"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
October, 2009

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10/31 From Australia:

Abs,

Australian Bushfires

A review of some of the work that is being done by the Bushfire CRC (presented in a science orientated programme).  Well worth a watch.  I particularly found the part relating to decision making very interesting & probably spot on.

Regards

OB

Thanks OB. Ab.

10/31 Happy Halloween

Have a safe and fun day, one and all!

airtankers 32 photo page:  halloween (photo)

TS

10/31 Happy Halloween from Ramona AAB compliments of HPWren:

airtankers 32 photo page: hpwren-halloween09  (photo)

10/31 CWCG Meeting without notes distributed to Fire Cooperators or Stakeholders:

The California Wildfire Coordinating Group (CWCG) recently had another meeting. The primary topic reportedly revolved around IMTs. The agenda of this meeting was not distributed to California Fed, State and LG Fire Service employees. Notes of this meeting or any CWCG meeting are not distributed or posted on the CWCG website. This is in violation of the CWCG charter:

“Minutes of each meeting will be kept and copies will be posted on the CWCG website and forwarded to CWCG members and the signatory agency administrators. The Chair will make arrangements for a note taker at each meeting”.

“Each committee will elect a chairperson. Minutes of meetings or key decisions and action items will be documented and distributed to CWCG”

Members and leaders of the CWCG need to remember that CWCG works for the citizens of the State of California and or the Executive Branch of the United States of America. The work CWCG does affects thousands of bargaining unit Fire Service and non Fire Service employees (Fed, State and LG). The work CWCG does also effects stakeholders, hundreds of Fire Safe Councils and cooperating disaster relief organizations.

Complete transparency for the CWCG is required NOW. Citizens and employees expect to receive all meeting minutes, decision logs and updates when CWCG leadership changes. We expect information on all CWCG activities in a timely manner so members and citizens are briefed and given adequate time to provide input prior to the making of decisions. The meetings should be open to the public.

CWCG works for the Fire Service, not the Secret Service. We expect transparency on all topics including IMT management by December 1 or the FOIAs begin December 2. If you have no intention to seek change, being open and allowing your fellow Brothers and Sisters not on your group to learn and lead, then CWCG members might want to get busy learning where the delete button is.

ms

CWCG Meeting Notes, 2009

10/31 Night flying:

Southern California Local Government Fire Agencies (Orange County Fire Authority, LA County Fire, LA City Fire):

Are you listening? Night flying is not worth it!

www.latimes mid-air collision story

FC180

10/31 Paul Gleason on Cerro Grande Lessons and random thoughts on Cancer Clusters

Interesting VIDEO walk-through AAR/Lessons Learned from Paul Gleason who presented to a S-490 Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculation class at Colorado State U. in Fort Collins, CO on January 23, 2001. It's about a half hr including several explanatory slides and photos at the beginning and end. I appreciate that he sucked it up to talk about this even in 2001.

AAR Video from myfirevideos.net

One interesting thing Gleason says near the end is that complexity and risk are generally evaluated together in planning. He suggests they should be considered separately, that complexity is logistical and relates to how to do the job with whatever resources; while risk relates to the threat to resources, public homes, etc something "goes seriously awry". He adds that there are "two vectors" that should be included in a worst case scenario risk assessment: 1) the worst case conditions on historic fire spread in 2 operational periods with resources not available, compounded 2) by the added risk of something else like a wind event.

In addition to fire behavior and decision making, one thing that periodically concerns me is the cancer rates among firefighters. At times it seems there are clusters of firefighters I've known that have worked as a crew that have a high incidence of cancer. There were concerns of radioactive soil and fire burning on radioactive soil on Cerro Grande. Does anyone have any potential exposure information? I've heard the same concerns for HAZMAT risks at Hanford fires in WA. We all suck smoke, its part of the risk, do we know where that risk could be higher? Does anyone have a list of clusters of cancers?

Strider

10/30 Esperanza Report

To those that are interested, the latest from our congressional sources is that the USDA OIG report on the Esperanza Fire will now be out on November 17th...a wee bit past its promised release of last March.

According to congressional staff, the report will be short on conclusions, but include some questions. Until it's out, I guess it would be hard to surmise why it has taken so long to prepare the report. More to follow.

Casey

10/30 For those that are interested we have posted a video of the gathering at Hooley's for those that could not make the event. The video is available at:

YouTube Video

Thanks
Mark Grow

10/30 24 Hour Report STF Burn Injury

Date: October 26, 2009
Subject: Prescribed Fire Burn Injury, Preliminary 24 Hour Report
To: Susan Skalski, Forest Supervisor

Location: Bald Mountain Helibase, Mi Wok Ranger District, Stanislaus National Forest
Date of Occurrence: October 22, 2009
Time of Occurrence: Approximately 11:15 PDT

Summary: A firefighter assigned to lighting piles of activity slash in a five acre project area received burns caused by ignited drip torch fuel unknowingly applied to his pant leg.

Injuries: One firefighter received 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns to the right leg. The firefighter was transported to a local medical clinic for treatment and was released. The following day, the firefighter received additional care from UC Davis Burn Center.

Property Damage: None

Preliminary Findings: A firefighter assigned to lighting piles of activity slash with a drip torch, stopped to carry two additional drip torches that were nearly empty back to the fueling area. While in route to the fueling area, the firefighter continued to light piles with a torch in one hand and the other two torches carried in the other hand. The two torches not being used for lighting at the time were carried with the wicks down. The firefighter unknowingly dripped fuel from these two torches onto his pant leg. When the firefighter walked past a burning pile, his pant leg ignited. Two other firefighters working nearby assisted in extinguishing the fire and provided first aid.

A final report and facilitated learning analysis is forthcoming.

/s/ Bobby J. Shindelar
Review Team Leader

10/30 FERS sick leave bill

I read the FERS sick leave bill the same way that LM does. If a FERS employee retires before Dec. 31 2013, he/she will only be able to claim 1/2 of their accumulated sick leave hours towards retirement. But, a co-worker of mine has got another theory. His interpretation is that until Dec 31, 2013, All FERS employees will only be able to claim 1/2 of their sick leave when they retire, but when 2014 hits, they will be able to claim 100%.

For example, if I had 500 hours of sick leave on Dec. 31, 2013, only 250 of those hours would be available for me when I retire. Then, on Jan 1, 2014, all the sick leave hours I accrue are put towards retirement.

I went back and re-read the bill and to me it doesn't really spell it out.

Does anyone know which of these is correct? Casey, Ab, LM.

