"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
September, 2007

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9/30 California State Assembly Bill AB 384

AB,

The governor did sign this Bill into law. Now let's hope all of us can get unified and support other pieces of legislation both state and federal which will be stepping stones to help correct the inadequacies and injustices being practiced upon the federal wild land firefighters. This was legislation made possible because your representatives worked long and hard to get this to the point where it was voted upon. Members of the California legislature were astounded to find out what is happening. Most are potential federal legislators in the future and may become a part of your support base in the Congress. Inch by inch, anything is a cinch. Patient participation by each of you is important too.

NormBC9

9/30 Ab,

I just finished attending the California Firefighter Memorial at Capitol
Park. It was very well attended and coordinated. I have to say it was very
touching, especially as they read all five of the E57 crewmembers names
together. For anyone unable to attend this year, it is a great event that
honors ALL of the states firefighters, no matter what agency. Nice job by
CPF as the lead coordinator.

Sacmedic
9/29 Regarding the Triple Nickles...

...it's a very small world.

To answer a couple questions, tie some things together, and tell a story:

The first fire jump was made on July 12th, 1940 by Earl Cooley and Rufus Robinson (Robinson actually made the first jump.) Flying out of Moose Creek, MT, they jumped a fire near Marten Creek on the Nez Perce N.F. About a month later, the first jumps out of Winthrop, WA took place. (Cooley would later be the spotter on the ill-fated Mann Gulch jump in 1949) Both Cooley and Robinson wrote accounts of their jump, which can be found here:

www.smokejumpers.com/history/the_first_jumps.php

The Triple Nickels (the 555) jumped out of California and Oregon during WWII, though they hit just about all western states. They had the misfortune of suffering the first jumper death when one was hung up in a tree in 1946. They never saw combat action during the war, and during the post war period they were broken into two different groups which made combat jumps in Korea. Some were stationed in Germany and made many practice jumps there. I had the great fortune of meeting one of the last surviving members of the Triple Nickels this past spring (now 86 years old) - he was a patient of mine in a hospital in Baltimore. When I found out, I was able to grab a portable computer and show him some photos online from today's jumpers, from McMillan's website and this here website. He told me that outside of his 555 reunions, no one really understood about his experiences fighting fires. Having a background in that sort of thing, I was able to swap some stories with him.

And to bring the story to an end, the hospital where I met the old triple nickel is the same one that employed R. Adams Cowley, the "father" of modern trauma/emergency medicine, and the one who is credited with coining the term "the golden hour."

JerseyBoy

Thanks! Very interesting. Ab.

9/29 Thanks to folks sending in info to Leo on the technology developed by Storm King Mtn Technologies to prevent/reduce electrocution injury or fatality. I've copied and pasted the info to him. Ab.
9/29 Power Line That Killed A Firefighter Was Smaller Than A Pencil
www.firefightingnews.com/arti...rticleID=38510

Gizmo

9/29 Smokejumper History, Triple Nickels, COs

If you go to the "Links" link at the top of the page, then the "Job Related Links" section near the bottom of the page, then hit the National Association of Smokejumpers link (or this link), you can find out about all of the subjects listed above. A lot of cool stories of jumping from the early days from old timers that don't need to be politically correct about a time when there wasn't a lot of rules and regulation.

smkj79

9/28 Mellie,

It's been a really "quiet" subject for a long time, for many reasons, but COs did jump during WWII, and in fact probably kept the program alive in those rough years. An excellent book on the subject was published last year, by Mark Matthews, entitled "Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objectors During World War II." Matthews, by the way, has another book just out: A Great Day to Fight Fire: Mann Gulch, 1949. Should be a good read from the bits I've heard from old-timers he interviewed.

While on the subject, two of my favorite early-FS and fire books are "Smokejumpers '49: Brothers in the Sky" by Starr Jenkins, and "High Mountain Two-Manner" by Frank Fowler.

I just looked, and all three (four with the pre-order on the Mann Gulch book) can be found on Amazon if one likes purchasing via the internet.

Cheers.

Young and Dumb in R1

Thanks, Young. I'll add them to the Fire Books page when I'm back in town.

Readers, if you order anything from Amazon and enter through one of our book links here or the portal on the books page, we receive a little tiny part of the proceeds. Multiple little tiny bits add up and help out. Thanks. Ab.

9/28 Anyone interested in smoke Jumper history, or the early days of the Forest
Service, should try and find and read the book "Trimotor and Trail" by Earl
Cooley, Mountain Press Publishing Co. Missoula, 1984. No I won't loan
out my autographed copy.

Tom Jones, old FS retiree

9/28 Mellie,

In answer to your question, the first smokejumpers parachuted to a fire on the
Nez Perce NF on July 12th, 1940. There were also some jumps made in Region
6 that summer out of Winthrop, Wa.

Sign me

Former Jumper

9/28 Rowdy,

When did you get the team assignment? how old were you then?

Tahoe Terrie

9/28 Big Smooth, good to "see you" here. I think of Tom often, just wanted you to know.

The report you sent in on the black Triple Nickel WW II paratroopers that became smokejumpers -- defending the west coast from Japanese incendiary balloons -- was very interesting. For some reason like the black pilots finally did, I thought the black paratroopers had seen some assignment in Europe. Thanks for the clarification. I found this part illuminating and thought provoking:

"Once we graduated, we started combat training preparing troops to go overseas,” said Morris. But the black paratroopers never set sail for the war in Europe. Instead, they were sent to fight forest fires started by Japanese incendiary balloons on the West Coast—from California to Arizona.

"The Triple Nickels earned a new nickname, 'Smoke Jumpers', for their ability to leap into smoke-filled clearings. They racked up 36 fire fighting missions, making more than 1,000 individual jumps into burning forests. For this they earned another nickname, 'Black Panthers'."

Does anyone know if there were any smokejumpers before that time? I know that the big focus on smoke jumping as a way of firefighting grabbed everyone's attention around the time of the Mann Gulch tragedy in 1949, at least that's what my old western relatives have said.

The war was over in 1945. Women entered the work force during the war, then continued in greater numbers in the work force following the war, changing social patterns. Did black smokejumpers looking for incendiary devices and jumping on forest fires provide the opening after the war for the federal agencies formalizing this approach to fighting fire? Were there any white smoke jumpers, hmmmm maybe some Quakers or Mennonites - other conscientious objectors to war... ?

I have female friend who's now retired from teaching at HSU who was a crack pilot and flight instructor during WW II and one brilliant relative was one of the first 3 or 4 women to teach radar to men in the Navy. New roles, new opportunities. (No smokejumping women, though, until Deanne Schulman. [IMWTK])

Mellie

Emergency room treatment/surgery also had its origins in wartime... The Golden Hour... Ab.

9/28 Hey Ab,

I replied to one email regarding transport to Emmitsburg for the National
Fallen Firefighters Memorial, and came up with another question. I'm going
to be driving right by BWI (airport) on the way back home from a convention
in Ocean City, Md. on Friday. I was wondering if there are any other families
that were flying into BWI and need a ride to Frederick that day. I can haul
a total of 5 extra people including luggage in my truck. Do you know of
anyone else? I can't see anyone getting a taxi from BWI to Frederick if I'm
going to be driving right by both places. That's too expensive!! It's like
an hour and a half ride.

Onelick (Ab replaced name with moniker)

9/28 First Type 1 ICs

Ab,

I was reading all of the e-mails on "They Said" and it made me wonder,
who were the first Type 1 ICs (Fire Bosses)?

I believe that one of the first, if not the first, was Ralph (Rowdy) James.
He was the FCO on the Klamath NF and the first North Zone Coordinator.

Does anybody know who were the first ICs?

4200

9/28 This has come in. Might be useful for PIOs or for others who wonder what is a SAFENET.

In addition, good communication is key to safely resolving any incident.

This powerpoint asks an important question: If the communication fix required is a systemic (agency/interagency) fix, where does the process go next? Ab.

What is SAFENET? (432 K pdf file of a powerpoint)

9/28 Expanded 72 hour report regarding the Canebreak Rollover in which a BLM light engine rolled-over on dirt road en route to fire. Two employees had reported minor injury. Seat belts likely prevented more serious injury.

www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/72hr-canebreak-rollover.doc (65K doc file)

Has photos.

9/28 Good morning Ab:

Just got back and was reviewing the “They said “ site and noted the following:

Firefighter LODD - Grass Fire - Electrocution

Another firefighter died after coming into contact with an electrical hazard. There is a technology out there that was developed by Storm King Mtn Technologies to prevent/reduce this type of injury or fatality. They took "Hot Stick" technology and put it into a lightweight wearable device that signals when firefighters are in the area of a live wire or electrical hazard.

I would be interested in finding more information regarding this device if someone could steer me in the right direction.

Thanks.

Leo Drapeau
Safety Program Coordinator
Forest Protection Division
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

9/27 Here a article on the 555th that I received a few years back

America’s First All-Black Paratrooper Unit
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/triple-nickels.doc

Big Smooth

9/27 Ab, JR:

There is a great old article relating to the origin of the IR/IHC crews form "Fire
Management" Summer 1974 edition posted on myfirecommunity.net in the hotshot crew
neighborhood.

I tried to send it to you but it did not take, my rural eastern oregon dialup is too slow.

Retirement rules, even if ADs get a boned a bit. At least we don't have to deal with
AGLEARN anymore.

Be Safe and Keep the Faith.

Dan

Marty Alexander's '74 article: Interregional Fire Suppression Crews. He sent it in March, the corrected version... The map of their locations is very interesting, too. No AGLEARN, priceless. Ab.

9/27 Mellie,

This is a little off of the topic of Female IMT leaders, but during my first year in 1988, there was an FMO on the Fenn Ranger Station, Nez Perce National Forest named Penny Keck. She was a local character and a damm good FMO. All of the folks that worked for her had a lot of good stories and even had a list of "Pennies' Rules". Unfortunately, I don't have that list. I think she retired a few years ago.

Domaque

Ask around and see if you can scrounge them up... Ab.

9/27 Ab,

All I will say is that, yes, I am 48 years old and that I was a qualified
Type I IC at the age of 41. Now let's find out how old Rocky, Jean, and Mark
are. Oh yeah and there's Chris Hoff. How old is he??? Maybe I am one of the
old ones!!!

Bill Molumby looks pretty young in the photo with Jonathan Winters. How old
is Bill???

Rowdy

9/27 Check it out.

First Black Smokejumpers - Triple Nickle

www.triplenickle.com

Tells the story about the 555th based at Pendleton Air Base and Chico, CA.

-=RADAR=-

9/27 The incident at Santa Barbara with Mr. Jonathan Winters and
the team dinner, involved Bill Molumby's Type 1 team (CIMT2).

MAN
9/27 Hi Ab,

I wanted to tell They Said folks about a recent experience of a California Interagency Type 2 Team. They were dining in a restaurant in California, where Jonathan Winters and a friend just happened to be. After entertaining the group of about 50 people, Mr. Winters left the restaurant. The Team then found out that he had paid for all their meals! Because of this very generous gesture, the Team decided to donate the money they had collected to pay for their meals to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. (For complete story and pictures – visit www.wffoundation.org.) Mr. Winters owns land in Santa Barbara and was grateful to the firefighters for their work on the Zaca Fire.

We love these kinds of stories and encourage all They Said lurkers, posters, and readers to send us stories to share.

Very Cool! SYMBOL 74 \f "Wingdings" \s 10

Melissa Schwagerl
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
9/27 Along with Sawtooth IR and Boise IR crews in Region 4, there was also the
Wasatch IR crew. Just in case some folks forgot.

Rowdy

HEH, had to come check out what's being said about your age, eh? We all know you're just and oldish f*rt, disguised in IC's clothing! Ab.

9/27 Mellie,

Getting to the Type I IC level was a tad bit harder in what some would call
the "old days"!! Plenty of politics and agency battles trying to make the
ICs in each region or geographical area multi-agency. For sure no one
wanted all the ICs to be from the same agency. I really don't believe it
mattered how much experience you had. I know of several excellent Type I
qualified ICs that never were selected to have a Type I IMT. I would
assume that it would have been very difficult for a female to enter the IC
world just based on the "Good Ole Boy" syndrome. I applaud those females
that have made it to the IC level.

So to answer your question, yes it does take some years after you're
qualified as an Type I IC to be selected for a Type I IMT. Its really based
on the amount of IC vacancies when you're qualified. You could be qualified
and have to wait for maybe 5 years before a vacant IC position becomes
available. So it could take five years before you're able to apply. In some
cases even though you're qualified as a Type I IC, you may have to have been
on an organized Type II IMT as a IC for three years. So I would say if
everything played against you, it could take as many as eight years after
being qualified. Some ICs could have an IMT the first year they apply if
there are vacant positions. But even at that, the geographical areas become
very political when doing these selections. Each agency would like to have
an IC be one of their own.

Now that the task books are in place, I believe Paul Hefner did a study and
found that if you are qualified under firefighter retirement, you will
retire after twenty years of service before becoming a Type II or Type I IC.

If memory serves me correctly, I believe that Rowdy Muir was qualified as a
Type I IC at the age of 41 or 42. I know he was a trainee, then deputy on
Kim Martin's Type I IMT then went on to be a Type II IC for three years
before being selected for a Type I IMT. Doing the math he would have gotten
his Type I IMT at the age of 44 or 45. I'm pretty sure at the present time
he is 48. He always claims to be the oldest Type I IC, but has just taken
good care of himself. Yeah Right!!!

Not sure how old Rocky, Jeanne, Mark or others at the present might be, and
maybe we will never know.

for inquiring minds ....
9/27 JR,

Los Prietos, 1948 hope this helps, AKA (Los Padres Hot Shots).

This is in answer to "who were the original H.S. crews in R-5"?

Not quit sure if they started IRC or IHC, that was way before my
time as a LP shot. Anyone know?

Have a great day!

Pullcord

9/27 KCK,

Enjoyed your post and it reflects the frustration that many of us feel. But now let’s get a couple things really clear first…

There are no professional wildland firefighters that are employees of the federal government. Yup!!! That’s right!!! And you already know it and proved it. Even though we fight fire for a living and we have to have some serious qualifications to do our firefighting job we are still only "range and forestry technicians". And since we are not firefighters, OPM does not see fit to recognize the need for, or value in, fire science education (or even NWCG courses).

The powers that rule our world do not want to see us as firefighters because that challenges who THEY are. If we were classified as firefighters then some ‘ologist’ somewhere might have to admit that they are not qualified to supervise us or fire programs. And that would simply be too much for them to admit…it would shatter their own little power structure.

See, it makes more sense for me (a full-time fire program employee) to be supervised on Type 1 & 2 fires by someone who is a biologist or tree marker who goes out on 1 or 2 fires per year. It doesn’t matter that I go on 20 – 50 fires per year and supervise firefighters all year round. (oooopppppssssss…sorry…supervise range technicians).

OK, enough of my weird sense of humor. You are right…and it is so obvious…and makes common sense…to have a fire series with fire qualifications (and fire degree requirements)…and maybe a few environmental and ‘ology’ courses thrown in. But like I said, that would make us firefighters…and the feds are simply just not ready to think of us in that light. So we stay range and forestry technicians who work for folks far less fire qualified than ourselves. And we keep being frustrated…we keep having our budgets cut…we keep having fewer and fewer of us…we keep getting less and less training…and we keep getting injured and killed every year.

But don’t despair…we tend to soldier on and do the best we can with the crumbs they feed us. One day I dream we will have leaders that will stand up and create what we all know we need to see happen. Yeah, I know…it is only a dream…a dream based on common sense, reality, practicality, and cost savings. And dreams seldom come true when you are fighting egos, personal power structures, bureaucracy, and ignorance.

Let us, my brothers and sisters, take care of our own and keep each other safe.

BLMboy

9/27 During WWII I believe the 555th played a major role in the Smokejumper Program. Can't say where they jumped or when, but the WO Honored them during Smokey's 50th. I think they were the First Black Smokejumpers as per the War Department. I might be able to get some info from Ret. Dr. Col. Taylor, my ROTC Professor.

-=RADAR=-

OK. Ab.

9/27 Lobotomy..

Inter Regional Suppression Crew is the way I remember it.

Sawtooth class of 70-71
9/27 Inquiring mind

There was a Coeur d'Alene IR crew up until about 1980 (I think). My understanding was that they were based first at Magee and then at the CDA airport in Hayden but my facts may be off a bit. As for the rest of the Panhandle, there were originally three IR crews, CDA, Kaniksu, and St.Joe.) Kaniksu ( Priest Lake) and CDA folded before I got on with the Joe in 1984. I remember there were a couple of older guys that told stories of working on the Kaniksu. The St.Joe lasted worked out of Clarkia (St.Maries RD) from 1967 to 1998 when the IPNF moved them to CDA. When the last of the overhead from that move left in 2001 they changed the name to the Idaho Panhandle IHC.

Speaking of the Panhandle IR and shot crews there will be a 40th anniversary function for the St.Joe IHC in late October (10/26) of this year and an additional get together for the folks from the CDA, Kaniksu, and Idaho Panhandle IHC the next night. I am at my home computer and don't have the flyer but will send it tomorrow.

As for the St. Joe having the best songs, I do remember the old guys telling stories of traveling with musical instruments and actually having a band at one time but that was over long before my time. Most of the songs I heard sung would be deemed politically incorrect in today's fire world and very likely get you fired for indecency.

Lastly, I think the Lolo is the oldest IR/shot crew in R-1.

FMO Joeboy

9/27 JR,

IRS or IRC?

In later years, IRC was changed to IHC because it conflicted with other crews using the designator... IRC... Inmate Road Crew... as adopted by the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino in California.

Marty Alexander has a fairly good paper he wrote early on in his career that explains some of the differences while he was a Hotshot and attending college for his degrees and eventual PhD... but like all research, there were some errors to be further researched by others.

Lobotomy
9/27 Re: IC 's on Hot Shot Crews

Hi Ab, a bit to add to your Hot Shot Crew project.

I was on the Texas Canyon Hot Shots for a brief 4 weeks in
May of 1975, before being offered a job with in Yosemite.
It was hard to pass up Yosemite vs. LA.

Thanks,

Mark

9/27 Any chance that there will ever be a Fire Science/Fire Administration/Fire Management degree with either a Forestry minor or Forestry emphasis?

Any chance that wildland firefighters will be ever recognized as more closely related to firefighters than foresters?... If not, the safety of the wildland fire program and the lessons not learned of the past will always get repeated...no doubt.... and the Forestry Technicians will continue to die as they follow the direction and policies of Foresters and other allied specialties (0401 Biologists) with little or no fire experience and training.... as they try to implement "biological science" teachings over what is taught in Fire Science degrees........ but alas, those that die will be remembered and celebrated as firefighters by the politicians who never knew them or their true duties as wildland firefighters.... or why there is a difference between Forestry vs. Fire Science?

There is a balance needed. Professional wildland firefighters should be leading the wildland fire program AND making the decisions on policies, direction, and implementation of fire programs WITHOUT interference from folks who qualify as line officers (decision makers) but have no clue about what they are talking about........

I have added a link in my post... hopefully it will be linked to.

KCK
9/26 Bill G. & R5 Dispatcher,

Unfortunately, The University of Montana College of Forestry & Conservation does not offer any fire-related degrees. You can get the Forestry BS and take some fire classes (2 undergrad and 1 or 2 grad-level, plus some random independent study offerings), as I did, but no fire emphasis, major, minor, or certificate. It's a real shame considering the abundance of fire resources in and around town and on campus (jumper base, shot crews, MTDC, Regional training center, zone training center, Fire Lab, RMRS, UM National Center for landscape Fire Analysis, etc etc)

Maybe if enough people were to express interest they'd get on the ball, but just having the already-enrolled students isn't enough. We've tried. Maybe if they saw what they're missing out on by not offering a fire degree...

Young and Dumb in R1

Tell them that their students will not be in the running for the IAWF Fire Scholarship that may be available. Ab.

9/26 R5 Dispatcher:

You aren’t that old. Remember I am retiring before you. See you soon!

Your Son

HAW HAW Sure you've got the right R5 dispatcher? Ab.

9/26 Reading IMWTK...

Was there a Coeur d'Alene hotshot crew at one time?

Was John Russell, BLM and Dept. Interior Type 1 IC (before Interagency there were FS and Interior teams) the "rogue IC" who insisted the NPS give him a delegation of authority during Yellowstone '88? Or could it have been Dale Jarrell, another remarkable straight shooter, who insisted on that?

This inquiring mind wants to know...

9/26 As I remember there were 17.

Region One had:
St. Joe IRS (best crew songs)
Slate Creek IRS
Lolo IRS????

Region Two
Pike Mountain IRS
Big Horn IRS

Region Three
Presscott IRS
????

Region Four
Sawtooth IRS
Payette IRS

Region Five
Redding Hotshots
El Cariso Hotshots
Del Rosa Hot Shots??

Region Six
Redmond
Rouge River

Many crews that later achieved IRS status started earlier than 1967 but this was the first
year the crews became national assets. There are obviously others and a couple of these
might be wrong. Add and delete as required.

JR
9/26 Regarding Jim Sheridan retiring from his lookout, here is a link to the Forest
Fire Lookouts Association page with lots of historic information:

www.firelookout.org/

Old Sawyer
9/26 Bill,

You can add to the list: Univ. of Montana. They have a 4 yr, Forestry
Degree Program and enhances in "Fire " available, or at least they did when I
was there. 'Cause I got one from there, a few many, many years ago.

R5 Dispatcher

9/26 The International Association of Wildland Fire awarded two scholarships this year of $2,500 each for Master of Science or Ph.D. students studying wildland fire or wildland fire-related topics. We are considering offering additional scholarships this year for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildland Fire or a Forestry degree with an emphasis on Wildland Fire.

We are collecting information about 4-year or B.S. programs in Wildland Fire. So far we are aware of one school, the Univ. of Idaho, that offers a 4-year "Bachelors' of Science in Fire Ecology and Management".

We know that the following Universities offer a Bachelor's of Science in Forestry with an "emphasis", "option", or "concentration" in Wildland Fire. These usually involve about 4 specific Wildland Fire courses that are required:

Northern Arizona State
Humboldt State
CalPoly
Berkley
Colorado State
Washington State

If you know of any other universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, or any other country that offer Wildland Fire programs, at the "emphasis" level, or a specific Wildland Fire degree, contact Ab who will forward the information to me.

We will present this information to our Board of Directors so they can make a decision about funding additional scholarships--at the Bachelor of Science level. Within a few months, we will make our annual announcement about what types of scholarships we will offer. We will post that information here, on our web site, on the listserve "FireNet", and we will send an email to our members .

Bill Gabbert
International Association of Wildland Fire

Sounds good. Ab will pass messages so Bill he doesn't have his email addy "harvested" by the spam bots.

9/26 Ab,

Re Fast Rope: Thanks, the info line is rollin now from three time zones.
You guys rock at connections.

DN

9/26 re: electric hazard

That reminds me of my Firefighter 1 training when I was standing there with full
gear on, including SCBA, and being told you should always jump up onto a ladder
truck in case the ladder has come in contact with electric wires. Yeah right. I
don't know if that instruction ranked up there with "water hammers" but it always
gave me the willys when I climbed onto a truck.

Still Out There as an AD

9/26 Hey,

Thanks for the info on stump-bumpers.

My next question is:
Anyone name the 16 original Hotshot crews? I thought it was 16, I could be wrong.
What are there now? 68 crews?

Thanks,

DP-35

Well, here's a good start on the list of 16: www.wildlandfire.com/docs/imwtk-ic.php

9/26 Hey....

This story is about an off duty Firefighter in Illinois with a blood alcohol level of .227 (nearly 3 times the legal limit) who was involved in an off duty crash that killed one and critically injured others a few weeks ago. While this is always a horrible and avoidable situation, this one is worthy of your time. That's because the woman killed was the mother of another Firefighter (not from the same area) and the one critically injured was her husband, that other Firefighters Dad.

Derek L. Winningham, 22, of Sherman (IL) was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence (a charge formerly known as reckless homicide in Illinois) and if convicted, he could face 3 to 14 years in prison. He is charged in connection with this multi-vehicle crash that killed Teresa L. Borero, 43, of Springfield....a Firefighter's Mom. Three others were also hospitalized as a result. One was Borero's husband who was seriously injured. That's 1 seriously injured Dad of a Firefighter and 1 lost Mom of a Firefighter. Winningham's pickup rear-ended the Boreros' van, pushing it into a third vehicle... Winningham was going 81 mph when he hit them, according to a crash re-constructionist....the speed limit on that road was 55 mph.

Teresa L. Borero, 43, (a Firefighter's Mom) of Springfield was pronounced dead at the crash site. A toxicology screening found no drugs or alcohol in her body. Borero's husband, brother and nephew (a Firefighter's Dad and the relatives) were all seriously injured, although they since have been released from the hospital.

Winningham was on his way home when he crashed into them.. and wasn't hurt. The road is a bit dark, but the taillights on the van were working properly. None of that matters: the Firefighter who killed the Mom and seriously hurt the Dad and injured the other relatives of that other Firefighter - blew a .227-nearly 3 times the legal limit. He was drunk.

Each of us have been with other Firefighters who have had too much to drink. I don't know if anyone was with Winningham before this happened or not. But when we do see it, sometimes we intervene, sometimes we don't. That's amazingly sad because each of us has been on crashes where drunks killed someone and we are always "so thankful" that the victims under the sheets weren't anyone "we" knew or loved. But at social and other off duty times, we hang around "Brothers and Sisters"...and see that they are toasted... but yet sometimes, we "shy" away from stopping them from driving. The good news is that in recent years we are more apt to stop it than years ago. But no matter, we still see it and there are still times when we ignore it because of a dozen or so lame excuses on why "we don't wanna get in the middle of it."

Hanging around Firefighters who have been drinking is one thing.
Letting them drive is another.
Take the keys. Lock the car. Sit them down. Hide their car. Pop their tires. Hold them down. Whatever.
Do whatever it takes to not let anyone drive drunk-and especially not your "Brother or Sister" FF....the one who you would risk your life for...and all that other blah blah crap. Wanna save a life? Start with those who drive on the roads and who may encounter a Firefighter who has been drinking. Maybe even save the life of a drunk FF who you don't let drive. Will they get mad? Do you care?

Whatever it takes, just stop it from happening....keep them off the road if they have been drinking... you never know who they may run into. In this case, the Family of another "Brother" Firefighter. And now that Firefighter & his family buried his Mom because of another Firefighter's deadly actions. It's all in the family.

Mike Bournazian
Wyoming State Forestry Division
Rural Fire Trainer
Wyoming Fire Academy

Hear, here. In this case, the firefighter whose mom was killed and dad was injured is a member of this theysaid community from the San Bernardino NF. He and his supporters are having a hard time of it, not surprisingly. My thoughts and prayers are with them; they're also with the drunk driver who took one life and changed other lives forever, including his own.

Take away keys, take friends home yourself. Whatever it takes. Friends don't let friends drive drunk. The person who's killed may be your family. Ab.

9/26 Consulting Firm Dialogos contacts FWFSA / and More on AB 384

The Consulting Firm Dialogos whose activities have been highlighted here recently and who has been hired by the Forest Service to help "improve" the Agency has contacted the FWFSA to get its thoughts, ideas and positions on a number of issues facing our Nation's federal wildland firefighters. Dialogos was advised to contact the FWFSA by Forest Service FAM.

Discussions will be frequent & on-going and we expect topics will include just about every aspect of the fire program as it relates to our firefighters. Hopefully, if the Forest Service Chief is serious about improving the Agency & the fire program, she will take heed of the feedback we provide the consulting firm in the coming weeks.

With respect to California Assembly Bill 384, the California Fallen Federal Firefighter Survivor Act of 2007, the FWFSA has initiated dialogue with the office of State Senator Jack Scott whose concerns over the higher education provisions of the bill caused those provisions to be "gutted" from the bill before the Senate passed it.

With the exceptional help of Lori Greeno, we have crafted a letter to the Senator as we believe the concerns raised are more a reflection of a lack of understanding about current federal benefits, the PSOB and most importantly the Dept. of Justice' application of the law, or lack thereof in its administration of the PSOB program.

A copy of the FWFSA letter to Senator Scott can be viewed in the Members Area on our web site at www.fwfsa.org. (ok, hopefully it will be in there soon...)

