"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland
California State Assembly Bill AB 384
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.
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.
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:
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."
Thanks! Very interesting. Ab.
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.
Power Line That Killed A Firefighter Was Smaller Than A Pencil
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.
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
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.
Young and Dumb in R1
Thanks, Young. I'll add them to the
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.
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
In answer to your question, the first smokejumpers parachuted to a fire
Nez Perce NF on July 12th, 1940. There were also some jumps made in Region
6 that summer out of Winthrop, Wa.
When did you get the team assignment? how old were you then?
Big Smooth, good to "see you" here. I think of Tom often, just wanted you to
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
"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
Emergency room treatment/surgery also had its origins in wartime...
The Golden Hour... Ab.
I replied to one email regarding transport to Emmitsburg for
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
in Ocean City, Md. on Friday. I was wondering if there are any other
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)
First Type 1 ICs
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)
He was the FCO on the Klamath NF and the first North Zone Coordinator.
Does anybody know who were the first ICs?
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
What is SAFENET? (432 K pdf file of a powerpoint)
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
Good morning Ab:
Just got back and was reviewing the “They said “ site and noted the
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
I would be interested in finding more information regarding this device
if someone could steer me in the right direction.
Safety Program Coordinator
Forest Protection Division
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Here a article on the 555th that I received a few years back
First All-Black Paratrooper Unit
There is a great old article relating to the origin of the IR/IHC crews
Management" Summer 1974 edition posted on myfirecommunity.net in the hotshot
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
Be Safe and Keep the Faith.
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.
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.
Ask around and see if you can scrounge them up... 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
Bill Molumby looks pretty young in the photo with Jonathan Winters. How
Check it out.
First Black Smokejumpers - Triple Nickle
Tells the story about the 555th based at Pendleton Air Base and Chico,
The incident at Santa Barbara with Mr. Jonathan Winters and
the team dinner, involved Bill Molumby's Type 1 team (CIMT2).
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
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
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Along with Sawtooth IR and Boise IR crews in Region 4, there was also the
Wasatch IR crew. Just in case some folks forgot.
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.
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 ....
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!
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.
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
Inter Regional Suppression Crew is the way I remember it.
Sawtooth class of 70-71
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
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.
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.
Re: IC 's on Hot Shot Crews
Hi Ab, a bit to add to your Hot Shot Crew
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.
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.
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.
You aren’t that old. Remember I am retiring before you. See you soon!
HAW HAW Sure you've got the right R5 dispatcher? Ab.
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...
As I remember there were 17.
Region One had:
St. Joe IRS (best crew songs)
Slate Creek IRS
Pike Mountain IRS
Big Horn IRS
El Cariso Hotshots
Del Rosa Hot Shots??
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.
Regarding Jim Sheridan retiring from his lookout, here is a link to the
Fire Lookouts Association page with lots of historic information:
You can add to the list: Univ. of Montana. They have a 4 yr,
Degree Program and enhances in "Fire " available, or at least they did when
was there. 'Cause I got one from there, a few many, many years ago.
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
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
Northern Arizona 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
International Association of Wildland Fire
Sounds good. Ab will pass
messages so Bill he doesn't have his email addy "harvested" by the spam
Re Fast Rope: Thanks, the info line is rollin now from three time
You guys rock at connections.
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
truck in case the ladder has come in contact with electric wires. Yeah
don't know if that instruction ranked up there with "water hammers" but it
gave me the willys when I climbed onto a truck.
Still Out There as an AD
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
What are there now? 68 crews?
Well, here's a good start on the list of 16:
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
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.
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.
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
Good on the FS Chief and Dialogos to include FWFSA/us in the
Thanks for sussing out the details of the legislative stuff, Casey and Lori.
What would this community do without you? Ab.
This looking at oldest lookouts churned up my brain... Congrats
Jim Sheridan for surviving this long so you could continue making
(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
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,
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
not for the community in general.
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
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.
Mt Harrison ID Lookout Retires at 89
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,
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
Folks should stop by and say thanks. We added him to the infamous
IMWTK page. Tell him he made history. Ab.
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
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.
I added a permanent link to ~Ken's
Web Log~ above right.
Read more about his run:
See who's pledged. If they can, you can!