Thanks,

Quick Connect

10/30 Centralize fire, it worked as a model program in R5:

Okay' we all as employees of the forest service need to desperately join the fight take the fight to the top! Take this fight away from the people that think they have control! Like on the los padres! We are a land management agency that always serves the people! That remains our mission and we continue to give to people that use our trails too! Without forest service firefighters continuing to serve and step up, this agency won't exist! So be careful like Smokey always says! Line officers need to listen, your last grasp on power is a confirmation that your leadership is archaic! Your leadership is outdated and misguided! The so called professionals in this agency have lost their mission! Centralize fire and excommunicate the line officers!

I was here when we promoted the fire re-org! The pilot program in california! It was progressive and efficient! Thom myall and lonnie briggs were out front as leaders! They made a huge difference and showed that that fire management  can not only be more efficient outside of the rec/res shop but the sup office as well! 

I can tell you this, the current so called "leadership" or line officers despised our fire fighting model! They brought in people after that who were afraid to lead! Now we're a forest of followers, not leaders anymore!

Jeffsz00tv!

10/29 Ab,

We need to keep working towards a just culture. Sometimes we are faced with new situations where things go wrong, sometimes its fire behavior, sometimes its accidents, sometimes its the movement of the emergency itself. Often the public or whoever is clamoring to place blame cannot see why we did not think of a,b.c,d. We get blamed for too many overhead or people "sitting around". It's easy to think like that old problem resolution flowchart . Fear of Blame can get anybody looking for self preservation. Blame can keep us from hashing things out so we can be safer.

roadrunner

10/29 Good morning -

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Joseph (Joey) Gallegos has passed away in Iraq. The National Guard confirmed that Joey was found in his bed yesterday morning, having passed away in his sleep. The Guard is not yet certain of his cause of death. When we receive any information, I will let you know. It appears that it will be a week before his remains are returned to northern NM. Once we have information on the details of the funeral, or any other opportunities for the Forest Service to participate and give honor to our fallen comrade, I will share.

Please keep Joey and his family in your prayers.

K
NM-CNF

Please keep us in the loop for services. Community, please remember Joey's contributions even beyond his military service: Here's one award (archived doc) he received in 2007 based on a 2006 action he took that saved a life. My condolences to his family, friends and coworkers. Ab.

10/28 Response to BarkR 10/24 Post:

BarkR maybe Barking up the right tree with respect to challenging the vendor rating system for Variable Term SEAT contracts. It is being operated by the BLM SEAT Program Office under the guise delivering the ‘best value to the government’, but in reality the vendor ratings are based on good ol’ boy politico’s that smell of favored status concocted in a smoke filled room.

Having been the pilot of T452 in the Colorado accident you refer to, and my perspective from having flown for both a highly rated vendor and a lower rated vendor over the previous ten years, I can tell you that my personal attitude towards any mission relied on safely conducting operations first, then the mission was second, it did not matter what your vendor rating at the time was. There were times when you simply declined the proposed drop and requested another target.

The T452 accident story delivered to the masses by the AMD/BLM propaganda machine; AMD through the web site and the BLM through their mandatory training sessions assisted by my highly ranked former employer were to portray a rouge, unprofessional, sleep deprived, poor communicating and mission fixated pilot that directly led to the accident. The reality is that the aircraft door latch system as designed is capable of opening by itself in rough air, in fact after 22 minutes into this flight and that no procedures existed relating to a door open in flight or what can happen to the handling of the aircraft or an increase in aircraft stall speed. Through my persistence, this is now been corrected and included in the Aircraft Flight Manual. What caused this accident was the open door providing a slip stream disturbance that produced an erroneously high airspeed indication through the corrupted air static reference sensing system located directly downstream of the cockpit door. The idea that immediately jettisoning the load would have prevented the accident is flawed, as the unknown door open indication and aerodynamic issues would have continued to be in play and the aircraft control could have been similarly lost maneuvering to land.

To be factually accurate, (something that you won’t read coming from the AMD or BLM) the planned continued flight following the door opening was to execute a JETTISON (high and not precise) of the remaining load over the fire, free from retardant restrictions and not to be confused by ‘conduct continued aerial operations’ as was listed by the NTSB (READ AMD). This specific geographic area was retardant sensitive and this plan was discussed and approved prior to attempting the jettison with the aerial supervision that it would be acceptable to jettison over the fire as this is required for aircraft handling and weight considerations prior to landing. This is record and fact supported by transcript dialogue from both myself and the aerial supervisor taken during the post accident interviews. What followed from the AMD & BLM politico’s was the defamation and marginalizing of me as a Tanker Pilot directly assisted by my former highly ranked employer. The AMD investigator was not interested in any GPS data that was recorded during the accident sequence (altitude, ground speed or derived airspeed) that would have disputed what their well orchestrated pre-ordained method to place the entire blame on myself without regard to any factual data. My personal observation of what the AMD accident investigator or the AMD leadership produced would rival something reported by the National Enquirer.

To be sure the AMD contrived story would not be challenged; they cancelled my scheduled by AMD Rule mandated Pilot Review Board the day before, after witness had been scheduled to appear and airline tickets had been purchased. Criminals in this country are afforded at a minimum due process, where some sense of factual balance can be presented. Not in the AMD world. So, this is where the Vendor Ranking comes into play, once the AMD / BLM put’s the word out to the SEAT vendor community, no potential employer will jeopardize their vendor ranking, called AMD/BLM CONTROL. I have been told by two SEAT contractors that they would wish to hire me, except they could not stand the repercussions by a retaliatory drop in their VT vendor ranking, which leads directly to their bottom line.

Fatal accidents do not permit any direct opportunity for investigative balance or voice of reason. Politics run deep throughout these organizations and finding a sympathetic ear within brethren government organizations willing to look into allegations such as these takes persistence and lot’s of money. To my former colleagues who continue their journey within the SEAT pilot community, be very aware, you could be next.

God Speed Dave, and my sincere sympathy to his family.

JB

Ab disclaimer: I do not know aviation or any of the posters on this SEAT thread.

10/27 Howard Rayon

Ab,

Here are some more photos of Howard, I had the great opportunity to work with and along side of Howard on many incidents, projects and on Team 2. He was a close friend and a leader that the fire service will miss. The wildland community has lost another great brother.

howard6.jpg
howard28.jpg
howard38.jpg
howard3.jpg
howard20.jpg
howard8.jpg

Ken

10/27 Here are some photos of Howard Rayon at the Tripod Fire, 2006.

howard-rayon76.jpg
howard-rayon57.jpg
howard-rayon53.jpg

Mark

Howard's Life
April 11, 1948 - October 19, 2009
Proudly served from January 1977 - December 2005

I had the opportunity to meet Howard in person only once. My loss. He was a member of this wildlandfire.com community. Knowledgeable and helpful man. A loss for all of us. Wish I lived close enough to attend the LaMesa gathering in his honor tomorrow evening. May the spirit prevail. Ab.

10/27 Re: terminology ... Flycrew, Helirappeller, Helitack

Thanks for the info.