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

Good on the FS Chief and Dialogos to include FWFSA/us in the dialog.
Thanks for sussing out the details of the legislative stuff, Casey and Lori. What would this community do without you? Ab.

9/26 This looking at oldest lookouts churned up my brain... Congrats
Jim Sheridan for surviving this long so you could continue making
a difference!

IMWTK (Inquiring Minds Want to Know)

Out of curiosity, does anyone know who is the youngest IC (Type 1
and Type 2) to date? Rocky Oplinger, Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, Rowdy
Muir, Roy Johnson, Mark Ruggerio or Bill Molumby?

Is Jim Smith the first Black IC?

The first female IC was Linda Szczepanik. Took her 9 years from the
time she was qualified to get a team. Is that "normal"? Just curious on
that one too. I remember hearing sometime in the early 2000's that her
team was in R1 or R4 and had a hard time with local management
where they were fighting fire because she was female. I think Barb
Bonefeld was on that team too (DPIC?). Ray didn't hear about it until
later and he was pissed. Barb went on to become IC of a Fire Use
Management team, no less arduous than being an incident management
team IC for suppression in terms of keeping people safe, in my opinion.

My personal bias is toward optimism, toward seeing a greater vision and
working toward it to see if it's possible to make it real, in spite of obstacles.
I like to think of all of you in this community ideally; but I'm sure women
have had a hard time advancing in fire to the highest levels for many
reasons. I know a bit of Sue Husari's history, first in Forestry then in Bio
at HSU. Those were not easy days. She persisted and she's certainly made
a difference. No doubt this is true with other fire women groundbreakers.

I want to salute and say thank you to those of firefighters, both those
of the female gender -- and male firefighters who take gender out of the
equation when looking at KSAs -- who paved the way for women
having the opportunity to make their contribution to all levels of fire.

Ab, please forward any responses to me if you will, if it seems like they're
not for the community in general.

Mellie

Will do.

9/26 Firefighter LODD - Grass Fire - Electrocution

Another firefighter died after coming into contact with an electrical hazard. There is a technology out there that was developed by Storm King Mtn Technologies to prevent/reduce this type of injury or fatality. They took "Hot Stick" technology and put it into a lightweight wearable device that signals when firefighters are in the area of a live wire or electrical hazard.

Sedgwick County Firefighter Identified
www.kwch.com/Global/story.asp?s=7126986

Lobotomy

9/26 Ab and all,

Just got an email today from Wayne Ching (State Forester for Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife) that Patrick Costales passed away last Friday. Patrick was the area Forester for the Island of Oahu. For those of us to have been fortunate enough to know Patrick, he will be sorely missed. I don't have any other details at this time, but sincere condolences are expressed to his family and friends from the firefighting community.

SUPER P
9/25 Mt Harrison ID Lookout Retires at 89

Ab:

Our fire Lookout Jim Sheridan will retire after 36 years of government
service on the Sawtooth NF. Jim is 89 years young and is possibly the
oldest fire lookout to date.

We will be celebrating with Jim , coworkers , friends and family, Saturday
September 29 1100 to 1400 at the Lookout and 1400 at Pomerell Mtn.
Resort. Perhaps some of the folks heading north to Ketchum might stop
by. Jim will be missed by all of us.

here is the URL from our local paper
www.southidahopress.com/articles/2007/09/25/news/local/1firespotter.txt

Thanks
ID-STF-Division-1

Folks should stop by and say thanks. We added him to the infamous IMWTK page. Tell him he made history. Ab.

9/25 Mellie,

Sand is a big portion of the Sahara Race. Many a dune
crossing. I believe the only section that could be
considered "road" is the last few miles before the
Pyramids where we weave our way through Giza's
cobble-stone streets.

Thanks to all who have pledged. I know it's not as fun
as a big party in Ketchum, but it's for the same
cause. Maybe someone can lean on Bruce for a little
donation to the run.

If anyone is interested I've started a blog that I
should be able to update at the end of each leg of the
race. Here's a link.

www.4deserts.com/blogs/

Peace KCP

Ab notes:
I added a permanent link to
~Ken's Web Log~ above right.

Read more about his run:
http://www.wffoundation.org/news/KensRun.php

See who's pledged. If they can, you can!
http://www.wffoundation.net/sahara/pledge_list.asp

Make a pledge or donation for his run.
www.wffoundation.net/sahara/2007-pledge_entry.asp

9/25 FireBill,

There will be KICK ASH BASH concert t-shirts available at the event, but to my knowledge,
they do not have them available online.

If we find out differently, we’ll let you all know!

Melissa Schwagerl
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
9/25 Does anyone know if t-shirts are available online for the Kick Ash Bash?
I'd love to get a couple, especially if the $ went to the WFF and the Sun
Valley/Ketchum VFA.

-FireBill
9/25 Re Fast Rope:

Ab, thanks for the line on Big Hill.

DN

I think it's great people write in so fast with the info needed. That had to have been a record, like 20 min. Ab.

9/25 For those going to the CA Firefighters memorial event on Saturday the 29th Sept
[organizing about 1030; procession at 1115; ceremony at 1130; info at cpf.org]

If you're going, you should know the following:

  • The CA Capitol grounds encompass multiple blocks - 10th to 15th and L to N streets.
  • There are no street signs designating various memorials!
  • Street parking is often an issue. many coin operated meters accept only quarters. Handicap parking is scarce because state workers park on the streets.
  • Construction is partially blocking many downtown streets.
  • The Tower Bridge (Capitol Ave) is closed to all traffic, including pedestrian.

Yesterday I navigated midtown & downtown Sacto & would have encountered big delays had I not known how to circumvent the mess. Plan ahead. Part of the event is getting there!

River

9/24 This just out today from CalFire:

Attached is the

Informational Summary Report (Green Sheet) CA-CNF-002463 Dozer 3346 Burnover (1526 K pdf file)

referencing the entrapment and burnover of Dozer 3346 on the Pine Fire.

Please give wide distribution for the purposes of discussion and Tailgate Safety Session.

Dave Teter
Battalion Chief - Department Safety Officer
CAL FIRE

9/24 MA,

I was referring to the letter here from "Aberdeen" posted on 9/22, got mixed up with the names and initials.

Brother Cub

Good enough, that was a good post. Ab.

9/24 MA,

Although I have no expertise in the area of AD pay I am a lawyer and I recommend you at least start with Ab's advice. Especially right now you are a "single resource" and you are fighting for $1000 or less. That's a lot to get screwed out of but it would go fast at a lawyer's hourly rate. The more you can find out on your own the less leg work a lawyer would have to do for you and you can always see one later. If a group of folks in the same boat can get together then that would certainly make it more cost effective to pursue with a lawyer. Another writer suggested that. After you get some answers I like Ab's idea to contact your Congressman's office. This is the type of thing they can often help with.

Brother Cub

Well, I didn't give any advice and I know Original Ab (OA) didn't give any advice and we be the only two Abs, so you must mean someone other than Ab gave some advice... Hmmmmm... But happy for the opportunity to clear that up. Ab.

9/24 Mellie:

The proceeds from the Kick Ash Bash will go to the WFF and Sun Valley Firefighters Association (Ketchum Fire, Sun Valley Fire and Wood River Fire/Rescue). Those three Fire Departments are combination of both Career and Volunteer Firefighters. At the start of the Castle Rock fire, two dozen or so municipal fire departments from Idaho, both career and volunteer, sent firefighters and engines to assist Ketchum Fire Department. Two residents of the area have already donated $25,000 each to a group of South East Idaho Firefighters for their organization's fund raising projects. It should be quite the party, there are a lot of firefighters from this area planning on attending with their families.

Jodie
9/24 Making the rounds in the wildland fire community:

The QUEST team would like you to know that QUEST's TV story, Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire, is set to premiere on KQED next Tuesday, September 25th, as one of the segments in the episode. Thanks so much for
sharing your time and being part of this story!

The story will air Tuesday at 7:30 pm on KQED 9 & KQED HD on Comcast 709.

On Tuesday, the story will be posted on the QUEST website in its entirety - so you'll also be able to watch it there. I'll send around the link when it's live.

Here's a description of the episode - feel free to share it with your friends, colleagues, or email listservs/newsletters:

In dry years, fires in California cost billions of dollars and often result in lost lives. QUEST goes inside the fire season, looking at how the history of forest management could be feeding today's flames.

Watch
Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire
Tuesday, September 25th at 7:30pm
on KQED 9 & KQED HD on Comcast 709 or online at www.kqed.org/quest.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll be in touch soon.

Thanks,
Lauren
------------------------------------------
Lauren Sommer
QUEST
KQED Public Broadcasting
San Francisco, CA

9/24 Re: CA Firefighters memorial

The information is on the California Professional Firefighters website
cpf.org. They begin organizing everyone about 1030 with the procession at
1115 and the ceremony at 1130.

Scott Vail
Deputy Chief-Admin Fire and Rescue Branch
Governors Office of Emergency Services

Hi Scott, nice to see you're still around. Ab.

9/24 Howdy Everyone,

Just checking to see if anyone is going to Emmitsburg for the National
Fallen Firefighters Memorial. I live close by, and can help with any travel
arrangements, directions, and anything else that might be needed. Ab can
put you in touch with me if you need any help.

Onelick

Knarf, I haven't forgotten about your task book. I'm still trying to get
one for you.

9/24 Whoooo Hooooooooo! There's gonna be a party! In Ketchum ID to benefit the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation
and their local VFD. The concert is this Saturday, 9/29/07.

Listen to a bit of what they sound like!

Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle)
www.stevemillerband.com/index1.phpl

Bruce Willis Blues Band
www.listal.com/video/1506036

Also heard Carole King should be there to play with the others.

LOCAL CELEBRITIES DONATE TALENTS FOR “KICK ASH BASH” IN KETCHUM

News article: www.sunvalleyonline.com

Mellie

9/24 Re: Quick Burn Center transport of burned firefighter

Ab,

To those who organized and carried through with the on-site initial treatment and decision to transport the burned Cal Fire dozer operator on the CNF Pine fire, my congratulations! Your quick action and a great display of “take charge” leadership helped to prevent the further progressive burn injuries from occurring while someone else debated what to do.

Thanks from our professional community! There are those within this community who do recognize the lack of good comprehensive burn policies on the part of many of the agencies and your actions have really made a difference. We are all trying to make this work and, until we can see a positive reaction on the part of each agency, your actions speak louder than any printed word.

I can tell you that the Cal Fire written protocols and policy are not adequate and there are attempts being made to get this changed back to the old policy which mandated exactly what you just did for this firefighter who was burned. I don’t care how minor those of us who make decisions feel, get them to the professionals at the Burn Center to let them decide. We don’t call someone from another profession to attack and control wild fires do we? Think about it and again thanks for a very positive display of “Critical Decision Making.” We need more of your kind in the field working with us.

Normbc9

This has been a season of learning. I can't remember when we have had so many firefighters burned in different incidents. Perhaps some of the lessons learned from this season and last season are getting to the fireground. If so, this is certainly good news. Ab.

9/24 Re: Fast Rope

Can anyone put me in touch with Big Hill Helitak?
I am researching fast rope programs.

DN

DN, Sent you the contact info. That was mighty fast. Ab.

9/24 Did this have anything to do with the A-76 procedure? I received this message (it goes on to include other agencies and to make its messages even muddier). Otherwise, does anyone know what this is about?

Still Out There as an AD

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

Reply-To : dispatchstudyteam@mainet.com
Sent : Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:32 PM
To : <snip>
Subject : Interagency Dispatch Study Datacall Change Notice and Login Information

| | | Inbox

To: US Forest Service and Department of the Interior Dispatch and Related
Personnel

Re: Change in Datacall C Instructions on OT, Sunday, Holiday, and Shift
Differential Hours Reporting Request.

For US FS PERSONNEL
With regard to the DATACALL C for Center/Militia Employees request for data
on your CY 2006 Overtime Hours, Sunday Hours, Holiday Hours, and Hours
Worked in Night Differential Status:

*****Please refer to your CY 2006 Paycheck #24 rather than #25 for your
cumulative hours by category. We are looking for data from the roll-up
summary of CY 2006 hours.

9/24 Ab:

Do you have any times or particulars or schedule of events for the Fire
Fighter Memorial event in Sacramento? Heard it will be on 9/29.

Would like to attend.

djchief

I don't. Anyone? Ab.

9/24 Ab,

The special notice pasted below was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website a couple weeks ago.
www.fbo.gov/spg/USDA/FS/024B/Reference-Number-SN-2007-09/Synopsis.phpl

To participate in the wildfire training market survey by the October 5th deadline, go to http://fs.mainet.com.

It seems like minimal effort was put into encouraging participation in this survey.

vfd cap'n

------------------------------------------------

-- Wildland Fire Training Activities for the U.S. Forest Service and other Wildland Fire Agencies

General Information

Document Type: Special Notice
Solicitation Number: Reference-Number-SN-2007-09
Posted Date: Sep 05, 2007
Original Response Date: Oct 05, 2007
Current Response Date: Oct 05, 2007
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Interagency Fire Center, 3833 S. Development Avenue Jack F. Wilson Bldg., Boise, ID, 83705-5354, UNITED STATES

Description

MARKET RESEARCH SYNOPSIS: The U.S. Forest Service seeks to obtain market research information from sources capable and interested in providing contract services for specified fire training categories and components. The Forest Service is conducting this market research to determine the capacity and past experience of the private sector to perform wildland fire training services. This market research is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a commitment of any kind. Any information received may be used, in whole or in part, to develop the acquisition strategy for any resulting procurement(s). Responders will not be compensated for information provided, and are encouraged not to provide proprietary data or business-sensitive information, as any information received may be used by the Government and/or released to the public. Sources interested in participating in this market research effort should complete the web-based form at http://fs.mainet.com . Responses should be submitted on or before October 5, 2007.

Point of Contact
Robert Rinaldi, Assistant Director, Stategic Planning, Budget & Finance, Phone 202-205-1596, Fax 202-690-6006, Email rrinaldi@fs.fed.us

9/23 Ab,

I was wondering where we are with fed firefighters, dispatchers, etc having
to go through some kind of A-76 procedure. This letter from the Forest
Service Council to OIG coming out of Alaska last year had very pertinent
points. Did it make any difference to OIG?

www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2006/FSC_To_OIG_Final_061011.pdf

Mellie

PS. I sent in a card to the dozer operator. Nice idea from CoCal CalFire,
Ab, and the hotlist mods. He likely has more than just minor burns as Gizmo
pointed out. I am very glad he's in a burn center, receiving the most
knowledgeable and up to date treatment. In fact I heard today that he
gets skin grafts tomorrow.

PSS. Does Ken Perry have to run in the sand on the Sahara benefit run for
the WFF or is there some better running surface? Guess I need to go read
up!

PSSS. WM, your reply to Young and Not Dumb makes me want to build a
audio recording system to go with a video setup just because it seems so
easy and "cool". I just love this forum!

9/22 I called the burn center at UCSD and here is how you can send him and his family a card. I told the person there we did not want to post his name without his consent.

Address it to:


Dozer Operator
Room 513, bed B
Regional Burn Center
UCSD Medical Center
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103

It would be quite satisfying to jam the inbox with best wishes... Ab.

9/22 Justin-

There are a number of ways to plug into the ICS/radio and get the audio into your camera. The easiest would be go to radio shack and get a small lavaliere microphone (like the little ones you see on news anchors) that is hard wired. Plug it into your camera. Get a small piece of closed cell foam. Wrap the microphone in the foam and tape it inside an earpiece. The foam helps prevent mechanical noise at it moves against the earpiece. You will get a fair recording of whatever you hear over ICS and whatever radios are being sent through your headset. If you wanted to narrate, you would just tape it to your mouth mic.

Best deal would be to have a Y adaptor that out take your helmet and the plug for your camera audio line.

WM
9/22 Ab

In response to the question on the UCSD Burn Center contact information:

Regional Burn Center
UCSD Medical Center
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA
(619) 543-6502

ht

9/22 The dozer operator who was burned on Wednesday 9/12 on the CA-MVU-Pine
fire is at the UCSD burn center. Letters and cards would be appreciated. His
daughters are in town to take care of him.

Can someone give us the addy and contact info?

SoCal CalFire

Hotlist 24 and 72 hr reports: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1933

9/22 Re: AD pay rate changed

MA:

Don't shoot the messenger...

I have some background in the finance world and the answer is-- yes, I believe they can change your pay rate. The AD pay plan has been highly scrutinized in the last couple of years with one of the results being the new rating systems from AD-1 to AD-A, etc. As you correctly note, that rates under the new system pay lower.

The other thing that happened about two years ago is that the ABQ (or other national level payment team depending on agency) was given the ability to overrule the pay rates that the local hiring official set. However, only if the they can show that the pay rate was incorrectly set by the local agency. The new plan has taken pretty much all discretionary capability from the local agency in the interpretation of the pay plan. They can't set a pay rate that is not supported by the AD pay plan. This means that if the hiring official did not adequately document why you qualified for the rate of pay (ie through red card quals or other means) than ABQ will evaluate your quals and determine the "correct" pay rate. The big red flag positions are the tech specialists because it was perceived that these positions were abused. They used to be the way that local agencies could hire someone they knew was a good, qualified employee and pay then a better rate to keep them and reward them. That ability has been taken away from the local agency. If you are hired as a THSP, you have to be able to document that you are qualified as that THSP.

I am not saying that I think it is right (morally anyway), but it is legal. I don't know the details on how you were hired, so I don't know for sure what the issue was, but it sounds to me like they overruled the local agency hiring official and they can do that.

I personally don't like this policy for multiple reasons. It breaks a contract that was made with an employee. If you knew you were going to get paid 1/2 of what you were promised, you may have chosen to not do the work at all. It takes away the ability of a local hiring official (including me) to have some flexibility to hire and retain qualified employees that they know they can depend on and we all know that there are people we trust more than others in the AD world.

I recommend taking a good look at the AD Pay Plan and then talking to the forest that hired you and seeing if there is anything they can do to document they pay rate you received. If you get ABQ to reverse it tho, it will be a minor miracle.

Its a brave new world...

signed,
db

9/22 From Firescribe: Kudos to CDF from NPS for support in saving a life at Lassen.

From NPS News and Notes on 9/21/07
"Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA)
Hiker’s Life Saved Through Rapid Multi-Agency Response

On September 17th, park staff and personnel from the Chester Fire Department, Mountain Life-flight and California Department of Forestry (CDF) responded to a report of a hiker in distress on the PCT trail near Boiling Springs Lake. Drakesbad Guest Ranch employees received the initial report and immediately hiked out the trail to find the hiker and guide rescuers to her location. Park staff and Chester Fire Department paramedics also responded. The hiker, an elderly woman with a history of cardiac problems, was experiencing a severe cardiac emergency and having difficulty breathing. Due to the remote location, CDF transported the patient via short-haul to the guest ranch, where she was transferred to Mountain Life-flight and flown to Mercy Hospital in Redding. Doctors told rescuers that she would not have survived without their rapid response. Eric Hensel was IC. [Submitted by Kelly Roche, Acting Ranger Operations Supervisor] "
9/22 M.A.

- before you spend any bucks hiring a lawyer, consider the following strategy.

  • First, make multiple copies of all the paperwork you have;
  • then prepare a written letter that explains the problems, and send them to SPECIFIC, NAMED people;
  • let them know that you know who the are, and you (and maybe some higher-ups) will be holding them accountable for what they say and do.
  • Tell them you want an answer IN WRITING by a specific, reasonable date.
  • When you get their answers, and if they aren't the answers you want, again write and appeal to the next level - Region, WO, etc;
  • also consider involving the US Department of Labor and your local Congress-people.
  • Last resort, find a sympatric media person and do a full-brain dump with the paperwork package.
  • Also, check in with Casey at FWFSA and the ADFA folks for their ideas; that's one of the reasons that we pay membership dues to those groups.

It may be time-consuming, but it may be worth it to get the rest of your pay.

Aberdeen

9/22 M.A.

Not trying to be a smartass here, but some of this may help out in understanding the AD rates for Excepted Positions (and help you get paid).

The AD-K rate has to be established by an appropriately delegated hiring official, and a description of duties must accompany the hiring papers and timesheet. Is it possible that the list of duties was omitted, or that they did not meet the AD-K criteria listed below?
  • Who was the hiring official?
  • Was that person giving (delegated) hiring authority (in writing)?
  • Was it for their area, or for an outside fire assignment?
  • Was it approved by the hiring incident?

I don't think all the above are necessary, but as an AD I have been hassled on incidents many times regarding hiring paperwork and documentation.

Most ADs do not even mess with these "Excepted Positions", and simply are hired at their highest AD rate in their area of expertise for any "miscellaneous" type assignments (for example, Dispatch Center Manager -- not in the AD list, go out as COORD or EDSP; or Fixed Wing Base Manager -- not in the AD list, go out as ATBM, ASGS, or RAMP).

Whenever you give the Personnel Department room to review your hiring papers, you are asking for trouble. I would imagine that an Excepted AD-K rate is an automatic audit.

I wonder how many "Excepted Positions" were hired (and approved) this season?

From the 2007 AD Pay Plan (www.nwcg.gov/teams/ibpwt/documents/personnel/fs_id_5109.34.pdf ):

7. Exception Positions. If none of the positions listed in the Incident Positions Matrix
(IPM) fit the scope of duties for a position needed and the scope of a current emergency
warrants, an exception position could be established at the AD-A, AD-B, AD-F, AD-I and AD-K
classification levels at the local unit by an appropriately delegated hiring official. A brief
description of duties must accompany the Single Resource Casual Hire form for audit purposes.
The classifications below should be used as guidelines when determining at what level a new
position in the AD pay plan may be established:

a. Exception Position 1 - Level AD-A. Positions within this level require no
specialized skills or training. The job requires the performance of simple routine,
repetitive work tasks under close supervision or requires following oral or written
specific step by step instructions.

b. Exception Position 2 - Level AD-B. Positions within this level require minimal
skills or training. Routine assignments are carried out independently. Oral or written
assignments are given with general information on quality, quantity and timeframe
expectations.

c. Exception Position 3 - Level AD-F. Positions within this level require skills
acquired through specific job training or experience. Work is performed
independently. The incumbent of the position is expected to interpret instructions,
plans work, lead, or supervise casuals at the next lower level.

d. Exception Position 4 - Level AD-I. Positions within this level require skills
acquired through specific job training, technical education or experience, and require
the ability to apply or use specialized, complicated techniques or equipment. The
incumbent of the position is expected to instruct others in the requirements of the job,
plan work, or supervise casuals at the next lower level. This level requires
independent judgment and decision making. The carryout of assignments and most
problem resolution are expected to be completed independently by the incumbent of
the position.

e. Exception Position 5 - Level AD-K. Positions within this level require expert
knowledge and very high skill level in applying a wide range of concepts, principles
and practices associated with professional or administrative work. Most often
positions at this level are commensurate with knowledge gained from successful
completion of Incident Command System (ICS) 400 level and above courses,
qualifications at the Type 1 or 2 level, or “ologist” type positions (such as an
archeologist) that requires a higher level of education or certification. Incumbents of
these positions may be required to supervise other professionals or a group of
technical specialists (TSHP).

BarkR

9/22 From the Hotlist (www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=2005)

Hi all,

I work on a helitack crew, and am trying to find out how I can get audio from the ICS (intercom) on my video from inside the ship. I know there must be some kind of adapter that I can use hook to into the intercom and maybe the external mic port on my video camera. The few people I know that have done something like this had folks in their avionics shop (I think Columbia was the company) make a unit from scratch, so I know it's been done.

So... Anybody know how to do this? I've seen a few CDF/CALFIRE helitack videos with intercom audio on them, so is there anybody reading this or TheySaid who could help?

Thanks.

Justin

9/22 I have heard that there's someone high up the ladder that is trying to fix it so feds
who are retired have their retirement pay docked if they go AD. Anyone know
more on this? We'd be lost without ADs, with the current retirements, etc.

Todd

9/22 Regarding the USFS and Discriminatory Hiring:

Look Up "Merit Systems Protection Board" key word "Callagan". This is a 10 year old "reverse discrimination" case that the USFS settled out of court, after their unsuccessful appeal. USFS probably settled so that it wouldn't get appealed to US District Court, where a decision would have set a "reverse discrimination" precedent.

www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=247343&version=247615&application=ACROBAT

The case dealt with a minority hire of an unqualified Forest Engineer because the selected met the "Asian Pacific Islander" slot. The winner was not even a Civil Engineer, was not licensed, did not meet the time in grade requirements, and frankly was not very bright.

Callagan who was over qualified, and could have lateralled into the position due to previous GS12 status with the Corps of Engineers, dared to note that the Southwestern Region had not hired or promoted a white male in the previous 250 hirings, (every job series). Callagan was a GS11 810 series with 17 years, license and excellent performance record and a completely clean record. They fired him for submitting an EEO complaint, then phonied up the records to show that he resigned. MSPB required the USFS to show that he had resigned, which they could not, then awarded back pay, interest, legal fees. They further found that the firing was the USFS response to the formal filing of the formal Discrimination Complaint (was the same day).

Bottom line, it is possible for white males to pursue and win "reverse discrimination" cases against the USFS.

BC

9/22 M.A.,

Rather than lawyer up, how about teaming up and presenting the facts that are presenting hurdles to you? Get with folks in similar circumstances and discuss the issues with them.

You seem to be screwed, and I agree that an attorney might be needed, but I also think a lack of communication is happening and somehow you are arguing with "friends". The blame game keeps folks from communicating.

With 17 years, you are still a young pup years away from retiring. You have some good info and need peer and friends advice. I am not sure if you need legal advice or advice from the wildland fire community, or just an opportunity to vent.

You need to make the call or e-mail depending upon your circumstances.

Lobotomy

9/22 Dave Kerr, Ab,

After a few days rest I am proud to confirm that the Historic CDF " Sunrise Fuelbreak" was a contributing factor for structural survivability in this last weeks Angel Fire in Julian, CA.

The planning started before the Pines Fire of 2003. BLM Fire in partnership with CAL FIRE continued to recreate the Fuelbreak as the area suffered the Woodland Fire and then the Cedar Fire.

100'-300' wide in places as the slopes allow, and constructed on BLM administered Public Lands but CAL FIRE protected lands and Private Lands, the Fuelbreak extends behind homes in the Whispering Pines Community.

The Fuelbreak is created as a shaded break in Mixed Conifer/ Pine forest and fuel modification ( maintain low growing species and specimen plant groups) in Chaparral and just months ago aided Suppression activities and access in the Banner Fire.

The Angel Fire originated just east of Angels Landing spreading east on prevailing winds at a moderate to fast rate of spread with spotting into the Whispering Pines Community east of Camp Stevens.

Extraordinarily tough firefighting efforts paralleled the numerous spots as they converged in an up canyon run, up and across the shaded fuelbreak. Firefighters moved rapidly into structure protection among homes inspected by CAL FIRE and recipient of several years of fire mitigation/education efforts of BLM Fire and it's Student Conservation Association's Fire Education Corps Interns. Firefighters suppressed fire around structures with firing and water. In the project area not a single structure was lost-NOT A SINGLE STRUCTURE WAS LOST! This proves, again, that Education, Prevention, Fuel Maintenance and appropriate suppression action work.

Locally in San Diego County, fire organizations are facing criticism and a subtle political movement based on the theory that fuels treatments will introduce exotic (read bad), invasive (more bad), non-native invader species (spin Bad), Flashy(oh, that's bad) Fuels. What they are not telling the public is that these species have naturalized and hybridized in the area since the Spanish Period, 1769-to present. These same groups seek to stop the building of your fire safe home/cabin on that parcel your family has had to pay payments and taxes for generations. (read It's unsafe, it never should have been built there in the first place! ) This in a county where over 50% of the lands are managed and provide habitat by BLM, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, State Parks, State Fish and Game, County and City Parks.

Unfortunately, outside the project area, one seasonal home (without defensible space) burned and at the Camp some unprotected outbuildings were burned.

Damage assessment by San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use estimated a save of 77 Million dollars within the immediate fire area. Not bad, huh?

Mitigator

Excellent. Ab.

9/22 Also to Dave Kerr,

The Trap-and-Skeet Fire at Mescalero Agency in about 2002 was another classic story that you are looking for. I was doing ATGS. I knew we were screwed when the first P3 load on the crowning head fire was vaporized when the fire was only about 3 acres.