Make a pledge or donation for his run.
There will be KICK ASH BASH concert t-shirts available at the event, but to
they do not have them available online.
If we find out differently, we’ll let you all know!
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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
Re Fast Rope:
Ab, thanks for the line on Big Hill.
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.
For those going to the CA Firefighters memorial event on Saturday the 29th
[organizing about 1030; procession at
1115; ceremony at 1130; info at
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
- Construction is partially blocking many downtown streets.
- The Tower Bridge (Capitol Ave) is closed to all traffic, including
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!
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
Battalion Chief - Department Safety Officer
I was referring to the letter here from "Aberdeen" posted on 9/22, got mixed
up with the names and initials.
Good enough, that was a good post. Ab.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire
Tuesday, September 25th at 7:30pm
on KQED 9 & KQED HD on Comcast 709 or online at
Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll be in touch soon.
KQED Public Broadcasting
San Francisco, CA
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.
Deputy Chief-Admin Fire and Rescue Branch
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Hi Scott, nice to see you're still around. Ab.
Just checking to see if anyone is going to Emmitsburg for
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.
Knarf, I haven't forgotten about your task book. I'm still trying to get
one for you.
Whoooo Hooooooooo! There's gonna be a party! In Ketchum ID to benefit the
Firefighter Foundation and their local VFD. The concert is this
Listen to a bit of what they sound like!
Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle)
Bruce Willis Blues Band
Also heard Carole King should be there to play with the others.
LOCAL CELEBRITIES DONATE TALENTS FOR “KICK ASH BASH” IN KETCHUM
Re: Quick Burn Center transport of burned firefighter
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.
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.
Re: Fast Rope
Can anyone put me in touch with Big Hill Helitak?
I am researching fast rope programs.
DN, Sent you the contact info. That was mighty fast. Ab.
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent : Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:32 PM
To : <snip>
Subject : Interagency Dispatch Study Datacall Change Notice and Login
| | | Inbox
To: US Forest Service and Department of the Interior Dispatch and Related
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.
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.
I don't. Anyone? Ab.
The special notice pasted below was posted on the Federal Business
Opportunities website a couple weeks ago.
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
-- Wildland Fire Training Activities for the U.S. Forest Service and other
Wildland Fire Agencies
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,
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 email@example.com
I was wondering where we are with fed firefighters, dispatchers, etc
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?
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
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!
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:
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.
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.
In response to the question on the UCSD Burn Center contact
Regional Burn Center
UCSD Medical Center
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA
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?
Hotlist 24 and 72 hr reports:
Re: AD pay rate changed
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
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...
From Firescribe: Kudos to CDF from NPS for support in saving a life at
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] "
- before you spend any bucks hiring a lawyer, consider the following
- 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
- 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
- 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
It may be time-consuming, but it may be worth it to get the rest of your
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
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
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
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
specialized skills or training. The job requires the performance of
repetitive work tasks under close supervision or requires following oral
specific step by step instructions.
b. Exception Position 2 - Level AD-B. Positions within this level
skills or training. Routine assignments are carried out independently.
Oral or written
assignments are given with general information on quality, quantity and
c. Exception Position 3 - Level AD-F. Positions within this level
acquired through specific job training or experience. Work is performed
independently. The incumbent of the position is expected to interpret
plans work, lead, or supervise casuals at the next lower level.
d. Exception Position 4 - Level AD-I. Positions within this level
acquired through specific job training, technical education or
experience, and require
the ability to apply or use specialized, complicated techniques or
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
independent judgment and decision making. The carryout of assignments
problem resolution are expected to be completed independently by the
e. Exception Position 5 - Level AD-K. Positions within this level
knowledge and very high skill level in applying a wide range of
and practices associated with professional or administrative work. Most
positions at this level are commensurate with knowledge gained from
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
technical specialists (TSHP).
From the Hotlist (www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=2005)
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
M.A. and the AD Pay Issue
The first thing I'm curious of is what position
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.
Sign me, Waiting for the winter snow
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!!
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.
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
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
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.)
(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.)
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.
Link for the run and how to pledge is now at the top right of the
Sahara Run Benefit Ab.