Rod

10/27 re: seat contracts

how can it be legal to have a rating sys. on gov. contracts? you are a qualified vendor or you are not

tf

10/27 Ab,

I see someone asked Fire Geek about an older decision making flowchart on the hotlist. You posted the updated Learning Analysis Guides in August... August 18. Here's your link. It's also at the Lessons Learned Center.

Important: Learning Analysis Investigation Guides 07/20/09 (149 k pdf, 7 pages)

I think what the poster was asking about was the earlier animated problem resolution flowchart from 2007:
Flowchart Resolution (pps)

SteveH

10/27 Ab,

The Santee Firefighters have announced an informal gathering in memory of Howard Rayon. Here is the information I have:

Hooley’s Pub and Grill
5500 Grossmont Center Drive
La Mesa, CA
1700 to 1900 hours on Wednesday (October 28th)

We will be updating any changes at: heartlandzonenews

Thanks

Mark Grow
Captain
Lakeside Fire Protection District

Thanks Mark. Ab.

10/27 Meal breaks:

Check this out. I will be out of service for 30 minutes. Radio off. S.A. off. All resources bug off I am on my meal break.

-----

www.dol.gov

JS

10/26 Dear Ab & All:

Although there is a separate thread on the hotlist for E-57 comments, today's anniversary observation and remembrance should also include the fact that despite being promised nearly 8 months ago by the USDA OIG, the Esperanza Report has yet to be produced for review.

The FWFSA faxed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack this morning and received word from Senator Feinstein's office they would make yet another inquiry in the morning.

While we should all be mindful of the unimaginable impact the loss of the E-57 crew has had on the families, friends, co-workers and the wildland firefighting community, we must also remain cognizant of the responsibility we have to the crew to ensure the Agency complies with the law in a timely manner and provides our firefighters with all the tools necessary to make this incredibly dangerous job as safe as it can be.

Respectfully,

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/26 Remembering Engine 57

On October 26th, 2006, 5 Wildland Firefighters lost their lives in the Esperanza Tragedy.

The crew of San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57 was defending an unoccupied home located at the top of a steep drainage when the fire over ran them.

Killed were

  • Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, 43;
  • FEO Jess McLean, 27;
  • AFEO Jason McKay, 27; F/F
  • Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20; and
  • F/F Pablo Cerda, 23.

Hotlist thread Please add any comments there or send them to me and I'll add them. Ab.

10/26 Re: Single Engine Airtankers (SEATs) and Competitive Firefighting…. from 10/24 (BarkR post)

David Jamsa's family clearly has a wrongful death law suit against the AMD. Policy limited David's Jamsa's ability to put safety first.

AMD = Aviation Management Directorate. The institution that puts key management people at arm's length from bad policy.

JG
Sent from my iPhone

Ab note: JG says the bad policy is explained in BarkR's post 10/24 Beyond that I do not know aviation...

10/26 Help us produce an ember awareness brochure to help raise awareness of structure fires. We're looking for high resolution, clear images that depict burning embers. Submit your own photos for consideration to dhein@ca.blm.gov.

Thank you

Debra Hein-BLM

10/26 I asked LM what bill he was talking about in his post yesterday and here's his reply. His post also got picked up by the hotlist discussion thread... Ab.

Good morning,

It was /is the Defense Authorization Bill. I think it's pretty funny how these "riders" get attached to bills. First, the FERS sick leave (and other matters) were added to the Smoking Bill, but later they were removed. Now it appears that they found a home in the Defense Authorization Bill. But the President still needs to sign it!

LM

10/25 I just posted two nice photos, one of a dozer with flames on Humboldt Fire in Butte, 6/15/08; and a second of engines E-2180 and E-2169. Photos compliments of BTU Oroville Station.

Thanks for those. I put them on Equipment 16 and Engines 26 photo pages. Ab.

10/25 Cramer Fire Memorial North Fork, Idaho

AB,

I just returned from a hunting vacation in eastern Idaho, and was able to visit a memorial at the USFS North Fork Ranger Station. It honors two Helitack firefighters who lost their lives during the "Cramer Fire" 2003. If you care to post the photos on the memorial page here they are.

Thank you,

Dan Padilla, Chief
Dunsmuir/Castella Fire

Memorials/Monuments Page, scroll down to Idaho... Here's the image of the memorial for Jeff and Shane.

Dan, do you know the Lat/Long of that site. We could use that info for the Remembrance Project. Ab.

10/25 Re: Helitack

Helitack Crew or Fly Crew? Who cares? Maybe it makes a difference on shirts and hats.

It definitely makes a difference on the fire. I’ve been on Helitack Crews that fight like banshees on initial attack long before any Hotshot Crew gets there. I’ve been on Fly crews that wait all season long and don’t go to one I.A. So it goes like everything else.

You’re a reflection of your overhead. If you have aggressive overhead you probably act more like a Shot Crew with a ship. If you have less aggressive overhead you’ll probably take shelter at a water point or set up helibase as fast as you can.

What matters is what kind of product you produce at the most critical time of the fire. Isn’t that the reason behind rapid initial attack, whether or not it’s a helicopter or fixed wing? We can put too much emphasis on the name and lose sight of what’s always the more important factor, which is our commitment to safely putting these fires to sleep before they turn into gobblers. What Helitack Crews or Fly Crews should be focusing on are the operations that separate us from driving in, like the dynamics of picking a spot to engage a fire at the most crucial time and then trying to make a difference.

All Helitack or Fly Crew Capt’s. and Supt’s know that the greatest aspect of flying is the initial attack experience gained over and over. Anyone can drive up and pick a flank. So give thanks to the ones that are at the head sweatin and gettin and bump past the ones you know that rather be setting up carnival flagging.

Helirappellerjumper attackflyshotfastropr
New shirt perhaps.

10/25 Just some clarification on the sick leave issue;

I spent some time reading the Bill that had this rider attached, and one important date for the FERS employee to remember is 2013. If you plan on retiring before 2013, you will only be able to apply 50% of your accrued sick leave toward creditable service. But, after 2013, you will be able to apply 100% of your accrued sick leave toward creditable service.

LM

I noticed that this comment got picked up and referred to on the appropriate hotlist discussion thread about 2 new bills. Thanks, I must be on vacation. Ab.

10/25 Good Morning All,

It seems to start earlier each year, but the Jobs Page has a couple of new announcements. The Lone Peak Hotshots are looking for a new Superintendent and the Ventura County FD in California is looking for a heavy equipment operator.

There is also getting to be a good variety of heavy equipment being sold on the Classifieds Page, including one company with multiple engines going out of business.

Check 'em out. OA

10/24 Rehired annuitants:

"Rehiring Federal employees at full salary is now a signature away from happening. Within the next 24-72 hours the President will sign the Defense Authorization Bill."