This was a well seated crown fire in Ponderosa that was headed right at a subdivision, the WalMart, the hospital, hotel row, and the race track in Ruidoso, NM. It hit a two year old Rx burn area adjacent to the reservation boundary and then fell out of the trees. We picked it up in short order with retardant, dozers, and engines. Total fire size was about 1000 acres with a crowning head fire about 1/2 mile wide.

I can get you talking to folks at NM-MEA. They can tell you the whole story.

NMAirBear
9/22 M.A. and the AD Pay Issue

The first thing I'm curious of is what position did
you perform in? There are very, very few positions
that are not covered under the AD Payplan so I'm not
sure why you needed to go as a THSP. I've been
coordinating the AD program on my Forest for 10 years.
And I have only had 2 positions not covered in the AD
plan. Both were associated with the tanker base and
both were added to the plan the next year. For the
document to be legal the individual signing it had to
have the authority to do so. If the position you were
going as is not in the payplan the individual on the
unit, Forest or GACC does not have the authority to
set a rate for you. It needs to be requested through
proper channels before you go out. If not you are at
the mercy of the system. What occurs then is whomever
hires you needs to fill out a description of duties to
turn in with your time. You are at the mercy of the
system but you chose to do that when you accepted that
assignment outside of the AD payplan. The person who
signed the casual hire form needs some training.
Saying I didn't know by you or the hiring official
doesn't cut it. The AD plan that explains the
processes and procedures for how and when things are
done is only 10 pages.

Goodluck,
Sign me, Waiting for the winter snow

9/22 M.A.,

Yes! Tahoe Terrie is right! Lawyer up! After some more fact finding I will be joining you. Ab can get us talking behind the scenes. Many, many of us AD/retirees/etc. got screwed in a whole lot of different ways this year and I was hoping many more stories like yours would show up in this forum to show those who read it what I am talking about.

Ab, we may be going to ask you about that FOIA regarding AD's real soon. Seems it has come to that and many of us fear the retribution that would come from any AD person doing it individually who has any intention of continuing in this business in any capacity.

In the meantime, M.A., you can do like I am doing at the moment and make your congressional delegation aware of the ruthless rascals and their totally unethical tactics.

Thanks Ab again for the chance to be heard!!

Don Coyote
9/21 M. A.

Lawyer up.

Tahoe Terrie

9/21 To: Dave Kerr,

Dale Donohue and I have two fuels projects that stopped or slowed fast
moving fires. One of the projects was a hydro-mow in Pinyon-Juniper that
slowed a 171 acre fire in the interface. The project allowed us to get hose
and handline and later dozer line around the head of the fire before it ran
into more structures and powerlines. This fire occurred in 2005.

The second fire was the Five Pines fire from this year. We conducted a Rx
burn two years ago. A running crown fire in Ponderosa hit our burn unit,
dropped to the ground and we picked that piece of the fire up at 4 acres.
This allowed us to establish an anchor and drive line and hose around the
fire. The total fire size was 73 acres.

If interested give me a call.

Kevin Joseph
9/21 I have a couple questions for the agency HR/personnel folks and the AD experts in this community.

In August I took a short AD assignment on the XX fire on the XX National Forest. I was name requested and went to work the next day. I worked 50+ hours in 4 days and (according to IMT members and local personnel) did a pretty fair job on my assignment.

It took a while to get paid (of course) but when the deposit hit my bank it was somewhat less than half of the amount I expected, even after deductions. I thought maybe they divided my pay into two periods (kinda weird, but these things happen). Turns out it was even weirder than that.

I was signed up as a THSP-K at $28+ per hour. What ABQ paid me was $13+ per hour.

Well, after 4 days of back-and-forth now on the phone and email with ABQ and the IMT and the local forest hiring unit, they are telling me that my paperwork wasn't correct and my hiring documents had to be redone.

I have here a Single Resource Casual Hire Information Form, and a Resource Order for Overhead, and an Emergency FireFighter Time Report OF-288, all specifying the THSP-K rate at $28+ and all signed off by agency officials, and they're apparently not valid at this point. They are telling me that the K rate doesn't apply to me and they had to re-do the paperwork because it wasn't correct.

CAN THEY DO THIS? I figure what I was signed up for, and what they all signed off on, and what I signed, is/was legal hiring documentation. Can they just go back and change it and there's nothing I have to say about it? I never would have signed documentation or taken the assignment for $13 per hour. And ABQ says their hands are tied as long as the XX National Forest hiring unit now won't back up what they signed then.

Hopefully someone more experienced than I am has some answers for me?

(No wonder the AD folks are jumping ship left and right. This will be my last one too.)

M.A.
(p.s. Five years ago I was making more than the $28+ per hour doing the same dam thing as an AD with IMTs on assignments. I understand the requirements have been tightened, and I understand the AD rates have been cut, and though I don't like it, I was willing to take a pay cut to do this. But I'm not sitting still for getting cut to less than half the rate I signed up for.)
9/21 Okay everyone. I know that for most of you it has been a busy and profitable summer (gotta love that OT). Now is the time to make your pledge to Ken's Run, no excuses!!! If you haven't been to Ken's website, I would suggest that you take a look at what Ken will be up against as he is running in this race for OUR families.

I wish I could put all of you in my shoes for one day to appreciate how much the foundation means to the families of the injured and fallen. They are truly are guardian angels here on Earth, but the foundation can only grow with your help.
So, open up the wallets and let the moths fly free!!! Make your pledge today and let this amazing man know that what he is doing is appreciated by all.

Lori Greeno

Link for the run and how to pledge is now at the top right of the page. Ken's Sahara Run Benefit Ab.

9/21 K. Joseph and Casey

I agree with both of you that there needs to be a fire fighter series, with
some sort of IFPM requirements for specific quals for positions. More and
more upper level fire positions are being filled with line officers who
have never held an FMO/Center Manager or any other fire position. You
should never be a Director of Fire and Aviation if you didn't come up
though the fire ranks. FMOs over the last 10-15 years have supervised more
people on districts then any other department, it is too bad with all that
supervision experience, that FMOs aren't going into Ranger jobs. Instead
the folks on district with the least amount of supervision are sought after
to go into those jobs and the agency is surprised when they can't
supervise.

Snapper
9/21 Casey,

No arrow's from me! !!

I have 17 years with the USFS/BLM, I am a permanent full time employee covered by secondary firefighter retirement. I am not in a position that will be converted, but my "next logical step" will be. Like many I've had to re-group mid-career due to injury, I took a step back to move forward again, only to come to the 401 door slowly closing in my face.

I am beyond frustrated with the 401 mystery! I have tried for over a year to get an answer from our BLM State Office regarding what I need to do to comply. Apparently I'm not worthy of a simple returned phone call as they are "too busy" to deal with me, I've even been turned away in person, I can assure you I am not alone, I know several employees who have been treated the same. My FMO simply says that Iwill have to do it on my own time, with my own money.

After many phone calls, emails and conversations, it seems our future has been left up to the whim and interpretation of whomever in the personnel office happens to be looking at your file that day. There are no clear cut answers, in fact I was told that even if an employee held a degree in an approved "ology" it may be accepted in one state or region but not in another! I happen to have a degree in a non-approved "ology", then depending upon who I talk to some of those units may or may not be accepted.

I cannot get any answer's as to what course work I need to take or from which schools units will be accepted. I've been told to just to start taking classes on-line and submit my transcript, THEN I would be told if that course would be accepted! I was told this past spring by a Field Office HR rep (not from my home unit, but the same state) that the ONLY units that will be accepted by my agency in "piece-meal" (non-degree) are those offered by the university hosting the two-week crash courses for those being provided this education on federal funds!

Casey, I feel like I can't get into the club because I can't guess what the secret handshake is today! In summary this is my understanding of 401 as it applies to my situation. Either I need to gamble thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of my own time in hopes that the classes I take will be accepted by personnel. OR, I need to take leave or LWOP in multiple 2-week increments over the course of 2-years to travel 8+ hours from my home unit, pay for lodging and tuition out of my own pocket all in order to take course work that may or may not be accepted should I dare to leave my current station.

There was a time and place that I would have done anything for these agencies, I "bled green" for many years. Ultimately I still love what I do! I know that what I do makes a difference and has been recognized. Five years ago I would have never guessed I'd be considering giving it up, in fact I'd always thought I'd stay in until I hit 55 (now 57) and they threw me out. I've got 7 years to go before I'm eligible to retire, it seems silly to even think about bailing out early, however, if this is my "high-three" due to choosing the wrong education 20 years ago I'm not sure I'll be staying.

I know I'll get the usual comments about applying for other jobs, make somebody give you an answer and so on. So I will say now, I can assure you that I have tried every avenue I know to trying to get answers. I have worked in 4 Regions on 6 different forests or BLM units and have exhausted my contacts as well as their contacts trying to figure this out.

Ab, thanks for the space to rant!

Just sign me,
So Close, yet, So Far
9/21 Hi,

I was on the cascade complex and I saw firefighters wearing cascade complex
sweatshirts that said " hold the line" and me and my fellow crew members
thought those looked really cool. I was wondering if you might know where I
could find the vendor so we could order some of those shirts.

Thanks,

Mike

9/21 Re: Firefighters Don't Let Firefighters Drive Drunk

A volunteer firefighter who has gone to school to learn to save lives was charged Tuesday with taking one.

www.sj-r.com/News/stories/15647.asp

A firefighter from the San Bernardino National Forest is dealing with the loss of his mother and the serious injuries of his father. An allegedly intoxicated volunteer firefighter did something that will change his life for years to come, and the lives of others forever two weeks ago in passing.

Pieces of the story that aren't in the press for most to see... The actions of a firefighter killed others in the firefighter community. Firefighters don't let firefighters drive drunk....

Annual leave donations have been set up for the firefighter so he can care for his family. Other firefighters are in support. Those interested in donating annual leave can contact myself or others, or your servicing personnel office.

Kenneth Kempter
San Bernardino NF

9/21 Hey! Congrats to Dennis Baldridge, the new training officer for South Zone.
Whooo hooooo!

On another note: Secretary Johanns has resigned as Secretary of Agriculture
and the president has named Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner as Acting
Secretary.

Mellie

9/21 Re fiscal year:

"...don't confuse the federal fiscal year with the state fiscal year..... Two totally different critters. The legislation explains when, where, and how the legislation is to be applied. The legislation is good for everyone involved, especially the families who aren't covered by federal programs"

Lobotomy makes a very important point anyone who is following enacted legislation must remember: although some agencies' funding sources don't follow the norm, CA fiscal year is 7/1 thru 6.30. Federal fiscal year is 10/1 thru 9/30.
Following any proposed legislation can make folk nuts because as a bill is further amended changes aren't immediately posted on the website.

Is the Senate hold-up of AB348 due to Social Security Admin dependent's eligibility guidelines ?

River

9/20 BLMboy,

I think you are on to something good.

Lobotomy
9/20 Tragic death of Brad Cella

To share information about the death of Brad Cella last Sat, (9/15), he died of a massive stroke while skydiving. The coroner related to Brad's family and friends that while Brad's death is officially listed as an accident, in his professional opinion, the stroke would have been fatal had Brad been sitting at his desk. It is important to Brad, his family and his friends that we all understand that this death was not due to a 'skydiving accident' but rather occurred while Brad was doing something that he loved with a passion.

There will be a Cella-bration of Brad's life this Sat (9/22) in Boise Idaho and the following Sat (9/27) in Anchorage Alaska. Details regarding the Cella-bration as well as other information including a message board to post tributes, condolences and stories is available thru www.nps.gov/fire/fire/cella-bration.cfm. We know Brad was greatly loved throughout the wildland firefighting community and he will be missed. We ask you to take a few minutes to look at the webpage and post a memory or story of your experiences with Brad.

Carol

9/20 This firefighter who "Used to be LE" sent us the original alert from the Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center that went out requesting firefighters to maintain situational awareness... Contact info: sacrttac@sacsheriff.com ♦ (916) 808-8383 (The info is more detailed than the article. The request is that the info not be made available to the public or posted on the internet.)

"Used to be LE" has this to say about the center:

These people are dead serious in their mission. My boyfriend did a tour and took a class through them and they are the big time. Bigger and better than anything they can show on TV.

Some firefighters read this bulletin and didn’t understand the problem. The problem is that if they get to first responders before they get to the general public, who is going to be there to help the public? Take us out and you’ve got no one left to perform rescues and save lives. Bottom line: Be aware of your surroundings and always report suspicious activities to the Law.

9/20 Terrorism threat?

I really like the nonexistent physical descriptions of said subjects below. PC strikes again.

Treehugger

Video photos taken at fire stations spark concerns
By Greg Welter

During the last week of July, fire officials in the Bay Area city of Campbell reported that two men had been seen videotaping routine activities at a fire station.

The men were reportedly in their 20s or early 30s, and one was using a sophisticated news media-style camera.

<snip> ...second, similar incident was reported at a fire station in Yuba City. The man who took the photos was described as being between 30 and 40 years of age...

<snip> ...Fresno Fire Department officials spotted two men in a vehicle

<snip> ...personnel from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department noticed two men taking photos of a fire station. A third man... They ranged in age from late teens to about 60,

Click the link to read the article... Ab.

9/20 More on AB 384

I have received a call from Assemblyman Anthony Portantino's staff whom we worked with on including the temporary federal firefighters into the provisions of AB 384.

She indicated that as hard as she tried, Senator Jack Scott, Chair of the Senate's Higher Education Committee felt that federal law already provides an adequate higher education benefit for surviving family members of federal firefighters who die in the line of duty and that enacting such provisions into State law would conflict with federal law and perhaps compromise a family's ability to get all the benefits they are entitled to. He further indicated that the State should not pick up the tab if a federal provision already exists.

It is odd that these issues were not raised during the entire process in the Assembly.

On the surface that argument seems to make sense. However I know Lori will be "researching" this and I will try as well. If there is an angle that shows that such a provision in the state law would not necessarily compromise the federal benefit provisions, then we will work directly with Sen. Scott's office and the Governor's office to rectify the text.

Casey
9/20 Lobotomy:

You, above all others, know this is not a blame game. You also know how much effort was involved in educating members of the Assembly to include temporary firefighters and those who pass on outside of California to a bill sponsored by the powerful CPF.

View the CPF's website @ www.cpf.org and read their spin on the bill going to the Governor and all the hard work my successor Mike Massone did on the bill. NOT A WORD about the gutting of the bill's educational provisions. Sad, but typical.

My need to ID who offered the amendments in the Senate is not driven by whom to blame but by exactly what you suggested to do... and what we at the FWFSA do best... educate.

We "educated" Assemblyman Portantino on the exclusion of temporary firefighters -- after both the bill text & the CPF exploited the loss of those federal wildland firefighters whom, as I must again remind folks, are not represented by the CPF in any way shape or form, to promote the bill. He and all others in the Assembly, despite the CPF's opposition, then amended the bill to include temporary firefighters.

It is imperative we understand the mindset of someone in the Senate who ignores the will of the entire Assembly and guts a provision of a bill benefiting our federal wildland firefighters.

As we initiated our efforts on AB 384 months ago, you were as tenacious & vociferous as I on the matter. The question federal wildland firefighters must ask is this: are they willing to accept this action or fight it. Remember, the FWFSA became more focused and more successful when it didn't "accept" being carved out of federal firefighter pay reform in the late '90s. This is no different.

Casey
9/20 Lobotomy,

I want to open a discussion about “blame”. I guess I
have a different view than you, or maybe I am just
thinking the same thing but in a different way.

I want to look at the “person”. It is people who
create the “facts” via their decision(s). Now, don’t
get me wrong I am not looking to persecute or
prosecute anyone. But I think it is important to
relate the: person – decision – outcome – reasoning.
When that is accomplished you can then identify the
flaws in thinking/reasoning, and why they did what
they did. That being completed a solution can be
defined to avoid it in the future.

I relate that to myself…I am an ICT3. If a fire I am
responsible for does property damage or if someone is
injured at the incident then I have no problem if,
through an proper investigation, it is found I made a
mistake (wrong decision) or ignored obvious 10/18
issues (incompetence). But then take it further, find
out why I did what I did. Do I want “blamed” for the
result? Duh, no. But I have no problem taking
responsibility for my actions/decisions. And…it would
be nice if nobody came along trying to put me in jail
for it.

So when terms like “finger pointing” and “blame” are
used, of course no one likes to go along with it. But
how about the “who, what, and why”? Then design the
fix. But it all deals with identifying specific
mistakes associated with specific people for specific
reasons.

Yeah, I am not really referring to AB 384 directly but
all of our industry as a whole.

What do you (or anyone else) think?

BLMboy
9/20 Leo,

I emailed Jeanne P-T your question regarding IFPM and here's her reply.

Mellie

It depends on what a person means with the phrase "forestry degree"

A two year "forestry degree" -- it is caught up in the debate on whether there
is a specific mix of upper division classes and "lower division" college
classes.

A 4 year degree -- is what qualifies a person for a GS-460 series
(professional forester) and the GS-401 series, although a professional
series, has less requirements on what it takes to qualify.

Everything in our agency is on hold for folks because they are attempting
to figure out the impacts of each negotiation point before they push a
particular alternative.

9/20 making the intranet rounds in R5
IA Fires and Fuels Treatment Success ... Need some examples

Greetings all

Tim Sexton has asked that I look at IA fire suppression successes that can
be attributed to fuels treatment projects. It could be that 3 acre fire
that was picked-up at 3 acres because of a treatment, or it might be that
fire that got picked up at 100 acres rather than 10,000 acres because of a
treatment which enhanced our suppression capabilities. What I am trying to
avoid is revisiting the Antelope, Moonlight, or Angora kind of fires.

Tim is looking to develop some protocols that will help quantify how we
track these small scale successes and how we evaluate IA suppression
success as it relates to our fuels treatments.

If you think you have a fire that might be deemed a 'success" please let me
know. I would like to have the field work done prior to winter weather
setting in.

Thanks for your help

David Kerr
Fire Management Specialist
Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team
(check the FS lookup for email addy)

9/20 FS Crews:

Please notify all R5 crews of upcoming mobile fire equip committee meeting.
Any complaints, ideas or suggestions concerning our crew vehicles & supt.
trucks must be in to reps before October 5th. Meeting will start Oct. 8th
please e-mail questions or concerns.........................

Thanks,
Frank Esposito
Mill Creek Hotshots / Captain

9/20 One more thing about AB 384.

A heart attack is considered LODD by all agencies. However, ask anybody whose firefighter has died in this manner if they have received any PSOB.

99.9% of those asked, they will say no. There are cases from 2001 that have still not been settled. This is exactly where AB384 would come into play for federal families. They may have children who will be in college before their PSOB is ever decided, and in the meantime, no educational benefits from the PSOB will be given. They only come in to play after a favorable ruling in the case. So, what is the family to do? Come on, the logic is only too clear here. I think we need to educate those who are making our laws (sort of scary, huh?)

Lori

9/20 More on AB 384

To all:

I want to re-emphasize that I had no intention of endorsing or advocating a veto on AB 384. I do believe the federal wildland firefighting community needs to decide whether the hard work put in to amending the bill in the first place to include temporary firefighters as well as those who perish outside of California is worth fighting for.

On behalf of all of California's federal wildland firefighters whether they be permanent or temporary, we went toe to toe with a powerful labor union and were able to succeed in convincing the California State Assembly that temporary federal wildland firefighters deserved the same benefits as permanent career federal wildland firefighters. This position is consistent with our efforts in congress to provide temporary firefighters with eligibility to FEGLI & basic health care benefits.

Let's not forget that the legislation as amended to include temporary firefighters flew through the Assembly committees & a floor vote unanimously. Thus the question remains why was it decimated in the Senate. I wholeheartedly concur with Lori's suggestion that IF retaining the original language might cause a reduction in other benefits as NoName suggested, the decision to utilize the educational benefits should rest with the family NOT the legislature.

Casey
9/20 Casey,

I have to say I agree with you. I believe a wildland firefighter series is
the correct way to go. And even more so, I believe we should move to a
Federal Wildland Fire Department where the firefighters are classified
under a Wildland Firefighter Series and recognized as the firefighters that
we are. A firefighter series from entry level firefighter all the way to
the Chief of a Federal Wildland Fire Department. In recent years, the
agency has demonstrated an inability to understand and support fire
management programs and personnel.

K. Joseph
9/20 Casey,

Baby steps my friend. Any person who rallies to veto a bill that adds to the goals of improved benefits, pay, and working conditions for federal wildland firefighters and their families scares me to the core. Each step forward should be celebrated and not attacked.

Any step forward is a victory, and the FWFSA and WFF should be proud that they cut through the partisan political BS to increase benefits for all families of fallen firefighters in their support of AB 384 and the key amendments that they proposed.

With each step, the wildland fire community gets closer to the goal.......

If the State Senate did something wrong in their amendments, educate them and add upon the success through a clarifying amendment or additional legislation. To suggest a veto...... is simply, and fundamentally wrong. To look for "who is responsible for the amendments" puts the FWFSA and others into the "blame game" and something folks in a learning culture don't like.... or that a just culture cannot accept. I would hope the FWFSA is better than assigning the blame game.

Nobody learns anything if folks start pointing fingers and assigning blame. Speak to the facts and not the person. Look towards the goal and focus.

Lobotomy
9/20 AB

With all the talk of the IPM can anyone tell us how that affects those who
hold a Forestry degree and how about to add on a minor in Fire and
Aviation Mgmt

With some of my quals I can meet entry level GS9 minimums

Why are they reinventing the wheel for those of us who already hold a
forestry degree from 10 yrs ago

More and more of an organization that really needs to take a
DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP look at itself

Leo K Larkin

IFPM (Interagency Fire Program Management Qualifications) Standards are here: www.ifpm.nifc.gov/ifpmstandard.php

9/20 Re: AB 384

When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, if all criteria are met, the family is entitled to receive the PSOB (Public Safety Officer Benefit). Part of this benefit is higher education for children and spouses. Right now it stands at $860 a month for a full-time student and is reduced by any other kind of government program that may be in place. This applies not only to federal employees, but state and local ones also.

California recognizes illnesses as line of duty deaths, while the federal government does not. I can see how the laws, as they stand right now, help out the families of these employees. What I can't understand is why they don't include it in AB384 and leave it up to the families to decide whether or not to make use of this benefit. At some point in time, the feds may decide to follow CA (and other states) in recognizing illnesses related to line of duty as LODD at which point the surviving family would not qualify for the PSOB but then would also have no educational benefits to fall back on. The whole political circus would have to start all over again.

So, why NOT include it now? Just because it is there doesn't mean you have to use it.
The state and local employees families have this option. Why not the feds?

Lori

9/20 Re: AB 384

From the legislation text:

Senate Floor Amendments of 9/4/07 delete provisions which
prohibited the University of California and California
State University from imposing or collecting mandatory
systemwide fees or tuition from surviving spouses and
children of permanent career civilian federal firefighters
who were residents of California and performing services in
California who were killed in the line of duty. This
change is because it is understood that these provisions
could reduce or eliminate existing federal benefits for the
family members of firefighters killed in the line of duty.

This bill provides benefits that will supplement, not supplant, any federal
benefits.

noname

9/20 SacMedic,

Thanks for the information you shared about the R5 pay increases 'rumor'. I find it interesting that there are all of a sudden calls being made to some folks asking what amount of pay increase would help make their decision to stay with the Forest Service. I am from the North Zone in R5 and a couple of years ago we were asked to fill out a questionnaire or fact finder to document the disparity in pay between firefighting agencies. It is my understanding that all but one of the NZ forests returned the fact finder to the RO and nothing was ever said and the concerns were never addressed (if they were, nothing was distributed as to the results of the findings). It seems quite coincidental that just about the time someone in a position of power might be willing to listen to our concerns, they retire.

One more thing concerning my comment in an earlier post about sunsets and travel. Given the situation that occurred in R5 to a lot of folks this summer, we now have just sunsets and a lot less travel!

SUPER P
9/19 AB 384

Lori & others:

I was just as appalled to see the educational benefits deleted from the bill through senate amendments apparently done a couple of weeks ago. obviously I need to do some digging to see exactly who was responsible for the amendments. It seems nonsensical given that the Assembly voted, without ANY NO votes to pass the bill with our amendments.

I will be contacting the Senate Rules Committee tomorrow and get some clarification. While not advocating a veto, I feel the federal wildland firefighters from California need to decide quickly whether correspondence with the Governor urging a VETO of the bill as amended by the Senate is in order.

Casey
9/19 AB384

Well, I answered my own question - I was right. All educational benefits were cut from AB 384. I can't believe it got to the very end, only to have that happen. I have sent a letter of comment on the bill to Mr. Portantino's office and would like to encourage everybody else to send one too. I feel that our children deserve a shot at higher education just as much as a child of a fallen state, county and city firefighter, don't you?

Here is where you can write your comments - easy to do.....

www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.php

I think this takes you to the main page asking for the bill number, but after you put it in, the comment link is at the top of the next page.

Lori

9/19 AB384

Ab,

I am hoping someone out there can help answer a question for me. I went to the CA Assembly page and brought up AB384. As I read it, the entire educational benefits package that was included in the original draft is no longer there. Is anyone else seeing this as I am? Here is the link that you can follow the entire bill through. If this is so, once again, the feds are getting the short end of the stick. I emailed Portantino's office days ago, but haven't heard one word. I am hoping to get in touch with someone there tomorrow via phone and find out what happened.

Here is the link that will take you directly to the page of AB384. Thanks for any answers you can give me.

www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.php

Lori

9/19 The 401 Classification:

Arghhh, those numbers (401) drive me nuts. I know we have a number of our FWFSA members who are in the 401 series. I'm sure some want to be in it while others feel compelled since its apparently the only way to work oneself up the ladder. I certainly respect any firefighter that would choose to become an "ologist" but to be mandated to become one to progress in FIRE seems nutty to me.

I guess I still have a fundamental opposition to mandating firefighters who have years and years of experience & expertise behind them actually doing the work in the field being forced to become an "ologist" in order to be a fire management officer. I have always been concerned about the focus on classroom education while forsaking the cumulative experience gained in the field.

Personally I believe the natural progression up the chain of command in fire should be a logical incorporation of a true stand-alone wildland firefighter classification series. The series should include entry-level firefighters and go all the way to the top. Why we have to struggle with OPM & the Agency to develop that is beyond my comprehension.

With all due respect to those currently in the 401, I believe the 401 process is a typical Agency driven idea conceived by those who simply have little to no real fire background.

You may see municipal chief officers having degrees (in fact its hard to get into a municipal department today without a fire science degree) but most have degrees in fire. The 401 process in a municipal setting would seem tantamount to a firefighter having to have a degree in botany or some other science rather than fire to become a chief officer.

I'd really like to see the 401 go away and the Agency embrace a wildland firefighter series. Unfortunately, until those managing the fire program actually have some fire background, we'll likely not see the support & have to force-feed the wildland firefighter series to the Agencies as they have force-fed 401 to our firefighters.

OK, I'm ready for the flaming arrows !

Casey
9/19 Mcleod,

Evidently the 401 conversion process is ON HOLD. Got this twice. It's making its way around the FS web. Ab.

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

"On hold" means the ability to convert people into the GS-401 series is on hold, nationally, at the moment. This is due to the OPM regulation of 2/15/05 that changed the definitions of what constitutes "educational credits" and how many "credits" it takes to convert to this series. This is the issue, discussed with the RLT/BOD in June, where only college transcripted credits are considered as "counting" for educational credit; NWCG equivalents and TFM without the University of Colorado college credits do not count.

The WO, USDA, DOI and OPM are still working on a solution.

Does it mean that the USFS will use something other than the GS-401 series?

No; it means we are determining how to use it so that we have OPM's support.

Does it mean that we using something other than the open and continuous rosters for the Deputies and Chiefs?

No. They are the primary mechanism used for all FAM jobs in our region. For those rosters where the selected candidate is able to convert to a GS-401, they must wait to convert (but not necessarily wait to promote) until WO-Human Resources know what the new rules are in determining educational credits.

What are the educational requirements?

Good question and the heart of the issue.

