September, 2009

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9/30 H1N1 flu shot questions:

If you have any questions about the H1N1 flu shot you can get it answered today Wed. 30 until 1900, KCRA has a call line to answer questions about the H1N1 Flu shot. If you have questions about receiving a shot, what are the side effects, etc. Doctors, Nurses and others from the Medical Community of Sacramento can answer most questions. (916) 447-2255.
(Thanks Rich for sharing)

Take Care.


Michelle Reugebrink
R5 Safety & Occupational Health Specialist

9/28 I'd like to add a little more about Ryan and the terrific person he was.

Ryan spent 4 years in the Marines prior to coming to the Forest Service. He had his 5 and 10 year certificates and had everything to be proud of. Ryan completed the apprenticeship and did his crew time on Shasta Lake Hotshots and his helicopter time on H-506 at Trinity Base. He worked on the Weaverville District, Denny Station and after conversion moved back to Mt. Shasta. Ryan is the type of guy who would do anything asked without asking why. He just stepped up and did it all with a smile (even the jobs he hated, like chipping :) He filled in on any piece of equipment and everyone loved having him on board.

Ryan met his partner Kim about two years ago and she helped him overcome quite a few obstacles in life. They had moved into a house earlier this year and were starting to save money to buy one. Kim has a two year old and Ryan has helped raise her from day 1. They weren't married yet, and Kim now has to move ahead and pick up the pieces. She runs a day care from their home and is attending College of the Siskiyous on the side, working towards her Bachelor's in Early Childhood Development.

We are trying to gather some funds to assist her with immediate needs which will allow her to continue her business and stay in the house while attending college. We are collecting donations to get Kim back on the road to success. She's a wonderful person and a terrific mom!


Paige B
Pat T
Brian R

Ab sez, Thanks for filling in about his life. What a loss.

9/28 From my Hotlist account on Cyanide antidote


Saw your post on hydrogen cyanide. Thanks for spreading the word on the hazards. Wanted to also make you aware (if you aren't already) that the FDA approved a fairly new (for the USA) antidote for hydrogen cyanide poisoning. Europe has been using it for close to 15 years now with pretty amazing survival statistics. Seems to be taking a little longer for the movement to start in the US fire service. Cyanokit (hydroxocobalamin) is available in the US and its use pretty much eliminates any of the previous antidotes used for this. All the other antidotes have significant side effects and contraindications.

This new treatment is critical PRE-HOSPITAL TREATMENT!! There are no significant side effects and is given to anyone who is even suspected of an inhalation injury from a fire. Now, I haven't heard anyone actually using it for wildland exposures, but if the fire service can realize that they are exposed to hydrogen cyanide on every structure fire they go to, why not wildland. It's not just a hazmat anymore!

Wasn't able to add a reply to your post , so figured this was the next best way to get the info to you. Hope you will spread the word.


9/28 Some old photos of the Mill Creek Summit (then called Tie Summit) Forest Station from the late 50's and early 60's. Some old engines and an air drop. This historical station burned in the Station fire.

Engines 25 photo page

Mill Creek Station and others, 1950's: Burned in the Station Fire of 2009. The first six were taken in either 1959 or possibly in 1960 while I was stationed at what was then called Tie Summit on Tanker 4-6 ,of the Valyermo RD. The last one (#7) is the Soledad Patrol station (1964) which is long since gone.
1 - East towards Mt. Pacifico
2 - East towards Mt. Pacifico - Notice the size of the trees as compared to what they were before the fire.
3 - West towards Mt. Gleason - it was then a Nike Base - the smoke is from a fire down towards Mendenhall Peak.
4 - 5 Tanker 4-6 - 1958 Chev. (Sure seems small compared to today's models)
6 - Air drop on a Jet fighter crash on the side of Josephine Peak. Not too far below the look out tower.
Photos compliments of Rick.

9/28 Information Products Laboratory for Emergency Response

Hey Ab,

Here is something near and dear to my heart that may interest the readers who are interested to learn what is being studied now to make their jobs safer and more efficient in the immediate future. USFS is involved as well as university researchers, private sector companies and government agencies. See attached.


Fire Geek

ipler-pfi-dg.pdf (1566 K, 22 page, pdf file)

9/28 Hi Ab,

Just a short note, I sent you a flyer for a free baseball game for First Responders and up to three guests in San Diego this Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. This might be very good for So. Cal folks to unwind a little, before the next wave of activity. You can access their website at: burninstitute.org.

Take Care,

Frank Orr

9/27 Ryan Wharton's passing:

At 0715 Sunday morning 9/27/09 Ryan Wharton senior firefighter on Engine 62 (Mt Shasta) Shasta Trinity National Forest passed away. As with Ryan's style, he put up a great fight but succumbed to complications from injuries received from an accident at home which occurred on 9/22/09. I think I can speak for all his fellow firefighters and friends we are all deeply saddened by Ryan's passing, his spirit and great smile will truly be missed. Funeral/Memorial service information is not yet known and will be sent out as soon as possible.

Condolences, please keep us in the loop. Ab.

9/27 Ab's,

This was something my father (Tom Stein) used to do. Mom sent a batch of his recipe cards after he passed away,
and I had to share this one. Dad's been gone for 3 years now and I'm just getting around to going
through this portion of his stuff.

Tom's Rum Baked Beans

½ lb. Thick-sliced bacon
4 cans (1 lb. 3oz.) B&M baked beans
2 tsps. dry mustard
½ cup packed DARK brown sugar
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup strong, black coffee
½ cup dark rum
1 8oz. can sliced pineapple

Cut bacon into 2 lengths. Fry until crisp; drain; set aside.
Combine beans, mustard, ginger, brown sugar, coffee, and bacon.
(Use a large bowl for combining; its easier.)
Turn into a 3-qt. casserole dish or a 13 x 9 baking dish.
(At this point, you can cover and refrigerate til the next day.)
Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. 350 degree oven.
Take out; stir in rum, cut pineapple slices in half and arrange on top.
Bake again for about 30 minutes. Will be bubbly and maybe lightly browned.

The alcohol bakes out in the final step, so it's a safe "anytime" thing, although Dad only made
them on his days off. This makes a wonderful substitute for chili on "chili dogs".


Thanks, I added it to the Recipes collection, at the bottom. For those who don't know, Tom Stein worked at Ryan AAB and accomplished much in his 38 years with CDF -- a life well-lived. It's great to have his recipe. I'll try it. Ab.

9/27 Hazard Tree Felling

Very interesting discussion about hazard tree felling. Several years ago I was on a Type 1 fire in which a Division Supervisor and one Operations Section Chief had a very "animated" discussion about whether to bring in a local timber faller to cut a hazard tree. The DIVS indicated he was a Class C faller with a great deal of experience and there was no way he would fall it. The OSC said he was very familiar with a local timber faller, that had been used numerous times to fall trees, and the OSC had a great deal of confidence in his skill and ability to fall the tree, and he wanted that person to make the decision.

What do you do when there are two people who feel equally qualified and are equally adamant that their position is correct? Err on the side of caution. Long story short, the IC made the decision; leave the tree, flag it off, notify all resources working the division, and let it come down on its own. Which it did, the next day, without any risk to anyone. The tree was a 'threat' to the line, however, that 'threat' was mitigated by having resources immediately available to respond when the tree did come down.

Recently, I was the ICT3 on a fire where we had numerous hazard trees that needed to be felled. The agency faller (B, moving towards a C) made the decision to "not" fall one of the trees. It was flagged off and all resources were notified to stay out of that area. It was a good decision. As the ICT3 I looked at the tree, and it was never even a consideration to ask for a qualified C faller, as it would have been an unnecessary risk.

It does happen... sometimes we say "leave it". Unfortunately, it probably does not happen often enough.


9/27 Ryan Wharton


Ryan Wharton Firefighter from the Shasta Trinity National Forest is still in very critical condition at Mercy Hospital in Redding. This was a non work related accident that happened at home. Ryan's family, fire family and friends are supporting him, his family and girlfriend at this time. As we know more we will send out information on how people can help.

Please keep Ryan and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


9/26 Ryan Wharton (SHF E-71 detailed; E-62 lead FF) was badly hurt at home last Tuesday (9/22) when his vehicle he was working on came off it's blocks and pinned him. He's in ICU in a Redding Hospital in critical condition.

Does anyone know where we can send cards or otherwise support him and his family? I feel terrible about this.


I put a call in to a SHF Batt Chief to see what kind of help is needed. Thoughts and prayers. Ab.

9/26 re: felling thread


Part of this discussion is about the difficulty of maintaining agency saw programs. What incentive is there for quality fellers to stay in a position that will utilize their skills? The GS pay scale does not reward chainsaw proficiency.

Even the much maligned AD pay plan - for all of its deficiencies - recognizes that someone who can run a chainsaw deserves more than the guy on the end of a pulaski. The Faller A is AD-D (same as FFT1 squad boss), Faller B is AD-F (same as single resource boss) and the Faller C is AD-I or about $30/hr, which is more than a strike team/task force leader gets and just a step below ICT3 and division sup.

This is how they describe the exception position at the AD-I level:

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

But, what do you get extra for carrying an agency Faller C qual and all the extra responsibility? The agencies can't expect to retain quality sawyers if the only option for advancement means doing something else. It's no wonder that we have folks like the FALC contributor who has the job in sagebrush territory, or like on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, where the forest saw coordinator has an assignment on the grasslands of eastern Colorado.

vfd cap'n

9/25 Where have you gone RQ?

I think this severity thing needs to flush out a few more days until the real story on severity is in and we understand what happened or did not happened. Hopefully all including Ed, Pena, Moore and other Line will go back and read the blue ribbon panel/commission reports of the 2003 fire siege, including information on how many R-5 resources were shut down for the year while So Cal ripped and citizens died.

I know the RO/WO and the Chief don't want anymore after hour phone calls from Boxer and Feinstein, so I am sure they wont be making those mistakes again or doing this on the cheap. Primarily because we are watching.

With all that said; I will go back to my first thought that came to mind today when I read the posts on severity and preparedness staffing issues circling throughout R-5 today:

Where have you gone RQ?


9/25 Severity

Hey Ab, At least the forest supes are sane...

The forest supes put pressure on the Chief and and he bowed to pressure... he's "submitting the request for authority to expend severity for helicopter contract extensions through October 10."

Of course all kinds of admonishments... about regional effort...


9/25 Hi Ab.,

It looks like the Arnica fire in Yellowstone Park is blowing up.
Here's a webcam view. Looks pretty impressive!

Does anyone else have any info on this fire?


captured a still at 1440 hours if you can't access the cam. HOTLIST Ab.

9/25 Severity -- Breaking News:

The Chief of fire in R5 has made a management decision to let all 7-8 helicopters in CA go off contract when their contracts are up  (Sat Sept 26 - Tues Oct 29). LIKE TOMORROW

that leaves

  • 5 in NOPS: 2 that carry people stationed at Trinity and Big Hill; 2 limited T2s (cargo and water only); 1 T1 (in OR right now)
  • 11 in SOPS: combination of exclusive use, T1s

Oh, the rationale?

  • only predicted NWinds this next week
  • no lightning until the end of the week (what about the weeks after that???)
  • ERCs in north and south are hitting new records, we're in a drought ... oh wait, Special Ed that would be a reason to keep them! Remember the Station Fire?
  • the sun's going down sooner these days??? not so much day that we have to fight fire? can't get our $$ worth??? go figgure!


9/25 Felling

One thing we have to remember is this.. We as firefighters, Sawyers, Swampers or Contract fallers Have a dangerous job. There are alot of precautions that we can take when it comes to falling trees but, due to the nature of this job, accidents will still happen.. The only way you can stop accidents from happening is not to put anyone on the hill at all. Its good to talk about safer ways of doing things but we would be naive to think that all accidents are avoidable.

I know the faller that this whole discussion started over and I also know that he is a well trained and experienced faller.. If he was not comfortable with the tree he would not have accepted the assignment.. If we were to leave every tree standing that posed a threat to the person falling it, there would be no need for fallers on the first-line.. Like I said it's good to talk about and to come up with safer ways to do things but lets not forget it's a dangerous job and, as long as there are people out there doing this job, accidents will happen.

Realistic Thinker..

9/25 Very nice logo for the Salmon River Hotshots on Logos 16 photo page. Continued good thoughts for Becky who is part of this crew.

She walked a bit yesterday, slept well and as her family says, "It is going to be another long tough day for her. Her lungs are still very bruised and all the blood in them needs to work its way out of her chest. Keep praying she is fighting hard."

Sign on at her website, read the complete updates and offer encouragement. Ab.

9/25 TX Dozer entrapment?

I haven't seen or heard anything in quite a while about the (alleged) dozer entrapment in Texas that was being discussed back in late August. Does anyone have any updated information on this?

GA Firestorm81

9/24 Insurance Company resources on fires? and Felling:


The problem is not necessarily regarding "letting private resources on a wildland fire (in regards to the insurance industry)." The problem is in accountability. As long as these "private" resources are assigned to the fire by the Incident Management Team, have appropriate communications, and appropriate supervisory personnel then there shouldn't be a problem. This, however, has not always been the case.

A list of concerns regarding these resources:
1. They are private resources paid to protect individual houses of holders of specific company policies. An agency engine would try to save the neighborhood, but there is uncertainty (lack of trust) that private resources would take the same action for non-policy holders.

2. These private resources take their marching orders from a company, not the IMT. This can lead to conflicts of interest for the engine module when their direction from the company (stay and fight) conflicts with the direction of the IMT (bail). If you are on the fire, you are the responsibility of the IMT and they will bear the brunt of any criticism if there is a failure resulting in injury due to these conflicts.

3. Accountability, especially during initial attack. Dispatches from multiple agencies send multiple engines/resources, and it is on the IC to establish a unified command scheme and ascertain the location of all assigned resources. This becomes much harder when private individuals/companies self-dispatch without the knowledge of the other dispatch agencies. Couple this lack of knowledge with a lack of communication, and you wind up with people getting cut off and overrun as they are trying to go direct while everyone else is firing out.

So, to sum up--
As long as these resources become established in the team, have appropriate communications, and are able to sever their company direction and instead take direction from said team, everything is OK and they are just another engine. If this doesn't happen, they are a huge liability and also a huge pain in the ass.

Class C Sagebrush Faller

P.S.--As a felling boss, I have seen numerous what I would call "close calls" from the falling sets I have worked with. There appears to be a normalization of risk involved here that is not being discussed in the thread-- what Agency folks are comfortable with is significantly different than what the fallers are comfortable with, which may be a driver as to why C fallers from the agency are on the way out. The reality of the situation is that the professional fallers are just that- professionals, but sometimes unfamiliar with the special hazards that fire causes. This provides the fire with 2 concurrent strategies: 1. "They are professionals and get the job done better than the agency folks" (increased production) and 2. "They are professionals and should have known better" (ass covering).

I personally think they are worth every cent they are paid, but I worry about them every time I get a felling boss assignment because of the risks they are comfortable taking, and the stubbornness encountered when you try as a "casual" tree feller to talk them out of a tree that they have already decided to cut.

9/24 Hey Ab, this is to VFD about the fitness issue with fallers.

From his assertion I am assuming that all the fallers were fit because there was no question of fitness in the accident reports.

OK. I kinda thought that was my point.
Or did I miss something again?

Left Hook

9/24 Becky's Marathon:

Ab and All,

I just came out from seeing Becky. The Doctor gave permission for Becky to start moving around. The nurse got a chair out so that Becky could move from her bed to the chair. When Becky got up she asked if she could go for a walk. The Nurses couldn't believe it. Becky walked about 100 feet with all of her tubes plugged into her. The personnel in the trauma ICU were impressed and called her a rock star and held up a "10" score.

Just want to thank you all. Becky is reading the e-mails and it is really helping her. I invite you to look at her care page; all those posts and the e-mails to enloe hospital are really lifting her spirits.


beckyquigley one word in the search


Thanks Darin.
Readers, it's easy to sign up there. The posts of support are wonderful to behold. Darin and Nancy's updates are inspirational. Becky is inspirational! If anyone wants to send support messages as text messages or otherwise, I'd be happy to pass them on. Becky, you go girl!

Readers, please let me note again that Becky and her parents requested the release of the private medical information they've shared over the last few days. (When people would rather not share, HIPPA protects a patient's privacy on medical issues.) Darin replied when I asked: "Becky is a third generation firefighter; my family also has several other members currently in the fire service. Because of this we are inundated with requests for information. Your website has helped soften this." Ab reply, "We're happy to soften."

Everyone, please visit their new website for more updates and please keep this extended family -- that is part of our fire family -- in your thoughts and prayers. Ab.

9/24 Insurance Company resources on fires?


Now I Know that I am going to pick at a scab, but I need to know for my own sanity, What is the main fighting point about letting private resources on a wildland fire (in regards to the insurance industry). My background is about 12 years both municipal and wildland, and I can`t wrap my head around the distaste for these guys. I work for a company that is contracted for such a response. We are red carded, pack tested, and most have many, many years of fire background. Now I may still be green in the operational scheme of things, but I would see this as an added resource on a fire. If we can cover houses assigned by the insurance companies, why not assign us to a portion of the neighborhood. This would allow local government and state and federal to commit resources to active fire attack?

P.S don`t go batcrp on me fellas, i`m just tryin to find a happy medium


9/24 re: felling thread - "the quick and the dead"


I would challenge you to name a single fireline faller fatality or injury incident where the issue was physical fitness. I couldn't even find it in the 2007 Oregon fallers logging safety report.

vfd cap'n

9/23 R5 retention update and housing policy:

Hi Ab's.;

Wanted to pass along the R-5 Partnership Council notes for July. Mostly wanted to share information on the retention update and housing policy.


Letterman - An FWFSA Member - Stand Strong, Stand Together

9/23 Falling thread:


The person that intimated that the expression the quick and the dead only applies to gunfighters and not fallers has not been paying attention. I haven't seen many jumbo fallers. These guys are quick and fit. I lived on the same block as the lead faller for The Pacific Lumber Company (PL) when I was a kid. Bill Ross was tall and thin except that he had the guns of a middle linebacker. Quiet, Gary Cooper kind of man. I went to high school with a man who became Bull of the Woods for PL. He was cut and very fast. Harvey Holt is his name. I maintain that these guys live because they are clean and aware and deadly quick. And maybe just a little lucky.


9/23 RE: Recognition Primed Decision-making and extreme fire behavior by Tim Lynch:

This is the fork in the trail we need to take. It's very well written, good job!

I've always related field observations to the "Weather Rock". You can get all the wind direction and temps you want in the briefing, but observations in the field should be part of your situation awareness. Spot weather RH and temp is invaluable as are the major changes affecting your weather, but current observations are key to tuning into your gut feelings.

The best decision making comes from the gut! You combine your past experience to make a decision on what you expect. You also bring up discussion among the people who do the work. Absolutely! Test your theory with others and consider their feedback then formulate a plan everybody understands. Right there you briefed your people on what's going on and solidified you plan.

As a supervisor you may be inundated with logistics, while your crew is taking it all in. Ahhh, the Weather Rock! Observing the intensity of burning material, watching the direction of smoke movements, feeling a still in the air, hearing a crackle where there shouldn't be. Situation Awareness.

It's hard to say sometimes if you are Situationally Aware!

A "Just Culture" is finding its way into medicine and aviation. It's about watching each others back with out fear of stepping on toes. We get into routines and when things no longer seem routine, somebody should ask why the change.

Finally, the indicators, that give away the situation you are in, need to be identified if you are ever going to build a database of experience. Get everybody together and predict how the fire is going to behave AND tell why. It's kind of a game for fun! Who's right?