How sweet it is.

However, before we break out the bottle of Veuve Cliquot, I'm assuming a lot here:

1. That "they" have not loaded this down with so many bureaucratic requirements that it is unworkable;

2. That the federal wildland fire agency managers don't do the same, as they did when they required a PL 4 or 5 prior to implementing;

3. That a streamlined process can be put in place to rehire (e.g., where it doesn't take a week to get a desperately needed resource);

4. That the IBPWT - at least those with well-known personal and past-documented prejudice toward retirees - stay the hell out of any interpretation, stay the hell out of sabotaging this as they have so successfully in the past, and just do their job of laying out the letter of the law in the Business Mgmt Handbook.

Amen.

Back to low-profile "retirement."

Best to all of you.

Regards,

Hugh Carson

10/24 Rehiring Federal employees at full salary is now a signature away from happening. Within the next 24-72 hours the President will sign the Defense Authorization Bill.

Sick Leave toward retirement for FERS employees is also hours away from becoming law.

PLUS the bill indefinitely suspends ALL A-76 Competitions.

The change in administrations is starting to pay dividends.

Yes We Did!

federaltimes.com

Milehighbar

From the hotlist: go there to participate in the discussion: Hotlist thread Ab.
10/24 DOD

You can find the minimum stocking level for engines in Appendix R in the Interagency Standards for Fire and Aviation Operations more commonly called the Red Book. BLM, NPS, USF&W, and USFS all use the book. You should be able top find an electronic copy on line.

TF

10/24 R-5 Retention Bonus:

The 10% retention bonus for our GS-5's through 8's expire in Feb 2010. Randy Moore will be making the decision to extend them for another year (or not) within the next 45 days.

To assist him with this decision, you might want to let him know your thoughts on this subject. Even if you choose to post your comments on this subject in this forum, he will read them, trust me, Randy is a wlf.com lurker. .

Speak up, and while you're at it, ask him for an update on how the "Randy Moore PTP Proposal" (RMPTPP) is coming along since he sent it forward to DC for final approval in late 2008. It would be a good time for an update.

Hotlist Thread on retention

Letterman

10/24 Single Engine Airtankers (SEATs) and Competitive Firefighting….

Only a few SEAT vendors are awarded the profitable Variable Term Contracts, where the number one contractor must have all their aircraft assigned and working prior to the second vendor getting even one of their planes assigned to work. Could the pilots for vendors in the number 4, 5, or 6 positions be “trying too hard” to help their contractors move up the ladder of preferred vendors?

The rating criteria for SEAT vendors on the Variable Term Contracts have never been revealed to the vendors (other than a vague “performance over the past three years”). Safety, accident occurrence, Safecoms, and contract bid price were apparently not included in the rating system criteria. No SEAT vendor has seen the criteria on which the “preferred vendor list” was compiled, so could their attention to mission accomplishment (and ratings) be heightened excessively?

Many SEAT vendors in 2008/2009 were on fire contracts for limited time periods when compared to past years, prior to Variable Term Contracts. Most of those vendors that continue to work agriculturally (spraying or fertilizing) in the off-season are positioned at the bottom of the preferred vendor list. Those companies that do ag work in the off-season keep pilots in the cockpit on an almost year-round basis, which provides for proficiency in flight operations.

The vendors at the bottom of the preferred vendor list may have little hope of moving up in the rating system to a point where it could make a difference in their companies getting hired under the Variable Term Contracts. With little hope of moving up the ladder, pilots may feel less pressure to perform close to the edge of safe operations. Several of the lower rated companies continue to fly relatively high numbers of flight hours under the “On-Call” Contracts, or under state contracts. Several of the lower rated vendors fly more fire flight hours than those vendors rated higher on the Variable Term Contract preferred vendor list. These lower rated vendors, logging more fire flight hours, have also had fewer accidents. Are fewer accidents a result of proficiency and the lack of the pressure to exceed in order to elevate their company in the ratings system?

A preferred vendor pilot may miss a drop completely, drop too high at 200 feet, or drop at too fast of an airspeed, with no repercussions. However, those pilots working for vendors in the median range on the preferred vendor list (flying under the “On-Call" Contracts) may be trying to nail their targets right on the money to impress the ground firefighters and other air resources. This might be especially true with ATGS’s or ASM’s when working on BLM fires, since the BLM has oversight for the SEAT Program.

The “safety first” attitude fostered in the past, prior to the Variable Term Contracts, may have been replaced by an atmosphere of competition between the Variable Term contract holders and the “have-nots”. Could this be a Human Factor partially responsible for accidents such as the one in 2008 in Colorado with Tanker 452, and the one in 2009 in Nevada with Tanker 857?

In Colorado, Tanker 452 initially had a cockpit door open unexpectedly. Rather than jettison the retardant load and return to base, the pilot continued to fly and attempt a retardant drop. If that pilot had been working for a vendor that was rated high on the preferred vendor list, would he have made that same decision? Or did the cloud of the vendor rating system urge him to make a drop at whatever the cost? Are other pilots from vendors in the median range of the preferred vendor list unintentionally making similar decisions based upon elevating their vendor in the rating system?

Conversations with the pilot of Tanker 857, during the week before his fatal accident, revealed that he was focusing on doing the best job possible since being mobilized under the “On-Call” Contract. That desire to perform efficiently was part of his nature. Witness statements of personnel on the fire indicate that another SEAT had dropped at a much higher elevation than he attempted when he crashed . Was the pilot of Tanker 857 subconsciously trying to “get lower” to perform in order to get his vendor elevated in the rating system? Was his focus on mission accomplishment, rather than a safe exit flightpath or an emergency jettison? Is there a possibility of disruptive CRM due to these contracts, and a sense of competition created in the SEAT aviation fire world?

An example: If the fire agencies told Hotshot Crews that they had been rated (but that the criteria for rating them was not to be revealed), and that the highest rated (preferred) would be ordered for fires based on that rating, not geographic locality, how would that work? Would those lower on the list work harder to try to improve their rating? That would seem likely, if they knew what to work harder at, since the rating system criteria were not revealed. Would those crews low on the list cut more fireline per hour? Saw more trees per day while cutting line? Saw more burning snags? If they did not know how they were being rated, but were told that safety was not part of the criteria, what would they do? Burn out more line, even when it was not needed? Would the crews create more Safety Zones? Oh, that's right, safety isn't considered. Then cut more line and FEWER safety zones? And if a preferred crew was working side-by-side with a crew that was lower on the list, which crew would produce more? Which crew would suffer more injuries?