On 2/15/05 OPM put out a regulation intended to ensure all college educational credits were from credible sources. This regulation established that the only viable college educational credits are those listed and approved as passing on a college/university transcript. This effectively shut off any NWCG courses put on by an agency; the USDA Graduate School and a host of other training typically used as college equivalent educational credits towards a professional series.

The list of NWCG equivalents developed by the National Interagency IFPM group to count towards educational credits was effectively null and void with this regulation. This is the first thing that USDA/DOI/OPM are negotiating.

The actual number of education semester credits is 24.
What is not clear is what is the mix of 24: all upper division? all lower division? a mix of upper and lower division? This is the second thing that USDA/DOI/OPM are negotiating.

WO-FAM is currently determining what the impacts of this regulation are if strictly applied; if applied with some negotiations; if applied........somehow.

What if you were in a position as a GS-401 prior to the OPM regulation of 2/15/05?

Folks who were in a GS-401 position prior to February remain in a GS-401 series. Everyone else who was in a GS-401 position after that date will be subject to the new mix/interpretation of educational credits when the dust settles. Anyone who is in a GS-460 or GS-401 position and applies to a new GS-401 position will be subject to the OPM regulation "game rules" once negotiations are completed.

What does all this do for position management?

IFPM/FS FPM have effectively limited a Forest's choice in what can/cannot be used for position management. In our region, where the IFPM/FS FPM "Unit" is the region (not individual forests due to the amount of settlement agreement negotiations that have occurred in the last couple of decades), we shifted everything to the standard position descriptions, open and continuous rosters, etc. We do not have GS-9's in the GS-401/460 series; GS-11 Division Chiefs are in FS FPM as GS-462's in our region...... These decisions were made mostly due to the settlement agreement negotiation where we will not limited our candidate pools and because of the sheer volume of positions in our region (we are just about 1/2 the national USFS total of permanent fire positions).

Hope this helps.

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley
Chief, Fire and Aviation Mgmt.
Incident Commander, Team 3
Tahoe National Forest

9/19 Dear Curious:

Thanks for your question. The FWFSA's "work" is primarily driven by the goals & objectives of its dues paying members [emphasis added] who help to establish our political agenda.

Without question the vast majority of our members are "primary" firefighters whether they be 462s, 455s etc. However we also have dispatchers and prevention personnel as members, not to mention family members, retirees and others who support what we are doing.

That being said, we recognize that many of our legislative proposals if passed would benefit all firefighters as well as some "secondary" folks. For instance our initial language for the portal to portal pay issue read to include all those who support fire operations.

In reality though, you've got to "pay to play." We can't carry everyone's water for free. The time & expense of educating Congress on the issues is staggering. We know that as we make progress on our issues, some will benefit who will gladly take the benefits without becoming dues paying members. That's simply the nature of the business but that reality also solidifies our commitment to the goals & objectives our dues paying members set.

I've received countless questions from non-members about what we can do about this issue or why we aren't doing something about that issue. My response is always the same...our loyalty & commitment is to our members who have expended their hard-earned dollars to support our efforts.

If, during your assignment in the dispatch center you saw such pay disparities etc., I can only hope that these employees would join the voice of the FWFSA, help set the agenda and identify the issues we need to address & help us achieve our goals.

Casey
9/19 Anyone know what's up with the GS Series 401 conversions?

mcleod

9/19 New ad up on the Jobs page under help wanted:
The The Wyoming Office of State Lands & Investments, Forestry Division is currently recruiting for an Assistant Fire Management Officer location is Cheyenne. Ab.
9/19 Good Morning!

We are at 40 days and counting before Kenneth Perry heads out on a flight to Egypt to begin his 150 mile run through the desert. Our pledge / donation page is up and running and we’re already on our way to a good start!

There have been just a few fatalities this season – a sign that everyone, from the top down, has been exercising caution and safety. The Foundation has been diligently working with many firefighters and families who did experience injuries and we’ve been helping behind the scenes with various needs as we’ve been able to.

Without the support and ongoing efforts of folks like Ken, the Hot Shot crews that stop by and visit the Foundation to join the 52 Club and make Gold Member status, and the many others that fundraise to raise support and awareness for the wildland community, we would not be able to help the many people we do.

Thank you for supporting the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Melissa Schwagerl
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
9/19 River,

Be not afraid. The provisions of AB 384 covered gaps in the protection of fallen federal firefighters that aren't covered by other federal programs.

While the original language of the bill only covered permanent, full time federal firefighters only (all of which are covered by federal programs if they elected to participate), the proposed changes applied to temporary, term, and less than permanent full-time appointments... in other words..... all federal firefighters who die in the line of duty.

The original bill, and the sponsor, were less than informed when they attempted to use the Esperanza tragedy as a rider for their goals. Somehow, through education and negotiation, the middle ground was found that met both the sponsors intent and the legislative intent. Through an educational process, the bill became bi-partisan and supported across the board by the elected officials in California.

River, also, don't confuse the federal fiscal year with the state fiscal year..... Two totally different critters. The legislation explains when, where, and how the legislation is to be applied. The legislation is good for everyone involved, especially the families who aren't covered by federal programs.

Lobotomy
9/19 Pay issues in "Resort Towns":

I've been reading about the Pay issues in R5 and while I'm sympathetic to the indifferences in CA, I just wanted to remind folks that it goes beyond regional boundaries and outside of fire. In recent years, the cost of living has soared in the "resort towns" where many of us live and work. I have employees who spend their winters doing various other private industry jobs, then take a pay cut to come back to the Agency purely for the enjoyment of what they do. Each year as this is happening, I see our annual salary adjustment come through. Since it is always a percentage, our GS-04/05/06's who get the work done on the ground tend to see a few dimes more per hour while the GS-double digits can see a couple of bucks. Each year the indifference grows as our working class comes closer to poverty levels and our decision makers settle for more comfort. It makes it tough to listen to the preaching about showing a lunch break on the fireline. When the price of gas/bread/milk/rent goes up, it hits everyone equally. This indifference should be changed. Unfortunately, we would need a policy maker that believes in fairness more than boosting their own lifestyle.

Feeling it in R4...

9/18 Casey,

I have recently completed a assignment in an Interagency Dispatch center in
California, which has raised an interesting question: Does your work on
behalf of Forest service firefighters include those in secondary positions?

I have gotten hands on experience on how hard these people work to support
those in the field. they are on shift before the fire fighters are on and
can't go until the last one gets off shift. while I was in the dispatch
center I got to see the pay discrepancy between Cal fire and the forest
service. Seeing it first hand in the dispatch world makes me wonder about
other secondary jobs like preventions, and such.

Thank you for your time,

Curious

9/18 Ab,

I didn’t want another day to go by without sharing my experience with Kellie Klump’s family.

I saw on television how the Amish treated the family of the man that murdered their little girls
in the midwest last year. They went to the shooter’s family and took care of them, welcoming
them into their own.

That is what I saw Jim Klump and his boys do. They reached out of their own grief into the
family of the man who murdered their beautiful Kellie, and in some of their darkest hours, Jim
made a decision to love and care, instead of more hate.

When Jim left our office to take his daughter home, I watched him pull away and I knew that
I would miss the presence of that man.

It has been so tender and an honor to be near the Klump family.

Vicki Minor
Executive Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Everything I've heard about Jim indicates he has a compassionate heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with both families.

Heard that Scott Anderson got to Seattle for treatment and that the WFF was also involved in smoothing the way. Good work. It's all about helping each other. Ab.

9/18 Ab,

For those that haven't seen this.......a local special report on the Inyo Complex/Burnover.
Link: www.inyocounty.info

Swiftfire
9/18 Tragic Death of Brad Cella

What a character he was!!! Always had a smile and full of wisdom.
I didn't know Brad long but had a chance to work with him extensively this past year. His death is a blow to many, certainly none more than his fiancé and sister.
His dedication to fire management and fire leadership will not be forgotten.
I will always appreciate the time I got to spend with him...especially over a good beer or glass of wine.
Take care Brad.

Allen (Al) Garr

9/18 AB 384 has been sent to the Governors office for signing.

Pray the Gov signs it into law and the law will go into effect immediately IF it becomes law, it will most likely be next fiscal year and not retroactive.

Injured CA State FFs are rarely in need of immediate financial assistance.... a check will arrive on pay day & bosses pass the boot. CDF injured are covered via State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) worker's compensation insurance.. Local government personnel (mutual aid) or contractors may encounter a delay, but basic salary is usually next check. The CA-Fed agencies injury/death benefit is a nightmare of red tape. The playing field is not even, and it won't be anytime soon.

I find odd to read about a "spike" camp injury while moving a garbage dumpster ..... was it only yesterday when my kids said a spike camp meant Hotshots in paper sleeping bags on the a fireline and hoping their next sling load contained recognizable food?

Of course, I also remember when the FS pulled anyone driving a pick-up to assist a wildland fire in forest lands.. Good grief, I'm old! Last week I droved down ENF's Iron Mountain Rd (Mormon Immigrant Trail). The recent cleanup is greatly appreciated!!! the 50's Pilliken fire rehab looked to be a healthy stand of trees too - kiddos, ENF. hope when winter rains arrive someone can safely bonfire those towering piles.

River

9/17 R5 Pay information:

Last month, firefighter representatives and at least two Forest Supervisors, one from the ANF the other from the BDF met with R5 FAM Director Ed Hollenshead to discuss pay issues including special salary rates and a staffing proposal developed by several folks off the BDF. This was primarily to address the serious retention issues plaguing the SoCal Forests. These same pay/staffing issues are also what led to the recent letter from 6 members of California's Congressional delegation to FS Chief Kimball & ANF Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron seeking answers to what the heck was going on.

It is my understanding, and I welcome clarification from anyone else, that these same firefighters and Forest Supervisors traveled to the RO once again on August 10th to meet with Regional Forester Bernie Weingardt to discuss the same issues. It is also my understanding that the R5 FAM Director failed to let the Regional Forester know the meeting was scheduled to take place.

In any event, reports were that both the Forest Supervisors and the Regional Forester were "engaged" with respect to the recognition that something needed to be done to stem the tide of losses to CAL-FIRE and other agencies. Apparently the Regional Forester, Mr. Weingardt offered to raise the issues up the proverbial "flag pole" while also commenting on how poorly he was routinely treated by the WO (Washington Office).

Then, two days later BOOM, Bernie is gone. Retired. Now a new regional Forester from R9 is on his way in to R5 and who knows what his position is on such matters.

I think it is realistic to say that the Forest Service is now keenly aware of the problems in R5. The Forest Supervisors & Regional Forester are provided with a number of authorities to address such matters yet have been unwilling to use such authorities for their firefighters despite other Forest Service groups using such authorities for their employees.

Let's face it. Perhaps the primary reason for this again goes back to the fact that the fire program is managed in large part by non-fire folks who have no understanding of what it takes to run the largest fire department in the Country in the 21st Century.

Hopefully the congressional letter will be a wake-up call to the FS Chief. That will be followed up by my own letter to her in the coming weeks laying things out on the table. As we told the previous FS Chief, the Agency can either work with us to eliminate the archaic pay & personnel policies that are adversely affecting our federal wildland firefighters from all agencies and implement policies that will make the land-management agency fire programs "the" place to make a wildland firefighting career OR they can give us the ball and "get the hell outta the way."

As I have mentioned to many firefighters from the SoCal forests, the FWFSA, as a nationwide organization will certainly support whatever measures federal wildland firefighters undertake for themselves in any given area of the country. However, our primary goal & objective is to fundamentally improve pay & benefits for all federal wildland firefighters regardless of geographic location through legislative proposals that will benefit everyone.

I would encourage anyone who has any more detailed information about what transpired at the R5 RO last month to share them with us here.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

Some of the answers being posted on the Hotlist forum: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1979

9/17 From the hotlist:

With these positions out there I would make more as a firefighter than a captain in the Forest Service. Naw there is not a retention problem.

www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/ca-fire-salaries07.jpg

-SJ

9/17 Re: California Fallen Federal Firefighter Survivor Assistance Act of 2007

AB 384 has been sent to the Governors office for signing.

A special thanks to the following for their support of the amendments proposed and championed by the FWFSA and WFF:

- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
- CDF Firefighters
- California Fire Chiefs Association
- California Peace Officers' Association
- Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
- Fire Districts Association of California
- Marin Professional Firefighters
- PERS Retirement Betterment Committee, Inc.
- Presidio Federal Firefighters, IAFF
- Public Employees' Retirement System
- State Council of the International Association of Fire Fighters
- United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Local 112

If I missed anyone, a special thanks to you also.

Lobotomy
9/17 Super P-

While assigned to the Zaca Two my R5 FS partner told me he and some others from his forest (Angeles) had been contacted via phone by FS personnel asking "what amount of pay increase would make you stay"? His response, and that of many of his co-workers, was 30-50% gross pay increase. I do not know who the callers were exactly working for within his organization, but they identified themselves as FS personnel folks.

Sacmedic
9/17 Hmmm... sunsets and travel. That sounds suspiciously like a take-off on what
then-mayor Pete Wilson told City of San Diego employees about 30 years ago.
It became known as his "let them eat sunshine" speech. It was followed shortly
by a strike by SDFD employees. So last month the city unveiled a statue of ole
Pete.

Fish
9/17 Ab, here is a link to story and photo of the SEAT down on the
Butler 2 fire. You can post if you want. All is good.

http://rimoftheworld.net/columns/news/firefighting

sbrrymom

9/17 SAFETY BULLETIN : Cascade Complex Combined 24 and 72 hour report

09/17/2007

www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/24-72cascade-1.doc

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
File Code: 6730
Date: September 14, 2007
Route To:

Subject: Preliminary Briefing (Combined 24 & 72 Hour Reports)
Cascade Complex Wildland Fire
Boise National Forest

To: Chief of the Forest Service

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE:

Critical Information:
On the afternoon of August 12th 2007, two individuals funded through a wildland fire resource order were moving roll-on garbage dumpsters from a spike camp. The couple was involved in a motor vehicle accident within the closure area of the Cascade Wildland Fire Complex. The accident disabled their vehicle and apparently resulted in non-life threatening injuries to both occupants. Following the accident the individuals left their vehicle and began hiking towards the Cascade Complex Incident Command Post. During or shortly before this time, the road they were on was closed due to fire activity. While hiking along the closed road, the individuals were overrun by the wildland fire. The individuals took shelter from the fire in or near a culvert. It does not appear that either individual was injured by the fire. Several hours later the couple was discovered along the same road by other contractors who then transported them out of the fire area. The couple was then given first aid by firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians and then transported to the Cascade Wildland Fire Complex incident command post. They were subsequently transported to local hospitals, one by air ambulance and the other by ground ambulance. Both were treated and released within 24 to 48 hours.

For reasons unknown at this time, the facts surrounding this entrapment were not reported to the Washington Office until September 13, 2007.

On August 13th the Cascade Complex Incident Command Team implemented a Stay-In-Place plan as the Cascade wildland fire burned around their Incident Command Post. The Stay-In-Place plan, the decision to implement the plan and the decision to remain in place for several days following the event resulted in several unintended consequences including the fact that numerous individuals were subjected to elevated levels smoke and carbon monoxide resulting in acute respiratory symptoms and illness.

On September 14th, 2007 an Accident Prevention Analysis (APA) Team was formed based upon a verbal delegation of authority from your office to review both of these incidents. A law enforcement investigation is underway reviewing the motor vehicle accident.

/s/ Steve Holdsambeck
for Randy Draeger
Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

cc: Larry Sutton
Ralph Dorn

9/17 Hi Ab,

If you are in or around Boise weekend of Sept 29 (weekend after this), be sure you plan a trip to the Ketchum/Sun Valley area for a benefit concert by the Steve Miller and Bruce Willis bands.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is honored to be one of two recipients for the funds raised from this event. The residents of the Sun Valley and Ketchum communities have been very supportive of the firefighters who saved their homes and property.

Information can be found on our website www.wffoundation.org

Thanks - folks - for your ongoing support of our efforts on behalf of the wildland firefighting community.

Melissa Schwagerl
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Wish I were closer to Idaho. It would be fun to attend. Ab.

9/17 SouthZoneFF:

This is the first I have heard anything about any kind of pay increase in R5. What exactly are you hearing and who are you hearing it from? The last time I heard a response from the director of R5 FAM concerning anything about pay issues in R5 was at the workshop in Reno last March and his response was "What are you (the FF's) willing to give up to get what you want? Remember, it needs to be budget neutral." Another group was told at a later date (by the director of R5 FAM) not to worry when we see our friends in the red trucks across the street making a significantly larger income because, after all, we have 'sunsets and travel'.

SUPER P
9/17 From Firescribe: I know there's already been a reference to this article, but it's worth bringing up again.

Happy talk won't put out fires
www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinions/ci_6897244

(snip)

Wenstrom claims that in April 2006, National Forest officials were told not to request budgetary augmentation funds, known as "severity dollars," that they had sought and received in the past. As a result, they would have to cut the number of fire engines staffed in the forest, she said.

She was told to draft talking points to address the public's concerns about having fewer firefighters and engines in the nation's most urbanized forest, filled with millions of dead trees and drought-dried brush.

When she described the reduced funding as "a problem," she said, her supervisor told her the talking points should say that "everything is fine out there in the forest, and there is no need for additional funds."

She refused and was quickly removed from her public-relations job, Wenstrom claims.

(snip) "Oh, they're in great shape," Mathes said in May 2006. "I think they're in a situation where there's one of two less fire engines in a certain location, but they'll be moving resources around. We'll be able to bring in more engines when there's a need."

But Gene Zimmerman, San Bernardino National Forest's former supervisor, dismissed that rosy viewpoint at the time. "They can say what they want about moving resources, but they won't be here in initial attack," he said. "We need the resources here before the fires start. ... This says we didn't learn very much in the fall of `03," when the deadly Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire raged across local slopes.

"Local Forest Service officials are really under the gun to talk the party line," Zimmerman said then.

Click the link to read the whole story...

9/17 Re: Single Layer vs. Double Layer (Or the often confused discussion of a "flame resistant over-layer" of a "non-conductive" inner layer vs. the value of the TWO...... or "old school vs. new school"

I would love to see the Ventura Fire program and why some folks may think single layering is safer. I leave it an open discussion and give my thoughts.

Last year, in addition to the injuries of Chris Fry and others, I also saw the truly life threatening injuries of Jesse Shirley. He was burned over 35% of his body by a "flash fire" consistent with a sudden wind shift or fire whirl as described in the official report. It is confusing that NFPA has a 4 second exposure threshold while the MTDC standards advertise a 20-30 second effectiveness of nomex. It is even more funny (not funny) that DuPont states that nomex is best used as an outer layer of protection for the intended purpose and not a single layer of protection .

In regards to Jesse's injuries, on his lower extremities, his injuries were from the tops of his cotton socks to the bottom his cotton boxer shorts. His upper injuries were along his arms (not covered by cotton) and his face, neck, and ears.

What do you think about the following:

A policy, procedure, or best practice of folks either wearing full cover cotton undergarments on the upper extremities, and

A policy, procedure, or best practice of wearing shrouds, or better yet, cotton lined shrouds during actual or potential entrapment, and

A policy, procedure, or best practice would be to evaluate a light weight undergarment material, similar to the materials used in cotton boxer shorts, provided at a length from the conventional exposure area to the sock line?

Of course, the values of risk vs. gain would need to be evaluated in relation to thermal exposure vs. metabolic heat.

In results from the leading testing group, the ASTM, the Forest Service failed miserably.... the test results were the exact injuries that Jesse Shirley received. Additional research findings provided to CDF were requested from the author(s) on subsequent research done by the University of California - Davis and by CDF folks who might be able to get the data easier than me.

While the baggy pants style of the new kids, and the baggy nomex style of the current firefighters may keep them safer due to the designed protection of nomex and due to an air layer, the second layer (and known layer) of protection by cotton is known by many.

Once you see the injuries of friends, it is easier to learn and lead..... be a leader. Educate folks that you are teaching that it is better to be a leader and preventer. ...

Ask questions..... Ask why.............. Ask how to prevent and pay it forward.
9/17 Does anyone know about this 50% pay raise that the R5 is teasing us with?
They better do something by Jan or so or else where going to loose allot of
folks to our Red engine friends.

SouthZoneFF
9/16 Hi Ab,

One of our BLM co-workers -- he is a NWCG Training Specialist here at NIFC, and before that job a long time McCall Smokejumper -- has been diagnosed with AML Leukemia and has been in the hospital for over 9 weeks. He is transferring to the Fred Hutch Center in Seattle tomorrow for a bone marrow transplant. I have been the liaison to the family assisting them with many things. We have set up a tax deductible fund through the National Transplant Assistance Fund for those that may want to pitch in and help Scott Anderson, his wife and family offset the huge medical costs involved with this process. I've attached a letter that we have been sending out. Is this something that can be put on the "They Said"?

Thanks......

Marie Bates

Hi Marie, good to hear from you. I'm posting the letter below and I've added the request to the Classifieds page under Announcements. Our best wishes to Scott. Seems easy to make the donation to the fund for him and it's tax deductible. Ab.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A “Friends - Helping - Friends” Request – September 2007

Dear Friends of Scott, Sandie & Eva Anderson,

As some of you know, Scott Anderson has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML Blood Cancer). Scott has been hospitalized in Boise for over nine weeks and has undergone four rounds of chemotherapy during that time period. He will receive a bone marrow transplant at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance beginning tomorrow. Thankfully, Scott's personal health insurance should cover most of the $350,000.00 + in medical expenses. Unfortunately, it does not cover many of their out of state expenses and medical items, like: transportation, living expenses near the medical center, donor search fees, and other non-covered hospital/medical costs.

It is expected that these non-covered medical and other miscellaneous expenses will easily exceed $10,000. Many of you have asked, "What can I do to help?”. This is your opportunity to assist the Andersons during this phase of Scott’s treatment and those additional financial burdens certain to come.

In order to help them, a tax deductible account has been established in Scott’s name with the National Transplant Assistance Fund. The NTAF is a nonprofit organization that has been helping the transplant community for over 20 years. All donations will go directly into an account designated for medical related expenses and are tax deductible. Our initial goal is to raise $9,000 to $10,000 to assist the Anderson family for the uncovered medical costs and expenses during the estimated three month treatment period in Seattle.

Unlike many other charitable gifts to foundations, this is an opportunity to make a tax deductible donation which will go directly to friends who are in need. Rather than most fundraising events we often encounter, we are using an e-mail fundraising process. What a fantastic way for us to connect with the hundreds of people who care about Scott! Your generous contribution in any amount will go a long way in helping the Andersons through this trying time. It would also be greatly appreciated if you could forward this request to a family member, co-worker, or friend who might be financially supportive.

Make checks payable to:
Print in memo section:
NTAF National Transplant Assistance Fund
In Honor of Scott B. Anderson
Send to: NTAF
150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120
Radnor, PA 19087

To make a credit card donation, please call NTAF at 800-642-8399 or www.transplantfund.org.
If you have any further questions or need assistance with this process contact Rich Caballero at (208) 871-1557 or Marie Bates at (208) 387-5506.

Respectfully,
Co-workers and friends of Scott and the Anderson and Waters families.

9/16 Hello,

I was wondering what you folks think is the best antenna for the BK radios.
I have used Larson, Centurion, quarter wave etc... and was wondering about
what works for others. Any COMTs want to throw a little scientific
explanation into the mix?

Thanks
\
James

9/16 Re: Bee Stings

Hi all. Thought I’d offer some “experience” and homework about our flying little friends of the forest.

The majority of my run-ins have been with what is called “meat bees”, (typical ground nesters you disturb dragging a hose over that communicate their displeasure in swarms). All kinds of excitement when you ride a pack string of mules over them or fall a snag they’ve set up house keeping in. Cat skinners and logs skidders have their own stories to tell. The closest I’ve found for an identification of them is Vespula Spp. Cmn Nm Yellow jacket. Although other Vespula are equipped on the N. end with jaws of sort, meat bees are the only ones I’ve observed that will bite and sting at the same time. The bite (from their saw teeth type jaws) is a high candidate for infection, probably due to their diet including garbage and rotting meat. Their sting of course may also bring on an allergic reaction.

Before the belt fire extinguishers known as Fire Kill were taken off the market in CA some years back, they were pretty effective against an initial attack by meat bees. I think it was the instant drop in temperature of the Fire Kill that stunned them, even in mid flight. At least it gave a faller several seconds to make a run for it. (I used it on meat bees several times - never did use it on a chainsaw fire.). I’ve no experience in the newer type belt extinguishers for quick draw self defense. Meat bees become much more aggressive towards the end of the season just before the first frost.

The Honorable Mouse.
Bee Sting thread on the Hotlist
9/16 Death of Brad Cella

Brad Cella was a mentor and positive influence on many NPS fire management
careers as well as a big proponent of the technology. He was my instructor when
"Fire in Ecosystem Management" was taught at Marana and convinced me and
several others to go skydiving with him one afternoon. He was the best and
will be sorely missed by many.

Tom Patterson
9/16 Ab,

As of 2200 hours there are 21 CAL FIRE Type 3 engine strike teams rolling
south from central and northern California. In addition several dozer and crew
strike teams are moving also. By daylight most should be at a staging area or
their dispatched locations. Prado Staging will be a very busy.

Normbc9

9/15 Non-fire fatality

Abs

Brad Cella the long time Alaska Regional FMO for the NPS and the very recently
appointed NPS NIFC Chief of Planning and Budget was killed in a sky diving
incident in Star ID this afternoon. At this time this has not been released to the
media but the family knows. WFF also knows. No particulars on what happened
or services at this time.

Mike Warren

Condolences. Ab.

topalign9/15 Interesting post by larso on the hotlist under Butler 2. www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1943

A map actually. Projected fire movement based on Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) from the Rocky Mt Research Station that is overlaid on the google earth and that overlaid by the hotspots from Modis. It shows how far the fire has already moved into the projected areas.

Thanks larso. Ab.

9/15 Some pretty dramatic fire images on CNN this evening, burning in timber in socal.

Jim Wilkins gave a good synopsis. I liked this line he replied with when the reporter
wanted to know how long it would take. Poetic...

"We fight the fire
one shovelful at a time,
one dozer blade at a time,
one bucket-drop at a time
and after a time
we've circled the fire..."

Mellie

9/15 Mollysboy,

Amen and right on, Brother!!

I too am hanging it up for all practical purposes for the same reasons you cited.
This was my 38th fire season and I wanted to share my expertise and experience
for a few more years. But enough is enough.

They have sowed what they now will reap and it started this year from what I
saw in the UTF lists. Let us just sit back now and hope that their adverse actions
against ADs do not negatively affect firefighter safety.

NMAirBear
9/14 Again, another call just 5 minutes ago, looking yet again for someone to fill a Safety
Officer Resource Order. Again, I had to tell the friend at the other end of the phone
line that "because of the liability issues, and the AD pay situation, I respectfully must
decline."

Senator Cantwell/Doc Hastings/Chief Kimbell/Secretary Kempthorne: will it ever
get to the point where I can again offer my expertise to the wildland fire community
without putting my family's financial future at risk from legal actions, and without
working for less than those who fill risk-free jobs on fires and make double the AD
rate of a Safety Officer, Ops Chief or Air Attack?

My first fire season, after 30+ years on the line, of refusing ALL assignments; what
a sh*tty feeling! Maybe 2008 will be better??

Mollysboy

9/14 Kibby

While is nice to finally know the true name of the StumpF*****, I think in this
case too much truth can be a bad thing ;-) It is always good on some unsuspecting
gullible nubie to have them think the bug will lay their eggs under their skin and the
only way to get them out is with a knife!!! I have known experienced firefighters
who were still not 100% about it and get the willies around them. This Rural-Legend
has had many many victims and I am sure it will live on for may years to come
despite the info disclosed here.

Thanks for the info

CW

9/14 Jim Klump and Family mailing address..

For folks that are interested in sending Jim and his family a card
in regards to the recent lost of his daughter Kellie Klump on the
Grays Creek incident in Counsel Idaho; attached is the mailing
address. Jim and his family wanted me to pass along all the support
that the Forest Service fire family has done so far in this difficult time.

Jim also wanted me to pass along that donations to the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation in Kellie Klump's name has been setup and
attached is that organizations website.

For cards:
Jim Klump
PO Box 5
Forbestown Ca. 95941

Donations:
www.wffoundation.org/

Thanks,
Rusty Witwer

Thanks Rusty, and thanks also for your help with all this. Jim was DFMO on the Tahoe NF. Ab.

