later for the other agencies or other interesting reasons--the JACs were frustrated with the stagnancy they saw ahead (and the list was long then), or were, quite frankly, people who never should have been chosen; the overhead were going nuts with what could be fairly called wasted investments. A few years later, I understood, with all the departures and retirements, they couldn't keep up. From what I'm reading here and now, that is still the case--the hemorrhaging sounds devastating.

A lot of what's stated here were problems that existed almost ten years ago. The games, the budget crap, the red tape, the frustrations, etc., are coming to a generation of folks who are not willing to put up with it as others had in the past; there is no longer a stigma of jumping from green to blue or tan anymore and they do jump, especially as the Urban Interface has exploded in R-5--the state and city agencies are now glad as hel* to have them, and snap them up.

If you conducted an exit interview with these folks, they'll more than likely say that it is not wildland fire itself and the gritty job it entails that is the problem; they'll even reminisce later that it was the best time of their fire career. One issue that's cropped up is that the random long hours become a problem due to people unwilling to sacrifice family time/other commitments-- folks used to not question, and now they do. The real problems are the pay, the politics, everything else listed on this forum lately, and all the accompanying b.s. that turns them off. Today, with the exodus (which rumor has it doesn't exist; confirm? ha), you could probably add instability. Who wants to work in an unstable personnel environment?

Throwing money at it never solves the problem, and never, ever has in any government agency. What is the solution? I sure wish I had one. Does the Region and Washington care? From what I'm reading they seem to be indifferent and in denial. That's really too bad. I want to holler, "What is your major malfunction?!"

I hope that there is a solution, and soon--it would be a tragedy if the Forest Service's wildland firefighters went the way of the dodo.

3/29 AB:

Confidentiality is a must. I don't need names, just positions & destinations. I assume compiling this will not be an overnight task but if we can get a handle on numbers and Forests affected, that would be the data that would go out.

I'd also encourage fire folks to pose these serious questions and concerns to the Forest Supervisors, District Rangers etc.

Now is not the time to be timid with concerns such as these. Hopefully Forest Fire Chiefs and other Fire Management Officers will address the situation on their Forest and at least make the attempt to seek some answers although the the widespread dysfunction of the Agency, I don't know if anyone has any answers.

Maybe some of this information could make its way to Gary Beihl at the R5 RO so he can understand it in fire terms.

Some folks on the Stanislaus asked if I thought progress in changing the environment would actually happen as they have pondered offers coming in from CAL-FIRE etc. I'll tell you what I told them.

If I didn't truly believe we were making progress and making a difference in educating those in Washington in a position to effect positive change and develop & implement pay & personnel policies more in line with the 21st Century so as to make the land-management agency fire programs THE place to make a career, I'd find something else to do.

There is too much at stake. Folks in DC are finally starting to recognize and understand what is going on and what needs to get fixed. Of course it would make things a bit easier if we had the Agency's cooperation and not the continual excuse that they "work for the Administration."

Having been an Asst. Chief of Operations myself, I felt it my responsibility to educate the policy-makers as to the needs of the department and our firefighters. The land-management agency leadership and line officers throughout the system should do no less.

3/29 I have not posted here in a while, I have been sitting back and absorbing the posts. We folks on the ground realize that our beloved agency, here in R-5, AT LEAST, is being torn apart. It is happening from more than one front, externally by the agencies that are cherry picking the young talent we recruit and train, but, more importantly, internally by a leadership the fiddles as Rome burns.

There has been a bit of tongue in cheek jibing of said leadership not recognizing the problem, sadly it seems so true. It has often been said that the powers that be read this site, if that is so they are either idiots, callous or are hamstrung by folks higher than them. Otherwise we would see some action, some progress.

Let us take a relatively simple problem as a for instance: Hiring, we all know it is broken. At the current rate that we fill vacancies we will never catch up. The regional director is aware of this problem I am sure, so must be the regional forester. These are powerful positions, and nunder any court order. They should be able to fix it... right?

Apparently not, and so it is with retention, aglearn, HR, etc. You name it, they are apparently powerless.

So, the WO? The National Director is homegrown, and presumably a very capable and intelligent man, surely he can fix it...

Apparently not...

So, higher up? You tell me...

Anecdotally the American public really digs us fire fighter types...

The government is supposed to be by the people and for the people...

Just some food for thought.

3/29 Re: California Assembly Bill 384

First, I want to thank the authors and co-authors of AB 384 for their support of the federal firefighting community and their continued support within California. They have made it clear what the intent of their legislation is. The true intent of the legislation is that the families of federal firefighters from California who die in the line of duty receive California state benefits for education and, if uninsured, receive health benefits for eligible survivors.

The authors and co-authors have made it clear that their intent is to change AB 384 to the original intent of the legislation as it addresses the losses from the Esperanza Fire as an example of the losses the families of federal firefighters face.

Any of you folks out there a member of the following groups?:
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees?
  • California Fire Chiefs Association?
  • Fire Districts Association of California?
  • Presidio Federal Firefighters?

If so, you are being mentioned in the legislation as supporting without comments for change to AB 384.

I am personally in support of the legislation and would love to see the FWFSA sign on as a supporter, but it needs some changes to meet the intent and possible application.

All that needs to be done to change the legislation is to change it from "full time career civilian federal firefighters" to "civilian federal firefighters".

It is a pretty simple change that has few fiscal impacts... A simple change in wording that meets the intent of the authors.... FIREFIGHTERS ARE FIREFIGHTERS!!!!

A loss is a loss.... The official CPF position and opposition to the wildland fire community and the FWFSA concerns is less than adequate.... Now that needs to be explained. Two of our firefighters from Esperanza were temporaries, one was a career seasonal.

All three were firefighters, nothing less and nothing more. Just because they were serving on less than full-time career appointments doesn't make them any less a firefighter or a family facing the loss.

/s/ Kenneth Kempter
Southern California Chapter Director
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

3/29 NoName09,

Thanks for providing the link to the vacant jobs. The HR contact is listed as Albuquerque Service Center (ASC) Human Capital Management (HCM) Staffing. The phone number listed is also at ASC.

Does this mean that all of our hiring is now going to be done through the Albuquerque Service Center? I've heard that AVUE is going away also.

3/29 A big shout out

Thank you to the San Bernardino NF for letting me come down last weekend. It was a pleasure to meet all of the employees and families from "Baja" CA and to be able to talk with the families of E-57. The weather was great, the food even better, and the company the best! An extra thanks to Max Copenhagen for taking me under his wing and introducing me to so many people and to Ken Kempter for keeping me in stitches. (It's just temporary, really!)

Lori Greeno

3/29 TC,

Wow. That sums up the process, and I thought the Forest Service was trying to get away from the "process predicament".

I am confused. Is my human capital management office at the WO or in Albuquerque? I know it surely isn't located on the Forests anymore.

If it is at Albuquerque, couldn't they just walk it down the hallway at the ASC rather than mailing it?.... or better yet, let the applicable Line Officer approve it and issue a check locally?

3/29 I am working with the local community to establish a wildland firefighter
memorial in Winthrop, Washington. This was initiated as a community
response to Thirtymile.

Tom Leuschen

For more info on the project, please look here. Looks like a fine memorial effort. Ab. www.methowarts.org/pre/WildlandFIrefightersMemorial.php

3/29 I'm new to the wildland FF community...I've only had my FF II certification since October...and I am something of a "Roy Hobbs" (you remember "The Natural"):

I'm entering into firefighting when many are getting or are already out. Why?

Corny as it may sound, I want to serve my country...and though I may have to scratch around, I know I will find a place to serve...and pay is of small importance ( I said small...NOT unimportant!).

Enough already...on to the reason I am sending you all this email. You have an absolutely WONDERFUL website! I think it is that because it reflects the nature of the Wildland Firefighting community. It is a case of the whole being much larger than the sum of its parts...the firefighters and their families and friends.

Even though I have yet to see "old man fire" face to face (good grief...married and widowed with four children and I'm a virgin again!!!), wildlandfire.com is a reminder of why I am proud...and privileged...to be part of this community. Well, there it is...I got that off my chest...hopefully without sounding like too big of a nosebleed. Seriously, I am loathe to think that the love and quiet pride and gratitude I feel might be diluted by a wad of schmaltz! Time to quit while I'm ahead.
Besides, Dr. Lord, my aesthetics professor at Syracuse University many years ago had a pet saying she used to repeat to us, her students... especially around term paper time: "There is power in brevity".

God be with us all....


Welcome, Nancy. Ab.

3/28 I had the pleasure and honor of speaking to firefighters from the Stanislaus in Sonora this afternoon and they informed me of Felix's departure.

Additionally our FWFSA president informed me of the loss on the Klamath of a Captain to CAL-FIRE and the list keeps growing.

We need to harness this data since there are some still in denial.

While there have been some relatively specific data posted on They Said, I'd like to offer the solicitation of information on losses be sent to the FWFSA so we can put the losses into perspective for some who need to be educated.

Perhaps a period of the last year and specific to the position of the person who left and specific to leaving to CAL-FIRE or another fire organization. Information can be sent through our contact form on our web site at www.fwfsa.org or to me directly at cjudd@fwfsa.org.

This should not be limited to R5 although I surmise that is where the greatest exodus is occurring. Thanks in advance.

Casey Judd
Business Manager

Casey, there are others who have indicated to me that they're going who have not publicly announced it yet. I believe we need to make sure that their confidentiality is maintained until they let their wider social circle know. Ab.

3/28 Pitch Pocket,

I am not aware of an OMB call for the use of AMR, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was one floating around.

The OIG issued an audit report in November of 2006 that may have some of the things you are looking for.

It can be found here: www.usda.gov/oig/rptsaudits2006.php

Look for November 29, 2006.


3/28 Just in from HR............ And The Washington Office was going to make this better??????

Process For Eligible Employees to Be Reimbursed for 1/2 of their Professional Liability Insurance:
  • Fill out Request for Reimbursement Worksheet
    • Sign and date in Claimant Block 5
    • Get the form signed and dated by an official that is authorized to approve the expenditure of money in Approving Official Block 6
    • Include the Budget Org code(s) and Job code(s) in Accounting Classification Block
  • Attach a copy of the professional liability insurance policy issued in your name, and
  • proof that you have paid the annual premium (or partial year's premium if starting coverage mid-year) for the policy.
    • If you have paid by payroll deductions you will have to wait until you have paid for the whole year (or partial year if starting midyear) and then call the company you have the insurance through and request a statement from them showing you have paid.
  • Mail the above to your Human Capital Management Office.
  • Your HCM office will review for the following items:
    • That you are a Supervisor/Manager as indicated by IRIS screen 102, Position Supervsory Code: 2, 4 or 5 or a Law Enforcement employee who is eligible for Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) or Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) as indicated by IRIS screen 101, LEO Indicator: Y;
    • That you are not claiming more than 1/2 of the total cost of the PLI;
    • That you are (will be) an employee for the time covered by the Liability Insurance; and
    • That you submitted the request for reimbursement as soon as possible after completing payment, but no later than the end of the calendar year following the year in which the cost for professional liability insurance was incurred.
  • If you meet the above criteria, your HCM office will sign an authorization letter and forward everything to:
    USDA Forest Service
    Albuquerque Service Center
    Miscellaneous Payments
    101B Sun Ave NE
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109


3/28 This has come in from a number of people... Felix, we wish you and your family well. Ab.

U.S. Forest Service
Hotshot Community

To my friends and colleagues:

As some of you already know by now I’ve accepted a position with CDF
working at Ishi Conservation Camp outside of Red Bluff. At this time I
haven’t received a report date, however I’ve been told it could be anytime
within the next 30 days.

My resignation comes with mixed feelings as the decision to leave the
hotshot community is extremely difficult. You have been my family for a
long time, where I’ve learned and grown both personally and professionally
by associating myself with all of you. I could not have asked for a better
organization to spend the past 14 years with (wow, has it really been that

The chance to move to the state side of fire fighting will allow me to
spend more time with my family. Most of you know my wife and son live in
Redding and we’re expecting a new baby girl in the next few weeks. By
moving to the Ishi camp I’ll have to opportunity to spend more time with my
new family. Still – it’s hard to leave.

I would spend all day trying to thank each and every one of you personally
that has made a difference in my career. I don’t want to bore you and
after all I do still have a crew to run. So with that, thank you to each of
you that have touched my life – the good and the bad! You will be missed
and I hope we stay in touch.

Please call me directly if you have questions regarding this information.
As soon as my leave date is available I’ll share with all of you.

Take care,

Felix Berbena
Stanislaus Hotshot Superintendent

3/28 Sidehill's post:

I think that post pretty much summed it up right

Take a look at all the jobs available in Region 5 as
of 03/26/2007:


And this list is going to grow............

But like someone else posted up, Region 5 doesn't have
a retention problem.

Sidehill's post could be repeated on most forests I'm
sure. Lack of pay, long work schedules, low morale
due to not filling positions, the list could go on and

It'll be interesting to see what the Region does after
the dust settles from this.

We've already lost a lot of good leadership and
experience. Whatever happens, it'll be the folks who
are left behind to step up and keep our great agency


It'll be interesting to see what the Region comes up
with to offset this large loss of people.

3/28 .....A retention perspective from a GS-5 in R-5.....

My Supt got two solicitations from CALFIRE. Believe it or not however, he's staying GREEN. Yeah he's still leaving us though......going to a different region.

It sounds like we'll finally get one of our Captain positions filled this year....it's been vacant for quite sometime. Both of our Squadleaders wanted it, but finally moved on...well heck, a fella can't wait forever to move up. One stayed in R5 and the other?....yep you guessed it, left the region vowing never to return.

Our remaining Captain is also eagerly awaiting his chance to get on board the CALFIRE bandwagon. He wants the vacant Supt job but is frustrated by so much loss to our core team....if the RED team called him tomorrow....well, who knows....

As GS-5s on the crew, my buddy and I detailed into the 2 Squadleader positions last year. We now hope to gain those positions officially. Our Captain is doing his best to hire us, however, it's not exactly up to him....

Our new apprentice already wants to change agencies because he hasn't been to the academy yet and figures it's a better career more to do it now.

A highly respected Captain on my forest applied to CALFIRE and is currently being solicited, and I'm hearing that a Battalion also wants to leave the agency (although I don't think it's to CALFIRE....). I am told there are others on the forest that recently received calls from the state as well....

I applied to 4 different CALFIRE ranger units myself.....as a temp. They all seemed very interested and thought I would have no problem moving up quickly. They were amazed at the sheer volume of FS applicants this year. As a GS-5 step 3, taking a state temp position is really not that much of a pay cut. In fact, some CALFIRE temps that I spoke to last year made virtually the same gross figure for responsibilities and qualifications that paled in comparison...and had a tour that was months shorter....and their future?.....

A kid down the street from me was bummed that he didn't get an interview with CALFIRE as a temp. I told him that if he hurried up, he could still get a seasonal position with my forest. He informed me that he really wanted to start off with the right agency. He was considering the FS as a back up plan, but gave up when he hit AVUE.

I would say that many if not most R-5 FS folks in my position are looking at the state with serious intentions....... we don't want to leave.... but believe me, if the Driver Operator LT positions open up later this year, as well as FAE..... I would venture to say the region will take another big hit......

SOLUTIONS......? There are so many solutions to this retention problem (yeah, yeah, I know.....there is no problem...) that I don't even know where I should start. It's not rocket science..... but what's the point? If our agency doesn't care about or respect us....... then there are no solutions.

You either keep going...or get going.

Thanks for everything Ab,

3/28 I would like someone to please explain to me the purpose of having Engine
Operator on your Red Card. I'm the FEO on my engine and the only one that
has ENOP on my Red Card. Does that mean I'm the only one that can operate
the engine and if so how can I do that on an IA when I'm the captain?


3/28 Ab,

Here's an inspirational story for ya. Mary Tabor was one of my seasonal rangers in the 80's. She got a permanent position in Yellowstone and worked her way up to become a District Ranger. A few years ago she informed me that she got a detail on the Bitterroot Hotshots. She was in her mid-40's at the time and could have been the mother of over half the crew. She is now the national fire ecologist for BIA at NIFC.

Fire Geek

Ooops, let me re-phrase that: Maybe I should say that Mary Tabor was old enough to be the mother of over half the Bitterroot Hotshot Crew!


3/28 It seems to me, from what I see and experience, and others I am in contact
with across the nation are experiencing, that the forest service has
ulterior motives, especially with fire management and preparedness. Does
the agency want fire management to fail? From what I see, it must because
of the non-support for fire management. Does the agency want the states to
take over fire management or contract most of it out and the FMOs be CORs
for contractors? Could it start in Region 5, with the agency contacting
with CDF to provide fire coverage on the national forests? Could they do it
cheaper? I don't know the answer to these questions, but I know one thing.
The forest service is not supporting its fire management programs across
the regions and national forests. Too many non fire experienced personnel
have the authority to make decisions about fire management programs and
most don't know what they're doing. The agency knows there are major
problems with retention but what is the forest service doing to improve

My own forest has cut its preparedness programs to the bone, and we are
feeling the pinch. Fire people had no input into this decision. This isn't
budget driven either. Others are bailing out of here because there is no
support from this forest and region for fire management. Fire management
here has been drastically weakened from what it was just 1 year ago.

The AMR that the agency is talking about. I really think they want to let
more fires burn. Put in a little line here, a little line there, burn out a
little and hope the fire stays where we want it to. Most of us know that
will bite us bad in the end. The agency thinks AMR will save suppression
dollars. I say it won't. What will save suppression dollars is strong and
highly trained and skilled preparedness programs. Put the fire out. If we
play with it, there will be some fires that blow out and threaten
communities and other resources as well as increasing hazardous exposure
time by our firefighters and aviation resources. Sure, wildland fire use is
a good and valuable tool, and one we should be using but in the right place
and at the right time.

Now what leader would purposely not give their full support to the
organizations they lead or manage? What leader would not do everything they
could to encourage excellence in the organizations they lead, especially
those where people can get killed? I am really impressed with the great
young firefighters we have in the forest service, but I am disgusted with
the way the agency is failing in its support and commitment to it's
firefighters and fire management programs.

Old C-Rat
3/28 Is it true that CALFIRE (CDF) has no mandatory age that you must retire if in a firefighter position?

Being a babyboomer and that I am part of the generation that most likely always work and never completely retire, could CalFire be a dream come true!

I don't mind the hours or the pay that the Big Green Machine provides and Love the work, but I hate the number of days a year I must work to get the hours to provide for my family.

Lets not forget that there needs to be time to do the important things in life, what ever they may be, at least that is my view as life is so beautiful, robust, challenging, fun, and yet OH SO FRAGILE! God Bless and Handle with Care!

Signed: See_Faller_Firefighter_Public_Servant_for_the_greater_good
3/28 I need help finding an article a co-worker thought was posted on THEY SAID.

It was about OMB's call for more use of Appropriate Management Response
as a means of reducing suppression and large fire costs.

Does anyone have their finger on this article?

Pitch Pocket
3/28 Abs.

Dave Rhodes was a foreman on the Texas Canyon Hotshot Crew and became DFMO on the Shasta T as well as  IC on a Class II  fire  team. He's retired.

Steve Ryberg served on the Redding hotshots and also became DFMO on the Shasta T. He was Operations Chief on a Class I team.  He is retired, he has done some AD work and also has worked for FEMA, the last I heard he was helping FEMA develop a nationwide ICS plan.

Brother Cub
3/28 Casey...

This is absolutely not a flaming arrow, just a respectful observation. Increased pay would probably not motivate me to go fed; decreased bureaucracy might. I watch my fed friends try to initiate or modify programs to meet the needs of their people/communities, only to be blocked by immovable mountains of paper or obscure regulations of similar inertia. It's a huge barrier, as far as I can tell from the experiences of others, to innovation, cross-disciplinary projects, and initiative. It seems to absolutely scupper a lot of 'all-risk' problem solving because fed higher-ups don't seem like people blurring the lines between fiefdoms. Thanks but no thanks; I'll stick to my little vollie/muni world. My budget is smaller, but my freedom to design, implement, and follow through on projects to fix problems I identify is limited only by the funding I can raise and the consensus I can build within my organization. I really like the freedom to identify a goal, formulate a plan, and execute the plan on both tactical and strategic levels. I realize there are roles in the fed apparatus that would allow me to do that to a certain extent, but man I'd have to battle a lot of bureaucracy on the way there. Improve the flexibility of the fed system, encourage innovation, cross-disciplinary projects, limit paperwork, and streamline procurement, and maybe we can talk. Casey, I am a huge fan of your work, you do an absolutely amazing job, but that'll be a he*l of task even for you. You're working very hard to make the system more accountable to the grunt on the ground. Next step is to make the system responsive to the grunt on the ground...

Nerd on the Fireline

P.S. I believe that is was Robert Heinlein who said something along the lines of "Like fire and fusion, government is a poor servant and a worse master..."

3/27 DOI FMO,

You have it. It is known as the shell game. The DOI agencies recognized it years ago. When the Forest Service lost the cash cow "timber is king" programs, bureaucrats scrambled to save the agency that was meant to manage agricultural commodities that were no longer available. Since the late 1980's, the Forest Service is no longer managing the land for the "greatest good" but rather trying to survive as an agency providing an agricultural commodity and a mission that no longer exists or is not well defined.

In regards to the Forest Service direction with fire funding, we have been severely underfunded in Wildland Fire Preparedness (WFPR) since the National Fire Plan's second year. Since then, we have had to make up, and rely upon Wildland Fire Suppression Funds (WFSU) to meet our preparedness needs to meet the mission of the fire program and support the various other missions. The WFPR funds have other intents by our leaders. Each year, we lose more and more from our FY 2001 levels of preparedness under the guise that we are staying the course, while the "costs" of wildland fire suppression keep going up.

Recently, the underfunding of WFPR has been a boon to the smaller forests or forests who don't have the significant fire occurrence of others to offset their lack of WFPR funding. It has also been a boon to the Forest Service when WFPR funding actually covers the costs of suppression as Congress bails it out year after year without explanation.... at which time the WFPR funds that are excess of the "preparedness" mission that they were originally appropriated for go to other "missions" such as the ASC and other re-organization efforts...... When things actually work out, the discretionary WFPR funding can actually fund other areas within the Forest Service that are severely underfunded for the mission.... If not.... increase the WFSU budget by 400 million.... It will provide a band-aid for awhile...

Whenever the Forest Service talks about "increased efficiencies" such as pre-positioning and the use of national fire preparedness resources (Hotshots, Helicopters, etc...) to save money, those "increased efficiencies" are actually a shell game "bait and switch" from WFPR savings to WFSU "increased costs of wildland fire suppression"...... Each time the "bait and switch happens", the costs of wildland fires goes up and the preparedness goes down.

3/27 Retention:

OK, I'll pose the idea that might be on many a mind...

How about the federal government significantly reduce if not entirely eliminate one of the biggest funding mechanisms that allow agencies like CAL-FIRE and local fire agencies to offer such lucrative opportunities to our feds...


Take that money and invest it in fed retention...

That would eliminate recruitment overnight making the federal agencies the place to work...

OK...I'm waiting for the flaming arrows...from non-feds

3/27 Re: Recruitment and Retention in R-5

Someone asked about suggestions to the recruitment and retention problems in Region 5.

The recruitment and retention problems not only affect the level of experience and knowledge in the Forest Service, but also is bleeding the federal preparedness budget dry by having to continually train and replace firefighters at all levels who leave to other agencies offering better pay, benefits, and working conditions. This is a safety problem!!!! It is also an efficiency problem in meeting the mission.

Maybe it is time to consider "out sourcing" the fire program to CDF?

Just one thought above (partly tongue in cheek, mostly not) .... A few more thoughts below......

1) A short time ago (less than 2 years), federal law was changed authorizing the head of agencies the ability to pay a retention incentive of 25% without OPM approval. With OPM approval, the retention incentive can be increased to 50%. Both of these incentive rates require a service agreement and are a valuable tool that the Forest Service is not using. In the reviews of using the 3-R's (recruitment, retention, and relocation) bonuses, the Department of Agriculture has always scored poorly (OPM, 2006). I don't want to hear from anyone that OPM is not allowing the Forest Service in Region 5 from stemming its losses.

2) The 24-Hour proposal from the San Bernardino National Forest should be considered as one tool to be used in applicable areas that can justify the attrition, and the need for 24-Hour fire coverage for increased unit efficiency. Other local tools may be needed in other areas. In most areas of R-5, the losses to other agencies have hit critical mass.

3) I am deeply afraid that the Forest Service in Region 5 is circling the drain (not tongue in cheek). Region 5 has some great fire leaders and firefighters who have dedicated themselves to the protection of our federal resources and the communities around them. Some of these folks are early in their careers, while some are at/near their dates for retirement eligibility. Others in the middle who are just fed up with trying to do more with less are leaving....  The losses to other agencies are happening at all levels.... GS-3 through GS-12.

Just a few of my thoughts on how to make some changes.... the tools and facts are out there.... someone just needs to grab the hammer and use it. I am sure there are other ways out there to stem the retention problems?

3/27 Ab/anyone,

I wonder what's taking FS so long in getting the certs out to the districts requesting them. I been in contact with my 9 different districts for my job hunt, and I have had luck. But what I haven't had any luck in is getting FS to send them a cert in a timely manner (obviously out of my hands). No cert = can't fill positions. One district told me that it took him about 2 months to get his first cert, he was able to fill half of the openings off of that. Now districts find themselves getting closer to the season with employee holes. A couple hotshot crews need to hire one if not two more people but can't, hello and goodbye to starting on April 16th with a full strength crew. Ditto for engines out there, start dates getting pushed back as well. Of course the engines stated that they need to hire more people in the first place regardless of getting the few allowed hired up, but I guess that's a budget issue not a backlog one.

So, what's going on with FS in New Mexico (where this is all channeled thru) that they are this backlogged? It seems to me that manpower especially towards the beginning of the season will be strained unnecessarily.

Can anyone offer any insight to this either extremely naive or extremely frustrated person?

hopeful hotshot

3/27 Howdy Abs,

OFG aka Old Fire Guy,

CDF is at the start of a huge retirement cycle; as an example My
fireman and I will be retiring in approx. two years and the captain
and engineer on the other shift will be gone this year.

As a further example, the San Mateo/Santa Cruz Unit has had roughly
25 folks of all ranks retire last year.

We don't have a retention problem so much as an older dept. showing
the effects of a great pension and no real reason to stick around
much past 30 years on the job.

Now is the time to get into CDF as we are going to be needing new
people at a faster rate than ever before.

Stay safe

Captain Emmett
CDF, IAFF Local 2881 and dam* glad of it
3/27 So like the IHC to manager and Smokejumper to manager
list, are we going to have a Fed Fire to CAL FIRE

Couldn't resist.

No Name, Please

haw haw. gotta have the humor. Ab.

3/27 This just in:

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) document has been posted today (3/27) for the second of two public reviews at: www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/programs/gc_1166653070655.shtm (scroll down to the NIMS info) . Final comments are due FRIDAY APRIL 6, 2007 to the address listed online. Final release of the revised NIMS policy document is due June 1, 2007.

The five federal wildland agencies as well as cooperating state and local governments are required to be "NIMS Compliant"... therefore, any concerns on these documents should be submitted, especially as wildland fire developed the original NIIMS. ANYONE can submit comments... in other words, send them from your personal email if you are concerned about using work email and proper channels and so on.

-Concerned Citizen

Has anyone reviewed this document with attention to Just Culture, Doctrine and Commander's Intent or will there be the same problems with managers being criminalized in this new organization as has developed in the old? Ab.

3/27 For the IHC > Fire Manager list:

Larry Hayes, current DFMO SHF South fork Unit- Little Tujunga 1971


Thanks. Added Larry. Ab.

3/27 To those wanting to take a look at Steve Holdsambeck's Little Venus Peer Review powerpoint presentation and supporting documents:

The description of his presentation is here. If you do not have access to the FS web for downloading it, please let Ab know.

3/27 If you want a horror story about OWCP, I'd love to put my two cents in. However, as I am already in over my head financially, I wouldn't want to ruin my somewhat stable job. Please give Shari Downhill my e-mail address, and I will discusss it with her at her leisure. It's time for this bullshi# "employee service" to be stripped down from the ground up. It is not employee friendly, and getting an attorney to take your cases is extremely expensive and almost impossible, believe me, I retained a lawyer as long as I financially could, while paying medical bills rejected by my insurance and unrecognized by OWCP.

name withheld

Ab will not pass on information about others to Shari unless it comes directly from the person with the OWCP beef. Please do not send us a list of names and email addresses of people who you think have had problems. If you're inclined, you can let them know yourself and ask them to write in a message to be forwarded to Shari if they want to do that. Ab.

3/27 I think I have an answer to our hiring problems.

If anyone out there in CDF land has some influence at the state level, we
need your help.

Can CalFire adjust its hiring schedule to, say, January or February?

This way we can fill behind all the temp and perm folks that transfer over
to your agency. (I don't blame them one bit, I encourage my newbies to

This would help us out alot as what happens now is we fill one position and
lose two or, as of this week, three so far from the district.

As cooperating agencies I think this can be worked out with adjusting
timing of our hiring.

The Forest Service does not have a retention problem anymore due to the
fact that we can't even get them in the door.

3/27 CALFIRE retention


To help out Old Fire Guy and others CALFIRE is facing the largest number of retirements ever this June. Our contract from July 2, 2001 thru June 30, 2006 ended with year round 72 hour duty week of which 19 hours is time and a half overtime. That increase in take home pay, and our single highest year, makes this June the date for people to retire with the maximum monthly allowance for retirement. CALFIRE has allowed for hiring Fire Captains before the positions will be vacant to allow time for medical clearance and training for the 2007 fire season. Yesterday a hiring "rodeo" was held and numerous calls went out. My unit offered 7 jobs to open list Fire Captains and had hired 2 last month with more to come.

Our contract was extended for two years with the significant change that our Firefighter I positions are also on the 72 hour dutyweek with the 19 hours of mandatory overtime. That resulted in and additional 20 to 30 new positions for each unit statewide.

The competition for qualified candidates will be fierce by all agencies, federal, state and local. People will go where the working conditions are better and hopefully they will improve in departments that are feeling the losses.


CalFire has 21 units statewide if I remember correctly. Could be interesting. Ab.

3/27 Retention Issue:

If a firefighter is trained by one agency, and their career has them
bouncing between a variety of fed, state and other govt. agencies (or even
private industry).....as long as they remain in fire is that a "loss"?
Taxpayers probably don't care what shade of khaki or green we wear.

Part 2......Does CDF also have a "retention" problem? If not, why are
they having vacancies, and why in such large numbers that they exhaust all
opportunity to promote from within?

Maybe the multi-agency experience career is viable for both growth in
breadth of experience and providing an improved career ladder that no
single agency could.

Just some thoughts.

Old Fire Guy

3/27 From Firescribe:

Schwarzenegger Appoints Katherine Dargan State Fire Marshal

Should be California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF)... not Prevention... Ab.

3/27 FS to CALFIRE

Well, the exodus has begun or will be beginning
shortly. Can you blame our co-workers and colleagues?
But like TC said, the Forest Service in Region 5
doesn't have a retention problem.

Just from the people I know the FS is going to lose 1
DIV Chief, 1 Battalion, 1 Hotshot Superintendent, and
a number of Module Leaders (Engines and Hotshots).

But yeah, the Forest Service in Region 5 doesn't have
a retention problem.

Perhaps this will open up the Region's eyes to the
fact that there is retention problem and that we're
going to take a big hit in experience and knowledge
once this CAL FIRE hiring spree goes on.

I wonder how long it'll take to fill the newly opened
positions? That'll be interesting. seeing how long the
process takes now.

Should/could be an interesting summer and by the way
CAL FIRE, you're welcome.


Since Forest Service hiring policies are nationally mandated, does anyone have any suggestions for what R5 can do to stem the bleeding out of experience and knowledge? In R5 we all know it's bad and going to get worse. Other fed agencies are also in trouble: look at the problem BIA Eastern region is facing, posted yesterday. What are some possible solutions? Are there any? Ab.

3/27 FS to CALFIRE

Well seems like CALFIRE finally cleared its internal list and is starting
to hire FS folks.. On my forest alone, so far, we've lost a div chief and
a captain to them this week. I'm told there will be more offers in the
works later in the week, then they'll open the rosters again for more

But then the FS has no retention problem.


Good luck. I'd like to be positive but I heard almost all managers on one of your ranger districts had in apps to CDF. Gut wrenching, but I wish them well in their fire careers. Ab.

3/27 CDF'ers,

Anyone out there know if Craig Herret is still working CDF? He was my
Engineer in my old CDF days when I was firefighter at Ramona Station in San
Diego County in 1974-75. Last I heard he was a Battalion Chief in central
California somewhere. He was one of the best supervisors I ever had. I
learned a lot from him and we hit a lot of good fires in those years.

Kevin Joseph
3/27 Remember when I was musing about imagery of the E57 burnover that
may exist but never see the light of day (so to speak). Maybe I am not
as nuts as I sounded. See below


3/27 Ab,

We need a bit of assistance. As most of the wildland fire community knows, Krs Evans (former Plumas Hot Shot) was injured fighting an arson fire in 2001. It is now 2007 and he is STILL getting kicked to the curb by OWCP as he tries to request even the smallest assistance with his medical needs, physical needs (wheelchair, wheels, etc.), and retraining education. He’s now a student at Oregon State University attempting to retrain HIMSELF for work he can do without use of his legs. He’s studying botany. He’s trying. However, financial struggles with OWCP are incredibly overwhelming for him.

So, this is the question, does the wildland firefighting community think it might be time to evaluate how wildland firefighters are treated by OWCP when they are injured on the job? I certainly do. And I believe the agency folks in DC might be interested, as well. At least, I hope so.

This is the help we need right now: We need stories of other wildland firefighters – whatever rank, whatever agency or private sector, whatever job – who were injured fighting wildland fire and how they were treated (medically, financially, humanely) by OWCP (Office of Workers Compensation). We’ll combine these stories to provide a picture of OWCP responsiveness to wildland firefighters. It’s tough for one person to influence change in a system as huge and unmoving as OWCP. But, let’s hope the pressure of many can initiate necessary change. If you have experiences you’d like to share, Ab can forward them to me. Casey, any ideas you have here relating the federal firefighters would be helpful, as that’s what Krs was serving as when he was injured.

Shari Downhill
3/26 Ab,

I was on the Redmond IHC in 1989. I have lost track of most of my crew members but here are a few that I am currently aware of:

Karrie Stevens - FMO, Colville NF, R6
Ed Guzman - Interagency Deputy Fire Staff, Fremont-Winema NF, Fremont side, R6
John Holcomb - Listed on website
Jeff Borucki - Forest FMO, Tonto NF, R3
Paul Mintier - FMO, Arapaho & Roosevelt NF, R2

Myself, I had a short stint as an AFMO on the Wallowa-Whitman NF, and then as an AUF (akin to AFMO) Klamath-Lake District for the Oregon Department of Forestry. I am no longer a fire manager but do continue to participate in fire (part of the militia?) at the local, state and sometimes national levels. Mostly doing SOF duties.

Greetings to all of the 1989 Redmond IHC. I hope you are all doing well.

Kellie Carlsen - Stewardship Forester
Oregon Department of Forestry
Lakeview, Oregon

Thanks for writing in Kellie. Ab.

3/26 JL,

Thanks for the info on flight crews.


I never did have the opportunity to know Eva - my loss, as all have described her as very special.

The 5 month CDF run FF1 class I took 7 years ago was really remarkable. I was in good shape and wanted to go through the training to really understand what newbies got. It was interagency, but a CDF Captain, a woman named Terry, was lead. She knew what she wanted from all of us, including her instructors from the two nearby towns and a few more CDF firefighters. To her credit, she cracked the whip. The FS Batt chief came in to teach S-130, S-190 and I-100 toward the end. Excellent class, lots of timed procedural hoops to jump through from donning SCBA to rolling hose, first responder procedures, IAing a structure fire and a confined space rescue with zero visibility during which your SCBA ran out of air. Kewl stuff! Surprisingly lots of ways to fail and people did. I got tipsy every Friday night just to relieve the stress. I am not much of a drinker, but 1 1/2 - 2 hours of mental and physical procedures a day was stressful and it helped to let down your hair. Out of 44 who started, including 5 or 6 women, 16 finished and I was the only female. Ah, those were the days! I had a great time! <snicker> I'm glad I survived!

Speaking of surviving: Good luck to Brian Janes!!! I sent in my donation to the WFF and I'll be watching his progress. I hope someone keeps us all informed. Sylvia, maybe you??? Take care of your feet, participants. There were Eldorado hotshots that were still loosing toenails at the Hotshot Meeting in Reno 3-4 months after the Eldorado hotshot walk last fall. Wow, that and blisters! Yuck, gross...


3/26 Ab,

I was looking at the document referenced below.

Here's the 2007 FS Program Direction for Wildland Fire Management, a 284K doc file

And see where it says:

Funding base-time for Fire Preparedness Resources when assigned to an Incident

Upon dispatch to a wildfire, all employees, including preparedness resources, will charge base time to Wildland Fire Suppression (WFSU) funds.

DOI agencies are directed that all "Fire Preparedness Resources" are to charge base 8 to fire preparedness. Anyone know why the difference?


3/26 Mellie

Did you have the opportunity to meet Eva Schicke before her tragic death? From everything I have read she was a wonderful human being.

Also, glad you have "come out of the closet" and admit that you are CDF trained, even though you do provide some service to USFS.

Regarding CDF Handcrews being Helitack if flown in on a chopper; I doubt it; the chopper is just a different Crew Buggy. I had my tongue firmly in the cheek when I said that.