Another example: What if bulldozer contractors were rated and hired based on a rating, and the criteria for that rating system were not revealed? Would a preferred vendor of the bulldozers perform differently than one lower on the preferred vendor list? Would they plow more direct line or indirect line? Would a vendor rated lower on the list try to “pinch the head of a running fire” in order to be rated higher? If a bulldozer from a highly rated vendor, and one from a lower rated vendor were working side-by-side on a fire, would the lower rated vendor work harder? Push more line? Push line in steeper ground than the highly rated vendor was willing to try, in order to move up in the rankings system? These are an approximation of what may be occurring now with the SEATs caught in the Variable Term vs. On-Call contracts. The Variable Term Contract may have resulted in a competitive environment when working fires, and may have not fostered a “Team Effort” among SEAT pilots. This competitive environment may be an unrecognized Human Factor contributing to actions leading to accidents in the SEAT fire environment.

BarkR

10/24 Wildland engines

Hi ab,

I please need some help in locating info on what the minimum equipment is for wildland engines. Our chief here at our station is clueless about wildland fire and is not willing to listen to us that have wildland experience here on the east side of the Sierras. Everyone knows that has been out to the Sierra Front knows how challenging these fires can be. Anyone that can help myself and our department, we'd appreciate the help.

Thanks

DOD Mistake

10/24 Re: helitack crews

Rod;

In addition to Tom's post, CalFire staffs 11 helitack crews throughout the state. Normally they consist of two captains (one in the ship), and about 5-7 firefighters, so it is not really a "flycrew" by definition. Some are trained as rappellers, but the crews are not referred to as such.

Tool Pusher

10/24 Wilder Ranch State park RX pics

Wilder Ranch State park RX (photos)

MG

10/23 Hi Ab,

My name is Joe Chandler. I was originally assigned to the Del Rosa Hotshots in 1969. Some of us then were transferred to the Converse Hot Shots to finish the season. I believe we were the first Converse Hot Shot crew. My memory is bad so the only names I remember were John Eby, and Jim Witt. Witt was our foreman. We were put in an old CC camp with a four seat outhouse and lousy beds. I believe we fought seven Class E fires that season. A couple of the ones I remember were the one that burned down the Morton Peak lookout, and the Stable fire behind Arrowhead. Also a couple in Cajon Pass. Bob Chandler, my brother known as Moe, was on the crew in later years. I wish I could remember more and if I do I'll write again.

Take care,

Joe

Thanks, Joe. I posted this on the IHC to Fire Manager" Project. Take a look at what several other former members have said. Maybe their comments will jog some more memories. Readers, I got some great National IHC history from Dave Provencio, but will need some wintertime hours to get it up and running here.
Carry on. Ab.

10/23 Ab,

I do believe that is the original logo, at least it was when I started on the crew. And now you mention it I remember something to the effect that Howard’s wife did design it.

Still missing that voice

John

10/23 Re: terminology ... Flycrew, Helirappeller, Helitack

Rod,

If you go to the Field Operations Guide ( ICS 420-1 ) Chapter 13, a lot of your questions can be answered on common terminology ( which is what Firescope and ICS sought to clear up.) The true name for a helicopter delivered Type 1 handcrew is a "Flycrew", here is the breakdown based on affiliation:

State and Local Govt Flycrews: 8 Federal: 10

If the crew meets the minimum requirements as laid out in the FOG, they are technically a Type 1 Crew.

Now in the same document, "Helitack" refers to a minimum number of 3 personnel, and their job would be in more of a support role. Remember we are talking terminology here, not real life. Heli-rappelling is an appendage of flycrews and helitack crews.

The Arroyo Grande Flight Crew was established in 1977. It's primary mission was the fast delivery of firefighters in Initial Attack of wildland fires on the Los Padres NF. Based on budgets ( good and bad ) the numbers of employed firefighters has varied from 7 to 28 in any given year. It has a longstanding tradition of being firefighters first and helitack secondary, which explains why they retain the name of "flight crew" a variation of "flycrew". They have also been called "helishots" but the name has no historical reference in ICS. The first rappel crew was in 1993.

In 2000, Region 5 implemented a pilot program called FireSTOP ( Standard Type One Program ) using Type 1 passenger carrying Helicopters with a large crew to evaluate the effectiveness of delivering large amounts of firefighters with support from a Type 1 Helicopter. The LP sponsored one of the modules and it was very successful. This concept was talked about for years on the LP and it finally took hold.

In 2001, when the National Fire Plan was implemented and money was available, the Region decided to place a Type 1 Helicopter with a 28 person crew at Arroyo Grande. The intent was to field a fully certified Type 1 handcrew, have them all helitack and rappel qualified and have enough personnel to manage and utilize the Sikorsky S-61N as the delivery platform. The crew got certified in June of 2001 as a type 1 crew based on the Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations Guide. Shortly afterwards, the crew developed SOPs for rappel, cargo letdown and two wheel main gear landings. The performance and capabilities of this program exceeded anything that had been previously done in the nation. The aircraft was able to deliver an entire 20 person crew by rappelling in 2 loads. 2006 was the last year for the Type 1 helicopter and 28 person flight crew at Arroyo Grande.

2007, The Region was looking at costs and decided to drop the program back to a Type 2 helicopter with a 14 person flycrew. The LP determined the investment that had been made in the land based Type 1 Crew had been too great to let it go and fought for it, the Arroyo Grande crew remained.

In 2008 the crew was certified as the Arroyo Grande Interagency Hotshot Crew. The Arroyo Grande Flight Crew remains separate from the hotshots but they share the same base. They also share a common history, camaraderie and work ethic.

Someone else can weigh in on other programs and their evolutions. I worked at Arroyo Grande from 1987-88, 1990, 1993 and 2001 through 2005.

Tom

10/22 More good ones than bad... from Captain 64:

I’ve tried to go back to a life of quiet obscurity but it seems that fate and Aunt Marlene are working to prevent that.

I’d heard that Tom’s name was to be added to the California Firefighters Memorial wall this year.  I knew that most, if not all, of Tom’s crew would be there.  I knew that most, if not all, of the crew that brought Tom home would be there.  I knew that most, if not all, of Tom’s friends and family would be there.  I just didn’t know if I would be there.  At the last moment the dark clouds over the Modoc opened up and the rain started poring down.  Well there goes my last excuse, so much for fire season.  

I read Aunt Marlene’s note on They Said asking about how the crew was doing and was moved yet again.  It was good to see Yearwood respond. He really summed up what many of us have been thinking and feeling.  I know I have felt the need to write or call but haven’t been able to find the words.  I know I’ve deleted more than one message to Tom’s parents.  It seems that others have too.  Words continue to seem inadequate.