9/14 Here's the final Poe Cabin Fire Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA). Two LaGrand Hotshots were burned over on this fire in Idaho's Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area on 08/07/07.

PoeCabinFireFLA_final.doc (2,130K doc file) with pictures and maps

Remember the purpose of a FLA as stated in the Introduction:

"The details brought about in this report are meant to foster a learning environment for other firefighters across the nation in order to prevent further injuries and or death. The focus in this report is not to put blame on any parties involved; but rather to use this event to aid in earlier recognition of developing situations; allowing fire fighters to make decisions that will prevent near misses, accidents and injuries."

9/14 DP35,

Assuming we're talking about the same bug, those blackish, finger-length critters known as Stump****ers are actually harmless. (As a confirmed nature geek, I've handled lots of 'em without problems.) They're called Horntail Wood Wasps and, happily, they don't bite or sting. They flock to fires in search of dead trees. And then they kinda do what their nickname suggests - the horrific-looking 'stinger' is actually the female's, uh, ovipositor, which she inserts into the wood to lay her eggs. (Don't worry, they don't mistake people for trees, either.)

For photos and more info on them, and insects in general, this website's pretty cool:
www.whatsthatbug.com/sawflies.phpl

Kibby

Thanks, Kibby. I learned something. If you're registered, you should add that to the Hotlist Bee Sting thread: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1938

9/14 Two Dead After Shooting in Council

Sep 11, 2007 08:27 AM MDT
BOISE, Idaho -- Two people are dead in Council after an apparent murder-suicide there.

Around 10 a.m. Sunday (9/9/07), Adam County Sheriff's Deputies responded to shots
fired at the American Legion Hall in Council.

Authorities say a 54-year-old man and 46-year-old woman, both from California, had
been seen arguing earlier that morning.

Investigators say the couple was sitting in the woman's vehicle outside the hall when the
man shot and killed the woman, then shot himself.

The names of the couple have not been released.

I appreciate people not prematurely posting this on the hotlist. It is a sad story. The woman is a member of our fire community as are her wonderful dad and her brother. Our hearts go out to the family, including the grown children of her former partner, the shooter. Tragedy all around. Vicki Minor / the WFF has been providing support for all, for which we are grateful. Ab.

9/14 Muley Man,

What really set me off this year was being assigned to a fire that had already spent $13 million dollars through 3 incident management teams and still showed 0% containment. USDI's making good on a "white hat" offering of a few more bucks to us ADs is an absolute pittance compared to money being squandered like that.

If ADs/retirees don't squawk we get nothing or, just as importantly, Uncle gets nothing 'cuz we quit and the whole system of abusive use of casual employees goes away. Of course the whole system falls flat on its face then because it is so reliant on us.

I, by the way, happily work with trainees every chance I get and work also as a trainer during the Winter. Most retirees I know do and will continue to.

Also, sir, keep in mind that AD retirees are working to the betterment of all ADs, or whatever we will call them in the future. This includes Native American/Hispanic crews, state employees paid as ADs, and contract employees paid either as ADs or on parity with ADs.

They too are all being made fools of by events and stunts of recent years, my example being just one of the latest.

I suggest you look at www.adfirefighter.org for additional information. You will understand better where we are coming from. You yourself could probably benefit from the efforts being made on everybody's behalf.

Don Coyote
9/14 One more reminder that the applications for staff positions for the
Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program closes on October 19th.

I think most of you were on Zaca when the original announcement went out.
With the impending rain (Intellicast.com) coming to the North State next
week, there should be time to fill out an application. We are looking at
three advanced academies and five basics. This is a great opportunity to
cultivate or enhance leadership and instructional skills and positively influence
young firefighters. (and help train them for Cal-fire and municipal jobs!) You
can save your home unit some money and get paid for pt's and field
exercises at the same time.

Please call if interested.

Scott Whitmire-Assistant Coordinator, Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program
916-640-1061 or 916-717-6615

staff-recruitment.doc (105 K doc file)
instructor-recruitment.doc (149 K doc file)

9/14 wasps/bees

I did a quick internet check to attempt to answer the question from SJ. What I suspected is apparently true. That is, non-allergic people can die from multiple bee stings. Of course, some people don't know they are allergic and can die from one sting. About 40 people a year in this country die from stings.

Here's the question from SJ: "If someone has not been allergic to a single bee sting, can multiple stings by a swarm of yellow jackets or hornets or paper wasps still potentially kill them?"

My first thought was, "of course". Think fire ants. One won't kill most people, but individuals have died in accidents. I've heard of tractor roll over victims landing in a fire ant mound and dying of multiple stings. Inject enough poison and the reaction is stronger, especially if the face and airways are involved.

The following website . . .
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bee_and_wasp_stings/article_em.php
. . . provides the following comments supporting my theory.

Although multiple stings increase the potential danger in allergic cases, a serious or even fatal allergic reaction can (and does) occur from a single sting in a person with no known prior allergic reaction

Other complications: Insect stings in nonallergic people, though perhaps painful, usually do not cause serious problems. However, multiple stings may cause serious complications (such as muscle breakdown or kidney failure) and, rarely, even death in nonallergic people.

Especially at increased risk are small children, elderly people, and people who are already weak. These serious problems may occur within the first few hours of being stung or may be delayed for days after being stung.

Even a single sting in the mouth or throat can cause swelling and obstruction of the airway. Children are at increased risk for these types of breathing problems from a sting.

A bacterial skin infection at the sting site may also develop.

Sedgehead

9/14 Re: Question: If someone has not been allergic to a single bee sting, can multiple stings by a swarm of yellow jackets or hornets or paper wasps still potentially kill them?

You can be stung once, then potentially have a fatal reaction to even a single additional sting. Anyone who is stung should be closely watched for a possible reaction. Make sure your first aid kits follow your agency's protocol for stocking sting treatments. preferably with something like an EpiPen. Check expiration dates.

Still Out there as an AD

9/14 Hey,

Every year I’m out on fires I get a few of those notorious flying hypodermic
needles flying around me. The big black and reddish-orange wasps. I’ve
heard them referred as “stumpbumpers”, ”stumpthumpers”, “stumphumpers”
and of course, “stumpf**kers”.

Anybody ever been stung by one? Do they hurt like hell? Do they lay eggs?

Thanks,

DP 35

I started a hotlist thread on bee stings, which include vespids (hornets, wasps and yellow jackets). stumpf**kers are solitary wasps, less likely to sting or cause a stinging frenzy than the "social" wasps. www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1938

Feel free to question or answer there. I'm hoping some of our EMTs and Medics know what the current status of treatment is for wildland firefighters. I also heard that following the rash of bee stinging incidents on the fireline, someone was going to be addressing this. Ab.

9/14 Re: Recent Press Articles on the wildland fire program

Based upon my reading of the Dialogos Research, and those comments of folks involved, and the entire research guidelines and design standards and protocols were flawed from the start. The current "Chief" and leader bought into them hook-line-and sinker and personal biases.

I would say that the current Forest Service Chief is out of touch with reality when she makes comments on the flip or is supposedly misquoted by the press. I'll give her a break to correct the inaccuracies and false "facts as she either supports the fire program or opposes it". It is on the record...........

The Forest Service "Chief" and "leader" has the opportunity to comment factually on the record..... or defer to the experts and listen to them. If she ever says again, as quoted by the press that she doesn't support the field from her comments, she should be fired outright as an example.

It is a pivotal time...... does the FS Chief listen to experts in the fire program or does she follow the course of other politically appointed folks to demise and retirement WHILE KNOWN LATENT problems exist?

Her comments and actions, whether factual or out text, as CORRECTED as expanded upon will prove where she stands in support of the wildland fire program or whether folks leave en masse. As Ed plagiarized the sentiment, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight, his plagiarized statements refer to him also as a failure of leadership"

Anyone, at all levels, needs to speak up and keep the wildland fire problem from circling the drain, or provide leadership in other directions.

/s/ Wildland Fire Community Member
9/14 Need info on any fast rope programs you know of. Possibly putting one together for Mn.

DN

9/14 Regarding the Press Enterprise story, it is interesting to see the differences in the print
version and the online version that was edited after comments. The print version was
on the line of a tabloid article.... the online version at least asked a question.

I wonder why there are differences between the print and online version?... hmmm...
folks called BS. It got the reporters to verify and clarify without bias the story that
originated from a blog

Lobotomy

9/13 Preliminary Summary Report --Blue Sheet-- for MVU Dozer 3346 Burnover (50 K pdf file)

Thanks to the two people who sent this in. Ab.

9/13 Story in the Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise

"Inland deaths (Esperanza) help spark debate -- is Forest Service losing its bearings?"
www.pe.com

FC180
9/13 Re Bee sting:

I can hear the radio traffic now.

"Division Oscar, we had a fire shelter deployment"

all work stops on the incident, tankers diverted, rescue teams roll in.

"oh, it was just bees,
no the those that deployed are not allergic, no signs of anaphylaxis...
Oh, I take that back. Here's one on the ground not breathing, blue, welts everywhere
7 or 8 or more on his face alone.
yeah, he's the one that was heee-haawing the suggestion to get in the fire shelter in
the face of a swarm.
Yep, fire shelter still on his hip."

It behooves us to consider all options.

Strider

PS Nice job, Good Samaritan!

9/13 Several people have brought this to our attention. One asked us to post the information.

There are two SAFENETs that are associated with the Cascade Complex Incident Command post "burn-by".

They can be found on the SAFENET site and are on the Hotlist thread on the Cascade Cplx ICP "burn-by".

Ab.

9/13 Hazards we can prepare for:

Ab and All,

Lightning: If you haven't seen this, you might find this lightening safety link useful.

www.struckbylightning.org/

Bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings:
Be sure to read the bee safety info that's supposed to be coming out. I want to see
that. Lots of multiple yellow jacket sting incidents this year. Yellow jackets in a
swarm can be deadly for some people.

Question: If someone has not been allergic to a single bee sting, can multiple stings
by a swarm of yellow jackets or hornets or paper wasps still potentially kill them?

-SJ

9/13 Good info, it may be cooler however fire season is far from over.

NIFC Predictive Services: Wildland Fire Outlook-September through December 2007 (328 K pdf file)

Stay informed, Be safe,

Marvin A. Howard
Assistant Chief, Region II (CA)
OES Fire & Rescue Branch
Governor's Office of Emergency Services

9/13 Just got back from the Wallow and Moonlight fires. I had to write in about this safety message as soon as I got to a computer.

Wallow fire IAP Monday 9/3/07. Page 12.

RE: Yellow Jacket Safety Briefing (caps is my emphasis)

"If running away is impossible due to injury, fire conditions, or topography, then
DEPLOY A FIRE SHELTER to drastically reduce the number of stings."

It goes on from there talking about bee killing tactics while under your fire shelter.

I can hear the radio traffic now.
"Division Charlie, we had a fire shelter deployment"
all work stops on the incident, tankers diverted, rescue teams roll in.
"oh, it was just bees, no the patient is not allergic, no signs of anaphalaxis"

I'll try to scan the whole page and send it in when I get access to a scanner.

Type 1 Wrench

9/13 Ellensburg Pass Fire, WA

www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf

WA- SES- Ellensburg Pass fire is 453 acres/ 100% contained as of this morning.

News reports from Channel 35 last night www.kndu.com/global/story.asp?s=7066992 reported (on air only) that 8 fire fighters had been stung by bees and 2 had to be medi-vaced to local hospitals for multiple stings. No report on their condition.

Laurie

9/13

Dear AB,

I am a person that works in the fire organization and I have been reading your posts about AD pay. I don't like either side of the argument.

One side is whining about not getting paid enough. The other side is just jealous that they are not retired and doing the work they love and collecting an extra check.

My first statement is, if you aren't getting paid enough for the work you are doing, STOP! I work with a person that is fully qualified in her position, and I believe she deserves more pay for what she does, but she doesn't whine about not getting paid enough because she signed a contract with the full knowledge of how much she is getting paid. By the way, she is not retired. This is what she does for an income as an AD employee. Fire going ADs also get all of their costs of living covered, transportation to and from the incident, all you can eat food, a place to sleep. To me that is another form of income nobody is talking about. Stop whining, we need them and they know what they are getting into.

I also know that without ADs we would not have a fire organization worth a darned. The agency employing the ADs leading our IMTs need to wake up. Maybe, before these ADs really do retire for good, we should make it a condition of hire that we make the Type 1 and 2 resources that are in such demand have a mandatory tag-along trainee go with them on all incidents. This would at least cover some of the training requirements necessary to continue with a quality fire organization.

Signed Muley Man

9/13 FFC - Fire and Fire Surrogates Study SP
9/13 I just posted this message on familysaid. If there's anyone else out there who would like to post on familysaid and "hang out", please Email Ab at top right button in the header and I'll post it. Ab.

Hi,

I am a girlfriend of a wildland firefighter. I am looking for some sort of support group if you may to help me get through this hectic fire season. I have been dealing with this for 4 years and for some that may seem like nothing. I know there are wives that have been dealing with it for over 10 or more!!! I go to the hotlist boards to keep up on the fires and info that way, but I was looking for some family members to talk to. Maybe your SO is on the same fire mine is. I just was curious if this forum was even still active. Hope someone is reading this!!

ES

9/13 Here's the Hydration Brochure that a number of people have asked for.

Wildland Firefighter Heat Stress Brochure
wlff-heat-stress-brochure .doc (200 K word file)

9/13 Interesting 2 page article (with map) discussing why the Haines Index
only works in parts of California east of the Sierra-Cascade Crest.

Use of Haines Index in California
use-of-haines-index-in-ca.doc (179 K word file)

9/12 Hey Ab

I waited for more info on this but never saw anything else come out
on this "close call". Thought I would share this with the Wildland fire
world. This was a Initial Attack grass fire.

Firehog

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 1:40 PM
To: ALL FORESTRY
Subject: Serious incident in SWO

Over the weekend, SWO experienced a serious incident that resulted in an
injured employee. The following is very preliminary, but we wanted to get
the word out, so if people hear about it, they know what happened. We have
begun a district investigation and are arranging for some outside
assistance for a more thorough investigation.

During an initial attack, an engine crew was deploying to do a pump and
roll tactic. The attack line was manned by the Laborer 1 while the forest
officer drove. When the forest officer drove through the flames to fight
from the black, the crew became separated from the hose line and was left
defenseless as the flaming front approached him. He received some first
and second degree burns on exposed skin and possibly third degree burns on
his nose.

We anticipate more information to come out later in which we can all learn
from, but for now, this is an important "Heads Up" for everyone to pay
attention to.

9/12 from the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Fire Administration.
September 11, 2007

INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM ALL-HAZARD POSITION TASK BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM USFA

Emmitsburg, MD. - The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in cooperation with the Incident Management System Division/National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), announces the availability of position task books for All-Hazard Incident Management Team (IMT) members and others who may serve in those roles. Similar in concept and design to existing position task books used by NWCG, the task books are based on Incident Command System position competencies identified by NWCG and USFA for the NIMS Integration Center.

The position task books are intended for use by the authority having jurisdiction to certify that the person to whom the task book belongs has demonstrated the required competencies and behaviors required by the Incident Management System Division/NIMS Integration Center. Each position task book lists the competencies and behaviors for the specific position in a format that allows a trainee to be evaluated against those competencies and behaviors.

Successful performance of all tasks, as observed and recorded by an evaluator, results in a recommendation that the trainee be certified in that position. Evaluation and confirmation of the individual's performance of all the demonstrated competencies can occur on incidents, in classroom simulation, and in other work situations. These task books are utilized by established All-Hazard IMTs trained through the USFA's All Hazards IMT Technical Assistance Program.

At this time, eight Command and General Staff task books are available for download from the USFA Web site at
www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/subjects/incident/imt/imt-training.shtm

* All-Hazard Incident Commander
* All-Hazard Operations Section Chief
* All-Hazard Planning Section Chief
* All-Hazard Logistics Section Chief
* All-Hazard Finance/Administration Section Chief
* All-Hazard Safety Officer
* All-Hazard Liaison Officer
* All-Hazard Public Information Officer

For more information on the AHIMT Technical Assistance Program, please visit
www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/subjects/incident/imt/index.shtm, e-mail FEMA-AHIMT@dhs.gov or call (800) 238-3358, ext. 7888 / (301) 447-7888.

9/12 Cache Queen, Aberdeen, and JPA:

Thank you for helping with my "information gathering". That is exactly what I intended here not to mention the obvious information sharing.

There is no doubt in my mind that the entire recent USDI dual compensation debacle was meant only to be a "white hat" ruse with no substance. What really PO's me is that it seems this whole initiative was just meant to make fools out of so many of us for believing it really was finally happening.

I was working at a GACC, was very well informed of the memorandum and process, and was in immediate contact with my former USDI place of employment with paperwork as requested immediately provided. In their defense they did not have a clues worth of guidance from USDI on how to deal with it. And I was one of several eligible retirees from that unit.

I have posted for many years under a different moniker on this site and this is the first time I have been seriously fearful of retribution for something I said here. In addition to making fools out of us I also fear the National Offices are trying to smoke a few of us out into actually pursuing this.

JPA, you are right, I share your fear.

Aberdeen, you are certainly right about the need for information. That is exactly what I am trying to do here in light of the above. A FOIA would get me nothing but retribution. I saw that for many years on the "inside".

Cache Queen you are also right in what I have found out so far: "I don't think you'll find many people that were either able, willing or did go through the motions of gaining the eligibility."

Something that came up on chat the other night: We are fools to work as ADs because we keep doing it and they know we will, that we are our own worst enemy because we keep accepting whatever they offer us.

My final thought for right now is that this was nothing but a stunt by USDI that ultimately just attempts to make fools out of so many of us retired folks. Keep the information coming, folks. Let's let them know we will not be made fools of.

As always, Abs, thanks for a great forum!

Don Coyote

Do you want one of us who is not involved to do the FOIA? None should fear retribution for seeking fairness. Ab.

9/13 Thought this editorial was worthy of passing on. Here's the link:

www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/09/13/opinion/opinion5.txt

Opinion
Guest column: Thanks for coming together during erratic fire season - Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Tom Tidwell
9/12 Don Coyote --

A couple notes about the retired annuitant program. After Kempthorne announced that it would happen -- it took weeks to implement -- so I'm quite certain it was a political "white hat" announcement.

By the time it was even feasible to deal with, most of us that were eligible were already working (not necessarily for the pay, but to be of assistance -- I took a $7/hr pay cut from previous years as a result of the new AD schedule). I wanted to keep chinking away at the job I had started, and didn't want to go through the difficulties of sorting out the whole retired annuitant deal.

I think if you go further into your research, you may find that only a handful of those that were given the "opportunity" actually had the time to do it, as we were fully engaged in incident operations. I do agree with you that there needs to be an evenly based pay rate for those folks called back to assist. Believe me, I don't go begging to work!! I'm invited -- and pay has little to do with the choice I make in assisting.

Also -- from what I'm told, the GACCs have nothing to do with the hiring -- it goes back to the local unit that the person retired from. I'd just as soon slit my wrists then go back to that ivory tower hole and ask anything from them. (Guess I just shot down any future chances of retired annuitant status!!)

I'd be interested in hearing what kind of info you do gain from your intelligence gathering, but as I said, I don't think you'll find many people that were either able, willing or did go through the motions of gaining the eligibility.

Cache Queen
9/12 Our life saving Good Samaritan is Sandy. I am not surprised!

Also providing lots of support were the
crew of E-11
Modoc IHC and
Jim, Medic with Air Med 43 and the others on that crew

Thanks to all for letting your "essential nature" guide your lives.
We recognize it.

You grace our firefighting world with your presence and actions.

Dan, glad you're still with us!

Mellie

9/12 More on 9/11

I captured extensive notes while working the WTC incident in Oct. 2001. I'll put those together at a later date. Yet I realized as this becomes history instead of recent past, the younger crowd of firefighters might like to hear a bit of what it was like being there. For now, I'll leave off the specifics and keep it general. I won't mention my agency or position. I do want to throw light on others.

During the detail, smoke rose outside our door, where we worked. Some of us worked in tents, some worked in fire stations, some worked across from the south tower. All of us met those who we considered the heroes, who had given more than we would or could give. Who is "us"? The incident management team members called in to support the incident. We had two goals. Provide an overall daily incident management plan and to provide three supply units. In one building where some of us worked the interior columns had long slashes from material blown into the building during the collapse. Twenty stories up a chunk of metal the size of an 18 wheeler jutted out of one building across the street from the collapse, blown there by the force of the rumble. The impact of the site cannot be forgotten.

I took offense at the folks calling it "the pile" until I spoke with the firefighters. Not wildland fire fighters. Locals. I gained a deep respect for those men and women. One told me that on September 11, he had taken the day off with pain in his shoulder. Another member of his crew / firehouse / engine company of 14 people had a "regular day off". Everyone else in their group responded and were killed in the collapse. So, you want to know what it was like being there? Imagine everyone on your crew or in your group being killed aside from you and another. These guys have a tradition. If someone is trapped in a collapse, the rest of the group maintain a presence on site until the people are rescued or recovered. These guys spent 12-18 hours a day on site for months, I'm sure.

The red cross provided meals. Volunteers. No salary. I felt ashamed to take my pay. Contractors scurried across the site. Paid, perhaps, but certainly hard working. I heard no dissent over ADs, contractors, or others. We all just worked.

Complaining because your agency doesn't provide boots. The supply units handed out hundreds of pairs. But they didn't last long. Even a month after the collapse the steel beams came out red hot. Soles melted on smoldering souls. Those city police and firefighters buy their own uniforms, guns, bullets, etc. Protective equipment? One policeman told me rookies get a shock at having to buy $1400 of gear when they graduate and hit the street.

We breathed people. And concrete. And who knows what else. I laugh at the idea the air had no high levels of contamination. Sure. Right.

Someday soon I'll put the whole story together, but for now, that's a taste of it. We appreciated the red cross volunteers, the donated goods, etc. The supply unit gave out only items donated by the American people. I saw thousands of pairs of gloves, each with a note attached from a school child. I was impressed by the American people, the firefighters, the volunteers, the contractors, and the stoic subway riders.

As an old Dodger fan, I'll never feel the same about New York. They can win another world series, for all I care. They earned it the hard way.

Confederate Yankee Fan.

9/12 Pine Fire on the hotlist has been taking off.

CA-CNF-PINE

HP Wren cam- little video below:

http://grizzly.hpwren.ucsd.edu/Animations/hpwren-iqeye3/TODAY-Q5.mpg

9/12 Don Coyote - -

Before we jump into the realm of a class-action lawsuit, it might be wise to get together
some real, hard, proven facts from the USDI and USDA through the Freedom of
Information Act.

Specifically, how many "re-employed annuitants" were use on wildfires in FY 2007?
What fire positions did they fill? (By ICS acronym)
What was their previous GS-level?
What GACC hired them?

Be sure to specify that you don't want "specific" names of individuals, just fire positions
and former GS-levels.

Sometimes facts can be more interesting than fantasies!

Aberdeen

And carry more leverage too. Ab.

9/12 Don Coyote,

Go for it man. Do I feel like I have been taken advantage of.............. sure. Anytime you deal with a government agency and in particular the US Forest Service, you know your best interests are not going to be looked after, and it will be done on the cheap especially when dealing with AD's. But, would I jump in on a law suit, probably not. It is a risk reward thing for me. What is the chance of getting an award with a class action law suit, and what are the time frames? I will make this pledge to you, if you do go class action and win, and I am a member of the class, any monies I may be entitled to I will forward to you and anyone else that put money up front. Sorry, it sounds great to me, but I am not going to invest any money. It took me four grand of my own money to hire a law firm and get my firefighters retirement after 35 years spent chasing the dragon and spending my entire career in fire as a "forestry technician" That was enough of taking on the government for me, I am going to quit a winner. Best of luck to you!!

JPA

9/12 Ab,

Here's Something to Celebrate:

A firefighter on the line on the Wallow Fire (CA-STF) literally saved the life
of an Incident Management Team member on 8/31/07.

The person who was saved was visiting the fireline in performance of his duty
at 2250 hours. He received multiple bee stings (probably from those ground
dwelling wasps that hate to be disturbed by hoselays, being trod on, burned
out, etc).

He went into anaphylactic shock, had trouble breathing and lost consciousness.
Someone working on the line acted quickly and in a "lifesaving" fashion. The
bee sting victim was life-flighted out and survived.

We all want to know who the quick thinking person was! I'm told by Ab that
theysaid won't post any more than their first name without their permission.

Kudos for quick-thinking leadership should be given where kudos are due.
What better place than here?

Strider

9/12 TheySaid Friends,

It seems Uncle Sam has found yet another way to abuse firefighters, in this case retired ones who keep coming back to help out. Regarding the recent USDI Dual Compensation Rehired Annuitant Authority (Memorandum by Sect. of Interior Dirk Kempthorne, July 25, 2007, with followups), has everybody else positively affected by this memorandum had trouble getting processed to positive results? Do you USFS retirees feel cheated by this action which only favored USDI retirees?

I sure have and am considering a lawsuit based on double standards, etc. It seems only those recent USDI retirees from the very high positions had their golden parachutes in place.

Maybe class action time....? What say you?

What say you higher-ups who read this page and were greatly benefited by becoming GS-14's again? What say you USFS/USDI higher-ups who are tacitly supporting that double standard?

And what say all of you ADs out there, a small percentage of which is retirees, who are still well behind other American firefighters with the equal work/equal pay AD rate dealt to you over the past few years by Uncle Sam?

Don Coyote
9/12 Another article from the Missoulian. Shows that despite a long season folks are
still having fun on the job, and enjoying what they do.

www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/09/11/fires/fire86.txt

Cheers all.

Young and Dumb in R1
9/12 Ab,

This is to thank Dick Mangan for sharing the Montana article with us about the costs
of protecting structures within the WUI areas. This is the question a Committee I
serve on here in California is wrestling with right now. The more informed we
become the more our understanding changes. Why should the property owner in
downtown suburbia be responsible financially to provide protection to a structure
built in the wild lands by the owner who is knowledgeable of the wild fire threat? I
know we all share in the financial burden of protecting the forest resources but there
is a limit to the improvements protection costs.

Normbc9

9/12 Ab,

Heads up. Here's the beginning of the A76 study for dispatchers...

Clear Channel - Interagency Dispatch Study

Resource Jocky

9/12 Three years ago today, at approximately 1330 hrs, deep in the Tuolumne river canyon, CDF Helitack Firefighter Eva Marie Schicke was killed in the line of duty, fighting a fire that otherwise would have been considered of little significance. Please take a moment today to remember her. And the next time you engage wildfire, do so safely, intelligently and with the understanding that there is not one acre of grass, not one brushfield, not one stand of timber, not one interface structure worth so much as even a minor injury to a wildland firefighter.

Missing you Eva...

Bruce Lodge
Cal Fire
TCU

Thanks Bruce. Ab.

9/12 Making the rounds behind the scenes on the FS web. Received from several people...

We are still having high temperatures and the issue of heat related illness with firefighters.

Here are a couple of good links for heat related issues.

Here is a good brochure on keeping hydrated and the do's & don'ts. (FS Intranet only)
http://fsweb.tahoe.r5.fs.fed.us/.../HeatDisorders/Wildland_Fire_Fighters_Heat_Stress_Brochure .doc

Also here is a good link on Energy drinks.
http://ezinearticles.com/?Dangers-Of-Energy-Drinks&id=501337

Take Care and on with the day.

Michelle

9/12 Should urban dwellers in a State have to bear some of the costs of protecting
structures in the WUI when a wildfire threatens them? One person's
perspective in the Missoulian today.

www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/09/12/opinion/opinion4.txt

Dick Mangan
9/11 Rolling memorial for ALL fallen firefighters

We just happened to be in the right place at the right time this afternoon here in south Orange County CA waiting for a table for an early dinner. We heard lots of rumbling outside and looked out to see 2 red fire engines followed by hundreds of motorcycles with many American flags. We went outside to watch and at the end was a red ladder truck with a large banner proclaiming: Rolling memorial for all fallen firefighters. Key word being ALL; its not about the color of the uniform or engine but honoring all fallen firefighters. I don't know where the rolling memorial originated nor where it was going but I certainly feel privileged for getting to see it. If anyone involved in the rolling memorial reads this I would like to give everyone involved a huge Thank You.