Does the air feel heavy? Does fire want to vent upwards? If it does will it break through and inversion and vent? Where is the smoke going? What intensity is fire around you burning? Is it picking up or dying down? Does it want to carry in grass / pine needles / heavy fuel? What has been the daily pattern in the weather and what do you expect from the burning period or night? Where do you expect to fire to end up at by the afternoon? Does it seem suspicious that everything seems so calm?

We used to try predict how a burning snag would go down! Playing out these questions as a group is the best way for everybody to build experience.

From: Lt. General Harold G. Moore
"Leadership in War and Peace"

Always trust in your instincts. Instincts and intuition give one an immediate estimate of a situation. Your instincts are the product of your training, reading, personality and experience. If my head tells me one thing and my gut tells me something else, I always go with my gut.
Everything in leadership boils down to judgment; the key-defining characteristic of a leader. Judgment reveals the poor leaders, the good leaders and the superb leaders. A person can possess a high IQ but still lack judgment. Intelligence does not always equal wisdom.
Every person in an organization is as important and necessary to a mission as the next person. That goes from the top to the bottom. The rifleman private down in the ranks was just as vital as I was in getting a job done.
Always remember to never deprive a person of their self-respect.
To do well in any field of endeavor, you have to work for good people.
Strive to have one or two people under you who are totally trustworthy - who will be honest with you when you are going off track on an issue or situation. The essence of loyalty is for an underling to tell his boss, “I don’t think you ought to do this and here is why.”

William Riggles

9/23 Becky Quigley's status:


Here is another update-

Becky is having her ET tube extubated. She is excited about that.

Major concern from her doctor is she still has a leak in her lung and her blood count is low, she might need a blood transfusion.

Her spirits are still very high.

Her crew left this morning. Several of them got to see her and that lifted her spirits.

Darin and Nancy

Good news. I know there's still miles of healing ahead. We're all hoping for a speedy recovery. Hotlist thread Ab.

9/23 Fireline Felling:

Safety Angel,

Interesting moniker you give yourself when the first issue out of the box you feel compelled to focus on is cost. This is a classic agency position for someone who refuses to recognize AND acknowledge the fact that fallers have been working for decades on agency administered wildland fires WITHOUT injury /fatality insurance. Since you provide the cheap AD price as a comparison to the “more expensive” falling team costs, it’s apparent your cost comparison/appraisal is missing some vital information.

At this point, may I ask you, would you work on a wildland fire without injury/fatality insurance? Would you allow any of your agency people to work uninsured? Because that’s certainly what historically has been happening with AD fallers. And until Alan Wyatt was killed in Colorado fighting a Forest Service fire as an AD and his family was denied any death benefits I don’t really think you, nor most Forest Service personnel realized that fallers WERE working uncovered. Our Congressional delegation certainly was not aware of it.

Yes, I remember the R-1(Montana/North Idaho) sarcasm about the faller program when it was born. The first visits I made to R-1 were to discuss issues around setting standards for commercial fallers working on wildfires. Paul Chamberlain and RC Carroll were extremely supportive. Paul even came over to Oregon to attend the first Timber Faller Roundtable in 2002 to be a part of the conversation. The Roundtable was orchestrated and funded by the private sector, by the way, not the agencies. I guess if you call committing that much personal time and energy to achieving something as important as improving the SAFETY of fallers working on the fireline (and everyone they work around) as “Drumming up business” well then…you’ve pretty much laid out your fractured philosophy. Is that what setting standards is called?

Helpful that you identified yourself as R-1 – Your comments about falling teams makes so much sense now. Felling culture and practices are different in the Northwest. Fallers in the NW & N.Calif. work in teams, sir. The concept of the Faller Module program came from that practice. The recommendations CAME from commercial fallers in the NW, because this is where the initiative was born to establish standards for fireline fallers – not Montana.

Fallers only work together on larger trees when they feel it is necessary and then work separately, in parallel strips when that’s appropriate. My recommendation to you is that, when you make a broad statement such as it’s a contentious issue amongst experienced fallers, qualify it… It’s a contentious issue in Montana. Your view on saw teams is the exception rather than the rule overall. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s amazing that the Faller Module program made it to national implementation if your woods logic is so sound.

You said: “It's my contention that if there was a way to get the statistics, they would show that a large percentage of the serious injury or fatalities from saw accidents are a direct result of more than one around the stump.” The statistics ARE there. If you’re so convinced that this is a crucial point, GO GET THE PROOF. Otherwise, it’s unsubstantiated. The simplistic assumptions of this statement don’t hold water. Felling scenarios are complex and varied. It takes knowledge and wisdom on the ground to make sound decisions, not blind adherence to your “rules.”

There are myriad war stories and field experiences that can be used to bolster a particular position (such as your FFT2 road guard or our faller’s disgust at an IC walking right into their falling area to have lunch) but the bottom line is that, even though it has some glitches, the Faller Module program has exponentially improved the fireline faller situation across the country. Period. The increased cost is due to INSURANCE coverage, something most agency personnel, such as you, continue to be oblivious of.

And, sir, whether or not you like it, and whether or not you allow it, as long as commercial fallers exist they will always cut on this nation’s wildland fires because they’ve been putting out fires longer than your agency has been around. The primary point of the Faller Module program was first to establish standards.

Last, bringing up Palmer with such bravado is disgusting. I continue to be amazed at such armchair after action quarter backing. Also, let Mr. Chamberlain speak for himself as to what compelled his work. As with any great individual who has left the Forest Service, I continue to see their achievements manipulated to serve the political agenda of those remaining.

Shari Downhill

P.S. Casey…Dude…Cottonwoods SUCK. ((Sorry)) The recommendation of removing them from the top down (with a bucket truck NOT a climber) is what makes the most sense. And yes, we can do dinner rather than appetizers. Misery was right. You deserve it.

9/23 felling:

Safety Angel and others:

“For the guy that wanted to know why there aren't many calls for agency C fallers, it's because we usually can't fill the orders.”

While that is certainly the biggest reason, currently there is also the encroaching concept that ‘C Fallers’ are not acceptable for the professional falling (module) assignment. The national contract was apparently changed in 2008 for these modules and former ‘C’ fallers - no longer with an agency - are no longer acceptable. (This does present one of those interesting right hand / left hand moments; as there can be ‘C’ fallers with an agency – on the fireline - doing hazard tree removal while the next falling team over does not allow that level of experience and they are doing the same job.)

There are other differences.

The Pro Modules are not required to have had S-130 and S-190 nor are they required to pass the pack test. This does bring up again the point that Pro Cutters certainly need a Falling Boss, who is a qualified fire fighter, because they are on a fire. Even if there is a particular company that does meet the 130/190 minimums I would suggest that for supervisory level positions on the line a significant experience background is warranted.

There are other reasons, of course.

However, without a falling boss class, who are we to complain about training? We are not walking the talk.

I do expect that like everything else we will continue to migrate toward a more professional level of falling on fires.
1) More modules, less agency and fewer individual AD fallers.
2) The modules being required to up their training to that of basic wildland fire fighters.
3) The modules to also meet arduous fire fighter fitness standards.
4) The FALB position to be more formally recognized and a Class/Task Book established.

{….. and I never really mentioned having any sort of standardized training/testing/journeyman/certification for Pro Fallers. Just because there is none why should that get discussed?}

Fuels Guy

9/23 Recognition Primed Decision-making and extreme fire behavior:

Fuels Guy, Tim Stubbs, William Riggles, mikef, & All,

Great discussion on extreme fire behavior. Attached is a proposal I will be submitting to the F & AM Steering Committee this winter. I would be interested to hear your opinions on it.

RPD.doc (43 K, 5 page doc file)

Tim Lynch

RPD = Recognition Primed Decision-making

9/23 Becky Quigley's status:


Thanks for posting Becky's info on your web page.

Here is a quick update for everyone.

Becky fractured her T2,T3,T4,T5,T6 Spinous processes, left 5,7 and right 10th ribs and left Scapula. Her most serious injury that is going to require her to be on a ventilator for several days is her left pneumothorax and lung contusions.

Becky has a great attitude and is writing us lots of notes due to her not being able to talk because of the ventilator.

I want to thank everyone for all their calls, text messages and e-mails and just ask that everyone keep praying for Becky's quick recovery.

We're working on a web page so people can check Becky's status.
You will need to search beckyquigley one word to find her page.

You can also e-mail her on the Enloe Hospital web page and they bring them to her room.

We have also been getting lots of request's on how people can help. If you could spread the word that they can donate to the WFF in Becky's name that would be great. Vicky and the WFF have been very helpful.

Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts,

Darin, Nancy, Heather, Chelsea and Brian

9/22 Felling issues dialog:

I've held off as long as I could. It's been interesting as well as frustrating reading what has been said concerning falling operations.

First of all I'm glad that your sawyer is doing OK, Shari. We all know that this is a very dangerous profession. I actually met you a couple of times when you came to the R 1 Saw Certifiers meetings to drum up business. I've had the opportunity to work around some of your sawyers and overall they are very good. I'm supportive that if we have to use contract sawyers then we should make sure that they are quality and from what I've seen of your sawyers, they are quality.

That being said they are also very expensive. On the Rattlesnake Fire in north Idaho a couple of years ago, we had a saw team from Oregon that might have been yours, a team from California, and a lone AD sawyer from the area that was an out of work logger. The team from Oregon was $150 an hour, the team from California was $175 an hour, and the AD was somewhere around $24- $28 an hour. Do the math. We were working 16 hour days so we were paying the team from California $2800 a day. Since only one sawed at a time, that is $1400 a day that we were paying the what ever you want to call them, swamper, road guard, spotter. The AD sawyer that used a FF 2 as a road guard was every bit as productive.

This brings up my next issue, saw teams. This is kind of a contentious issue amongst experienced sawyers. Years ago there were district saw crews or fire crews that sawed together all of the time. We used to fall hundreds of trees each season when we prepped burn units, fell for fish structures, etc... Many of us worked logging when we got laid off for the winter. Those days are gone unless you go to a lot of rehab from fires. I fell over 1000 trees in a two week period on the Cerro Grande rehab. The point is since 1991 when most regions went to the S-212 that is taught today we don't have saw teams. We teach that everyone but the sawyer needs to be at least two tree lengths from the stump (2 1/2 for the FS S-212). OSHA wrote the FS up for the fatality on the Palmer fire last year because we allowed the deceased to be within two tree lengths of the stump. It's the law! I don't know of any loggers that would allow anyone in the strip that they are falling.

It's my contention that if there was a way to get the statistics, they would show that a large percentage of the serious injury or fatalities from saw accidents are a direct result of more than one around the stump.

Shari mentioned the " Sim Limb" exercise that Paul Chamberlin created. One of the main reasons that he came up with it was to prove to the people --that were against limiting people to one at the stump-- that none of their warning methods worked. I went through it at least six different years multiple times where we allowed our opponents to try any warning method that they wanted and I can not think of one time that their method was proven adequate. We tried

  • the string,
  • the shoulder tap,
  • the stick,
  • throwing rocks (I always used to big of rocks which created its own hazard),
  • radio ear pieces.

I'm not against the concept of team falling if we teach it and practice it, but that's not going to happen. So why would we allow it on fires? As a Type 2 OPS or Safety, I won't allow it. Order the SAWYERS that you need, not falling teams.

Felling Boss- I have it on my red card, but the last time that I used it was the Fawn Peak/ Pot Po fires in Washington. Not very many calls come in for it, which amazes me. It's the same as a Dozer Boss or an Engine Strike team Leader. Why would we turn Fallers lose on a fire with no supervision? They had a lot of Felling Bosses on the Biscuit Fire. I think it's a span of control thing. A few years back they were going to require a Felling Boss class, but to this point have not created one. Before that, the FMO usually gave the qualification to their more experienced sawyers. R1 wants to make it a requirement for felling boss to be a C faller. Any thoughts?

For the guy that wanted to know why there aren't many calls for agency C fallers, it's because we usually can't fill the orders. The C fallers are also the STL, Div Sup., or the other overhead positions. Once the fire season starts, they are all gone doing other things.

I've vented long enough. Be safe out there and look up. I sawed for over 30 years on fires and they were some of the best assignments that I had.

Safety Angel

9/22 Subject: Salmon River IHC accident

The Salmon River IHC is staying in Chico overnight to be with Becky. She's alert and interacting. Becky is SKU BC Darin Quigley's daughter. Daren is a former Plumas Shot many years ago. We're all very lucky this isn't worse, although healing must take place. That said, please keep Becky and her family and crew and others associated with this incident in your thoughts and prayers. A CISD team is there to debrief all those involved. The family is requesting no visitors at this time and they have a good support system in place at the hospital. (Thanks to the WFF for the support they're rendering.)

This info below has also been provided in a press release. People have requested their names be released so I haven't snipped them.

Subject: Salmon River IHC accident

Last night, a member of the Salmon River hotshots was injured in a non-fire line incident on the Sliver Fire, Plumas NF. Rebecca Quigley was sleeping in camp when she was struck by a piece of heavy equipment. She was transported to the local hospital in Qunicy and then med-evac'd to Chico. The initial assessment is that Becky has injuries to her arm, shoulder, and ribs, a collapsed lung, and a possible concussion. Enloe Hospital in Chico lists her in serious condition. I just talked to Jimmie Allen who had just seen her. She is awake and looking forward to going hunting with her dad in six weeks. You gotta love that hotshot attitude.

Ray Haupt and Ken Paul are in Chico at the hospital. The rest of the Salmon River crew are on their way to Chico from fire camp. The accident is under investigation.

Please keep Becky and her family and crew in your thoughts and prayers today. Kelly and I will keep you updated as we get news.

Patricia A. Grantham
Forest Supervisor
Klamath National Forest

Silver Fire
Accident Update:

September 22, 2009 10:00 a.m.

Firefighter Becky Quigley, a member of the Salmon River Hot Shots, was injured on Monday, September 21 at approximately 10:30 in the evening. Struck by a vehicle in fire camp, Quigley received treatment at the scene and was later transferred to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, CA. She is in critical, but stable condition.

The Salmon River Hot Shots, assigned to the Silver Fire on the Plumas National Forest, were an instrumental part of the successful effort to protect the community of Meadow Valley, CA. The fire is now 100% contained.

The Salmon River Hot Shots are from the Klamath National Forest and are based out of Fort Jones, CA.

An investigation of the accident is in process.

For information, please call (530) 283-7882 during office hours (8:00-4:30).

9/22 Re fire columns and movement of air inside the cloak of smoke, Canadian research, etc:

Fuels Guy,

You are right about NASA's overall objectives for the Canadian campaign. But their scope included our team's (Brian Stocks and I) contribution which was to connect fire behavior to the emissions. Post-campaign analysis is still in progress; we are assembling info on the fires, fuels, and pyroconvection for the others on the campaign to associate with their measurements. The data will become public within the next year. Publications are just now starting to get into peer-review stage. There will be a big session at the American Geophysical Union's Fall 2009 meeting on this campaign's first results.

I like "cloak of smoke" and agree with your assessment.

Perhaps a fire equivalent of tornado storm-chasing is a good model for this proposed experiment. Even if seeding the fuel bed with foil tracers can't be done, having a dense network of eyes, ears, video cameras, IR cameras, mobile radars, other strategic instruments, and aircraft in scramble mode would work. It would be ideal to follow a candidate fire's entire diurnal cycle this way.


9/22 re: felling thread


Here are a few questions I have regarding felling operations:

How many personnel carry the felling boss (FELB) qualification? Of those, how many have have actually performed in that position in the last 5 years or had any position specific training?

Does anybody have a copy of the management evaluation report or accident prevention plan produced for the 2002 Missionary Ridge fatality or 2005 Missouri Ridge injury accidents? I've talked with the regional safety officers for R2 and R4, and neither has copies in their office. All the Lessons Learned Center has are the factual reports. I'm trying to avoid making a FOIA request.

Does anybody know if the agency ATVs and UTVs being used for skidding logs in fuel reduction projects comply with the OSHA 1910.266 logging operations standard for falling object protective structures (FOPS) and/or rollover protective structures (ROPS) ?

I don't agree with Left Hook's comment about "the quick and the dead" for faller safety. That may be the difference for gunslingers, but not those with chainsaws.

vfd cap'n

9/22 Ab,

This may be of interest to the readers of “They Said.” Normbc9


Gov. Schwarzenegger Mobilizes Additional Resources in Preparation for this Week’s Increased Heat and Fire Danger

Directs Cal/OSHA to Carry Out Largest Heat Enforcement Effort in its History

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today mobilized the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to prepare for increased wildfire potential as unseasonably hot and dry conditions are forecast for much of California this week. Additionally, the Governor directed Cal/OSHA to carry out the largest heat enforcement effort in its history to protect California’s workers from heat-related illness during this week’s high temperatures.

“California must be ready for any fires or heat-related illnesses that may occur as hot and dry conditions continue throughout the state,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I’ve directed our state’s first responders to prepare for any situation that may arise and ensure that our resources are prepositioned and ready to respond quickly. We must do everything we can to protect the safety of all Californians and California’s workers during this extreme heat.”

The National Weather Service has issued several “Red Flag Warnings” and “Fire Weather Watches” for parts of Northern and Southern California this week, warning residents about the increased fire potential created by hot temperatures, low humidity and off-shore winds. Winds are forecast to occur late Monday night into Tuesday morning and again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with gusts up to 35 miles per hour (mph) in the passes and canyons and local gusts up to 45 mph .

Additionally, the Governor has directed Cal/OSHA to carry out the largest heat enforcement effort in its history. Investigators will comb the areas throughout California, ensuring compliance to the state’s heat illness prevention regulations . This week’s enforcement activity involves more than 20 enforcement teams and approximately 70 Cal/OSHA personnel. The Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s Licensing Unit will also be on hand to verify the status of required licenses in the agriculture setting for Farm Labor Contractors. Enforcement staff will verify contractor’s licenses in the construction industry through the Contractors State License Board .

As a result of the increased fire risk potential, Cal EMA has coordinated with CAL FIRE and local agencies to identify state, federal and local firefighting resources such as fire engines, water tenders, helicopters and air tankers available to be deployed from throughout the state. Cal EMA is also working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor any new developments, and Cal EMA and CAL FIRE will quickly deploy resources anywhere they are needed.

Cal EMA has called for the activation of two Cal EMA Type III fire engine strike teams from Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego Counties. A total of 10 fire engines designed to combat wildfires in areas unreachable to conventional engines are being staffed to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

CAL FIRE continuously monitors fire weather and bases staffing levels on current and predicted conditions. Because of the elevated wildfire threat, CAL FIRE increased staffing across the state on Friday, September 18, and has pre-positioned additional equipment to areas of the state where fire danger is heightened due to the existing weather pattern.

To ensure that our state is prepared to battle any fire that may occur as a result of the hot and dry conditions forecasted for this week, CAL FIRE has:

* Fully staffed CAL FIRE inmate fire crews .
* Fully staffed CAL FIRE bulldozers.
* Fully staffed CAL FIRE reserve fire engines .
* Increased staffing in all Emergency Command Centers.
* Arranged for air tankers to be made available earlier in the day as needed .
* Staffed a Mobile Communication Center and Mobile Kitchen Unit .
* Staffed fire lookouts in northern California as determined by the local unit chief.
* Staffed additional fire engines, bulldozers and fire crews in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Kern and Marin counties .
* Funded a fourth firefighter on all state funded engines in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura count ies.

As part of the Governor’s ongoing commitment to emergency preparedness, he issued Executive Order S-05-09 in May, which mobilizes CAL FIRE to secure and deploy the additional resources and personnel that are necessary to save lives and protect homes statewide from wildfires.

9/21 Spencer,

You sound like a Back to the Basics person. That will keep you healthy. Thanks for the kudos and stay safe.


If I was in your neighborhood I would try to help you. Or maybe I can send you one of my old long bar chainsaws (Mac 895?) and you can do those cottonwoods yourself? Cottonwood is a very dangerous felling proposition BTW. Best taken down from the top down if near the house but the climbing is very risky if they are dead.