I arrived plenty early on Saturday morning.  Partly because I couldn’t sleep but mostly because I HATE being late.  I decided to take a bit of a walk and kill some time.  As I walked around the capital I passed a group of people who seemed to be just about as lost as I was.  Then I heard someone say “don’t we know you?”  I turned and yup they were talking to me.  And no, I hadn’t a clue who they were.  Under the best of circumstances I’m horrible with names and faces.  During Tom’s going home I met so many.  It ended up being Aunt Marlene and family.  Then they asked, “Do you know who Captain 64 is?”  Well, most days I’m not sure I know who THAT Captain 64 is either.  It was good to meet them… again.  I will remember that conversation and it really set the mood for the rest of the day.  It wasn’t a sad day really.  There were smiles, funny Tom stories, seeing old friends, seeing not so old friends.

Memorials like this are good.  Even if you don’t know any of the fallen personally I encourage you to go.  I was stunned by how many of US are on the wall.  Forest Service, Park Service, CalFire, city, volunteer, whatever.  All that falls away when the name is carved in white marble.  They are simply one of US and we’ve lost so many.  I’ve learned these last months how people who didn’t even know Tom were irreversibly changed by his, no not death, but by his life.  He became a son, he became a brother, he became a friend to so many.  Simply amazing.

I can’t say that when Governor Schwarzenegger talked about Tom that I wasn’t moved.  I can’t say that when they read his name that a tear didn’t come to my eye.  I can’t say that when the mass of bagpipes faded to the lone piper that I didn’t cry.   But it was more of a day of smiles.  That day I saw Tom’s mom smile for the first time in my life.  Now that is the measure of a good day.

Captain 64

10/22 Esperanza Fire Before/After Fire Effects demo

Hey Ab,

This may be useful for training. I’ve attached some data layers in a KMZ file that will open in Google Earth or ArcGIS Explorer. By turning on the various perimeter files and imagery and adjusting the layer transparency you can teach fire progression and before/after fire effects at the fatality site. I was in the GIS Unit during the fire when the GIS Specialists were discussing the big hole in the perimeter file around Poppet Flats. I had my PDA that still had the Poppet Flat Rx fire shapefile from when I mapped it the previous year. It lined up perfectly with the Esperanza perimeter and thermal image thus visually explaining the unburned island. It is a convincing way to depict the benefits of the hazardous fuels reduction projects that had been conducted by CAL FIRE and BLM.

International GIS Day is coming up on November 19. I’ll be speaking at Humboldt State University and will be happy to show you how to use GIS to help tell the Esperanza Fire story.

Fire Geek

esperanza.kmz
esperanza before and after.wmv

10/22 Re: Desperately seeking BC Satellite Scenes

Thanks very much for your help!

Lynn

10/22 Hi Ab and everybody,

I'm trying to get some crew details straight. This came up in a discussion the other day...

What is the difference in duties, mode of delivery, any other quals or number of firefighters on a crew between heli-rapeller, helitack, and "flight crew" or "fly crew" or "type 1 crew" for feds (and CAL FIRE helicopter resources if they use different terms). That Arroyo Grande crew on the LP that had the flight crew photo page is now a type 1 crew or hotshot crew, I think. Does anyone know the history of that? Are most flight crews or fly crews type 1 crews? How many are there in CA, in the US? How many CALFIRE crews are there?

Rod

Photos of the AG crew
FS site that explains some of it: Helitack and Rappellers Partners in Fire Ab.

10/22 God bless you Howard

I believe Howard Rayon was the original designer of the traditional Laguna Hot Shots Oak Tree crew logo
back in the 70’s when he was on the crew.

I miss that voice already

John V Estes

Thanks, John. He was on that crew. Is this the right Laguna HS logo? I believe Howard's wife Kyle actually designed that one back in the day, '74?? Does anyone have old stories of Howard, or new stories...? Ab.

10/21 Some very nice Airtanker photos from the CA-BDU-Oak Glen Fire by Cy Phenice. I posted them on on Airtankers 32 photo page. He sent a fine photo of the fire behavior, too. That's on the Fire 43 photo page. Ab.
10/21 Ab,

I've attached some photos from the La Brea Fire on the Los Padres N.F., taken by Black Eagles 5 from here on the Sequoia N.F.

RB

I put them on Fire 43 photo page. Looks like they were taken between 6 and & 7 PM on 8/13. Some big flames. Ab.

10/20 Howard Rayon's passing

It is with great sadness that I received word of Howard Rayon’s passing yesterday morning. I have never met a more professional firefighter and chief officer. Howard came to work for me in 1976 as my Fire Engine Operator at Descanso Station on the Cleveland National Forest. To me he was more than an outstanding employee, he was tremendous friend! And we stayed close friends over the last 33 years.

Howard left the Forest Service in 1977 and joined Santee Fire Department and worked his way up from a rookie firefighter to Deputy Chief. And in addition to this new career, he went on to earn a Law Degree, pass the California Bar and practice law, specializing in fire litigation. After his retirement from Santee he continued to work as a Safety Officer on California Interagency Incident Management Team 2 and teach fire service classes around California. As an outstanding fire service instructor Howard was recognized this year by the California Fire Service Training Institute; receiving their Distinguished Service Award.

And here is a little know fact: It was Howard who convinced the Santee Fire Chief, way back in the late 70's, to put drip torches on their Type I Engines! You couldn't get the "wildland fire" out of him!

He was the consummate professional and personal friend who I will miss very, very much! The Fire Service has a big hole to fill!

Greg Greenhoe
Missoula, Montana

10/20 From Firescribe:

Old (2003) Fire suspect charged with murder, arson

Stacia Glenn
Posted: 10/20/2009 03:34:42 PM PDT

A state prisoner accused of starting the catastrophic Old Fire in 2003 was charged Tuesday with murder and arson in a Grand Jury indictment.

Rickie Lee Fowler, 28, of San Bernardino, has been jailed on an unrelated burglary charge since six weeks after the devastating Old Fire began ripping through mountain communities and Lower Waterman Canyon on Oct. 25, 2003.

An 18-member Grand Jury panel considered evidence for two weeks before returning the indictment, charging Fowler with five murder counts, arson of an inhabited structure, aggravated arson and two special circumstances for multiple deaths and arson causing death.

The decision came five days before the statute of limitations for arson runs out. Investigators said the six year delay was due to "identification problems" and that new evidence surfaced as recently as three weeks ago. (click link for the rest and a photo of Rickie Lee Fowler, 28, of San Bernardino.)

10/20 Howard Rayon's passing

It is with great sadness that I share with the fire community the passing of Howard Rayon. Howard finished his battle with cancer yesterday morning after nearly two years. I know many of you have tremendous thoughts about Howards incredible career. My own are his service to CIIMT 2 as Safety Officer. I came on the team while Don Studebaker was the IC and Howard was Safety. Howard always gave you that confidence that he had his end of the operation well in hand in his quick assessment of the situation and his smooth and deliberate deliveries. As I grew to see this master work, I gained incredible respect for him, both as a person and professional. Howard never bragged although he had plenty to boast about. There are many people out there I know who can fill in some of Howards career highlights better than I can, so please share with the rest of us what you know and loved about Howard.