CDF Helitack are qualified for short haul operations, I am not sure about rappelling, which people that do it tell me is really easy. Right! I think basic rappelling is likely taught to all CDF firefighters at Ione. Part of High Angle Rescue and High Rise Building work. All in the job description. Only difference is from chopper nothing to bounce your feet off. And you really gota wanna do it. I tip my hat to those who can and do.


HAW HAW. Mellie asked questions and gave us an ongoing blow-by-blow description in the early days when she was doing her CDF -local city FD -FS training. She's never been in the closet in that regard. Ab.

3/26 SJ --> Manager

Ray Brown, BLM Smoke Jumper/Alaska, FMO BLM/Bishop, CA


Thanks. Ab.

3/26 Hi Ab,

I wanted to let people know that Heather DePaolo's mom (Stanza Fire fatality
2002) is going to be at Brian Jane's 220 mile endeavor starting April 1.
She is very supportive of the effort and Brian's desire to raise money for
families who lose a firefighter and firefighters that suffer injuries while on duty.

220 miles = 1,161,000 feet!

We will be with Brian in spirit!

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
3/26 Joe Hill,

Ed is in Redway, was Capt with CDF, retired in 01. Was Chief of the Redway
vollie dept until '02. (They have a great dept; one of their vollies did the CDF ff1
with me - Humboldt Regional Occupational Program, HROP - in 2000.)

Ed said Russ is ATGS, was 20 yr, still is (?) with CDF at CalFire Rohnerville Air Attack.


3/26 Can anyone help before its too late

This is my last resort... For some I am sorry to have to resort to this, and I am sure that many will just say "join the club," however, I would like someone to please take a look at the BIA Eastern Region in regards to wildland fire management staffing levels. Many units are having to use ADs as their primary fire line personnel (ie- Engine Capts, Engine Operators, ICT5s, etc.) in order to effectively suppress wildland fires. When I say use them, I mean "use them" there are no other government personnel or positions.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this in direct conflict with the whole intention of AD firefighters. I believe that AD firefighters were meant to supplement primary fire personnel on an emergency basis and not as a means for a government agency to save money on salaries and benefits. One unit in the Eastern region has 6 positions that have been flown for 3-4 years and have not been filled to date. Another unit has been screaming for potions for there two Type VI engines (GS-6 Capt x 2, GS-4/5 Operator, GS-3/4 Crewmember x 2) and a dispatcher and can't get the monies appropriated for the positions to fill them, even though they have the people to fill them in the community (and the personnel are already trained and meet the minimal requirements for the positions). All I am asking is for this information to get out there so that maybe someone, somewhere, out of the region can please help to address these significant short falls in staffing levels.


PS- As I said I'm sure there are other units in similar state of affairs due to budget cuts, but do you have ADs doing initial attack in government equipment filling primary positions?

Thank you....


Klamath National Forest - On April 1st, Brian Janes, a Klamath Hot Shot, will embark on a 220 mile run through the Klamath National Forest raising awareness and support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Titled "Footsteps for Firefighters," Janes will complete his run in 6 days.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, based in Boise, Idaho, has financially and emotionally supported hundreds of fallen firefighter survivor family members and dozens of injured firefighters. They were also an integral part of the efforts to assist the California Esperanza Fire families as well. Since forming in 1999, the Foundation has given out more than a million dollars to wildland firefighter families.

Inspired by Ken Perry, a former Smokejumper and California resident, who has completed more than one-hundred miles for the Foundation, Brian wants to complete 220 miles over 6 days. He will start and end at the Klamath National Forest supervisor's office in Yreka, California. He plans to run 30 to 46 miles per day.

Donations to support Brian Janes efforts can be made at www.wffoundation.org, by phone at (208) 336-2996, or by mail: WF Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho 83702

For more information, please call the WFF.

Hear Hear! for Brian's effort. Ab.

3/26 Fernwood Helitack

Sorry about the confusion, but of course it was Fernwood helitack, not Ferndale. The passing of 30 years has dulled some of my memory.

It was nice to hear from Brother Cub, that he too worked with and learned from Kevin Papineau. I had nothing but respect for him. He was the Station Captain there at Thorne where we had a single Engine, (1280). John Barber was the Ranger I (1212). Hard to believe when he was killed, after all he'd been through in Vietnam. That was back in the days of the 120 hour work week with CDF and Pap believed in making us work as much of that as possible. Tough guy, but fair. If anyone knows what happened to Russ Gordon or Ed Brady, I'd appreciate hearing.

Joe Hill

3/26 Ab,

Here's an unusual R5 firefighting assignment four McCall Smokejumpers were tasked with last season. Job well done. Those tree jobs are interesting and varied, like the SJ "bug" tree job a few yrs back in Central Park, NYC. This one is from the Jumpers National Report (pdf file).

Tahoe Terrie

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

Eagle Creek Fire-

John Carothers, FMO for the Tule River Indian Reservation, had a unique problem with suppressing a fire in a single extremely large, (22 feet dbh, 260 feet tall) 2000 year old sequoia tree (pic). The fire was burning in a “catface” approximately 200 feet high. John’s knowledge of our tree climbing expertise and arborist skills learned through the APHIS Longhorn Beetle Project resulted in his request for Smokejumpers for assistance in this unique fire assignment. Due to the unavailability of Red Carded climbers in Region 5 the order went unfilled for two days before NICC passed the order onto EGBCC and the McCall Smokejumpers. We received the call through Dispatch/Coordination Center and four McCall jumpers arrived in California on July 25th.We met with John, and after a thorough briefing, went to the tree to assess the problem. With binoculars and using various vantage points, we conducted a complete and thorough size-up. We discussed at length the best methods for climbing, identified safety zones (on the ground and in the tree), decided on the proper gear needed for the climb, and developed an overall game plan. We conducted a hazard analysis and how to mitigate risks. Once we established this plan, we decided we could do the job safely.

We secured a climbing rope around a large live branch approximately 50 feet below the fire. This was achieved using a “slingshot” type device and two throw lines connected to each other. This took some time to get the rope set safely and securely anchored. Again we reviewed our plan, contingencies, and each of our designated roles. The next morning we reassessed the fire and inspected our rope and climbing equipment. A jumar (a climbing device used by professional arborists) was used to ascend to the branch. I tied off to the limb with a safety lanyard (standard procedure) and proceeded to use a throw ball to secure another line around another branch further up. I transferred over to this rope and would use this as my working line. I advanced the line to a spot where I could see into the cat face and determine if I could safely work the fire. As it turned out, the fire was just smoldering and it would not jeopardize further operations. I gave Mike Feliciano the ok to ascend the first line. He was then in place to assist me in raising equipment.

With climbers and ground crew in place, we proceeded to haul 200 feet of ¾ inch fire hose up to the “cat-face”. As pre-determined, there was more than enough water pressure to thoroughly extinguish the fire with 250 gallons. We monitored the fire for 1 hour and declared the fire out. Mike and I then started down to our main rope, sent down our other ropes and equipment, and rappelled safely to the ground. Our plan went accordingly, and took six hours to complete the assignment. This was a great opportunity to make use of smokejumper expertise and skills in a safe, professional manner. The tribal members were very pleased with the outcome and expressed their thanks. Given the high value and tradition placed upon these unique trees by the tribe, it was an excellent public relations opportunity for the Forest Service. John also felt it was a wise, economic use of resources, considering the alternative of having to continually monitor the tree and the possibility of a worsening situation later.

3/26 Joe Hill (Re: Kevin Papineau)

I worked with Kevin Papineau for two seasons, '69 and '70 at Garberville, I was surprised to see his name pop up. I did not know that he was killed in '78 while falling a snag. He was a great guy to work with. Back when I worked with him he had fairly recently returned from Viet Nam as a Marine. I learned a lot from him, not just about firefighting but also about life.

Brother Cub
3/26 Old Boot,

Correction, GAC (Grangeville Air Center) is where the Grangeville
Smokejumpers ARE stationed.


Randy Nelson
Program Manager
Grangeville Smokejumpers

Glad to know you're out there checking up Randy. Ab.

3/26 AB,

There is a question of where John Holcomb was DFMO on your IHC to
Managers Sheet. That was the east zone Tahoe NF, Truckee and Sierraville


3/26 in regards to the flight crew.

chester off the lnf,
big hill from enf, and
shasta-trinity national forest
all have flight crews/ rappel ready.


big hill runs a type 1, and
the other 2 are type 2 ships


3/26 Just a few corrections from recent posts:

1. The CDF Helitack base in Humboldt county moved to Kneeland from FernWOOD, near Blue Lake, Just south of Hwy. 299, not FernDALE, near Fortuna. It was in the 1980's. 2 different places with similar names. I worked for HUU in 1979 and covered there frequently.

2. If you eat an entire MRE, you are supposed to be getting 3000-4000 calories, depending on the main course, I do not know where that article got their info from. Missoula Lab provided mine.


3/26 Hey list cultivators,

What about Supt.? (AKA) Mark Linane. Big Player with the little thing called LCES. He was one of the reasons it's a ROE. Now he is a big dog a SBCoFD. Without him the Fire and Hotshot world wouldn't be what it is today. Worked for him, great dude, great leader, good human. Broke our balls everyday, expected 110%, and in return gave you respect, leadership and ownership. Please add him to "the list", all of us that know him know what he has done and continues to do for all Firefighters.....Thanks Supt.....

3/26 IHC to manager project:

Chuck Hartley, supt of Dalton IHC was a DFMO on the Angeles NF.
I think his entire career was on the same district. I'm sure others
will have more to add about Chuck, a wonderful guy and great firefighter.


3/26 A tragic event.

Flashy fuels - a common denominator for watch out situations - apply them

Prescribed fire councils- an opportunity to reach out and educate the public.

Peter Kubiak
Regional Prescribed Fire Specialist
Division of Fire Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region


The following is a brief narrative intended for general information regarding a landowner/burner fatality that occurred in Lafayette County, Florida on Friday, March 9, 2007;

On Friday, March 9, 2007 a private landowner was fatally burned while conducting an authorized 17 acre burn in pasture grass on private property in Lafayette County, Florida. At approximately 11:23 a.m., OPS Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Carl McAfee overheard a page from the Lafayette County Sheriff's Office dispatching fire & EMS to a report of a "woman on fire" on CR 260 in close proximity to his location on a DOF Rx burn. WMS McAfee responded and arrived a short time later to find a woman, critically burned near the pasture burn and initiated emergency medical care (as a certified EMT) and radioed responding EMS to launch the closest air medical helicopter. WMS McAfee (certified structural firefighter and DOF wildfire cooperator) also directed incoming VFD units to secure the fire and upon arrival of Lafayette County EMS-ALS unit, assisted them with advanced patient care. Following assisting with patient care and loading the patient on AirMedic One helicopter, WMS McAfee began assisting with information gathering and documentation of the scene prior to the arrival of OALE Lt. Carl Hodson. State Fire Marshall Detective Karl Morgan and Lt. Joe Steadman were also in the general area and responded to assist in any way necessary.

Preliminary information indicates that the fire made a wind-driven run at a control line in 5' dry pasture grass and the burner's mother drove a farm tractor with harrows toward the advancing flame front as it crossed the control line, apparently in an attempt to stop the fire. The burner stated he heard his mother scream and he ran to the area where she entered the fire on the farm tractor to find the tractor in running (out of gear) and located his mother, badly burned, on the ground nearby. He removed his shirt to assist him in dragging his mother from the fire area with the help of his fiancé. With the help of his fiancé to assist his mother, the son secured the escaped portion of the fire with the farm tractor and harrows. It is yet unclear if the victim became overcome by smoke/flames and lost consciousness subsequently falling off of the tractor or if she remained conscious and jumped from the tractor.

The burn victim's clothing was almost completely consumed by the fire and she sustained partial and full-thickness burns (2nd, 3rd, and 4 th degree) to 100% of the body surface area, and with her age as a contributing factor (67), the Chief Burn Surgeon at Shands Hospital Burn Unit in Gainesville gave little hope for a successful outcome. The victim was removed from life support and died in the evening hours of Friday, March 9, 2007.

The OALE investigation is ongoing at this time. DOF took no suppression action on the escape or subsequent mop-up. The ICS-209 was completed and submitted. The State OIC was notified and updated as pertinent information became available.

This tragic event illustrates the dangers that even light grass fuels can pose to personnel on the fireline and the importance of wearing fire-resistant clothing on all fires, all the time.

John K. Fish
District Manager
Florida Division of Forestry

3/26 Joe Hill, isn't that the Kneeland Helitack, just South of Fortuna. (Ferndale is
further south of that by a few miles on the other side of the Eel River.)


3/26 In the mid-70's, Ferndale (outside Fortuna) had a helitack unit on the Humboldt Del-Norte Ranger Unit. A 206B. One of the crew members was Paul Naman, who went on to become an Alaska Smokejumper and eventual BLM fire management type. At the time, I was an engine slug at Thorne, west of Garberville on a 1966 Ford Model I. Kevin Papineau, Russell Gordon, Ed Brady were the station Captains. Papineau was killed while falling a snag in 1978. I last saw Russ during the "firestorm" of 1987 when I was a jumper being demobbed off the Stanislaus into Columbia. I believe he was a Captain with Columbia helitack then. I lost track of Ed Brady but saw him once at the Redding Air Attack Base when I was coming back from a morning PT run.

Joe Hill
3/26 The Lolo Hotshots were founded in 1961. One of the first organized crews in the United States.

The Bitterroot Hotshots were established in 1963 and have been in continuous operation since that time. Originally located at the current site of the Trapper Creek Job Corps Center, the crew moved to the East Fork Guard Station on the Sula Ranger District and then to the current location of Darby in 1976.

Noname please

Thanks, I added those. Ab.

3/26 L--C--E-S

Perfect!! At this time I purchase my own Nomex and have a custom foot
measure at Nicks and will do the same for the rest of my career as the last
thing I want the safety Gnomes with nothing else to do is decide how I
treat my feet and subject me to even more uncomfortable and non-durable
protective clothing. GSA made is garbage.

Join the fight. Protect your choice for your own foot wear.


3/26 ht,

The Kneeland Base, South of Eureka, is where we learned safe SOP helicopter behavior
and got to observe water drops during FF1 training in 2000. I later met a tall young
woman who was on the helitack crew there.

CDF Helitack 404 Eva Schike's crew was from Columbia Helitack Base. Particular
ships are associated with particular locations/crews, aren't they? Aren't helitack crews
with engine crews the only CalFire non-convict handcrews? Would convict crews be
considered helitack crews even if transported by helicopter?

SJ and Ab,

I always have trouble keeping track of the boundary between R1 and R4 in the Idaho
panhandle tall mountains area. All I can say is that aircraft (planes too?) must really have
to know how heavy to load up because in hot summers at high elevation, safe operation
depends on not overloading. At least that's true for helicopters. High and Hot, not too


3/26 Ab,

For the continuing IHC to Manager project...for Diamond Mountain IHC...all former captains/supts. who have moved on to other things...

You've got Larue--former Supt.
Kevin Chambers is Central California Regional FMO (BLM)--former captain
Jerry Wheeless is FMO, Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville--former captain
Kirsten Sherve is assistant center manager for Payette NF--former squaddy type
Mike Minton is DFMO for Six Rivers NF--former squaddy type
Edward Merrill is Fuels Specialist for Eagle Lake BLM in Susanville--former Supt.
Keith Barker is a Fire Ecologist for Carson BLM, also spent some FMO time--former captain
Rob Holt is supt. for Redding IHC--former captain
Ken Henson is supt. for Cedar City IHC--former captain
Kristi Ralston (Andrews) is Fuels Specialist in Redding BLM--former squaddy type


Thanks, I added them. Ab.

3/26 Mellie:
Here's the poop on your SMJ identifier question-

fbx: I would swear that this was/is the airport identifier for Fairbanks ('Fairbanks International'), but I can't find it in the official airport ID list.
[k]boi: Boise Air Terminal
gac: pretty sure this is the acronym for Grangeville Air Center. We always referred to GAC as where the Grangeville smjs were stationed.
[k]myl: McCall Municipal Airport
[k]mso: Missoula International Airport
ncsb: Acronym for North Cascades Smokejumper Base.
[k]rdd: Redding Municipal Airport
rac: Acronym for Redmond Air Center
[k]wys: Yellowstone Airport
cj: acronym for Cave Junction smj base - Home of the Gobi.
[k]lgd: La Grande/Union Co. Airport

Old Boot
3/25 IHC to manager project:

Michael Powell -- current DFMO for the Goose Nest RD, Klamath NF. He was with Alpine (or whatever they where first called) as well as time as Foreman with China up in Alaska.

Dave Hamrick -- DFMO for the Canyon Lakes RD, Arapaho & Roosevelt NF. Bunch of years as foreman for Alpine, as well as a stint as Superintendent of Roosevelt IHC before moving into management.

Dave Neime (sp?) – Long time Alpine hand, and Superintendent. He is now the DFMO for the Boulder RD of the  Arapaho & Roosevelt NF

Shane Greer – Superintendent for Pike IHC before moving into management. He is now an FMO on the Pike NF (not sure which district)

I apologize for the lack of details. Hopefully someone else can fill what’s missing.


I added 'em. Ab.

3/25 For Mellie's CDF helitack question,

I have attached a list of the Helitack bases listed by CDF; have no idea how old this is. One Helitack they do not mention is the Helitack run jointly by CDF and the San Diego County Sheriff. Two choppers out of sheriff's base at Gillespie field in El Cajon. Sometimes CDF 301 works out of there also. I know one of both of the County Coptors carry a crew, do not know who the crewmembers are. It is my understanding that one is flown by a CDF pilot, the other by a fire carded sheriff's pilot. Likely it is mix and match sometimes. During some of the fire season one goes to Fallbrook during the day to cover that area. Some other places in the state may have similar arrangements, but it is my understanding this is pretty unique to MVU/San Diego County.

Another thing to remember, any crew is a "helitack" crew when there are choppers available. Those SD choppers fly the CDF/DOC crews frequently from staging into the roadless boonies (and back). IC has to decide, boots and tools on the ground or water drops. If the S2Ts are available and working well sometimes they use the choppers for people and freight. Other times I have heard them move people, go get and drop some water and then go back to hauling people. I think they work well that way around SD county.

Hopefully some MVU person in the know can provide more details.

Base Name
Howard Forest
Boggs Mountain State Forest
Bieber Helitack Base
Vina Helitack Base
Columbia Helitack Base
Bear Valley Helitack
Los Gatos


3/25 Rogue Rivers

I just practice what I was taught in the Corps, Leadership by Example.
Our entire Dept does the test, whether they are going red card or not.
It is a base level set every spring. Also vitals are done, needless to say,
before and after. Actually haven't heard any complaints. It is just
something we do and so we do it.

By the way, I like your moniker, as I lived of a spell in Grants Pass.

Old Man of the Dept.

3/25 Quick Questions:

Are any of the Helitack crews or Flight Crews "old enough" to have produced Type 1 or 2 ICs yet? Some of those crews go into remote areas like SJs do and have more rigorous physical requirements as SJs do. Anyone know how many rappel crews there are in the US? Are there more of those in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon in the mountains where they're needed for remote IA than elsewhere? It would be interesting to see a list by region like the hotshots have on the Interagency Hotshot page. Guess there is one www.fs.fed.us/fire/aviation/helicopters/index.phpl. Is there more than one Flight Crew in the US? I only know about the Arroyo Grande. How many CalFire helitack crews are there? Do any other states have crews?

It was interesting to read Marty Alexander's 1974 article on Interregional Crews and check out the map of their locations. There's a link on the IHC->Fire Manager page.

Thanks to everyone providing info on hotshots, SJs, etc. I personally find the info interesting on where fire managers have their training/values/work ethics roots.

It's also interesting to see the inter-generational firefighting roots within a family, too, like the Joseph family and the Brinkley family and the Craven family among those I know at least one member of and Doug Campbell and his firefighting dad.

I had to figure out the Smokejumper bases dispatch unit identifiers or whatever the designators below are called to read some of the additions to the Fire Manager table. Alaska and Boise are BLM, the rest FS.

  • Alaska                  fbx
  • Boise (NIFC)       boi
  • Grangeville           gac
  • McCall                 myl or myc (outdated?)
  • Missoula               mso
  • North Cascades    ncsb
  • Redding                rdd
  • Redmond              rac
  • West Yellowstone wys

and now closed:

  • Cave Junction
    aka Gobi               cj
  • LaGrande              lgd

On another completely different note:

Old Fire Guy, I'm going to miss you when you retire... You better still visit us here.


3/25 FF ry

Check with MVU Training, 619-590-3100. They will be conducting a
67 hour academy in late April or early May


The Chicago Tribune is reporting that MREs do not provide sufficient nutrition.  Each one, if everything in the package is eaten provides only 1300 calories.  The Military doctor who did the report concluded troops in the mountains need up to 4500 calories a day.  I suspect that firefighters need that much or more when building line and hauling hose up hill.  Even hiking in with full packs and gear would burn that.
The article indicates that loss of weight is a result and some illnesses have been reported in those working at high altitudes. Field rations letting U.S. troops down
I bring this up as I know CDF and likely the Feds carry these on the engines (and likely Crew Buggies) for situations when they can not get food any other way.  Hopefully with the rotation schedules for fire troops this is not going to be an issue with them, but I thought it worth mentioning.


3/25 Lolo and Bitterroot IR

Just noted that these two crews are listed under R4. The Lolo is in Missoula, MT, home of the RO for R1 and the Bitterroot is in Darby, MT, also R1. I believe they changed their names to Hot Shot crews when Don Feser was Sup of the Lolo starting in 1983. I can't remember how long he stayed in Missoula but it was long enough to recruit Jay Bertek to El Cariso. The Bitterroot was the last hold out in the name change.


Yep, sometimes I just outright get these wrong or get distracted in working through various parts of the table and information coming in. Thanks for the correction. I just fixed 'em. To others who have pointed out inaccuracies, thanks very much. I'm counting on watchful eyes. Ab.

3/25 Old Man of the Dept,

Thank you for your service in "NAM" and your service as a firefighter. You are awesome in your service to the citizens of this country.

You said, "I take the pack test so that none of younger ones on the dept can complain about it."

As a famous quote goes, "One size doesn't fit all".

Are you serving the younger ones in your department by not listening to their complaints?

Rogue Rivers
3/25 Hog said:

“Once green, still Fed Good info on the hypo-allergenic gloves. I'll talk with our crew EMT and get some to replace the old latex ones. As for the boot allowance issue, being as we can't even get cash awards anymore, I can't see the green machine supplying $ for boots. I guess one argument would be that a new employee needs his/her boots the day they come to work, and if they can't pass the (dare I say it) WCT or turn out to be a bad apple, then the Gov would be out some cash. Another argument would be that we would probably feel the yin to that yang of $ somewhere else, perhaps toilet paper or pens. Ha Ha! Personally, It's worth my cash to get the boots and socks I want 'cause I can only imagine what a pair of FSS fire boots would feel like! -Hog”


I can only imagine the memo…

“ only boots which are labeled with the following (GSA #, FS#, URL #) meet the forest service standard for safety, etc… Therefore, these are the only boots that will be reimbursed”

Next thing you know, those are the only boots that are “safe” per some office urchin, and I gotta put my Nicks up with my old school Kevlar pants.

The last thing I need is the FS to decide that it knows which boots are best for my feet.

Besides, I think the DOI boot allotment is going away.


3/25 Casey,

You said, "It was never the intent of the FWFSA to get into a "David vs Goliath" battle with the CPF over AB 384." I agree.

That was not my intent (unless someone wants to explore the CPF intent vs. the author and co-authors' intent regarding AB 384), but I won't go there in sincere respect to my federal firefighter brothers and sisters from the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security / Coast Guard (DHS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I am pleased that the many members of Local 2881 (CDF) and Local 1014 (LACoFd) are supporting the amendments that the FWFSA is proposing.

It would be great to see some of the Presidents of the CPF 5th District folks who represent the various federal firefighters in California and Hawaii also speak up from within the CPF ranks and educate their elected executive board members as to their wishes.

3/24 Ab, a few corrections:

(MYC 1981)
Active Years Jumped: myc 81-85
(RDD 1983)
Active Years Jumped: rdd 83-87 fbx 88,89
(MSO 1984)
Active Years Jumped: mso 84-89
Lolo IR, MTDC Program Manager
(NIFC 1993)
Active Years Jumped: nifc 93-06
(RAC 1986)
Active Years Jumped: rac 86-95
(NCSB 1990)
Active Years Jumped: ncsb 90

Thanks, I fixed those. Ab.

3/24 Ab;

Don't know when Ozena HS disbanded/"downgraded", but when I started with FS in '73, Mt. Pinos District had a 12- 15 man trail crew working out of Ozena Sta., and Ojai District had a trail crew working out of Ojai RO. The next season, both trail crews were gone, and we had Ojai HS. If I remember correctly, Earl Gregory and John Boggs were Ojai trailcrew foremen. It seems as if either Eddie, or Archie Abeyta was Ozena foreman, but that's very hazy; haven't been able to find anybody to check with on that. Both trail crews were available, more or less, for fires, and did good work on fire assignments.

(Side note: as a snookie, I assisted with the handtool/ line construction training for the rookies picked up as soon- to- be 'shots. Overhead lineup was Bob Burnett, John Szalay, and Terry Raley; crew pushers were Desmond Warren, and Duane Wroe. Crew overhead wore their aluminum Bullards, and crewmen wore the aluminum FiberMetals like LP did in those days; LP painted "peeled orange rinds" on theirs, so Ojai left theirs silver with the decal on the left side, for ID purposes.).

Hope this helps; the memory's a little hazy, been a lot of names to keep straight since then...

Also, just remembered; after 2 years with Ojai HS, Keith Gurrola (currently Ventura County Training Chief) did a couple years with Prescott HS as overhead, before moving back to Ojai District (1980, or 81). In those days, Prescott was a short crew, so don't know what his title would have been there...

3/24 Once green, still Fed

Good info on the hypo-allergenic gloves. I'll talk with our crew EMT and get some to replace the old latex ones. As for the boot allowance issue, being as we can't even get cash awards anymore, I can't see the green machine supplying $ for boots. I guess one argument would be that a new employee needs his/her boots the day they come to work, and if they can't pass the (dare I say it) WCT or turn out to be a bad apple, then the Gov would be out some cash. Another argument would be that we would probably feel the yin to that yang of $ somewhere else, perhaps toilet paper or pens. Ha Ha! Personally, It's worth my cash to get the boots and socks I want 'cause I can only imagine what a pair of FSS fire boots would feel like!


3/24 Dear Higbee & Lobotomy:

It was never the intent of the FWFSA to get into a "David vs Goliath" battle with the CPF over AB 384. When the FWFSA learned of the bill, its language and most importantly, the CPF's use of the Esperanza tragedy to advance the bill, it was necessary to educate bill author Anthony Portantino that his bill,as written, would in fact not benefit 3 of the 5 families of those lost on the Esperanza because they were temporary firefighters and the bill referred specifically to "permanent career federal civilian firefighters."

It was clear in speaking to staff from Mr. Portantino's office that they were caught off guard by this information and offered a sense of embarrassment that they were not aware of this before they introduced the bill.

Simple professional courtesy by the CPF in contacting the FWFSA on the issue before using the Esperanza incident would have saved the Assemblyman and the CPF a great deal of embarrassment. Based on past history, I can only conclude that the decision not to consult the FWFSA was deliberate.

CPF President Lou Paulsen called me after I had posted information asking folks to contact the Author's office. His spin was that because California was in a budget crisis, the FWFSA's effort to include temporary firefighters into AB 384 would amount to a death sentence for the bill before the Appropriations committee and thus, if the bill died, it would be our fault for raising the issue. In seeking our help to "call off the dogs" he suggested that at some point in the future, the CPF would support adding the temporary firefighters to the list of those eligible under AB 384.

I personally have admired and respected Lou for many years, especially during my own tenure as an Executive Board member of the CPF. However, I have had to respectfully disagree with him that adding the temporary federal wildland firefighters to the bill would be a budget buster and sadly, do not for a moment, envision the CPF Board entertaining the addition of our temporary federal wildland firefighters onto AB 384.

The FWFSA has communicated with each member of the Assembly Higher Education Committee which will hear the bill next week. Each office, whether it be Democrat or Republican, including the Co-Author's office, firmly agree with our assessment that including the temporary wildland firefighters is the right thing to do and that doing so would have no impact on the State budget. If current law extends such benefits to seasonal firefighters of the CDF, then expanding these benefits to federal firefighters should also include temporary federal firefighters...simple as that.

To that end we have provided data to each office on the number of line of duty deaths of federal wildland firefighters in California over the last 10 years. While 1 loss is too many, 10 have perished in the last 10 years including the five lost on the Esperanza. The majority of those were temporary firefighters with no eligible survivors so there would be no fiscal impact at all.

It is truly disappointing that the CPF simply won't stand up and admit its "oversight," deliberate or otherwise, embrace the addition of temporary federal wildland firefighters to the bill and move on. If they are uncomfortable in addressing this with the Appropriations committee, I have offered my personal services to Mr. Paulsen to do so.

I am also humbled by the number of calls I have received from active and retired CDF members supporting our position on this matter. We entered into this issue because a powerful political entity chose to come into our backyard without asking and use the loss of our federal wildland firefighters to advance its political agenda and ended up with a bit of egg on their face.

We didn't seek out a fight nor do we intend on creating one. However our responsibility and loyalty is to the federal wildland firefighting community and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our firefighters and those we have lost and their families are not abused for gain of others.


Casey Judd
Business Manager
3/24 Hog-

Latex is becoming a common allergy among health care workers, just like bee stings it can lead to a life threatening reaction. There are now a number of non-latex medical gloves available; the best are made of nitrile. Nitrile is much tougher than latex and is hypo-allergenic. The worst offenders are cheap latex gloves (and I’ll give you 1 guess as to which gloves the government likes).

Since things are pretty calm around here I thought I’d bring up something to liven things up before the annual pack test arguments begin.

How does the USFS get away with not supplying boots to firefighters? Boots are PPE, and there is a standard for what is acceptable. All the other Fed agencies I’ve dealt with supply boots in one way or another. Department of Defense fire departments directly supply boots, and the DOI agencies reimburse up to $150 a year for boot related expenses (new boots or rebuild expenses) and yes even temps qualify.

Once green, still Fed

3/23 JK

Some where some one has paper records that document your attending S-130 and S-190. You need to get in contact with the agency/unit that sponsored that training or sent you to that training and get copies of the certificates or course roosters. Yes it is all now in IQCS. At least it is suppose to be. If you last worked for the USFS in 2003 it very well may never have been transferred over to IQCS. Prior to the development of IQCS the USFS did not have a common national system. During the migration to IQCS a lot of USFS data did not make it across. In my case I have a retired USFS smoke jumper working as an AD for me. Guess what the USFS decided to do with his records. Purged him from the database. So now that all federal wildland fire agencies have a common database and can transfer between the agencies I had to rebuild 25 years of training and work experience to get the system to qualify him as ENGB,CRWB, ICT4.

Some pointers for the future.

Never give up your original Incident Qualification Card (Its a much better name since the cards are now white.) Make copies for people that need them.

Keep your own records. This is to important to leave it solely in the hands of others.

One of the things I do every fall is give all the people on my stations (Full time fire as well as collateral duty fire type) that have any fire qual a copy of the records in the database and ask them to let me know what is missing. I can then get corrections made before spring when we print the new qual cards. So once you do get hired on again be sure to ask for a copy of your records.

If you can remember the FMO you worked for in 2003 give them a call and ask for a copy of your records.

Small Agency FMO
3/23 For those wanting an update on Joel Burris' condition - you can go to this
website where it's being updated by his daughter-in-law and the care center
Joel is currently at. http://thestatus.com/index.cfm?fa=patient_login&sid=0

login: Burris
password: sammy1

Hope this helps.

3/23 Higbee,

Assembly Bill 384 will eventually meet the intent of the California Assembly, the California State Senate, and the wildland fire community as a whole, and the allied supporters throughout the state. It will also eventually address the other issues. Lots of discussion going on behind the scenes.

Unfortunately, the Bill as written only meets the intent of the 5th District of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) and not the wildland fire community in California or those that support it.

Small changes were proposed by the FWFSA...... Those small changes could make all the difference... and were rooted in factual evidence that the CPF chose to ignore.

The FWFSA supports the Bill in the original intent.... but offered a few small technical amendments to make sure that the Bill meets the intent of the Assembly and the State Senate in the final state and THOSE OF THE PUBLIC that support it.

The California Professional Firefighters (CPF) has taken one view as a united stance against the FWFSA position according to the CPF spokeshole.... two locals... the CDF Firefighters members and the the LACoFD Firefighters members have expressed disgust with the CPF position and broken ranks to side with the federal wildland firefighters in California. Other smaller locals have also pledged support. Hopefully the Local 2881 and Local 1014 and other leaders can lead up and lead forward and poll their members to show Lou Paulsen and Mike Massone that they are wrong and need to listen to the members who they represent. It is simply a no brainer... CDF Firefighters and the LACoFD have been there... they walked with us on the wildland side.

If you didn't walk in our shoes or share our values or experience our losses.... don't try to get your legislation passed on the heals of our losses for your gain ... and shame on you (CPF and IAFF) for trying to capitalize on our pain for your gain for DoD firefighters... By trying to get AB 384 passed by invoking the pain of the Esperanza Fire and using the names and stories of our fallen brothers, the CPF and IAFF sunk to even lower levels.

Thanks goodness that the folks and leaders from CDF (Local 2881) and LACoFD (Local 1014) have some balls and will say bullsh*t where bullsh*t is due. I appreciate those friends. Lead up.

Let's get AB 384 passed with the appropriate amendments. Let us ALWAYS REMEMBER the intent and our personal losses.... Nothing less... nothing more....

3/23 LPF Monterey HS Crew

In 1957 there was a Hot Shot crew at Arroyo Seco on the Monterey RD
on The LPF. If I remember correctly Ozena and Arroyo Seco were Both
small HS crews -- 12 or 15 people -- while Los Prietos was a 24 or 25
person crew and John Maulmen was LP foreman. I dont remember who
ran the other 2 crews. I think they where Done in in 1958 or so.


So Ozena and Monterey were the two small crews on the LPF and the Los Prietos was the big crew. I'll tentatively put in 1958 as ending dates on those two without histories. I've been adding notes on the disbanded crews to the IHC->Fire Manager page. Ab.

3/23 Mellie

In response to your inquiry of ways to keep fuel off of skin, I have a trick I use for you to consider. Since I started with the FS I've always been a saw guy and from time to time I do think about the effects of fuel, not only with saws but with slash fuel and other exposures we encounter almost daily. One thing I have been using for the last few years is latex gloves. I keep a box on the saw bench, slash fuel shack, and in the sigg bin when I was on the 'shots. Latex gloves are very easy to come by (you can usually get more than you need at the med tent) and keep you dextrous when tryin' to fill siggs, dolmars, torches, and whatever. Out on the line I don't use them much as usually time is of the essence, but during refurb and down time they are a great way to keep the fuel off of your hands. I too have noticed the frequency of cancer increasing in fire folks year after year, and I am of the belief exposure to fuel and vapors play a role in some of these instances. I was once told that what comes in contact with your skin is filtered through your kidneys the same way as something you drink; if this is the case we should all take steps to protect ourselves at least from fuel exposure. Thanks for the heads-up, mellie!


3/23 I am a FF/Paramedic. How do I join? 15 years on the line. retired. 35 years
old decent shape I was going to say good but that would be a lie. I can hold
my own next to the young ones.

LT. T. L. Deaver, (ret.)

Welcome. Sounds like yer already a member. What do all the alphabet soup letters mean? Have you met Old Man of the Dept yet? Here, let me introduce you... Ab.

3/23 Fire weather watch for Florida. Found a Red Flag Warning for Guam. KBDI 600 and RH 50%

Fridays Sit Report lists:

National Fire Activity (Weekly Total)

Initial attack activity: Heavy (2,536 new fires)
New large fires: 28 (*)
Large fires contained: 21
Uncontained large fires: 9
Southern Area (PL 2)

New fires: 2,374
New large fires: 25
Uncontained large fires: 9

This makes 8,000+ fires in the SE over the last 4 weeks. Lots of fire and low cost of living.

Weather Nerd

3/23 Ab,

In your IHC history you listed "Monterey". Not sure if you were referencing the Monterey RD, LPF. There was not an IHC those years but there was a 30 person helishot crew on the Monterey RD during 1976-1978. The Helishot Sup was Don Lopez. Gerry Barney and Rick Johnson were module leaders. Jim Chestnut and myself were assistants. Juan Lopez was the H-526 foreman.


Hi Ken, I think the Monterey Hotshots are much older than that. I don't know where they were located. The California Hotshot Crew page listed the Monterey Hotshots as well as the Converse and Ozena as being among the 10 disbanded crews. Check out the nice new California Hotshot Crews' webpages; scroll down to the bottom. Ab. www.californiahotshotcrews.org/ Doug Campbell, if you're reading, have you ever heard of the Monterey?

3/23 This is a notice that anyone -- expecting Forest Bird Flu Pandemic Plan edits, fire photos or any other kind of communication from me in my volunteer status for the Forest Service -- probably won't be able to receive it. Three emails I've sent to upper level Forest Service email addresses over the last few days have been denied. If there is something I must do to get my earthlink.net -DSL service (sbcglobal.net) off the filter list, please let me know.
 ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(reason: 554 Transaction Failed Listed in connection control deny list)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to fsmail03.fs.fed.us.:
<<< 554 Transaction Failed Listed in connection control deny list
... while talking to fsmail01.fs.fed.us.:
<<< 554 Transaction Failed Listed in connection control deny list
... while talking to fsmail04.fs.fed.us.:
<<< 554 Transaction Failed Listed in connection control deny list
... while talking to fsmail02.fs.fed.us.:
<<< 554 Transaction Failed Listed in connection control deny list
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable

Hey FS IT folks, it's all about connectivity... Yah got it or you don't. (I don't do snail mail.)