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
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
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
I was on the cascade complex and I saw firefighters wearing cascade
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.
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.
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
San Bernardino NF
Hey! Congrats to Dennis Baldridge, the new training officer for South Zone.
On another note: Secretary Johanns has resigned as Secretary
and the president has named Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner as Acting
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
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 ?
I think you are on to something good.
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.
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org ♦ (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
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.
I really like the nonexistent physical descriptions of
said subjects below. PC strikes again.
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
<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.
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
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.
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 @
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.
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
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
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?
I emailed Jeanne P-T your question regarding IFPM and here's her reply.
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
is a specific mix of upper division classes and "lower division" college
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
to figure out the impacts of each negotiation point before they push a
making the intranet rounds in R5
IA Fires and Fuels Treatment Success ... Need some examples
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
Thanks for your help
Fire Management Specialist
Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team
(check the FS lookup for email addy)
Please notify all R5 crews of upcoming mobile fire equip
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.........................
Mill Creek Hotshots / Captain
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?)
More on AB 384
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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?
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
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!
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
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,
Here is where you can write your comments - easy to do.....
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.
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.
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
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 !
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
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
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
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
WO-FAM is currently determining what the impacts of this regulation are
strictly applied; if applied with some negotiations; if
What if you were in a position as a GS-401 prior to the OPM regulation of
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.
Chief, Fire and Aviation Mgmt.
Incident Commander, Team 3
Tahoe National Forest
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
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.
Anyone know what's up with the GS Series 401 conversions?
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
We are at 40 days and counting before
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
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.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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
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
Feeling it in R4...
I have recently completed a assignment in an Interagency Dispatch
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
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,
I didn’t want another day to go by without sharing my experience with Kellie
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 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.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Everything I've heard about Jim
indicates he has a compassionate heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with
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.
For those that haven't seen this.......a local special report on the Inyo
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Some of the answers being posted on the Hotlist forum:
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
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
- 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.
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.
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
by a strike by SDFD employees. So last month the city unveiled a statue of
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.
SAFETY BULLETIN : Cascade Complex Combined 24 and 72 hour report
File Code: 6730
Date: September 14, 2007
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:
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
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
Thanks - folks - for your ongoing support of our efforts on behalf of the
wildland firefighting community.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Wish I were closer to Idaho. It would
be fun to attend. Ab.
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'.
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
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
(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...
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
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
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.
One of our BLM co-workers --
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
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"?
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
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
|Make checks payable to:
Print in memo section:
|NTAF National Transplant Assistance Fund
In Honor of Scott B. Anderson
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
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.
Co-workers and friends of Scott and the Anderson and Waters families.
I was wondering what you folks think is the best antenna for the BK
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?
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
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
"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.
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
strike teams are moving also. By daylight most should be at a staging area
their dispatched locations. Prado Staging will be a very busy.
Brad Cella the long time Alaska Regional FMO for the NPS and the very
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
media but the family knows. WFF also knows. No particulars on what happened
or services at this time.
Interesting post by larso on the hotlist under Butler 2.
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.
Some pretty dramatic fire images on CNN this evening, burning in timber in
Jim Wilkins gave a good synopsis. I liked this line he replied with when
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..."
Amen and right on, Brother!!
I too am hanging it up for all practical purposes for the same reasons you
This was my 38th fire season and I wanted to share my expertise and
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
against ADs do not negatively affect firefighter safety.
Again, another call just 5 minutes ago, looking yet again for someone to fill a
Officer Resource Order. Again, I had to tell the friend at the other end of
line that "because of the liability issues, and the AD pay situation, I
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
without putting my family's financial future at risk from legal actions, and
working for less than those who fill risk-free jobs on fires and make double
rate of a Safety Officer, Ops Chief or Air Attack?
My first fire season, after 30+ years on the line, of refusing ALL
a sh*tty feeling! Maybe 2008 will be better??
While is nice to finally know the true name of the StumpF*****, I think
case too much truth can be a bad thing ;-) It is always good on some
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
who were still not 100% about it and get the willies around them. This
has had many many victims and I am sure it will live on for may years to
despite the info disclosed here.
Thanks for the info
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.
PO Box 5
Forbestown Ca. 95941
Thanks Rusty, and thanks also for your help with all this. Jim was
DFMO on the Tahoe NF. Ab.