To Howards wife on behalf of CIIMT2 I extend our deepest sympathies.

Howard, we will miss you.

Bill Molumby
Fire Management Officer
FWS Southern California Zone
Incident Commander CIIMT 2

10/20 Benefit for WFF

Hey everyone,

We are holding a fundraiser to raise money to help the children of fallen wildland firefighters. Help brighten a child's day this holiday season. Come meet some great people and have a good time at Route 66 Classic Grill. We will not be soliciting donations, rather, 15% of proceeds will be donated to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation Santa's Helper Fund. Make sure to bring your flier or mention that you are here for the fundraiser.

Route 66 Flyer

From a Santa Helper

Address: 18730 Soledad Canyon Rd. Canyon County, CA

10/19 Readers, this request came in from a member of the community.

Does anyone have fire behavior photos of the Station Fire between 8/28 through 9/4 with a brief description of location, date and time?

thanks in advance

socal firefighter

10/19 Please post.

The OSHA Report:

OSHA Report (386 K pdf)

10/19 Re: Desperately seeking BC Satellite Scenes

For Lynn Wood,

Landsat scenes are available for free. You can browse, request processing, and download from the USGS' Global Visualization Viewer... http://glovis.usgs.gov There is an overview of the viewer at... glovis.usgs.gov/ QuickStart.phpl

The area Lynn is interested in lies on both 44/24 and 43/24. There is a nice scene 43/24 on 8/20/2003 that has the fire burning. The next cloud-free scene is 9/5/2003, 9/21 has some snow higher up as does 11/18/2003. The 43/24 scene acquired 2/12/2004 has snow on the burn. The next clear scene is 6/3/2004.

IRGirl

10/19 Station Fire Behavior Pics, sent in on 9/19/09

Hi Ab

Here are some pics I took while working as a FOBS. Pretty amazing to witness this kind of fire behavior on a daily basis. These pics were taken on Div Q from the south side of Cogswell Reservoir. LA county dozer walking up to start pushing indirect line between Pine Mtn and Monrovia Pk. Drainage shown is the mouth of Devils canyon as it spotted across and started chewing up some real estate to the north towards Chilao and Mt Waterman. Photo of Texas Canyon HS walking up Cogswell Reservoir to try to anchor in and try to get direct line up out of river canyon and keep fire from spreading any more to the south of San Gabriel River. Increased fire behavior in that area caused the HS Crews (Mendo, Dalton, Truckee and Little T) to pull back for a bit while the helitankers put it back in check.

Take care.

FOBS 99

10/19

Some nice photos on Engines 25 and Airtankers 32 photo pages. Thanks, Bruce! Ab.

La Brea Fire "Engine Show" on the ground, 4 photos: La Brea, ORC E-307, Orange County E-307, E-307 & SEAT, Orange County Strike Team 1400C. Photos compliments of Bruce Bailey. (0909) For more photos by Bruce, see Airtankers 32 photo page. Firefighters on the ground and in the air compliment each other's efforts.

La Brea Fire "Air Show", 4 photos: La Brea T-100, T-100 again, T-21, T-45 at Schoolhouse: Photos compliments of Bruce Bailey. (0909) For more photos by Bruce, see Engines 25 photo page. A firefighting air attack needs firefighters on the ground to be successful.

10/19 Arnica Fire Column from Space: NOAA

Hi Ab,

I don't know where this should be posted but thought your group would benefit from or enjoy this view from the International Space Station.

Arnica Fire Column from Space compliments of NOAA

All the best,
mikef

10/19 Accident:

New Facilitated Learning Analysis up on the
Hotlist Lessons Learned

Just getting a drink of water...

Ab.

10/18 Pictures from the tribute to California Fallen Firefighters in Sacramento yesterday.

Fire Mom

Thanks Fire Mom. I added them to Tom Marovich's memorial page. Ab.

10/18 Rain:

Been reading the discussion about rainfall totals on the Hotlist. Maybe the trailing info can put some perspective on things.

This is the 24hr recorded total for California. Yes, there could be higher totals out there but they were not recorded.

I knew 2 people, 1 who ran the pack train to this location and the other a Flood Control Employee, who both had first hand knowledge of the event.