3/23 AB-
Could you post this for me please?

Foam Nozzles! So about 6 months ago a guy from Canada sent me a design for a foam nozzle. He said "I don't have time to make these so here's a design, go for it". I've finally had the time. I modified the design a bit- Not because I think mine's better but because I don't feel right just taking someone's work & calling it my own.

Anyway, I need 10 folks to test them. I have Inch & Inch and a half models. I'll send you one of each along with a short form to fill out. Please be aware the thread pattern on them is female iron pipe- As a civilian it's Impossible to get fire
threaded anythings & with all the different hose designs out there it's better if you find & use your own adapter. So you'll need one. Interested? I've put up a guestbook here where you can sign up: http://crew13.com/cgi-bin/guestbook/fpg.cgi
I've got a little more work to do then I'll email everyone asking for snailmails.

In other news I'm still willing to do the "speaking tour" thing. However I'm now living in Corvallis, Oregon & school starts again 2 April. Nuclear chemistry & genetics.. Which will make it hard to miss enough school to visit the Ca crews but with planning it may be possible.

All those interested can check the current schedule & send requests here: http://krstofer.org/speaking.php

One more thing: I'm working on the resume... And I've done the talk so many times I cannot remember where I've been anymore. So if you've seen me at some point somewhere, could you go here: http://krstofer.org/email.php and just put in Who, Where & year?

Thanks Much-

3/23 Re Joel Burris: Accident December 2006


I worked with Joel at the Canyon and later at Great Basin. I just
noticed the posting regarding Joel and Gretchen.

Do you have any update on Joel? The posting is from awhile ago.

Gretchen was a wonderful and beautiful woman, in every sense.

Rick Gallagher

3/23 Ref response to my bragging, I took the arduous, 3 mi with the 45lb vest. Ab and I discussed this in other emails. No I have not humped that much hose, or cut that much line, but I did alot of humpin with 3 tours in the NAM plus other assorted brush fires in my 20 years in the United States Marine Corps. I am not a marathon runner, I do 3 1/2 mi 4-5 days a week either walk or jog depending on my legs also have a home gym. I take the pack test so that none of younger ones on the dept can complain about. it.

Old Man of the Dept
3/23 Ab,

I really enjoy the IHC->Fire Manager discussion and webpage. It is good to see all those folks who I have ran across through the years in my career. It is also great to see where our fire leaders have been and what they are doing now or in their retirement.

I have a question though..... How many Hotshots or Smokejumpers went on to be the Chief of the Forest Service or a Regional Forester? Which former Hotshots or Smokejumpers progressed the furthest to effect changes for the delivery of the wildland fire program and wildland firefighter safety?

Secondary question.... why have so few Hotshots and Smokejumpers.... or even the Engine Slugs, Helislack etc. progressed to positions of "leadership" (tongue in cheek when I mention WO positions or Regional Foresters and "leadership" in the same sentence) with the Forest Service.

Don't get me wrong... I respect the folks who are serving or have served as the Chief of the Forest Service or as Regional Foresters...... I just wonder why I can't find any recent examples of fire folks (1980-Present) who have worked their way up through the ranks to these leadership positions....

Was Tom Harbour a Hotshot? I know he always talks about being a GS-2 when he started.... I wonder about his history, his background, and his story as told by him............. and his future.... He is now an SES person.... Will he take the big step and lead a FS Region or become the Chief of the Forest Service...... or will he become an SES employee for another agency?

Name withheld by request by a relative newbie
3/23 Dear Ab or anyone,

Been having trouble getting documentation on my Red Card. I earned it in 2003 with S-130/S-190 and S-212. During the season my engine crew boss insisted (and I didn't know better) that he keep the original on the engine. I find myself now needing it for the upcoming season as I have applied again.

The only docs that I have are my certificate for S-212, a certificate of merit from USDA, and a copy of an emergency firefighter time report

I called the district office and they do not have a copy of my Red Card. They explained it's on a computer system now but that did not start until 2004.

What does my Red Card even look like. What are my options? Any offers of advice, recommendations, or explanations are more than welcome.

Thanks in Advance,


3/23 Old Man of the Dept. – you rock! Color me very impressed with your WCT time!
I still have a few weeks before mine, but I am content to just come in with a couple
minutes to spare. You are an inspiration!

I hope it isn’t just me that had difficulty with FEMA’s IS 800 (National Response
Plan) course! I passed, but it took me most of a day to get through the course and
questions. My brain is drained!

Have a great weekend.

Information Diva
3/23 Tony Sarzotti was a Redding Hotshot in 1976 and recently retired as the BLM
CA Central Region FMO. I don’t know if he drives a bus, makes maps or sells
retardant now.

3/23 Old Man of the Dept,


Great to hear you are still passing the WCT and doing well. Just remember, it is a pass/fail test. Did you take the pack test, field test, or walk test?

You must have been blessed with good knees, good hips, a good back, or exceptional thresholds for pain.... or all of the above if you took the pack test. I'd bet you are also some sort of marathon runner also?... or you were never someone who hiked the hills for 20-30 years carrying the loads that Hotshots carry or the hosepacks that the engine slugs do...... If you were, I apologize in advance and would love to hear your story either way.

Lots of folks 30 years your junior who have 20 plus years of wildland firefighting experience have problems taking the WCT (Pack Test Level) even though they are in good shape.... some are just broken off from their years on Hotshot Crews or fireline injuries they received, while others are concerned about the horrible health pre-screening procedures that are used to save a few bucks.... while not addressing or remembering the the lives that have been lost while taking the various tests.

Hope you have a great fire season and stay safe.

Rogue Rivers
3/22 Dear Ab;

Do you or anyone know of any upcoming CDF 67 Hour Academies in So cal area???

Thank You

FF ry
3/22 Just completed the WCT, brought in at 37.47. And I am going to brag,
not bad for a 70 year old, be 71 in may.

Old Man of the Dept
3/22 Ab,

After Robert Holt and I began to look at the list, we realized there's no
way we can accurately decipher all the IC's, Chiefs, District FMOs, or
other FS, FWS, BLM, BIA, NPS FMOs that have spent time on Redding.

So, we're hoping we can get the help of the They Said folks in adding to
the list.

Here's our Crew Database from 1967-2003 (click on "searchable


Lots of names that have done some great things in the fire service.

Daniel Mallia
Captain, Redding IHC Leadership Development Program

We've passed the info on to our researchers. The database is easy to search by year or all together.

Readers, we're happy to take any info from folks who recognize names of those who have moved on up into IC, FMO, etc positions in any agency. The database does not include current positions. Please let it prod your memories. Looks like lots of present day hs supts got a start on Redding. I recognize some others who have moved up in other agencies as well. Thanks, Dan and Rob. Ab.

3/22 Hey Everyone,

I've been thinking lately about firefighters, firefighter spouses and firefighter family members who develop rare cancers. We have a slew of those. What's prompted the reflection is that a non-firefighter friend, who worked with gasoline and often got it on his skin and clothes, died of a rare cancer.

His death has caused me to question how my family members and saw crews pack gas and oil for the saws to the fireline. Chronic exposure. Are the bottles tight? Can the lids even be screwed on really tightly? Does gasoline leak onto your backs? Does it spill when you pour/mix it? As I recall, the crew who worked the line above Five Waters in '99 transported gas in sig or nalgene bottles and they said those bottles were tight. They seemed to have a pretty good system. My family members running chainsaws in more remote places, that require packing in, use the same containers. Anyone use bottles that do not close tightly? leak? or leak when pouring? Are there any guidelines on this? Do all agencies use the same containers?

Be safe, my friends...

Mellie, aka Numb-skull
thinking about how to keep carcinogenic fuels out of contact with the skin...

OSHA safety and health topics: Gasoline

3/22 A Ranger in CA,

Just to clarify, the linked PowerPoint file is an excerpt from a larger presentation on developing a Forest Fire Management Program using GIS that has been used in many briefings and fire management conferences. I intended to show it as an example of the type of information that will soon become available throughout CA that can assist in risk analysis. This particular segment depicts an area of the southeast flank of the Esperanza Fire where it crosses the Forest boundary that has high risk and high hazards based on “normal” fire conditions. Of course this increases considerably with Santa Ana winds. It was used as pre-attack planning by the San Bernardino National Forest in the mid-90’s to help incident commanders in their tactical decision making. The image of the homes was taken on the San Jacinto District further inside the Forest to indicate some of the values at risk.

If anyone is interested in obtaining the presentation in its entirety I will be happy to provide it.

Fire Geek
3/22 Following up on Fire Geek's post,

Folks looking at GPS enabled cell phones should be aware that some phones are equipped with "assisted GPS" or a-GPS. These phones possess a GPS receiver chip that relays the satellite data back to the phone company where the location is calculated from the data and then the location is sent back to the phone. These a-GPS phones can not operate as free standing GPS units when outside of cell coverage. In other words, a-GPS phones have ears but no brains.

Sign me, Brains but no Hair

Haw Haw Haw. Ab. (Time for a walk, or I'll have to sign this Numb Rear.)

3/22 IHC-IC

Ken Paul, Former Supt. of Baker River IHC? He is deputy fire staff for the
Fremont-Winema (Winema side, under interagency FFMO Matt Webb)
and is also IC of the type 2 team, ORCA.

Geoff Bell was also on the Lassen hot shots, in the late 80's, just before I
was there. He's a good friend of mine and currently in CO and FMO, not
sure if district level or forest. I'll find out.


Thanks, Bell's FFMO on the Arapahoe-Roosevelt N.F. Ab.

3/22 AKFSS,

I tend to get rather excited about the technology and have been putting out a concerted effort to tone down, but now that I have your attention, let me just say that we currently have the ability to carry all the information needed with us onto the fireline to make informed decisions. For example, some GPS-enabled cell phones have enough storage capacity to contain all the topographic maps, aerial imagery and updated roads which didn’t exist when the 15 - 20 year old maps were printed for an entire National Forest or Park. It is not necessary to have a ruggedized PDA that costs $5,000 in order to navigate to a remote location and learn, at a glance by looking at the affordable device small enough to carry in a radio chest harness, what the terrain is like in the immediate vicinity of the fire, land ownership, whose jurisdiction has protection responsibility, past fire history or using the PowerPoint example I mentioned, what are the risks, hazards and values to be considered.

We often hear the cliché that knowledge is power. Think of the 3 hijacked planes on September 11 that reached the intended target. The passengers who had accurate information prevented the 4th plane from hitting its target. Having this information available to you when you need it the most is just as important as carrying a sharp tool. You ask where this is all going? Take a look in any Type 3 engine on the BLM CA Desert District. Riverside County Fire will have the same capability in all of their rigs by June. These apparatus are mobile offices that can map fires, print the map, upload the fire perimeter file onto the Internet and track responding units enroute to the scene. Using Internet access from the front seat of the vehicle enables an initial attack IC to obtain current weather conditions, download the situation report and formulate attack strategy while sharing the rationale for those decisions with others in real-time so everyone has the same info and understands what is going on.

Yes, there is much more to this story but as wonderful as the digital tools are today, they are only good if you use them. The spatial analysis on BDF was completed over 12 years ago. I wonder how many CA fire managers will take advantage of the soon-to-be released statewide information on hazards, risks and values that can be displayed anytime, anywhere on a cell-phone?

Fire Geek
3/22 Rookie Teacher

In the New Generation Fire Shelter DVD or Video you’ll find what you need.

I still have your email address and will provide you with further direction and
other tools to get you going.


AB 384

No doubt the federal wildland firefighting community would be honored to have the support of our CDF & municipal counterparts regarding amending AB 384 to include temporary federal firefighters.

I would encourage our federal wildland firefighters who speak to their counterparts to urge them to either contact the CPF directly at 916-921-9111 or fax 916-921-1106 or their CPF District VP and tell them they support such an amendment.

They can also contact Diane at Assemblyman Portantino's office at: 916-319-2044 or fax: 916-319-2144.

Time is of the essence in that hearings are scheduled for March 27th.

For those members of the CDF & municipal departments that read They Said and support our efforts to amend AB 384, our sincerest thanks for any assistance you can provide in contacting the CPF or Assemblyman Portantino. This issue transcends any internal organizational politics and your support for amending AB 384 is very much appreciated.

New Addition: For time sake, those from the CDF or municipal departments that support an amendment are asked to email Ted Blanchard, Higher Education Committee policy analyst at:
ted.blanchard@asm.ca.gov to indicate your support for such an amendment.

Emails to Ted must be received before the end of business tomorrow to be included in the policy analysis.


Casey Judd
Business Manager

3/22 Ab,

There is some valid info in the linked Powerpoint from Fire Geek, regarding land ownership and fuel types on the San Jac District, but the slide showing the houses and trees is not representative of the burn over site and folks should know this to avoid mis-information being generated.

To really know, you should walk the site and look down the canyon to the ENE.  

Please sign me "A Ranger in CA".

3/22 Hey there, here's some links for fire pants from our advertisers, each links direct to their clothing/pants page (hopefully).  OA.

The Supply Cache

Mallory Fire

National Firefighter Corp.

True North Gear (fleece lined)

3/22 Regional Forester (R6) Linda Goodman and Special Agent-in-Charge Tom Lyons:

It is with deep sadness I inform you of the funeral arrangements for our Law Enforcement Officer Shane A. Wyrsch.  Officer Wyrsch passed away March 19 leaving behind his wife Zoe and sons Marcus and Kai.

We have lost a co-worker, a partner and a friend.  Shane was a consummate professional who was dedicated to his job and the agency, serving 16 years.  As an agency and law enforcement family we stand ready to assist and support the family.

The family has requested participation from the agency during the funeral services.  Agency law enforcement personnel have been requested and are authorized to participate and attend the visitation/funeral services.  You are encouraged to communicate with your immediate supervisor to confirm attendance.

Visitation Information
Viewing will occur at the Week’s Funeral Home, located at 451 Cemetery Rd., Buckley, WA on Thursday, March 22, 2007 – 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Funeral Services
Services will be held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, on Friday, March 23, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.  A processional after the service is open to everyone in a government vehicle.

For those wishing to make a donation, an account has been set up at Bank of America. The account name is the Shane Wyrsch Family Benevolent Fund. For out of state donations, please specify to the bank that this is a Washington account.

3/22 Fire Geek,

I am with you on looking at expanded and newer techno stuff to improve firefighter safety... and like you, I know the folks you mention as experts... but the pps/ppt that you shared was a show stopper... it was like a cliff hanger that didn't lead forward....  Where does this go?

Is there more to the story?
3/22 Lobotomy,

After talking with my friends in LACoFD Local 1014.... I believe they also have the backs of the federal firefighters and their families covered in the California legislation. It isn't a CPF or IAFF or FWFSA thing..... It is a firefighter thing.

It is about doing what is right.

I can't see why a simple wording change would not happen to meet the intent of firefighters throughout the state..... none the less, the intent of the State Assembly and the State Senate members who proposed the legislation.

With many members of the two largest locals of CPF supporting a simple amendment of AB 384....I can't see it going anywhere else. I also have spoken with many of the smaller locals... they are also on the same page.

.... but the leaders of the "locals" need to act now and LEAD UP.... and cut through the BS.

Always Remember

3/22 Sad news...

Monday night, the 19th, Mount Baker/Snoqualmie NF LEO Shane Wyrsch was killed on his way home. Shane was driving home and hit by a pickup that crossed the centerline.

I went to college with Shane and can tell you he was every bit as strong in mind and spirit as he was in body. May he rest in peace.

link to the story from the Seattle PI http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_forest_service_fatal.phpl


p.s.> if someone from the Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie can post memorial information, that would be great.
3/22 Hotshots to Smokejumpers to Managers

It seems a few were missed:

Leslie Anderson- 4 years of hotshots / MSO Smokejumper 1984-?/MTDC for
equipment and development
Deanne Shulman - 4 years of hotshots / McCall Smokejumper 1980-1982 /
Manager in Region 5
Kelly Esterbrook - 3 years of hotshots / Redmond Smokejumper 1984-? / FMO
Kim Maynard - 6 years of hotshots (Bitterroot) / MSO Smokejumper
1982-1990/PhD in D.C.
Renee Lamoreaux- 3 years of hotshots / Redmond Smokejumper 1989-2004 - AFMO
Shelly Crook- hotshot / NCSB Smokejumper 1990/Fire Staff in New Mexico
Ali Cushman-9 years / Boise Smokejumper and still jumping from 1993 to
present/crew manager
Paige Houston - 8 years of hotshots (Bitterroot/Lolo) / Alaska Smokejumper
Casey Rose - NCSB / Boise / McCall Smokejumper 1989-2004/AFMO
Diane Pryce - Redding / Alaska Smokejumper 1989-? / Air Attack Manager

I am sure I may have missed a few but don't know the history behind them.

No Name

Thank you. Ab.

3/21 Re: California AB 384 and a simple wording change would make a positive change

I believe that in order to qualify for the continuance of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) following a line of duty death, the surviving spouse and/or family members must have been covered under an existing FEHBP plan for the previous twelve months. In any case, I believe temporary, term (not including a 365 day +1 appointment or greater),  and some SCEP's aren't covered by the continuance of coverage since they weren't covered by the FEHBP in the first place.

The health insurance coverage provision of AB 384 covers the "uninsured spouse" and children of fallen federal firefighters.

Side note: I know several firefighters who cancel their health benefits when they are placed into non-pay status (ie. - 13/13, 18/8, and some SCEP appointments) because they cannot afford the premiums when they are unemployed. Once they are back in pay status, they re-initiate their coverage..... risky.

Regarding the educational assistance proposed under AB 384..... it is pretty hard to send a kid to college on the $840 a month provided by the PSOB-EA program. AB 384 would be a great addition to the benefits in allowing the kids of our fallen brothers and sisters to go to college without fees or tuition.

California Assembly Bill 384 seeks to add on to the protection of our fallen firefighters and their families.... but it falls short and needs a simple amendment..... They can do amendment to the bill.... they did one on March 19th.....

The wording should be changed from "permanent career civilian federal firefighters" to "civilian federal firefighters".

After talking with many of my CAL FIRE friends today, I believe CAL FIRE has got the backs of their federal firefighters in California covered on this legislation!!!!

3/21 Here are a few more additions for the Hotshot/SJ to Fire Manager list:

Dale Dague – Smokejumper at MSO in the 70’s
Joe Stutler – Smokejumper at MSO in the 70’s
Lindon Weibe – Smokejumper at MSO; Deputy FFMO Gila NF; Fire Specialist, WO; Deputy Director, SPF R-2
Chuck McElwain – Redding Hotshots; DFMO on the MDF; T-2 IC for ORCA IMT; Deputy Forest FMO on the Fremont in R6
Alan Pinkerton – Redding Hotshots; DFMO Sawtooth; DR on Humboldt-Toyabe NF
Greg Power – Stanislaus Hotshots; DFMO on the CNF; R-5 Fire Training Officer; USDA Emergency Response Training Coordinator
Joe Millar – Chilao Hotshots; DFMO on the BDF; FFMO SHF
Buck Latapie – Hobart Hotshots; Bitterroot Hotshots; R-6 Fire Training Officer; Branch Chief for Fire Training; WO, Ass’t Fire Director, WO

3/21 Sounds like portable pumps and chain saws may cause interference with digital radios.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs is alerting its members to a potential issue and soliciting their input to a solution. The IAFC has received reports of firefighters experiencing unintelligible audio communications while using a digital two-way portable radio when operating in close proximity to the low-pressure alarm of their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). In addition, other common fireground noise, including powered tools, apparatus and PASS devices, may affect voice intelligibility.

This is an industry-wide issue and is not specific to any one manufacturer’s radios. There are indications that any digital voice communication product utilizing parametric voice encoders could be affected by this problem. The IAFC does know the problem is not related to any specific radio spectrum, as it is not a frequency of operation issue, or a particular communication standard.

Due to these reports, the IAFC board of directors has asked the Communications Committee to form a working group to work with other IAFC committees and sections and other appropriate organizations to investigate and provide recommendations to address this concern. The specific focus of the group will be to:

  • Fully understand the facts and identify potential solutions that may be required.
  • Facilitate industry collaboration among the communications equipment manufacturers to explore options to mitigate or eliminate this concern.
  • Recommend best practices for digital portable radio use on the fireground.

The IAFC is asking you to contact the Communications Working Group if you have experienced similar issues. Go to: www.iafc.org/digitalproblem <http://www.iafc.org/digitalproblem> to learn more about the tests you can conduct to provide the working group the information it needs to study the issue and make recommendations.

Your input is vital to ensure that digital radio technology can be effectively utilized in fireground applications. The IAFC fully understands that many fire departments are using digital radio systems with success, but there may be issues related to voice transmission being interfered with or overridden when common fireground noise is in the background. We appreciate your assistance in testing your systems and reporting back to the above link.

Take Care,

3/21 Speaking of benefits, good article on msn.com about firefighters families being
denied the PSOB. It has happened to families that I know......


Safety officers denied on-duty death benefits

3/21 To add on to Lori Greeno's post. I had Lori down on the Cleveland for our
Module Leaders Workshop. We had her speak on the subject of Survivor
Benefits "How to Prepare Your Family to Survive". We made this a family
attendance (spouses, girl/boy friends and parents). Lori did an awesome
job on a very sensitive and sometimes hard to talk about subject. The
workshop evaluations showed how well Lori impacted the audience and how
important it was to have the employees family member there with them.

Thanks again Lori for being part of our family and sharing yours!!

Jim Huston
Acting Supt. for Laguna Hotshots
3/21 Jumpers to Fire Managers...
(MSO 1975)
Active Years Jumped: mso 75-77
District Ranger - Bighorn NF

(LGD 1974)
Active Years Jumped: lgd 74-77 gac 83-87
FFMO - Salmon-Challis NF

(RDD 1973)
Active Years Jumped: rdd 73,74

(RDD 1965)
Active Years Jumped: rdd 65-72

(MYC 1983)
Active Years Jumped: myc 83 mso 84-01
Lolo IR - 1982
AFFMO Chippewa-Superior NF

(NIFC 1971)
Active Years Jumped: boi 71-73 mso 74-77,79,80,84 rdd 94
DFMO - Bitterroot NF

(MSO 1950)
Active Years Jumped: mso 50,54,55
DFMO - Lolo NF

(CJ 1966)
Active Years Jumped: cj 66-77
FFMO - Salmon-Challis NF

(MSO 1975)
Active Years Jumped: mso 75-88
DFMO - Bitterroot NF

(MSO 1974)
Active Years Jumped: mso 74-79
DFMO - Payette NF
FFMO - Bitterroot NF

(RAC 1972)
Active Years Jumped: rac 72-75,77,78 lgd 76
Director - Fire and Aviation

(MSO 1957)
Active Years Jumped: mso 57,58 rdd 59,65-67

(RAC 1970)
Active Years Jumped: rac 70,71
Forest Supervisor - El Dorado NF

(MSO 1975)
Active Years Jumped: mso 75-79 gac 85-87
Asst. Director - Fire, Aviation, and Air, R1

(CJ 1978)
Active Years Jumped: cj 78,80

(MYC 1959)
Active Years Jumped: myc 59

(MSO 1954)
Active Years Jumped: mso 54,55
FFMO - Lolo NF
Another Father of WFU

(MSO 1977)
Active Years Jumped: mso 77-95

(MSO 1977)
Active Years Jumped: mso 77-87
DFMO - Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF

(MSO 1975)
Active Years Jumped: mso 75-78,83-88
DFMO - Beaverhead-Deerlodge
NF, Lewis and Clark NF, Idaho Panhandle NF

(MSO 1971)
Active Years Jumped: mso 71-75,85
DFMO - Idaho Panhandle NF

(GAC 1982)
Active Years Jumped: gac 82-87
DFMO - Lewis and Clark NF

(MYC 1983)
Active Years Jumped: myc 83-88
AFFMO - Payette NF

(MYC 1972)
Active Years Jumped: myc 72-74 boi 75-79 mso 80-86,89-96

(LGD 1975)
Active Years Jumped: lgd 75-78

NoName SJ-->Manager

I say, you guys/gals organized or what! Thanks, Ab.

3/21 Dear Old C Rat:

Sorry I can't divulge actual membership numbers but suffice it to say, the potential membership across the country far outweighs the actually membership.

We constantly have to address two points of view from folks who haven't joined:

1) I haven't really seen the FWFSA do anything (hope they're not cashing in on that 1121 OT code)
2) folks want to see dramatic changes overnight

A great deal of our new members over the last year have candidly indicated that they sat on the fence for a long while. I truly wish we could fix things overnight but it just doesn't happen...even for the largest of unions or organizations.

As far as the sinking ship, I too am frustrated with the frequent position of agency fire leadership that they "work for the Administration" and have to go along with what it says and wants to do. POPPYCOCK!!

In fact in Portland last week I had a good long discussion with the Deputy Forest Service Fire & Aviation Director about this very subject. He indicated that if the Administration gave the FS fire program $1.00, the FS would gladly accept it and say what wonderful things they could accomplish with it, although I did sense that having to tow that line gets tiring for him and others.

I politely disagreed and said it was high time that the fire folks stand up and educate OMB about their nonsensical budget ideas and educate the Administration on the true needs of the fire program. Unfortunately, the inability for anyone to actually do that or even want to do that from the fire side of the house is compounded by the lack of fire experience & expertise by the Undersecretary of the USDA, the Secretary of the USDA and even the Chief of the Forest Service and so many line officers who are part & parcel to developing & implementing fire policy.

I can't agree with you more about not abandoning the ship. Exercise your voice and take the ship over if necessary. A sign that firefighter's voices are being heard in Congress was a recent exchange between Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and USDA Undersecretary Mark Rey. In response to a comment from Mr. Rey, the Senator stated "well, that's not what we hear from your firefighters in the field."

That small retort by a powerful senator resonates like an echo and should be a sign to all firefighters, old & young that now is the time to stand up, voice your opinion and make a difference. It can be done. I again refer to the recent position finally taken by the FS on the liability issue. That position was taken as a result of the stunningly loud voice of firefighters across the country demanding their agency stand up and take a position.

As our FWFSA brochures state: It's your voice/It's your future.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
3/21 Lobotomy,

The spouses and children of fallen federal firefighters already get medical coverage - for life for the spouse, unless they remarry, and the children until age 23 if they stay in school. Also, if the fallen firefighter qualifies for the PSOB both the spouse and children (up to age 27), they qualify for the PSOBEA - educational assistance. Right now it stands at $840 a month for a full time student.

I went down to San Diego last week and spoke to all their fire folk about benefits for the surviving families. I hope that I will get a chance to do this at other forests. Most people have no idea what benefits the families get.

Lori Greeno

Thanks so much for sharing that Lori. I'm so proud of you and glad you're part of this community. John's memory lives on in you and those you touch as well as in my memory... Ab.

3/21 A while back someone wrote in saying something about the Captain wants the
ship to sink. Well, I have to agree with that individual. I think the
Captain of the forest service ship wants it to sink. From what I see and
experience on a daily basis, the forest service is self destructing. I know
the captain of my forest wants the fire management program here to sink and
so does his puppet management team. What is happening to the forest service
is disgusting and it is because of the non-leadership we have at all
levels. The fire program on my forest has been cut, the supervisors office
blames the budget, but it is not a budget problem and that has been proven.
The "management team" listens not to any of its District Fire Management
Officers. Morale is lower than I've ever seen it. Good people are leaving
because there is absolutely no support. I truly believe the captain is
sinking the program on purpose. But who do you go to? Where do you turn?

The FMOs and many others in fire know the program has been neutralized.
Letters have been sent and phone calls made to the region. Stand up
complaints and well founded arguments have been made. The region won't
answer. The captain wants his own ship to sink. The agency talks a big
safety line, but when fire and emergency suppression programs, resources,
and personnel are cut below anyone's draw down level and continually dumped
on, it shows me that's all it is, talk. When the agency and its
administrators won't listen to their own experienced Firefighters with over
20, 25, or 30 years of experience, it shows me it's all talk. When non-fire
agency administrators who don't know their rear end from a hot rock about
fire trash their fire programs and treat their fire people like crap, it
shows me, it's all talk.

I think a lot about our brother firefighters on the Esperanza fire, and all
of our brother and sister firefighters who have lost their lives protecting
the people and resources of this country. And I am sickened by the way the
forest service kicks the fire management program and our firefighters
around. Those brave firefighters who have lost their lives while trying to
protect others are not any different from you or me. They rolled out of the
station responding to an emergency just like we have hundreds and thousands
of times over the years. And due to the fact that it's not a perfect world,
with static conditions, and because of terrible situations, circumstances,
blow-ups, mechanical failures or accidents they didn't get to come home.
They rolled out as professionals, prepared to do their best, prepared to
protect others lives, others homes, and the country's natural resources.
They are among our nations finest and so are all of our wildland
firefighters. This is a very noble profession, but also an inherently
dangerous profession. And the forest service should be doing EVERYTHING it
can to ensure we are at our best, and that we have the support to perform a
risky and dangerous job to the best of our ability. By it's acts or
omissions of acts the forest service is not doing everything it can for
it's firefighters or it's fire management programs, and for that the agency
should be ashamed, but it's not, and that is the problem.

There are so many good and professional young firefighters out there. They
are truly an inspiration. I thought I heard someone say a while back there
were only 400 FWFSA members. Is that true Casey? There ought to be 4,000.
Let fire management stand together as the strong team that we are. We're
stronger together, than we are as individuals and we're going to need all
the strength we can get.

One more thing, When the captain wants the ship to sink, all the sailors
shouldn't abandon ship. The captain should be removed and a Captain who is
a leader should be assigned to take over and get the ship steered on the
right course again. I think it is time for a federal wildland fire
department with experienced fire leaders steering the ship.

Just had to get this off my chest today,

Old C-Rat

Good to hear other regions than R5 speaking out Old C-Rat. Ab.

3/21 sj's now FMOs

Kurt Werst - now Salmon Challis FMO - was Grangeville SJ. I'm guessing late 70's, early 80's.
Also DFMO on Kootenai and Francis Marion NF's.

no name.

3/21 Got a question from someone who wants to know

Who has a good deal on fire pants?


3/21 Anyone have any info on the SJ Crews these Fire Managers began on? Thanks, Ab.


3/21 AKFSS,

I hope that the Federal land management agencies utilize the power of mobile GIS to help on-scene incident commanders to make sound tactical decisions. I recently attended a presentation by CA Deputy Fire Marshall Kate Dargan at the Wildland Urban Interface Conference in Reno. She announced that next month CAL FIRE will provide data for every acre in the state depicting hazards, risks and values. Russ Johnson conducted a similar spatial analysis for the entire San Bernardino National Forest when he was the Deputy Chief there about 12 years ago. Here is a link to the area where the Esperanza Fire burned www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2006/risk-assessment.pps as an example.

Fire Geek
3/21 This came in. Ab.

Subject: PM Evergreen Supertanker "STOP WORK" Order

I regret to advise you that the Evergreen Supertanker program and Evergreen
Supertanker Services Inc. have been given a "Stop Work" order from the
Evergreen Corporate Headquarters.

As of close of business, Tuesday, 21 March 2007, the Evergreen Supertanker
office in Marana, AZ. will be closed for business. All questions and
concerns should be directed to the following individuals:

Technical - Tom Pitzer, Sr. VP Maintenance and Engineering, Evergreen
International Airlines, 800.<snip>

Finance (Invoice Submittal) - Mike Hines, President, EASL, 800.<snip>

Mailing address for both individuals: Evergreen Aviation, 3850 Three Mile
Lane, McMinnville, OR 97128-9496

Both Bob McAndrew and I are very sorry about the situation we are currently
in. If there are any up-dates to this situation, I will be sure to pass it
along to you.

Good luck in your endeavors and thank you for your assistance in our
Supertanker Program.

John Breitenbach
Vice President
Evergreen Supertanker Services

3/21 Bostondude -

As far as Red Card certification, that is something that you will receive upon completing the initial firefighter training, and pass the Work Capacity Test. In many case a "fire school" is put on with classroom instruction and introduction into the basics of wildland fire fighting. Frequently towards the end of this training a mock fire or actual test fire is started so you can get a feel for what the job is like.

There is also a physical examination process in many places out West that can be lengthy and bureaucratically cumbersome to navigate. The sooner this hurdle can be cleared the better for you, and a potential employer.

Fire season in the Southwest (AZ) will be starting soon, if not going already. Many crews start the hiring process in January or earlier. Persistence is key to getting a job. Anywhere from dozens, to hundreds or more compete for certain positions.

Be careful though, the job has a way of getting into your blood. Best of luck.

3/21 Rookie Teacher,

Good morning! By no means am I a expert on the subject of Fire shelters and or training on them, but let me give you what we do as a department on a quarterly and yearly basis. First and foremost, watch the "New generation fire shelter video". Take your time, field questions, open a new shelter and show them what they look like. Really dive into the do's and don't on deployment (acceptable) areas. Practice all day everyday for three to four days. Incorporate line construction to add the fatigue factor into the picture. Lead from the front and correct mistakes immediately. Let them know that this is a last resort tool in their toolbox of knowledge. Let them know that the best fire shelter they could ever possess is the one between their ears! (the brain).

Have a good time, train hard and lead from the front, hope this helps.........

3/21 Bostondude,

Getting a job as a firefighter with feds is by no means the same as any other job. It's a delicate balance between the somewhat impersonal avue/usajobs process and good old fashioned meet and greet with a potential employer. As for the forestry tech part, it is part of a series known as 0462, which is a pretty broad series. A "forestry tech" can be anything from a hotshot to a timber cruiser to a lookout. If I were you, and I have been, I would get on a first name basis with a crewboss/engine boss/superintendent/AFMO/FMO and get your questions answered. From there, stay on it. During this time of year things are usually pretty up in the air as far as budget, staffing, and start dates but you'll never know unless you ask someone who has a finger on the pulse. Good luck, and we'll see ya out there!


3/21 Re: IHC->Fire Manager

A couple more:

Marty Alexander PhD, Bighorn IR Crew (1972-1973) - Fire Researcher and Senior Fire Behavior Research Officer with the Canadian Forest Service.

Mick McCormick, Del Rosa Hotshots was also a Type 2 IC on SoCal Team 3.
3/21 Well, I've had birthday candles in my tech bag since
before Ed King, down the road here a few miles, sold
his radio company to Bendix (BK Radio), fixed radios
for General Electric since the General was a 2nd Lt.,
OK, that's enough. I sound like a geezer.

Anyway, I have dripped candle wax into radio circuits
to prevent movement of components for many years with
nary a wisp of smoke yet. I dare say there are still
some public safety repeaters sitting on northern
California mountain tops with my birthday candle wax
in them. I think my wax experiment is a success.

Hotshot Dad, retired to the Great Plains and a big fan
of our Wildland Firefighters. Stay safe.
3/21 On February 20th at the Annual NWSA Convention, the membership voted on a new dues structure! We have a flat rate of $200 for voting membership for all contract companies, and a NEW MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY for individual membership. This is for those agency personnel, AD Firefighters, single resource operators that want to keep abreast of what is happening in the contract world. They will receive "Fireline", the newsletter of the NWSA, and access to member only section of the NWSA website. To join, you can go to our website at www.nwsa.us and download the application under Join NWSA in the menu!

Be safe out there this season!

Deborah K. Miley
Executive Director
National Wildfire Suppression Association
3/21 Re: AB 384

In addition to educational benefits, AB 384 would also provide health benefits to the surviving spouse and children of fallen federal firefighters in California.

Casey, like you, I am concerned that the Assembly Bill falls short for many reasons.

To see why some federal wildland firefighters feel offended by the CPF sponsored legislation, please visit:

I would like to see the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) step up and correct this simple wording problem in the legislation. I would also like to see folks in California to contact their Assembly Members and their State Senators to correct this "wording problem" and SUPPORT AB 384.

The wording should be changed from "permanent career civilian federal firefighters" to "civilian federal firefighters". It seems so simple.

From CPF:

"California's civilian federal firefighters risk everything to protect our wildlands from devastating fire, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with state and local first responders. As we learned when five US Forest Service firefighters died in the Esperanza Fire, they also bear the same losses."

"Giving these men and women and their families the respect they deserve is at the heart of CPF-sponsored legislation introduced this week by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena)."

If CPF and the IAFF have learned anything, CPF... Give "the men and women and their families" and their co-workers the respect, and ask Assemblyman Portantino to do a simple amendment to his bill..... otherwise, the CPF an the IAFF have deeply offended the federal wildland fire community again.

Hopefully our CAL FIRE (Local 2881) brothers and sisters have got our back!!!

3/20* Ab,

You can add Mike Cherry DFMO TNF. He was a former ENF Hot shot.


3/20 AKFSS,

I did some reading on Appropriate Management Response (APR) and found that the Fed Agencies are to develop AMR for each Fire Management Unit identified in their Fire Management Plan (FMP). The FMP in turn is to tier to the direction set for in the units Land and Resource Management Plan. Suppression actions would be developed that fall with in the AMR for the location of the fire. This information is conveyed to the IC via the Wildfire Situation Analysis (WFSA).

You asked, -Will fire management types be able to say, "yes, I will only suppress this fire on one flank", -

If that is what they have been directed to do through the WFSA and the delegation of authority then that is what they should do.