Do I need to send my dues in early?

Be careful.


Haw Haw Haw! Ab.

9/21 MikeF;

I thought the objective of the Canadian Boreal Fire studies was to determine the effects of large fire emissions on global warming. Have they published anything yet and did it include information of more immediate fire fighter interest? If not, could any of their data be used in a fashion that we are now discussing?

The movement of air inside the cloak of smoke is what we need.

I would not say that all fire columns collapse. We don't have that knowledge. It could well be that the mechanics are not there every time or that not all collapses make it to the ground. The physical nature of a pyro-cumulous is different enough, (temps; solar heated earth surface verses approaching 2000 degrees F and also particulates of size), where there may well be substantial air movement differentials. I suspect that there are columns that generate so much energy that they just blow out the top and are swept away by the upper atmosphere. (The Yellowstone links you just posted etc.) Possibly no collapse. But I don't know that. No science to back that suggestion.

We would need to do the studies of air movement inside that W. Riggles is proposing.

Fuels Guy

9/21 No Grass Book Rating

I just finished Shawna's "No Grass". A very candid story of what really goes on in a firefighter's life minus the sensationalism. Legarza was brutally honest about her life and its realities and how important it is to survival to maintain a good attitude, live well, be strong and value what you have in the moment. I'm heartbroken for her loss but appreciate her bravery in sharing it. Five Saws.


Added it to the Book Reviews page. Ab.

9/21 Hey all!

I certainly wasn't suggesting that an advance in technology for warning sawyers should replace safety or realistic assessment of risk or ability. It seems to me, though, that with as many firefighters as we have, as long as we keep having seasonal firefighters cut trees or operate in areas with snags, people are going to get hit. I think training and pushing the need for risk analysis carries us a certain way, but never the whole way to safety -- my basis for that belief is: even with training and use of common sense, we have requirements to wear PPE, and requirements to carry a shelter. Also, there are many sayings in the aviation world about not becoming mission-focused, always thinking about risk vs. gain, and yet I think many would confess that there are unnecessary flights and unnecessarily risky flying ("gun-runs" or flying around neat topographic features) almost every day in fire season.

To me, a standardized system for warning a sawyer would be like a hardhat -- yeah, you should absolutely be aware of overhead hazards, but stuff happens. And unless there is a policy change away from agency seasonals cutting trees, I think we'll keep getting accidents, no matter how hard we emphasize saying no, risk analysis, and safe cutting techniques in S-212 and other training opportunities.

Just some thoughts, sitting in my office wishing I was on a fire


9/21 Riggles and Fish 01

These guys are right on - visualize / net risk vs benefit - and class C knew when to say no. That's Fire Suppression DOCTRINE!

"Can do" doesn't mean you can"t say "NO"

Left Hook also offers up a new method that works well between folks used to working together.

But you have to swamp out your escape routes especially in tight brush

Thanks to all firefighters you came home and brought their brothers and sisters with them. We owe them a pat on the back. It's too bad we do not have exit polls and ask for lessons learned.

Fork in the Trail

9/20 Felling Thread:

Ok Shari and all, I've got a ton of cottonwood snags on my property courtesy of a tornado some 11 years ago. If you want some practice in the snow (coming soon I'm sure) in SE Idaho, bring your saw...I'll feed ya.


9/20 Ab-

When I was a spotter/swamper for them fellers (fallers) they told me to have a handful of pebbles. If I saw anything that would endanger them, as quickly as I could I would throw the rocks at their hard hat and whatall. That was the signal that some nastiness was headed their way and they could bail, ditch, run or crouch. They usually ran. We had areas they could escape to. As a high school pitcher I could get the stones there pretty quick and they would hear or feel them. It's the quick and the dead out there don't you know?

Left Hook

9/20 Snags: Risk vs. Gain:

Ask yourself, what problems will arise from leaving it! Will the next shift have water? Is there a bulldozer available? Can you just bone pile around it? Is it going to get windy?

If you expect falling limbs and you are below them, YOU can't take YOUR eyes off of them! Nobody can warn you fast enough or tell you where to go safely enough! Your safest defense is probably moving around the trunk of the tree. If you are bone piling, keep your eyes on the danger! If the tree is small enough clobber it with a bat sized stick and the vibration might set it loose. Better than the saws vibration setting it loose. Lookout!, escape routes and safety zones apply.

I had a BIG tree nobody wanted to cut. It was leaning against a much smaller tree and had burned off the stump and the butt was against the ground and was HOT. Just cut the little tree!!!!! Geeezzzz! Everybody was thinking how to cut the big one!

What ever you do, visualize the result of your actions before you cut. What hits what, and what's going where! RISK VS. GAIN!

William Riggles

9/20 I usually don't chime in on felling issues as I have been out of it to long. However I agree with Spencer, NM Airbear & others about saying no. Early in my career during large tree saw training, my crew lost a crewmember, to a tree coming down on him. Left a strong impression on me!

Later when the FS came up with the A,B,C Faller classification a comment was made ... The real difference between the level B & C classification was the C faller knew when to say NO.

Makes sense to me.

9/19 Tree Felling

Shari, NMAirBear, and Fuels Guy,

Right On! I was arguing this philosophy a year or two ago right here on this forum. Whomever I was having the discussion with "just didn't get it" so I gave up. Thanks for reviving the issue and for the valuable and pertinent counsel.

Shari, see you this fall.


9/18 Hey Ab:

Got a call from one of our members who was to have been on the Tonight Show tonight. Apparently their appearance has been canceled because of extreme fire weather and will be re-booked at a later date.


Thanks everyone for sending in updates on the cancellation!!! Ab.

9/18 Postponed: The Tonight Show Station Fire Tribute

This came in a while ago:

Due to the revised fire weather forecast (temps back in the mid-90s, some wind), the Station Fire firefighter tribute on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien has been postponed.

New tentative date would be the 2nd week of October or when conditions subside. Each of 3 departments was providing 20 firefighters each for the taping. Even though the segment would be 2-3 minutes, it would require a commitment of being at Universal Studios for several hours.

The Station Fire is currently 160,557 acres and 93% contained. The estimated time for full containment has been pushed back from Saturday to Tuesday (9/22). inciweb.org

Stanton Florea
Fire Information / Public Affairs
Angeles National Forest
Arcadia, CA


9/18 Air catching fire: I'll take a stab at that.

It sounds to me like unburned gasses not getting enough oxygen to become combustible.

I've noticed that as green pine needles preheat, their waxy coating becomes liquid, it's next stage would be gas

In the cases of "air catching fire", it's because the gasses that are preheating the fuel are devoid of oxygen. The vaporized fuel cannot ignite until it mixes with oxygen. (radiant heating also exists) There is not enough oxygen to support
conductive transfer of heat!

William Riggles

9/18 Hi Ab,

Would you let Fuels Guy know that "air catching fire" happens here too? Chemicals (like vaporized chemical compounds of certain tree species), gasses and light fuels are thrown up (or sucked up) into the air with such force that they do not burn until they are in the air. This sometimes happens in the smoke cloud several thousand feet up where gasses and other flammables can explode due to the heat generated from the fire. There were pictures of it happening which were taken from an aircraft (circulating around 10 years ago) over Alaska where the photographer in a was eye level with the exploding gasses and caught a few pictures. It is very violent. There may be some people out there with photos. I am sure there's a scientist out there who can explain it better than I did.

NW Watcher

9/18 Some good news coming from the Fort Apache IHS,

For first time in 27-year history, two women join the ranks of White Mountain Apache Tribe firefighters

Nzhoo shils aash, Nzhoo

AZ Trailblazer

9/18 ice caps:

Another thought, perhaps out there too far.

Australians have reported the "air catching fire" in front of the main fire. At and above tree top as I recall.

I always wondered if that could be explained potentially by a collapsing column or ice cap pushing down heat also?

Maybe not. But I do believe those fire fighters saw something worth researching.


Do we have any Ozzies on this thread?

Anyone know of any science or writings on this type of fire behavior?

Fuels guy

Hotlist thread

9/18 Felling: JUST  DON'T  DO  IT


Thanks for your post. You bring up a very important point about the trees identified for removal. We brief our fallers on this each year. They all know they have the right to refuse an assignment, or to suggest an alternative approach or action. But I want to suggest that it’s not as simple as “Just don’t do it.”

There have been a number of times fallers have called me to alert me to incidents where they have refused a specific hazard tree assignment. It was gut wrenching for them because the classic agency response is “We’ll get someone else to go cut it.” And you know who they send? I’ll let you fill in the blank. Our fallers voice their concern over this. They care about younger, less experienced agency sawyers. They don’t want to see them hurt. And if it means fallers taking a risk to keep the younger guys out of harm's way, they’ll do it. They do it. And they always will do it.

I’m going to say here what few others will say…That “We’ll just send somebody else in to cut it” attitude gets young sawyers killed. If a seasoned faller refuses a hazard tree assignment, is a less seasoned agency sawyer better able to handle it? Do the bean counters think this is better ROI than letting a tree burn and having a “resource” sit idle? How about ordering Faller Modules on IA when it is clear a fire is a timber heavy incident, and not relying on A & B sawyers on engine and hand crews? And, last, just like you say NMAirBear, some trees should just be left alone and watched from a distance. A faller’s wisdom is not something to be scoffed at, especially an old faller who is still alive.

Shari Downhill

ROI = Return on Investment

9/18 Reminder: Tonight Show Appearances TONIGHT

Put on your schedule for tonight to watch the Tonight Show

20 U.S. Forest Service - Angeles National Forest firefighters will appear with
Conan O'Brien, Friday, September 18 at 11:30 p.m.


9/18 Picked up from the hotlist:

California Lawmakers push for arson registry
WASHINGTON (AP) - The deadly fire at Angeles National Forest is renewing a push from California lawmakers for a national registry of convicted arsonists.

Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein filed legislation Thursday that would establish the registry. It complements a similar bill backed by Reps. Mary Bono Mack, a Republican, and Adam Schiff, a Democrat, which has been in a House Judiciary subcommittee since March. (etc at link)

9/18 Tree Felling:


Have you viewed or gone through the SIM LIMB exercise (FS pdf)?

Two thoughts:

An unobstructed object falling 50 feet takes less than two seconds to hit and is going 40 mph.

Remember the reaction time drill when driving and following too close?
Take that to this discussion with the addition of communication.

1) Lookout realizes danger,
2) Lookout communicates,
3) Sawyer receives communication - hearing in this case,
4) Sawyer typically looks up to see where to escape, (or has to process something like GO RIGHT)
5) Sawyer then starts moving.
6) Time for the sawyer to move out of danger.

(Assuming 0.25 seconds for each step, everyone is fine.)

Not to be lost in this is that distances less than 50 feet involves less escape time but still holds fatality level risk.
Also, distances greater than 50 feet have a marginally smaller increase in time for object to reach the ground until terminal velocity is reached.

Using lookouts sounds like a safe no brainer.
It is not, in the world of felling.

What is smart is:
a) Saying no,
b) Making all your cuts from the non-danger side if there is one and that is possible,
c) Finding an alternate method of removing the tree, moving the line etc.


(I understand air resistance and that all limb/top drops are not created equal.)

Fuels Guy

9/18 2010 fire calendar:

Hey All,

In past years rather sporadically we've created a calendar featuring wildland flames, crews, and having a "fire family" feel. They have been great because of your photos. Some of you have a fine artistic eye while others have been in the right place at the right time. Doing the calendar been lots of work for me and OA on top of everything else we do. This year we want to partner with Jim Felix at the Supply Cache to support the 2010 Calendar to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

If you have any photos you'd like to share to aid in that purpose, please send them in at highest resolution available. It would be good to have the fire name, the location and which agency or company or VFD you work for. Of course you'll get the photo credit.

We need photos to make it work. Calling for great photos, flames bigger, all the better! If you're willing for us to post the photos as part of the photo collection here or as a wallpaper, please let me know that too.

Thanks, Ab.

9/18 Tree Felling:

Hey EA,

How about a 30+ foot long piece of paracord with a very experienced spotter on one end looking up at all times and the sawyer's elbow on the other end. Any pull by the spotter and the sawyer is out of there.....

I personally watched this save somebody's life at least twice and we all instead ended up just laughing over a cold brew at the end of the day.

Back to the Basics.

9/18 Chad Howard - In Need of Annual Leave Donations


I was wondering if you could post this. Chad has a lot of friends scattered around that may not have
heard about his ongoing battle with brain cancer. He was able to kick it once but is back in an up and
down battle right now. He has applied for disability retirement but it has not been processed at this point.

Howard Chad has been approved as a Voluntary Leave Transfer Program recipient, and is in need of donated annual leave.

Chad was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December of 2006. After undergoing treatments throughout 2007, Chad returned to Krassel Helltack for the 2008 season. His tumor has now returned and he has started additional treatments. Chad is still in need of annual leave donations.

If you are interested in donating annual leave:

1. Complete the
2. Ensure you complete the certification block "signature of donor" and use your electronic signature: /s/Smokey Bear
3. Click on file/save as, save the form locally to your computer
4. Reply with History DO NOT "REPLY TO ALL"
5. Attach the AD1043 to your email for processing

If you would like to view a complete list of all of our recipients, please navigate to:

* Leave Transfer (Forest Service Intranet site)

And click on: Recipients by Organization

Thanks again in advance~

9/18 Tree Felling: Sawyer idea?

Hey, I check out the site all the time.
I've been a firefighter for a few years -- I've heard many stories from many friends about near misses regarding tree falling. In almost every case, the rest of the crew, or at least a few coworkers were watching while the tree top broke, or a branch broke off, etc. I think all the training in the world doesn't seem to change this. People are going to watch the saw at crucial times, and even the best trained sawyer might be looking down when the widowmaker comes down. Any thoughts on really cheap, simple warning systems? My thought is an earplug with a remote controlled speaker that emits one note... Maybe could be marginally expensive, but even one or two per crew could really make a difference... any thoughts?


9/17 Since we are onto sports quotes applicable to firefighting for the Quotes to live by, how about this one?

"Be quick, but don't hurry." - John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach


Added it. Ab

9/17 Re: Bircher Fire

Since he is quoted liberally in this thread I have alerted my great friend Chuck Maxwell, IMET in ABQ/SWCC, that he needs to chime in on this particular fire. He knows a great deal about the atmospherics on that particular fire.

I also told him he needs to do this forthwith before we spend a week fishing together starting next week. We will probably be talking about it some more.

I was also there on Bircher doing ATGS. I will never forget being at the fairgrounds/fire camp in Cortez early in the evening (I was timed out and grounded) whooping it up with Chuck and watching one after the other amazing plume developments and collapses.

This was a Haines 6 day and the fuels were Pinyon/Juniper typical of that area which had not burned for a very long time. This fire munched off an amazing amount of acreage in Southern Colorado in short order and all of it in totally extreme fashion.

Then our good friend Tim Oliverius, FMO at Mesa Verde NP, showed up at the fairgrounds to report that the whole park had been evacuated and he was very fearful that his home was about to be burned. Chuck and I quit whooping it up.

Chuck M. and Tim O......please comment soon. This is a great discussion the Abs have going here.

Tim Stubbs
Fire Behavior Analyst/Air Tactical Group Supervisor

Hotlist thread

9/17 Dear Ab:

I just learned that Carl Wilson (who in 1977 published on the "Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on ...") has
passed away at age 94. I first met Carl in 1980. We communicated several times over the years. Carl was a great
man and will be greatly missed.

Many will not appreciate the fact that Carl, along with the likes of other USFS California fire researchers Mark
Schroeder, Craig Chandler and Clive Countryman, pioneered the "fire behavior officer" (now FBAN) position back
in the late 50s.

Marty Alexander

9/17 Station Fire:

From my sister - another shot of the smoke-----



9/17 Ab,

Hi! I thought folks might be interested in the All-Hazard IMT meeting this fall (info below sent out by DHS today), which FEMA's USFA is involved with. I understand FEMA's National Incident Management System (NIMS) program is involved as well, with reps from the Incident Management Working Group (IMWG) there to explain what they're up to in terms of building baseline quals and certs for the new all-hazard IMT positions (Type 3 for now), and for building IMT capability and guidance.

This stuff will have big ramifications for wildland fire as it develops; it represents a long coordination between the "new" NIMS and NWCG's NIIMS and a fundamental change in credentialing and quals, based on core competencies, behaviors and tasks and evolving from what NWCG currently uses. The current plan is that there will be an all-hazard NIMS baseline, and then wildland fire would add "endorsements" in addition to these baselines. For example, there would be one all-hazard Plans Section Chief, but to get a wildfire endorsement, you might need to do some additonional wildfire-specific training and taskbook elements (this is not developed yet). In theory, this will seriously cut down on the length of time it takes to get qualified in certain positions, and will be able to increase our national incident management capability (ie: it wouldn't take 15 years to become an IC).

This is all evolving as we speak, but at the speed of government, so it looks like there's opportunity and time to give feedback on it. I've got a contact that keeps me posted; I will try to keep this group informed as I'm able to get information.

I hear there's more to come on this in the next few months; looks like some things from the NIMS are starting to actually get developed and get rolled out. Better late than never, I guess... hopefully it's the beginning of good things to come. We need a stronger NIMS framework and tools if we're really serious about having a comprehensive, integrated National Incident Management System... right now everyone's doing the best they can with the existing wildfire and Coast Guard stuff, or making it up...which of course detracts from the "comprehensive, integrated" intention.

In terms of wildfire, this all-hazard stuff is something to keep an eye on. We haven't been super involved with all-hazard world overall the last few years, but that could change any minute. We had quite a run there doing hurricanes, space shuttle pickup, terrorism, floods, tornadoes, and animal epidemics for a while. Soon it could be back in full force; we'll be expected to help, and we need to make sure we're safe dHalloing it and as ready for it as we can be.

Be safe out there; could be a rough fall -


2009 all-hazard incident management

9/17 Tomorrow Night TV appearances:

Just a heads up that 20 U.S. Forest Service - Angeles National Forest firefighters will appear on the Tonight Show
on NBC with Conan O'Brien, Friday, September 18 at 11:30 p.m.

Kudos to Stanton Florea on the Angeles NF for coordinating this...


9/17 Iron 44 Crash: Sent in by 3 people:

Feds say firefighter helicopter that crashed was pushing weight limit

9/17 Column Collapse on the Bircher Fire, July 24, near Durango, Colorado  took out the RAWS site:

bircher photos

This occurred in 2000. Ab.

9/17 Hey Letterman:

You think these "standardized" engines will have lights and sirens???

Fedwatcher II

9/17 Letterman - These are the members of the Engine standardization group. Looks a little outdated, as at least one of the folks has retired.

Tory Henderson, Chair
3833 S. Development Ave.
Boise, ID 83705
thenderson@ nospam fs.fed.us
Kent Evans, R-8
Line Officer Representative
District Ranger, Talladega NF
1001 North Street
Talladega, Alabama 35160
256.362.2909 x 121
kevans@ nospam fs.fed.us
Kevin Erickson, R-1
1800 Strand Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801
kerickson@ nospam fs.fed.us
Patti Hirami, R-9
Regional Fire Directors Rep
626 East Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI 53202
phirami@ nospam fs.fed.us
Todd Lerke, R-3
Engine Operators Committee
11776 Hwy 337
Tijeras NM 87059
505.281.3304 x216
jtlerke@ nospam fs.fed.us
Chris Peterson, R-9
Forest FMO Representative
50 Highway 145 South
Harrisburg, IL 62946
capeterson@nospam fs.fed.us
Mike Arias, R-5
Fleet Representative/ Fleet BPR
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
marias@ nospam fs.fed.us
Dave Haston, SDTDC Advisor
444 E. Bonita Ave.
San Dimas, CA 91773
909.599.1267 x294
dhaston@ nospam fs.fed.us
Linda Keydeniers, R-5
Fleet Representative
444 E. Bonita Ave
San Dimas, CA 91773
909.599.1267 x267
lkeydeniers@ nospam fs.fed.us
Todd Lerke, R-3
Engine Operators Committee
11776 Hwy 337
Tijeras NM 87059
505.281.3304 x216
jtlerke@ nospam fs.fed.us


9/17 MikeF:

"Re. the Brandon Riza time lapse obs by Fuels Guy, I'm still not sure how to interpret all that. I see what you are referring to, but it's also important to note that wind speed generally increases with altitude, so the higher the column, the faster any movement of those cloud features will be, whether it is just being whisked away horizontally or pulsating back down. IMO we need to have a plane or helicopter view of the building column from an altitude at or above the column top, far enough away to see the whole storm and long enough to capture an entire convective turret's life. (That's a dream of mine.)"