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."
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
Thanks, Kibby. I learned something. If you're registered, you
should add that to the Hotlist Bee Sting thread:
Two Dead After Shooting in Council
Sep 11, 2007 08:27 AM MDT
BOISE, Idaho -- Two people are dead in Council after an apparent
Around 10 a.m. Sunday (9/9/07), Adam County Sheriff's Deputies responded to
fired at the American Legion Hall in Council.
Authorities say a 54-year-old man and 46-year-old woman, both from
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
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
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.
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
young firefighters. (and help train them for Cal-fire and municipal jobs!)
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
916-640-1061 or 916-717-6615
staff-recruitment.doc (105 K doc file)
instructor-recruitment.doc (149 K doc file)
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 . . .
. . . 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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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
Need info on any fast rope programs you know of. Possibly putting one together
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
on the line of a tabloid article.... the online version at least asked a
I wonder why there are differences between the print and online version?...
folks called BS. It got the reporters to verify and clarify without bias the
originated from a blog
Preliminary Summary Report --Blue
Sheet-- for MVU Dozer 3346 Burnover (50 K pdf file)
to the two people who sent this in. Ab.
Story in the Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise
"Inland deaths (Esperanza) help spark debate -- is Forest Service
losing its bearings?"
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,
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.
PS Nice job, Good Samaritan!
Several people have brought this to our attention. One asked us to post the
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
thread on the Cascade Cplx ICP "burn-by".
Hazards we can prepare for:
Ab and All,
Lightning: If you haven't seen this, you might find this lightening safety
Bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings:
Be sure to read the bee safety info that's supposed to be coming out. I want
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
by a swarm of yellow jackets or hornets or paper wasps still potentially
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
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
DEPLOY A FIRE SHELTER to drastically reduce the number of stings."
It goes on from there talking about bee killing tactics while under your
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
I'll try to scan the whole page and send it in when I get access to a
Type 1 Wrench
Ellensburg Pass Fire, WA
WA- SES- Ellensburg Pass fire is 453 acres/ 100% contained as of this
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.
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
FFC - Fire and Fire Surrogates Study SP
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.
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!!
||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)
||Interesting 2 page article (with map) discussing why the Haines Index
only works in parts of California east of the Sierra-Cascade Crest.
Haines Index in California
use-of-haines-index-in-ca.doc (179 K word file)
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.
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
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
||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
* 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
FEMA-AHIMT@dhs.gov or call (800) 238-3358, ext. 7888 / (301) 447-7888.
||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!
Do you want one of us who is not involved to do the FOIA?
None should fear retribution for seeking fairness. Ab.
||Thought this editorial was worthy of passing on. Here's the link:
Guest column: Thanks for coming together during erratic fire season -
Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Tom Tidwell
||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
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
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
||Our life saving Good Samaritan is Sandy. I am not surprised!
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!
||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.
||Pine Fire on the hotlist has been taking off.
HP Wren cam- little video below:
||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
Specifically, how many "re-employed annuitants" were use on wildfires in FY
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
and former GS-levels.
Sometimes facts can be more interesting than fantasies!
And carry more leverage too. Ab.
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
Here's Something to Celebrate:
A firefighter on the line on the Wallow Fire (CA-STF) literally saved the
of an Incident Management Team member on 8/31/07.
The person who was saved was visiting the fireline in performance of his
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
He went into anaphylactic shock, had trouble breathing and lost
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
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?
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
||Another article from the Missoulian. Shows that despite a long season
still having fun on the job, and enjoying what they do.
Young and Dumb in R1
This is to thank Dick Mangan for sharing the Montana article with us about
of protecting structures within the WUI areas. This is the question a
serve on here in California is wrestling with right now. The more informed
become the more our understanding changes. Why should the property owner in
downtown suburbia be responsible financially to provide protection to a
built in the wild lands by the owner who is knowledgeable of the wild fire
know we all share in the financial burden of protecting the forest resources
is a limit to the improvements protection costs.
Heads up. Here's the beginning of the A76 study for dispatchers...
Clear Channel - Interagency Dispatch Study
||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...