Midwest Fire Guy
3/20* Bill Williams

1968-1973 Sawtooth NF IR Crew Foreman
1974-1978 Sawtooth NF FCO
1978-1991 Payette NF Forest Aviation Officer
1991-2003 Chief Fire Warden Southern Idaho Timber Protective Assn.

1989-1991 Type One IC Region 4 (Williams)

1992-2003 Numerous Type Two IC assignments in Region 4

All told, 17 years on a Great Basin Type One team in one capacity or another, usually Line Boss or Operations Chief.

An amazing career for one of the best firemen I ever worked with or for.

To change the subject the Sawtooth Hotshot (IR) crew is celebrating its 40th anniversary this April 14th.

(signed) Don't call me a Hot Shot!!!

3/20 I heard Mike Dietrich is now the Assistant Fire and Aviation for R-5. Any conformation.


Mike started as the Region 5 Deputy Fire Director on March 18th. He is on a 120 day detail. Sounds good to me. Ab.



The California Fallen Federal Firefighter Survivor Assistance Act of 2007

An admirable idea falls short

Recently Assembly member Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) introduced the above entitled bill sponsored by the California Professional Firefighters (CPF). The legislation would add federal firefighters to the list of local & state firefighters in California whose surviving spouse and/or children would be provided guaranteed access to a college education through fee waivers from California's public colleges and universities.

At face value, such legislation is very admirable. Unfortunately, the Author and sponsors of the legislation have used the Esperanza tragedy to advance the legislation without benefit of the facts as they relate to those who perished on Esperanza and the eligibility requirements of the legislation. Naturally, the FWFSA would have been honored to have been consulted with so as to provide the sponsors and the author with pertinent factual information but we were not.

The point is that the legislation specifically refers to " permanent career civilian federal firefighters." Obviously having no obligation to do so, had the sponsors and the Author consulted with the FWFSA, we would have made it very clear that based on the legislation as written, spouses and children of 3 of the 5 firefighters who perished on the Esperanza Fire would not benefit from the legislation because the deceased were not permanent career civilian federal firefighters, they were temporary firefighters.

As a result, the FWFSA has spoken to staff from the Author's office and has attempted to make contact with the CPF as well as spoken to policy analysts preparing for a hearing on the bill March 27th suggesting that if they are to use the Esperanza tragedy to advance this bill, perhaps they should be aware of the bill's application "limitations" and consider amending the bill to include temporary firefighters.

As those in the federal wildland firefighting community know, it has been an exhaustive effort educating Congress on the need for basic health care & eligibility to FEGLI for our temporary firefighters who often make up nearly 46% of staffing in any given year and who bleed and die just like permanent career firefighters. Having a state law exclude temporary firefighters could validate the opinion held by those who believe temporary firefighters should not receive such benefits.

I personally have tremendous respect for CPF President Lou Paulsen and the organization as a whole. I hope that they will take this opportunity to amend AB 384 to include the families of all firefighters.

Casey Judd
Business Manager

3/20 I'm looking for tips on facilitating a fire shelter deployment drill.

Rookie Teacher
3/20 Ab

The NPS morning report, today reported that

"Division Chief And Deputy Chief Named

Mike Wallace has been named the chief of the Division of Fire and Aviation Management and Tom Nichols has been selected as his deputy. Both of these national level positions are located at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

As the division chief, Wallace will be responsible for the overall leadership and policy and program direction for the wildland fire, structural fire, and aviation management programs for the National Park Service."

Also for Hotshot Dad

If one were to put candle wax on the antenna threads it might cause the radio to self destruct; just when it is needed most. As a sealer after the antenna screwed in tight but not on threads.


3/20 I basically searched the web looking for a wildland fire forum to help with some question that I have about getting a job. Any help is greatly appreciated.

My main question is about the qualifications needed to start off as a forestry/range tech. First, is the forestry/range tech the same as wildland firefighter or is it more of an entry level thing where you gain experience and eventually become a wildland firefighter? Also, I've applied for these positions both in MA and AZ and all it stated is that I am qualified for the GS 2/3 position and there is no mention of the red card certification. I am unsure if this is something I have obtain or if I will be trained at the entry level aid position and then have a chance to go for it. I have searched all over MA over the internet for classes concerning the Red Card and have gotten nothing back. As for AZ I havent researched much yet. I simply applied out there because I have lived there and it would be an easy transition to move back out there for a job.

Finally, how long does this season generally last and is it common for individuals sustain a full time job with the agency when the season is over?



Welcome, Bostondude. This is the right place for your question. Take a look at the job FAQ first. Most of your questions will be addressed there. If you still have questions, ask and we'll try to get them answered. Ab.

3/20 For situational awareness, the SW Predictive Services has updated their
seasonal assessment yesterday.

Attached is the link if you are interested...

The Northwest National Interagency Incident Management Team 3 is up #3
Nationally after 0900 this morning and will be #2 before their rotation is
over. Team 2 will be up #2 then #1 during their rotation starting March
27, 2007.


3/20 Many thanks Chuck Grennell (Oak Grove, 1968) for the historical info on the Oak Grove hotshots: From the Pace, October 1968 article, jacket patch, logo images, and letter. Very interesting. Anything you can find out from remaining buddies would be appreciated. It sounds like the Oak Grove and the Chilao were funded from the same monies. I moved the Oak Grove forward in the historical list. IHC->Fire Manager


3/20 This came in. Ab.

Here's the 2007 FS Program Direction for Wildland Fire Management, a 284K doc file

You can also find it on the FS Intranet as a pdf file:

3/20 Re Vibrating antenna:


I remember in the old days when good antennas had a
horizontal hole in the threads which was filled with a
very soft waxy material of some kind. This offered
resistance to the threads moving. An easy alternative
is a few drops of candle wax on the antenna threads.
If the wax is warm when the antenna is screwed on, all
the better.

Hotshot Dad

3/19 Ab,

There is a compound called ‘megalock”.

I think it can be found in most real good plumbing supply shops. It is some
of the stuff used on submarines and ultra high pressure lines. This stuff does
not harden up like locktite and some other materials. Someone close to a
Navy base or having contacts in the navy might be able to come up with
the civilian variant.


3/19 Ab

In response to Ron Marley's question about locking antennas so they do not come loose.
Today there are so many kinds of Loctite that if one wanted to use it one should contact
the area Loctite rep. And of course it would not hurt to talk to the COMT responsible
for the gear.

However keep in mind someone will eventually have to take that antenna off. I would
suggest colored finger nail polish, thick kind without glitter; it can be gotten off or broken
and the guy that needs to take the antenna off can see it. Used for years to lock "tweaks"
on analog equipment. Sometimes it may take several coats.

Also silicone sealer should work. In either case make sure the antenna is tight and then
apply your chosen material. Just make sure it does not get into the threads. Keep it on
the metal if possible.


3/19 Ab,

Another person for your record of folks that headed up the ladder from the ranks of IHC.....
Mary Farnsworth was on the Redmond Hot shots. She spent some years as a Div Chief on
the El Dorado NF and now is a District Ranger on the Payette. See.... not all line officers
are forester clones.


Thanks. Ab.

3/19 Ron Marley

There is a problem with thread locking items like Loctite. They attach the connector at the top of a BK radio to the antenna better than the connector is attached to the radio. A turn of less than 10 degrees of this connector will put the radio out of commission. There is a small capacitor and inductor soldered to the end of the connector and these either break or badly detune when the connector is rotated. The end result is a radio out of commission.

With the antenna seated hand snug, put the rubber side connector cover on with its retaining ring pressed down on the bottom of the antenna--it will help prevent the antenna from working loose. Avoid grabbing the radio by the antenna.

Hope this helps!

3/19 If this has been reported previously, my apologies, but I just found out about it.

On February 26, 2007, the Montana state Senate passed by a vote of 50 to 0, a bill (SB 404) which addresses the issue of firefighter liability. The state House Judiciary committee will have a hearing on the bill on March 27, 2007. The text of the bill as it left the Senate is as follows:

"Liability of firefighters. (1) a firewarden, firefighter, or officer or employee of a state or governmental fire agency is not criminally liable for acts or omissions while fighting fires other than acts or omissions committed with demonstrable criminal intent."

This will not solve the problem for USFS firefighters, but it is a major step in the right direction for all of the other firefighters in Montana. Hopefully other states will jump on the bandwagon.

Bill Gabbert

3/19 California Fire Costs:

This came in from a fed colleague and I wanted to pass the note on. I've seen the
other files (links at the bottom) circulating within CalFire.

SoCal CalFire (formerly SoCal CDF)


You really need to read this!! I asked the person who sent this to me if it was OK to send to you. Working with CalFire on this issue might benefit both State and Fed agencies. CalFire's responses are 70% med runs, (their schedule A makes up alot of this) and 1% on veg fires. Yet they spend 70% of their time on veg fires. As the Forest Service cuts back on IA thinking it will keep within its budget doing this, it only adds to additional P codes or large fire cost. CalFire at least understands this and keeps its IA at the same level. The rising costs are due to increased wages, an additional 15% growth in the urban interface, added fuels, multiple starts and two thirds of the fires caused by someone in CA. All adds up...


The Legislative Analysts Office (CA) appears to have CalFire in their crosshairs.
Here's some info on CDF operations:

CalFire and LAO (pdf file)

CalFire and NR Subcommittee 031407 (pdf file)

3/19 Fireline EMTs please note:

Chest compressions, Not Breaths, Better CPR

Chest compression - not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation - seems to be the key in helping someone recover from cardiac arrest, according to new research that further bolsters advice from heart experts.

A study in Japan showed that people were more likely to recover without brain damage if rescuers focused on chest compressions rather than rescue breaths, and some experts advised dropping the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR altogether. The study was published in Friday's issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

More than a year ago, the American Heart Association revised CPR guidelines to put more emphasis on chest presses, urging 30 instead of 15 for every two breaths given. Stopping chest compressions to blow air into the lungs of someone who is unresponsive detracts from the more important task of keeping blood moving to provide oxygen and nourishment to the brain and heart. (etc)

3/19 Radio technicians,

Does anyone know of a product (that does not impede transmission performance), which can be applied to the threads of a whip antenna to prevent the antenna from vibrating out of a radio? My aged memory recalls something (barely) from my military days that we used on BK radios for just that purpose. For all I know it was nothing more than Loctite in an OD bottle.


Ron Marley
3/19 Has anyone noticed how messed up this website is unless you're running
Internet Explorer browser? All the other fire sites I've looked at so far are
OK. Anyone know if this site is new or in transition or has some other
reason its doesn't work across browsers (like Netscape)?


Browsing fire sites...

3/19 From Firescribe: Here's some good news.

New Mexico House Bill 507--WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER CRIMINAL LIABILITY legislation signed
by Governor, March 13th. Text of House Bill 507 at this link: http://legis.state.nm.us

SF New Mexican news article: Firefighter supervisors get protection

3/19 Here are two more:
Plumas - Larry Craggs is now DFMO
Lassen - Dave Ramierez is now DFMO

And to fill in:
Craggs was a crewmember on Plumas in '82, a crewmember on Redding in '85 and detailed foreman on Plumas in '86
Dave Rameirez was a foreman on Lassen from I believe '94 or '95 to '99
Tom Hatcher was Supt on Plumas from '81 to '87
Kent Swartzlander was Supt on Plumas from '88 to 2000

3/19 Ab,

Acree Shreve was a Flagstaff Hotshot (don't know the years) and now holds the
Descanso District FMO position on the Cleveland. Cool list.

3/19 Mike "Appy" Apicello was a member on the Siskiyou IR crew in the early 70's.
He then went to the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base and did some seasons there at
the "Gobi" just before they shut down "the sleepy little base" in SW Oregon.
The "Gobi" is now being placed on the register of national historic sites....
... and "appy" continues to support firefighters, working the 'traplines at
NIFC and WO FAM. Less visible than in the past, but never shy when it
comes to speaking out for firefighter safety.........

3/18 Rock & Roll Fire Weather

Red Flag Warnings again in Florida, Georgia and parts of Alabama
Extreme Fire Danger - Kansas and Nebraska (RH -20% wind gust to 30+)
Keep Safe

Weather Nerd

3/18 Some corrections to noname401’s corrections

Kent Swartzlander was also the Plumas Hot Shot Sup in the 90s.

It was stated earlier that Truett and Estes serve under IC Molumby, not that they were or are ICs


OK, my bad; I tinkered with the list today, tried to keyboard whip it into shape. Keep a vigilant eye out for inaccuracies. Ab.

3/18 the word on the street

California R5 will host 5 Incident Management Teams this year -- not 4. Apparently CWCG met last with the ICs last week and fielded 5 IMTs. There will likely be a letter or something coming out formally. There are certainly issues for the future which need to be addressed.

CDF will host 10 teams. The question remains as to how many real incidents CAL FIRE is able to staff at one time in the state. Go figure.

Federal IMT's at the Area level will remain at 7 teams. There are a few changes to the So Cal Teams

So Cal 1 IC Norm Walker DPIC Carlton Joseph
So Cal 2 IC Ron Woychak DPIC Rick Marinelli
So Cal 3 IC Dave Fiorella DPIC Mike Wakoski
(These teams do an excellent job of succession planning and the model should continue)

some corrections to a previous post

El Cariso HS:
George Corely was never an El Cariso HS. George started on the original Palomar Hotshots in the mid-seventies and later served as Laguna HS Supt in the late eighties/early ninties. He is retired from the FS and since became Div Chief w/San Bernardino Co FD. George was ICT1 w/CIIMT3 for a brief period before moving on.
Bill Molumby is now a Chief w/FWS at CA-TNR in San Diego County.
Carlton Joseph is Deputy Chief on the CNF. He started on El Cariso HS in the late seventies and also worked on Palomar HS in the early eighties. Also a very brief stint as foreman on Bear Divide HS in mid-eighties.

Currently DPIC on SoCal team 3.

Mike Wakoski is the DPIC for SoCal Team 3.

Mike is currently a Division Chief on the BDF.

Joe Molhoek was a crewmember in the late seventies and is DPIC for NoCal Team 2. Joe is currently a NPS FMO at Hawaii Volcanoes NP.

Palomar HS:
Dave Kerr worked on Palomar HS in the early eighties and served as ICT2 with SoCal Team 2 in early/mid 2000s. Dave was a Div Chief on the LPF and had a recent detail as LPF Chief 1 before returning to an R5 Enterprise Team.

Dave was a Division chief on the ANF -- not LPF. He was also the FMO for the NPS at the Santa Monica Mountains.

Bear Divide:
Long-time Supt Dave Conklin was T2 DPIC on SoCal Team 1 for several years (late 90s? to 2006).
Kent Swartzlander (current CA-SRF CH-1) was a foreman with BDHS in the mid-eighties.

Vista Grande:
Ralph Domanski worked on VG in the mid/late seventies. Was So Ops Training Officer and now Deputy Director of So Ops.

Little Tujunga:
It is my understanding that Norm Walker worked on Little T HS. Norm is ICT2 on SoCal Team 1 and Div Chief on BDF.

Laguna HS:
Neither John Estes or John Truett are ICT1s or ICT2s as listed. John Truett recently completed S-400 and was the only FS employee in R-5 to complete the course.


Thanks Irony. I entered the correct info into. Thanks for info on the teams as well. Ab.

3/18 Ab, regarding BioDiesel in drip torches,

At least we are doing our small part of not buying big oil and helping out
the local community. Also people are right, there are still all the other
carcinogens in the air on a RX/Wildfire, but every little bit helps, right!

Also to the person interested in the mix ratio there is no difference in that
formula, although the bio diesel has a higher flash point.

Signed Bio-Burner

3/17 Some corrections/additions to your IHC to Fire Mgr listings:

El Cariso HS:

  • George Corely was never an El Cariso HS. George started on the original Palomar Hotshots in the mid-seventies and later served as Laguna HS Supt in the late eighties/early ninties. He is retired from the FS and since became Div Chief w/San Bernadino Co FD. George was ICT1 w/CIIMT3 for a brief period before moving on.
  • Bill Molumby is now a Chief w/FWS at CA-TNR in San Diego County.
  • Carlton Joseph is Deputy Chief on the CNF. He started on El Cariso HS in the late seventies and also worked on Palomar HS in the early eighties. Also a very brief stint as foreman on Bear Divide HS in mid-eighties.
  • Mike Wakoski is the DPIC for SoCal Team 3.
  • Joe Molhoek was a crewmember in the late seventies and is DPIC for NoCal Team 2. Joe is currently a NPS FMO at Hawaii Volcanoes NP.

Palomar HS:

  • Dave Kerr worked on Palomar HS in the early eighties and served as ICT2 with SoCal Team 2 in early/mid 2000s. Dave was a Div Chief on the LPF and had a recent detail as LPF Chief 1 before returning to an R5 Enterprise Team.

Bear Divide:

  • Long-time Supt Dave Conklin was T2 DPIC on SoCal Team 1 for several years (late 90s? to 2006).
  • Kent Swartzlander (current CA-SRF CH-1) was a foreman with BDHS in the mid-eighties.

Vista Grande:

  • Ralph Domanski worked on VG in the mid/late seventies. Was So Ops Training Officer and now Deputy Director of So Ops.

Little Tujunga:

  • It is my understanding that Norm Walker worked on Little T HS. Norm is ICT2 on SoCal Team 1 and Div Chief on BDF.

Laguna HS:

  • Neither John Estes or John Truett are ICT1s or ICT2s as listed.


  • I believe that Larry Craggs (Div Chief on PNF) was a past member of this crew.


Thanks. To our benefit, you're just full of information. I made the modifications and additions; included Irony's comments too. Ab.

3/17 Vfd cap’n said:

I think this may, however, be an exception when I actually found something
that could be a real issue.

The 2007 Red Book is in direct conflict with what seems to be pretty
explicit direction in 5109 on fitness standards (not goals) for jumpers. See
http://www.nifc.gov/red_book/2007/Chapter14.pdf, page 3, beginning line 17:

If you are concerned that the jumpers might not be allowed to do their regular fitness, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

a) BLM jumpers don’t reference 5109.17
b) 5109.17 is in a revision as we speak (to bring it closer to 310-1) this conflict may be changed
c) There are a lot more important conflicts between red book and 5109.17 than this one.
d) The jumpers will ultimately do whatever is right in order to insure that they are ready for fire season
e) As with their more rigorous medical requirements, I would be willing to bet that the jumpers have authorization to require a fitness test which meets their needs (wish we could too…)

Bottom line, if you are really worried about them, rest easy. But if you are just trying to stir the pot, and maybe make life harder for folks who don’t mind rigorous fitness, please give it a rest.

noname C

3/17 One former Del Rosa hotshot is Tom Zimmerman PhD, Area Commander and USFS R-3 FMO.

AKFSS, Dr. Z was instrumental in the development of wildland fire use.

I think you might have some misconceptions concerning hotshots and AMR.

> From my experience, hotshots tend to be gentle, thoughtful people, and the AMR philosophy would fit right in with their operations. The reason I believe this is because it is the hotshots who are most often is tasked with implementing aggressive fire tactics in areas where less aggressive tactics would make the most sense. An example of this was a shot crew being assigned to go direct on a wilderness fire when there were plenty of opportunities to reduce exposure by going indirect. When the superintendent asked why this strategy was selected (and for what reason his crew was exposed to a increased hazard) he was told that they were protecting "potential caribou habitat" in an area that has never had a reported caribou sighting. There are numerous other examples where hotshots have paid the price for stupid decisions.

If you ever go to a hotshot reunion you will hear the sound that sound like squeaking door hinges. If you investigate further you will discover that the sound comes from the old timers' knees. With that wear and tear comes some level of wisdom. You will find very few old shots who do not advocate fighting fire safer and smarter. It would be safe bet that the AMR concept came from folks with hotshot backgrounds.

3/17 Something like Appropriate Management Response has often been
used in northern California wilderness areas on large fires in recent


3/17 Here is the status on the fire quilts for John Greeno and Eva Schicke that Nora Chambers is doing for her Senior project at Summerville High School in Tuolumne County. 255 squares, +300 patches received, numerous Nomex, T-shirts, Pants, shirts and assorted materials and memories. The project is due in May and we still have to put everything together, but we'll make it work!

Thank you everyone.
Here a photo of the fire quilts progress.

Marian and Nora Chambers

Nice. Ab.

3/17 VFD cap'n

I think most of us who post on this site do so to in a respectful attempt to provide information and promote the wildland firefighting community as a whole.

Your comment to L--C--ES, in part stated:

"Generally, it is safe to assume with any of my posts that I am just trying to stir the pot, or maybe out trolling for someone like you to take the bait."

With all due respect, do you really have that much time on your hands that you feel your only contribution to this site and the wildland firefighting community should be to stir the pot and "fish" for folks that may not be as enlightened as you?

If those are the only reasons you come to They Said, maybe Ab ought to filter you out for a while. I suspect I'll get a blistering response to you as we haven't very often agreed on things, particularly because I represent federal wildland firefighters and you frequently post quasi-negative comments about what the FWFSA is trying to do and offer your insight into the workings of the federal wildfire programs even though you are not a federal wildland firefighter.

There are an awful lot of pertinent issues out there that folks can share commentary on that strengthens this community, not divide it and knock it down with "I'm smarter than you or I know more than you" adolescence.

If you want to fish, find a body of water. If you want to stir the pot, go get busy in your own kitchen.


3/17 Check out the "Footsteps For Firefighters" section on the www.wffoundation.org/ site. Nice description. Brian Janes, a Klamath Hot Shot, will be completing a 220 mile run through the Klamath National Forest beginning on April 1 to raise awareness of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Donations welcome!

Here's some weekend fun. I just noticed that the Home Foundation page (link above) has a new map on it showing where visitors to their home page "come from". It would be nice to beef that up. Changes may not show up for a week. If you haven't had a chance to browse the whole website, it's pretty interesting.

Tell your friends across the country and around the world to "peek in" for a visit!
Help get the word out.


3/17 L --C--ES,

Generally, it is safe to assume with any of my posts that I am just trying
to stir the pot, or maybe out trolling for someone like you to take the

I think this may, however, be an exception when I actually found something
that could be a real issue.

The 2007 Red Book is in direct conflict with what seems to be pretty
explicit direction in 5109 on fitness standards (not goals) for jumpers. See
http://www.nifc.gov/red_book/2007/Chapter14.pdf, page 3, beginning line 17:

Physical Fitness Standards
The national minimum standards for smokejumpers are:
. 1.5 mile run in 11:00 minutes or less
. 45 sit-ups in 60 seconds
. 25 pushups in 60 seconds
. 7 pull-ups
. 110 lb. packout over 3 miles/level terrain/90 minutes
. Successful completion of the WCT at the arduous level.

vfd cap'n
3/17 Family morning...

I would like to send a belated THANK YOU!!! to all the wonderful fire folks on the Cleveland NF. Not only were you kind enough have me down there, but you all made me feel right at home. I hope it was as helpful for you as it was healing for me. Jim Huston, a big extra thank you for putting the "Family Morning" together. I hope that more forests will take this up - spouses may not want to hear it, but it is something that they need to know. You guys have a safe fire season. I'll be thinking of everyone out there!


PS - Casey, dinner is on me when you come to Sonora. See you on the 28th!

3/17 To all those in the IHC to IC/Fire Management discussion-

So for the last few weeks people have been discussing
and adding to the ongoing, rather large list of former
IHC overhead types that are now IC's for T1 and T2
teams and FMO's, AFMO's, DFMO's, State Directors, etc.

I would like to liven up this thread and am wondering
how many of these people are embracing or even
understand Appropriate Management Response. Can these
same management folks who grew up in a hot shot
suppression world follow the grayish guidelines of
this new fire management policy?

I know the AK folks are on board, because this is the
way they have been responding since the adoption of
Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan in

Will fire management types be able to say, "yes, I
will only suppress this fire on one flank", while
allowing the other sides to burn unchecked? Will they
have any choice? There are all sorts of worse case,
as well as, positive scenarios that can come out of
this new policy....just wondering what others were
thinking...I know there will be definite resistance to
this policy where I currently work.

3/17 One for Texas Canyon.

John Thomas , Foreman on T.C in the 80s, then Supt from 1993
after the legendary Ron Smith (Old Man) retired, until the end of
2001. Then was B.C. for a couple years, and now Asst Chief 3
on the Angeles. J.T is a great leader of fire and fire safety.

Best supervisor I ever worked for.


3/17 Re: Hotshots to Glory

Here’s another: Tim Foley, Pike IR, now West Zone FMO Colorado BLM
I think

FC 180

3/17 Ab ~~

Another one to add to the list is Dan Battreall. He was on both Oak Grove
and Chilo. He was a long time BC on the Hume Lake RD, SQF and was
a ICT2 on one of the forest teams......

Jack Lee

3/17 Vfd cap’n said (3/14):

Just a question on the WCT topic....
How is it that some FS crews have info posted about requiring push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1-1/2 mile run?

vfd cap'n

23.1 - Physical Fitness Requirements
Requirements for physical fitness are identified as arduous, moderate, light, and none. Reference the Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide (310-1) for descriptions.

23.2 - Physical Fitness Measurement
Field units are not authorized to supplement physical fitness standards. The work capacity test is the sole physical fitness measurement recognized by the Forest Service.

Vfd cap’n, I am curious why you brought this up.

I assume that you are referring to what some (if not all) of the IHC’s, Jumpers, etc… post regarding their regular pt routines. The intent is not to supplement the WCT, but to inform the potential employees what they can expect during a regularly scheduled, authorized (and for most) mandatory daily physical fitness routine. In fact, most are probably worded something like…

“ Additional fitness goals for potential employees to work towards include…”

I assume the fitness goals listed below are what you are referring to. They have been around for a long time in one form or another.

  • 1.5 mile run in a time of 10:35 or less
  • 40 sit-ups in 60 seconds
  • 25 push-ups in 60 seconds
  • 6 pull-ups
  • Bench press 1x your body weight
  • Leg press 1.5x your body weight

There was indeed a time when crew overhead could require these fitness benchmarks as part of the determination for fitness for work. These days, they have become goals for the crewmembers to use to assess their level of preparation before the season, and continued fitness throughout. We all know that the pack test is not the best measure of an employee’s ability to meet the demands of the job, any more than basic 32 is the only necessary measure of an applicant’s qualifications for a job.

Imagine where the fire service would be if we did not have folks willing and able to achieve those goals. Imagine if the pack test was the one and only indicator of a firefighters ability to do the arduous work that the hotshots, jumpers, etc… do.

If your question does indeed stem from not having the information, then I hope that I was able to provide some insight.

L --C--ES

3/17 Red Flag warnings today for all of Florida, most of Georgia and parts of Alabama.

Friday sit report:

National Fire Activity (Weekly Total)

Initial attack activity: Moderate (1,745 new fires)
New large fires: 73 (*)
Large fires contained: 72
Uncontained large fires: 6

Southern Area (PL 2)

New fires: 1,622
New large fires: 64
Uncontained large fires: 4
That makes the 3 week total for the Southern Area over 5,000 fires.

Keep safe.

Weather Nerd
3/17 Mellie,

I agree with you that biodiesel appears to be a better product for firefighter safety and for the environment.

With any new use of a product, idea, or technology, I like to take a look at the "law of unintended consequences" before I am sold one way or the other.

I am concerned that without an understanding of the hazards, the pleasurable smell may cause folks to not avoid the products of combustion like many do right now with the current torch mix, and actually result in more exposure. Part of overcoming the "law of unintended consequences" is education of the intent of the change and an acknowledgement of what unintended consequences could occur.

I am open to all new ideas and technology and would like to hear more.

3/17 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician Series) & Series 0455 (Range Technician Series) jobs pages and Series 0401 (Biologist Series) are updated. Each of these series include jobs for wildland firefighters. Ab.
3/16 Here's an email that's circulating behind the scenes. It's a reply to those who want more of Steve Holdsambeck's Little Venus Just Culture presentation. Thanks to those who have sent in this message from Steve. If Steve's reading, thanks. Ab.


Here is FTP site where you can download "my" version of a Little Venus presentation.

I hesitate to send this out because it is so important to get the context correct. However, I've had literally dozens of requests for this. Moreover, I know there are a lot of other versions of Little Venus presentations being spread around. No doubt some are better than mine but at least some consistency would seem appropriate.

I've presented this to many different types of audiences (IHCs, FMOs, Line Officers, Safety Officers, etc.) in 4 different regions. Virtually every time I present it, I'm offered a new challenging question. I have subsequently revised it many times.

In the folder, I have included a brief two pager: "instructions to presenters". I trust that presenters will take seriously my suggestions and take the time to do the pre-reading. Please don't assume the slide show tells the story by itself. This is a FACILITATED PRESENTATION !

I typically precede the presentation with an hour long discussion on Just Culture which sets the context into how this "investigation" (sic) was looking at decision making and organizational learning in an profoundly different way than a traditional serious accident investigation. This is significant because you won't find typical causal factors in the report like "failure to adhere to standard order No. such and such". I don't expect others to be as enthusiastic about Just Culture as I am but a basic understanding on behalf of the presenter is necessary or the conclusions may seem unreasonable. Like the Balls Canyon report and I-90, this was an attempt to look at accidents in the perspective of Doctrinal values and where learning is a hel* of a lot more important than blame. My final scheduled presentation on Little Venus will be at the R-5 Safety Officers conference on April 17. You may want to check back on this FTP site the following week to see if the presentation has been updated again in response to their questions and insights.

And finally, take this at your own risk! I haven't been sanctioned by anyone to officially produce this presentation. It isn't stamped by NWCG or even FS... that is: be advised: my interpretation of the report may not officially represent anybody but me.


You'll need to be on an FS computer to access the ftp. site. If you don't have access to one, I can burn it to a disc and mail it to you when I have the time... or you can ask a FS buddy to do it for you and get it quicker.

3/16 Lobotomy,

I take your point on your post.

But JS is suggesting that biodiesel is a better alternative than diesel for Rx burns. I think he's right. I have a call in to the young people (HSU Appropriate Technology grads) who started our local biodiesel company 7 yr ago. Members of our family have biodiesel cars (combustion engine). Biodiesel cars are not drip torches, however, so the issues are different.

I left a message asking the guys the pros and cons of using biodiesel in drip torches, which is where I assume JS was coming from. Drip torches usually run on a 3:1 fuel mixture of conventional diesel to gasoline. The gasoline will have the pollutants/ carcinogens/ aromatic hydrocarbons that gasoline is known to have. The combustion process that the Rx burn begins also produces the pollutants/ carcinogens in smoke that you often talk about, L. No changing that.

The question for me comes from the conventional diesel portion of the drip torch fuel mixture. What are the pros and cons of replacing conventional diesel with biodiesel? Even if we can't fix everything, can we make better choices on whatever is controllable. Is it worth it $$-wise? What might the problems be in performance or limitations on equipment?

Biodiesel is clean-burning, biodegradable, non-toxic. It is safer to handle than conventional diesel. (Someone just yelled at me that it's a mono-alkyl ester of veggie oil and produces substantially less polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. 1998 SWRI report on combustion engines) I know part of the process of making it from veggie oil involves lye, which is hazardous to use if you're on the production end. (Same with soap production.)

Biodiesel fuel (B100) contains 11% oxygen --O2-- by wt. The O2 lets the fuel burn more completely so there are fewer unburned emissions of hydrocarbons and particulate matter. I saw one study my nephews had that showed using B100, instead of conventional diesel, resulted in an almost 90% reduction in air toxins produced as compared to burning conventional diesel in an oil-burning stove (like a drip torch, it uses a flame).

Biodiesel contains less sulfur than conventional diesel or gasoline so it will produce fewer SO2 pollutants, at least from a combustion engine. Don't know about a driptorch flame.

Lobotomy, I understand your frustration with what appears to be a failure of "the powers that be" to acknowledge the dangers of wood smoke inhalation --both short exposure and over time-- including rare cancers in firefighters and their loved ones; but please let's break this down into parts. Sure, changing a small part is a first step and, in your estimation, maybe an inconsequential one for firefighter health, but at least someone is trying the step.

Thanks JS for the suggestion. (Regarding small and collective steps: I heard on the cbs news that if each person in the US would replace one incandescent light bulb with a new low-e light bulb, it would be the equivalent of taking 1,000,000 cars off the highway for a year. It's the small things over time or over a bunch of people that start to add up. They also said one low-e light bulb saves $39 in energy costs over the course of its lifetime in comparison with an incandescent.)

If I get some pros and cons on using biodiesel in drip torches, I'll post them.

Hmmmmm, I have some biodiesel out in the shop; did smell like french-fries; where's my drip torch???


3/16 Ab,

Here are some alumni from the Redmond IHC to add to your list. The
current Redmond IHC Supt has been contacted to help go back and look for
other leaders/ IC's to add to your list. Here is what I can think of from
the year (1983) that I was on the crew, there may be others from my year,
but my memory is not too great:

Tim Sexton ICT1 and currently the WO Program lead for WFU besides being a
DFMO and Fire Staff in the past.
Nancy Aslock (Miles) Assitant Fire Staff
Jim Wrightson Forest Fuels Planner
Dave Lockwood Fire Staff
Barry Hansen DFMO
Rod Altig DFMO

I also know John Holcomb, a past Redmond Supt that has been a DFMO and is
now currently the USFWS R-1 Prescribed Fire Mgmt Specialist.

When the final list from Redmond for other years gets submitted I suspect
the list for the crew will be several pages long.

Thanks for compiling this list of all the Fire Leaders that have at one
time or another taken part in a IHC program.

Rod Altig
Gorge FMO

Thanks, I added 'em. Ab.

3/16 i read on theysaid 19 more arson charges on Olyer.

what will he say now: he had 20 dogs impounded over a 6 month period?????

Brenda (Jason McKay's sister) from the texasfamily of 7

Hang in there McKay family. We're with ya! Ab.

3/16 from Firescribe:

Esperanza suspect accused of more fires

Prosecutors filed 19 more arson charges against Raymond Lee Oyler, outlining blazes authorities say the Beaumont mechanic started from mid-May of last year until October's Esperanza Fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

The new document with 45 counts was filed Wednesday as Oyler's preliminary hearing approaches on Monday. A judge will decide at the hearing whether there is enough evidence to try him on the charges.

Oyler has pleaded not guilty to the arson and murder charges he faces from the previous 26-count complaint.

3/16 Ab,

Has anyone heard if the U.S. Army has plans to develop bio-napalm, an environmentally-friendly way to torch the enemy using vegetable oils?

Personally, I think that would ruin the Duvall quote in Apocalypse Now: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It's the smell ... of ... curly fries."

vfd cap'n

ps, Growing up, I always loved the smell of diesel in the morning. Those were good times - when our ski lodge was full, with charter buses idling in the parking lot.


To all of those who attended the Cleveland NF Fire & Aviation Management Meeting in San Diego and the Pacific Northwest Fire Operations Safety Conference in Portland, I'd like to say thanks for the opportunity to meet with you and speak with you on the issues impacting our federal wildland firefighters.

Not only is it rewarding to finally meet members of the FWFSA who I have only known by name but to have so many attendees embrace the opportunity to hear what is going on from the perspective of an organization working on their behalf is very humbling.

Thanks again.

Casey Judd
Business Manager

It's great that Ken Snell (R6 Chief FAM) invited Casey (FWFSA) and Dick Mangan (IAWF) to Portland. I heard that, among other things, they helped firefighters understand the Ellreese prosecution story and outfall and let firefighters know some of what is being done to provide support for his defense. Firefighters in some areas do not know the networking that goes on from the ground up: it's networking in which firefighters can have a hand in affecting their own future. Ab.

3/16 Hey Ab,

One of our own from Prineville IHC needs some help and prayers.......


A Friend

Ab note: Please everyone, dig in and let's help out with $$ for treatment for Isaiah and Sarah's baby, Frederick.
You can walk into any bank and transfer a donation to Washington Mutual Account #432-695-4339 or you can send a check snail mail to

Baby Frederick Jimenez's account
Washington Mutual
101 W. Alder St.
WallaWalla WA 99362

Good thoughts and prayers count for a lot too. Ab.

3/16 R9 FFMO,

You should be commended for using the new system of clear text terminology to describe fire positions. It is now being used in many places in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 now. The first time I saw it on a fire vehicle outside of Region 5 was at the IAWF Safety Summit in Missoula a couple of years ago. I saw many vehicles with DV 5, BC 41, CH 2, etc on their sides..... I thought, damn there are alot of Californians here. I soon realized that some of the vehicles also had ID-SCF, NV-HTF, etc. on their side panels. Sorry that your line officer is less than supportive.

It is alot more than "radio call signs" though.

It is funny that you address the line officer. When we implemented it in the late 1980's, our problems were the other forests in the Region and the other federal wildland firefighters who were resistant to change, not our line officers. Our line officers (Forest Supervisor and District Rangers) were fully supportive and had a good fire background and listened to the ideas of our leaders.

Before the change to our current system, we utilized a system that only we on the specific forest could understand. Here is an example of our system:

401 - District Ranger
402 - DFMO
403 - ADFMO - Suppression
404 - ADFMO - Prevention

We now use the following:

Supervisor 1 - Forest Supervisor
Supervisor 11 - Deputy Forest Supervisor
Ranger 1 - District Ranger
Ranger 11 - Deputy Ranger

Chief 1 - Forest FFMO (Chief)
Chief 2 - Forest Deputy FFMO (Deputy Chief)
Division 1 - District FMO (Division Chief)
Battalion 11 - Asst. District FMO (Battalion Chief).... etc.....etc...

Aside from the fire program, we also use other clear text terminology to help even us on the Forest understand who we are talking to.....