Concur that it is not conclusive but looks interesting. The pic angle is from the rear and while coincidences do occur we need a time synced view from another angle.

Does anyone know of photos taken from a right angle - at a distance - of the Station Fire on August 29th?
While we may not see any collapse lower down, we should be able to see the ice cap if the photographer is far enough out.
This could show wind on the cap that would verify Mike's thoughts on wind at that level blowing the top off. (Think of an anvil top with the blown streak of cloud heading downwind at its highest .)  If photos showing that lacking it may be still worth following this thought - ice cap collapse.... one potential sponsor of column collapse.

Another thought:
If it isn't written down, it didn't happen. (Anybody hear a parent, supervisor or teacher with that?) In this case it needs to make it into scientific literature, with peer review for us to gain a correct understanding. I'm a war story type myself but that doesn't cut it with these modern era mega fires does it?

{I don't know but I suspect that MikeF could be a contributing author on a paper.}

To give this momentum among people that fund things and provide some initial areas of inquiry we need pics. Look what the Riza video has started!

Mostly we need video from multiple angles. Nobody needs to put themselves in danger. For now at a distance could get funding started. No-one needs to detract from their job on the fireline by becoming a self appointed photographer. BUT; pictures are powerful.

It does seem that we have failed here in continued knowledge gain for the fire fighters benefit.

Fuels Guy

9/17 There's a very interesting conversation going on on the hotlist with links to historical GOES satellite imagery taken at the times of some of the largest historical column buildups and collapses. Mikef is doing research on these huge buildups of energy that shoot smoke very high up into the atmosphere. He says it's on the magnitude of volcanic eruptions. Here's the list of fires for which he and the other researchers have satellite loops:

Hotlist thread

Read the thread, very interesting discussion of firefighters that were on the ground describing what they saw at ground level. Better yet, sign up and join the collaboration.


Red Lake #7 (ON), May 1986
Yellowstone 1988, “Black Saturday”
Yellowstone 1988, 6 Sep (IR loop goes thru 7 Sep)
Yellowstone 1988, 7 Sep
Yellowstone 1988, 9 Sep
MB/SK, 21 July 1989
Circle Fire (AK), 6 July 1990
Baie Comeau (QB), 19 June 1991
Foothills Fire (ID), 21 August 1992 (CH3CN)
“First” pyroCb, BC 4 July 1998 (Lindsey and Fromm, GRL, 2008)
Norman Wells (NT), 3 August 1998
SK Fires, 10-11 Aug 1998
AK/YK, 19-21 June 1999
Chisholm (AB), 28 May 2001
House River Fire (AB), 26 May 2002
House River Fire (AB), 31 May 2002
Rockies, 3 June 2002
California, 5 June 2002
Missionary Ridge and Hayman, 17 June 2002
Hayman I, 9 June 2002
Hayman II, 18 June 2002
Rodeo-Chediski, 19 June 2002 (no deep pyroCb but some cool tops)
Million (CO), 19 June 2002 (classic pyroCb)
Rodeo-Chediski puffs, 20 June 2002
Saskatchewan pyroCb, 21 June 2002
Meadow pyroCb, 24 June 2002.
Saskatchewan fires, 25 June 2002
CRYSTAL-FACE (SK), 27 June 2002
Mustang (UT), 1 July 2002
Burn Canyon (CO), 13 July 2002
Winter (Oregon), 15 July 2002
McNally (CA), 22 July 2002
Florence pyrobubble, 28 July 2002
Mt. Zirkel (CO), 17-18 Aug 2002
Cedar (CA), 28 October 2003
Derby Fire (MT) 29-31 Aug 2006
Tripod and Tatoosh Complex (WA/BC) 3-4 Sep 2006
Ham Lake (MN/ON) 10 May 2007
Milford Flat (UT), 7 July 2007
Trigo (NM), 30 Apr 2008
Chaiten Volcano (Chile), 6 May 2008
Brookmere (BC), 2 Aug 2009
Station Fire (CA), 2 Sep 2009

9/17 Ab,

Rich Z suggested I contact you. I need a photo of wildfire/urban interface in Northern Nevada in the Battle Mountain District. Do you have anything?

Thank you,


Readers, does anyone remember sending in anything? I'll look too. Might check photo description pages and search on Nevada or NV. Thanks, Ab.

9/16 Re: National Fire Engine Standardization

When I try the link, it does not go to the proper page. If anyone knows who the members are for this group, please let us know.

Date: September 14, 2009
Subject: National Fire Engine Standardization Update
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director

The Senior Fire Leadership Group accepted recommendations presented by the Fire Vehicle Standardization Committee (FVSC) chartered by Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) in 2008 to standardize fire engines across the Agency. The FVSC facilitated input from the field via a data call to identify fire engine types now being used and to determine engine specifications to meet Agency needs. A memo dated January 30, 2009, relayed this information as well as the Chief’s recent decision on paint and markings as recommended through the Fleet Management Business Process Reengineering (BPR).

Subsequently, the FVSC has been developing the complete specifications (including marking standards) for each model that is an accepted new standard. As these specifications have been developed, some minor changes have been made based on input from subject matter experts as well as changes in the industry. It is accepted that slight adjustments may occasionally be made based upon changes in industry, technology, and field input. The specifications are being posted to the FAM web site for use by the Regions and shall be used for any new fire engine purchases. The specifications can be found at: Engine models.

Over the past several months some regions and individual units have begun ordering engines under standard replacement cycles. The FVSC has been and will continue to be engaged with fleet managers, subject matter experts or inspectors if any questions arise concerning the standard specifications. There will be open competition -- all engines will be built by fire apparatus manufacturers and in no case shall apparatus be built by a Forest Service unit (except for installing a manufactured Type 7 slip-on unit onto a chassis). Regional fire equipment committees should actively engage with their respective regional fleet managers throughout the procurement process to ensure fire and aviation needs will be met.

The FVSC is developing a deviation process for use if a unit determines there is a substantiated need for specific and minor allowances. In the interim, the deviation shall be substantiated with the regional fleet manager, forest unit, and fire management officer to ensure the national specifications are being followed. If it is determined that the forest seeks to deviate from the established standard, the request for deviation and justification should be submitted to the regional fleet manager. The regional fleet manager will deliver the deviation request with substantiation to the FVSC. The purpose is to ensure the national standard is meeting the needs of the Agency and to possibly capture design criteria that could be implemented agency-wide. Committee evaluation is critical to ensure the deviation will not unintentionally create other problems in the development of the apparatus or potential training and safety concerns.

It is understood that the procurement process for engines may change based on the final decisions from the Fleet Management BPR. It is desired that all engine specifications and additional fire fleet standardization will be completed by that time.

Please contact the committee lead, Tory Henderson, FAM Fire Equipment Branch Chief, at (208) 387-5348 or thenderson@ nospam fs.fed.us with any questions.

/s/ Robin L. Thompson (for)
Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry

/s/ Joel D. Holtrop
Deputy Chief, National Forest System

cc: Rebecca A Hutchins
Tory Henderson

9/16 quotes:

One I like for the stragglers in the morning.

"If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, don't bother showing up at all."
-Vince Lombardi


Thanks, I put it on the Quotes to live by page. Ab.

9/16 Shari,

I too am so glad that your faller is OK.

I worked as the crew boss for many years in falling and fire for a large western federal outfit, i.e. the largest trees on Earth. We used to climb them after work on quiet days for recreation hint hint.

The crew boss before me and the crew boss after me in my supervisory job were both killed by what basically amounted to tree felling accidents. Yes I was terribly traumatized by both of those incidents. I went on to become an FMO thanks to a lot of college educatin' and did not suffer their fate.

Now listen folks... I agree that this is an absolutely necessary part of what we do in wildland firefighting. I have a lot of opinions on how to deal with this problem but they all basically boil down to JUST DON'T DO IT!!!! if there is major risk involved. Burn the G-damed tree down if you have to.


9/16 Column collapse, ice caps, plume dominate behavior.

Another example of this was the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in Arizona. The Incident Management Team watched the column build and ordered resources to safety zones when they thought the column was mature. Five times it collapsed and blew dangerous crowning runs including downbursts. The team saved lives in horrendous circumstances by reacting to mature columns rising in dry air masses. Ice need not be present for this to occur - just alignment of water produced from combustion and associated atmospheric conditions. Someone needs to work on training to deal with this recurrent issue on the fire ground in real time.

Old Sawyer

I cross posted this on the hotlist thread... Ab.

9/16 Fire Columns:

A column will collapse when it cools or hits a layer in the atmosphere that halts ventilation.

I'm concerned about where the embers go. While the rising column appears puffy on the outside, the rising air inside is rotating counterclockwise as a low pressure.

Once it has nowhere to vent it does that nuke/mushroom and ejects the heavier embers into clear air currents to be carried away in new directions. I'm wondering if the heavier embers collect at the center of the column like stirring sugar into tea or a tornado full of dirt and debris. Or, if they get flung out on the way up like the debris we see flying around in videos of a tornado.

I compare it to the pattern of the sparks we watch in a campfire at night.

I believe the mushroom at the top is where most embers exit the column and float down with all the aerodynamics of a falling leaf. And falling from that altitude they have the potential to travel a long way.

William Riggles

9/16 Dear Lori Barrios,

I would like to offer my condolences on the loss of your beloved brother, and my admiration on your determination and strength in attempting to carry this fight to secure worthwhile legislation. It is interesting to note that other responses to your posting carried the same frustrations experienced by my husband, a wildland firefighter and Fire Mitigation Chief.

While the fire professionals are clearly tuned into the problem, the rules of their respective agencies prevent them from directly countering these groups to the media, or lobbying legislators for change. Personally, I think this is one key component to explain why logic, experience, facts and reason have not ruled the day in the fire mitigation argument. A truly informed public would go a long way to encourage likewise informed legislators to take appropriate action to balance the scales, and expose those who mis-inform the public through the media for who and what they are.

And that is why I believe you will have success - the ability to speak to the controversy plainly to the media and legislators without fear of censure, the credibility of you and your family, and the backing and support of the fire fighting community. A mutual friend has supplied you with our contact information, and we look forward to being part of your support network!

Hunter #2 (not the original)

9/16 To: Lori (Hall) Barrios

First off Lori, I am deeply sorry for your loss. It is tragic that every year we hear about Firefighters losing their lives in the line of duty. I totally agree with what you wrote and I could not have said it any better. For years I have had conversations with my fellow Firefighters and Line Officers (Rangers) on the difficulties of getting anything done in the forest due to the fact that, when a project gets proposed, there is an environmental group from the Bay area or Southern California that will file an injunction in federal court stopping a much needed fuels reduction project or salvage operation to remove the over abundance of fuels that has been building and continues to build up in the forest.

I will say that much of the problem has been brought upon us by our own actions (the FS) by years of clear cutting with disregard to the environmental impacts to the landscape and the effects to flora & fauna. That being said we (the FS) have changed throughout the years and much of our proposals are based on science and research. We have been employing scientists for years and working on experimental forests to back up the theory that fuels manipulation works. Case in point the Blacks Mountain experimental forest on the Lassen NF where the Cone Fire burned through a number of years back, I saw with my own eyes where the fire went from stand replacement (no treatments) to a moderate ground fire (repeated prescribed fire treatments), allowing us a safe place to pick up the fire.

I don't know how to change the mind of someone who will not listen to proven science and has no trust in anything we (the FS) do. But you being outside the agency may have better luck with the politicians and special interest groups. It sounds to me that you do have a clear understanding of the problems we face. I am so tired of going to funerals and losing good friend needlessly. So if you are planning on moving forward with proposing a bill that brings land management decisions back to land managers acting on science and what is best for the landscape instead of letting the special interest groups steer all the decisions, then I will support you 100%. If you need scientific journals about studies that have been done such as the one mentioned above, feel free to contact me; you can get my name and email address from ab.

Again my deepest sympathies go out to you and your family.

From a concerned fire practitioner.

9/16 Ab,

I have a few thoughts I’d like to share regarding a felling related accident yesterday in which one of our fallers was injured. It really brings to light a number of critical issues, and highlights the primary reason our company exists – to provide employment and insurance coverage for fallers. Fortunately, our faller was checked out by a doctor in Roseburg and returned the fireline this morning.

The situation: One of our most experienced fallers was cutting a nasty Sugar Pine on one of the Umpqua’s many lightning fires that ignited over the weekend. The snag was pretty ugly and had a noticeably large, burning limb. The faller and three others knew the limb was there, knew it was a threat and were watching it closely. In the midst of the faller making a cut (i.e. chainsaw was running), the limb broke loose. The base of the limb hit the ground before the faller even saw it. The weight of the limb hit the faller in the back and knocked him against the tree. A few inches in the wrong direction and we wouldn’t have our faller with us today.

I’m bringing this is up to illustrate that even extremely seasoned fallers can and do get injured. THAT is why every single faller should be covered with injury/fatality insurance. It protects the faller and their family from shouldering a potential disaster on their own. Fallers hired by agencies to “Work Under Their Own Numbers” are participating in the biggest scam ever to be introduced. It may put a few more measly bucks in a faller’s pocket, but it undermines fallers as an industry group. And after years of participating in this hiring practice (which, in all fairness they didn’t create) agencies are just now getting a taste of covering the financial cost of hiring legitimately employed and insured fallers.

Do many of you fire managers still hear the complaint “But Faller Modules are TOO EXPENSIVE?” Hmmm, who are you hearing that from? I can assure you, it’s not your field fire staff. It’s the bean counters who don’t leave their desks. Who know little of the risk fireline fallers face. And who could care less (we’ve been told this point blank by these very people) whether fallers have injury/fatality coverage or not. They want the “resources” as cheap as they can get them. Who, how and what doesn’t matter to them. And THESE are the folks making decisions about the Faller Module program. Any wonder why we’re pulling our hair out? And you know what they tell us? “We only do what Fire Management tells us to do.” WHAAAATTT? This is one of the top three lines of BS we hear. It’s our observation that AQM and Fire Management don’t even speak the same language… at the local, regional or WO levels.

Second issue…What happened yesterday in my mind proves without a doubt the validity of the Sim Limb exercise. I think the Sim Limb should be used more frequently than it is in training situations to illustrate to fallers/sawyers just how fast a falling limb can make it to the ground, and the risk exposure for ANYONE at the base of the tree. Another associated point - felling approaches that keep fallers at the base of a tree longer than necessary are exposing them to increased risk. Fact, the vast majority of fallers are injured/killed AT THE BASE OF THE TREE.

So, to recap:


2) SIM LIMB should be incorporated more frequently into sawyer training to drive home the point of the danger of falling limbs

3) Appropriate felling techniques should be weighed based on safety, type of danger tree and time required for completion


Shari Downhill

Shari, I'm thankful your guy is OK. Ab.

9/16 Can anyone recommend the best fire lookout or station to rent for a weekend getaway for my wife and I? We are in the Trinities in Northern Coastal California. I'm imagining that Oregon has some lookouts with spectacular views...

Do lookouts usually have a road all the way to them? Anyone know pricing, seasonal availability, or how to go about reserving a spot?


9/16 The WFF would like to thank everyone who offered to bring their motorhome and trailer back to Boise from the Station Fire. They have a volunteer who is going to get the job done. Thanks for the support.


9/16 Re time lapse pictures of the Station Fire columns by Brandon Riza

I’m going to wonder out loud about collapsing columns:

I had the fortune to attend a 30-mile lessons learned style review, by the FBA from Okanogan country. He described a collapsing column of a different kind then we normally talk about. When he interviewed on-site several of the survivors of the 30-mile fire at the entrapment location. The FBAN said they described a scenario like the Montana Elk River photo. It was really hot as it went up the hill across the river. Then it lost energy and 'fell' back down toward them. That was what caused the spotting across the road and the entrapment, the heat coming back down the hill. In an earlier post on this thread Mellie references this event with a similar description.
- - - -

I remember reading a paper by Haines et al from the early 1990’s as I recall. THE Donald Haines described different types of Plume Dominated fires. The worst one was what he called a 1-A or A-1 where the fire was fed by wind at the ground level but the vertical component needed for a plume was available at mid and high levels.
It was the worst of both worlds – wind and plume combined.

Perhaps with enough energy there doesn’t need to be as perfect a mid and upper level atmosphere. I’m sure many of you have seen this and if you look at the time lapse by Mr. Brandon Riza. I think this is what is happening here, at least at times in the film.
- - - -

It occurs that these columns on the 29th could be collapsing due to their placement out in front of any support by the main fire. Would this create just downdrafts like a T-cell or include heat being pushed down also like the description of the 30-mile fire?
{Is anyone aware of any descriptions of T-cell ice caps collapsing?
Not the virga associated downbursts.}

For the good of the order:
Is it possible that Camp 16 faced collapsing columns in front of the main fire that contributed to not understood net rates of spread and energy release?
- - - -

Station Fire:
Fuel driven, (per Doug Campbell discussion) that is combined with
wind driven to create an also
plume fire with
collapsing ice caps?
Any thoughts?

Fuels Guy

Hotlist thread

9/16 Regarding the post by Lori (Hall) Barrios

Ab -

It was certainly a tragedy with the accident taking Ted and Arnie. I could not agree more with Lori and will contact my California Senators (neither of which have the intelligence of a Bic Pen). I will also contact my Congressman, Geo. Radanovich. I worked many years in and around the Angeles (both for the Forest Service and LA Co Fire) and the Station fire was truly one for the record books. If the fuel bed had been broken up into a mosaic with buffers around homes, the problem of structure protection would be lessened a great deal. Also if the Forest Service were to have been allowed to burn specific drainages on rotating schedule you would not have had the miles and miles of unbroken fuel. Much of the fire area had not been burned since the 50's with the Woodwardia (also arson) and the Gale fires.

With this being said I believe it is akin to shoveling sand against the tide to get the environmental groups to back off. The Angeles, as well as the LP, have had more and more areas added to Wilderness. With the addition of the Magic Mountain and the Pleasant View Wilderness the firefighters have to rely more and more on the fewer and fewer available hand crews. As you know, mechanized equipment may be allowed if authorized, but it seems to be limited only to chain saws. It is unconscionable to put these crews into areas that could be safely worked with dozers. Sure, much of the Wilderness areas are far to rough for anything but hand crews. I do know from personal experience though, that much of the Magic Mountain and Pleasant View Ridge areas are good cat country. We did pre-attack lines there in the early 60's. I also know nothing could have stopped this fire once it got rolling.

I have been attending meetings on the Sierra Forest the past couple of years that concern the planning of making the forest healthier and more fire safe in the area between Cedar Valley and Fish Camp. Everything from the Pacific Fisher to the Spotted Owl to who knows what has to be considered. The plan has yet to be finalized and I would bet money what ever it is, it will be held up in court. This is not brush lands, it is forest. There is a husband and wife team that usually files suit on any and all Forest Service projects. I believe there are many would rather a forest burn to the ground before they would allow one logger into the area.