Thanks Bruce. Ab.
||Making the rounds behind the scenes on the FS web. Received from
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
Also here is a good link on Energy drinks.
Take Care and on with the day.
||Should urban dwellers in a State have to bear some of the costs of
structures in the WUI when a wildfire threatens them? One person's
perspective in the Missoulian today.
||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.
||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)
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
How our perception of the world changed...
||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.
||In memory of the day and what followed:
If you haven't looked at these photos, take a look:
If you haven't read this personal account, have a read:
Elizabeth's Pentagon Journal (She's now on the Western NIMO Team.)
||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.
||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
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!
||More on Professional Liability Insurance from Cal Fire
Scroll thru and
check out the 8th paragraph starting with
always 20/20". This is Cal Fire Chief's communications to his personnel
regards to professional liability. He has taken the initiative to take care
of his people and communicate his intent.
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
are the ultimate defenders of this country.
Today, kiss your wife, hug your kids, walk your dog (the dog will love
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
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.
IAFF Local 2881
||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
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
||Howdy all -
A non-fire friend sent me this link... "Mother Nature's Secret Weapon" at
This article also links to "Ignition Impossible: Wildfires Set the Air
and "Burning Bush" at
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
||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.
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
Stay Safe and Keep up the Fight!!
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=1280 Did it paint that
ridge successfully today? Is it holding?
||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.
||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
Done a little more snooping around.
>From a Cal Fire associate, there is no insurance company that cover
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
to Defend and Indemnify Employee" that requires a public entity to
present or former employee.
>From there those that are on Federal teams, thru the local, or
or CFAA agreements that should link the employee back to the state or
government agency they work for. With that I am not an attorney so
if what I say is correct. You may need to continue to pursue it.
If I hear more I will let you know.
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.
your comments were (How Ridiculously Stupidly Put)
Forest Service firing unjust?
Disagreement over fire safety
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
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
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
||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
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
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?
I'm still rolling the Cascade Complex ICP burnover around in my
Looked at the old
Couple more things.
- Where are the fire shelters for all the camp personnel seated in the
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
with more clearance around it if this was really planned out?
- Was this team the one that had their camp burned over in Minnesota
Sounds like it's Embroyled in controversy to me.
Looking for the PLAN...
Discussion of the Cascade Complex ICP burnover is on the Hotlist
Discussion, too. Ab.
||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:
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:
||For those who want medical testing for firefighters, here's my
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 . . .
||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???
||If you go to :
Firecrew77.com, hit "links", scroll down to the UCLA
150' Solar Tower, click on the links to the
2002 Curve fire on
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.
Rio Hondo College
Good question, back to the good stuff.
I am wondering if anyone has pictures of the pryo-cumlous building and then
To me it's the collapse that I am most worried about and working below on
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
as I don't have those pictures in my gray carousel.
Always striving to improve and increase my knowledge and understanding of
fire, life, and human beans
U.S. to Help Greece in Firefighting
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The United States offered Friday to help with
future firefighting efforts in Greece, where 67 people died in wildfires
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
with slideshow and video
||thank you so much
Very interesting, isn't it? Glad you asked the question. I've
learned a lot. Ab.
I read your site often, can you tell me what the term "ice capping"
Interesting discussion with photos emerging here:
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.
And for the safety and wellbeing of firefighters. Ab.
||Croatian fire whirl video
Might be a good time to run away...
www.liveleak.com/view?i=af7_1189291200 (must have Flash 8 and
||This is a link to a Tri-City Herald article. Apparently a WA state
was killed by the rotor blade as he was exiting the helicopter. While he was
bighorn sheep for relocation and not fire, I think the safety message still
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
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.....
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
||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
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
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.
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
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
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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
/s/ James M. Peña (for)
cc: pdl r5 fam
pdl r5 ro directors
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
Mid West FMO
||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?)
Many writing in here write it CalFire or Cal Fire. I think
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
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
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
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)
||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.
||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...)
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.
||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.
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.
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.
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".
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?
Not that I know of. Ab.
||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!!!!!!!!
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.
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?
I have a bunch of pics to post. Was waiting. Next week? Ab.
we have loaded a google earth overlay of the 9/5 IR for the moonlight fire -
on the plumas - onto our website:
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!