Lands 33 - Lands and Special Uses
Recreation 44 - Recreation
OHV 31 - OHV person
Information 1 - Public Affairs Officer
Forester 1 - District Forester
Heritage 1 - District Heritage Resources Officer
Minerals 1 - District Minerals Officer... etc.... etc....

Lots of other examples of clear text available.

To our cooperators (local, statewide, and national), when they came to our fires, they had no idea who they were talking to, or what their level of responsibility was.

I have the same problems in other Regions when I travel to some other areas of the country during fire assignments. There are still Forests who use a person's name or number to describe what their job or level of responsibility is.


I hope your line officer comes around and values the need as other line officers have. I am sure after he/she uses the system for awhile, both the line officer and the other staffs will like it better as a form of clear text. It has been tried and tested for nearly 20 years in my area.

3/16 IHC to IC

A few from Alaska...Dave Jandt, Type II IC ran one of the BLM/AFS shot crews (Midnight Suns ?) for quite a while and Tony Doty, the other IC was on a South Zone crew (Texas Canyon ?)

Lots of leaders came off those crews and several from the old Anchorage Hotshot program.

/s/ Chena Helitack

Thanks, entered them. Please ask around to see who else we can add. Ab.

3/16 JS,

I cringed when I saw your post. In particular, I cringed when you said, "Here in Southwest Oregon we have been using 99% biodiesel with our burn mix for over a year and the results have been excellent not to mention not breathing in all the carbon dioxide and less aromatic hydrocarbons. I love smelling potato chip's or even canola oil."

JS, this isn't an attack on you. Hopefully, it is a beginning of a discussion.

A polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon anyway you look at it.... I am concerned that you love the smell of that..... The stuff that you are burning (brush, chaparral, timber, etc....) is also putting off PAHs.

I cannot find any research to back the claim that biodiesel reduces the carbon dioxide you breathe in on RX fires on the link provided... carcinogenic effects of carbon dioxide are nil. Carbon dioxide is classified as an asphyxiant. I would like to know about how there are less PAHs in the new fuel you are using and where the data is?

Polycyclic: having more than one cyclic component; especially: having two or more rings in the molecule
Aromatic: you can smell it
Hydrocarbon: an organic compound (as acetylene or butane) containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon: any of a class of hydrocarbon molecules that have multiple carbon rings, and that include carcinogenic substances and environmental pollutants

3/16 Hey All - well i have seen a lot of talk about lack of rain and snow.. well folks let me tell you .in the 20 years i have been in the fire game i have never seen it so dry and set to burn .. where am i .. i am in the black hills of south dakota. yes we have had rain and snow but not hardly enough to do anything....... be safe out there....... please lets all go home this year... engineboss51
3/15 To all you RX Fire junkies!!!

Here in Southwest Oregon we have been using
99% biodiesel with our burn mix for over a year and the results have been
excellent not to mention not breathing in all the carbon dioxide and less
aromatic hydrocarbons. I love smelling potato chip's or even canola oil. It
is way better then that whiff of poison that every once in awhile will take
your breath away with the regular stuff and we have found no issues as far
as mix ratio. Here is our current vendor web page with the benefits to
biodiesel. look around and on the web and get a tank to try yourself I
promise you will like it.



3/15 Ab, for the IHC to Fire Managers table,

Rene Beams was on the Redmond IHC. She's manager of the Redmond Air Center.


Added her. Thanks. Ab.

3/15 In regards to the statement that was made about why Oyler might have started the Esperanza fire: WHAT A CROCK!

I'm sorry, but an arsonist is an arsonist. They don't start fires to break a dog out of the pound, they start fires because they want to, they like to. They don't give a dam* about who or what may be injured, damaged, or, unfortunately in this case, killed. Arsonists do not care.

The Esperanza fire was started for no other reason than for one persons self gratification and we now have to live with the results.


3/15 AB

For those of us that follow such things, the latest snow water equivalent values for Region 5 indicates that we are some place between 65% and 48% of normal for the date depending upon location.

With a mild La Nina developing, there is the expectation of a dry spring for SoCal and Central California with an outlook of an extended dry period into fall for us out here. We still have a couple of months left to get some precipitation but the likelihood of coming up to normal seem to diminish each day. I guess if nothing else, it could be at least a long and interesting fire season for those of us out here, again.


3/15 Re Raymond Lee Oyler:

Does it matter why he is accused of lighting the Esperanza fire? What really disturbs me is
if he actually did this in an effort to re-claim his dog. What a sick individual.

However, my gut feeling is that he is a serial arsonist who did not care about those he
affected. Strange that since he was arrested the number of wildland fires in the
Banning/Beaumont area has decreased.


3/15 Hi All,

To L--C--ES, That Northern Colorado crew was pretty awesome! Helena, Earthpig, small world.

I am always amazed at what a really small world the firefighting world is.

On another note, some clarification/damage control? :

First: My apologies on mis-attributing the roots of Jay Perkins. Pyrodactyl, as you said, he was and is clearly fire. <grin>

Second: On a humorous note, last week I posted a link to a page I found when doing teams research and said "Oh, I see, it's fire prevention teams in owl-talk which looks a little like a combo of latin, spanish and clingon?..."

A clingon fire friend who did not want her second language "slandered" as owl-talk informed me:

"It's 'lorem ipsum,' which is a commonly used placeholder text dating from the 1500's. The text was created by scrambling words from a passage of 'de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum' (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Marcus Tullius Cicero."

Who would have guessed! <clingon bow>


3/15 Ab,

Oyler is an arsonist. His lighting the Esperanza fire or any fire was
not a one-time deal, but part of a pattern of lighting fires.

It's not just about his pit bull if it's about that at all.

Let's not get diverted here. Arsonists have an obsession. They are a
mortal risk to all of us who live and fight fire in fire-prone interface

It's easy to want to find a logical reason for the Esperanza and other
arson fires if you are not an arsonist. Arsonists are different from most
of us. Arson is a crime without a motive. That's what makes arsonists
hard to catch. Ask any profiler.

Sign me, noname25

3/15 From Firescribe:


Fatal Wildfire May Have Been Started To Free Dog

(AP) RIVERSIDE, Calif. A man charged with setting a wildfire that killed five federal firefighters wanted to light the mountain on fire as a diversion to free his family's impounded pit bull, a relative of the suspect told investigators, according to a published report.

Raymond Lee Oyler was arrested Oct. 31, after a wind-whipped fire raced through the foothills near Banning, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The 36-year-old auto mechanic has pleaded not guilty to arson and murder charges.

Oyler's cousin, Jill Frame, told investigators she visited Oyler and his girlfriend in October after one of their pit bulls was
quarantined for attacking a woman and her dog. During the visit, Oyler allegedly told Frame that he set fires that day in the Banning area as a diversion so he could break his dog out of the pound, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, citing a sheriff's report.

In a subsequent visit two days before that start of the deadly fire, Frame said Oyler asked her for a ride so he could set the mountain on fire, the report said.

Records also showed that Joanna Oyler told investigators in one interview that her brother was angry that animal control had taken the dog and made statements about getting the dog out by "burning the place down," he would not have done that, she said, according to the newspaper.

(click the link for more of the story)

Fair use disclaimer

3/15 R9 FFMO,

Check out www.firescope.org/ and purchase the field operations
guide. I'm not positive, but I do believe it has the information you are
looking for in it.


Someone is providing the info. Thanks. Ab.

3/15 Regarding the presenter of the Little Venus Entrapment
Peer Review, is there a video or audio recording of
Mr. Hollsambeck's presentation that we could watch for
training/safety/reinforcement purposes?

3/15 Ab, here is the link to the article in the Wenatchee World on postponed
trial for Ellreese.


3/15 Ab;

Got some more fragments for your IHC- IC page:

You've got Will Spyrison (FMO- ANF) down as a Fulton; I lost track of Will in the mid- '80's, so he may have gone to Fulton. But I know that from '79 to '81, he was right in front of me in Ojai's squad 1 (Becker), with a pulaski in hand (and yep, its the same guy; just talked to him a couple of months ago...).

Also, Steve Decker (DFMO- Mendocino) is a Redding alum from the mid '70's (don't know the year; I met him afterward when I drove for him; some of us still call him his Redding nickname, but you'll have to ask him about it!)

And I goofed up on one of my posts; shouldn't try to do this after midnight... Bob Becker never Supe'd for Ojai; Ish had it until it disbanded. Confusion came from the sticker he proudly wore on his helmet as DFMO; they made him take the red stripe off his white hat when he promoted, but they couldn't get him to peel the crew sticker.

Sorry about the faulty memory; I never was on the permanent roster with Ojai HS, just went as a TDY (frequently) when I was an AFEO. But I sure had a lot o' fun with the Boys (Messer/ Becker/ Freed era); have always wished my first wife would have put up with the life (can't really blame her; 2 months after we married, we moved into a cabover camper parked at the edge of the asphalt at Rose Valley; no power, running water, or telephone, and 40 miles to town! Helishots was enough for her; no way she'd go for hotshots...).


Good enough. Ab.

3/15 add to list Bill Baden Started on ANF went to SJ at McCall 1959 Then LPF in 1961 as HT Foreman then if I remember Correctly back to ANF and school Then DR I think on ANF-Then Boise and WO and NFPA.

also Robert Mac Donald SJ at Missoula late 50s DFMO on LPF 1962 or so went on to a DR and I think WO but I am not positive on the WO.

Ben Beal I think was another one who started in fire on the LPF In the 1950s and ended up in the RO.

Any other old old fa#ts out there who might remember, speak up.
The Years make memory Hazzy But I think all of the above is correct.


Thanks OO-FS. Readers, I put the * by the date until I get the data entered into the table, in case you're wondering. Ab.

3/15 Re: Hotshots


Thank you for sharing the article Marty Alexander wrote back when he
was a "forestry technician".

I wonder if Marty Alexander and Phil Omi were the only Hotshots to get
Ph.Ds and become fire researchers and educators, or did others?

Here is a short bio of Marty and a list of some of the things he has written......


3/15 hello all- looking for any info i can get as to the use of radio call signs in
FS Fire Organization- we implemented this on my forest using what R-5
uses- Division, Chief, etc... I have a line officer who feels this is not clear
text and not following proper policy-

looking for anything you can give me-

I have worked in R6 and R3 and now in R9, and change is sometimes a
hard thing to swallow-

3/14 The presenter of the Little Venus Entrapment Peer Review is Steve Hollsambeck from R-4 in Ogden. Steve has rock-solid fire credentials and does a sensitive, yet powerful presentation on this. I've see it 3 times, all slightly different (tweaked for specific audiences). The most recent version began with a touching dedication to Monica. Kudos.

Old Boot
3/14 Tahoe Terrie,

I heard that a burn treatment policy was supposed to be out before the upcoming fire season.

I believe the concerns for a burn treatment policy came from last years New York Peak Fire and the Mudd Fire where wildland firefighter burn treatments were unacceptable and did not meet acceptable standards of care.

If I remember correctly, both the Forest Service and BLM were looking at updating their policies to say that any burn that requires a hospital visit will be reviewed by a qualified regional burn center as soon as possible.

These standards would be similar to those from the CAL FIRE burn policy and have a similar intent.....


3/14 Ab,

Just a question on the WCT topic....

How is it that some FS crews have info posted about requiring push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1-1/2 mile run?

vfd cap'n



23.1 - Physical Fitness Requirements
Requirements for physical fitness are identified as arduous, moderate,
light, and none. Reference the Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide
(310-1) for descriptions.

23.2 - Physical Fitness Measurement
Field units are not authorized to supplement physical fitness standards.
The work capacity test is the sole physical fitness measurement recognized
by the Forest Service.
3/14 Does anyone know if there's any NWCG direction for steps that should be taken
on an incident when firefighters get burned? I'm thinking of the burnover reviews
(New York Peak and Mudd) I heard recently.

Folks who have been hurt need someone looking out for them, especially when the
crew overhead have also been involved in the incident and might not be thinking
straight themselves.

With burns time is of the essence. Hicksville hospitals may also underestimate the
injuries only to find out later firefighters should have been sent posthaste to a burn

I think we should push for some burn victim SOGs that everyone is familiar with so
we can take care of each other.

Tahoe Terrie

3/14 i am in the process of getting a j-5 or a muskeg to do fire work with and i want to know if to your knowledge if there is an age limit to what you can user to move around equipment. someone told me that if your truck is under i think '95 don't even bother and if its muffler makes any noise what so ever you get shown the door. i am planning to run a '93 $x$ f350 4 door with 460 motor and manual trans and it comes with a fiberglass utility body. i can get it at somewhat of a fair price. so let me know if you have hear of any thing like this.

3/14 The afterlife


Have you considered doing research into how many retired FMOs
drive busses, make maps or sell retardant?

Fire Geek

I see that tongue in your cheek. Re afterlife question: way too many to count. Ab.

3/14 AB,

Long time reader, but had some addition information about the Oak Grove Hot Shots. I first day I was assigned to the shots I was told to do the PT for that day and it about killed me, but I couldn't let the member show me up.

I have a few other items to add to the posts that have come in. I worked as detail foreman during the 1974 fire season. Chet Cash was the Supt during this time. Mike (Paul) Daughtery was the other foreman. Chet was DIVS qualified. I transferred to Oak Grove in 1971 and transferred to the Stanislaus in 1976 and, as far as I can remember, Chet was the Supt the entire time. I was qualified as Sector Boss and PSC2.

Jim Stumpf was the DFMO in 1971 and later became the FMO while George Roby was the District Ranger. Now I am a District Forester (Ranger) in Oklahoma. My district encompasses 2 million acres with 700,000 acres within fire protection. The average number of fires each year is 300 plus. I had 318 last year and 370 the year before.

Bob Harrel
Oklahoma Forestry Services

I entered that. Thanks. Ab.

3/14 More info for your project.

Todd Camm: St.Joe IHC 1985-88,90-99 South Zone FMO Willamette National

St.Joe was founded 1967 and disbanded 2001

Thanks, I entered that. Ab.

3/14 Ab,

Just heard that two long time helicopter folks have passed on to a better place:
Mike Fogarty and Charlie Stump

Both from the BDF. Both of these folks were involved in the first Helicopter
CWN Program in 1985.

Both of these were leaders in the aviation program in many ways. I will miss
both. Sorry can not say enough!
Wes Shook

Condolences to friends and family. From what I've heard they were exceptional in their field and will be greatly missed. Ab.

3/14 Note from the Abs:

Good afternoon, All.

We'd like to let viewers know we have a new advertiser - ESRI - on board, helping support wildlandfire.com by sponsoring the News Page and providing an ad on the Classifieds page. Many of you were as amazed as we were in 2003 at the SoCal fire maps created by ESRI when breaking fire info was in such high demand by firefighters and the Public alike. It was a historical moment. Since then we've seen more of their informative, GIS generated mapping and it's gone interactive in real time. Here's what they say; go look at their products:

Organizations around the world, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies, are using ESRI GIS software to make informed and timely decisions. GIS software from ESRI is used by wildland fire management officials to capture and create an integrated picture of information in the form of interactive maps and reports on the desktop, laptop or handheld devices while hiking the fireline or in the emergency vehicle.

From deciding how to utilize fire suppression resources most efficiently, to monitoring disasters as they happen, in real time, with only a PC and an Internet connection, from mapping wildfires tens of thousands of acres in size with GPS equipment and a helicopter, to picking up the pieces after a major conflagration, GIS enables emergency personnel to respond quicker, safer and smarter to save lives and property and to protect our natural resources.

3/14 Since the national fire plan there has been tremendous pressure to meet
prescribed fire and fuels targets in my region. About 3 or 4 years ago, the
deputy Forest Supervisor on my forest called my District Ranger on a Friday
and asked why his particular district wasn't burning. He then went on to
tell my Ranger "You are burning on Monday."

My Ranger called me in to his office and related to me what the Deputy
Forest Supervisor said. I told the Ranger that we were out of prescription
and we had a red flag warning for strong winds and low relative humidities
posted through the weekend and there was no way in hell I was going to

I never heard any fallout from that, but the same guy is still here, and
poor decisions are still being made. Luckily, we have good fire management
programs and leadership on the districts. But it is a constant battle
dealing with the S.O.

Old C-Rat
3/14 Mellie - Jay Perkins was a Fire Guy long before and after he spent a short
detail as a DR. Just don't want him stigmatized. He is one who we can say
'Once a fire guy, always a fire guy.'


haw, haw. That DR detail just makes him a person richer in perspective in my opinion. Ab.

3/14 Hi Guys / Gals:

My name is Eric <snip>, I'm a industrial photographer in Los Angeles, I would like to talk to you guys about who I might approach in order to do an art photo of an air tanker airplane at night in a romantic scene of aerial firefighting. It is not an action photo, it is staged, and I trade photos of the finished image in exchange for help in staging the shot.

This is a whole series of "American modes of Translocation".


I'll put anyone in touch. Ab.

3/14 Good morning Ab:

Just finished reading today's posts in the "they said section" and saw the post regarding the person attending the NW Fire Safety Officers conference in Portland.

This morning we saw a presentation on Just Culture and the Little Venus entrapment from the R-4 fire safety person.

Now I think if you know the person who did the presentation: I would love to get a copy with some of the notes to use in my safety training and awareness to our crews up here.

Over the past several years our crews have gone down south on mutual aid fires to the State and/ or the feds.

Any help you could give me on this would be appreciated.


Leo Drapeau
Safety Program Coordinator
Forest Protection Division
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

That presentation refers to this Little Venus Peer Review (pdf file). I'll forward your email on to the presenter, a dynamic and thoughtful speaker. Ab.

3/14 A couple additions to the list:

Merrill Saleen was on the Payette IR, out of McCall, ID, ending as foreman in '78.
He's been a Great Basin ICT2 for few years now.
The crew moved to Boise in '80 when Boise FS SMJs consolidated with McCall.
I'm not sure when the Payette IR started, somewhere in 64-67 range.

Bob Simpson also from Payette IR until '79 retired a few years ago as FMO
on Balcones Refuge in TX after many years in AK.

I are an IR !!

1974 Fire Management article (large pdf file) by Marty Alexander on Interregional Fire Suppression Crews. Ab.

3/14 Lobotomy,

folks at the RO at WO levels have "fuels targets" being assigned to fire
professionals on the ground linked to their budgets without consideration
of fuels, weather, and other conditions

All targets are assigned with the implied caveat that we perform them only
in compliance with laws, regulations and safety considerations. I know of
no line officer that would push a "fire professional" to burn outside of
prescription. No line officer can force you to do so.

A few years back, I heard a forest fmo complain to a Regional Forester that
sometimes they did feel "pressured" to meet targets, and would sometimes
implement an unsafe action (burn out of prescription). I told the RF on
the side, if that is a true statement, he should replace the fmo. There is
no room for gutless leaders in the world of fire.

Old Fire Guy

3/14 Hey All,

I am currently in search of a decent quality file. I am sick of the GSA crap that they buy from India. They dull so quickly that I can't even get through straightening out one pulaski! I am using a file card, and I don't drag the file backwards (dulls the file), so I think I am doing everything right on my end. Does anyone have a line on a decent file that I can purchase from a source that the FS purchasing folks won't pitch a tizzy over me buying from?

Thanks in advance,
3/14 Mellie said--

“I enjoyed talking fire with an interagency crew from Northern Colorado (R2), too, on several occasions as they went from here to there working hard close to the flames. I wonder what crew they've morphed into now or if they've disbanded.”

That’s my old crew!

Northern Colorado is still out there, punching line just like they always have (got to be about 30 years now.) They typically status as a type 2 IA, although the crew often far exceeds those standards on any given assignment.


3/14 Looking for some good info on Structure Triage.

Thank you,
Rookie Teacher
3/13 Ab,

I'm in Portland attending the NW Fire Safety Officers conference.
This morning we saw a presentation on Just Culture and the Little Venus entrapment from the R-4 fire safety person.


That was the most powerful presentation and the most chilling story I've ever heard.
He gave me a copy of the powerpoint on Little Venus and I'll be using it in my refresher trainings.
I don't know if I would have made the same decisions as the crew made that day but we all owe them a huge !thank-you! for being honest and for trusting the investigation team to tell the truth. It seems they did tell the truth.

If I were honest... I probably would have been right their with Unaweep on that day. I rather not be that honest.
In his presentation he gave a quote from Paul Chamberlin that pretty much sums up our desperate need to change the way we do investigations. It went something like this:

"when the focus of an investigation is on blame our employees will naturally try to defend their decisions; but when the focus is on learning, we find that thinking, feeling, humans will reveal their true values and then we all learn and grow from their experience."

Thanks again to the Unaweep crew members for sharing their story. You've made me a safer firefighter!
so sad about Monica.

name withheld (we don't have a just culture - just yet)

Ab Note: Thanks for sharing. Here's a link to a fine short article "Portals" by Paul Chamberlin in which he discusses the maturing value of close calls that can be had via good "Lessons Learned" storytelling. Ab. www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/council/newsletters/september/september_index.phpl

3/13 Anyone else concerned about meeting fuels targets in areas that have been described as "abnormally dry, moderate drought, extreme drought, or exceptional drought" as described by the US Drought Monitor?

The RX escape on the Prescott NF today is an example of the pressures that the folks in the RO and WO are putting on the troops in the field to meet budget and resource management targets.

How about being a manager of a Wildland Fire Use fire in these same areas?

I for one am concerned. As a Fuels Specialist and a Fire Manager (ADFMO and IC) on the receiving end of "investigations", I believe the targets should be relaxed in those areas, and that an emphasis should be placed upon preparedness and suppression in areas identified as being in a drought.

Jim Paxon said today that there would be an investigation of the RX escape on the Prescott NF and I agree it should be done for lessons learned.... Hopefully it will focus on why the folks thought they should have been burning in an area described as being under "extreme drought", or better yet... why the folks at the RO at WO levels have "fuels targets" being assigned to fire professionals on the ground linked to their budgets without consideration of fuels, weather, and other conditions...... Swiss Cheese.

Hopefully the review of the escape on the Prescott will be the first of many Just Culture Reviews that provide for a safer and more efficient look at the federal wildland fire program.

3/13 Mellie,

I was on the Helena HS crew that year - Big Bar

Regarding the assignment you mentioned, the crew was
actually coming off a 58 hour shift , on a piece of
line that was later abandoned - when we were asked to
take a look at that piece of line. During the crew
briefing the Supt mentioned that 2 other crews had
refused the assignment. I did not know who those crews
were. The Supt went down the east flank and took a
look at the fire. We were organized into 3 squads and
he asked for 2 squads to go down to him to the bottom
of the slop over to anchor in. One squad worked up
the west flank to tie in with the Tahoe HS, they were
building line downhill and taking fire with them. The
other squad worked up the east flank towards the road.
My squad anchored off the road and worked downhill to
meet them. Yes, there was a lot of discussion but no
resistance to getting it done. The downhill checklist
was in place, the Supt ALWAYS made us do that. But it
was very steep and rocky - that was the biggest

The Supt rookied as SJ in 2002, I think that he was almost
50 years old.


3/13 Hi - thought you all would like to read the legal motions on why Ellreese Daniels' trial is postponed, due to complexity. The documents are linked in the Wenatchee World article posted today March 13th 2007. Defense Attorney Tina Hunt, it looks like, did a good job here. - Heather


Here's a few quotes:

"Additionally, this case calls for the extensive use of expert witnesses not only to consult with the defense regarding the case, but also potentially to present evidence on behalf of Mr. Daniels."

"Counsel has identified at least five potential areas of expertise which will need to be retained and used during the defense of this case."

"This case represents the first time a United States Forest Service employee has been charged in a criminal action arising from actions and decisions made during the scope of his duties fighting wildland fires. It is a case which may have far reaching implications to other firefighters engaged in the line of duty."

(The new trial is set for October 15th, in part to help the active wildland firefighters)
"...many witness who may be called to testify on both sides of this case are engaged in wildland firefighting. These firefighters can be called to travel to locations throughout the Western United States in response to large wildfires, which greatly reduces their availability."

Glad the judge understood the complexity issue. It really is an issue. Ab.

3/13 I know of a few....
Stan Benes (Forest Supervisor, Malheur?) ICT2
Mike Herth (Ranger White River) former El Cariso
Locally, we've got a PSC2/Ranger. Ranger on adjacent forest is STL.
Dennis Neitzke (Ranger on SUF) is DIVS

Others out there? Maybe we're not as bereft of line/fire experience as we

Old Fire Guy
3/13 Old Fire Guy,

The only Line Officer I know of who has "significant" fire operational
experience is Dave Sisk, DR on the Bighorn (Though I'm sure there are a few
others I can't think of right now). He came up through the ranks, was a
Jumper, Zone FMO, and Forest FMO. He was also a Type 2 IC. He does a very
good job.

I am of the opinion that fire management programs suffer greatly because
many line officers (District Rangers and Forest Supervisors) do not
understand fire management programs, organizations, fireline safety, fire
suppression, fire behavior, etc. I think the "Fire Management for Line
Officers course" without considerable fire management experience gives line
officers the false sense that they actually understand fire management.
They have the position that affords them the ability to make fire
management decisions, and develop and implement policy as they see it. I
believe it takes expertise to do this and that expertise must be gained
through years of training and fire experience on organized crews IN fire
management programs.

Now, having said all that, If line officers listen to their fire staff
officers, FMOs, etc. and take their expertise and advice into the
strongest consideration when making decisions then I am OK with that, as
long as the FMO agrees with or can live with those decisions. But too many
times, political and other pressures are behind poor decisions.
Historically, this job is way too dangerous to not have the best and the
brightest make fire management/organizational and suppression decisions. In
my mind the best and the brightest are those who have come up through the
fire management ranks, have excellent levels of training and experience and
have demonstrated the ability to provide fire management leadership. This
takes many, many years of training, education and considerable fire
suppression experience in order to develop the required level of expertise,
knowledge, and skill it takes.

In my experience, it has really been the last 10 years or so that I have
seen a huge increase in agency line officers and forest "Leadership teams"
making some really poor decisions that affect the ability of fire
management programs and organizations to be the safest and most effective
they can be. I struggle with this on my own unit. The entire basis of
effective fire management programs, the safest and most effective fire
management programs we can develop, is the day to day operations on your
own unit. It is the professionalism, training (District training,
classroom, fire behavior, hoselays, line construction, fire suppression
methods etc.) regional and national training and education
courses, discipline, PT program, equipment inspection and maintenance, etc.
etc. etc. It takes highly experienced fire leaders to do this.

Today's forest service seems to revel in mediocrity, fire management
cannot. I see the Department of Agriculture and the agency moving even
farther away from supporting it's firefighters and fire management programs
as I move into my 33rd fire season. I also think it is time to study,
evaluate, and take a long hard look at a federal wildland fire department
with a firefighter occupational series. A fire department lead by
firefighters. We have to be at our best, to be at our safest. Our
firefighters and the job we do is too important to settle for anything

Old C-Rat
3/13 Old Fire Guy,

From R5, but neither are line officers now. They went from line to fire. I don't know about firing experience except for Jay. He's great!

Jay Perkins FMO on the Klamath
Dennis Orbis in the RO is Safety on CIIMT3

There was also a Safety Officer or Info Officer on one of the T1 Teams in 2000 and after who was a DFMO on the Angeles, I think.

On the hotshot thread: Does anyone know if Alice Forbes was a hotshot? Mary Farnsworth? Rosie Thomas?


I met Larry Edwards (supe) and the Helena crew when they went direct and downhill to hook a 1/4 acre slop over above our ranch at the end of the Big Bar Complex in 1999. Tahoe shots (Rick Cowell was supe) worked from the bottom up, laying hose and burning out. Took them about 2 hr. Kept that fire from coming at us from the other direction. It was a case where two crews had refused, Lanky (Redding) and Bob (Horseshoe Meadow). The Branch Director Larry Wright and CDF Safety Pat Bailey scrambled down the very steep slope to flag the fire (< 1' flame length, mostly 4") before the two crews got to work. Jack Rogers also helped size it up from below where the mountain benched out.

With what I know about fire now, I can only imagine the discussions that went on to make the decision to go after it. Later around Thanksgiving, following the fire's end due to rains, I also scrambled down the mountain to see what it was like. Very steep! Very rocky! And I ended up with a bad case of poison oak.

I had an opportunity to get to know a few shot crews during the 76 days that the Big Bar Complex burned around our place in addition to speaking with Larry and Rick. Sacramento Shots (R3: picture) burned out --to set the perimeter above our ranch on the eastern side early on when it was primarily the Onion Fire burning. One squad of Flathead shots (R1: picture) came through at the very end, checking line and looking for hotspots and holdovers on the Onion. Small world, they knew a bunch of our relatives in the Flathead MT area, like the family doctor of a number of them was our uncle (one said the doc delivered every kid in his family) and another had worked for a female cousin! I enjoyed talking fire with an interagency crew from Northern Colorado (R2), too, on several occasions as they went from here to there working hard close to the flames. I wonder what crew they've morphed into now or if they've disbanded.

Earthpig, do you know if Larry Evans went jumping after 2000? If so, that's pretty brassy of him!


3/13 Another Survey?

The Forest Service is supposed to include "fire experience" as one of the
evaluation criteria in the selection of line officers (Rangers, Forest
Supervisors, Regional Forester). This criterion has appeared only
intermittently in vacancy announcements. Too often we hear that "They
don't understand fire"....so:

Q: Who do you know that is/has been a "line officer" that also has
significant fire "operations" experience. Shot crew, single resource
boss, command and general staff ????

Old Fire Guy

Good one. Ab.

3/13 The Jobs Page and Series 0462 (Forestry Technician Series) & Series 0455 (Range Technician Series) jobs pages and Series 0401 (Biologist Series) are updated. Each of these series include jobs for wildland firefighters. Ab.
3/12 Ellreese's March 13th Pretrial Hearing in Spokane Cancelled

Hi all - for those of you who were planning to go to Spokane tomorrow, it's canceled, as the court authorized the continuance to the fall. The following is a note from Tina Hunt, Ellreese's defense attorney. Finally some good news from the court, making it a little bit easier on all involved.
Thank you,


3/12/07 4:38pm
The court has granted our motion to declare this case complex, and has canceled tomorrow's hearing. The pretrial conference is now scheduled for 9/25/07 at 9:00 a.m. (that time is subject to moving it later in the day) and the trial is set for 10/15/07.

Hopefully, this email will reach those who were planning on attending before tomorrow's hearing. If this can be posted on the appropriate website, it would be much appreciated.


3/12 RP,

I have a tape from a Type 1 ICT morning briefing. Call or email me and I will get you a copy. It’s not like most of my tapes which are hard to track down. (I have one tape that was requested by a FF out of Canada, it’s been MIA for over a year.) The ICT briefing tape is in my office and I can send it out ASAP.

Ron Marley
rmarley @ shastacollege.edu

3/12 RP

Don't know about any videos, but I-300 is the perfect class to learn how a
briefing is supposed to be run.

I-300 Cadre Member
3/12 Abs: (clarification Anonymous post) "They Said-3/12"

I spent time on the Texas Canyon Hotshots(74/75) , ANF as a seasonal, Then
a short stop on Catalina Hotshots, Coronado NF - R-3,(77) and Redding
Hotshots in 82. Have to say the roots is TEXAS CANYON. Don Feser & Bob
Becker were there, Ray Guardado Supt.
Yep....... Hotshot time is why I'm a Division Chief and President of FWFSA.
I just made the move to the Klamath in Jan - 07. Scott River Ranger District.
10 years on the Central Coast Team, (Smiths Type 2)
anyway........ Good luck with keeping the IHC list going.

Neat seeing the "Memories"........... Thanks for the effort & work !!!!

3/12 Hi:

I was asked recently by a local fuels officer for some video
(cause I go out with a team) of fire camp briefings and such.
Could you tell me if there is a site such as this out there?


3/12 RE: NIMS Core Competencies -

I second what Bug said - Some folks in our office and some structural fire guys I know had a look at some of these positions and said they need some pretty thorough reviewing, and that there are inconsistencies. Would be worthwhile to have a look and submit what you can - even if it's only for a position or two.

I heard the NWCG Training Working Team was involved in this... does anyone know if there will be changes in the 310-1 based on this work?

3/12 Howdy folks -

Just a reminder about reviewing the NIMS All Hazard Core Competencies (see 2/26 post or link at: www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/ics_competencies.shtm)... the review period for these ends 3/25. It would probably be good for anyone with any quals/experience in any of the positions listed below to have a look at the documents that are posted. This work is being done in coordination with NWCG, but note that the email address to send comments to is at DHS in the NIMS Integration Center (send comments to Tara.Kelly@dhs.gov ).

Not sure if the wildfire community has realized or accepted this yet, but NIMS is the new NIIMS, and if folks who have experience don't get involved in this stuff we all may find some problems in a few years as the rest of the country progresses with NIMS implementation. It is a safety issue if nothing else, although there are lots-o-reasons to be as involved as possible.

Positions (You'll recognize these; go to the linked website for the list. I'm not posting them here. Ab.)

Below is further clarification regarding this process (not posted on the Web Site referenced above):

"ICS position competencies are the basis for position specific training, position task books, job aids, and other performance-based documents. This national review is intended to provide an opportunity for comments from all stakeholders prior to inclusion of these competencies in the NIMS National Standard Curriculum Training Guidance and 5-Year NIMS Training Plan.

There are three primary benefits of identifying competencies:

  • First, because competencies are a national "benchmark," they standardize qualifications without interfering with local decision-making about training.
  • Second, shared competencies make interagency cross-over and collaboration easier.
  • Third, competencies are a critical component for the development of performance-based training.

It is often difficult to distinguish between the terms "competencies", "behaviors," "tasks," and "learning objectives."

  • Competency - A broad description that groups core behaviors necessary to perform a specific function.
  • Behavior – A general description of an observable activity or action demonstrated by an individual in a particular context.
  • Task – A specific description of a unit of work activity that is a logical and necessary action in the performance of a behavior; how the behavior is demonstrated or performed in a particular context.
  • Learning Objective. A statement that describes the intended outcome of a training class, program, or evolution. It identifies the condition, the task, and the standard to which the student must achieve.

It is recognized that competencies among Type 1, 2, and 3 ICS positions appear to be very similar, and this similarity may hide critical differences in proficiency level and the environment or type of incident in which the position is expected to perform. These critical differences are typically captured in the behaviors of each competency. There may also be critical additional competencies for positions within specific disciplines; however, these discipline specific competencies are not addressed in this document.

Sorry for such a long post, but I think this issue has major implications for wildfire in the future.

Be safe-

3/12 To find the A-D pay plans go to: www.nwcg.gov

(National Wildfire Coordinating Group...Incident Business Management Handbook,
chapter 10 Personnel).

See the link to the new 2007 DOI pay plan on the right. FS version isn't posted yet.

You will see on the documents posted from last year with the date they expire... that
is usually when the new ones come out.

TX Lobo

3/12 More Former Hotshot, current IC/FMO info:

Beth Card, District FMO, Little Missouri National Grasslands, formerly FMO
Theodore Roosevelt NP-Redmond Hotshots (you might want to check to be sure,
but I think this is right)

Mike Preasmeyer, District FMO, LPF, KNF- Redding Hotshots

Steve Ipswitch, former District FMO, Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest,
current AFMO Northern Great Plains Area NPS: Los Prietos Hotshots

Jay Kurth, BKF DFMO, Wyoming HS.
Randy Skelton, BKF DFMO, Prineville HS, Boise HS.

Bob Becker, Former District FMO, LPF: Texas Canyon Hotshots, Ojai Hotshots.
Ish Messer, Former District FMO, LPF: Ojai Hotshots.

I would think Redding and Redmond, by their very nature as training crews,
might have produced a fair number of District FMO's and Forest FMO's.
Since wildland fire is more than just Forests, however, you might add BLM
Districts, BIA Agencies, and some National Parks and Refuges...


Sounds good, I have added BLM and NPS. I have changed the headings to encourage people to provided more detailed info than simply agency. Ab.

3/12 A stupid joke for you all:

These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close.. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

-former NPS fire

Haw Haw. While we've got you here... were you ever a hotshot? Check out the historical table. ICs from IHCs Ab.

3/12 RE: Smokey Vallisillo

I remember the first time I heard Smokey's voice on the radio... I was a young squad boss on the hotshots and we were on a fire in Southern California somewhere... The "Supe" was talking to Air Attack, Smokey Val, and when he was finished talking Supe turned to me and said, " that is one of the few Air Attacks you can trust!"

Smokey's gravely voice was a comforting addition to any fire assignment. We always looked forward to working with Air Attack 12. He is a fantastic fireman and ALWAYS had things under control. He guided many a firefighter through rough shifts.

Smokey became a mentor to me when I was going through my ATGS training. His advice, calm demeanor and fire behavior knowledge was invaluable in my transition to an Air Attack. I don't know the complete story of Smokey pulling the pilot to safety in the helicopter crash, though I have heard he was pretty much a hero, but I do know that Smokey Val was a hero to us hotshots many times.

Smokey is also highly respected in the "other" fire world... the Air Tanker Industry... I have attached a paper Smokey wrote in the mid 80s (doc file) .. It is still used today by many, including myself, during training.

Smokey Val is a true leader.

Love ya Smokey!!

3/12 Ab, any scuttle about the new AD Payplan? Anyone know when
the "Wizards" will unveiled it?


3/12 Casey,

Thank you for your clarification, however your professionalism and
thoroughness precedes you! I didn't interpret your response as an
attempt to criticize her, but thank you for your excellent and very
informative response, as usual.

3/12 The "administration" does not appropriate any money for an
agency..... Congress does that. Thank goodness that we now have another
party in control of both the House and the Senate. They will be able to
function with clearer vision. I anticipate 100% funding of MEL so we can
fully protect non-firewise subdivisions, and that there will be specific
legislation to give all California fed ff's a base salary sufficient to
purchase a $300,000+ home. The fed employees not involved in
fire....well, tough! As for the troops wanting body armour, elderly
wanting to buy their medicines, homeless seeking shelters........
Anyone wanna bet?