My 40 acres is adjacent to National Forest land. While my home is about 500 feet from FS land, I contacted them and told them I would clean up an additional 300 feet into the forest at my expense and to their standards. This would give me a good buffer as the FS land is the typical mess you see in the Sierra Nevada. Never had a response. I contacted the District Ranger to follow up and he said they were overwhelmed with work and my project was too small to even look at. Some how it got done, sure wish I knew who did it and that I was more sure of where my land ends and theirs begins. (this preceding part best eliminated as they would likely come after me if they thought I did it)

In closing (bet you never thought I would) there does need to be a change of how things are currently being done. The problem is immense, hopefully we will get a handle on it sooner than later.



9/16 MRE "Prize"

Did I hear right-they're putting rocks that will cut glass in MREs? Sounds like a diamond to me. I might switch from the Cracker Jacks.


Haw Haw. Ab.

9/15 Ab----

The WFF was at the Station Fire and we left our motor home and WFF merchandise trailer in San Bernardino in order to fly home. We are wondering if there is a qualified driver who might be looking for a way to get to Boise, Idaho. No special license required, but to be safe the driver should have experience with a motor home and trailer towing. It is a two day drive, and it would save the WFF the expenses of a one way plane ticket down and the drive back.  Anyone interested can call the WFF at 208-336-2996.



9/15 In case you've ever wondered why some accidents are included as a Safety Gram and included in NWCG's annual Safety Gram and some are not.

Here's the most recent Reporting Criteria for Safety Grams [also located at the Safety and Health Working Team (SHWT) website].


9/15 Re: Sadler quote: "You didn't start the fire..."


You are wrong about firefighters needing this quote. It does have a place on the fireline. I can't think of a burnover fatality where a firefighter laying down their life saved the flank anyway.

vfd cap'n

9/15 For those of you fire behavior analysts and serious accident investigators interested in extreme fire behavior, you might want to participate on this thread.

Ice Capping? Column Collapse?

Seems to be the possibility of a research collaboration developing. Ab.

9/15 My name is Lori (Hall) Barrios. Captain Ted Hall was my little brother. He was a remarkable husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend and firefighter. We often spoke about his work as a firefighter as many brothers and sisters do.

Four weeks ago, Ted along with the rest of my extended family, were visiting my home in Tucson and Ted and I spoke across my patio table sharing just such a discussion. I asked about the wildfires and how it seemed year after year we battled the same problem. It is easy to see the devastation left in the wake of people's lives when these wildfires destroy their homes.

Four weeks later I found myself on my father's patio grieving over the loss of my brother Ted and his Foreman Arnie Quinones, speaking with my father, a retired Battalion Chief for LACOFD. It had been announced by the authorities that the cause of the fire was arson and Ted and Arnie's death was now being investigated as a homicide. My father stated that we have lost our direction in the way firefighters are allowed to mitigate and fight these wildfires.

My sister and brother and I grew up fishing, camping, and hiking and grew to love the wild lands both desert and forest in this beautiful country. It sickens me to think of the countless wild animals, precious forest lands and homes and two beautiful men, which have been lost as a result of the Station Fire.

My father is correct we have lost our way in what is right in managing and taking responsibility for our environment. We have been complacent, letting a select group of individuals, dictate how and what, is in the best interest of our environment. It is time that we take a more active role in the protection or stewardship of the sacred trust of which is our environment. Because it is in all of our stewardship and protection until such time as we pass it on to the next generation.

Ted often spoke of what he called a "healthy forest". It is time that we put common sense into managing and protecting our environment. We must place protection of human lives first. We must set in place fire prevention regulations on building in all areas including rural areas. We must allow prevention burns in areas where it is warranted. We must allow mother nature to clean out these areas, as she does using natural lightning fires. Many species are designed to use heat and fire to reproduce, and it can allow other species to break through the deep debris left on our forest floors. We must put into place a balance of maintaining and using the environment we live in.

I have watched one mountain range in Arizona burn with lightning fires and preventive controlled burns remain a beautiful healthy desert forest of magnificent saguaro trees. And I have watched an adjacent mountain range controlled by environmental restrictions preventing such actions be completely destroyed beyond any healing within my grandchild's lifetime. It is time that we stand up and take back true responsibility for our environment, understanding that we as human beings live in this environment and must with common sense approach, manage, and maintain our wild lands, that we live so closely and of which we love so dearly.

I am challenging all who can hear this plea - there must be federal laws set in place dictating a standard for National fire prevention including but not limited to: building guidelines such as setting clearances around structures, standard guidelines for responding and extinguishing wild fires to be established by firefighting agencies and experts, rather than bureaucratic panels and agencies not experienced in this particular field. We must include usage guidelines so that we may enjoy these beautiful lands. Lastly we must set this standard of protection as a law which can not be manipulated by special interest groups attempting to dictate and manipulate the laws promoting their specific agendas using deep pockets.

My brother Ted was a man of action - not words. He and Arnie Quinones were responsible for 72 men walking off that mountain to safety. We must follow their example and put common sense back into managing this beautiful world we live in. We all must recognize that wild fires become neighborhood fires and destroy human lives, which can never be replaced. After all, as the wild fires continue, and rest assured they will, if we remain on the course we are currently on, those special interested protected areas and species will be taken from us forever by a wall of flames and shall only be left as ash.

Stand with me in support of establishing a Firefighter's Environmental Protection Act in honor of Firemen such as Captain Ted Hall and Firefighter specialist Arnie Quinones - Take a stand for a better and safer America- Take a stand for Arnie and Ted so that no family has to ever again endure what our two families have, and for the numerous other families that have had to endure the same. Stand and say enough is enough!

Lori Hall Barrios

9/15 Embers/Vegetation Management/Re Brushing out in SD/LA

"No Bay FC" couldn't have said it better:

"Without the boots on the ground at the structure it would have matched all the other foundations in the neighborhood."

- It would have burned to the ground.

Don't know if you saw the house in Santa Barbara that was widely promoted in the media as a "Fire Safe" home prior to the Jesusita Fire (May 09). CBS did a shelter in place segment on their news program about it. It caught fire due to embers. The only reason it was not a complete loss was because "boots on the ground" were there to take care of the situation. I believe Santa Barbara County Fire has information on all this if anyone wants to check it out.


9/15 Attitude when fighting fire


I really do appreciate your input here to TheySaid but I prefer FIGHT FIRE AGGRESSIVELY BUT PROVIDE FOR SAFETY FIRST".

Having had that exact same line recently delivered to me regarding "we did not start this fire.. dadadadadada " thrust into my ATGS headphones as we lost most of the left flank of a large fire, with major increased safety exposure to firefighters and the public on the ground, I just have to argue a bit with your sentiment.

That may be a good quote but has no real place in a firefighter's toolbox.

No disrespect meant to Mr. Gene Sadler or to you. We just all need to stick with the time-tested basics.


9/14 DoD Veterinarians


Veterinarians are the protectors of the Nation's food supplies. I have known several who were in the both the military and civilian side of food inspection They were all Veterinarians or Veterinary technicians. Started with using them in the early days of meat inspection.

From the Food Safety and Inspection Service
" Did you know?

FSIS is the largest employer of veterinarians in the United States.

FSIS has partnered with the U.S. Public Health Service to provide Commissioned Corps veterinarians new opportunities in food safety programs.

What do FSIS Public Health Veterinarians do?
Our veterinarians supervise other public health professionals to ensure establishments under our jurisdiction comply with sanitation standards and properly implement systems that control hazards from entering the food supply.

Most but not all FSIS veterinarians work in meat and poultry plants. Veterinarians enforce federal meat and poultry inspection procedures:
During live animal transport and handling, including humane slaughter oversight;
Throughout the entire establishment, including processing operations;
During transportation and distribution of meat, poultry and egg products to markets and retail stores.
FSIS veterinarians advise academia, industry and professional groups on the effectiveness of food safety controls.

In addition to working in inspected establishments, veterinarians are employed as epidemiologists, pathologists, auditors, risk analysts and biosecurity experts. Veterinarians in FSIS are executive leaders, international liaisons, and program managers. FSIS veterinarians investigate outbreaks of foodborne illness in collaboration with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They assess State inspection programs; design new inspection systems and procedures; evaluate agency programs to assess their effectiveness in ensuring the safety of meat, poultry and egg products; create and deliver training and educational programs; and perform other challenging tasks that ultimately protect you and your family from foodborne illnesses."

More than you ever wanted to know.


9/14 RE Tims question on DoD Veterinarians,

The FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) in the Dept of AG has Veterinarians as the 'lead' in inspection of any meat processing. (I know because my brother works for FSIS - his boss is a Vet.)

I imagine maybe the DoD follows suit for the MREs they procure?

Also - Interesting that the DoD Veterinarian who signed the message is a diplomat of one the Veterinary specialty organizations. Only about 5% of Vets have that additional training and certification. (My wife is a Vet.)


9/14 Ab, here are a couple of shots for you if you want to use them.

Tanker 00 - taking while doing structure protection in the Cuyama Valley.
ORC E307 - Fire behavior blow up that ended up losing the line on the Cuyama Valley side.

I am sure you are getting lots from it and the Station fire.


Thanks, Stryketeam and welcome. I added them to Airtankers 31 and Engines 25 photo pages. Ab.

9/14 I have a quote for the quotes page. It is from my first boss when I was a new FAE and very nervous about working in a one man fire station.

"You didn't start the fire, it's not your fault. Just do the best you can to make it better."
-Gene Sadler

Those words of wisdom took a lot of pressure off of me. Gene was the FPO for the Tulare Unit when I came to work in 1973. He was a great guy.


Thanks, Dave and welcome. I put it on the Quotes to live by page. Ab.

9/14 MRE Stories

I remember when we switched from C rations to MREs. I think it was the second year after we had went to them and one day when we came to work the entire building stunk (bad). We looked for the source for about a week unsuccessfully. Finally myself and one other firefighter made it our mission to find the source. After an hour and a half we were lead by our noses to the cupboard that we had the MREs stored in. There in a sealed MRE in a banded and sealed case of MREs we found the problem, a mouse that had been sealed in at the factory and had turned to jelly. That solved the stink problem, but I've had a hard time eating MREs every since. I just close my eyes.

Safety Angel

9/14 Hall & Quinones Memorial

Ab, I saw you had some photos of the Memorial, here are some more.

And thanks for putting our Guys out there for firefighters around the globe to share in our Loss.
And THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO on Wildland Fire…


You're welcome jp and to all who worked most closely with these firefighters, our condolences. Your loss is our loss. I added the photos.
LAC FFs H all and Quinones: Memorial at Dodger Stadium (If there are other memorial photos, we'd be happy to include them. Ab.)

9/14 Forwarded from COMT regarding MRSA


Please see the attached Safety Alert regarding a recently confirmed MRSA infection at a wildfire incident.


Chris Kirk
U.S. Forest Service, WO-AQM
Incident Support Branch
National Interagency Fire Center

Hi COMT. I posted this Alert on Friday 9/11 on the Lessons Learned & Safety Zone Subforum of the hotlist. Here's the link to the Alert itself: R5 MRSA Safety Alert 09  (pdf).  I'll try to remember to post parallel info here on theysaid for those that don't use the hotlist. We've had some busy days lately. Ab.

9/14 AVUE Woes

To all Forest Service Job Applicants,

Avue had updated their website to a "new look and feel" that they are sure you will love!!

It is impossible to log into this exciting new web site unless you have Internet Explorer 8 (or maybe 7, they were not to sure about that on the phone). As USFS computers use the delightfully outdated Explorer 6 we can no longer log in to Avue and work on our own applications, let alone do any of the mandated outreach by providing computer access and assistance with potential employees.

I just tried to help a young man with his application and left him with a great impression of the agency after 33 minutes and 12 seconds on the phone with Avue, most of it on hold. Looks like we lost another potential employee!!

I am curious about what is the amount of time we are suppose to have for our personal development (i.e. working on out applications). I have heard an hour and I have heard a day. Anyone know for sure. Maybe I can telecommute this!!

Processed to Death

9/14 MREs


Why is a "Senior Veterinarian" assigned by DOD to investigate issues with MREs? Does that say something about the classification of MREs in the hierarchy of food?

Just curious.


This was in reference to the report that clarified there was no glass in the MRE. Ab.

9/14 So Cal Fuel Management:

Hard to believe anyone can point a finger at any one agency for current fuel conditions that are a result of policy founded in the aftermath of the 1910 blow up. We need to find effective solutions, not simply conduct fuel treatment projects and claim success. Unfortunately a condition that has taken a century to develop will take decades to mitigate and will require all stake holders to work together. All of this finger pointing and assigning motives to various groups only serves to create inaction or poor action.

Regarding embers causing ignitions, they do, and not just to structures. Ember cast produces spot and or potential spot fires that cause tactical and safety difficulties when involved in structure protection or perimeter control around structures. I don’t need a study to prove this, we see it every year. Research scientists and policy makers need to spend more time talking with the folks in the field to check their facts and conclusions with real life. Many years ago I attended a seminar on the Oakland Hills “Tunnel” Fire, the presenter a PHD showed a photo of a house interior of the burn and stated it was saved by defensible space and fire resistive construction. I had previously talked with the engine companies that had taken refuge at that house (because of defensible space and construction) and defended it as their safety zone. Without the boots on the ground at the structure it would have matched all the other foundations in the neighborhood.

No Bay FC

9/13 Camp 16 Incident Vehicle Accident and Fatalities, Reports

The Green Sheet is out. Linked in the hotlist Lessons Learned subforum above. Ab.

9/13 Wildweb


The problem with Wildweb has been resolved, not even the dispatch centers could get into it this morning. We're not sure what happened but it was above us. However, I can tell you, you didn't miss anything!


9/13 quote for the quotes page

"A fire is like being pregnant, either you have one or you don't"

a female dispatcher's response to a wishy-washy ground resource. (not on air of course) lol

norcal firegirl

Haw haw, put it on the Quotes to live by page. Ab.

9/13 Hall & Quinones Memorial

Thanks to those sending in photos (CaptMack) and quotes from the memorial service yesterday. Ab.

9/13 Hall & Quinones Memorial

From Wildman, ABC 7 Video report:


9/13 Wildweb

Dispatch Centers

As a retired wildland FF from Nevada I have always enjoyed bringing up the Minden and Elko dispatch centers to see what fire activity was happening. It seems the system now needs a username and password to access any information. I was curious why the public no longer has access to the information and if there is any way to be able to view the websites.

Thank you,
S. Woodward
Port Angeles, WA

9/12 Hall & Quinones Memorial

If anyone has a few photos to share of the service for Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones at Dodger Stadium or the earlier memorial service I started a memorial page HERE. Please send them in. Thanks to Cary for the photos.

Please add comments about the service to the HOTLIST thread if you like. The Condolences thread is also open if anyone wishes to contribute. I heard the service today was very moving. Ab.

I posted some more of Cary's photos of the Station Fire on Handcrews 26 photo page. The Station Fire has been one huge angry fire.

9/12 To R-5 Faller:

I was a "C" faller. I cut a bit with contractors and on FSR crews. I live in big tree country. I've watched the big boys drop virgin, old growth Redwoods.
Because of my "C" status I became a falling boss. BTW-best job I ever had on wildland fire. Fallers are cowboys with chain saws, but I digress.
These "fellers" cut for a living. Before we quit logging, for the most part, in my homeland these men were sawmen. And they did their job very well.
At this point I believe a faller has to prove that he has cut for a commercial logging operative and knows which end of the saw does the work.
My suggestion to you is to become a FALB and get out there and watch the pros. Also-let them decide what they can do and what they want to walk away from.


FSR=Forest Service Regular crews

9/12 FS Faller

For the most part Agency fallers are utilized on Forest and/or the Districts. The Forest I work on has decided not to fill Faller orders with agency fallers and instead use the contract fallers due to being set up in teams of two. On rare occasions Agency fallers are ordered up when contract fallers are unavailable. In the past the Forest Service has sent agency fallers to clean up ice damage on Forests in the south east/mid west area and they also sent a few to Hawaii for the Volcano fires some years back. The reasoning our forest has decided to use contract fallers instead of agency fallers is that is what they do day in and day out, where as we may fall 1-20 snags a year, they cut hundreds of trees a year. Hope that explanation was of some help. Personally I agree with that theology, that is why they get paid the big bucks.

Another Fed Faller

9/12 Hall & Quinones Memorial

From Captmack on the hotlist:


I am down in LA for the Memorial. Watching the morning news, the memorial will be broadcast live at 1000 (pacific time) on the web at www.abc7.com They are expecting some 20,000 to attend.

9/12 Steve Uptegrove's Memorial

Dear Abs ~

As Steve Uptegrove’s sister and for the rest of my family, I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to put on not just one, but two memorial services for my brother. I would like to name everyone, but I don’t know them all, so I will try to include all the ones that had such a large impact on me, and I truly hope that I don’t leave anyone out.

In John Day/Prairie City: I would like to thank every forest service employee that lined the highway in Prairie City as the procession drove by – then joined the procession back to John Day, every employee that created the path from the parking lot to the center of the Sports complex where the memorial was held . . . everyone that hauled all the chairs onto the field in over 100 degree weather, then hauled them off again . . . everyone that helped put the food and several ice chests of water together. . . all the speakers . . . the honor guard . . . the ones who placed Steve’s items at the front of the memorial . . . the ones who put the memorial announcement together and distributed it . . . the WFF for the bronze statue and counseling services . . . Bob Madden from Bend Fire Department and long time friend, for bringing the bell from Bend and ringing last bell . . . and last but certainly not least, Debbie Moeller, my rock and new friend who tirelessly held us all together.

After the overwhelming and emotional service in John Day I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another one, but I knew it was necessary.

In Bend: I would like to thank all the Forest Service employees that created the procession . . . the ones that set up all the chairs at Aspen Hall . . . the ones who set up Steve’s items for the memorial table . . . the honor guard . . . all the speakers . . . Cathy, Dave, Kelly, Gerald, Dan, Kate, and my rocks John Wells and Dan “Hawk” Boettner. I couldn’t have done this without you.

I know that Steve would be overwhelmed to say the least.

Lastly I would like to thank everyone that made comment on “They Said” about my brother. You truly captured the essence of Steve and your words helped me make it through this very difficult time. It was truly a pleasure to meet the “Wingman” in person. I am completely amazed at how my brother touched so many.

I would also like to give my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones to fires, recently and in the past. I am honored to be a “boot-leg” member of this family through my brother.

My gratitude goes out to you all and I hope that I didn’t forget anyone.

In gratitude

Linda Spittler

Very nice thank you, Linda. Ab.

9/11 WFF fundraiser and 9/11


If people are looking for a reason to donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, here is one.

In two weeks I will taking 2 months of leave from the National Park Service and climbing into my 17' long x 21" wide sea kayak and paddling solo down the east coast towards Key West, Florida all in the name of the WFF. Yes, to some this might seem dumb or crazy, but if I can raise money for a organization that can bring a smile, ease a pain or solve a problem all the better. So, please take a moment a click this link (WFF) and donate to the penny paddle. Enter your gift amount and in the "Other Instructions" block enter "For the Penny Paddle". If you want to mail a check, click this link (PENNY PADDLE) and print out the Pledge Sheet and send it in. If you know others that don't read this board, then pass the links on. It would be great if we could raise $1000.00 over the weekend.

This is how I remember 9/11: I was on the Darby Fire and my wife called and proceed to tell me that the flight my in-laws were on the day before (9/10- so they were already in CA) was hijacked from Boston. The winter of 2001, I reenlisted into the military and was back in camo and breaking my word to my wife that I wouldn't be gone for more than 30 days. In 2005, I became a disabled veteran and was medically retired so I moved back to my hometown where it took me a year to be strong enough to run a mile. I never thought I would fight fire again, but in 2006 my current FMO took a chance with me and gave me a job as a Engine Captain. So, in a strange way I am doing this paddle because of 9/11. If it wasn't for that day, good or bad, my family wouldn't be as strong or understand why I am doing this paddle.