Tom Stein - re your post: well said sir.

Annette

9/11 A Journey for 9-11

On this day of remembrance for all those who perished six years ago, there is another group of emergency service responders who continue to suffer to this day. George Martin is doing something to help them. You’ll be able to track his progress in near real-time starting on Sunday morning as he hikes from the George Washington Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge www.ajourneyfor911.info/ (very slow loading right now)

Fire Geek
9/11 Ab,

Here's a photo to share of 9/11 and the Statue of Liberty. My cousin lives
in Brooklyn, just across the river from lower Manhattan and the World Trade
Center. That day 5 inches of ash was deposited on her back yard.

I heard about it here on theysaid before the first building collapsed and then
watched TV.

How our perception of the world changed...

Mellie

9/11 I would add to the discussion of column formation and collapse the following regarding water released as a product of fuel combustion:

Dr. Brian E. Potter, Research Meteorologist & Team Leader, USDA Forest Service AirFIRE Team, published an article in 2005 explaining how the water produced by fuel combustion in a wildland fire enters the plume and affects the likelihood of causing a downburst. The Dude Fire was among the most dramatic examples of this phenomenon in his article. “The role of released moisture in the atmospheric dynamics associated with wildland fires”. Potter, Brian E., International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2005, 14, 77-84.

The Dude Fire downburst article by Goens and Andrews is referenced in Dr. Potter’s work. Dr. Potter calculated the DCAPE - Downdraft Convective Available Potential Energy - and the Dude Fire DCAPE values were among the highest of the eleven severe fires examined. Dr. Potter states: “Released moisture is not only a contributing factor, but at times a controlling or critical factor in fire-atmosphere interactions on time and space scales important to fire behavior and fire-fighter safety.”

Dr. Potter confirmed, in a conversation, that the 1500 acre Dude Fire in heavy dry Ponderosa Pine fuels would have released on the order of 5 million kilograms of water from combustion into the plume in an otherwise dry air mass from about 6:00 a.m. up to the downburst at about 2:00 p.m.

There is also video of an ice cap above the Dude Fire plume the first day of the fire, the day before the downburst.

Old Sawyer
9/11 In memory of the day and what followed:

If you haven't looked at these photos, take a look: nywtc_pentagon/sept11.php
If you haven't read this personal account, have a read: Elizabeth's Pentagon Journal (She's now on the Western NIMO Team.)

Ab.

9/11 Last year, I was on the Bar Complex and related this story that was told to me by someone working on the fire.

Immediately after 9/11, all aircraft were grounded across the country. Nothing moved. The first aircraft to cross the country that day were military C-130's and they had fighter escorts. In both planes were Federal Incident Management Teams who were specially requested for the toughest assignment in their careers.

One plane was headed for Washington DC and the other for New York City. As both planes descended into their respective airports, Team members noticed fighters on their wing for the first time. The pilot told them that had he not given the correct password, they were to shoot the plane down.

Once on the ground these Federal Teams set out supporting the most challenging logistical and emotional assignments. They would continue until the incidents were given back to the local jurisdictions.

The individual who shared this story told me that he had been without sleep for 40 hours or so and was lying on a stack of hose in the Jacob Javits Center when he heard the quiet clank of type 1 hand crew lined out with their tools. As he watched them silently move past him, he went to sleep knowing that we were represented on the pile.

I, too, am proud to be affiliated with folks who put themselves in harm's way for the good of us all.

Jim Wilkins
9/11 Tom Stein and Captain Emmett:

Amen to both of you! This day has become a national day of remembrance and should be recognized as "National Firefighter's Day" or something close to that.

Too bad we have such a lengthy laundry list of reasons on this board lately concerning why federal firefighters are treated so badly.

I just came back from the Summer Wars and I am also so PO'd..... More on that to come soon.

God bless all firefighters and all others who died on 9/11!

NMAirBear
9/11 More on Professional Liability Insurance from Cal Fire

Scroll thru and check out the 8th paragraph starting with "Hindsight is
always 20/20"
. This is Cal Fire Chief's communications to his personnel in
regards to professional liability. He has taken the initiative to take care
of his people and communicate his intent.

noname

9/11 Ab,
Reading this column every day, I need to say this.

Today is 9/11

Today, can we forget about who's getting overtime and who isn't,
Today, can we forget about the politics,
Today, can we embrace each other as brothers and sisters,
Today, can we stand as one...and let the world know that American Firefighters are the ultimate defenders of this country.
Today, kiss your wife, hug your kids, walk your dog (the dog will love it...trust me)
Today, let America know, we are ONE!
Today, be proud of who you are, state, fed, county, or volunteer, we are here for one common goal....the safe keeping of our nation.
Today, be proud of who you are, you DO make a difference
Today, thank God that you are able to voice your opinion in a country that allows you to do so.

Finally, thank you all, for being who you are, differences aside. The American Firefighter is the
gladiator of this century. Be proud and be strong, there is no other more respected family than the
one you belong to. Serve it well, with no question. You all are the true American heroes.

Sincerely,
Tom Stein

9/11 Howdy Abs

Today is the 6th anniversary of 9-11.

FDNY 343....that says it all.

I will never forget the Brothers and what they did that day.

Makes all the other fire related crap seem sort of small and petty.

Captain Emmett
CDF
IAFF Local 2881
9/10 Does anyone have photos of red-green-yellow-purple engines and big flames in the background? We're looking for action pics demonstrating the variety of firefighters that make up the wildland firefighting force.

Any cool fire and water pics from Ham Lake MN this year or Cavity Lake last year?

Looking for the last photos to consider for this upcoming year's wildland fire calendar.

I'll be contacting folks who have sent in their great fire photos for consideration.

Ab.

9/10 Howdy all -

A non-fire friend sent me this link... "Mother Nature's Secret Weapon" at
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/09/mother-natures-.phpl.

This article also links to "Ignition Impossible: Wildfires Set the Air Alight" at: www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/08/exploding-bushfire-mystery.phpl,

and "Burning Bush" at
www.newscientist.com/article/mg19526200.600-burning-bush.phpl.

Has anyone else seen these, or have any thoughts? One of the blog comments to one of these was that this was the same as the known phenomenon of "area ignition", which was my first reaction, too. It is almost presented like it's this secret thing that only a few folks have ever seen... but if they are talking about area ignition, then maybe this just represents more scientists trying to figure that out. Just curious what folks think on this...

-easterner

9/10 Hey Ab!! WOW!!

It's been a busy season for all you fire folks out there.... If it's not one, it's another starting... Just thought I'd post a little tidbit for those fire buffs and fire folks wanting more accurate and constant up-to-date coverage on the Moonlight Fire burning on the Plumas National Forest... I work for the local newspaper and thought I might share this info with all who are either wondering what is going on or have pictures and stories to share with the public. http://www.plumasnews.com

Our Publisher's Assistant-Kevin Mallory is doing an outstanding job in keeping all informed as the info flows in... And to all of those who are in the areas that are evacuated or are on Precautionary Alert to Evacuate, my heart and prayers go out to you... This one's a bit close to home for me as well, however I live in a 'safe" zone at least at this time... :o)

Hang in there folks!! This one's a long and bumpy ride, but be reassured that all of our firefighters are fighting the fight and slowly, but surely winning the fight... And a great big ^5 to all of the agencies working together to "Save Lives & Cheat Death" per se... (a little motto my hubby taught me ages ago)

The "Big Plane" that many are asking about is a DC-10 and one of Cal-Fire's new "Toys". Lots of guidelines that they must follow in order for it to be allowed to fly, but it's doing the best it can. I've been told that you can find more info about the DC-10 on the Cal-Fire website.... It carries 12,000 gallons of retardant.... WOO HOO!!!

The smoke is thick and intermittent periods of ash floating in the neighborhoods of Westwood, Hamilton Branch and even Chester. I've even received emails as far as Los Angeles, Fresno, Manteca, Modesto and Oregon that they too are getting our smoke from this fire.... All we can do is hope that our Maidu Elders are out performing the greatest Rain Dance of their lives....

Stay Safe and Keep up the Fight!!
Dee T

Hi Dee T. Glad you're gainfully employed. Readers link to the plumasnews site on the Hotlist every so often. Good photos.
Moonlight fire info from our Hotlist: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1828
DC-10 discussion: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1280 Did it paint that ridge successfully today? Is it holding?

9/10 Hey Liona (Lots of InfO Narrowly Applicable)

Based solely on your comments, some people certainly have a bone to pick with someone. There are a whole bunch of holes in the information you present with one exception: your opinion of Human Resource Specialists. You sure kicked a lot of dedicated hard working Human Resource Specialists in the chops with your comments. It makes as much sense to say, “Never, never take a sling load to a helicopter – they crash!” I would advise you to go talk to an IC, DPIC, or anyone who has been helped by an HRSP (you’ve obviously experienced, or talked to someone who experienced a situation where the HRSP did NOT deliver the help expected) to find out just what an HRSP’s role on an incident is. I’m sure some people could be influenced by your comments and avoid going to an HRSP to get assistance they may desperately need. How does that help? Who would you send that person to?

I don’t just preach Mutual Respect, I expect it as well. And, yeah… I am a HRSP so I’m heavily biased in that direction.

Respectfully yours… HR Person

Readers: I have been researching this. I can assure everyone that the situation was dealt with professionally, swiftly and ethically. Demobing the people involved from that incident is not a punishment, especially as they were reassigned. These people were in highly demanding jobs requiring their complete attention. Anything in their environment compromising their attention compromises safety and flying things can fall out of the sky. It's hard to remain situationally aware when you have a lot of extraneous stuff on your mind regardless of its origin or you're being reminded of a lot of extraneous stuff by your environment. I think you can all understand this. The team made the right choice in my opinion. It won't be discussed here any further. Ab.

9/10 Regarding the local govt employee Dan on a Type 2 Fed Incident Management Team who was looking for professional liability insurance:

There has been some research being done behind the scenes. Thanks to those who responded and have been trying to track this down. One branch of research replied:

Done a little more snooping around.

>From a Cal Fire associate, there is no insurance company that cover state
and local government employees.

>From an attorney that deals with state and local government, there is a
state law that covers those employees under "Public entity's General Duty
to Defend and Indemnify Employee" that requires a public entity to defend a
present or former employee.

>From there those that are on Federal teams, thru the local, or Cooperative,
or CFAA agreements that should link the employee back to the state or local
government agency they work for. With that I am not an attorney so unsure
if what I say is correct. You may need to continue to pursue it.

If I hear more I will let you know.

9/10 LIONA,

Just curious as to how you seem to have all the details to the accused harassment. Are you the accused?, complainant? or HR person? I thought that these sort of things stayed confidential. Have you had a discussion with the supposedly harassed? If so, this would seem to be inappropriate. You would then be a third party to the discussion. I would be almost certain that the Human Resource Specialist handled this in a very professional manner or their job could possibly be at risk. It seems to me reading our agency policies that this is between the accused, complainant and the HRSP to resolve. No one else should know anything about the case. Maybe the reason for the de-mob is so that they can get to the bottom of it without interruption to the teams' missions and accomplishments. I'm sure you will never know the real story, because these things are confidential and no one involved should discuss it with anyone. It may have been resolved at the lowest level. Who knows.... sounds like hearsay to me.

Signed HRSP
your comments were (How Ridiculously Stupidly Put)
9/10 From Firescribe:

Forest Service firing unjust?
Disagreement over fire safety
www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_6846046
By George Watson, Staff Writer

A former U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman says she was fired from her job because she refused to downplay the severity of the wildfire danger in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Ruth Wenstrom, who spent nine years as the San Bernardino National Forest's public-affairs officer, was terminated July 2.

Matt Mathes, the Forest Service's regional press officer based in Vallejo, near San Francisco, said he recalled that Wenstrom was "overstating the situation" in the forest.

In a recent interview, Wenstrom said that in April 2006, National Forest officials were told not to request budgetary augmentation funds, known as "severity dollars," that they had asked for and received in the past. That meant cutting the number of engines being staffed in the forest, she said.

Wenstrom said officials told her to draft a list of talking points to address the public's concerns about having fewer firefighters and engines in a forest filled with millions of dead trees and drought-weakened bushes. She said she wrote a draft and sent it to Mathes.

Wenstrom's draft described the reduction as "a problem," to which she claimed Mathes immediately responded by saying it should state that "everything is fine out there in the forest, and there is no need for additional funds."

Wenstrom was aghast.

"I said that would be a bold-faced lie," said Wenstrom, 52, in an interview Friday at her Redlands home. "The forest is not healthy. I said, `I'm not going to say that. The public's not stupid."'

Two days later, she said, she was stripped of her duties and sent to work at the Riverside Fire Lab. She filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint because of the added costs of driving to Riverside.

Soon after her reassignment, Wenstrom was transferred to the Angeles National Forest, a 50-mile drive, and then fired when supervisors listed 34 charges of misusing her government-issued computer and for a series of other actions deemed improper.

Mathes confirmed he had a discussion with Wenstrom in spring 2006, but that Wenstrom's recollections were "not an entirely accurate account of the exchange."

He declined to elaborate in a second interview later Friday, saying the matter is a personnel issue.

To read the rest, click the link at the top.

Fair Use Disclaimer

9/10 How about a class action for all the Apprentices is R-5.

Maybe something along the lines of false advertising or misrepresentation of the facts. How many times does FireHire refer to jobs as Professional Firefighters or firefighting as a career? It seems that when the Agency wants publicity it has no problem holding their "Firefighters" out high and proud.

How many times at the Esperanza Services did the Forest Service refer to their "Firefighters" as professional? How many times did they refer to them as Forestry Aids?

How can the anyone hold Incident Commanders responsible as Professionals when their Agency continually disputes the fact that they are professional firefighters? How can the Agency help an I.C. obtain Professional Liability Insurance when they continually deny them the recognition as professionals in their job descriptions?

The Forest Service should be mandated to strike all recruitment efforts skewed towards firefighting. The title is used as a lure or 'bait and switch' technique. The Forest Service should have to include a disclosure form to all Fire employees that includes information on how they will serve in a firefighter capacity while titled as and receiving pay as a Forestry Aid.

What if someone applied with intentions to perform as a Forestry Aid and was mislead into firefighting duties? In R-5 you could go your whole career and not perform any Forestry Aid work... other than firefighting I guess. That person could be lead to believe that the firefighting portion of their job was less serious than it actually is. They might think firefighting was some trivial portion of their job and this would be a serious safety concern.

Anyone know a good lawyer that could make sense of all this nonsense?

JH

9/10 Ab,

I'm still rolling the Cascade Complex ICP burnover around in my head.

Looked at the old slideshow.

Couple more things.

  • Where are the fire shelters for all the camp personnel seated in the middle
    of camp during the burnover? They don't seem to have any.
  • Why wasn't the camp located in the other larger portion of the meadow
    with more clearance around it if this was really planned out?
  • Was this team the one that had their camp burned over in Minnesota too?
    Sounds like it's Embroyled in controversy to me.

Sign me
Looking for the PLAN...

Discussion of the Cascade Complex ICP burnover is on the Hotlist Discussion, too. Ab.
www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1529

9/10 To: Always striving to improve and increase my knowledge and understanding of fire, life, and human beans

A good example of what you want occurred August 14 on the Zaca Fire. Here is a link to the video footage:

http://www.countyofsb.org/documents/07_08_15zacafire.avi

Fire Geek

One hour time lapse... and firefighters are expected notice, escape or pull out their fire shelters, as if those would help. Definitely adds perspective on the RISKs of fighting fire.
Hotlist discussion thread Here:
www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1891 Ab.

9/10 For those who want medical testing for firefighters, here's my experience.
I worked on a large incident with lots of smoke for a couple weeks in Oct. 2001. You can guess the location from the date. After a few years I was notified the government wanted to test me for effects. I showed up for the physical, which included a chest x-ray. I was impressed. Negatively. It was the fastest, most superficial physical I've ever had. Despite the fact they drew blood and did tests, the docs told me nothing of the results. My blood pressure was taken by the doctor; I was impressed until I noticed it took the doc all of three seconds to get a reading. Knowing I typically have a rather slow heartbeat, and having worked in an ICU and taken hundreds of BPs myself, I know for a fact that she did not get a good reading. BUT the doc did have a reading, no matter how inaccurate, and that's all that was needed. Just a reading. Not an accurate reading. So, they can test me all they want. But if they blindfold themselves, will they find anything? I've never noticed symptoms, so I don't worry about it. Its the effect of testing by the lowest bidder.

As for the person who commented on calfire.
I've decided I don't like people shouting at me. So I speak quietly. You can call it anything you want, CALFIRE, CalFire, Cal-Fire, etc. But you won't hear this again from me because its sooooo annoying: LANDFIRE, NRIS, TERRA, CALFIRE, etc. Its a matter of choice. I've decided to put them all in their place, and that's in lowercase. Sometimes, you just have to take control of your own life. To me, it will always be calfire.

I found a solution to these and other problems. Go into another line of business soon and . . .

retired early

9/10 On the Esperanza did the column get sheared off and collapse due to
the Santa Ana winds? What I'm reading about cumulonimbus says the
column buildup only lasts a short time, maybe for 20 minutes or so
before collapsing. Is this true of pyrocumulus as well?

How does column collapse relate to aerial ignition if at all?
On Storm King (South Canyon), 30 mile, Cramer???

Mellie

9/10 If you go to : Firecrew77.com, hit "links", scroll down to the UCLA
150' Solar Tower, click on the links to the Sept. 2002 Curve fire on
the ANF
.

There are both still photos and time lapsed video. The video covers
at least 2 collapses of the column.

Heads up------the video links are huge. (3 to 4 MB, very large)

Would like to know if there are more video sources, of this or other
fires, out there.

John Bennett
Rio Hondo College
USFS retired
9/10 Diane,
Good question, back to the good stuff.

I am wondering if anyone has pictures of the pryo-cumlous building and then collapsing?
To me it's the collapse that I am most worried about and working below on the ground.
Does the collapse happen more often in timber than brush?
Are there any tell tail signs of its immanent collapse?
I have seen many build-ups, but not any collapses that I recognized and that worries me,
as I don't have those pictures in my gray carousel.

Signed:
Always striving to improve and increase my knowledge and understanding of fire, life, and human beans
9/10 From Firescribe:

U.S. to Help Greece in Firefighting
www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Greece-Fires.phpl

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The United States offered Friday to help with future firefighting efforts in Greece, where 67 people died in wildfires last month.

The U.S. help will include tracking down arsonists, said Tom Harbour, director of Fire and Aviation Management at the U.S. Forest Service. Arson was suspected in many of the blazes that swept Greece last month, destroying hundreds of homes.

''Arsonists are my enemy, they are sick people,'' Harbour said. ''We are most anxious to cooperate ... there was discussion, and there will be follow-up between our governments.''

want more? click the link.

Aid arrives to help Greece after fires
news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070903/ap_on_re_eu/greece_fires_5
with slideshow and video

9/9 thank you so much

Diana

Very interesting, isn't it? Glad you asked the question. I've learned a lot. Ab.

9/9 Hello,

I read your site often, can you tell me what the term "ice capping" means?

thanks
Diana

Interesting discussion with photos emerging here: www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=1891

9/9 Dear ms:

Couldn't say it better myself...but Bernie is on his way out so I think you should send your comments directly to Randy Moore, the new RF. By the way, make sure Ed gets it too as well as Tom Harbour...and you might as well send it to Chief Kimbell too...

Maybe not too many would actually send something like this to those folks but I'm sure the sentiment is there. Again, your collective voices are working so I'd encourage such comments sent to these folks. It really is time for all of you to fight for your careers.

Casey

And for the safety and wellbeing of firefighters. Ab.

9/9 Croatian fire whirl video

Might be a good time to run away...

www.liveleak.com/view?i=af7_1189291200 (must have Flash 8 and download it)

DM

9/9 This is a link to a Tri-City Herald article. Apparently a WA state wildlife biologist
was killed by the rotor blade as he was exiting the helicopter. While he was chasing
bighorn sheep for relocation and not fire, I think the safety message still applies.

www.tri-cityherald.com/tch/local/state/story/9289800p-9204266c.phpl

SJS
9/9 ms,

Amen brother or sister. It had to be said. You said it well.

Too bad folks from the "other" supposed "support" letter (actually a shut up letter) from the Regional Forester regarding the Esperanza Fire aren't speaking up. Together, these two letters are downright disrespectful to folks in the field........ It violates core values and the Foundation that folks are trying to achieve. To add insult to injury, the USDA OIG has begun their interviews and investigation of Forest Service and CAL FIRE employees' action on the Esperanza Fire.

I wonder why the R-5 Fire Director and Deputy Fire Director aren't commenting as Tom Harbour tours Greece while the Forest Service is in CHAOS!!!!

If FIRE MANAGEMENT mattered with the true managers of the Forest Service, NEITHER of these two letters were have been sent out to the field..... Simply disrespectful.

Several years ago, a simple leadership idea from the Hotshot Community was introduced based on a value from a "movie"... That leadership was "Pay it Forward".

Lobotomy
9/8 A few things before you read the new letter from the RF:

I challenge everyone that works on the big island from Directors on up to the RF to go find your favorite IHC, grab a sack lunch and spend a half hour with them where they eat lunch. Sit in the dirt, dig your heels in so you don't slip down the near vertical slopes, as the sun beats down on you. Oh and don't forget to remember to keep monitoring the radio, answer the radio if called, keep your SA up while you enjoy your half hour off the clock lunch break.

Represent the Forest Service with honor? You have the freakin gall to tell R-5 Firefighters to have honor, while you sit back and watch the freakin region crumble. Watch as your Firefighters leave for other agencies. Watch as your Apprentices use the Apprentice program as an all expenses paid federal training program for state and local governments. Are you kidding me?

Pass Portal to Portal legislation and you won't have Fed Firefighters drinking alcohol. Don't pass Portal to Portal and they may drink alcohol as long as are off the clock and ready for work the next day.

Pass Portal to Portal legislation and you wont have crews trying to make a 12 hour shift into a 16 hour shift just so they can pay the mortgage and the propane bill come January. Pass Portal to Portal and watch how fast everyone gets off that line at the end of 12 hours. The road to fire camp would look like the 405 freeway at rush hour.

The American public and Congress like us, they don't like bureaucrats like you, so go talk your values crap to someone who will listen to you.

Integrity - Don't even need to go here. Nuff said !

Oh and one more thing. Where in this letter are the words "Thanks" or "Appreciate your efforts". What's pitiful is that someone in FAM probably wrote the letter. Disgraceful that the RF and Dep RF's allowed it to get distributed. Did you even review it first?

Now enjoy the letter, as the contents of it will be your next pep talk from your local Line Officer.

ms

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date: September 6, 2007
Subject: Core Values and Fire Suppression
To: Forest Supervisors

We have been informed of a situation that occurred on a fire assignment in another Region where our personnel were involved in an altercation at a bar quite late at night. The altercation resulted in an arrest of one of our employees. Moreover, the time and attendance records of the same module are alleged to contain obvious discrepancies. The whole situation is under investigation.

The vast majority of our employees represent themselves and the Forest Service with honor. The situation described above is an anomaly, but it compels me to remind all Region 5 employees likely to engage in fire suppression and support activities of our expectations for their behaviors and performance. These expectations are clearly expressed in the values adopted by the Fire and Aviation Management organization: Duty, Respect, and Integrity.

  1. Duty – This season is already long and arduous for many of our firefighters and support personnel, including those on the home unit trying to keep up with the pace of business. The consequences of an eroded situational awareness on the safety of our employees can be severe. Firefighters may miss important environmental cues that affect their risk decisions on the fireline and cloud their judgment. Others might fail to notice critical indicators of impending danger while driving, operating machinery, or working in the field. The assaults on situational awareness take many forms, including alcohol, fatigue, conflict in the home or on the job, etc. Employees have the responsibility to ensure they are fit for duty when duty calls, and must take whatever steps are necessary to preserve their situational awareness.

    We all need to be concerned about the chronic fatigue that accrues as we attempt to sustain a high level of effort over time. Incident overhead must work to ensure their personnel are receiving appropriate rest, and not consistently planning their actions around a 16-hour work day. Crew leaders need to constantly monitor the fatigue and other assaults on situational awareness affecting themselves and their crew members, and mitigate the hazards to the degree they can. Local unit leadership also has the responsibility to monitor the fatigue and other issues that affect the safety and productivity of employees under their supervision. Each individual must do the same, getting rest when it is afforded, and avoiding the things that rob them of their capacity. Their wellbeing and that of those around them require it.
  2. Respect – The US Forest Service is a respected agency. The public believes in our mission and trusts those of us called to perform it. When we are in public we carry a responsibility to represent ourselves and our agency with honor and mutual respect. When any of us acts otherwise it casts a pall on all of us. We must hold each other accountable to act respectfully and with honor at all times.
  3. Integrity – The majority of our employees in the field have a high degree of integrity. Those on fires are working long days, and there is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of timesheets accurately reflect that work. There are some, however, that have decided 16-hours is an entitlement for every day while on assignment, whether worked or not. This is not only unethical it is illegal, and employees place themselves in jeopardy when they do it.

Conversely, there is evidence that crews are sometimes required to show meal breaks during times and in situations where breaks are neither required nor appropriate. Policies within the Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook are clear, yet allow for discretion in view of each situation. We have a policy; we must apply it with good judgment.
I want each of you to share these thoughts with those on your unit. These values are important to our legitimacy and long-term value to the American people. They extend to all of us and to all aspects of our work, and form the core of our operational ethic. They are who we are, and what we are about.

/s/ James M. Peña (for)
BERNARD WEINGARDT
Regional Forester

cc: pdl r5 fam
pdl r5 ro directors

9/8 Airtankers

Those Crafty Canadians are at it again.

First there was the CL-215/415 Superscoopers and now they are working
on the Q-400 airtanker.

www.cascadeaerospace.com/products/Q400 Air Tanker Conversion/

STOL capabilities, nice cruise speed, able to operate on unimproved landing
strips should keep it close to the fires and give it short turn around times.

Mid West FMO

9/8 Hi to all,

Simple question. Why is Calfire capitalized when written by someone from
California while the rest of us seem to settle for only a capital C?

Tell me it isn't to get noticed by 'screaming'.

(I'm sure there is some reason California does this but WHY?)

Steve LCES

Many writing in here write it CalFire or Cal Fire. I think technically it's CAL FIRE or CALFIRE, all caps. It's a STYLE thang. There's a new Cal Fire patch, too. Nice. 75,000+ of them are supposed to show up in October. aB.

9/8 AB~

Well, on a lighter note as this season starts to wind down, I happened on this site of fire fighting in Yellowstone with some pictures of how it was done in the early 50’s. Comparing it to how we do it today as to how they did it then is enlightening. They guys on the ground are doing the same kind of work, but noticeably absent is the safety clothing we have today. The pictures of the kitchens with their wood stoves and canvas tents are in stark contrast to our Incident Base’s we have today. They worked with the technology they had at the time and got the job done. My hat goes off to all of them.

NorCal FBAN
9/8 Hello--

I was recently assigned to a Complex fire on a National Forest in Idaho. It seems that about two weeks ago a complaint of sexual harassment on the Helibase was elevated to the Human Resources "Specialist" on the Team managing the incident. They never brought the individuals together to discuss the situation, to try and resolve the issue at the lowest possible level, which seems odd. When the situation likely could have been handled with a sincere apology over a table in a tent, they chose to never let the individuals involved talk to each other.

The Team failed to "find" ("no findings") anything wrong, though the distressed and harassed individual was allowed to take some days off at their home unit before returning to the incident. The Team never told the harassed individual that there was a "no findings" resolution, nor that they had a right to appeal, nor the appeal process.

On Friday, September 7, the Helibase received word that the Forest Supervisor had gotten wind of the issue, and had asked that all of the individuals involved in the issue be removed from that National Forest. On Saturday, they just demobed two helicopters (one managed by the harasser, one managed by the harrassee), and separated another Helicopter Manager (the former Helibase Manager who elevated the issue to the Human Resources Specialist) from their ship, and demobed them.

That is how the Human Resources Specialist and the Forest Service solved the problem. "Demob all involved and pretend it never happened."

Why are these people drawing a paycheck and assigned to a Team when this is how they handle an issue? Are they on the Team for "window dressing"?