Old Fire Guy

You forgot our wounded military not getting basic care. Do I detect a subtle note of cynicism? ... no need to answer that! We do seem to have more needs than budget, ain't that a fact. Ab.

3/12 Re: Smokey Val

"The helicopter was a contract ship from Western Helicopters in Rialto. It was lost on the Lake Hemet fire and Smokey Val received an award for rescuing the pilot ."

While I know the story personally from my closest friends, I would rather let folks who were there or were first hand witnesses tell what happened...... Can you friends of Smokey share his story?

Share the story from a first hand experience or from what your mentors told you...... the story of Smokey Val needs to be told in a factual nature and captured.


3/11 Dear J5

My recent post about the new Forest Service Chief missing an opportunity wasn't a deliberate attempt to criticize her or assume that because she missed the opportunity, she'd miss many more. I've indicated that with any new person to that position, we should:

1) give them the benefit of the doubt
2) give them some time to get situated
3) provide him/her with our agenda on behalf of firefighters
4) offer our willingness to work with the Agency to secure pay, benefits & working conditions commensurate with the fact we are in the 21st Century
5) THEN, if they don't want to play, continue to do what we've been doing over the last several years...take the ball and run with it ourselves.

Obviously she doesn't have the luxury of being myopic about firefighters as we can be. Hopefully the fire folks will educate her on the true needs and get something positive out of her. Hopefully she will not cave in to the increasing FS leadership feeling that the fire program should regress a few decades and offer the mind-set of "natural resources only."

Let's face it, politicians at all levels of government simply won't allow that. Whether the FS leadership picks up on that before they go down a dead-end road remains to be seen.

By May I think she will be comfortable enough to receive our legislative agenda...Whether she remains comfortable after that...we'll see.



Bob Irwin, Jerry Monesmith and Arnie Masoner were the three people at the Riverside Fire Lab working full time on FIRESCOPE, and they --plus the reps from the 7 counties-- did amazing things to get ICS and other FIRESCOPE products off the ground.

Ab: Unfortunately of the three FS people assigned to the FIRESCOPE project, Bob Irwin is the only one still with us. Jerry Monesmith passed away in the early 1990s, 1994 I believe shortly after retiring; Arnie Masoner died in July of 2006. Both were outstanding members of the wildfire Community.

John F. Marker

3/11 info for rookie teacher


Just returned from the International Association of Fire Chiefs conference in Reno.

One presentation was a combined session on the Safe Net program (linked to the NIFC site) and the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System (e-mail: nearmiss@iafc.org).

The short version is these 2 groups are sharing information to the benefit of all fire fighters.

While this may help with research I know from reviewing several medical unit logs as part of a fatality investigation many fitness/health related issues are dealt with on incidents and I doubt most of them are reported to either system.

If someone knows of other sources I'd like to know so we can use the info in training.

John Bennett
Rio Hondo College

3/11 Instructors,

I am looking for a table or graph with info as to how many "physical fitness"
related incidents we have yearly on the fireline. Can you point me to a
website or book? Thank you.

Roo*FNG*kie Teacher

3/11 Things are popping in socal, land of year-round fire. Hotlist Forum is starting to heat up.


3/11 Hi Ab,

I saw Scott Vail's post and Jack Lee's addition. I was on the San Gorgonio District in '73 and transferred to the Palomar in '74.

I remember only 2 ICS teams transitioning from LFO (large fire organization) to ICS. The IC from the BDF was Gene Kemble and the IC from the ANF was Jim Stumpf. I was on Gene's team and after one season the transition was complete, and we went back to the Region's six teams. I became the PSC on Bill Howard's then Bill Cadola's team in 1978, and we still had to get our "card punched" to complete the transition from LFO to ICS.

The R-5 ICs that I remember from the early 70's were Dick Montague (ANF), Myron Lee (CNF), Jim Bates (LPF), Bill Howard (PNF), George Mendle (MNF), and Gene Murphy (BDF).

Bob Irwin, Jerry Monesmith and Arnie Masoner were the three people at the Riverside Fire Lab working full time on FIRESCOPE, and they --plus the reps from the 7 counties-- did amazing things to get ICS and other FIRESCOPE products off the ground.

The Converse crew on the San Gorgonio District was already disbanded when I got to that district in 1973. Some people who would remember are Moe Moreno, Dave Schaefer, Randy Munoz, Smokey Vallesillo. I believe Moreno and Schaefer transferred to the Mendocino in the early 70's. Munoz was the Engine Captain at Camp Angeles, and went to CDF as a crew captain and I believe he is retiring now. Smokey Val is retired, and still lives in Banning. Part of the problem for Converse was its location, and the long drive to get anywhere quickly. Another part was one of the buildings burned. The station was rebuilt while I was on the district. Bill Smith, the Running Springs Fire Chief and Russ Johnson, both BDF retirees, could also fill in a lot of blanks. Russ now works for ESRI in Redlands.

I replaced George Roby as BDF Forest FMO in 1981 and retired in 1996.

John Hatcher

Thanks for the info, John. If anyone has contact with any of the folks John mentions, please get them to email Ab and also the CA Hotshots website: info at californiahotshotcrews.org. Replace the "at" and spaces with @. Ab.

3/11 I think it was 1962 when Lynn Biddison told me that he wanted to place
a guy in a crew boss position on the El Cariso Hotshot crew. Having little
choice in the matter Ted Zrelak joined the crew. He was a hard worker
and tough as nails. One time he signed payrolls with his initials, TZ and
got a chewing out from the SO big time. He was referred to as TZ from
that time on.

He was a great asset to the organization and a good friend. He became
the LPF fire staff and retired from that position.

My thanks to Lynn and Ted for the friendship and assistance.

Doug Campbell
El Cariso Super. 1961 & 1962

El Cariso's historic Ruptured Duck logo, created by Doug's first wife, first logo on the left, second row down. Ab.

3/11 Rogue Rivers,

Yes I certainly agree that the loss of our brothers must be the primary emphasis of any report coming out of the Esperanza. Sorry if my words made you think otherwise.

The point of my comment was that I hope fire-safe community planning stands out loud and clear in any list of recommendations made by the various investigative reviews. Based on what is happening with 30-mile and from the reports I have read in the past, I worry that the loud and clear part might not be loud and clear enough.

I know we are already up to our necks in regulations, so more rules may not be the way to go. But at some point agencies need to help the public (and government leaders) understand that there are some interface areas that are just not safe for firefighters to protect. Homes in those areas must either survive on their own or burn down. Some people will probably always want to build in such places, but in doing so they need to accept the risks and not expect us to either subsidize their fire insurance or pay with our lives to protect their structures.

This is why I strongly believe a firefighter needs to sit at the end of every planning commission process to make the final determination whether or not a development or single structure gets approved in a high fire risk area. If he or she says no and the thing gets approved anyway, due to political pressure or whatever, then it gets red zoned. They can get utilities, maybe mail and garbage service, but NO fire service. The public should not be asked to pay for it and firefighters shouldn’t be asked to protect it. I know every firefighter has the discretion to not defend a home if the risks are too great, but sometimes the cards line up and unexpected events occur. Someone who knows wildfire and can properly measure the possibility of such events can do a lot to prevent a future tragedy by holding a big red stamp at the end of the permitting process.

I’ve heard thoughts about turning the Esperanza site into a memorial. Is that still a possibility?


3/11 For the 2006 fire season, Mark Rey and the Chief of the Forest Service supported an idea that we would be able to preposition resources in areas of need based on "planning levels" to balance losses in FFPC from the budget reductions..... this would result in "increased management efficiencies"... (Ref. FY 2006 and FY 2007 Budget Testimony)

For the upcoming 2007/2008 fire seasons, Mark Rey and the new Chief of the Forest Service again support ideas that we will be able to preposition resources in areas of need based on "planning levels" to balance increased losses in FFPC from budget reductions..... this will result in "increased management efficiencies" the administration says again..... (Ref. FY 2008 Budget Testimony)

FFPC are local factors..... take FFPC from one area..... lose it from another...... Take FFPC from 25% of the ENTIRE area and you can't make up for the losses by moving the shells around...... There is no way available to shift resources around to cover the losses. Last year is an example of the failures of the current policies.

Two simple points.....
  1. It didn't work during fire seasons 2005/2006, and resulted in a complete failure and a record fire season in terms of acres burned and expenditures, and
  2. We haven't used "planning levels" for over ten years...... the term IS PREPAREDNESS LEVELS...... ie - PL 1 - PL 5. It is all about preparedness.... not planning.

Please see the U.S. Drought Monitor to see just how well this "plan" will work when local units are not funded at proper preparedness levels prior to, and during the upcoming fire seasons.

Since the current administration began management of the Forest Service..... we have failed to be prepared and somehow only concentrate on response as the goal..... the entire National Fire Plan has been dismantled against the wishes of the public, their elected officials, and the professional managers within the wildland fire agencies who best know the risks and what their jobs are..... as a result.... the yearly WFPR (Fire Suppression) expenditures have skyrocketed....... it isn't rocket science.

Hopefully at the next House or Senate hearings on the FS Budget..... a rep from the FWFSA will be present to call BS where BS is due.

Rogue Rivers

FFPC = Firefighting Production Capability (or Capacity)

3/11 To Mellie

Regarding your question about the Mill Creek handcrew; you are correct.

The handcrew was not considered a hotshot crew at that time but was based at the Mill Creek San Gorgonio District. The crew worked with a covered stakeside with rear bench seats; tools underneath. Some of the crew were fresh out of Vietnam and happy to be home.

The helicopter was a contract ship from Western Helicopters in Rialto. It was lost on the Lake Hemet fire and Smokey Val received an award for rescuing the pilot . The heliport established behind the station was ultimately abandoned because of power line issues.

I've got some great pictures of the time period.

Soon to retire,
Tony Crawford

I hope you do something with the historical photos. Ab.

3/11 To: Forest Service for Life

I currently work for the USFS in R5. I just finished the advanced academy with the Apprenticeship program. This upcoming fire season I am supposed to be operating an engine. Right now, the engine will be staffed with the Capt, 3 seasonal employees, and me. (me, being the acting AFEO) I am ok with this. It will give me great leadership experience and experience with the engine. My future wife and I are currently looking to buy a house. We went to talk with a loan company to get pre qualified and I told them that I made $38,000 last year on a shot crew. We couldn’t even qualify for a $300,000 home loan with a $40,000 down payment. I am terrified that when we go back next week to try and get approved for this loan and they ask for my W2 and they see I only make 25,000 a year and am still a seasonal employee they are going to laugh at us. That being said…

Last week I finished up my interviews with CALFIRE. During one of the interviews I mentioned that I am going through the Apprenticeship Program with the Feds. The interview board knew exactly what it was and said that it was a great program to go through to get all of the different training. (Helitack, Handcrew, and Engine) I know they gave me a higher score because of my Apprenticeship time. I am still trying to decide what I want to end up doing this summer. It is a hard decision that has me stressing out way to much.

I am not trying to bash the agency or the Apprenticeship Program by leaving. It is a great program and would recommend it to anybody that knew they wanted to make Wildland Firefighting their career. But, if the Federal agencies want to keep the employees with high quality training (not just Apprentices) they are going to have to step it up, soon.

AB - I have been a lurker for 3 years now. Love the site, great information, and I love to have a place to come and read about people that are having the same difficulties as I am having. Thank you very much!

~ Stay Green or go Red
3/11 Forest Service for Life -

One of the best things about this web site is that all of us have the opportunity to express, with few limitations, our feelings about things in the fire world and our profession that we care deeply about. There is no way I will ever try to denigrate the depth of emotions and feelings that you expressed about the USFS in your latest posting, but would like to offer my views on the subject of USFS Fire folks leaving the Agency.

I started with the USFS in 1964 in northern Cal on a "tanker crew" (my old Guard Station at Feather Falls was later flooded out by the Oroville Dam), and aside from my college time and 3 years of US Army Active Duty, worked for the USFS non-stop until I retired in 2000. Those folks that know me will verify that I still wear green underwear and my blood flows green!

All that said, I believe that I can understand and sympathize with those USFS folks that are now looking to leave the Agency, not because the core principles of the USFS have changed or are now bad, but rather that those folks have to look at the economic realities of where they live, and the pay they get for working there, and what they perceive are the needs of their families.

Until I moved here to Missoula, my family and I always lived in small towns in eastern Oregon and Washington. Life was good as a USFS employee, with a decent wage, low housing costs, health insurance and year-round work. Even here in Missoula in the late 80s-early 90's, it was still pretty good economically to be a USFS employee. But yesterday's local paper reported that the average housing costs in Missoula have increased $20,000 in the past 12 months, making it hard for an average USFS employee (timber, admin, recreation, wildlife, fire, etc) to absorb those increases on a 3-4% raise each year. I cannot imagine what it's like in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Redding, SoCal or similar high housing markets.

When I took Forestry 101 at Humboldt, our Prof started off by telling us that "if you want to get rich, you're entering the wrong field", and he was right! But there was never an expectation that we would be living in the lower economic class for the rest of our careers in forestry and with the USFS. Times have changed.

While I cannot argue about your stated respect for the USFS, I will disagree with your comment that the "USFS would be a better agency if people like you would leave." The strength of the USFS has always been having knowledgeable field folks, and managers who are ready to listen to their diverse opinions, even when they aren't politically correct.

Remember Chief Jack Ward Thomas directed everyone to "tell the truth", even if it wasn't what some folks like Mark Rey wanted to hear. Does the USFS need to follow the "my country right or wrong" and the "if you're not for me/it, you're against me/it" mentality. Gawd, I pray we never get to that point!

My Bottom Line: I loved my time with the USFS, still wear one of my multiple USFS belt buckles almost daily, but can appreciate why some good folks are choosing to leave the Agency, and wish them well!

Dick Mangan

3/11 Re: The Idyllwild Town Crier Article

JPC did a great job explaining the situation and speaking with the experts for comments (good and bad). It is great to see that the information is getting out to the public in regards to the proposed FY 2008 Forest Service budget cuts and the potential ramifications for wildland firefighters, and the communities and natural resources that they protect.

His quote that said "Nationwide there will be 300 fewer firefighters" missed a little though. It is hard to follow this mess for almost everyone trying to understand it and I know how frustrating it is when so much data conflicts.

For example, if Region 5 returns to FY 2001 staffing levels, nearly 400 Forest Service firefighters would go unfunded on just the four Southern California forests alone. Then, take a look nationwide to see what the budget means to the Forest Service as a whole in terms of fire preparedness, community and resource protection.

In the Senate Hearings of February 28, 2007, it was explained that "even though" the FY 2008 preparedness budget was being reduced by 13% from the FY 2006 level, it actually was closer to a 25% reduction due to inflation and normal increased program delivery costs from year to year (ie- salary step increases, contract increases, etc...)

Great to see the issue is being discussed and addressed by folks with a passion. It is good that folks see that you can't always do more with less.... even with so called "increased management efficiencies" such as the ASC......

JP.... great job with the article.... keep up the good work!!!

3/11 Casey,

Just out of curiosity, would you consider the fact that the Chief did not take advantage of recent hearings to plug for the agency to be the result of inexperience, fear of making waves, not being aware of the situation, or just not a leader with the background and/or interest in advocating in this manner?

I have been watching her for just this type of lackluster behavior since a very close friend who worked directly under her for quite a while predicted this would happen. I tried to tell him that she would be different and to think positive thoughts, but he keeps telling me that he is basing his predictions on previous and consistent behavior and that for her to do otherwise would be a huge change in how she has been in the past. When I say "think positive" he responds with "tried that for 7 years, now I'm thinking realistically and we'll suffer from her actions, but I won't be caught by surprise this time."

Your thoughts?

3/10 Ab,

The National Park Service fire management program has received direct benefits from prior hotshot experience. I believe Sue Husari was a Forest Service employee when she completed her detail so it was John Kraushaar, Deputy Chief, Pacific West Region (ret) who was the first Park Ranger selected for the Redding training program in 1988. Kelly Martin, Yosemite National Park FMO was on Redding in 1990 and after I completed the program in 1989 I was offered the new FMO position in Joshua Tree National Park. My Chief Ranger told me the selection was based on the fact that I had "squirted more water and thrown more dirt" than any other Ranger in the Park (true story). Only in the Park Service can you be a Hotshot one day and a Fire Management Officer the next!

Fire Geek
3/10 To: JPC

You certainly know where the FWFSA stands on this budget nonsense! Many folks who attended the recent R5 Chief Officer's conference in Reno received the information from Regional and WO folks.

A call that I received from Rep. Mary Bono's office yesterday is indicative of Congress' thoughts on the FS budget proposal, regardless of party affiliation... nonsense!

Every office I've spoken to which includes staff and members clearly [emphasis added] share our disbelief that the Administration just doesn't get it, as evidenced by increasing suppression and reducing preparedness (pre suppression) funding.

All recognize that someone, whether it be the Agency leadership or whoever, has to do a better job of educating the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and its Forest Service Budget Analyst (bean counter) to get them to understand the intent of the National Fire Plan; that spending a little for pre-suppression will reduce suppression costs etc.

R5 should feel relatively comfortable that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is now the Chairperson of the Interior Appropriations Committee and that she has echoed our sentiments on the budget mess as well as our concerns on the liability issue.

Those that have viewed recent hearings on the subject of FS budgets no doubt have recognized a growing frustration among members of Congress and an almost antagonistic relationship with the Agency.

With all due respect to the new Chief, she had a great opportunity recently before the House to do the right thing with respect to the budget proposal and lay out the serious problems with it. Unfortunately, as has been past practice, the Chief was all too happy with the proposal and the wonderful things it will allow the Agency to do.

I can assure you and the fire folks in R5 that the members of the California congressional delegation appears to have offered a collective retort to the proposal and the potential for returning to pre-2001 levels...HE*L NO.

The challenge of course is to get them to actually DO something about the problem.

In closing, all of our federal wildland firefighters in California owe JP Crumrine a debt of gratitude for his interest and involvement in the issues facing our firefighters and his willingness to seek the voice of the true experts... our firefighters.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
3/10 Hi T. Crawford,

Was the Mill Creek handcrew not yet a hotshot crew at that time? Was there more than one Mill Creek crew? You said,

Regarding information concerning the San Bernardino Mill Creek Handcrew.
I worked as a crew member in the summer of 1973 with George Motschall as crew foreman.
In the summer of 1974 a Bell 205 was added to the team with Smokey Vallesillo as Helishot
Supervisor and G. Motschall as crew foreman. This was, I believe, the first regular 14 man helishot crew organized to fly with a Huey. We had to learn alot about the ships' capabilities.

I got the CA hotshot crew founding dates for Ab's table from the CA hotshot website. This is the page for Mill Creek History and says the crew was formed in 1975:


Thanks for any clarification.


On another note... A bit of humor?...
I was doing a bit of searching on "fire teams", and came across this interesting page. At least I thought it might be interesting if only I could translate it!


Oh, I see, it's fire prevention teams in owl-talk which looks a little like a combo of latin, spanish and clingon?...


3/10 Scott Vail's Post on 3 teams that tried out ICS:

I think that the other IC of that group of 3 was Jim Stump....
my memory seems to fade that far back too,,,

Jack Lee

I am adding what people remember. If anyone notices something that needs correcting, let us know. Ab.

3/10 Ab

I've been following the IHC posts and just wanted to throw some stuff in.

In February 1992 the first real National Interagency Hotshot Conference
took place in Mesa, AZ. Through the cobwebs, I think that 95% of the
Superintendents were in attendance for that meeting. One of the documents
that was distributed was a Hotshot History of America. The conference
coordinators asked the Superintendents for their crew's history and I
believe the document contains write-ups for 43 IHCs as of that year. I
know there was discussion about trying to continue the history effort and
expand the document. Maybe someone in your neighborhood still has it.

You guys do good work!


If anyone has a copy of the Hotshot History of America, please send it in. Thanks, Ab.

3/10 Looking,

Give RRU HQ in Perris a Call, The hiring going to happen ASAP. So I would
give both HQs a call to get the exact hiring date.

31yr RRU FC.
3/10 Not sure where this originally came from, but something to think about in
these trying times................

The Horse and The Little Burro

In the days of the great western cattle ranches, a little burro would
sometimes be harnessed to a wild horse. The two would then be turned loose
together onto the desert range. Bucking and raging, the wild horse would
drag and pull the little burro, throwing him like a bag of feed.

In several days, however, the two would return. The little burro would be
seen first, trotting back toward the ranch with the submissive steed in

Somewhere out of the wild, the horse would become exhausted in trying to
free itself of the burro. In that moment, the burro became the master of
the two. The slow, patient, unimportant animal became a leader over the
faster , and more volatile, and more prized one.

Patient, committed, methodical, and hardworking people may find themselves
the brunt of abuse from those who are more rambunctious in the workplace.
But in the end, they tend to accomplish more, rise higher, and win greater
respect from their colleagues and those who work under them.

Choose to be patient and quietly determined today, and tomorrow will reward

"Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet".

3/10 To: Forest Service for Life

A few comments about your post;

“If you are so unhappy and willing to leave the Forest Service, my question for you is why did you even take a job with the Forest Service? It is people like you, who never help the agency, but only complain about management, that make people like myself mad because I love my job and the agency I work for. I know I will never make near as much as some other agencies would pay me, but at least I have respect for the forest service and don't complain about upper management, just because I do not like that person. I think the USFS would be a better agency if people like you would leave. All you do is bring everyone else around you down too”.

A few weeks ago, I posted comments on what has become a steady stream of federal employees who have left or are thinking about leaving the federal fire agencies. I can only speak from my experience, but the agency is not better off when these people leave. I am seeing some of the most talented future leaders walk away from federal fire. Thursday, I met with a ten year employee, (current Hotshot, prior flight, and engine time) and today I met with a 17 year veteran who is thinking about transferring over to a local government agency. They are not traitors, they love the work, they want to stay, but the system makes that tough. The Hotshot, a seasonal, is from Southern California. I do not know where you live, but his rent payment is almost equal to my house payment, and that’s just his share of the rent. He is not asking to get rich. He knew and still knows that if he stays with the USFS he will never make what a local government firefighter makes. That’s OK. He likes seasonal work, and would be more than happy to take a full time slot, but does not want to go through the apprentice program. Since the Demo program has gone the way of the Do-Do bird (at least in R-5), he is going to pull the plug and start over with CDF. The 17 year veteran is an engine captain, prior student, smart, physically fit, and sound fire tactician (I have seen him work). He came over to the feds from another state fire agency and he loves the work. These are not the people that you want to lose. Like many they are frustrated, but they have been diligently putting in their time, working hard, going to college, training and waiting for things to get better. From my viewpoint as an outsider, it does not seem to be improving (and now there are discussions of large scale reductions in 2008). I absolutely can not fault someone for wanting a more stable future that provides a better life for their family.

One final point, they do respect the agency. Instead of waiting around until they become disgruntled employees, they are going to move on. When we talk I can tell it’s tearing them up inside. They want to stay, but the system makes that hard to do.

Thanks for listening.

Ron Marley
Shasta College
Fire Technology Division

3/10 Wouldn't your readers have some interest in the story, up since
Wednesday? Many were helpful in its preparation.

Federal fire funds down $90 million

3/10 Hey everyone,

I saw the ad for Dean Talley's novel on the classifieds page. I got a copy and am really enjoying it. Wow, Dean is an excellent writer! (You could always tell that from his posts on the Airtanker Pilots Board.) While Flyboys-Risky Business is not about Dean's life as an AT pilot, so far it's been peppered with sections that share aviation history, like cropdusting north of Sac CA and flying salmon runs in AK, lots of good interesting gripping stuff on flying by the seat of your pants when weather changes or power loss causes instrument failure, situational awareness and thinking fast. I swear I know some of the characters! I love a great adrenalin read!

I have to get out and do Saturday chores, but this is hard to put down. Phew. Dean, if you're reading here, excellent job! You'd better be working on your next book on air tankers and fire! I'm hooked! When this one's over, I know I'll be looking for my next fix.


3/10 to further complicate the IHC list as posted:

In the late 60's through late 70's there were a series of what were known as "R-4.5 crews" up the East side of the Sierras that were designated as either HS or IR (seemed interchangeable then). They were located, south to north, at Mammoth, Bridgeport and Dog Valley over different periods of time.

All suffered from lack of funding and R-4 political whims.

BLM had the Nevada State Handcrew, run by Dick Jackson in the early 70's (retired as dispatcher from AK fire), that morphed into Silver State HS in the 75-77 era ( somebody help me here...)

i think there a still patches from all of those crews floating around. mostly in some retiree's attics...
i hope i didn't forget anyone, there's a lot of dust going back there. be safe


I have some patches, logos and photos I need to get sized and posted. If anyone has some of those old ones that haven't showed up on the logos photo pages, consider taking a digital photo and sending 'em in. Ab.

3/10 Looking into the future

If you are so unhappy and willing to leave the Forest Service, my question for you is why did you even take a job with the Forest Service? It is people like you, who never help the agency, but only complain about management, that make people like myself mad because I love my job and the agency I work for. I know I will never make near as much as some other agencies would pay me, but at least I have respect for the forest service and don't complain about upper management, just because I do not like that person. I think the USFS would be a better agency if people like you would leave. All you do is bring everyone else around you down too.

Forest Service for Life

Please, Folks, let's keep this about "the what not the who"... I didn't hear the previous poster slam any one person.

The issue here it seems to me is whether management at all levels acknowledges the retention problem and interacts with employees so they feel their issues are acknowledged and they are valued employees, even if there's nothing to do about retention. It is always easy to "blame" management above for FS policies that management has no control over. Management can theoretically take the attitude "Don't let the door hit you on the a$$ on the way out" or "How can I help you in your career choices" or some other position. Readers, keep in mind that management is likely so overwhelmed with everything that's expected of them that they can't take on helping people they supervise with their retention/career problem. This stuff puts everyone on edge.

Forest Service for Life, in your rebuttal I hear your frustration with employees' frustration. I don't know if you're from CA, but people - when they sign up hoping to make the FS a career - expect that if they perform well they will make enough $$ to have a roof over their heads and food on the table. Most people I know also would like nothing more than to also be "Forest Service for life". They love what they do. Therein lies the problem and the frustration for them, in my opinion.

Please, Folks, let's not get into a flaming war here. Ab.

3/10 Looking into the future

I can tell you that on my district there is no real concern expressed at least at the station level. It's like everyone knows that many have applied to CAL FIRE, but yet no management can do anything about it, so they don't try to do anything about it. To me I feel as if they think because they have their hands tied about current retention problems, there is no real effort to try and keep our employees! It is kind of upsetting. I have yet to hear about a district Chief or Captain sitting down with any of those employees and asking them what they can do to keep them here. As silly as that that sounds at least it shows they care. And with the amount of firefighters that I know have applied, you would think that at least they could physically show they care. I think Forest Management has given up! Yeah, you can say you're trying to bring up the issues at the Regional level and even the WO level through the conferences and providing Retention and Cost of Living statistics, but I'm telling you right here: there is NO real effort to communicate with these employees personally to work with them and retain them.

If a lot of these good employees leave, and with the the current ones soon to retire and the quality of these apprentices that we're picking up now, things do not look positive for our future.

3/10 I was just wondering if any CDF personnel had any insight on when BDU
or RRU was going to pick up their seasonals? I know many people that
have applied for seasonal positions from the FS.

As for the BDF, ANF and the CNF is your fire management concerned
with the people they might be losing? I can tell you that the district that I'm
on, the management just got worse about a pay period or two ago...........
so going from full time to seasonal would not bother me at all!

Signed Looking into the future

3/10 Ab;

Probably more information that you wanted but to help fill out the chart:
Steve Gallegos was the Incident Commander on CIIMT 2 from 1984
to 1994.

Also I was a qualified Area Commander from 2001 to 2005 but I only
led one of the national teams in 2003.

Good luck!!


Every bit of information helps. Ab.

3/10 Regarding information concerning the San Bernardino Mill Creek Handcrew.

I worked as a crew member in the summer of 1973 with George Motschall as crew foreman.

In the summer of 1974 a Bell 205 was added to the team with Smokey Vallesillo as Helishot Supervisor and G. Motschall as crew foreman. This was, I believe, the first regular 14 man helishot crew organized to fly with a Huey. We had to learn alot about the ships' capabilities.

Great times and dynamic leaders - lots of action.

Still maintaining;

T. Crawford

Thanks for the history T. Ab.

3/10 Ab,

There was a rep from FS Boise that probably was using talking points
at the structural/wildland gathering in Novato last weekend. He told the
firefighters there that the FS only protected natural resources, not interface
structures. Is FS nonpayment of last years bills some kind of wake up
to that talking point?


3/10 jimhart,

You have become a friend over the last few years and I believe we are trying to say the same things.... just in different ways under different levels of stress to different friends.

You may have lost some wildland fire supporters (not me) when you said, "My main worry about the official story, however, is that it may not address the total fire environment and will focus instead on the fire service and the five brothers we lost."

As you are, I am also concerned about how the "main story" will be presented, but I believe that the focus should be the "five brothers" that were lost and the risks to the public who build in fire prone areas without local and state regulatory review of the risks, and how wildland firefighters are expected to protect private property. It is the foundation of the fire environment, or at least the foundation of the decision processes that wildland firefighters and elected decision makers should use.

The building blocks of the "total fire environment" are the wildland firefighters and the communities they protect. State and local government officials need to take more responsibility in the approval process of homes built in the wildland areas.... and then should uphold their enforcement responsibilities.

We don't let people build in flood plains unless they make sufficient mitigations for the risk and insure their risks.... We should do the same before any approval process in wildland fire areas......

We should concentrate on the five brothers we lost protecting a HOME.... a home built in a place that should never been approved based upon risk vs. gain......

Rogue Rivers
3/9 Ab,

Just picked this up, thought folks might be interested:

Help needed to finish fallen Esperanza firefighter's home


3/9 Re: Converse Hotshots

The only person I know from the Converse Hotshots was the future Supt. of the Del Rosa Hotshots (Ron Regan) who retired some time ago. I met him in 1984 and learned from him until the time he retired.... and still learn to this day.

If I remember the story correctly, Ron was a member of the Converse HS before he headed off to Vietnam, and then when he returned, he was a member of the Del Rosa Hotshots. Between the time when Ron left to Vietnam and he returned, the Converse crew was disbanded. Ron finished off his career as the Supt. of the Del Rosa Hotshots in the early 1990's. I believe he was the longest serving HS supt. of the crew.

Stories fade over time and I am probably wrong in my recollections or how the story goes...... Ron can explain it better and give a better history of the Converse HS crew history. I am not sure of the time lines.... just the effects of the stories of my mentors.

T. Molzahn..... great to see you still around and leading.... Weren't you on Converse also? Thanks for kicking my butt in 1988-1990 when I worked for you on the ANF... and for being someone who has also been a mentor since then..... I still remember the Water Tender ass chewing I got.... definite learning experience. Great to see you back!!!

Former CDF
3/9 Green Gestapo;

Oops, sorry; got all excited and forgot the point of the whole (IHC- IC) thread...

RV (Rose Valley) was not an IHC, obviously, but did produce several excellent fire managers, many of whom went on to other crews, IHCs, before moving to management.

Eddie Padilla, RV Supt, was a Redding 'jumper, retired as LPF Air Attack (AA- 07), then helicopter manager for Monsanto's helitanker program.

Ish Messer was helitack foreman on RV, later Ojai HS Supt, then NPS FMO

Bob Becker was helishot foreman on RV, later Ojai HS Supt, then LPF FMO

There also were several others who went through RV who have moved on to other fire management positions (Jim Ackerman, VNC, and DIVS with Jim Smith's T-II IMT, etc.)

Not specifically on the IHC subject, but some ancient and related history...


3/9 Dan Kleinman was also a DFMO SQF

And wasn't there a Rose Valley HS on the LPF, or maybe Helishot?

Green Gestapo
3/9 I Started On Mill Creek in 1978 as Foreman. I think I was the Only Redcarded Type 1 IC as a GS-9 in Region 5 from 2001 until 2002 when I became the DFMO On the Mount Whitney Ranger District On the Inyo National Forest and Then ended my 34 years as the detailed Forest FMO on the Inyo in 2004

T. Molzahn
3/9 To add on to noname23

John Truett, Laguna Hot Shots 1980 to ?

Truett and Estes started their careers the same day and are now both
serving on Calif IIMT 2 for IC Bill Molumby. 27 years earlier MolumbBill
was also their Sup in the early 1980s. He just can't shake us, but we follow
good leadership.

3/9 Regarding public discussions about the Esperanza before the official reports are produced; I concur with Lobotomy about the wisdom of holding off such discussions until all the detailed facts are out. I have brought up the incident in talks I have given, but only in reference to the risks of poor community planning and the price we pay for it. In conversations with a number of folks I have heard a whole slew of conflicting “opinions” about what happened, what the fuels were like, and why the house burned while thin, wooden slats around the pool didn’t.

My main worry about the official story, however, is that it may not address the total fire environment and will focus instead on the fire service and the five brothers we lost. We’re at the end of the line in all of this. The line really started years ago when the property was permitted for development without due consideration of fire risk. That’s where the attention needs to be directed.

3/9 More ICT to IC

Mike Daugherty -was Supt of Bear Divide, Smkj, IC Team 1, Asst director for
So Operations, State Fire and Rescue Chief for OES, and now works for US
Fire Administration. Barry Callenberger was Supt of Palomar and Eldorado,
T1 DPIC and ended up as Assistant Regional Fuels Officer, Dale Dague went
from being a DC on the SQF to San Dimas to the WO. Molumby was Supt of
Laguna for awhile. Ken Blonski was on Redding for many years before becoming
a DC on the LNF and eventually becoming Deputy Fire Director in Region 5. I
don't see Little T shots both McCombs and Glotfelty were on that crew at
one time.

On a related subject Bob Alvord LPF told me there were originally 3 teams
designated in the mid 70's to test out ICS in Region 5. He was one of the
IC's, I think Chuck Mills might have been another but I have brain fade and
can't remember the other at all. May be some of the older than me crowd can
remember-I wasn't paying too much attention to the command crew in those

Scott Vail

3/9 Ab,

I buzzed into they said and caught the IHC to IC discussions
and would like to chime in on it.

Dick McCombs Bear Divide and I believe Little T Hot Shots,
DFMO Angeles and IC 1, I do not recall which team he had.
Also Steve Gage type I IC, is now in the Washington office FS.
David Kerr believe El Cariso and Bear Divide HS, type 2 IC
and DFMO Angeles, FMO Santa Monica Mtns NP.

Welp the brain quit working so think I will go.


Don't go too far, old guy. Ab.

3/9 I have been reading comments involving the thirty mile fire incident and to say the least im not too happy,

Just to get to my point, if lawyers and courts are going to fight fire then why are we here? Let 'r burn! It's not our problem anymore. Once the courts control our actions, we will all die or not go. Im not a f.s. employee but a volunteer and we work with f.s. alot. i respect the f.s. people and true mistakes get made. I have no knowledge of those involved other than lawyers who dont give a flyin cr*p about firefighters who do the job, just dont let their house in the interface burn. If this is what it all comes to, why go? It aint worth it anymore.

For those who will take my comments as insensitive to the families, I am sorry for their loss, but last time i checked firefighters were adults. I leave my family knowing I may not come home and so do you.

My point is why fight fire if those who know cant do it anymore? We all take a chance every time we go on a call. it is way to late now to say sorry? Hate what I say or not -- think about the big picture: your next chain in ICS will soon be "Legal".


3/9 Having Chuck get in contact about the disbanded Oak Grove crew is pretty awesome. Thanks, Chuck.
If anyone was a member of or has info on the following disbanded California shot crews, please let us know:



3/9 Hey all,

Just wanted to put the FLYER out about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation fundraiser run coming up April 1st. Want to thank everyone who has written and asked about the run and those who have volunteered to help out. Everyone is welcome to come out for the beginning or run a few miles and chat. Will keep everyone updated as the date draws nearer. Thanks.

Brian Janes
Klamath Hotshots

Please do keep us informed and let us know of any needs. Thanks for doing this. Ab.

3/9 Hi,

I worked for Larry Boggs, Larry Lange and Henry Martinez, as an Oak Grove Hotshot, in the summer season of 1968. I can send you a nearly complete list of crew member names and a CD with some pictures if you're interested. I also have a copy of Pace magazine from 1968 with a story about our crew.

Let me know if any of this would help you out.

Chuck Grennell

That would be great Chuck. It would be excellent to share the info with the California Hotshots as well for their/your historical website. www.californiahotshotcrews.org/ Ab.

3/9 Ab-

As a retired San Bernardino County Captain and Management Team member for past 12 years, I was shocked to hear unofficially that San Bernardino County Fire Department is contemplating pulling all of their members from IMTs for two reasons. First, over almost 1/2 million in unpaid reimbursements over two seasons and, second, the liability issue. Liability is a big, big concern. Isn't official yet but looks like the plug might be pulled. SBCFD has a number of folks on both Type 2 and Type 1 Teams. It would be a huge hit if it comes down.


Thanks for the info. Ab.

3/9 Well Ab

Tom Story blew my cover! I started on the Tonto in 1966 but I was the first Superintendent of the Catalina Hotshots back in 1974. With the leadership of DFMO Steve Gallegos we started the crew that summer based on the top of Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains at the old Air Force Radar Station. Seems like yesterday when Fire Director, Lynn Biddison provided the leadership to start the Hotshot program in R-3. I remember when he came out to the Ranger District to do an inspection of the crew that summer. What an inspiration he was to the program. And it was a busy season that first year. I left the crew after that season for a PFT on the Cleveland but Jeff Hogg took over at Superintendent in '75.