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.
||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!!!!
- 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!
||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
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.
||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.
Our best to him. The American Chestnut project is awesome. 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?
||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."
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
The blog entry:
The story that aired 31 Aug:
Al Henkel/NBC News SW Bureau
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.
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.
Judi, getting "carded" is getting the basic firefighter training that
gets you a "red card." Ab.
||YOUR Voices DO count
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
Thanks again... Hopefully this will give a bit of incentive to those on the
fence considering leaving the Agencies that people are taking notice.
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...
From Northern Minnesota
Anyone got any suggestions for Judi? Ab.
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.
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.
||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
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.
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.
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
||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
- 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
- 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
Welcome to firefighting in the twenty-first century. Be safe out there.
||Pics of the Wautoma Fire, WA-Hanford Reach National Monument
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.
Inciweb on this fire:
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-
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.
Former USDA Forest Service Southern CA GACC Intelligence Coordinator
Readers, Ab has 3 summary excel files and a ppt. Ask and
I'll send them to you.
Alcohol and Big Macs can be a health risk as well, but they as well as
are legal substances. I say that as a firefighter were gonna eat smoke and
don't like the risks, there are all kinds of jobs out there we can take with
health risks. This would also make room for those who really want to fight
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.
||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.
||Moonlight from Division C: The Moonlight fire from Division C on
Fire turned the corner and ran 180 degrees after cold front passed. 6
after dark. Inversion broke a bit ago 9/5/07, 1400. Now fire moving
all sides!. Photo compliments of squeebo.
Thanks, check for it the
Fire34 photo page. Ab.
||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
||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
the legal challenges.
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
||Correction in the 1990-2006 Wildland Firefighter Fatalities in the US
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
as it was First Strike Environmental that lost 8 people in an auto accident
Vale, Oregon, not Ferguson Management as it states in the report.
||Good video from Castle Rock; 100% contained.
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.........!
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
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.
||Another in the Monlight Fire series, taken by firefighters from all
Moonlight fire from Susanville, CA. 09/04/2007 1400 local
Photo compliments of K6.
For the other two, check the
Fire34 photo page.
Some good presentations for safety, review, and
familiarization from the Lessons Learned Center:
HRO for "Fire Crews"
HRO for "Fire Managers"
Fatigue, Decision Making, and the Fireline
Preparing for Command in the Wildland Urban Interface (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
A Different Way of Thinking About Leading and Change by Scott Snook
High Reliability Organizing by Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe
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.
||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.
||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?
here is a shot that my dad, ron lunder, took of the moonlight fire
from atop keddie ridge today at 1600.
Nice one. Permanent link is on the
Fire34 photo page. Ab.
||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),
||Here's a pic today of the smoke column from the PNF Moonlight Fire as
seen from Quincy. Photo compliments of sr5401.
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
Nice ones. You can find links to these and more on the
Helicopters23 photo pages. Ab.
||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
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,
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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
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.
||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
New way of fighting fire from the air?
Weyerhaeuser finishing tests of Boeing's firefighting container system
Jobs Page as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series
0462 (Forestry Technician) & Series
0455 (Range Technician) & Series
0401 (Biologist) have been updated. 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
BLM Fuels Management Specialist
Thanks for info on the cleanup. Ab.
Re: Smoke exposure and other health hazards of wildland fire
Medical Qualification Standards (IMQS) provide for
medical exams. Those exams protect both the employee and the employer in most
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.
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
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.
For they said:
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
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.
Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2007
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
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
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
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,
`(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
`(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
`(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.
`(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:
`(ii) Hepatitis A, B, or C.
`(iii) Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
`(v) Hemorrhagic fever.
`(vi) Meningococcal disease.
`(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
Correcting Largest Fires by Acreage
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.
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.
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.
Try this link, it should have the Info you are looking for in regards to the Cedar fire
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??
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Re: Cascade Fire "Burn By"
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.
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.
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
Hope this provided a little more insight for some people. Everyone be safe and take care.
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.
Thanks, Dick. Permanent link to the T&D website on our links
page under Fed. Ab.
>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."
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....
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.
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.
"Criminal charges filed against Zaca Fire starters"
Hope the ranch had good insurance.
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