Not only was the harassed individual punished by being demobed, but the Helibase Manager who elevated the issue to Human Resources was punished by being demobed.

And the individual accused of being the harasser? His name is slandered because he was demobed, also, along with the others, with no recourse to clear his name.

No findings? Then why were all three demobed from the incident? Their demobs give validity to the issue at hand!

The moral to this story? Never take ANY ISSUE to Human Resources, or YOU, and everyone involved, will be punished.

LIONA (Lots of InfO No Answers)

9/8 Amidst all the bads, I decided to take a look at some off the goods.....

The training noms are done, taskbooks are signed, PCMS is up to date, the
crew is fit and happy, 500 hrs oats (not bad for an agency engine, almost all
hours earned on forest except one roll to Utah), engine is running great, no
injuries (except one CA-1 for a bee sting), steelhead season is coming up,
and the sun is still shining. Just hoping everyone else takes a little bit of time
to think about what they do with what they have, not what they have.

HOG

9/8 Not all R5 NOPS units were keeping folks home all summer.

Here on my District on the SRF, we sent 3 Engine Strike teams off -forest this summer, plus numerous single resource assignments, our Handcrew has been gone almost all summer, just got back from Idaho a while ago, and went off forest again. Single resource overhead, even down to ICT4, and CRWBs, we sent to Arizona, Alaska, and Michigan this year. Right now we have ALL our green Engines off forest, and are covering with 2 contract Engines. And even those are taking turns going to Hoopa and CalFire fires. So not all Fire managers are holding back...I'm not sure who is doing this, if anyone.. .could just be rumors turning into someone's reality...come work here in Orleans if you are unhappy elsewhere, we seem to be keeping folks busy...(and we have a few vacancies...)

-MJ

9/8 Irritated,

I didn't get out until August 20 and it took a name request to do so. Same story here as well, upper management on teams and they really don't appear to care about the "little guys". I wish I had an answer about the engines as I know that there were requests from some of the teams that were on assignments in R1 and other regions for our agency equipment but no response from R5. I believe that we are facing even more R5 engines on blocks next year, or if we are lucky, more running with 5 day coverage and possibly with fewer than 5 on each day. I wish you luck on 'filling' those positions that you anticipate you will need to fill. I have a feeling that the candidate pool will be even smaller next year. I have the same view that you have concerning the resources that were assigned to my fire in R1. There wasn't one FS (or any other agency) engine or agency crew on my division and they all did an outstanding job. I must say that the contractors I worked with there have made a vast improvement since I last worked with some of them 4 years ago. There seems to be a lot of pride in the job they do.

The best advice I have is let's "keep on keepin' on" and fight the good fight.

SUPER P
9/8 In regards to what "Todd" said, someone should say something to the youngsters that's true, but what are they going to tell them? Sue the department you work for because you got hurt in a job that is inherently dangerous? Not a person in the fire service took this job expecting to be safe. We never are, that's half the reason most of us do it. With the California presumptive law and proper documentation, they will be covered when the damage they suffered is affecting them again. What would he have them do, fight it to the point where they are determined to be disabled and given compensation?...once they get that title, their career is done. No municipal department will hire someone declared disabled because of smoke inhalation...you couldn't pass the health physical. Nor would CAL FIRE hire a seasonal as a FF2 or FAE, LT or perm., if they have been declared disabled because of the lung damage. Unless the guys are seriously injured to the point of not being able to return, to work they can't go those routes if they want to stay in the business. I agree with him that they should be able to be compensated in the future for what happened in July, however, the route to get there just isn't practical, unfortunately.

Myself and a few others have a shot in the dark idea at who "Todd" is, or might be. If somehow we are correct, and he is who we think he is then he is already in a position to say something to them. The person we are thinking of is very well respected person with a large amount of pull in the TCU unit because of his position, why doesn't he just tell them himself? Advice from him would not be taken lightly....advice from him would most likely be immediately followed by a young firefighter. If it isn't him then....hmm...no ideas for that.

We are all just happy those boys are home safe, it could have been far worse.....far far worse. As for the LT FAE, he is in everyone's prayers and hopefully is better soon and has little to no lasting effect of the fire. God bless all the young people, and the old, putting their lives out there for the rest of us.

Sincerely,

Just another old timer

Interesting points, Old Timer. To others who responded behind the scenes, thanks for the good info. It is being passed on. Old timer, Todd is not CalFire. This Ab doesn't have the CalFire knowledge to get people in touch with each other behind the scenes to meet the needs, or I would have. This is not about lawsuits, but getting some help. Ab.

9/8 Todd,

The CAL FIRE burn policy as many of us originally knew it changed over the years as corporate knowledge to the need was lost. The federal land management agencies haven't had a policy since the 1970's when a Regional Forester made a hasty decision.

The need for an interagency standard is needed now..... just like it was in the 1960's, 1970's, etc when leaders acted..... A repeat battle that keeps getting trumped in the risk vs. gain discussion when the folks nowadays actually make decisions that are driven by cost containment rather than safety.

At one point, both CDF (CAL FIRE) and the feds had the same burn treatment standards, but they drifted apart over the years. As for CAL FIRE, their burn treatment standard drifted more recently. Unfortunately, many feds relied upon their standard of care (industry standard) as the baseline of treatment of firefighters with burn injuries.

Be assured, there is a group of interagency firefighters, fire managers, burn treatment practitioners, pulmonologists, and allied fields.... including friends and family.... working on a better standard. While it isn't rocket science, it is under-researched wildland fire science and a loss of corporate knowledge that is causing the problems.

As for our brothers injured on the Inyo Complex, folks are engaged.... If the injured firefighters or their families aren't getting the best of treatment, tell us what needs to be changed, and what help they need.

Lobotomy

P.S. - If you question that the CAL FIRE policy hasn't changed over the years, look at the treatment at various hospitals for the survivors injured on the Tuolumne Fire Report (starts at pg. 97) or the burn treatment on the Inyo Complex. The old standard was best known as, "If you were burned or if you were in a burnover, you go to a burn center".
9/8 ab

I noticed there was a case of pink eye on the moonlight incident. Is there
a way to find out where/how it was contracted?

/s/ Interested

Not that I know of. Ab.

9/8 Wow, another clear indication of how out of touch Forest Service leadership is:

The man that botched the Cramer investigation and the Esperanza report has been
named the Regional Forester for R-5.

Run away, run away!!!!!!!!

FF/R5

9/8 SUPER P

So how long did it take you to climb over The Great Wall of R5 and escape to a fire outside the region. I heard you can see it from space. But seriously I am quite miffed at the lack of assignments that were passed around this year. I like you had duty responsibilities to tend to but my engines got completely hosed this year. I have a feeling I'm going to be filling alot of positions this next season and I know my upper management could care less because they are all on teams so they get there piece of the pie. I would like say that what the fire fighters accomplished this year in Idaho and Montana was amazing. I was very impressed by the amount of work that got done especially with the lack of resources that were on the fires. I would really like to take my hat off the the Mammoth Fire Use Module, Grayback hand crew and the Alaskan engines that were working on my Division in Montana. I was amazed at the amount of work that was done by these groups of firefighters and the quality of their work was great.
It still boggles my mind that we only sent two strike teams of engines out of region here in the North, because the fire experience that these crews would have gotten would have been tremendous. It was definitely a challenge to help manage a fire of 35,000+ acres with 3 hand crews and about 50 engines, with the added responsibility of doing structure protection of more than 100 homes. It was an experience I'll never forget. I would like to see the Moonlight with that few of resources and then every region say sorry this one is yours then maybe R5 would understand what we went through. Our leaders are making such a bad name for our region that I don't know if we will ever recover.

Irritated
9/7 Ab,

All the CALFIRE firefighters on the Inyo Complex burnover got damaged lungs to some degree. The engineer hasn't been released for duty and I don't think his lungs will ever recover all the way for duty. I heard they all have bad nights and the two that never fought fire before this year are just going to resign calfire and go away. I don't understand why people are not speaking out -from the investigators -to the firefighters -to the head of CDF. I hate to think this is a coverup. Is it?

Are there firefighters out there at these guys home base who can advise all the kids, tell them they need to act now because years from now when they might have trouble this should be on record??? Are there any moms reading that can get with other moms and go to them and interview them or advise them??? Who can help them?

Are we just going to make them suck this up and keep silent?

Todd

I have a bunch of pics to post. Was waiting. Next week? Ab.

9/7 ab,
we have loaded a google earth overlay of the 9/5 IR for the moonlight fire - on the plumas - onto our website: http://northtreefire.com/gis/virtual.php

they didn't get any IR last night...

northtree gis is not assigned to map this fire, but I have a personal interest in it - it is burning about 3 miles from my house!

zeke

I had to download the new version of google-earth to view this but it is spectacular! Good to see the Antelope Fire footprint on there too. Glad for that successful outcome. Good for CIIMT3 on wrapping that up. Good luck on your house, Zeke. Ab.

9/7 I heard about a problem with an Enterprise Team being lost in the cracks following the death of one of their young employees. Fire employs Forest Service Enterprise Teams and I am concerned that others who work on these teams, often some of the most creative and brightest employees, will find themselves in this boat at some time.

A few days ago Jesse Crawford (age 31) received 3 bee stings while working on a Forest Service project and died the next day. He worked on a Forest Service Enterprise Team that was (I think) doing timber marking on the Shasta T. He lived in Doris CA and leaves behind two daughters ages 3 and 6. His funeral is today.

For those that don't know, an Enterprise Team is comprised of Forest Service Employees that contract with the FS for a particular project. They are part of the FS family and are just organized a little differently along a business plan so as to be more mobile in where they work.

Not surprisingly, Jesse's team members are shocked and hurting. They could use some support, someone to talk with, some counseling, something that others in the FS workplace receive when people die. As I understand it, the safety manager/supervisor of this particular Enterprise Team is located in Idaho, although the team's home base is CA. The manager for the team and those needing help were told to call the Employee Assistance Program's (EAP) 800 phone number. The Employee Assistance Program's response is: We can't help you, you're not in R5.

Now this seems to me to be a case of BS politics. Not in R5? No help til after the autopsy??? What kind of <stuff > is that? Get our people some help! It's the HUMANE thing to do!!!!

Lesson learned?

  • Enterprise Team members are second class or non-citizens within the Forest Service (because of centralization of the system).
  • When bee stings happen, doctor up. Demand it!

I'm willing to hear feedback privately or on theysaid and clarify anything. Right now this incident smacks to me of the "deny, deny deny" or the "distance, distance, distance" mentality that occurs whenever bad things happen. Don't admit it could have happened on our watch. It's not really our group, is it? FS Employee Assistance Program People, just be HUMAN BEINGs and step up to help. It doesn't even take Extreme Leadership!

Mellie

9/7 To Irritated at the Politics:

Along with NGOFMO, I can understand your frustration. I am an R5er and have been frustrated all summer. It just so happens that I was one of the "lucky" ones that was let out of the cage a few weeks ago and got to see some ground outside of California. Before that, I had only been on one fire and I hold a considerable amount of qualifications on my card. A lot of my inability to get out was due to the nature of my day job (district duty officer) but there_ should _have been a lot of other opportunities for other folks but the resource orders never came across my desk. We did manage to get our IHC out of region in July, but other than that, they have been anchored in California. The engines on the other hand has been another story. I can not speak to the reason for them being grounded as our forest has been able to staff 85%-90% of our engines throughout the entire summer. We have not been at draw down except for a few days during the entire season.

To address your comments about the overall feeling towards R5, I heard a lot of the same sentiment during my assignment to R1.There were times that I was ashamed to admit to some folks that I am from R5. I have to admit, R5 has done it to themselves. I guess we'll have to play the 'wait and see' game and come next spring after the mass exodus has occurred, let's see what R5 thinks of themselves. I have to hand it to the R1 teams, they did a hell of a job with the few resources they had assigned to their fires (at least what I observed).

Ab, I have some other information I would like to share with Irritated outside of this forum if you don't mind getting me in touch with them. Feel free to give them my email address.

SUPER P
9/7 rex mann retirement

After 40 years with the Forest Service chasing fires around the country becoming a well respected leader in the fire arena, as well as pursuing his passion for seeing the American Chestnut return to the forested landscape, and of course his leadership here on the Daniel Boone National Forest, Rex Mann has elected to retire come early December 2007. We will surely want to help him celebrate in the style he is well deserving of. Therefore, we are putting together a book of letters, mementos, pictures, etc. for him. If you have something you would like to add, including stories -- which I am sure there are far too many -- please send them to Robin Acciardo (racciardo@ fs.fed.us) or Bonny Truett (btruett@ fs.fed.us) here on the Boone.

no name

Our best to him. The American Chestnut project is awesome. Ab.

9/6 Fireline Paramedic

AB,

I am familiar with the NWCG description for FEMT, but am not aware of any
Fireline Paramedic description they have yet adopted. I believe either NWCG
or FIRESCOPE is tackling this issue as we speak. In the interim, though,
IMTs continue ordering Fireline Paramedics "with gear". This is difficult
to fill as there is no "standard" in R-5 or nation-wide for FEMT-P gear that
I know of.

Can you put me in touch with someone in the know on this project?

Thanks!

Sacmedic

9/6 Re: Firefighter health, fitness, and safety

One of the posters asked for comments about cancer and tobacco. First, I think that maybe he fired a loaded question to generate discussion. It seemed to work.

He said, "For everyone interested in the topic of medical screening and the rulings that any cancer-related illness among firefighters is absolutely job-related because of smoke exposure."

I believe it is safe to say that nobody believes every firefighter who gets cancer was solely exposed to the factors through their work environment.

Last I checked, there were presumptive cancer and illness laws for firefighters in 36 out of 50 states (may have changed). The bill I posted below, like most of the various states' legislation, takes the preponderance of evidence away from the firefighters family to investigate, compile, and then prove. Instead, the burden of evidence is placed on the federal agencies to prove otherwise.

He provided one such indicator that could tip the scales towards the federal agencies for denial of a claim under the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2007. Tobacco use could be a disqualifying factor if a firefighter develops lung cancer of lung disease, but would not come into effect with a firefighter who may have developed a rare form of brain or testicular cancer, etc. Likewise, a firefighter who excessively uses alcohol may be disqualified for cancer of the colon or digestive system.

"(2) In the case of an employee in fire protection activities who has a disease specified in paragraph (3), the employee's disease shall be presumed to be proximately caused by the employment of such employee. A disability or death of an employee in fire protection activities due to such a disease shall be presumed to result from personal injury sustained while in the performance of such employee's duty. Such presumptions may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence."

Lobotomy
9/6 Ab,
here are some links to a Fire story I did last week for NBC Nightly News.

A big thanks to Lynn Wilcock Team from Alaska on the Jocko lakes fire last month, USFS Engine 402 in Ogden, UT, and Box Elder County, UT Fire Marshal Greg Martz.

The blog entry:
http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/08/31/334078.aspx#comments

The story that aired 31 Aug:
http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.php?g=92b6b512-67ab-4b0a-ba63-5207875f82cd&f=00&fg=copy

Photo Link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20464418/

Thanks
Al Henkel/NBC News SW Bureau
9/6 Ab message:

I added Terry Molzahn's fire manager accomplishments to the Mill Creek Hotshot list and Mike Ryan's accomplishments to the Little T hotshots and the Bear Divide IHC on the "IHC-->Fire Manager" Project

Terry was red carded as a ICT2 in 1995 and as a ICT1 in 2001 and was the only GS-9 in the nation Redcarded for ICT1. He was also the DFMO at Mount Whitney RD on the Inyo before he detailed into the Assistant Forest FMO (Chief 2) job. He retired in Dec of 2004 and says, "I am very proud of coming from Mill Creek Hotshots and where I went in my 34 years with the Forest Service."

Mike was a member of the Little Tujunga Hotshots in 1980 and then a member of the Bear Divide HS from 1981-1983. He's currently DFMO on the Kern River RD on the SQF.

9/6 Ab,

I would tell judi to start doing her research,
beginning on this site and with the firebooks list.
Most of these books have the terminology correct,

  • it may be DNR in Minnesota but in Idaho it's IDL
  • teams are called crews unless Incident Management Teams
  • drop tank planes are called airtankers.

"What would be his challenges?" - first to get carded!

She's got a ways to go.

earthpig

Judi, getting "carded" is getting the basic firefighter training that gets you a "red card." Ab.

9/6 YOUR Voices DO count

To All:

Attached is a letter from several Southern California members of Congress to Forest Service Chief & Forest Supervisor of the Angeles National Forest as it relates to concerns raised by our federal wildland firefighters. The delay in getting this out (originally dated 8-3-07) was to secure signatures from the members and due to the August recess.

The point is Congress is listening and I want to thank all of those who lent their voices to this effort in educating the elected officials as to what our federal wildland firefighters are facing.

Regardless of the Agency response, we won't rest until the issues in SoCal as well as issues facing all of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters in all areas of the country and within all agencies are addressed and dealt with satisfactorily.

Thanks again... Hopefully this will give a bit of incentive to those on the fence considering leaving the Agencies that people are taking notice.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
9/6 Hi,

I am writing a novel, and in one chapter, there is a wildfire. I wish to get everything right, so I would like to ask you a few questions, please.

This is the situation: Location is in Idaho....smaller town,...ranching community. Lightening starts a fire, the wind changes, and the blaze is headed for the small town. The DNR pilot, who flies the drop tank plane, has a heart attack before he ever takes off. So now they call on a local rancher, who only flies a Cessna. The plane is just a small fixed wing, an AG sprayer, that can only hold 800 gallons. What would be his challenges?

And what would be a realistic fire size? There are teams on the ground, but the fire is moving fast toward the town. I want the rancher to be sort of an anti-hero, but it has to make sense. So what would really happen?

Thank you so much for any of your advice.

A couple years ago I did an article for a magazine on the importance of fire towers. Talked to some of the old timers, and the gals too. Worked with a DNR guy and a fire warden who flew sea planes. It was a fun project. Too bad they don't bring back more of the towers...

Judi Schiller
From Northern Minnesota

Anyone got any suggestions for Judi? Ab.

9/6 Irritated,

I can certainly understand your frustration, but I would be willing to bet that a vast majority
of that 140 number are CalFire handcrews, and therefore guests of the state of California who
cannot travel out of the state. It's been a tough summer on everyone, let's try to remember
everything ends; every shift, every fire, every season.

Keep one in the black Brothers and Sisters.

sign me-
ExR5 now NGOFMO

Thanks NGFMO. Strider just put a post on the Moonlight Fire thread that there are 2 Single Resource crews and 26 Strike Teams of CalFire crews on that fire, that's 54 state crews right there. Ab.

9/6 You have got to be kidding

I was reading the sit report this morning and please tell me it was a typo when I see 140 crews committed to 2 fires in California. All season long your Region couldn't help out in other states because of what we heard was draw down and drought now all these recourses just out of the blue show up. Now I know I'm going to hear about communities threatened and everything but we had the same concerns on alot of fires this year and very little help from R5. This is one of the reasons your region is so disliked by most of the others. And I just want to say I'm not ripping on the ground forces from R5 you guys/gals that were let out of the region did some great work for us, it's the people who are running your region, they're killing it. It's funny how you top managers won't let anyone out, but you'll sure pull everything in when you need too.

Irritated at the politics
9/6 Hey oldfireboss,

I wonder if you are the same person from post mountain that stole their fire engine and left the scene of a major incident? Let me also mention the fact that, besides stealing your own department's engine, you left a firefighter behind on the side of the road. I dont think you have any right to judge members of your old fire department, and from what I hear, they're doing much better now that you're gone.

Therightstuff

OMG! I just had to put this up so readers can get a glimpse of what "stuff" would get "discussed" if this was not a moderated website. This time of the season, some firefighters get downright p*ssy. Good grief. Oldfireboss and Therightstuff, I'd be happy to put you in touch with each other behind the scenes so you can discover any "Lessons Learned".

On another note... I am really glad there's a fire near the norcal coast so the norcal "sybil" out there who write(s) in to this board at night can get off their computers and put away their trail improvement tools and GO FIGHT FIRE! Yeah. Ab.

9/5 ME,

This has been in the works for a few months now. The reason they are doing the apprentice hiring now is because of the migration of all R5 HR/Personnel to Albuquerque at just about the same time that we would normally do the apprentice hire. I agree that it will be hard to get personnel up to Sacramento during this fire season, but it is not being done just for the heck of it. Hopefully there will be enough applications (I know of several folks on my forest who missed out on making the deadline due to being on fires almost all season) to fill all the slots.

Once a FAKER, now a GS-4
9/5 Ab & All,

Do you get the feeling wildland firefighters are sick of being studied? Jim Saveland is one of the good guys, I hope folks will cut this study some slack until the results are in.

Funny watching how firefighters bristle when someone suggests wildland firefighters accept unnecessary risks. Recent experience tells me that fireline supervisors, me included, ARE becoming increasingly accepting of risks that would have been unacceptable a few years ago. I was comparing notes about this summer’s fires with a new DIVS on the Sawmill Complex last week:

  • Multiple orders for type 1 & 2 crews, DOZB, FELB, TFLD, STLC, & other line overhead positions now frequently go unfilled for days or weeks. Long-term planning for operations is not possible when you have no idea whether resources ordered for your division will ever arrive.
  • Type 1 & 2 teams are presently handicapped by the lack of available fireline supervisors willing or able to participate in skill operations supervisory positions. These include inherently governmental positions which directly supervise and sign pay documents for contract resources.
  • Lack of intermediate overhead is causing span of control and safety issues. Due to lack of qualified overhead, trainees frequently serve in place of qualified line personnel, without mentors, and without qualified intermediate overhead working underneath them. Teams are therefore unable to adequately supervise fallers, dozers, excavators, engines, crews, tenders, and other resources.
  • Overhead trainees are subject to unfair expectations and evaluations due to lack of qualified trainers and widespread deviation from usual resource span-of-control standards.
  • Agency retiree ADs fill many critical positions ATGS, etc on IMTs. Most ADs are excellent, but why aren’t there trainees working with every AD? For that matter, why aren’t there enough qualified agency people in critical positions? Many ADs will be retiring for good soon. All of that knowledge and experience goes out the door with them.
  • Type 1 helicopters and air tankers now frequently drop on targets that are not reinforced with personnel on the ground, targets that teams never had any intention (or capability) of supporting. This delaying tactic is very expensive, exposes pilots to unnecessary risk, and is rarely ultimately successful on large fires without support on the ground.
  • Radio communications are becoming increasingly problematic, not better. Repeater availability, narrowband confusion, lack of available frequencies, & crappy radios still cause huge problems.
  • Contractors & EERA stuff.

If you go to work knowing the above latent conditions exist, then you are knowingly accepting unnecessary risks. It doesn’t matter that the unsafe conditions are being imposed upon you by an ideologically bankrupt administration exercising it’s will through political appointees and agency lackeys, these conditions are real and they diminish your ability to do a professional job and keep wildland firefighters under your charge safe.

Passive firefighting seems to be the new way. There is apparently little stigma attached to waiting for a fire to get rolling and blow over your head, but calculated risks such as indirect line construction and large-scale burnouts which carry any risk of failure are now becoming passé. Direct line is also becoming endangered due to lack of capable crews and overhead.

Welcome to firefighting in the twenty-first century. Be safe out there.

Misery Whip

9/5 Pics of the Wautoma Fire, WA-Hanford Reach National Monument

www.tri-cityherald.com/galleries/story/9228592p-9144415c.phpl

fire burned 67K of private, DOE, & USFWS lands

Thought I would send the link by the local newspaper of the pictures they took of this fire.

Zimm

Inciweb on this fire: www.inciweb.org/incident/950/

9/5 All,

Thanks to Tom and Andrej Lončarić for info on the Croatian firefighter injuries and fatalities. My sympathies go out to these folks as well.

It seems like another tragedy when the article referenced (www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/100309.phpl) says "Stipe Bozic, head of the mountain rescue service, told national television HTV that the entire unit was trapped in an area covered by tall, dry grass. Bozic said the area was uninhabited [and] criticized the decision to send the men there." Apparently this is a problem worldwide, and not just in the US.... they are dealing with the same challenges. My guess is that they are also dealing with similar if not worse challenges for their injuries and especially burn injuries. It might be worthwhile for us to look at approaches to these challenges in other countries. In the meantime, my thoughts are with them and our injured folks as well.

I also appreciate Andrej's comment: "Once again I am wondering what would have happened had they had a complete fire fighting GIS command control system which would enable decision makers to asses the whole situation, what is burning, what is the meteorological situation, etc...." I continue to wonder this myself, in reference to not only wildland fires, but many incidents in the US - and apparently worldwide. The technology is in place, but I do not think that until the understanding and use of this technology becomes a higher priority by agency folks that it will move forward. I know there are folks who have been looking into this, but I have not seen comprehensive direction yet by any wildland agency or others in the US to address this... does anyone have any other info on this?

Be safe out there-

-flyonthewall
9/5 Hello all,

In reference to the Cedar fire statistics from 2003, I have found that references to the Cedar's size usually match the final ICS-209 (Incident Status Summary Form) size of 273,246 acres. However, most references to the Cedar fire indicate extremely over-inflated structural damage numbers that are closer to the total for all of the fires during the "2003 Fire Siege". For the record, per ICS-209 data there were 2,820 total structures destroyed on the Cedar fire (commercial, residential, and outbuildings/other), and 4,836 total structures destroyed on all 13 of the "Siege" fires.

I believe the best way to find the official final fire size is to check the fire record on file through the Cleveland NF. However, because this fire was in so many jurisdictions, I am no longer certain how that process works and have been out of direct involvement with the fire program since 2004.

What I can do is provide the fire statistics compiled by the Southern CA Geographic Area Coordination Center (SCGACC) through 2004, and maintained in the archives there. The attached tables provide the statistics that were used through much of the after-action work into 2004. The primary file shows ICS-209 numbers and final stats as of November 16, 2003, while an abbreviated chart was prepared in March of '04 with FRAP data that I believe came from CDF.

I also attached a timeline of fire start/stop times during the 2003 Siege just for reference, and a very short PowerPoint file with some quick overall Siege stats (some of these slides separate the Padua & Grand Prix fires, which are really the same incident).

I have 6 GB of archives, powerpoints, and overall progression maps from these fires, which are also maintained at South Ops (SCGACC) in Riverside, CA if folks need this information for research or reference. This information is by no means comprehensive, as there were a number of studies and recordkeeping activities going on during and after these fires.

Please feel free to contact me through the online DHS FEMA contact directory if you need to reach me or have questions.

Thanks!

Vanessa Burnett
Former USDA Forest Service Southern CA GACC Intelligence Coordinator (2000-2004)

Readers, Ab has 3 summary excel files and a ppt. Ask and I'll send them to you.

9/5 Mollsboy:

Alcohol and Big Macs can be a health risk as well, but they as well as tobacco
are legal substances. I say that as a firefighter were gonna eat smoke and if we
don't like the risks, there are all kinds of jobs out there we can take with out the
health risks. This would also make room for those who really want to fight fire.

7107

9/5 Hey all

I just received a message asking if people could make
it to Sac next week to do apprentice hiring, all week.

Is this normal timing for hiring? I would think you
would do this after season, but then again that would
show common sense. But really, do they plan on hiring
next week even with the lack of personnel due to fires?
Come on people, let's be smart.

ME

9/5 When I was in private business, our Company established a rule that new hires had to agree to non-smoking as a condition of employment. We had a legal challenge and the Company side was upheld in the court. We also became a non-smoking facility which prohibited smoking anywhere on Company property. This also applied to any visitors. Those employees that already worked for us and were smokers were also prohibited from smoking at work.

HS
9/5 Moonlight from Division C: The Moonlight fire from Division C on 9/4/07.
Fire turned the corner and ran 180 degrees after cold front passed. 6 mile run
after dark. Inversion broke a bit ago 9/5/07, 1400. Now fire moving out on
all sides!. Photo compliments of squeebo.

www.wildlandfire.com/pics/fire34/moonlt-divc.jpg

Thanks, check for it the Fire34 photo page. Ab.

9/5 What is going on with the Modoc Forest Dispatch Center?
It is not updating for some reason. I am a little addicted to
this web-site and seeing what my husband and his crew are
doing today.