Some folks say the Catalina Hotshots are now defunct. That really isn't true. The crew was moved to the Lincoln NF in the late 70's and renamed the Sacramento Hotshots. Wherever we went, as the Catalina Hotshots, folks thought we were from some island off of Los Angeles... But even when the crew moved to the Lincoln with the new name "Sacramento" folks still thought it was a California crew!

Yes I was a Type I IC from 1976 thru 1999. And Fire Staff on the Angeles during that same time period. I transferred to R-1 in 2000 and retired 2 years ago as Deputy Fire Director.

Keep up the good communication work you guys do... And standing up for the firefighters out there on the line!!


Greg Greenhoe
Missoula, MT

Thanks for checking in, Greg, and adding some details. Ab.

3/9 Ab,

After looking at the IC's from IHC's list I noticed that the Wyoming Hotshots are listed
under the R1 Northern Rockies section. We are actually a R2 Rocky Mountain crew,
and we will be adding some more names to the list soon.



Welcome ScuurvyDogg, I'm expecting everyone out there to do any correcting they can here. Good to hear you'll be adding to the list. If any crews have new webpage links, send those in as well. California is well organized with an overall hotshot web page but other regions are not. Ab.

3/9 chappy

thanks for the reply. we had also seen the tech tip and went with that.


3/9 >From a different perspective OOOF...

try Norm Silver from CDF..... I believe he started in SoCal in the 1950's in SoCal....
I had the fortune of meeting him in my young pup years as a volunteer firefighter and
then as a paid fire Captain for the Vacaville Rural Fire Protection District...

I doubt that he was on a Hotshot Crew or was smokejumper... but he was and is
still a leader in wildland fire for both the feds and the state....

Former CDF

3/8 Ab,

This is long and I will understand if you cut it down. Not sure where this buck should stop - Department or Congress

Small Agency FMO

Here is a link to the DOI OIG site. After you open this web site click on "Recently Released Reports".


As you read through this you will see OIG reference the various safenets that were put out regarding radios. Thanks to all of you who took the time to put together a safenet on radios over the past several years. Also scary to note that folks were not completing safenets for radio issues as they figured nothing was going to change.

Some highlights from the 55 page report.

Effective radio communication is critical to employee and public safety and the efficient management of our public lands.

The Inspector General has identified radio communication as a critical component of Health, Safety and Emergency Management, which was one of DOI’s Top Management Challenges for FY2004 through FY2006

Our audit objective was to determine whether DOI and its bureaus effectively managed the radio communications program


The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has an unsafe and unreliable radio communications environment that jeopardizes the health and safety of DOI employees and the public.

The results of this audit demonstrate that radio communications in DOI are unsafe and unreliable because:

> The poorly maintained infrastructure poses physical safety hazards, and does not support reliable communications.

> The new radio technology adopted by DOI does not effectively meet users’ needs.

> DOI has a fragmented radio communications program that fails to connect the two critical components – infrastructure and equipment.

Technical studies have identified over 100 DOI radio sites in poor or hazardous condition. These conditions result in physical safety hazards that pose an immediate risk of injury or death to employees and the public. Safety hazards include insufficient grounding of towers, improperly installed equipment, overloaded radio towers, and lack of security fences. The poorly maintained infrastructure also contributed to unreliable radio communications, putting employees at risk during emergency situations. This situation has primarily occurred because of decentralized management of the radio communications program.

We found that the mandate issued by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in 1998 to purchase advanced digital radios failed to consider user needs, did not include adequate training, and contributed to DOI’s failure to meet the federal requirement to transition to narrowband technology by January 1, 2005. Our audit identified approximately $25 million in unnecessary expenditures because of this mandate. Additionally, we estimate that one bureau could still save approximately $10.5 million if it were exempted from this mandate.

Without fundamental changes to the radio communications program, DOI will continue to jeopardize the safety of its employees and the public and squander resources. Given the critical nature of radio communications and the seriousness of the issues we identified, we believe that the radio communications program remains a material weakness for DOI. In 2004, however, DOI downgraded the radio communications program from a Departmental level material weakness to a bureau level material weakness for only two bureaus, without conducting the required Management Review.

To address deficiencies in its radio communications program, DOI should consolidate management and funding of both the radio equipment and related infrastructure under the OCIO. The OCIO should then appoint a credentialed project manager to oversee the program and develop a Department-wide plan for radio communications. Our report provides a series of recommendations intended to help improve the safety and reliability of the program, better manage costs, and meet the narrowband requirement. Additionally, as part of our audit, we identified suggestions from DOI employees in the radio communications program and best practices used by other federal agencies to improve program operations. The OCIO should consider these suggestions and best practices in developing its comprehensive management plan.

DOI’s response to the draft report, included as Appendix 6, agreed that improvements can be made in the areas highlighted in the report; however DOI expressed concern that our report did not reflect recent progress made and the current status of the radio communications program. DOI provided specific examples where progress was made by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). We updated our testing to address these examples and found that DOI’s assertions of improvement were not accurate. DOI disagreed with all but one of our recommendations. Based on DOI’s response and to clarify our intent, we revised two recommendations. The remaining recommendations are unchanged from our draft report.


Published reports, and our site visits, also identified other communications reliability issues relating to the mandated use of P25 equipment. Users stated that the radios:

> were too heavy for people working in remote areas;

> were too difficult to operate for some users; and

> had insufficient battery life for use needed in the field.


The incidents reported in the SAFENET system are individually entered by staff as problems arise. However, the entries are not mandatory and individuals enter incidents as they themselves deem necessary, thus not all of the incidents may contain complete details. In fact, when we spoke with a fire safety management team in September 2005, they indicated that frustration with addressing communications issues in the SAFENET system has resulted in them hesitating to report problems at all anymore.

Another review performed by the NIFC Safety Team in September 2005, found similar issues such as:

> faulty equipment,
> battery limitations,
> radio incompatibility, and
> difficulty programming the radios.



The group of field users told us that they have consistent equipment and field training for everything but the radio equipment. The Department allows the bureaus to purchase their P25 radios from a variety of approved manufacturers, which all have their own functions and style. The users are then expected to learn the radios themselves or get training on their own.

For the rest click comm-oig-audit

3/8 Mellie,

Lynn Biddison would be one to try and contact as one of the "OOO Fire Guys"
(But he would never admit he was "old". I believe he is still around in "retired"
mode but still very active in our discussions, mentoring, and education.)

Here is what the leadership page says during their interview in 2003:


3/8 Mellie,

Touch bases with John Larson - Chena HS > AK Smkj
or Larry Edwards - Mendocino HS/Helena HS > MSO Smkj,
both retired.

These guys were HS Supts and then went jumping.
Very interesting,


3/8 Re Criminal Liability:


With all the posts, this may have already been covered.

At Firehouse Expo they had a Chief/Public Safety Director, who had experience as a lawyer, who talked about criminal liability. The USC Statue for criminal manslaughter charges has always been on the books, as it relates to the death of a federal employee. It was there when our bothers and sisters died at Storm King and on previous incidents. It is the US Attorneys who are now deciding to take action. Local Agency people who run incidents with federal troops on them can be held just as accountable as Fed overhead. Most state statues read close to federal law in regards to manslaughter, so there is the exposure to prosecution, even if no fed troops or overhead is involved. It all depends on who is trying to make points.

He also covered, broadly, driver operator responsibilities. Almost every state makes it the vehicle operator who is solely CRIMINALLY responsible for the operation of vehicle and making everyone wear their seat belt. A company officer may be civilly liable for not taking corrective action, and may be held accountable for agency/department violations.

Food for thought,

Fyr Etr

3/8 Read this document in the archives from 7 years ago. Same story as today regarding retention.

Fire Management Recruitment and Retention, Angeles National Forest, April 30, 1999


Gregory S. Greenhoe
Forest Fire Management Officer
Angeles National Forest

SoCal FF

Before my time here: That's Original Ab who removed the names of those who left for all of those different fire departments listed. Ab.

3/8 More IHC to IC

Russell Copp, former Blue Ridge HS supe, now Deputy Fire Staff on the
Coconino NF.

Greg Greenhoe, got his start on the Catalina Hotshots on the Coronado NF,
became a Type 1 IC. Think he retired off the Angeles NF.

Tony Sciacca, is a DFMO on the Prescott NF, got his start on Flagstaff HS
and was supe of Prescott HS. Tony is now Deputy IC on Northern AZ Type
2 team also.

Mike Conrad, already listed, was on the original Mill Creek HS on the San

Tom Story

Thanks. I'll add and correct. Ab.

3/8 A1leadhook,

Yup, Mike Madden had some shot time on the LP. Late 70's I think? Last I
saw him he was a Branch Ops for FEMA after Katrina in Mississippi's lower
six counties.

3/8 At the recent Rx Burn Boss workshop in Redmond (3/7) DOJ Attorney Jim
Sutherland stated that Professional Liability Insurance would not cover
attorney fees associated with alleged criminal charges brought against an
employee working within the scope of their employment. This is contrary to
what has been understood by many. Below is a quote from one of the
insurance companies web pages that explains coverages and is the basis of
much of the current understanding. I will discuss this with OGC and DOJ to
make sure we speak with one voice on this issue. Thanks for your patience.

Up to $100,000 to pay for the defense of any criminal proceeding or associated expenses into
alleged criminal misconduct for any act, error or omission by you in your professional
capacity. www.wrightandco.com/Plans/Liability/pfl.php

Ken Snell
PNW Fire, Fuels, and Aviation Management

3/8 IHC to IC

I was talking with a retired fire manager about this little IHC to IC project
and she pointed out that early-early fire managers often came from the
smokejumper ranks, like Mike Madden. It would be interesting to know
if any SJs ever became HS supes. As CCC crews became interagency
hand crews, where did their leadership come from? the old all-around
rangers? an occasional SJ?

Most of the jumper bases are in the NW, Rockies, Intermountain. California
seems to have more of the HS crews growing out of the CCC crews than
those other regions do?? Maybe CA is simply larger? Probably no one here is
as old as Doug Campbell, but I'd be curious to have some OOOFG (old, old,
old fire guys) or people steeped in the history of firefighting make any kind of
comments or speculations or share any remembrances regarding jumpers vs
hand crews vs IHCs. Personalities and traditions of crews and expectations
of their leaders -- pert-ty interesting stuff.

I see there's a place at the bottom of the IHC to IC page for managers with
SJ backgrounds. Thanks for sending that info in, A1leadhook.

I find myself wanting to go back and reread Fire Line, Summer Battles of the


3/8 Old C-Rat,

You nailed it man. There are some who view
investigation reports like the Pope views the Bible.
They then go on to add to their 2 cents worth to the
investigation report and teach the whole pile of
nonsense to new firefighters. It's a vicious ugly
circle if you've seen it first hand.

3/8 dozerscout,

In November 2002 the Missoula Technology and Development Center issued a
Tech Tip. ( Your Hardhat: Inspection and Maintenance ). In short it
stated, " The general service life of a hardhat can range from 2 to 5
years. All hardhats are susceptible to damage from ultraviolet light,
extreme temperatures, and chemicals. Employees who are frequently exposed
to sunlight, heat, cold or chemicals should replace their hardhats more
often" This may be the source of the obligatory 3 year rule. At that time
the technical contact for information was Chuck Whitlock, Ph: 406-329-3924.
Electronic copies of MTDC's documents are available on the Forest Service's
FSWEB intranet at: http://fsweb.mtdc.wo.fs.fed.us. Hope this helps you out.
I'M DONE SON......

3/8* Ab;

How far back do you wanna go with the Brass Hat Search... how about:

Doug Campbell (El Cariso, and DFMO, LPF, semi- retired.)
Ish Messer (Ojai HS, and moved to NPS FMO last I saw; believe he's now retired.)
Will Spyrison (Ojai HS, now DFMO, ANF.)
Keith Gurrola (Ojai HS, now VNC Training Officer, and Jim Smith's DIC.)
Terry Raley (Ojai HS, then VNC Wildland Specialist, now retired.)
Steve Decker (Redding, now DFMO, Mendocino.)


Seems like a finite history to me because IHCs and teams are not really that old. Bring er on. I'll try to keep it straight. If anyone wants to provide info for the table but absolutely does not want their email posted on theysaid, just let me know. You can always sign noname (with favorite number) or any initials you choose. We copy and paste... and sometimes correct typos. Ab.

3/8 I have to agree with "Tired of the Jackals," So many times some
individuals become "experts" on a fire where an accident has occurred. Many
times these "experts" weren't even there. Also a word of caution on
investigation reports. Though often the basic facts are there, there are
witnesses or individuals who have first hand eye witness accounts that the
"Investigation Team" never talks to. I have read a few "investigation
reports" on incidents I was involved with and the facts or order of events
as they occurred are not always correct.

An example is the Cerro Grande fire. That incident has generated more
"experts" on the fire that weren't there than any other incident I can
think of.

Old C-Rat
3/8 AB

Got a note from a friend to check out your past IHC table and check my listing. Its good that someone is keeping a history thank you. I do indeed work in BOI. I am with BLM in the OF&A operations group where I still get to work with IHCs on occasion. I would be more properly be listed on the Fulton site as I was first a supervisor there. I left Horseshoe Meadow to work for Bill Sandborg and then Jim Smith from 1979-1983 before going to STF. Thanks again for keeping the records.

3/7 Um, wouldn't it be easier to list which IC's haven't been on shot crews?



3/7 Here is a dumb question: Who is Bill Clayton and why would anyone care what he says?

I was involved in Esperanza and not only do I agree with Lobotomy, but I will go farther
to say that people that just want to 'say what they think' without any real involvement in
the incident or with the people involved should just keep their mouths shut!

sign me,

Tired of the Jackals
3/7 Re: Chief Clayton's planned review (presentation) of the Esperanza Fire

I would hope that the SoCal Association of Foresters and Fire Wardens would follow the lead of the Region 5 Safety Officers Conference and not allow speakers to speak about the Esperanza Fire from things they "think happened" until the factual report is out from those who are trained in investigation and familiar with the accident on a personal basis or through investigation training or education.

At the point the factual report comes out, an active discussion for safety should happen, but it isn't now.

Last week, my friend Chief Hawkins spoke on the facts that were known and kept his comments focused on the facts that we all know and understand at the time.... He is familiar with investigations, is familiar with the accident, and is familiar with the folks involved and has been communicating with those on the fire line...... Chief Hawkins presentation was factual and from a personal perspective and I consider him to be a true friend and it just hit the facts of the accident....... and he showed his emotions about how much it affected him, his staff, and his friends......

Chief Clayton.... should probably drop his speaking engagements and wait until the factual investigative report comes out and talk with the folks involved on a personal basis.....JMHO.

Former CDF...... Now FS..... Still in Riverside County..... aka Lobotomy
3/7 Ab, good challenge to remember things from the past and those who are/were our leaders and mentors...

Richard "Dick" Kastler... Tahoe H.S. foreman and founder of the Asheville HS program.

Also served as the Supt of the Asheville HS from 1989 - ???. Recently retired.

As a collateral duty as the Asheville HS Supt, he served as the Deputy Forest Fire Management Officer for the National Forests in North Carolina when DFMO's were still GS-7's in NC.

Mick McCormick.... Del Rosa Hotshots in the early 1970's. DFMO and Type 2 IC.

Phil Omi.... Del Rosa Hotshots in the early 1970's.... Fire Researcher and educator of 401 students.

Valdo Calvert....... LP HS (1980's).... Region 9...

Dan Shea.... Del Rosa HS (1980's)... Savannah River Plant, Region 8

Mike Conrad.... Chief... San Bernardino City Fire Department.... former Type 2 IC.... DFMO and Forest Deputy FMO.....

I could name many other Hotshots that went on to many other things that benefited our community.... some are CEO's of major corporations in the United States and China that support the WFF... others are well known reporters from a SoCal TV station.... from the Del Rosa HS and others crews... I will need some time to gather my thoughts....

Anyway I look at it.... the Hotshot program over the years has prepared some dam* good leaders...... No matter where they went or where they have gone.... they still have roots to the wildland fire community that began in Region 5 and they still support the program expansion......

The Region 5 Engine Captain's group is also preparing some great leaders who have made some significant changes..... as has the Helicopter group.... the Dispatch group.... and others

Asheville HS 1990, DRHS 1984-1988, TCHS 1989
3/7 Jim,

Ret. Chief Bill Clayton is doing his Esperanza presentation for the BIA and various fire departments in San Diego County. Best bet for the masses to catch this presentation will probably be at the So. Cal. Assn. of Foresters and Firewardens this coming May 3 and 4, at Camp Pilgrim Pines in Oak Glen.

Contract County Guy
3/7 Paul Gleason, formerly Supt. of Zig Zag IHC, was a DFMO on the
Arapaho/Roosevelt before he retired as Regional Rx Specialist with
the NPS RO in Denver.

3/7 When you look at all these incredible ICs mentioned in recent posts, there is a clear common thread...

Most are honored and respected members of the FWFSA.

With pride:

The FWFSA Board of Directors
3/7 Ab,

You can add 2 off the Pike Hotshots providing experienced leadership: Shane Greer, supt., is now the Pike/San Isabel FMO; and Chris Naccarato, asst. supt., is our DFMO on the Mountain Zone.

vfd cap'n
3/7 Kevin Joseph: El Cariso Hotshots 1976; laguna Hotshots 1979,1987; Silver
City Hotshots 1988-2002 (Gila N.F. R-3)
Zone FMO (Division Chief) Santa Fe N.F. Bridger-Teton N.F. San Juan N.F.

John Estes: laguna Hotshots 1980......... (Division Chief, DFMO) Plumas N.F.

Hal Mortier: El Cariso Hotshots 1970 or 1971 and on.......DFMO and Chief 2
on the Cleveland. (Type 1 IC???)

Rick Marinelli: laguna and Palomar Hotshots, Division Chief, DFMO,
Palomar R.D. Cleveland.

Roger Seewald, El Cariso Hotshots DFMO Palomar R.D. Cleveland.

Geoff Bell, Tatanka Hotshots, Region 2 South Dakota, DFMO and Current
FFMO Chief 1 on the Arapahoe-Roosevelt N.F.

Steve Gallegos was on El Cariso Hotshots in the late 1960's. He was the Supt.

Danny Kellogg was on Blue Ridge Hotshots, was DFMO in Moab, Utah on the
Manti-Lasal N.F.

Bill Gabbert : El Cariso and laguna Hotshots, retired park service FMO in
Wind Caves, South Dakota.

Gary Glotfelty, Palomar Hotshots, DFMO on Trabuco, Cleveland.


3/7 Shoot, Im too busy to get into this now.. but here goes

Bob Moore (IHC supt 74-77) also DFMO on old Stonyford District 78-? (Bob was also foreman on Hobart hotshots '71)
Beth Lund (Foreman 82-83, also on Redding IHC 82) current FMO Boise NF and IC on Great Basin Type 2 IMT
Tom Hatcher - (listed in Plumas) was also a Mendocino "Forman" (now captains?) 1977 & earlier

Les Bagby (found this while lurking in the CA hotshots page and didn’t know he had this background) Was a Hobart (not Tahoe) supt in 1971, however at that time it was an inmate crew, so I don’t know if you want to count it. Les was the District FMO Mendocino for at least several years in the early-mid 80's

You have a question mark in front of Sue Husari's listing under the "other" column. Yes, Sue was on Redding in 1982 along with Beth Lund (Beth Judd at the time) …and I have a few interesting stories about those two that year…HA HA HA

If I think of more I will send it in.



3/7 sheer whimsy in the correspondence database...

Date: March 6, 2007

Dear Mr. Geuea:

Thank you for your January 23, 2007, letter regarding the use of "Hovercraft" and water delivery in wildland fire fighting. We value your experience and interest in wildland fire suppression.

In some instances, concepts similar to your recommendations are already in practice. As an example, aerial application of water and suppressants is used in various forms and through different delivery systems.

The Forest Service is currently working with industry and the Department of Defense on the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and satellite technology. This technology may provide efficiencies in many areas including locating fires, communications and aerial support to firefighters.

The Forest Service does not develop technology for aerial firefighting. The agency relies upon private industry for development of products, then reviews and approves the product for use. Several proposals are being reviewed in this area.

Thank you again for your interest in our needs for technical advancement in the fire fighting program.

/s/ T.C. Harbour
Director, Fire and Aviation Management

3/7 Sue Husari was also a Lassen Hot Shot, and a darn good one!

3/7 Bob Knutson Union IHC is the Deputy State FMO for BLM
in Nevada. Erin Small, Union IHC is a Regional Fire Planner in R-9

Andy (Gay) Parker was the Supt of Baker River IHC, Winema IHC and Redmond
IHC. He retired from the BLM Colorado State office as the # 2 dude in fire
there this past year. I think he had the position that Ken Kerr is taking
over. You can add Paul Gleason to Zig Zag IHC, that is where he was the
Supt. in 1990 when the Dude fire happened and where he was when he
developed LCES. Steve Raditz, Del Rosa and Sierra IHC's, was a Great
Basin T2 IC and retired as FMO from the Boise NF. I think Steve was also
Supt. on the Big Horn (now Wyoming) IHC as well but I could be experiencing
CRS. Anyone that knows for sure, tell Ab.

More: Union IHC had a couple of Supts that went rogue as well. Greg Vergari was
the AFMO on the Payette and is the FMO on the Humboldt-Toyobe and Tom
Wordell works at NIFC (National Wildland Fire Analyst).

So Short I have to Look Up to Tie My Shoes

3/7 Ab,

Did some followup research on RO staff not being on incident management teams. Evidently R5 Director Ed Hollenshead was going to tell his 4 Assistant Directors not to serve on teams, but then decided to ask them be part of seeking solutions/ the decision making process. Who knows where alternative viable ideas for solutions could come from?

Not surprisingly you can use "Doctrine" in the process.

  • The Director expresses intent: what is the goal to be achieved?
  • People then look at how to make the intent real based on the underlying principles.

Ed's expressed intent to his Assistant Director (AD) group was that his RO staff needs to "maintain the capacity to do their work." How can one do that while serving on a team? Is there a way to do that while also serving on a team? I would imagine that the demands of the four AD jobs are great, perhaps greater during fire season than during other times of the year.

That's one side.

Now think of everything involved in being on an Incident Management Team, where you serve at the team's and forest's need:

  • being called up unexpectedly on short notice and dropping what you're doing to grab red bag and go,
  • remaining on a fire a week longer than planned,
  • being committed the entire season if it's a bad and busy season,
  • etc.

Is there any way to do both team and RO job?

From what I've heard, the 4 Assistant Directors (ADs) had a private meeting among themselves. They decided to remove themselves from teams. The option remains for them to "fill in" as their RO work allows, possibly working on their former team or on another team which could use their skills on a short term basis.

Filling in is not as good as the real thing, but it's as good as it gets for now.

Readers, FYI, it has long been the situation that the Safety Officer, NOPS and SOPS, and some others working for the RO do not serve on teams because of the demands of their fire season jobs. Thus, the current question was only about whether the 4 Assistant Directors would continue to serve. This is not as many people in numbers as I imagined.

Assistant Director guys/gal, I realize that you will miss your team and all the fun, hard work, feeling that you're making a difference. I would.

Remember that "work" can be considered

  • Job
  • Career or
  • Calling

Other personal options must exist if team membership is your passion or calling. You have the ability to create your life to fulfill your highest dreams.

Thanks for your service!

<smooch> (well maybe not Rusty and I don't know Rob well enough, but certainly the other two!) <chuckle>


3/7 Ab, It's been some time since I contributed to the site, but lurk daily to kinda keep my finger on the pulse. I retired in 1988 after 34 yrs. in USFS. Regions 5 & 6. AD'ed for additional 8 seasons.

I reviewed the latest IMWTK page. I'm kinda confused. On the left hand side of the form is listed the years. In 1946 lists Joe Cruz, Del Rosa. The Joe Cruz I knew in late 60,s early 70's couldn't have been that person. Must have been his dad, or another Joe Cruz. The Joe Cruz I knew went on to big things in the WO.

Shown in the year 1948, Lists Deanne Shulman first woman hotshot also first woman SJ. This can't be the Deanne Shulman I knew. I had her on my Rappel Crew in the very early 80's on the Willamette NF.

The only other folks I knew on this list: Joe Carvelho on the Modoc NF in Helitack, sometime between 1963 to 1969.

*I beg to differ a mite on the year of current versions of long & short Incident Mgmt. Teams. In R6 think ICS was initiated in 1982 or there abouts. The Willamette had a long team that year with the Siuslaw NF. I don't recall that we ever dispatched a short team.*

To maybe get any closer on dates, would have to dig into my storage shed and review old fire stuff. Know my memory ain't what it used to be, but it ain't all gone yet??

When I logged on "they said" in the past, I signed OOFG on my posts. Stands for "Old Old Fire Guy". Is a great outlet for the troops.


OOFG, Thanks for that and for your info. I fixed the table. The year refers to when the IHC was founded. This little project began as a question about which IHC had the most ICs come out of it. I thought the IHC's founding year might have something to do with that in addition to the crew's culture and experience. Ab.

3/7 Dfmo from IHC

Lance Cross DFMO on Los Padres from LP shots, Marc Nelson DFMO on Los
Padres, from Lassen and El Cariso Shots, and Rocky Tow (retired DFMO from
R-3 , I think he was in Tuscon, was from the Lassen Shots, Rob Laeng DFMO
from Stanisluas Shots, still in Stanisluas, Bob Serrato DFMO on the Angeles
from Dalton Shots, and if I can keep thinking there are tons more.


Thanks... I added them. Send in whatever you remember. Ab.

3/7 Decided to add the District FMOs (Division Chiefs) to the ICs from IHCs list. They're in critical leadership positions. Ab.
3/7 Ab, History time while I can still remember.

ICT1s with Smkjpr background in R5 since late 70s:
Dave Nelson; TNF FFMO,
Larry Boggs; also Oak Grove Supt. (ANF) (also the first R5 IC while holding Div Chief rank)*,
Mike Daugherty (sp) (SOPS); also Bear Divide Supt.
Can swear to the Supts,. can't swear to the jumping.

Jerry Mcgowan (DPIC T1) Stanislaus HS and AsstFMO;
Charlie Gripp, DPIC T1 CIIMT 2, Stanislaus Supt. and Redding HS: capt 2 yrs.
Mike Madden: ICT2; LNF FFMO and smkjpr .
Rich Hawkins ICT1 (?); CNF FFMO Fulton HS (?) .
Can swear to Gripp and that Madden was a jumper; but, not sure about any HS time for Mike , He did NE CA T2 for many years. The others, it's 90% sure. And if you don't care about the all the retirees, just remember there ain't that many of them that have done it so begin with at the ICT1 level.??


Hey, we care about retirees. Anyone know when Oak Grove was founded? Did it disband during the RIF if the mid-'80s?To check the partial picture (ie, of shared national resource) IHCs in CA, check the CA IHC page. Disbanded crews are listed. They're looking for info on Oak Grove, Converse, Monterey, and Ozena IHCs. Maybe some of the retired line officers will know. Ab.

3/7 IHC outside CA

JP Mattingly - Alpine IHC Supt now MW Region Wildland Fire Specialist, NPS

David Niemi - Alpine IHC Supt now DFMO Aprapahoe NF

Bruce Miller - Alpine member now FMO New River Gorge, NPS

Ken Kerr - Alpine, soon to be AFMO, State of Colorado, BLM

Dan Warthinton - Alpine member now FMO Denali NP

Dan Buckley - Arrowhead IHC Supt now Fuels Spec, NIFC, NPS

sign me fireuseman

Do you know when Alpine first dug line? OK, in 1981. Found it on the ALPINE website. Ab.

3/7 Ab,

Wasn't Paul Gleason a FMO out in Colorado?
Can't remember if he was with the NPS or USFS or both.


DFMO www.wildlandfire.com/docs/gleason/biobits.php

3/7 IC/FMO listing
El Cariso

Steve Jakala F&WS Regional Fire Director
Ralph Winkler Fire Staff Officer


Thanks, Ralph. Added 'em to the list-link above. Any more from other areas of the country or other non-R5 IHCs? Ab.

3/7 ICs from IHCs

Crowbar - real name "Anthony J. Escobar" started in 1973 on the Los Prietos (now the Los Padres) Hotshots

Rocky Opliger - Type 1 IC, BDF Asst Chief - Vista Grande Hotshots Longtime capt under Kirby Moore

Art Torrez - South Ops - Vista Grande Hotshots - LongtimeCapt under Kirby Moore

George Corley WAS on the original Palomar IHC in 1976 and 1977 for sure... maybe longer (we were saw partners...)

Jim Smith (Fulton and Redding) is also the LPF Type ll IC.


3/6 Check out www.kxly.com for the video on todays court hearing.
It makes me sick they way they are tearing Ellreese apart.


3/7 It's been replaced with something more recent. How can he get a fair local trial? Ab.

3/6 ICs from Hotshot crews

FMO                    Type 1 0r 2 IC or Dep.
Carlton Joseph        same
Mike Wakoski        same
Gary Cones             same
George Chapman
Allen Johnson          same

All El Cariso Hot Shots all 1978/79


I'll need to look these up for teams. Gary Cones yes. Perhaps some others are DFMOs or AFMOs? Will look that up too. Ab.

3/6 Ab ~~

Add one more for Fulton IHC...The long time Superintendent, Bill Sandborg. He was a ICT2 on one of the SQF teams.
Another for Fulton - Jim Smith, Division Chief from the LPF was one of the Fulton Superintendents.

Jack Lee
3/6 Texas Canyon and Lolo also get credit for Don Feser.
He was a Captain (Module leader) when I was there.

Tim Chavez

Done. Made two entries for Don. He's a big man he can handle it. Ab.

3/6 Abs,

I don't know about liability, but members of my department may be pulled from teams since the Feds haven't signed the agreement yet. The old one didn't provide for full reimbursement for costs to my agency and the Feds simply don't want to pay that. So... could be 1 PSC2, 1 PSC2(t), 2 AOBD, 3 MEDL, 1 COML, and about ten others missing next season.


3/6 Here's a table if anyone wants to help fill it in:

IHCs, ICs and FMOs, seems like it would be good to know and have a record. Scott, what IHC were you on?

Any other regions want to hop in with a list of dates, crews and some names, send it in. I'll enter it on the table.


3/6 ICs from Hotshot crews

Someone should look at the rosters from Redding (Rob are you out there?)
over the past 30+ years. I'm sure there's more than a few that have gone
on as ICs.

Anon. Please

3/6 ICs from Hotshot crews

I don't think Corley was on El Cariso. I know he was on Palomar though.
Wasn't Mortier a Type 1 IC or at least a deputy? He was on El Cariso.

Old C-Rat

3/6 From OA:

We're pleased to let you know Wildfire Equipment is now present on the Classifieds Page and are also sponsoring the Air Tanker Photo pages. Perhaps best known for its line of water pumps, including the Mark-3 and BB-4, Wildfire also manufactures slip-ons, backpacks, forestry tools, and PPE. Wildfire is also a well-known and trusted distributor of a wide variety of suppression related products. Request a catalog, check prices and availability, and find out more at their website: www.wildfire-equipment.com.

3/6 Ab, please tell CALFIRE employees to check the union website about
stolen CDF Firefighter's member's credit card information.

Here's a small part of Ken Hale's message:

I currently know of about fifty to sixty CDF employees who have
had unauthorized charges made to their credit cards. Some of these
charges are in the tens of thousands of dollars. The stolen credit
cards are from personnel in most areas of California. Few, if any,
units have been skipped by these brigands.


3/6 Does anyone know where recently retired CDF Division Chief Bill Clayton
is going to be doing his presentation on the Esperanza fire tragedy? I've
heard he's doing it on Friday.


PS (He was the BC.)

3/6 Casey,

All firefighters want to fight fire. Working at that task during fire season is the purpose of life, after all. However, in fairness to Ed Hollenshead who knows about fire tragedy, my guess that the rationale for the RO staff not being allowed on teams (they've have been pulled from teams) is that beginning with Storm King and since, key regional fire management people on the forest of the accident were away from their regional office jobs and participating on teams when the accident occurred. Maybe someone could ask Ed, but I think this might be a correction of that configuration. I don't know if having those people in their jobs would have averted the tragedy. Was this a latent systemic problem as described in Reason's Swiss Cheese Model of Accident Causation? I'd welcome comments. Also, if I'm not misremembering, two of the 5 teams last year did not have deputies and it was questionable if they would be fielded even then.

I have also heard that some Cooperators in CA are not allowing their employees to participate on teams this year. Has to do with liability uncertainty due to the 30Mile case and maybe pay caps being required by the feds in the cost streamlining efforts. Perhaps someone can fill us in on this last point. (Your anonymity will be insured.) Ab.

3/6 Dear AB:

It is truly disappointing to see the number of IMTs being reduced from 5 to 4. With the prognostications for a severe season in '07 along with the Government's Post Katrina report suggesting the Federal Gov't rely even more on FS teams, regressing seems to be the wrong way to go.

There continues to be a wide variety of opinions as to why the number is dropping to 4. Some have said they couldn't get any players yet I know of several who have been waiting, and passed over for S-520 for several years. R5 apparently didn't even interview for deputies in 2006 while other team members joined a NIMO team.

Still others felt the need to quit because RO staff were being pulled from the teams and there was a sense that "a new sheriff was in town" and that the new sheriff wanted quality over quantity. Still others were blaming the current liability issue.

Many of you don't know that the CWCG has taken over management of the national IMTs for the first time in 15 years and it has been suggested that the CWCG take over management of Type II teams.

The issue of who attends S-520, a requirement to be a Type-1, was made by NAFRI without regional influence. Course the fact that their new facility in Tuscon can't accommodate the same number of teams as the Marana site (and this is a good thing??) doesn't help either. Apparently R5 received 10 slots but didn't fill them because the decision had already been made to preclude RO staff from being on teams.

Sooo, it is just a shame that the R5s IMTs have been decimated just before the season begins...but with the promise of re-establishing all five teams before the 2008 season??? Why didn't the work to ensure 5 teams were available this season and beyond commence long ago.

3/6 ICs from Hotshot crews

Off the top of my head I would offer up El Cariso having produced more ICs
in R5 than anyone else. If we date the ICs from '85 when I believe the teams
were started in their current version (short-teams anyway), we would have
Steve Gallegos,
Don Studebaker,
George Corley,
Bill Molumby and
Don Feser.

Fulton has had a few;
Dale Dague,
Steve Gage and
Joe Stutler

and if you count DPICs add Dan Kleinman.

Trying to remember who was an IC is gettin' hard to do, much less remembering
whether they were on a crew is hard enough.

Scott Vail

Thanks for straining your brain. Anyone got missing ICs for those 2 IHCs? I thought I heard Fulton might'a had 5 ICs??? Any other IHCs in the running? Ab.

3/6 ab-

read in the archives about hard hat expiration after 3 (should be removed
from service). trying to put together a safety presentation last minute
concerning ppe and the forest service. wondering if anyone had
documentation of law/standard/best guess to if the 3 year rule is true and
if so, who says.



3/6 GCG,

If those facts hold up, it would be a great loss to the San Bernardino. However, there
might be that number of people or more leaving for CALFIRE as seasonals in the RRU
or BDU. I bet stations will be shutting down with the number of engineers and
apprentices that put in for CALFIRE.


3/6 Last August there was a post here asking for info on AnchorPoint or TuneFire Tools. We're happy to announce that we've heard from Dan Tune and he is back on our Classified Ads page. Dan sez he was legally forced to make a couple of name changes, but that the new name, SwitchBlade Tools should be permanent. You can find out more about Dan's "2007 Start Up Sale" and the SwitchBlade tool at his new website www.switchbladetools.com. OA
3/6 >From Krs Evans blog for non-MySpace Users. KCK

Monday, March 05, 2007

F'ing G-dam* Spasms.....

So awhile back (6 weeks?) I found I had a little problem with my back. Went to the Doc.. Cultured it & found it was another visit from my old friend MRSA. Ate a bunch of Septra... 4 days into which the culture came back, and we found out the little critters were susceptible to it. (A good thing- Hate when Doc's Rx something without knowing if it'll work.. That's how things become resistant after all)

An interesting side effect happened- My spasms decreased by about half. It was freakin' Wonderful. Been fighting those b*stards for about a year, ever since my first experience with MRSA, which I thought we killed at the time. These spasms are not occasional, as is to be expected with a spinal injury. There's triggers- cracks in the sidewalk, starting up or down a ramp, transferring in & out of the chair.. Where the carpet turns to lino.. When laying in bed (on my back) if I cough, breathe deeply, move my arms in a "stretch" motion, touch either of my thighs, twitch the blankets... Freakin' anything can set off the "Jack Knife" maneuver where 1 or the other leg will pop up into the jack knife position. I sit up, push the leg down straight, and in the process of laying down 1 or both will pop up again. Not once or twice either- that sh*t will last for 15 to 30 minutes. Why not just leave them in that position? Well.. If I leave them both up they flop to the side twisting my back.. And if it's just one the dam* thing twitches like Galvani's frog.

Anyway, about the 4th day of the antibiotics the spasms lowered to about the usual post injury level. Unfortunately 2 or 3 days after I finished eating the meds, said spasms returned to previous annoying levels. I spoke to the Docs about it, and one of them put me on a 20 day dose of the septra. Spasms dam* near went away. At that point, seemed the septra was working better than baclofen for the spasms. I dropped the baclofen dose to 40mg a day, and was doing just fine.