9/11 Silent Auction for WFF in Marc's memory

Hey Ab,

Please pass the word about the Silent Auction that will be conducted during the Capital Area Wildfire and Incident Management Academy in Bastrop, Texas. The auction begins October 20th and ends at 1700 on October 31st. The monies raised will be given to the WFF in memory of Marc Mullinex. If anyone has any items that they would like to donate to the auction they can email me at elk firechief@ nospam yahoo.com . All donations are appreciated. We want to honor Marc and help WFF in their endeavors to provide assistance
the wildland firefighting community.


Good luck with that. Ab.

9/11 September 11 (Wildland Firefighter Historical record)

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley's annual 9/11 address to her team

Subject: Remembrance on September 11th

Today is a day to pause and remember.

We remember...
.....the horrible discovery that a small group passed judgment on our way of life...
.....the massive, coordinated destruction this group caused by a simple a plan...
.....the hope that it wasn't real...
.....the vigils....
.....the outrage...

We remember...
.....the loss of so many people who went to work with every intent of coming home again...
.....the heroic efforts and drastic measures taken to spare those that could be saved...
.....the outpouring of American spirit to fund, shelter, support the survivors, their families and friends...
.....the unification we felt as a country...

In our emergency services world,
we remember.... exactly where we were.... which incident.... what we were doing....

Today, we remember...
.....those who helped in New York and Washington DC and lost their lives in rendering aid...
.....those who helped and now have health issues because of this aid...
.....those that died in the service of our nation...

As national, state and local fire fighters, we all work in service of the same goal: to protect our of nation. Today we can honor the memory of those who died in this service through a moment of remembrance to thank them for their service given and our lessons learned.

Take a moment to thank your family and friends; they who watch us leave to contain the latest incident. Our job takes us away from them routinely; and it's time that will never be recovered. They practice the vigils, lend support and worry about each of us until we are home safe and sound. They handle so much for us that lets us come home to an "anchor point". Let them know that their worry and concerns for our safety are valid and appreciated. Let them know that you do this type of work for more than the overtime, but rather because you are compelled and dedicated to something that is more than a job.

I thank you for the leadership, teamwork and professionalism that you display in all endeavors.
Be well today, and always.

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley
Forest Fire Chief, Tahoe National Forest
Incident Commander, California Interagency Incident Mgmt Team 3

9/11 Hall & Quinones Memorial

Reminder for tomorrow:

From the Hotlist on memorial services for the 2 LAC firefighters that died:

LA County FD confirms that

the memorial service for Fire Captain Tedmund "Ted" Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones is scheduled for

1000 hours, Saturday, September 12th at Dodger Stadium.

The following link is to LAC's website with more information ~

9/11 Wildfire Mitigation Funding:

An article on where the Forest Service is spending its Wildfire Mitigation Funding, Forest fire aid given to DC parks

"Even with forest fires raging out West, the U.S. Forest Service this week announced it will spend nearly $2.8 million in forest-fire-fighting money in Washington -- a city with no national forests and where the last major fire was probably lit by British troops in 1814. "

""As catastrophic wildfires continue to burn throughout the West, destroying people's homes and businesses in the process, funds that should be used to thin our overgrown forests and protect the public are being frivolously spent on park restoration," said Rep. Wally Herger, a California Republican whose district has seen some of the worst fires. "While the administration is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on improving picnic grounds, communities and citizens' lives tragically remain at risk." "

And There I Was

9/11 Embers/Vegetation Management/Re Brushing out in SD/LA

Come now. The three primary methods of heat transfer in order are:

  • Convection (most heat transferred here)
  • Radiation (your junk and fence theory or close set backs like the MHP last year in LA County that took out 500 plus)
  • Conduction (got to be touching)

Never heard of “convection and conduction” is this some new coined phrase for the next Fire Rescue West show to impress on the 20 somethings? The last thing this debate needs is morphed terminology.

Embers falling miles away from structures can only be successfully battled by having fire resistive building materials, good clearance, and a fire professional standing by able to attack the small incipient fire with whatever size hose line is required to extinguish those embers that find the receptive fuel bed that will eventually consume the structure. That means garden hose to 2.5 inch attack line.

Ember attacks (especially those that are long distance) can be successfully attacked with garden hoses and back pumps with structures that have been prepared with defensible space ahead of time,

Since the Australian disaster this year the idea of using able bodied adult civilians to perform this role has been all but eliminated in the United States, so the option left is to have firefighters perform it. Stay and Defend is now Stay and Die unfortunately.

Beef up the Wildland agencies and restore all the cuts in engine companies and crews for the last 40 years to the Wildland agencies and beef up the local government resources so there are sufficient numbers to perform this role. Local government has shirked its responsibility to provide fire protection and tries to shift those costs and responsibilities to the state while they are the ones making the local land use decisions increasing development without regard to service levels needed.

To provide adequate firefighting forces for initial, extended, or major fire attack, this means higher taxes and the legislature doesn’t have it in them to hit the average Californian the price of a 12 pack of soda per year on their insurance to begin stable funding for fire protection in the state. That they don’t consider fire protection a basic responsibility of government either is demonstrated by status quo funding or worse yet, reductions that are the annual exercise.

Priorities needing adjustment are in order for sure.

The ordering system ROSS needs some serious overhaul so that resources are dispatched in a timely manner. This too will require additional staffing at dispatch centers so there are dedicated staff to input the requests into ROSS so the resources can get there to make a difference.

“Another CDF BC”

9/11 Remembering 9/11

It has now been 8 years since the events of 9/11/01. Please take a moment and try to remember what you were doing and where you were on the morning that New York and Washington D.C. were attacked. Also, please try to take a brief moment to silently remember the many people in the fire service, law enforcement and the general public that perished that day as the ultimate price for the freedom that many of us take for granted. Most of them were not unlike you or I ......jobs, families, kids, dreams, ambitions, and things to look forward to in the future……

Many people that work in the wildland fire fighting community assisted in the relief efforts at the trade centers and Pentagon. There are not sufficient words in existence to adequately express "thanks" to the thousands of you that participated in our first baby-steps toward recovering from this great tragedy and helping the country to begin the long and painful healing process.

Hopefully we never again have to mobilize hardworking, goodhearted people who normally fight fires for a living to respond to the tragic consequences of a hostile attack on American soil.

- The Wingman

(This picture was taken at a makeshift memorial tent that was set up near the World Trade Center ground zero at the end of September 2001. This is just one of the FDNY companies that perished that day.)

9/11 Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Hey there Abs

I am still shocked when I meet a wildland firefighter who does not know about the Foundation and the 52 Club... but unfortunately they are still out there.
Educate by putting up informational posters in camp. Talk to the folks as they check in and demob if you are working in those positions. Put some money aside from each fire check to donate and encourage others to do the same.

As we know tomorrow is 9/11, a day that is burned into the memory of all folks in the USA.

It has become a day to remember those who lost their lives in the attacks and to give thanks to those who so bravely worked on this rescue mission and aftermath.

Many wildland folks were active participants in the aftermath of 9/11 (today) and continue to be "heroes" to the nation.

I cannot think of a better way to remember those who were lost on that day and since then, and the continuing work of our brothers and sisters, then by donating to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

They are showing this year again that they are an indispensable source of strength for both firefighters and their families when it matters most. Without them we would simply not be able to cope as well with the tragedies that face us.


9/11 Class C Fallers:

Hey Ab,

I was hoping to get some feed back from other USFS "C" fallers in R 5. Are orders for fallers being placed for and filled by agency fallers (USFS) or has it gone totally to contract fallers??

I am a current "C" faller, and have for the past four years. I went thru the agency certification process with Doug Dent on the San Bernardino in 2006. On the forest I work on I am a district saw coordinator, and participated at the South Zone S-212C this past spring. In the time since being certed, I have never received an off forest assignment as a faller at any level, let alone at the "C" level. I can't recall the last time anyone on my forest went off as a faller. Is it just my forest/dispatch center that doesn't receive or fill these orders or are other qualified agency fallers in R-5 experiencing the same thing?? In my 19 seasons in fire, all with the FS, I have had the opportunity to observe both contract and agency fallers at work. There are good and bad on both sides, and I will leave it at that. I am just curious if other fed "C" fallers are being utilized and if not why? Thanks for providing a forum where I can get an honest answer to questions that no one on the local level can answer. Hope you all have a busy and safe fall.

FS Faller

9/10 Vegetation Management/Re Brushing out in SD/LA/Embers:

from mitigator:


Let’s discuss embers. What you don't know is in my fire work for some years, I have utilized Australian Ember Attack studies in my work with the wildlands and communities.

There are three main methods of heat transfer in wildland fires. And there are fire behaviors associated with this heat transfer.

CONVECTION: Firefighters are cautious upslope from a fire. The new codes require 15' off sets from the slope for single story and 30' off sets for two story homes as experience show us that flame duplicates the slope. We and homeowners need to be aware of intense convected heat, then the effects of radiation and the impacts on direct contact with an object or “Conduction”.

CONVECTION with CONDUCTION: Direct Contact with structures due to combustibles around the structures including "stuff” (junk, treasure, combustible things) and combustible vegetation (regardless of its nativity). This was evident in the Normal Heights fire in Mission Valley in 1985, 65 some homes. This occurred as structures including houses, fences and decks received direct flame contact, with flames running up hill across the surface parallel to the slope.

CONDUCTION: This was also observed in the Harris Fire where high winds causes the flame length to exceed height and "Sheeting” fire spread parallel to the surface, for example across a roadway or Defensible Space with direct contact or conduction. Cohen whom I respect, did studies of radiant heat with the flame height nearly straight up. A high velocity wind bending the flame will replicate the height and elongate the flame
length. Those studies would have had different results under this fire behavior.

Imagine that ranchette in the back country. There sits an older (the rest is here)

9/10 Training to deal with WMD / hazmat:

TEEX (Texas Engineering Extension Service) online training has a number of courses based around WMDs. I believe there is a course called WMDs for First Responders which covers such things as poisonous gasses like cyanide and gives details as to how to identify potential cases, symptoms of exposure, basic emergency treatment and securing the scene.

The courses are free to take and have a lot of good awareness information teex.com



Still out there as an AD:

Bingo! You hit the nail square on the head... We (CA-LPF) firefighters as well as other R5 USFS firefighters fought for and received First Responder Operational (FRO) Training as part of our wildland fire curriculum years ago. This is now seen as "mission creep", to utilize a phrase I hate, by the USFS supposed leadership.

The hazmat situation on the ANF Station fire may or may not have been avoided if the individuals involved had participated in this training, but the fact is it did happen and the individuals were not properly trained for the environment they were exposed to. Now it is also painfully obvious after reading Vicki's post that the USFS "leadership" has also not been properly trained in hazmat or its aftermath. I cannot believe that the USFS is not taking better care of its own.

Vicki Minor ... you are an angel!!

All - Please support the Wildland Fire Fighter Foundation..

Ray Q... where are you? Current FS "Leadership" ... take note

Centralize the Fire Organization and get it out of the Forest Service!



I find the discussion regarding hazmat exposure troubling for this reason. We're likely to continue to depend on BIA, contract, casual and "regular" crews to round out the sheer numbers needed to fight wildfires on the ground. This certainly isn't a new problem -- we've been dealing with meth labs for what, 20 years? and old mining sites, roads and railroads allowing the transport of hazmat materials through wildlands and so forth.

But I don't remember seeing or hearing any hazmat training on the wildland side of things at this level. It is rolled into structural firefighting as a routine part of training from the start. I don't mean training in SCBA, removal, specialized firefighting chemicals, and so forth, but the basics such as recognizing the risk, reporting "up," securing the area to keep other crews from stumbling on the same problem, the initial first aid response and so forth.

Still Out There as an AD



Our firefighter, <snip name> a 7 year veteran wildland firefighter with the White Mtn. Apache, is still hospitalized and was initially treated for respiratory arrest (not breathing) after her exposure to CYANIDE during on a night shift on the Station Fire. She was properly transported to the closest available facility for stabilization, but was denied transfer to a specialty hospital.

This is the 9th day at this small hospital in Lancaster. It is not a hospital that has a toxicology department or even a toxicologist on staff. Regarding her care here: she received a sponge bath from a member of her crew after 2 days. I gave her a shower on the 5th day and asked for the nurse to change her bed which hadn’t been done since she had arrived. Her family is very concerned about her. They were told yesterday that the hospital won’t release her until her blood test comes back on the 12th of Sept. They were sent to San Diego and then on the Minnesota.

The other crew members were seen at this hospital in Lancaster and released. Two days later they were demobed home. In all cases, the home unit DOES NOT have a full service hospital specializing in cyanide poisoning or extended follow up care and observation, but rather is a Reservation facility located on Tribal lands in an adjacent state.

After returning to reservation, they were sent to Phoenix for a blood test. One crew member is pregnant; we are very concerned about her pregnancy!

Regarding cyanide poisoning: It is important to note the differences between Sodium Cyanide (used in very few past commercial mining operations) as compared to Hydrogen Cyanide (used in meth labs and a natural combustion byproduct of many natural fuels). Sodium Cyanide is not readily able to be converted to an aerosol, while hydrogen cyanide is. Hydrogen Cyanide is the poisoning culprit and identified in this case hours later by the HAZMAT team as being 48 ppm in the area the crew was working. Lethal concentrations are 100-500 ppm, and hydrogen cyanide has a LDL half life of one-hour. Tracing backwards for three hours, the probable exposure limit was around 300 ppm for the troops exposed.

Several ff/researchers have been working behind the scenes on this. We have been offered assistance from the Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition (CPTC).


On another note re <snip name - a firefighter who recently passed>: His family's bank accounts were frozen after his death, leaving his wife with no funds. Because of probate laws, banks freeze checking accounts of the deceased until the probate is settled, which can be very time consuming! So Lessons Learned: Spouses, take money out of the deceased joint checking account immediately, even before the death certificate being issued. (So that the spouses can continue to maintain the household.)

Vicki Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

I googled the CPTC and found the link above. Ab.

9/9 Benefit T-shirt:


I wanted to know how i can donate $20.00 for the Tee-Shirt to help the families of the two LA County Firefighters
killed in the line of duty during the Station Fire, can you provide the link so i can donate. Please reply ASAP.


Daniel S

Here's the direct link: troycase.com

That link and additional info are on the hotlist: LACOFD Camp 16 Memorial Tshirt

9/9 This comes highly recommended by firefighter wives and firefighters on the hotlist:

PBS Presents the video Operation Wildfire

9/8 Vegetation Management/Re Brushing out in SD/LA

Mitigator, you are making a lot of unfortunate assumptions here.

My original post had to do with pointing out how ridiculous it is for the USFS to be blamed for the Station Fire because it had not finished a few prescribed burn projects. I cited the California Chaparral Institute’s press release as the only attempt I know of where somebody tried to set the record straight. Good for them. Then all of a sudden the conversation got switched to a lawsuit. Not sure where you got the “you and your institute” perspective in referring to myself and another poster here. I never talked about embers or Keeley. Where did that come from?

But since you brought embers up, are you saying that embers are not the prime method of home ignition in many Southern California wildfires? Wow. I’m not sure what your experience level is, but it may be helpful to chat with those who’ve been on the front lines lately and read some of the current research. Here are just a few reports:

1. A study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety concluded in 2008 that, “Wind-blown embers, which can travel one mile or more, were the biggest threat to homes in the (2007 in SD County) Witch Creek Wildfire. There were few, if any, reports of homes burned as a result of direct contact with flames.”

2. The US Department of Commerce just finished another analysis of the Witch Creek Fire and found that about 60% of the houses in the community of Rancho Bernardo ignited due to embers and that the fire reached the community about an hour before the fire front due to embers travelling as far as 3 miles.

3. Blanchi and Leonard in Australia conducted an investigation of structure ignition mechanisms after the 2003 fire in the Duffy community of Canberra, Australia. The report identified that 50 % of the ignitions were from embers only, 35 % were from embers and radiant heat, while 10 % were from radiant heat alone.

4. I don’t have the references handy, but Jack Cohen with the USFS has made conclusions about embers similar to those in the reports above.

You say that “SD County has wisely placed over 72% of the second largest county in California under the protection of an alphabets soup of agencies and organizations.” Wisely? You’ve got to be kidding. I challenge you to talk to anyone in the fire business not connected with San Diego County government and ask them what they think about the alphabet soup approach to fire protection down there. Most of the folks I know in the fire business will say the County’s approach to fire protection is a joke.

You also seem to think that you can do anything to chaparral and it will just bounce back. Again, you might want to talk to folks on the SBNF and asked them how well the chaparral has “bounced” back from repeated fires on the Front Range. To ignore the data and think that the elimination of chaparral through type conversion via too many fires/excessive fuel treatments is not an issue really seems to be an exercise in denial.

A final thought. It might be helpful to avoid calling someone dishonest or arrogant if you ever want to have a constructive discussion with the intent on resolving differences in opinion. I don’t know if you are part of the San Diego County scene, but I suspect that approach has not worked there. I suggest you take a look at the collaborative efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains where natural fire regimes and fire hazard discussions between fire agencies, natural resource agencies, and community members have been successful in avoiding the contentiousness that has apparently occurred in San Diego County.


Here are the refs. Ab.

  1. Home and Business Study (pdf)
  2. Commerce Dept. Study (pdf)
  3. Australia Study (pdf)
9/8 film of the Station Fire


This film of the Station Fire does a great job of showing that rarest of rare events in SoCal - The plume dominated fire.

Major kudos to the photographer, Brandon Riza.

brandonriza.com Video

Tim Stubbs
Fire Behavior Analyst


Hey Abs,

Im looking for any info on employees who have undergone major knee repair and have been able to return to full duty. This would include partial knee replacements or full replacement also if any have had hardware from DePuy installed on knees. I have a City Firefighter who needs this info so his agency wont retire him. He is looking for about ten cases, all he needs is the position held at time of injury agency working for and ability to return to full duty. I gave him my info all we need is nine more.

It would be great to see this guy get back to work rather than get a gold watch.

Abs can you help get this back to me?

Thanks again Guys and Gals, stay safe!

Mike Calkins

Will pass messages on. Ab.

9/8 Does anyone know how the guys/gals exposed to HAZMAT are doing?

SoCal FF

We know a White Mountain Apache crew was exposed to cyanide on the Station Fire. One firefighter remains in the local hospital on oxygen, another close by. The majority of the crew was sent home to R3. Hopefully the patient will get moved to a hospital where there is greater experience in dealing with HAZMAT exposure. Hopefully the crewmembers that went home will also be transported to a large medical facility that specializes in HAZMAT and get checked out. They may have traveled home before cyanide poisoning symptoms developed.

There are people working on this, including Vicki Minor from the WFF, Casey Judd from the FWFSA and firefighters and supporters in socal. All are doing their best to achieve good outcomes. Remember, the firefighting community went through this process of determining the best treatment  practices and guidelines relating to burn and lung injuries from breathing hot gases. Firefighters who are burned are now routinely sent to burn centers to get checked from the inside out and treated.

We're in a similar place now with HAZMAT exposure. There's long been some HAZMAT risk on our public lands stemming from gold rush days, but now in addition, meth labs and other dangerous and illegal operations have moved into forests.

Please send thoughts/prayers for healing to our injured firefighters. They're surrounded by family, thanks to your donations to the WFF. Ab.