CG
9/5 MollysBoy and FMOJoeBoy

For some of the reasons MollysBoy mentioned, many departments now either
won't allow tobacco consumption during your career, or won't hire you if you
have consumed tobacco in the year prior to hiring. These departments can and
will test for nicotine in your blood or urine.

This has been tested in court, and after some tuning of the policies, has stood
the legal challenges.

Blue Zebra
9/5 From Firescribe:

Is this more of a journalist for firefightingnews.com taking off on the original AP article?
If so, that original AP writer and all who pick it up do wildland firefighters a dis-service
and perpetuate stereotypes.

Forest Service Asks If Firefighters Live Dangerously
September 4, 2007
www.firefightingnews.com/article-US.cfm?articleID=37280

9/5 Correction in the 1990-2006 Wildland Firefighter Fatalities in the US Report
by Dick Mangan

I just read through this report, and it has some valuable information for prevention
in the future. However, I believe that there is an error in the Vehicle Fatality portion
as it was First Strike Environmental that lost 8 people in an auto accident out of
Vale, Oregon, not Ferguson Management as it states in the report.

Deborah Miley
NWSA

9/5 Good video from Castle Rock; 100% contained.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid338995642

DimWhit

9/5 FMO Joeboy:

I was very serious in asking for feedback about wildland firefighters and tobacco use. Many structure fire departments have had the OSHA and Health folks say that if a firefighter develops cancer, it's job related and qualifies for a disability retirement. The taxpayers, who pay the costs, are saying that if there is a blanket statement of job-related causation, then other well-known cancer-causing activities like smoking must be eliminated. It's strictly an attempt to limit liabilities and costs.

Lots of departments require wearing seat belts in order to reduce injuries and deaths; banning smoking may be an illness reduction practice. A condition of hire.

You make light of food choices and boxer shorts, but no one in the fire community is claiming (at least, not yet) that those items make us sick or die, and are directly related to exposures in our workplace: smoke is an exposure that's part of our work environment, and compounding that exposure by smoking tobacco products MAY increase the risks of cancer, and subsequent costs to society.

Smoking tobacco is an individual choice, but has costs to society as a whole: some taxpayers may not be willing to support your potentially unhealthy choice, especially if you are a firefighter.

Just trolling for thoughts.........!

Mollysboy
9/5 Mollysboy,

You can't be serious about the tobacco use issue. Smoke and smokeless
product use is a personal choice by the individual and can't be regulated.
Anyway, who would want to try and monitor this as well has have to deal
with all those individuals going through nicotine detox. As for known
cancer causing products and their elimination from incidents I guess we
could bring back horses and mules and stop using all of those big
transportation devices that have internal combustion engines. Maybe we
could also eliminate many of the food items served to our folks due to
health risks from too much sugar, sodium, and preservatives. What's next,
boxers or briefs depending on the preference by the management team running
the incident.

As for the smoke issue this resurfaces constantly. Yes, folks eat smoke
doing this job and always have and will continue to do so. I don't think
anyone eats as much as we used to when suppression was much more
aggressive. However, those folks that make the choice to participate in
suppression and prescribed fire realize that fires produce smoke and
continue to do the job anyway, regardless of the risk, because they like
what they do. Having done this job for 20+ years I am fully cognizant of
the fact that I may have some health issues later due to smoke. Hasn't made
me quit and get a job at Wal-mart.

FMO Joeboy

9/5 Another in the Monlight Fire series, taken by firefighters from all sides:

www.wildlandfire.com/pics/fire34/moonlt-susanville.jpg

Moonlight fire from Susanville, CA. 09/04/2007 1400 local
Photo compliments of K6.

For the other two, check the Fire34 photo page.

9/5

Some good presentations for safety, review, and familiarization from the Lessons Learned Center:

HRO for "Fire Crews"
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=67

HRO for "Fire Managers"
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=66

"This Season"
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=59

Fatigue, Decision Making, and the Fireline
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=47

Preparing for Command in the Wildland Urban Interface (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=36

A Different Way of Thinking About Leading and Change by Scott Snook
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=11

High Reliability Organizing by Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe
www.wildfirelessons.net/Presentation.aspx?ID=12

Lobotomy

9/5 oldfireboss
As Joe Friday said, "Just the facts Mam, just the facts".

The Local Gov Eng. you were referring to most likely falls under the 7 party agreement signed by numerous State and Fed agencys and CA OES. Local Gov. agency's responding to calls for assistance are covered by this agreement. It is the responsibility of the Local Agency to insure that they are trained and qualified to perform the job they respond to do. Many local agency's do not follow the Red Card system. Calfire does not use the Red Card system. I'm no implying they were or were not experienced or trained enough to do the job safely. Just explaining the facts.

Your post seems to imply that they were not. I can't argue with you because I don't know them. I just want everyone to understand the system. A few years ago several CDF strike teams were sent to Montana. They sat in base camp for a day or two because they didn't have Red Cards. The Safety officer on the fire didn't understand the system. Were they unqualified Firefighters ? Were they unsafe ? I don't think so. If you think the system is broken don't blame R-5. Go back to the local agency or to OES and explain where you think the system is flawed. My local agency trains to the standards of PMS-310 - 1 but we don't apply for Red Cards. You do your training in the spring, do the paperwork and your Red Card shows up in November.

danfromord

9/5 FWFSA "educates" Sun Valley City Councilman

Last week as firefighters worked to battle the Castle Rock Fire in Central Idaho, first term City Councilman Dave Chase from Sun Valley drew the ire of federal wildland firefighters across the West who viewed statements he made on a morning television show.

Referring to IC Jeanne Pincha-Tulley's remarks about firefighters staying out of local bars, Mr. Chase explained Pincha-Tulley's "edict" this way:

" The firefighters are paid 24 hours a day. They get extra hazard pay when they're on the fire lines but they're actually on the clock 24/7."

Mr. Chase went on to say, "It's the way all Forest Service firefighting has always been operated. That way they also know everyone is operating at full potential, and that keeps down the accident rate."

The FWFSA received numerous emails and several calls about the commentary as far away as the Zaca fire. While in fire camp on the Castle Rock incident, FWFSA Business Manager Casey Judd spoke with Mr. Chase by phone and explained how Forest Service firefighters along with those from the other five land management agencies really get paid and how they are taken off the clock while others on the incident are paid for a full 24 hrs.

Mr. Chase apologized for the inaccuracy and indicated his comments were based on his assumptions from listening to the IC. The FWFSA suggested to him that many federal wildland firefighters would like to see a corrected comment from him in the near future.

If you see or hear someone, especially an elected official who is in serious need of an education, please share the facts with them and educate them.
9/5 For everyone interested in the topic of medical screening and the rulings that any cancer-related illness among firefighters is absolutely job-related because of smoke exposure, please give me your thoughts about wildland firefighters that smoke tobacco products (both on- and off- the job, and smokeless tobacco products, too!), and your opinions if fire agencies should ban the use of proven cancer-causing products by their employees, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on-the-job and during off-duty time. Violation would be a "firing" offense, and negate future health care benefits, if proven. How about unannounced random nicotine testing programs?
Are we walking the walk, or just talking the talk?

Mollysboy
9/4 ab,

here is a shot that my dad, ron lunder, took of the moonlight fire
from atop keddie ridge today at 1600.

moonlight-keddie.jpg

zl

Nice one. Permanent link is on the Fire34 photo page. Ab.

9/4 Lick Fire

http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/hamcam/dailyMovies/cam2/HC2_daily.mpg

Time lapse

MG

9/4 To those who advocate more medical testing for FFs:

I whole-heartedly agree that we all need more protection via baseline/periodic testing for smoke exposure, but we must also be careful what we wish for.

If the IMQS Gizmo refers to is any indicator, additional testing of firefighters will sideline even more of us based on "preexisting conditions" ( i.e. smoke exposure to date and any associated medical conditions). Unfortunately, we can only expect the powers-to-be to take the moral low road, as they have done many times before, and classify many well-qualified and highly-experienced FFs as "unfit for arduous duty" because we have eaten smoke here and there for many years to date!

Cautiously UNoptimistic... (it is a real word),

-StumpShot
9/4 Here's a pic today of the smoke column from the PNF Moonlight Fire as seen from Quincy. Photo compliments of sr5401.

pnf-moonlight.jpg

Heres a picture I took of the Helitorch on the Zaca Fire. This was in Brubaker Canyon on 08/24/2007. Photo compliments of Ryan B, LPF

zaca-helitorch.jpg

Nice ones. You can find links to these and more on the Fire34 and Helicopters23 photo pages. Ab.

9/4 Ab and I are pleased to announce LNCurtis & Sons are now on our Classified Ads page and are also sponsoring the More Photo Pages. L.N. Curtis & sons and its family of employees are proud to provide fire service members and the community with safe and effective Tools for Heroes®. They provide emergency responder and firefighting equipment and service in thirteen Western States and to the U.S. Government worldwide. Sales, distribution and service centers are located in Oakland, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; Phoenix, AZ; and Los Angeles, CA. Their company's principal product is service, whose principal resource is people, and whose principal purpose is to be a distinguished leader in the field of supplying and servicing emergency responder and firefighting equipment.

Check out what they have to offer and please remember to tell them where you found their links. Thanks, OA
9/4 Cynic,

Well written. I totally agree with you. What is so big about those that were in the smoke and dirty air on the Cascade Complex? People associated with wildland firefighting pretty much breathe this type of dirty air multiple times each summer................. I, like you, after the 87 series, probably never completely recovered, and I know of several employees that really NEVER did recover totally... comes with the territory in wildland firefighting. Does it need to be documented? You bet it does, but very hard to pin-point to one single incident. Hopefully after a month or two of hackin and coughing, those involved there will be back to normal, whatever normal is or was.

DANNYBOY

9/4 Been reading the posts about contract crews and engines training & qualifications. I was at the Wallow fire ICP in Hayfork Friday and saw a volunteer engine from a dept. where I was a Captain for 3 yrs. I talked to the crew member acting as Captain, he is a FF 2 and has none of the required ENGB training he got his basic 32 last year. I took him on his first fire last July, the other 2 crew members got 32 this year. The engine is on a strike team th Forest Service is not checking qualifications of volunteer engine crews. I have been in firefighting off and on since 1962 and had a OC crew on the Six Rivers NF in the 90's,my crew had their qualifications checked on every fire. I calld no.ops and talked to the coordinator, it sounded to me like he was not interested...so much for safety in region 5 ...

oldfireboss
9/4 From Firescribe:

New way of fighting fire from the air?
Weyerhaeuser finishing tests of Boeing's firefighting container system

9/4 The Jobs Page as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series 0455 (Range Technician) & Series 0401 (Biologist) have been updated. Ab.
9/4 Ab,

The monument appears to be a bit overgrown. The vegetation is allowed to
grow in keeping with the wildland aspect of fire management. However,
weeds and some vegetation needs to be removed around the markers and from
under the benches. NIFC is having an employee monument clean up day on
Wednesday the 26th of September. We will be placing markers in the
monument that day as well. Having an employee clean up day is a great way
for the employees at NIFC to maintain it and keep a sense of connection to
the monument.

David Mueller
BLM Fuels Management Specialist
NIFC

Thanks for info on the cleanup. Ab.

9/4 Re: Smoke exposure and other health hazards of wildland fire

The Interagency Medical Qualification Standards (IMQS) provide for baseline, annual, periodic, and exit medical exams. Those exams protect both the employee and the employer in most cases.

In conjunction with accurate employee records of exposures, and through proper health and fitness standards, one of the leading causes of firefighters dying can be quantified and addressed (ie- smoke and related inhalation and absorption hazards). In addition, additional variables and exposures can be compared against the baseline for future gains towards safety AND designing proper system defenses against known latent traps.

While I don't agree with everything in the IMQS, I believe it is an important step towards safety and something that will be going through some fine tuning as it is implemented and improved.

The MTDC commissioned study Wildland Fire Fatalities in the US: 1990 - 2006 missed one group of fatalities completely, those that died as a direct, either acute or chronic, result of their duties and exposures, but didn't have adequate data to provide a proximal link. The latest MTDC study was well done and easy to read, completed to the highest professional standards, and done by someone I respect and admire for his commitment to safety.

Maybe in a few years, we will have some better baseline data and data collection standards, and Dick Mangan can put together another great study.

Gizmo
9/4 Last week, a memorial ceremony was held to celebrate the life of Bruce Visser and his dedication to the Forest Service and especially his dedication to his crew and his extended Forest Service family.

Bruce died 20 years ago protecting communities and natural resources on the Klamath National Forest. Bruce was an Engine Foreman from the San Bernardino National Forest.

Those that knew him, and those that learned from those that knew him, will never forget his and our loss. I was one that knew him and one that loved to play softball against him since he always seemed to drop my line drives.

A small memorial service was held at the Kenworthy Guard Station. At the station, a small but elegant memorial is present and well maintained by the crew. Ask the crew about the story of Bruce Visser -- They all know and remember, even though they may have been kids at the time or not even born yet, they all remember.

It is a long and complex story --A story that brought many positive changes to the Forest Service on the heels of a painful loss. The loss of Bruce is always remembered by those of us around back then and those that we mentor. It is often a painful story for us to tell, that is why it is sometimes better that our kids (firefighters) tell the story.

Noname BDF
9/4 For they said:

Hey Abs

I am looking for the directive/guidelines that were put out around May 2007 which gave national guidelines for dealing with HIPPA sensitive documents.
I am running into teams that don't know about it and do not have a copy myself.
This would basically say that all medical records should be kept in a locked box by both medical and comp/claims and then turned over to the home unit at the end of the incident

Thanks

ADTexas
9/4 the cynic,

Hope this helps. There is a great deal of research that has been done on the health hazards of smoke, exposures to mold, fungi and particulates, and exposure to toxic chemicals while "engaged in the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk."

More research is needed, but the tools for obtaining the baseline data for statistical analysis and trends are out there and readily available. We just don't use our available tools and resources (both the brain and technology) in places where the best good can happen.

cynic, you said,

"To me, it would make much more sense to perform annual lung or respiratory function tests once one starts working in this profession. That would provide both the firefighter and the agency a record of the effects of smoke exposure on the employee."

I totally agree. For the Forests and agencies who are following NFPA standards and using SCBAs, you should be years ahead of the curve if your Forest or District is:

1) Establishing an employee baseline, and

2) Providing annual spirometer testing.

Lobotomy

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

Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2007

110th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 1924

To amend chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, to create a presumption that a disability or death of a Federal employee in fire protection activities caused by any of certain diseases is the result of the performance of such employee's duty.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
August 1, 2007

Mr. CARPER (for himself, Mr. WARNER, and Mr. MENENDEZ) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A BILL

To amend chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, to create a presumption that a disability or death of a Federal employee in fire protection activities caused by any of certain diseases is the result of the performance of such employee's duty.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2007'.

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

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

`(c)(1) In this subsection, the term `employee in fire protection activities' means an employee, including a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous materials worker, who--

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

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

`(2) In the case of an employee in fire protection activities who has a disease specified in paragraph (3), the employee's disease shall be presumed to be proximately caused by the employment of such employee. A disability or death of an employee in fire protection activities due to such a disease shall be presumed to result from personal injury sustained while in the performance of such employee's duty. Such presumptions may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

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

`(A) Heart disease.

`(B) Lung disease.

`(C) The following cancers:

`(i) Brain cancer.
`(ii) Cancer of the blood or lymphatic systems.
`(iii) Leukemia.
`(iv) Lymphoma (except Hodgkin's disease).
`(v) Multiple myeloma.
`(vi) Bladder cancer.
`(vii) Kidney cancer.
`(viii) Prostate cancer.
`(ix) Testicular cancer.
`(x) Cancer of the digestive system.
`(xi) Colon cancer.
`(xii) Liver cancer.
`(xiii) Skin cancer.
`(xiv) Breast cancer
`(xv) Lung cancer.

`(D) The following infectious diseases:

`(i) Tuberculosis.
`(ii) Hepatitis A, B, or C.
`(iii) Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
`(iv) Diphtheria.
`(v) Hemorrhagic fever.
`(vi) Meningococcal disease.
`(vii) Rabies.
`(viii) Any uncommon infectious disease the contraction of which the Secretary of Labor determines to be related to the hazards to which an employee in fire protection activities may be subject.'.

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

9/3 Correcting Largest Fires by Acreage

Hi Ab,

To get into the Cal Fire statistics information just go to www.fire.ca.gov and when it comes up scroll down on your left margin to “Fact Sheet”. Then when it comes up look down the middle column to the Largest Fires by Acreage. It is printed there. If it is in error, go back to the Home page and it will give you the central phone number to speak to their Information Services technician. That is what I do when they get something wrong (and they frequently do, too) and give them the source so they can verify the data and then they have to get into the customary bureaucracy to get authorization to correct it.

Normbc9

9/3 Regarding the smoke effects from the problem on Cascade Complex.

I am just kind of curious, what's the point? A person spends a 30+ year career in fire (41 and counting in my case) and if you have health problems down the road, how are you going to tie that back to one incident? Where are you going to get the PM2.5 and PM10 etc? Even if that information was available (and maybe it is) what good is it going to do you years down the road after you have been on umpteen incidents and prescribed burns where you were exposed to smoke and there is definitely no such information available. How would you be able to prove (for lack of a better word) that your problems originated on Cascade and not a prior or subsequent incident? In fact, if problems develop, it is almost surely from cumulative effects over the span of ones career. I think that is where we need to be concerned.

To me, it would make much more sense to perform annual lung or respiratory function tests once one starts working in this profession. That would provide both the firefighter and the agency a record of the effects of smoke exposure on the employee. After coming out of Happy Camp in 87 it took a long time for the old lungs to feel normal. It would have been nice to have had a record of lung function from the start of the career up to coming out of Happy Camp.

If I am missing something I apologize.

the cynic
9/3 They Said:

I was at the Cascade camp prior to the burnover. I was with the IMT in place that transferred command to the IMT that decided to stay in place. Let me be clear, there was a evacuation plan prepared of some 17 pages in length which was, in my estimation, never read nor considered. Within the evacuation plan it was spelled out that all non-essential personnel would be evacuated in anticipation of a burnover. No matter what spin is put on this exposure to a health hazard, failure to limit exposure to qualified line personnel should be investigated and dealt with.

--Rastaman

9/3 Try this link, it should have the Info you are looking for in regards to the Cedar fire

www.fire.ca.gov/about_content/downloads/20LACRES.pdf

NorCal FC
9/3 Heard a rumor from a usually reliable source (who lives hundreds of miles from Boise) that the Wildland Firefighter Memorial at NIFC is again overgrown with weeds and needing maintenance? Also heard that when the soon-to-be-inevitable expansion of the Boise Airport causes NIFC to go some where else, that there will NOT be a Memorial at the new location?

Any NIFC-folks out there that can confirm/deny/plead the 5th about this??

Aberdeen

The Monument is going to be moving somewhere, will need private funding, and no one asked the employees in Boise or elsewhere for input. Don't know anything more. I agree, it would be nice to be informed. I have been and will be in a place without cell coverage, so I have no way of finding the answers unless someone writes in. Ab.

9/3 Hey Ab,

Rich (Hawkins) and I were talking about an error I saw (he didn't believe me at first)
this past month on a Cal Fire link which was posted on They Said. I included the
piece below.

It has the acreage too high for the Cedar, about 10K too high. He wanted to know
if I could find the exact source within CalFire in order to correct it. It should be
about 265K I believe.

Any ideas or suggestions on where to look?

Gracias - Stanley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
original post:

Ab, here's several interesting lists of stats. SoCal CalFire

ZACA Fire is currently the 3rd largest fire in modern California history. (The Zaca Fire was officially declared 188,035 acres on 08/19/07 at 0600 hrs. This morning it was reported to be 214,725 acres.)

Notable California wildfires by size

20 Largest California Wildland Fires (By Acreage Burned)
CAL FIRE Publish Date: 8/16/2007

Does anyone know where the original stats are posted in CalFire documents? Are they online?

SoCal Cal Fire says he knew of a doc but had gotten the list in his post to theysaid from the Wrightwood website... so I guess if the numbers are wrong they're going through the internet ethers as wrong numbers. Stanley or Rich, tell us the right ones and we'll correct it here. No doubt Wrightwood would as well. It would be good to have correct numbers in the original calfire document, too. By the way, All, this is why it's good to give exact details on where information is obtained and link or url if from an internet source. Ab.

9/2 In reference to the quotes about wildland firefighting versus rocket
science: When I was taking S-339, one of the instructors made a comment to
the class that "wildland fire isn't rocket science". Immediately, the
other instructor, Paul Gleason, said, "that's right, wildland fire isn't
rocket science. It's way more complicated than rocket science"!

(For you who didn't know him, Paul spent 25 years on hotshots, invented
LCES, and then went on the be a fire management officer and a fire
ecologist. That pretty much made him qualified to talk about fire. As far
as being qualified to talk about rocket science, he got a degree in
Mathematics from CSU and completed every graduate level course in
mathematics offered by the University of Washington, as well as lots of
other courses in math and ecology).

Sign me... Midwest AFMO.
9/2 Re: Cascade Fire "Burn By"

Knarf,

You said, "Fortunately no one got seriously injured or killed."

I agree with you on the short term exposure to fire and smoke. I also agree that there
is nobody to blame and things need to move forward.

The long term effects of both the extended chronic exposure and the acute exposure
of the "burn by" should have either an FLA ,or even better, A Just Culture Safety
Investigation (JCSI) or the new term and acronym applied called an APA.

I hope that everyone on the fire has properly documented their exposures, especially
to PM10, PM2.5, and the many other products of combustion such as formaldehyde,
arsenic, CO, CO2, and benzene amongst many other known hazards of smoke.
Document everything even if you think you and your crew are getting better.

Despite what is being told, these are lifelong injuries. Smoke kills and maims. Sometimes
acutely and sometimes chronically.

Lobotomy
9/1 Smokejumper News: Over the past 4 days the smokejumper program has
generated the following statistics for operations in North Ops, Sierra NF
and the Sequoia NF:

137 jumps were made, of which were 108 jumps from Redding including
assistance from other Coordination Centers (Boost Loads) and 29 jumps from
the Western Great Basin during initial attack. These jumps were made on
twenty-two fires, including three reinforcements and one cargo drop. Of
Note during this event was the morning of Thursday, August 30 when five
empty jumper aircraft were parked at the Redding Smokejumper base.

R5 Dispatcher

Any photos?

9/1 Hello all.

I've been "lurking" for a few years now, taking lots of things in. I would like to complement everyone on a great web site. Thank you for the time and commitment to it, I've learned alot from it and it's still one of the first places I go if anything happens in the wildland community.

I feel a little qualified to speak on the Cascade incident because I was at the camp for 14 days and have first hand insight as to how things were. Since the first day, we were living in smoke . We could watch the fires progress from camp each night and every day it was creeping closer. The inversion was bad and even worse after the burnover/ burn-by. My crew was working structure protection in the Warm Lake community the whole time we were there, including the day of the burnover.

I do not have first hand experience what camp was like while the fire front went through, only what I could observe from our position by the lake. When they finally let us come back in around 0100 the next morning, the results were as someone already posted. Heavy smoke, ash everywhere, etc. The next morning walking to breakfast, another crew member and I were still finding spots throughout camp. Don't know how many were found during the day then, maybe they were part of that 100 count.

The remainder of the trip, the smoke was bad. I talked to someone who has been doing this for over 30 years and he said it was the second worst camp for smoke he's ever been in. The worst one, he said, was when EPA came in and declared a disaster area so the towns folks could get financial assistance for health problems. I know personally our crew, myself included, fought health problems the rest of the trip. I've been home for a little over a week now and finally went to the doctor for some antibiotics. The green stuff coming out of me gets annoying real quick.

I will admit, even going through all that, I still had a great time. My love for firefighting helps make all the smoke, unclean showers like Onelick talked about, green things in my eggs, and anything else all just part of the experience to me.

I don't know why the IMT made the decisions they did. Fortunately no one got seriously injured or killed. IMO it was a very close call. Should we have stayed or should they have moved camp? That decision is in the past and no sense beating a dead horse. I agree with Mellie, there should be lessons learned and discussed. I guess we'll see what happens though.

Hope this provided a little more insight for some people. Everyone be safe and take care.

Knarf

9/1 The new report "Wildland Fire Fatalities in the US: 1990 - 2006 is now available on the USFS T&D website at www.fs.fed.us/t-d (user name: t-d; password: t-d).

This is an updated version of the Technical Report I did while working as the Fire and Aviation Program Leader at MTDC in 1999. I completed the current report under the sponsorship of MTDC and the NWCG Safety & Health Working Team. It's all based on the fatalities reported in the annual SHWT "Safety-Gram".

In the seventeen (17) years covered by the study, 310 individuals died while engaged in wildland fire activities: the leading causes of death were:1. Aircraft accidents; 2. vehicle accidents; 3. Heart attacks; and 4. Burnovers.

NIFC-PMS at Boise will be printing a limited number of B&W copies of the Report later this month; the Web version is in full color, but has a large file size (either 5700 Kb or 16320 Kb, depending on your preference).

Many thank to Heather, Sunni and Bert at MTDC for their most excellent assistance, and to the NWCG-SHWT for supporting this update. And of course, special thanks to Stan Palmer at NIFC-BLM for keeping all the "Safety-Gram" records over these many years!

Any questions/comments/thoughts, fell free to give a holler or drop me an email.

Dick Mangan

Thanks, Dick. Permanent link to the T&D website on our links page under Fed. Ab.

9/1 >From 8/29: "Granted, people do make mistakes in estimating safety zones and escape routes, weather and winds, etc. But these aren't "inherent" dangers, they are a failure of situational awareness and/or attitude."

Wrong.

So, has a researcher or field practitioner of fire (ie. firefighter) ever determined yet what is a true measurement of a safety zone is?

I wouldn't call it a "failure of situational awareness and/or attitude" as many investigation reports have.

I'd call it a lack of relevant safety research avoiding the known and latent "safety zone" question all together, without special emphasis on escape routes, weather, fuels, topography, and winds.

A common factor in most entrapment fatalities is that there wasn't an adequate safety zone. The subsequent investigations always point fingers at the firefighters and managers involved and assign blame, much like you did, to 'failures of situational awareness and/or attitude.'

OSHA and OIG uses stuff like this to make uninformed and uneducated decisions that dictate the future of the federal wildland fire program. Land managers bend over to the pressures and once again, sell short the fire managers.

Any ideas? What is a true safety zone?... Prepare to defend your thesis and fund your prospective research. It will be a tough sell.

It isn't about the common argument of "Tastes Great" vs. "Less Filling" when folks are actually agreeing, but have different ideas on why they agree. This is the basis.

Until a researcher or firefighter can tell me what a safety zone is, and that a safety zone is effective 100% of the time with every variable involved, this job is inherently dangerous....

Gizmo
9/1 Hi Ab,

I know you are probably out on the road but this county is getting phone calls about wanting Type 3 engines with crews for an “Assistance by Hire” operation here in R-5. Maybe they are now feeling the pinch of the shortage of good qualified engine crews? This is the third round of phone calls of this nature this summer. And we haven’t seen the busiest part of our fire year yet! We do have several agencies with good Type 3 engines and crews but all are sitting tight due to the abnormally dry fuels conditions.

Normbc9

9/1 BLMBoy,

You almost made me fall out of my chair.... half laughing and half screaming.

You said, ".a brand new firefighter does not become an ICT1 on his first fire assignment, regardless of his college degrees. It takes training in the classroom and then experience in the field. Same applies to research in any given area."

There is a certain geography professor with the UC system who completely derailed factual research on chaparral and shrubland ecosystems for the last twenty years due to his flawed PhD research and dissertation, and flawed peer review. Now, he is a self professed fire ecologist, and explains himself to audiences as an expert on geology, forestry, entomology, hydrology, and whatever else grabs the headlines in countering the field experts, both technical and scientific, from the Forest Service.

This "expert" now sits as the lead researcher and faculty adviser for many folks pursuing advanced degrees at "his" (his words) UC system school, even though his initial work and subsequent works and research have been proven factually wrong from day one.

A little skepticism of research is good. In the case of this researcher and his students, his research can get folks killed.

As SoCal burned in 2003, so did the Sierra San Pedro de Martir.

Lobotomy
9/1 "Criminal charges filed against Zaca Fire starters"
www.kcoy.com/news

Hope the ranch had good insurance.

Old LPF

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