The reduction in the spasms lasted ..... About a week and a half after I finished the antibiotics- But has been gradually increasing since then. They're now back to the annoyance level of before- Twitching & throwing me all over the place at almost any time and with no notice. Very annoying.

Also my back is very very sore & has been cramping- Pretty much all through the "torn open" part in this image. It's sore enough that if someone were to maliciously touch me in that region I would probably break their arm. The muscles in there feel like cobblestones- Massage helps for a day or two.. But then the cramps come back. My legs, upper thighs & a$$ (the parts of your backside you sit on pretty much) are very very painful as well- The old "being boiled" feeling. Don't know what's up, but the pain level is currently very very high. Sucks, because usually upping the lyrica (it's for epilepsy, but usually kills nerve pain as a side effect) level & popping a few percocet will do the trick. Not anymore.

Usually I can ignore the pain, and honestly it's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, so while it can be annoying it's not really a big Deal. I just clench my jaw.. Which after awhile makes that hurt too, but... It's the spasms that are really hard to deal with because they interrupt life so much. Simply trying to get somewhere is a complete B*tch because I'm fighting the g-dam* spasms the whole way. Carrying my dinner is the most fun- because half the time my legs flip out and I'm so busy trying not to get thrown out of the chair that dinner (that I have to carry on my lap) hits the floor. So then I have to not only find something else to eat but have to cook all over again.

Pretty much when I carry *anything* it's on my lap. Sometimes it's in my mouth, but anyway- anything that's on my lap when a spasm hits will be on the floor. Then I have to lean over & pick up that item, which usually will cause another spasm. I have to grab the chair to keep from getting thrown out, in the process dropping the item. Let the spasm subside, reach for the item, cause another spasm. It's great.

So... I'm gonna go see the Doc at school ASAP and see if we can't begin the "WTF is causing these" process. Is that MRSA living inside me somewhere? (yes, it commonly colonizes the nose. I'm talking "internal" as in in the blood, liver, vertebrae, somewhere inside) Has it "seeded the rods"? I have no clue WTF is going on- But these spasms are bad enough they're affecting my daily life & making it difficult to do anything at all... And I'm pretty g-dam* tired of it.

3/5 Readers,

It's hard to tell, but the letter below means the number of California IMTs is being reduced by one, from 5 to 4.


3/5 March 2, 2007
To: California Type 1 Interagency Incident Commanders
From: California Wildland Fire Coordinating Group
Subject: California Interagency Incident Management Team Reconfiguration

Following careful analysis of your input, review of data relating to current IMT1 staffing issues, and further review of the number of current applications, California Wildland Fire Coordinating Group (CWCG) has made the decision to reconfigure and staff four National Interagency Incident Management teams (IMT’s) this fire season. CWCG is committed to work together with you to reestablish five teams before fire season 2008.

CWCG will facilitate a meeting with you on March 13th to implement this decision. Together we will develop a process to assign ICs to the remaining teams. CWCG expects all IMT members to honor their existing 5-year commitment, as this is necessary to ensure these teams can fully meet NWCG standards.

Questions regarding this decision may be directed to any CWCG member. We appreciate your help with the decision, value your input, and value you as incident commanders.

/s/ Ed Hollenshead, USFS /s/ Kim Zagaris, OES /s/ Bill Kaage, NPS
/s/ Ken McLean, CALFIRE /s/ Dennis Thompson, Kern County /s/ Ron Recker, BIA
/s/ Doug Waggoner, FWS /s/ Craig Barnes, BLM

Jon Jarvis, NPS Pacific West Regional Director
Mike Poole, BLM State Director
Steve Thompson, USFWS CNO Manager
Clay Gregory, BIA Pacific Region Director
Bernie Weingardt, USFS Regional Forester
Henry Renteria, OES Director
Ruben Grijalva, CalFire
3/5 GCG -

Lots of good numbers in your last post, but for those of us not familiar with staffing on the
San Bernardino NF, could you tell us: 1. what is the current staffing level Dozers, engines,
OF, etc; and 2. what will be left after the cuts you describe?


An Out-of-stater

3/5 Last month the NWSA National Wildland Suppression Association (Contractors Association) held our annual meeting in Reno. There were nearly 250 contractors from around the nation in attendance. The Association comes together once a year to discuss issues and concerns of the private sector. They hold training sessions and workshops addressing Drug and Alcohol abuse, crew cohesion, data base and trainers recertification. There were many guest speakers from the U.S. Forest Service Washington and Regional offices R-5, R-6 As well as FEMA, BLM And ODF

I would like to say that the highlight of the meeting was the dinner auction that raised $62,000.00 for the Wildland FireFighter Foundation; all the proceeds went straight to the needs of the Foundation. I found it very interesting to see the role that private contractors have played in supporting the families of our fallen Brothers and Sisters. This is a place where we could all come together and appreciate what we all have in common as Wildland firefighters.

I have great expectations of this up and coming fire season. We all have many challenges before us with reduced pre suppression budgets. This leaves a great opportunity to work together for the good of the Service. We look forward to all of the challenges.


Good job. Ab.

3/5 Ab notes:

Anyone who wants a fire 2007 calendar, the proceeds are still going to the WFF. Nice pics. I like mine. Fusee, firefighter and lots of flames for this month's pic.

I have relinked to the Free Ellreese page in the header above so that everyone can have hearing information at their fingertips. Thanks to Heather for keeping us abreast of the info we need to support him and to stand against the criminalization of firefighters. I hope that there can be a good showing of support in Spokane at his Pre-trial Hearing, set for Tuesday March 13th at 3:00pm. Click the Free Ellreese link for more information.

3/5 This came up at the R5 Hotshot meeting. The question was asked by a hotshot historian.
Good question for the IMWTK page. I didn't hear the answer if there was one.

Which IHC has produced the most Type 1 ICs?

I'd also be curious about

Which IHC has produced the most Type 1 and Type 2 ICs?

I'm told that in these last few years, Type 2 Teams have had more fire assignments than
Type 1 Teams. Would be neat to know about both.


3/5 Lobotomy,

My posts would be less entertaining if they were actually supported by factual research.

Anyway, I can't rattle off budget figures like others, but I do know a little history. Attached is a small pdf file and pasted below is an excerpt of a 1979 Steve Pyne article in Fire Management Notes, about the rise and decline of the Forest Protection Board from 1927-1932. I think the infusion of National Fire Plan money and personnel has had much the same effect as the New Deal of almost 75 years ago.

It is a fair assessment that today's Forest Service also suffers from "a certain spiritual poverty, a failure of administrative imagination" due in part to the fire budget explosion of the last decade.

vfd cap'n

The reason was the advent of New Deal Emergency Conservation Work money and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Forest Service controlled most of the CCC camps, and with emergency funds it was able to draw on new sources of organized manpower and to create within a few years a physical plant for fire protection that would have taken decades of normal evolution.

But the “gift” of the New Deal was both a blessing and a curse. Previously, policy and protection programs had evolved in close association, guided largely by economic considerations. With the ECW money, however, the debate between policy and programs was destroyed. Results were demanded commensurate with the means available to accomplish them. One result was the 10 AM Policy and the creation of an emergency presuppression account — an “experiment on a continental scale,” as the Chief expressed it. But the first segregated the Forest Service from other Federal agencies in policy; the second eliminated the economic rationale for cooperation.

Ironically, the wealth of New Deal money and manpower had resulted in a certain spiritual poverty, a failure of administrative imagination; conversely, renewed economic constraints and a restoration of policy debates helped revive an almost forgotten political ingenuity.

3/5 re: budget cuts

I can see it now...

In August, some SoCal community will get burned over, and a reporter will
ask if the fire had a chance to grow large because of budget/personnel
cutbacks, and is told, "Oh not at all, it was the fuels (weather, fill in the blank).
Remember when the National Fire Plan was supposed to save the world?

Still Out There as an AD

3/5 Casey, I am sending this to both you personally and to the They Said community regarding your questions...... I have already shared it with my elected officials in Congress.....and my friends, but somehow have pissed off some of my closest friends....

You asked about the terms under the National Response Plan - here are your answers: ESF-9 = Urban Search and Rescue and ESF-4 = Firefighting

My take on the new line item is the same as the Congressional Research Service (CRS) data and numerous other reliable data sources who are evaluating the FY 2008 Budget Request and its effects and calling BS where it is due.... You simply can't do more with less........ it is a 13% reduction in wildland fire preparedness any way you evaluate the data.

If the information that Ed Hollenshead said was true at the R-5 Conference before the Engine Captains Group (a return to Fy 2001 levels of staffing), here is what it would mean to the San Bernardino National Forest:

Loss of 3-5 Fire Engines (Loss of 21 to 35 people)
Loss of 2 Hotshot Crews (Loss of 40 people)
Loss of 1 Dozer (Loss of 2 people)
Loss of 2 Water Tenders (Loss of 4 people)
Loss of Helicopter Module Staffing Levels (Loss of 16 people)
Loss of 3 Battalion Chiefs (Loss of 3 people)
Loss of the Forest Fire Prevention Officer (Loss of 1 person)
Loss of the Forest Fuels Officer (Loss of 1 person)
Loss of 1 Type 1 Helicopter (Loss of 3 people)
Loss of 5 Fire Prevention Technicians (Loss of 5 people)
Loss of 1 Fire GIS Tech (Loss of 1 person)

That would be a loss of 97 folks on the low end.... High end.... add about a dozen folks to the total..... Ask someone to plug it into the FFPC (Firefighting Production Capability) model to figure out what the outcome is......

I would expect similar losses from other Forests in Region 5, depending upon how much they increased under the National Fire Plan..... and whether or not we go back to FY 2001 levels..... I would also expect similar losses for FY 2008 from other Regions if those losses didn't occur in previous year budget requests....

I give Ed Hollenshead and Gary Biehl both well deserved kudo's for speaking the truths and hitting on the facts.... They are sharing the data and speaking of truths regarding the FY 2008 budget.... They are being leaders and putting their s&%i& on the line for all to see and discuss.....

3/5 emt_mb,

If you are referencing some of the images available by drones and satellite imagery when you said "Most of the imagery assets like that are tied up well in advance of a fire. 90% of them are tasked to the Global War on Terror." You are mistaken. The technology is already being used by the feds.

.... in regards to the Esperanza Fire.... they were focused on areas of concern.... both drones and satellite imagery were in use.... even if it was 10% of the technology available at the time..... Folks were looking for a serial arsonist and got him through video captures, images, and ground data and that correlated with DNA samples of the devices he used on many occasions...

I hope in the next week the Riverside County DA's office seeks the maximum penalty.....or the Feds take over the case and the prosecution......

3/5 That darn stinky Atlantis....

Lets face it folks, no place is perfect for gathering....the grass is always greener on the other side...

Just for the record however, the Sky Terrace at Atlantis was (is) smoke free. There resides plenty of gambling, sushi, seafood and booze....hmmm...speaking of booze, I wonder if that quagmire of fire dudes and "dudettes" at the bar in front of the elevators every night had anything to do with how folks were feeling? Not to mention eating like the holidays....yes that is my tongue in my cheek.

At least they're trying...


OK, good link, but enough on the atmosphere. Ab.

3/4 Tahoe Terrie,

The OPM folks have different databases than the USDA uses. The OPM database tool called FedScope has more query tools available for ciphering of data. While it takes some time to learn, it is an excellent tool for the display of data.

If you utilize the OPM data, it shows retention problems in more areas than just in California. It also shows higher rates of attrition than Gary Biehl shows for R-5. What is still confusing is that the USDA data populates the OPM program..... The OPM data is actually the better source to use, as it provides the numbers at all levels.....

3/4 FC180 and imagery

The imagery assets necessary to accomplish what you're asking are a little tied up most
of the time. Sure a satellite or aircraft can read the label in that powerbar you're having
on the fireline, but that's only if it's been tasked to look there.

Most of the imagery assets like that are tied up well in advance of a fire. 90% of them
are tasked to the Global War on Terror. The rest are only tasked out to scientific uses
if not already busy with intelligence collection.

3/4 This may seem way off base but I have been thinking about this the last couple of days and it is starting to eat on me a little bit.

What if the military/CIA/NSA whoever decided in the interest of saving lives to give up some imagery of an accident site during the injury/fatality sequence? Imagine how powerful it would be to know where persons/equipment were prior to/during/after an accident sequence. To have the configuration of the arrival of the fire front, with temperature signatures and rate of spread. Imagine even if we could only see the imagery, not possess it or reproduce it, but to watch it even once with time coded information. Just think how powerful this information would be to investigators especially in the cases where there are no survivors and the only way to indicate what might have happened is physical evidence. If you doubt that such imagery exists, I was told once that even in the 70’s that the SR-71 could tell heads or tails on a dime from 100,000 feet, and that was 40 years ago.

I know this is just a pipe dream, and will probably never happen, but has any investigation team even asked?

3/4 Re Retention:

Hi Tahoe Terrie,

I don't know for sure if Gary said that, but if he did, my guess is that it's all in how you define retention and who you're trying to retain. Since Gary Biehl is a stats, finance and planning guy, he's probably defining retention in some strategic/financial trigger point way, like the way OPM defines it, such that it might trigger re-eval of locality pay. (I haven't spoken with Gary personally in the last few years, but I consider him one of fire's brilliant resources, a gift to all of us. Maybe I'll call him and ask...)

Here's what I recall from some years ago. (I don't know if I'm on or off base here.) Hopefully, someone will clarify if I'm way off.

For OPM to have a red flag raised that there is problem with retention, they would have to see a loss of something like 12-15% of the permanent fire work force in the given geographic area over a defined period of time. I don't think the "OPM counters" include in their retention analysis our fire "temporary" or "seasonal hires" that come and go. Last meeting I went to that had a report on this was a couple of years ago; I think Gary or someone said there was a loss of only 2-3% permanent fire folks in socal, not nearly enough to hit OPM's radar screen.

I don't know how Apprentices are counted, whether as temps or as permanents. Maybe they're not considered permanents until they "convert". I'm not even sure what that term means... <¡¿visions of church?!>

Temps may stick with the agency and become permanents in 2-3 seasons or longer if budget allows. But if temps don't stick, and apprentices don't convert, we have an inadequate number of new young people in the pipeline for the permanent fire positions. In that case retention as defined by OPM is a moot point.

All for now,


3/4 Hey do they serve fried foods at the casino or
anything with trans fat? Could be another dangerous
scenario we should take a look at.


3/4 Does anyone know why Gary Beal would say there is no problem with retention in R5 socal when we all know there is?

Has anyone thought that to alleviate some of the problem the FS might consider renting FS quarters commensurate with FS low pay, as opposed to renting at the local market level? In Tahoe and Mammoth for example, housing charges are based on local rents in these very expensive resort localities while FS pay is not based on local pay.

Hollenshead, this is one solution you could consider and work on...

Tahoe Terrie

3/4 That's funny, the last time I saw yactac he had a cigar in his mouth.

Overall, I need to agree with yac on this. Society is changing and if the
casinos want to stay in business so will they.

However the bigger point here is don't mistake; all talk-no action,
cockiness, large ego and out of control attitude with, LEADERSHIP.
I have a more logical diagnosis for those traits.

Yes, a smoke free, violence free and sexual harassment free workplace
is guaranteed. All three are important Yac.


Re the cigar: people do quit. Ab.

3/4 While I can't believe this is being discussed.... I will prolong the nonsense and throw in my two cents...

The issue of the smoke in the casino during the meetings seems utterly ridiculous. Hanging out in the casino is optional. There is not smoke in the hotel rooms, the meeting area, or the restaurants. Especially as people who have sucked smoke for most of our careers on prescribed fires, burnouts, and other situations in the course of our job. The smoke that one is exposed to is in the casino area, a place where it is optional to hang out. While I am certainly not debating the issue of secondhand smoke being dangerous, the exposure seems to me, minimal.

Reno still seems to me an ideal place for meetings for it's proximity for the bulk of the attendees, cheap rooms, food, etc.


3/3 This was sent on Feb 24 but just dropped onto our server. Ab.

2007 R3 Interagency Hotshot Crew Workshop
To All-

The 2007 R3 IHC workshop is going on right now (23-25th) in Phoenix.
Some good discussion about issues concerning the IHC community,
budget, national direction and crew life in general. R3 will be
welcoming Granite Mountain Hand-crew as a Type I (Trainee) crew in
2007. They are hosted by the City of Prescott, AZ one of only two
IHC or Trainee crews from municipal departments. R3 seasons looks to
be average for total fire and above average for WFU as more federal
lands adopt WFU policies. Have a great Season!!


3/3 Ab,
You stated:

“My experience is that the Atlantis casino air is much better than in the past. It seems to have a good filtering system in place. Last year all NV casino restaurants went smoke-free. That's an improvement. I felt the effects of the extreme NV winter dryness much more than the effects of any smoke. Ab.

Below is an excerpt from “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, US Department of Health and Human Services"

6 Major Conclusions of the Surgeon General Report:

1.Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.

2.Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.

3.Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.

4.Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.

5.The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke

6.Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

Here is the link once again to the whole U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Surgeon General report;

In it is the supporting documentation for the above six major conclusions. Look at #’s 4, 5 & 6. I will take the dry, cold Nevada OUTSIDE clean air any day.

I believe that the awareness level of the threat to ones health by spending a week in conditions where it is known that there is second hand smoke that is know to contain carcinogenic chemicals needs to be brought to the attention of the R5 Fire Leadership.

I believe that the right to a tobacco smoke free workplace as guaranteed by the policy of a smoke free environment in the federal workplace was violated for those federal employees attending the R5 workshop.

Again I refer to the Surgeon General Report above. I thought our employees were our most precious resource…

No blame… just education.


I stated my experience. "Blame" me if you like. I could care less. My experience is my experience. I'm not here to cultivate friends, not even you or KCK. Ab.

3/3 yactak,

Despite other ideas to the contrary.... the worst place to have a conference with folks who have compromised lung function due to repetitive workplace exposures (ie- Wildland Firefighters) is at a Casino in Reno.

I hope the folks who keep making the decisions to go to Reno "because it is cheaper" and they get "personal perks" look at the true Risks vs. Gains that yactak presented... if not.... I hope they look at, and remember our friends lost while they stay in palacial suites while the risk vs. gain is not addressed..... Second hand smoke increases the risks of cancer and heart disease..... Nothing more needs to be said. Folks go home each year with illnesses.....

I also hope they look at federal "smoke free workplace" policies in the future..... If not... who knows where the conversation will go..... It could get ugly.... I for one will never go to Reno again for a Forest Service Conference.... especially the Atlantis.... I am canceling my reservations for the R-5 Teams Meetings....

3/3 SoCal CDF,

CDF (CAL FIRE) actually HAS taken Division Chiefs "from the outside" before,
and actually has a hiring authority to do it on the books.

Several Forest Service folks have been educated on the process and are being
actively recruited under these special hiring authorities due to the lack of CAL
FIRE being able to hire Division Chiefs from the internal ranks.


I spoke with one fire manager at a recent meeting who says he plans to do just that. Ab.

3/3 Re: The FS FY 2008 Budget Request and the loss of the National Fire Plan

vfd cap'n,

You obviously aren't following what the federal wildland firefighters of the Forest Service are saying or doing through factual research. I believe you are falling for the bureaucratic administration line without a true understanding of the federal budget process or how it will affect preparedness, safety, and efficiency. Preparedness is preparedness no matter how the agency shuffles the shells in the shell game, or if they add new shells (ie- "Wildland Firefighters") to cover up the games they are playing.... Bottom line is a 13% reduction in preparedness for the current proposed FY 2008 budget. Don't forget what Lenise Lago (WO Budget Director) said.... 'a loss of of 2,126 staff' under the FY 2008 proposed budget.......


On 2/6/2007, I posted the following:

Re: Trying to always do more with less..... aka.... False Promises to the American People and Congress..... Wildfire Preparedness takes another 13% reduction in FY 2008. (Added: Even with the new budget line item, it is actually a 13% loss of preparedness any way you look at it).

Since the Forest Service is sending out information stamped "internal use only" in reference to the 2008 Budget Request, I thought I would capture that same information through other sources available on the internet without compromising agency document security. Someone should FOIA the 2 page "FY 2008 Budget Summary" as it is a document that needs to be seen and discussed and not held as "internal use only".

Here is a rough breakdown of the President's "proposed" FY 2008 budget for Wildfire Activities within the Forest Service in comparison to previous years (2003-2008).

This comparison does not take into account the terrible losses that have occurred in the S&PF Forestry programs and how those losses directly impact State and Local government communities and firefighters. Some of these programs are FireWise Community and FireSafe Council grants, biomass utilization grants, and other program areas that could help to keep both communities and wildland firefighters safer.

FY 2003 - $612 Million
FY 2004 - $672 Million
FY 2005 - $666 Million
FY 2006 - $661 Million
FY 2007 - $656 Million
FY 2008 - $349 Million

FY 2003 - $418 Million
FY 2004 - $597 Million
FY 2005 - $686 Million
FY 2006 - $690 Million
FY 2007 - $741 Million
FY 2008 - $911 Million

Hazardous Fuels Reduction:
FY 2003 - $237 Million
FY 2004 - $258 Million
FY 2005 - $266 Million
FY 2006 - $280 Million
FY 2007 - $292 Million
FY 2008 - $292 Million

Other Fire Operations:
FY 2003 - $134 Million
FY 2004 - $121 Million
FY 2005 - $77 Million
FY 2006 - $115 Million
FY 2007 - $122 Million
FY 2008 - $97 Million

Wildland Firefighters:
FY 2006 - a/
FY 2007 - a/
FY 2008 - $220 Million

Official Explanation of "a/" = "Salaries for Wildland Firefighters were provided under Preparedness prior to FY 2008"

Real World Interpretation of "a/" = SHELL GAME. Any way you look at it, PREPAREDNESS FY 2008 is being proposed to be funded at less than the FY 2003 level, while somehow the FFPC levels seem to stay nearly the same.


USDA FY 2005 Budget Summary (pdf file)
USDA FY 2008 Budget Summary (pdf file)
Forest Service, Fire & Aviation Management, Directors Corner, 2006 (fam website html)
3/3 Ab;

For those readers who have friends in skydiving, the latest issue of "Parachutist"
has a good article on smokejumpers, with some good photos. It's mostly written
for skydivers, and might appear basic to firefighters, but it's good press nonetheless.

Tool Pusher
3/3 Contract County Guy

It's true CDF hasn't taken Division Chiefs from the outside, but you never know.
We live in strange times with unique pressures.

Ab, please add tongue in cheek on my last sentence so I don't confuse anyone.

SoCal CDF (I think CalFire is fine, I just like my moniker the way it is.)

3/3 Hey all:

Long time listener, first time caller.

To lighten up things a bit, seen a really cool fire video on the web.
Very nice meld of live fire footage and good music. Nice Job!

Fuels Freak

Your post was the first I have heard that CDF (I don't know if I will ever get
used to CAL FIRE) would take Division Chiefs from the outside.... is that
what you meant?


3/3 SoCalFF and others...

Chief Hawkins presentation at the Firehouse World Conference in San Diego on the Esperanza Fire was quite good, as you would expect from John. He stated right from the beginning however that he was prohibited from discussing fatality conditions or anything that might affect the arson prosecution ongoing, and that his comments with regard to the fatalities would be confined to those facts already presented in the Green Sheet. He did a good job of covering the green sheet detail and included a few photos I had not seen that supported the story, but certainly nothing was said more than most of you haven't heard about already. I know Chief Hawkins had to go to the highest levels within CAL FIRE for permission to make the presentation and he was given some tight guidelines to follow. The presentation also covered incident organization and cooperative fire management. Hawkins also gave kudos to those politicians who provided immediate support not only for the fires but to the E57 members and families as well. The presentation was respectfully done and honored those that were lost. I applaud Chief Hawkins for taking the extra effort to get the right message out. All of us share the desire to know what really happened. We will still have to wait and see what the final report says.

Contract County Guy
3/3 Ab,

CDF Riverside's Hawkins has to hire 450 firefighters in the very near term.
Just thought I should let the San Bernardino bros who can't make ends meet
on their current pay.

Remember when we used to shift back and forth between agencies? I loved
my FS fire days. There are lots of us former FS here in Riverside Co. And you
guys who are retiring, we need Division Chiefs, too. (Ab, please add tongue in
cheek on this last sentence.)


3/3 What did Chief Hawkins say about Esperanza? How come they scheduled that meeting
to occur during the Chief Officers Meeting? Why are we supposed to keep silent but
Chief Hawkins can talk?

SoCal FF

I am posting this one email as an example of a number that have come in recently expressing frustration. As I understand it, Chief Hawkins offered no more info than was available in the CDF 24-72 hour reports. We all would like the Lessons Learned before the next fire season. I would like info on fire acceleration (mass ignition) in chimneys and canyons. I do not know when the FS Report will come out. I hope people can remain patient until the Criminal trial is complete. We walk on eggshells since Ellreese's indictment. It's too bad we must choose between lessons learned and trying to mitigate firefighter criminalization. Ab.

3/3 Everyone,

There's a retirement party for Dan Fiorito (Supt of Union IHC) on May 19th
in La Grande Oregon. Whoo Hooooo!

Send me an email for more info.


3/3 At the risk of sounding morbid ........ we're seeing some of our fellow firefighters die too often in vehicle accidents, from heart attacks at young ages, etc. These events are a terrible waste, but some good can come out of them if everyone was signed up as an Organ Donor. Eyes, internal organs, and whatever else medical science can use, is readily available if you've taken the time to enroll as a Donor; your legacy can be to help others have a better quality of life, or possibly even safe a life. Most States have a process in place thru their Driver's Licensing offices.

3/3 Last weeks site report showed -

Southern Area (PL 2)
New fires: 2032 (Characterized as "Moderate Initial Attack Activity")
New large fires: 38
Uncontained large fires: 7

Last weeks Red Flag conditions must have made for some rock and roll IA.

Despite the big storm system (Blizzards Severe T-Storms and Tornados) through the midsection Red Flag Warnings have need issued for Kentucky, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida. In many areas condition are to persist through Monday.

Be safe.

Weather Nerd
3/3 Mike P.

What is the bank account number for the Shawn Woodman Memorial Fund? Those of us who live on the road and do all of our banking via computers can quickly donate to Shawn's family if we have that information as well as the address.

3/3 Re: Region 3 Crews starting up soon!!!!!!


I watched a pretty cool presentation from Burk Minor from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and some awesome HS supporters from R-5 this last week. I just got home and followed their advice to visit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF) website for additional info. Here are some of the things I found....... What an awesome idea that the community could easily support!!!.....


Crew T-Shirt Program Kicks Off

In an effort to raise funds for the Foundation, a USFS crew in California came up with the idea to start a Crew T-Shirt Program. Historically, almost every crew - whether it be an Engine, Hotshot, Handcrew, Helitack, or Incident Management Team - has their own unique T-Shirt. Most of these T-Shirts are purchased by the firefighters with funds out of their own pockets due to Agency policy.

Crews are given the opportunity to purchase their own unique crew t-shirt, etc., from the Foundation with the proceeds going back to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation instead of local vendors.

The program has been set up and will be ran with the help of volunteers. Please send inquiries to crewtshirts@wffoundation.org. Keep in mind that this program is specifically for crews and/or large orders.

I see they also have other items also available such as polo shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and more....

I hope everyone is up and ready to go ASAP.... We will be needing to make our orders soon for the upcoming fire season!!!

Former R-4
3/3 Re: "Bill would protect NM firefighters from criminal prosecution"

> From Fire Engineering Magazine

"Recently district attorneys in two Western states have filed criminal charges against fire-line supervisors after the deaths of firefighters who were not qualified to the federal standards. They say this has made fire-line supervisors reluctant to work on fires where uncertified firefighters are present."

Anyone have any additional information about these two state criminal cases cited in the magazine article?

Seems to be a growing trend of firefighter prosecutions..... both wildland and structural.

Thanks in advance for any leads.


Doctrine will not work unless all are trained to a standard. Ab.

3/3 Ab,

Here's something good from Chief Kimbell's recent testimony:

"In addition, the 2008 Budget pursues a more efficient and precise budget
structure by establishing a separate account for "firefighter" expenditures.
The 2008 Budget requests $220 million for this new appropriation, which will
fund salary and training for 10,000 firefighters and 67 type I hot shot

Creating the new line item will bring some stability and accountability to
the fire program. It would be nice not to have to wonder year-to-year what
the staffing level will be on a given engine or crew, or play the
5-day/7-day roulette for IA availability. And, for seasonals who in the
past were told to just be thankful they were funded for another year, maybe
the Agency will actually set aside some money to train them.

If the dollar figure asked for isn't enough for the job, at least it's not a
shell game to tell Congress where more money needs to go.

vfd cap'n

3/3 Regarding the recent R5 workshops at the casino in Reno:

Much rumbling I have heard regarding folks feeling ill and being concerned about the effects of being in the second hand smoke environment all week... Thought the fed had a smoke free workplace policy in place??




My experience is that the Atlantis casino air is much better than in the past. It seems to have a good filtering system in place. Last year all NV casino restaurants went smoke-free. That's an improvement. I felt the effects of the extreme NV winter dryness much more than the effects of any smoke. Ab.

3/2 At one of the Region 5 workshops, the R-5 budget guru said that Region 5 was funded at 95% Most Efficient Level (MEL) for FY 2006. He also said that Region 5 only met 85% of its Fire Fighting Production Capability (FFPC) target for that same fiscal year.

Another speaker (speaking before the R-5 Captains Group) stated that "we may" need to reduce staffing to the 2001 levels if the FY 2008 budget is realized as it is currently written. That speaker is the current R-5 Fire Director.

It was great to hear these two speakers laying it on the line with the hurdles clearly identified for all to see, and to seek solutions from the collective groups.

It would be interesting to see a group generate the data region-wide on what a return to the FY 2001 staffing levels would do in terms of affecting FFPC. I know that some Chiefs (GS9-12) at the back of the room from the four southern forests did some quick preliminary stuff and it wasn't pretty in terms of losses of engines, crews, dozers, aircraft, water tenders, and overhead. The quick crunching of numbers would mean that somewhere near 400 firefighters would be unfunded/displaced just in the SoCal province alone.


3/2 Ab,

Shawn D. Woodman, a 31-year-old Klamath National Forest employee, lost his
life on Thursday evening, February 22 in a car accident. Shawn was driving
on Scott River road when, for unknown reasons, the car left the roadway.
Shawn has been an employee on the Klamath since 2002, started as an
Apprentice Firefighter. He was the Senior Firefighter on Scott Bar Engine
57. He was just promoted to the Assistant Fire Engine operator.

Shawn lived in Fort Jones and leaves behind a wife, Jennifer, and two young
Daughters. His Funeral service was held in Orleans, California.

A "Shawn Woodman Family Fund" has been opened at the Scott Valley Bank
branch in Fort Jones. Donations can be accepted at any Scott Valley Bank.
Address for the Fort Jones branch is

Scott Valley Bank
11906 Main Street
Fort Jones, CA. 96032

Mike Preasmeyer

Readers, if you knew Shawn or not, please chip in to help out this firefighter's wife and 2 little kids. A loss such as this is beyond the ability of the Foundation to help, since he was not on duty but on his way home. If we each sent in 5 or 10 or 20 bucks, it would really help. I put mine in the mail. Ab.

3/2 Re: FY 2008 Forest Service Budget Request

Oversight Hearing on FY 2008 Budget for the BLM and USFS (February 27, 2007).

Written transcripts from Abigail Kimbell (FS Chief) and Jim Hughes (Acting Director, BLM) before the the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Land. Also, the opening statement of Chairman Raul Grijalva.

3/2 CO Rotorhead,

It's true that they have been struggling to find people to fill the positions that were left empty last May as a result of the OIG investigation. Remember the Rocky Mountain News article about that investigation? I think the link was posted on They Said for a while.

The bottom line was that OIG called C&G members of the team and asked them to be interviewed about the performance of an IC trainee when questions were raised about his ability by another party. Several team members agreed to be interviewed, and the OIG recommendation that came back after the interviews was that ALL the Forest Service people that were on Command and General staff of the team be removed from the team (because they answered questions honestly - and no one liked the answers). OIG could not do anything about the non-FS members interviewed because they don't have any power over them.

The team members said that they did not have confidence in the ability of the person in question to perform as a Type 1 IC, that he was not a leader, and that his performance was unacceptable- with specific examples. The end result was that the Region 2 fire directors told 4 section chiefs that they were no longer available to go out with that particular team, though no fault was found with the performance of those people - and they were encouraged to work with other teams. (Reprisal for speaking out about poor performance?)

OIG tore the heart out of the team - almost. The team is still a team and still trying very hard to fill the positions that were vacated through the OIG massacre and resignations that occurred, but they still have heart! The team is still together, what's left of it, and they are working hard on getting positions filled. Last I heard they had enough to get by and are not planning on being stood down. (The Rocky Mountain region has only one type 1 team, but they work in a rotation with the two Great Basin teams.)

That's the short explanation, and probably enough to say here. Stay tuned, though - this story is not over yet by any means! There is growing hope that some day soon justice will prevail and the team will be made whole again.

3/2 CO Rotorhead,

Due to the changing workforce several changes are happening across the country in regards to teams. A couple of them are:
  • The Great Basin Geographic Area has decided to add one Fire Use Incident Management Team in 2007.
  • The Great Basin Geographic Area will have only five Type 2 Incident Management Teams in 2007 instead of six. Not enough players.
  • California will have only 4 national teams instead of 5 this year. Not enough players.


3/2 Ab,

Does anyone know if it's true that Rocky Mountain Region has
lost one T1 IMT due to not enough participants?

It takes so many years of training an experience to get to team
level, have they thought of taking partial teams and combining
them or even sharing between regions to make up a full team?

CO Rotorhead

3/1 The selections are out for R5's 490 course please check wftc's site for the candidates
list and if you're there get a room near McClellan soon. The 1st session starts on
March 5th.

See ya there!

3/1 Hi All -

Here's a note of encouragement to get as many people out to the Spokane Federal Courthouse in a show of support for Ellreese Daniels at his next court appearance for criminal charges. The next appearance is the Pre-Trial Hearing (where Defense Attorney Tina Hunt will ask for a continuance into fall). Tina emailed us this afternoon, regarding several questions. Here's some info:

1) Pre-trial Hearing is set for Tuesday March 13th at 3:00pm;
2) Location in Judge Van Sickle's court on the 9th floor;
3) Thomas Foley U.S. Federal Building at 920 West Riverside; Spokane WA;
4) Appropriate clothing, advice from Tina "I would say that those who come in support of Ellreese should dress in civilian clothes. I don't think it's necessary to come in Nomex or fireboots, and in fact, it could annoy the court."
5) If you are considering whether to make the trek or not, here's what Tina thinks "Again, I always believe it is helpful for the court and the government to know how many people are standing behind Ellreese in his support."

I hope to see at least three times the attendance as last time, I hope to see YOU there!

Thank you,
Heather A. Murphy, Retired USFS Wildlife Biologist, Friend and Colleague

3/1 I am trying to develop a Sandtable Exercise involving a WFU type fire. Was wondering if anyone out there has an example of one, or could point me in the right direction. I have visited the fire leadership website, it's all good, except it's mostly suppression types. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for keeping this website the most informative thing in the fire world.


3/1 AB,

I just read an article about John Hawkins and the Esperanza fire on the
Firehouse.com web site. Might be interesting reading for some.


3/1 For the FS folks, new draft of 5109.17 is out for review. There are some
substantial changes so I'd suggest reviewing and getting comments in.



You must have access to the Forest Service Intranet to access this.

3/1 Charges dropped on Ellreese (not the criminalization of fire charges, the other ones)


Ab, here is the article that was posted in the Wenatchee World.


3/1 Wenatchee Newspaper Editorial on Fire liability



3/1 Dick,

As a state interagency wildland responder, is there anywhere I can get the heat article
without having to have a federal e-library card?

S.R. Sparky

Ab note: username t-d and password t-d. There's a permanent link on our Links page under federal pages, about halfway down, with username and password listed there if you forget them. It's where I always go.

3/1 vfd cap'n,

I'm not sure what happened to the Inciweb page, but neither do I know why
you assumed that the resources were self-dispatched. If you are referring
to the subjects that were trapped in the house, they were officially
dispatched to the area and tied in - certainly not self dispatched. Huge
difference! These men were not renegades.


All the Inciweb pages cycle out at the end of fire season, as I understand it. Some cycled out toward the end of last fire season because the server hosting them was so slow that people were not getting timely info on current fires. Inciweb has been a great success. Thanks to all those working on it. Great service to the Public and all of us. Ab.

3/1 Past Fire Bullard TX Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Press Newburn, passed away last evening at 11:45 p.m. Chief Newburn had been in the hospital for the past two weeks after suffering an apparent stroke. He had just been moved to a rehab hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Newburn was instrumental in the formation of the Smith County Firemen's Association as helping to establish the Smith County Fire Marshal's as a full time position. He was a member of the fire department from about 1957 until 1974. He was Chief of the Bullard Volunteer Fire Department for at least 10 of those years. Even after he left the department though, he still kept up with it vicariously by way of radio scanners.

It is hard for me to write an unbiased account of Chief Newburn, because he was my grandfather, his inspiration led my father to be a firefighter for most of his life, as well as being a large influence on my brother and myself following as Firefighters.

He always told me that I needed to leave the fire service, (I think was worried about my safety) but then he turned around to ask for all the details of each of the latest fires that we ran.

We in Texas will miss him.


Keith, sorry for your loss and your community's loss. The collective "we" are always diminished as a mentor passes on. He'll live on in those he touched. A life worth living, a life that touches others and makes the world a better place. Ab.

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