9/8 R-5 Fire Hire:

Just a reminder that R-5 Fire Hire cutoff for apps is coming up for the next hiring round. Apps have to be in by Sept. 28th to be considered. have your references send in reference check forms ahead of time, to save time later. There are lots of GS-6 up to GS-9 vacancies in the region, all over the state.

A good Hotlist thread, with lots of good info on what should be in a App to help you get hired, is here:
Hotlist thread

Good luck all, and look forward to seeing all those good apps next month...


9/8 Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser:

Two Southern California towns try to get back to work after fire threat. Many firms in La Cañada Flintridge and Tujunga find business is slow to recover.


Caption that goes with a nice cheerleader photo: Renee Sanchez and forest firefighter Jose Franco work to raise money along Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

...In another sign of community solidarity a few stoplights down, cheerleaders from La Cañada High School joined local firefighters on the sidewalk, hoping to collect money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which assists injured firefighters and their families.

9/8 Retirees on the Station Fire


I personally know quite a few that know the forest well that are assigned to the fire. Some are currently employed and one even lost their station while supporting the team operations. My old Division Chief hit me up one morning for my keys so he could get around and help out the Div Supts that don't know jack about So. Cal fire. Especially the Angeles. One of the Branch directors is an ex F.S. employee working on the Station Fire. He knows the area quite well. I am sure you are right; some may have not been contacted, but others have been. We all have been working together to give it a good fight. It has been tough. It is hard to fight a fire when it gets into alignment.

Hotshots and Helicopters

9/8 Ab note: To the person who sent in an online news link describing "James Hart":

jimhart is a moniker. He is not the Clairemont resident James B. Hart that ran (is running?) for the Mayor of LaJolla.


9/8 Vegetation Management/Re Brushing out in SD/LA

jimhart and FC180,

Nonsense as to your misrepresentation of vegetation management. The plan absolutely did not articulate 'see brush eliminate it'. This is a foolish notion and worse, untrue. Chaparral is part of this eco-system. Not only could you not eliminate it, but why would you want to? Range conversion experiments in chaparral repeatedly failed as the chaparral returned, displacing grasslands.

Removing thousands of feet of vegetation maintenance has not been proposed. Your view of embers being the "prime" source of ignition has not satisfactorily passed the smell test, as the methods of heat transfer do remain evident at each site dependant upon slope, topography and wind effects. While structures fall to ember attack, others fall to radiant heat from adjoining combustibles and still others from direct contact from point source ignitions onto the structure. As real fire professionals saw in 2003 and 2007, "structures that never should have been built there" (quoting you), actually survived. These included in canyons, on canyon rims, in draws and drainages.

SD County has wisely placed over 72% of the second largest county in California under the protection of an alphabets soup of agencies and organizations. You are proposing that we not do those vegetation treatments that enable firefighter success on the 90th percentile fire? Or give the firefighters the opportunity to save structures and lives, both their own and the citizens that they serve? We are in the most dangerous time for fire (Sept, Oct, Nov) in San Diego County, and you and your organization file suit to try to stop any efforts at fire mitigation and fuels management?

San Diego County has the greatest number of FireSafe Councils in the state. They need our support to protect their communities. With canyons that interconnect from the back country to the sea, blocking the ability to create zones to stop huge wildfires is arrogant and cruel. There have been consistent code upgrades with favorable results in structures that survive, and failing to ignore this is dishonest. And don't forget the emphasis on public education over the years by skilled educators.

You have thrown in Keeley and Zedler, but neglected to mention that Dr. Zedler states that this landscape is irretrievably changed. And who doesn't love San Diego out there? Awesome huh? Our long European influence combined with a long history of Master Gardeners have created a botanic wonderland! San Diego is a Novel Ecosystem that requires protection. Life, Property, Resources, those who fight the fires, require protection first. The fire fighting community can both protect the environment and its occupants, but not when we are blocked by those, like the Chaparral 'Institute' who do not understand the behavior of fire or the methods to control it for the greater good.


jimhart and FC180 are two people, both have posted here for many years. Ab.

9/7 Brushing out in SD/LA

Another Hunter, not the original,

The problem is that San Diego County has consistently ignored fire professionals and fire scientists within the region to do the right thing, so I sincerely doubt they can be trusted to conduct rational fuel management work. That’s why they need oversight. The Board of Supervisors passed a motion that all vegetation management projects would go through proper environmental review, yet when the first project was funded they exempted the project from review. Frankly, it is all about the money…and not their money, but the federal government’s.

The basic problem down there is that the County refuses to financially support a fire department so they depend on municipalities and the USFS to pick up the slack. CalFire does what it can, but there just aren’t enough stations. SD City Fire and other city fire departments are constantly running first response calls into county areas. There’s even a “gentleman’s” agreement that the cities won’t charge the county for their services. That’s just ridiculous. That was one of Chief Bowman’s biggest frustrations (the former chief of SD City Fire). SD County is arguably one of the fire hazardous areas, yet the county government only spends $10-15 million a year on fire protection. Orange County spends more than $200 million and it is 20% the size of SD County (and yes, a huge portion of this IS county money from property tax receipts, not contract dollars). And about those Prop 172 public safety funds SD County gets? All to the sheriff and the DA. Nothing to fire. Fire protection shouldn’t be funded by bake sales, but that’s basically the perspective in SD County.

But to make it look like they are doing something, the county thirsts for federal dollars to do fuel treatments which they continually hype, conveniently forgetting to say that, oh by the way, we didn’t pay for them, but the feds did. And when they are able to get non-fuel treatment money, what do they do? They waste it on leasing two super scooper aircraft for a few months instead of what the fire service recommended, an Ericson helicopter. But then those super scoopers sure make great front page photos. There is a pattern here.

I am all for fuel treatments, but they have to be strategic and subject to discussion by people outside the county’s department of land planning. Yep, the couple guys in charge of fire down there are under the planning department’s control. Is there a conflict of interest here? How about putting fire where it belongs, in the Office of Emergency Services? It won’t happen with the current political situation.

I can’t speak to the lawsuit, but does it make sense to spend millions of dollars on cutting down trees far from roads and homes when it could be better spent creating defensible space around homes and communities, firefighter safety zones, and retrofitting flammable houses?

And while I am on a roll here, the USFS did a remarkable job thinning the forest around the Lake Arrowhead community that got hammered in the ’07 Grass Valley Fire. The treatments helped during suppression a number of ways, but nearly 100 homes were still lost. You know why. Private citizens dropped the ball and failed to make their yards and homes fire safe. A similar thing happened on the Angora Fire in Tahoe. But of course, the Forest Service got blamed for that one too.

What blows my mind is after all the fires in SD County, the citizens aren’t marching in the street demanding an adequately funded fire protection system.


9/7 Passed along by NMAirBear

Nice song/video about wildland firefighters... Thank you Michael Martin Murphy and BlackIrish.


9/7 Burk called to say the problem is handled and



9/7 HELPER NEEDED! Sacramento airport

Burk (WFF) just called. He needs someone to go to the Sacramento Airport and rent a car with their credit card ($400) for a family that just flew in. They need to drive to the hospital to join their firefighter kid who is having medical problems. The WFF will reimburse you tomorrow.

The car company won't let Burk take care of it on his credit card from a distance. (He's at the Station Fire, Angeles NF.)

If you are near the Sacramento Airport and are willing to do this right now, please call him. (208-8xx-xxxx)



9/7 Brushing out in SD/LA

The San Diego County "brush treatment plan" was basically see- brush-eliminate- it. Clearances of 1000's of feet-not scientific at all, in fact ignoring the major ignition source from the '07 and '03 fires-blowing embers that can travel 1000's of feet. Not a wise plan and deserving to be sued, and I am not shouting anyone down.

From the Chaparral Institute website:

Why we are filing a lawsuit:

The Institute strongly supports the use of $7 million to create 100 feet of defensible space around homes. However, removing trees deemed unhealthy and damaging habitat nearly two football field lengths away from structures and roads is a waste of taxpayer money. In addition:

1. The project deflects attention away from what needs to be done - assisting residents to retrofit their homes and reducing hazardous fuels directly next to communities. This issue was highlighted in a new study released June 6, 2009 (Schoennagel et al. 2009) that federal programs intended to reduce wildfire risks in the West have been largely ineffective because fuel-reduction efforts seldom hit areas near homes and businesses. Here's the news story.

2. San Diego County is violating state law by denying citizens the right to provide input on a tax-payer supported project that will directly impact their lives.

3. The project may lead to the spread of weedy, flashy fuels across the landscape, increasing the risk of fires and unnecessarily damaging natural resources.

4. The project may not use the best available knowledge to make the right decisions about how to strategically save lives and homes during the next wildfire.

5. The project may lead to the spread of the gold-spotted oak beetle that is killing thousands of oak trees in the region.

The only way to help insure that the project's potentially negative consequences are avoided is to require the county to conduct a full environmental review as required by CEQA.


9/7 Brushing Out / Prevention:

Of the thousands of acres treated, somehow they missed the top of Mt. Wilson! How many resources were used to save the observatory and radio tower farm? They had brush and trees right up to the edge of these facilities!

Brushing Out won't prevent a fire from starting, but brushing out safety zones, and homeowners doing the same around their homes, sure makes fighting fire; safer, cheaper and easier.

We sure could of got our moneys worth if we created strategic safety zones for firefighters to retreat to in their effort to save life and property. You don't have to thin the whole forest, just keep safety zones maintained for firefighters to work from! That should be the FIRST priority for prevention money.

I am just assuming a lack of SZs, tell me if I'm wrong.

William Riggle

9/7 Brushing out in SD/LA


The California Chaparral Institute is currently suing the County of San Diego to block the fuels treatment plans that were developed by environmentally aware fire service experts. This attempt to delay critically needed fuels work inhibits fire professionals from performing their duty to the public, and endangers their lives during fires. If these kind of delays occurred in the Los Angeles community, which resulted in impacting the size of the Station Fire, then that needs to be investigated and brought to the light of day, not drowned out by the shouts of those responsible for the delays.

Another Hunter, not the original

9/7 Updated Google Earth perimeter on the Station Fire:

CA-ANF-E5VL Station 9-7-2009 0553.kml


9/7 hazmat:

The WFF is at the Station Fire helping solve problems with Arizona firefighters exposed to HAZMAT, cyanide; another young firefighter with chest pains (heart). It helps that our families can get to their loved ones and arrangements for lodging and transport are made and paid for by someone who can shoulder that burden.


Firefighters, if you haven't contributed to the 52 club, please do. Our Wildland Firefighter Foundation needs our help so they can help.

If members of the public are reading, we welcome you to support our firefighters and their families by donating to the Foundation that supports us in time of need.


9/7 Brushing out in SD/LA:


Well we got hit again with the blame game. The Associated Press released an article last week by Michael Blood (9/2/09) in the midst of the Station Fire with the headline “Feds failed to clear brush in LA area.” The article built on this to leave the impression that had the USFS finished conducting their planned 1,700 acres of fuel treatments, the Station Fire could have been “avoided.” What a joke!

What is it about the media, the public, and unfortunately some political leaders, who jump on every chance to blame the fire service, environmental laws, or (pick a name or agency) for nearly every large fire? I don’t understand why the Forest Service didn’t kick its PR office into overdrive and do a better job defending itself. We should expect these kinds of accusations and be ready to respond to them the second they hit the street.

Here's an attempt by the California Chaparral Institute to set the record straight. News Release


9/7 Station fire observation

I have like many others been following the Station Fire on the ANF and talked with many retirees. I find it very interesting that there has not been any contact by either the forest, district or IC staffs with any retirees that know the country where this fire has been going. There is at least 3 retired Division Chiefs, several Battalion Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs that have not heard a peep from anyone trying to deal with this fire. During my tenure with the agency that was one of the first places we went to gain an insight as to what the fire could do and good places to cut it off. That sure didnt happen and look at the mess they are in now. Too bad as the ANF was a good place to work at onetime before the current FS arrived. My condolences to the families of the two LA County firefighters and those that lost their property and livelihoods to this fire.


9/6 Google Map of Station Fire perimeter:

Sent in by Strider:

From Inciweb:

If you have Google Earth, you can access today's Station Fire perimeter at CA-ANF-E5VL Station 9-5-2009 0625.kml

Steep and rugged terrain combined with continued warm seasonal temperatures to challenge firefighters on the eastern perimeter of the fire yesterday. Even as crews mopped up and reinforced existing line, they dealt with spotting northeast of Chilao, and significant runs north of Cogswell Dam.

Crews planned on strengthening line and reducing fuel in the Chilao area today. Those plans changed when fire spotted over a dozer line east of Alder Saddle and west of Winston Ridge. As of 5:00 p.m. yesterday the fire remained west of the pushing east from the saddle. The most active fire for the day burned in this area, generating smoke columns for many miles in all directions. As part of a predetermined contingency plan, the incident command opted to dispatch fire and law resources to the community of Juniper Hills. No evacuation were ordered, but it is requested that all residents, especially animal owners, prepare themselves for any possibility in the future.

The area north of Cogswell Dam also generated significant fire during the afternoon hours. Heated southern and western aspects created intensified fire behavior, with significant upslope runs through heavy fuels. Hotshot crews, inserted with the intent to directly attack the fire, pulled back to safety with the increase in activity.

9/6 20 Largest California Wildland Fires By Acreage (pdf)

Dietrich stated tonight that the Station Fire just broke into the top 10 largest fires.

Inciweb was updated less than 30 min ago... 157,220 acres

9/6 Crew Photo:

Good Morning, Ab,

Could you please add this to the Crews Pic. This is our refresher in 2009 held in last week of February. Then had about 96 Rookies in basic fire school First week in March. This program has about 60-70 CRWB (T) go through the program each year nation wide. Great learning experience, for all that have come, for both the overhead and the crews.


Thanks S, I put it on Handcrews 26 photo page. I did a bit of cropping to get closer images of the Cobras, the Black Eagles and the Scorpions. I hope I got them in the right order. (I put the mules above. Always was partial to those sure-footed wilderness-going creatures.) Ab.

9/6 Sequoia National Forest "Organized Crews"

Interesting info on these crews. I had the pleasure of working with the Black Eagles on the Betty Fire (INF-1961), the Coyote Fire (LPF-1964) and again on a fire in Malibu (LAC-1970). Their liaison was a Cecil Salas (sp) and they were top notch even back then. It was almost like old home week the second and third time as many of the crew were the same on each fire.

Brings back memories. On the Betty Fire we went in from Lone Pine, via Tunnel Meadows, and came out three weeks later in Quaking Aspen. Quite a trip thru the Sierra.


9/6 Sequoia National Forest History "Cobras 5 Firefighter Crews"

Just A little history about the Program,

10 Crews out of 18 were down on the Station Fire from day one.

Today after a 60-year, rich history on the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument, the Porterville Organized Crews are one dimension of our firefighting organization that now number over 400 personnel. These firefighters, many from Mexican and Mexican-American decent, are not “hot-shots,” but are a workforce available 12 months a year, nationwide for a variety of forest project work. Today’s local help is a disciplined organization that is divided into three sectors; Scorpions, Cobras, and Black Eagles, and include firefighters 18+ years of age, who pass all basic firefighting tests.

The history of the Organized Crews are colorful valley tales. In the early years, around 1925, when a fire started, forest rangers had to hire local help. The ranger had to find 30 individuals to go out into the "back woods," stake out and fight fire at $.71 an hour (1948), and work straight through a 24-36 hour shift. Usually the ranger worked with the local Sheriff's office to "gather up the boys." Over time as a result of this predictable firefighting work, the local men organized themselves to become the Porterville Organized Crews.

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, fire crew bosses were chosen and then they selected their individual crews. When word went out a firefighting crew was being gathered, it wasn’t uncommon for 500 individuals to be waiting outside the Forest Service warehouse looking for work. Selections were made on a "first-come, first-served" basis. The men stood in line, grabbed the beltloop of the individual in front of them and waited. When they numbered 25 they were assigned to a crew boss, loaded up in open trucks with aluminum seats, or cattle trucks, and were carted off long distances to the fire. Many of these trips were a 17-hour drive up a dirt road. After reaching the fire, the crews then walked long distances to work on the fireline. A firefighter's personal gear was limited to a toothbrush, one pair of spare socks and a jacket.

In the 1970's, standardized firefighter training began. The Porterville Crews implemented discipline, developed their own dress code, bought high quality professional fire clothing and equipment.

Over the last 70 years, the biggest changes have focused on firefighter safety, training, and transportation. Today, the Organized Crew's work is varied and sought after nationwide regarding:

  • wildland and prescribed fires,
  • managed resource benefit fires in the wilderness,
  • burned area rehabilitation,
  • fuel reduction,
  • timber stand improvement,
  • fuel break installation,
  • road clearing/brushing/chipping, and
  • trail brushing and maintenance.

In the last four years, the program has mobilized crews for wildfires an average of 84 times each year; the majority were fourteen day assignments. Each year, on average, the crews earn $3.5 million in firefighting employee salaries, most in Tulare County. Five, of the 15-crews, are experienced with managed resource benefit fire management practices. These crews have extensive experience using wilderness spike camp tactics and utilization of pack trains on national forests. In 2003, the Organized Crews also participated in the Shuttle Recovery efforts which was a significant nationwide historical event etched in the minds of many Americans.

My warmest thanks go out to all the men who have worked and been a part of these Organized Crews during the past 60-years. Each of your lives are part of a rich and colorful American tapestry called the U.S. Forest Service.


Nice historical piece, SMS. I added it to the IMWTK page. Ab.

9/5 Chili Days of Summer WFF Fundraiser


Sept. 12 the 5th Annual Chili Days of Summer will be held at Riverside Park in Grants Pass, Oregon. We’re dedicating our day of cooking up Southern Oregon’s BEST chili to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and will be donating all proceeds from our competition to the WFF. We took fourth place last year and this year plan to take first with a special elk chili from my daughter’s first elk hunt last year. We’ll also be taking a collection for the WFF at our chili booth cosponsored by NWTF & Soul Canyon. Firefighters not ready for the summer to be over need to come down to the event and “Feel the Heat”… & show your support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.


9/5 Let's support Wildland Firefighters, from the Craigslist Founder

Proceeds of the Into the Fire CD by The Black Irish Band benefit the WFF.

Look here:  blackirish.com
Thanks Mark. Ab.

9/5 Cobras 5 crew:

Thanks to firefighters:

It was a pleasure seeing and meeting the Cobras 5 crew at Honey's restaurant in Glendora, California. It is not surprising that the whole crew and supervisors were very courteous and humble when they received the thanks from me and my grandson. I took photos of the crew and will be posting on my web site and relaying them for your viewing them on the Wildlandfire.com site. Again Thank you for the brave and hard job working the lines that we as a public take for granted. Be safe and may god bless you all.

Ernest A Pineda,
Retired LAPD

9/5 City of La Cañada Flintridge WFF Fundraiser

Good morning All,

I heard from Vicki Minor of the WFF again this morning. She asked for me to relay the message that the

City of La Cañada Flintridge is holding a Wildland Firefighter Foundation fundraiser
at their Memorial Park off Foothills Blvd across from their farmers' market.

They will be there all day. If you're near there, stop by and donate. There's much more that she shared. I'll write that up a bit later. If you can't make it to the fundraiser, please donate online at the WFF website, link at the purple ribbon at the top of this page. I don't need to tell everyone here that the money is always needed to benefit wildland firefighters and their families in times of need in ways that bureaucracies cannot.

Thanks Vicki, Burk, Sherrie and Guy.


Something I wrote yesterday: Hotlist on the WFF


$100,000 Reward in Station Wildfire Announced
Updated: Friday, 04 Sep 2009, 7:37 PM PDT

Los Angeles  - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set a deadly wildfire north of Los Angeles.

Schwarzenegger announced the reward Friday, a day after officials said forensic evidence at the fire's point of origin revealed that the wildfire -- among the largest in Southern California's history -- was intentionally set. Two firefighters died Sunday when their truck careened off a steep mountain road.

Under state law, the governor may offer rewards up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person killing a firefighter in the line of duty.

The fire has burned through 241 square miles of the Angeles National Forest. More than 70 homes have been destroyed.


Here's a link to a story from the Orange County Register about the OCFA's type 3 strike team and its wild day assignment to Vogel Flats in Big Tujunga Canyon last Saturday on the Station Fire. The fire moved hard into this area when a convection column collapsed and 35 of the 45 homes in this community were lost. 3 civilian burn injuries occurred to folks who wouldn't leave, 2 were seriously burned. The Big T station was saved.

Apologies in advance to our brothers in the XSB strike team and especially to ANF E11 who was also there. Everybody told the reporter about them, too, but in the end she makes it sound like Orange County did it alone. Those who were there know better!

Strike Team Warrior


9/4 Fire behavior on the Station Fire and from 1924


From the collection of Gordon Rowley, ANF Ret. Prevention Officer.

Gives some perspective of the areas fire history.

John Bennett

Put it on Fire 42 photo page. I followed the photo with 2 from the UCLA cam that gives a current day perspective. John, thanks for that. Ab.

9/4 Legarza: No Grass

Hey Ab,

I heard Legs - Shawna Legarza has a signing for her book No Grass at Great Basin College, Elko, Nevada on Saturday Sept. 5th from 1000-1600 hrs. Does anyone know for sure if that's still on, given it's fire season?

Pretty amazing book.


9/4 ESRI is there to help:

Hey Ab,

Would you please remind your readers, especially the Plans, Situation Unit and GIS folks, that we provide assistance during disasters. During this last week we delivered plotters, software upgrades, ArcGIS extensions, technical support, license files, map data, imagery and GIS Technical Specialists to the Station, Oak Glen and Pendleton fires. To obtain these services, at no cost, simply complete the on-line request form that is linked at the top of the News page. We also have over 2,000 business partners, so if you have a specific need that we can’t supply, chances are one of our BPs has it. A good example occurred during the Australian bushfires when Victoria Police needed GPS-enabled digital cameras, ArcGIS server, rugged PDAs and a simple, easy-to-learn mobile mapping application for damage assessment.


Tom Patterson
ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist

9/4 I wrote this after the folks we down on the San Berdo And have read it over my Brother Upty, it belongs to everyone who has lost someone close in the fire game.

The Old Fire Dog

It's just a little past the midnight hour
One last time I checking gear
For the dispatcher has been a calling
And I'll soon be far from here

Back out in the blazing brush down south
On the lines in the timbered mountains high
Fighting fire in the urban interface
Or riding steeds of metal in the sky

I shine my brass and re-minis
Of all the friends I've lost
The leering laughs the hardy toasts
and all the cans we tossed

But an old fire dog once told me
Don't grieve for them my Son
Cause they've been told by the Big IC
Welcome home folks and job well done

Take heart from what they gave us
On those cold nights on the lines
Sharing the last of their MREs
Or cooking coffee way up in the pines

As I oil my boots I think about
Together the miles we've walked
Along the steams cool and clear
and of all the things we've talked

They'll never be really gone you know
Not as long as they're in our hearts
They remind us we must carry on
Because they've done their parts

So it's out the door I'm headed
To God knows who knows where
For the tones they are a calling
And there's smoke up in the air

All my friends they are a waiting
Some here and some long gone
But we'll all be there together
With courage and standing strong

Lockdog 2007

9/4 Area Ignition by Joseph Valencia:

Hi Ab,

I just finished reading the book "Area Ignition" by Joseph N. Valencia, author of Tranquillon Ridge and Fire Season. The book is the actual true story of the Spanish Ranch Fire in 1979, off of Hwy. 166 in San Luis Obispo County. Four CDF (CAL FIRE) employees out of the Nipomo station lost their lives. An excellent three hour read, 126 pages. The book goes into great detail of the human element / crew cohesion or lack thereof. All the players involved were interviewed during a staff ride in 2005 and subsequent follow-up interviews over a four year period. The book would be a good read for all ranks involved in wild land firefighting.


CDF BC Retired

I've heard good things about this book, too. Beyond Tranquillon Ridge was excellent. Have to read this newest one. I'm added it to the Fire Books page. Ab.

9/3 Firefighters homes burned while they fought fire:

A number of federal wildland firefighters (I think 14 on the Angeles NF and 2 on the Tahoe NF) have lost some combination of their homes, rental abodes, vehicles, worldly goods. Some are still on the fireline. Casey (FWFSA) and Vicki (WFF) are trying to help. Just a heads up.


9/3 The Camp 16 Incident Vehicle Accident and Fatalities, Blue Sheet has been released. Thanks, contributors. Ab.

Hotlist post in the Lessons Learned Subforum.

Hotlist thread

9/3 Memorial service arrangements for Captain Ted Hall and Specialist Arnie Quinones

From JP Harris,

a flyer announcing the memorial details. (75 K pdf file)

9/3 From the Hotlist on memorial services for the 2 LAC firefighters that died:

ABC7 LA reports, and LA County FD confirms that the memorial service for Fire Captain Tedmund "Ted" Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones is scheduled for

1000 hours, Saturday, September 12th at
Dodger Stadium.

The following link is to LAC's website with more information ~

9/3 re: feller boss training issues


We just posted a couple documents to the Colorado Firecamp website.

One is the text of the OSHA citations issued to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest for the Andrew Palmer fatality in 2008.

The second is the facilitated learning analysis for the Little Grass Valley tree felling accident from a couple weeks ago on the Plumas National Forest.

We are still waiting to hear on our OSHA grant application to develop the Felling Boss training curriculum, to replace the S-235 class that NWCG axed back in 1996.

vfd cap'n

9/3 I posted a photo from the CA-YNP-Big Meadow fire on the Fire 42 photo page. Thanks Crol. Ab.
9/3 LACOFD Fatalities


First of all Thank ALL of your readers, Federal State and Local who have expressed their condolences for the loss of our two Firefighters.

Attached are the Bios of Captain Ted Hall Camp 16 Supt. And FFS Arnie Quinones, Crew Supervisor Camp 16 released by Los Angeles County Fire.

Those of you who are not familiar with Fire Camp 16 -- a LAC joint operation with California Dept of Corrections -- it is a 4 to 5 Fire Crew Operation based approximately in the center of the Angeles National Forest at a former Nike Site. The camp was totally destroyed.

Thanks to all your readers who have refrained from guessing speculating what transpired, when we firefighters do that we create urban legends. Let's all wait for the official report to be released.

Thanks again to all who share our LOSS
John JP Harris retired, LAC

9/3 Here's the ICS layout, right from the FEMA Resource Guide.

Hope this helps

-MedicDoug (an ICS evangelist!)

Thanks, Doug. Ab.

9/3 Cassie,

ICS Form 207??

ICS Resource Center Forms

Better resource for verification may be at the top of page:

FEMA IS/ICS Resource index


Thanks, Hickman. Ab.

9/3 Hello, my name is Cassie and I work for the Comanche Nation Wildland Firefighters.

I was wondering if you know where I can find a document I can cite that lays out chain of command. I know one, but it’s more of hear-say, and I have to turn one into Human Resources that is an actual document. I can’t find one anywhere and I would appreciate it if you could help me.

Thank you!


Anyone know right where she can get an ICS doc/layout? Ab.

9/3 Re: '71 Crews

In '71 we started the Payson Hotshot Crew in Arizona and I was the first Foreman. No IR status for a first year crew but I have been thinking of asking if anyone has photos of our Helitack, Engine or Hotshot Crews '68-71. The Ranger Station is now a museum, like me. Joined the U.S. Attorney's office in 1972 and still there (teaching Wildland Fire Law). Took no pictures in those days but would love to see some.

Mike Johns
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Senior Litigation Counsel

9/3 Thanks:

Right now we all need to pause and thank our many friends who are working long, hot hours on the Station Fire.

They are also not without grief after recent events.


9/3 Never underestimate the power of a random act of kindness. It is like a small and modest investment, but it grows exponentially over the course of time. The payoff for these modest investments was never more evident than during the memorials for Steve Uptegrove. The kindness and compassion that he freely invested in a multitude of people from all walks of life was plainly obvious in the loving and generous manner in which people turned out to say thanks to "Upte" one last time. The amount of kindness and compassion that Steve invested in me was relatively small considering the comparatively short window in time that fate afforded me to know him. The closest thing I can compare this to is trying to catch a firefly and then trying to hold him for as long as he will allow you to in your cupped hands. I was very gratified and honored to meet Linda and Gerald, and I can honestly say that I truly envy you both for holding the firefly longer than most of us.

My entire adult life is irrevocably entwined in the firefighting culture. This I would not trade for anything, largely because acts of kindness and compassion during times of crisis can seem ordinary acts for the many exemplary people that I have been privileged to be associated with in the firefighting world. What Steve gave over the course of a lifetime was extraordinary.

It has been said that firefighting is the moral equivalent of war. In firefighting the battles that shape our culture have names like Mann Gulch, Sundance, Wheeler, Topanga Canyon, Gorda Rat, Mortar Creek, Long Tom, South Canyon, etc. The roster of the legendary heroes that have fought our great battles and now occupy a seat in our very special firefighting Valhalla is a very long and distinguished one. It would take an eternity to conduct a complete roll call of this select group. A very brief glimpse at this hallowed roster would reveal such recognizable names as Steve Uptegrove, Paul Gleason, Ralph Johnston, Jim Ramage, Dave Walton, Mark Whitney, Don Mackey, Jon Kelso, Jim Thrash, Rich Tyler, Tami Bickett, Bonnie Holtby, etc, etc……….my apologies to the many hundreds of you that cannot be listed here. All of you are missed.

- The Wingman

9/2 I just put several new logos up on Logo 16 photo page. NIMO; Austin BLM - NV; Ontario Air Attack, Canada; E-71 Tahoe NF & Tahoe NF Patch; BIFZ logo; Ventura County Fire Crew 1; and Southern Wyoming Fuels Crew.



9/2 Odds & Ends:

First & Foremost I'd like to thank those who have contacted the FWFSA with offers of help for TNF firefighters Dan Manry & Robert Crowder. Although there is a fund set up through the SO on the Forest, we have an address that donations etc. can be sent directly to the firefighters if you so chose. Simply contact me at cjudd@fwfsa.org or 208-775-4577.

Secondly, the FWFSA was contacted this morning by the Congressional Quarterly, a journalism group reporting on Congress since 1945 to ask our take on the FLAME Act, (S. 561 in the Senate and HR 1404 in the House).

I reiterated our point (one that we have made clear to the authors of the bill) that throwing an entirely new bucket 'O Cash, in addition to the annual suppression funding already appropriated at an Agency, primarily the Forest Service which has heretofore not demonstrated any fiscal effectiveness and efficiency in reining in suppression costs as envisioned by the National Fire Plan, is not the answer.

Our belief is that current levels of funding are adequate but that changes in the manner in which the FIRE programs are managed, and particularly who manages them must be made. In other words, not only does the federal infrastructure need to be strengthened through pay & benefit reforms which would lead to the reduced (not totally eliminated) current over-reliance on non-federal resources, additionally those with FIRE experience and expertise must be the ones to develop and implement FIRE policy and manage & allocate preparedness, suppression and fuels funding.

Let's cut to the chase, with all due respect, Line Officers, with little to no wildfire experience, should not continue to make decisions about how and where to spend appropriated FIRE dollars and should not make FIRE policy.

Thirdly, I was impressed by R5's PIO Mr. Kirchner during yesterday's radio interview, in which I had the honor of participating. Not evident was the typical Agency "spin" although it was interesting to hear him state the current primary objective of firefighters on the California wildfires was "structure protection." He also validated something Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management Director mentioned not too long ago that the wildfire season was "year round." Hopefully the current FS Chief will acknowledge as much as compared to the former Chief who gasped at the idea that the season would ever be year round. Anyway I applaud him on his articulation and understanding of the current fire issues.


9/2 IR Crew '71

Reply to: Kris McCauley,

RE: 1971 IR Crew on Spyglass Lookout, IPNF

I am not 100% certain of this answer, and perhaps someone out there can be more definitive than I, but… (based on my 11 years on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, plus nine years on the Clearwater National Forest) I’m going to hazard a guess that the Inter Regional (IR) Crew mentioned at Spyglass Lookout in 1971, was the Saint Joe Hotshots, and the Crew Foreman at that time was Terry Stranahan, who later became FMO at Avery /Red Ives District and retired in the mid 1990s.

“Nozzle Hog”

9/2 IR Crew '71


The Idaho Panhandle at one time hosted three Interregional Fire Crews. Two were disbanded in the late 70's (Kaniksu IR, hosted on the north end of the forest at Priest lake, and the Coeur d'Alene IR, which was hosted by the districts that comprise the Central Zone or CDA River Ranger District. The forest now hosts one Type 1 crew, Idaho Panhandle IHC, formerly the St.Joe IHC that was originally hosted by the St.Maries RD. At one time that crew (CDA IR) based out of Magee RS which is now a historic site. Magee was a separate district before being combined with the Fernan district. If you look around the next time you go in that area you will see that the buildings that are left there are just a small piece of what was there, including an airstrip that may still be big enough to land planes the size of a DC-3. If you are interested in learning a bit more I would advise you to drop in at Fernan.

As for the outhouse my guess would be that the crew either built it outright, did some reconstruction work on it as IR and IHC crews used to be and still are involved in project work when not chasing fire, or one of the boys used it and left their mark for the world to see.


9/2 steve uptegrove:


front page article with pic of procession

johnny brown

9/2 Hello to you all. I would like to introduce myself to you, in a sense. I am someone who works for DHS-FEMA. I have worked as a FF/EMT in the past, but I do keep up on some of my fire training as needed for my FEMA job.

I would like to say that I am proud of all of you, my brothers and sisters, who brave the heat and flames, attempting to save lives, our environment and property. I know you provide a back breaking labor of love, not only for the job that you do, but for the individuals that you so bravely, yet humbly serve. You are truly in my thoughts and prayers, every day.

Please continue doing your jobs as safely as you can. People and their pets are counting on you. I have had wonderful opportunities to meet some of you during the responses to other hazardous incidents.

I will look forward to meeting more of you in the future. Here's a great big hug to you all...

Take care...


Welcome back, Atta_Gal, what a blast from the past. Hope life is treating you well. Ab.

9/2 IR Crew '71


Recently, my husband and I hiked up to the Spyglass Peak Fire Lookout in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. We found the outhouse and above the door was carved IR Crew '71. I was curious as to what crew was there in 1971 and what their history is.

Can you give me any information regarding this?

Thank you so much!

Kris McCauley
bunnymeadow2@ nospam aol.com

9/1 CA-BDU-Pendleton-Yukipa Fire 09/01/09.

Dave points out the face in the photo of the AT drop...


9/1 Old news but still somewhat valid I suppose. These are the things that happen when someone who has absolutely no clue on why, when and how air tankers are supposed to be used, are allowed to make decisions on aerial resources.


9/1 "Air tanker drops in wildfires are often just for show" Article written last July. Pretty well written with lots of quotes from Ray Quintanar. Probably still occurring right now in South Zone..

Just For Show?


9/1 vfd cap'n sent in a post at 1230 about a NPR piece. I am just getting to updating the page. Here's his post and the followup. Thanks, vfd cap't. Ab.


In about a half hour, instructor Mark Thomas will be on the NPR show "Talk of the Nation" for a segment about "a day in the life" of wildland firefighters. You can listen online at http://radiotime.com/station/s_32001/KCFR_1340.aspx

After about 4 pm jmdt, you will be able to download the podcast from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5

A producer from the show called me yesterday after looking at the Colorado Firecamp website, wanting to interview one of our instructors.

vfd cap'n


Here’s the link to the NPR segment " A Day in the Life of a Forest Firefighter" on the "Talk of the Nation" today.

vfd cap'n

9/1 G'morn'in

I found this info related to the Station fire of interest to me and, I expect to our community. If you think it worthy (and legal), would you post it with the necessary disclaimer?

Colorado's hazy skies courtesy of California wildfires
By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post
Posted: 08/31/2009 02:51:15 PM MDT
Updated: 08/31/2009 09:04:32 PM MDT

The smoke over Colorado — which has made the mountains west of Denver invisible from downtown Denver — has come directly from the massive 85,000-acre wildfire in Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.

Although Denverites could barely see the gray outlines of the foothills immediately west of Golden and Lakewood this afternoon, the higher mountains had disappeared in a dirty white haze.

Norv Larson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a high-pressure system on the Arizona-New Mexico border has caused an airflow that is carrying the smoke in an easterly direction.

"Looking at satellite trajectories, we can follow it all the way back to California," said Larson. "There is a long line of smoke. These fires are so large and burning so hot, they're generating their own weather and lofting smoke thousands of feet into the atmosphere." Etc at the link...

Thank you....

Glenn O

Thanks for that link, Glenn. Sorry about the smoke! Folks you can go read the rest at the link. Ab.

Fair use disclaimer

9/1 CAL FIRE Blue Sheet (24 hr preliminary Report) CA-SCU-Engine Burn Over on the Pacheco Fire:

Attached is a Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) referencing a non-injury Burn Over of a Model #14 fire engine on the Pacheco Fire in the Santa Clara Unit. Please provide wide distribution of the document via the regular chain-of-command process for the purposes of discussion and Tailgate safety session.

Dave Teter
Battalion Chief - Department Safety Officer

Lessons Learned Hotlist thread (has text and link to prelim doc)

9/1 To All:

I spoke with Dan Manry (TNF) last night who indicated the most immediate need he and Robert Crowder have is clothing. (what's wrong with walking around in Nomex 24/7)

I understand the Tahoe has an employee benefit fund taking donations and the FWFSA will work with Dan directly. If you'd like to assist through us, please feel free to email me at cjudd@fwfsa.org or phone me at 208-775-4577.


Casey Judd
Business Manager

9/1 Ab,

It's been 1 year since Gene, Gonzo and Zach were taken from us.
The crew of Tanker 09 represented all that is good in Fire Aviation and our Fire Family as a whole.
Gene, skilled pilot and seasoned mentor.
Gonzo, dedicated father and fire fighter.
Zach, a young man who represented the best and brightest of us...
All three tragically taken from us one year ago today.
And all three, as well as their families have been in my thoughts and prayers every day since...

Attached are pictures of the T-09 Memorial at Stead Air Attack Base.
Neptune Aviation donated the prop and BLM Nevada sponsored the construction of the water fountain. Base personnel and volunteers provided the labor.
We encourage all who pass this way to stop in and say hi.

Best Regards,
Michael Bassett
Stead Assistant Base Manager

Thanks, Michael. Sad day. I put the photos here on the Memorials page. It's a fitting tribute. Reno isn't too far. I'd like to see it. Ab.

9/1 Ab,

Taken Monday 8.31.09 at 1pm as a group of 4 helicopters were making tandem drops on a ridge line trying to stop the north-westerly spread of the fire towards Sunland and Sylmar. Not everyday you see three whirly birds dipping from the same pond at the same time.



Thanks S. I put them on the Helicopters 27 and Helicopters 28 photo pages. Ab..

9/1 Well, I missed it. Ab.

Casey to be interviewed on KPFA 94.1 Berkeley

Dear AB & All:

FWFSA Business Manager Casey Judd will be interviewed on radio, KPFA 94.1 Berkeley, tomorrow morning at 8:05 am Pacific Time. The topic will be wildfire preparedness.

FWFSA Board of Directors

Good news! Here's how you can look at the schedule and LISTEN. Ab.

9/1 Ab, here's OCFA Crew 1b Sierra Peak with Yorba Linda behind. Patrick

Thanks, I put it on the Handcrews 26 photo page. Ab.

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