JB

~~~~~
This was recorded on a LA County Flood Control rain gauge.
Location was a mountain resort, now site of a FS hike in campground.

General vicinity; 2.5 miles by trail from Chantry Flats Station, Angeles NF.

Record Maximum 24-hour Precipitation

26.12 22-23 Jan 1943 Hoegees Camp

source: CA rain extremes

10/18 Private Industry with no home?

Ab-

I find it almost laughable that the private industry folks are screaming about the Federal Firefighting bill and their perception that they will be out of work. That will never be the case (even if it were for the best of the publics benefit!) They will have enough protection from DC insiders to make sure privates will always have a place at the government table, it just may be not he place they want (or the job). Private engines, in my opinion, have always been a mistake. If we need more engines, staff them on a Federal/State/Local level and move them around as needed. As I have said many times in the past, if there is money to pay for privates, there is money to pay for Agency equipment.

My experience on the State and Federal level has always had one constant. privates always overcharge for something if they know an emergency is attached to it, then fall back to the same old line of "we were there to provide something the government couldn't...". This is the case solely because some folks in DC protect that private industry supply group with the same old 'un-American' diatribe if the government tries to provide the same product. I am tired of hearing how much a sack nasty is costing the agency buying them, then hearing the private suppliers complain that they may lose that money! Responses to things like Hurricanes and Wars need to be done by government entities. Hoping the privates will step in and provide the quality needed without gouging is not realistic.

firefish

10/17 A simple thank you:

AB,

Over the first 10 months of this year, and perhaps longer, the economy has played havoc with almost everyone. Despite the incredibly humbling growth the FWFSA experienced nationwide in both 2007 & 2008, things slowed considerably this year.

It is not lost on all of us at the FWFSA that membership dues, no matter how reasonable we think they may be for the work we do, are not the priority when it comes to working through the economic environment we find ourselves in. That being said, those that continue to support the FWFSA in 27 states and the recent new members not only from California, but Washington, Virginia, New Mexico, Wyoming and South Carolina deserve our sincerest gratitude.

Thanks to all,

Casey

10/17 total knee replacement

Reference this post from September 8th. I had TKR December 2007 and have been back to full duty since May of 2008. If anyone wants to know what the story is (I had a lot of time to write out the beginning the middle and then end), I can get with them. I also, have a blog on the firefighternation.com website. I started a blog and others contacted me about what I went through. I can be contacted at dczimmerman6@ nospam yahoo.com or if they want by phone 509-539-5533.

Zimm

10/17 Good Morning to All:

The wildland firefighting community has been afforded an opportunity from a US Senator's office to develop/offer ideas & solutions to the current grant process administered by non-profits such as the California Fire Safe council Inc. for fuels reduction work.

The link below is an article outlining just how fouled up the process can be. The article represents just one example of the phenomenon of all sorts of folks coming out of the woodwork seeking grants for fuels reduction, many of whom have no wildfire experience and possess nothing more than a weedeater.

If you have any ideas that might be of benefit to make the program and the grant process more efficient and effective, please feel free to email me at cjudd@fwfsa.org. Thanks.

AP news

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/17 To: Casey Judd and all FWFSA Leadership

Four words-----> Thank YOU so much!

Letterman

10/16 Update for the scholarship total on the Paul Gleason Memorial Page

Hi Ab,

The current Scholarship Total is $9,400. The goal is $25,000 and the timeframe has just been extended to 10/2010.

Thanks,

Karen Miranda Gleason

Thanks, Karen, I updated it. Readers, contributions to Paul's Memorial Scholarship fund are still open. I'm not sure quite how this is set up, but it would be nice if the principal of the fund was large enough ($25,000) to fund the scholarship(s) off the interest, in perpetuity. Ab.

10/16 VFD Capt

Your post is woefully ignorant when it comes to the FWFSA legislation. Do you not understand that legislation these days, especially when it comes from modest-sized organizations like the FWFSA, needs to demonstrate its cost-effectiveness and efficiencies before anyone on the Hill will commit to it?

It has taken years; a lot of time, effort, money etc., to educate Congress on these issues and to develop a comprehensive piece of legislation addressing our member's goals and fulfilling the obligations set forth by Congress.

Not good for the public is absolutely absurd. In fact the strongest part of our marketing strategy is the benefit to the taxpayer under this bill. You are correct...it would benefit federal firefighter bank accounts. What a concept considering they foot the bill for our work with their dues. It would also benefit many more federal firefighters than we have members...but of course we won't get credit for that.

Since you're not a federal wildland firefighter, perhaps you can't truly empathize with those who are taken off the clock while on assignment by their boss...the Federal Government while that same boss pays others a full 24 hrs at much higher rates, in addition to backfill costs, admin fees, housing etc.

So...one more time: There is already sufficient funds in the FIRE budgets for preparedness, fuels and suppression. The problem has been the fiscal management of those dollars by Line Officers who routinely spend such FIRE funds on non-fire projects (The vast majority of these Line officers have little to no wildland fire experience or expertise) ASC comes to mind. When preparedness dollars are not used for preparedness resources, something is missing in the field.

Further, The Agency(s) have failed to maintain the strength of its forces due to archaic pay & personnel policies and their failure to recognize that in the 21st century, their fire programs must be managed like a fire department with those that have the fire experience and expertise developing & implementing fire policy AND controlling the fire dollars.

Fiscal mismanagement, very little congressional oversight until recently and significant losses of staffing have led to the Agency needing to find a way to "fill in the gaps" during the season. As a result, we believe the agencies have become over-reliant on non-federal resources...especially in the west.

You can complain and criticize all you want but the facts, now supported by GAO and congressional reports clearly show the sizeable impact non-federal resource costs have had on the skyrocketing cost of suppression.

Why has the FS had to seek a half a billion dollar emergency supplemental appropriation almost every year? They claim climate and WUI have increased the number of fires, etc., but have failed to come clean on their non-federal costs. Now the "cat's out of the bag."

That being said, through proper fiscal management of the fire budgets, a more cost-effective balance of federal, private, state & local fire forces can be accomplished and ultimately save taxpayers hundreds of millions each year.

Will that mean that some local government (municipal firefighters) might not make the staggering sums they make now by taking federal fire assignments...yup. Does that mean contract crews that don't pass muster won't be called anymore...yup. Will it mean that the taxpayer will get a bigger bang for their buck with a stronger federal force as envisioned by the National Fire Plan...yup.

The wildfire landscape will always be sufficiently complex so as to require cooperation from various governmental and private entities. Can it be managed better and more efficiently while providing federal wildland firefighters some benefits they have deserved for decades...yup.

Remember, other groups also have advocacy groups to work on your behalfs.

As always, I can be found at cjudd@fwfsa.org or 208-775-4577.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/16 Ab,

Where can I find a link to the Wildland fire fighter bill, so that I may peruse it.  Thank you.

An inquiring mind.

From Casey's 10/9 post:
Draft Legislation Wildland Firefighter Bill (84 K doc file)

10/16 AB,

I am just wondering if the reporter and camera operator in that report were "qualified with currency." According to regulations don't people going to the "hotline" need to have some training, and have an "arduous" physical capacity test. And I am not sure I saw "shelters" on those folks.

Good thing the burning ops went well!! Can you imagine if that fire turned on them and they had to run for it or pop shelters?

Bad idea bringing media to burnouts!!!

MDU

10/16 Too bad FEDS doesn't offer any coverage for state and local firefighters.

FB

10/16 re: Station Fire and FWFSA legislation

Ab,

Paul Gleason is quoted in the first chapter of Weick and Sutcliffe's "Managing the Unexpected" as saying after the Cerro Grande Fire, "If someone phones and needs help, don't talk budget. This is fire! Do the money thing later."

There are legitimate questions about how the not-signed-by-Randy-Moore memo influenced the resource decisions for the second day of the Station Fire. The memo clearly asked the field to shift the burden from preparedness funds to suppressions funds to finish out the fiscal year. Sadly, the regional office got the September fire they needed to work out the budget.

The FWFSA legislation would benefit federal firefighter bank accounts by reinforcing a "don't ask for, don't keep" policy for non-federal resources. Might be good for agency budgets, but not good for the public.

vfd cap'n

10/15 Dear RW56:

I wrote the draft legislation. I'm not quite sure how long you've been a contractor but the issues addressed in our legislation are issues that have affected our Nation's federal wildland firefighters for over two decades and which have been summarily ignored by the agencies.

As an employee association, our goals and objectives are identified by our dues paying membership. Most, as you might imagine are federal wildland firefighters. As with any organization, we serve our membership. However in this case, should our legislation pass, it will benefit far more firefighters than we currently have members.

Unfortunately you may not be clear on the political/legislative process and what it takes to get a bill introduced and passed but I would be more than happy to answer all your concerns/questions...but not on TheySaid. I've posted our position enough on this site and explained Politics 101 enough it doesn't need to be spelled out yet again. However if you or anyone else truly wants to understand the legislation and understand what we are trying to accomplish, and perhaps understand the years and years of work it takes to get Congress to act on such issues rather than just being critical based upon ignorance, please feel free to email me directly at cjudd@fwfsa.org.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/15 LA Times and Professional Liability Insurance:

I have been reading some of the recent news items from the LA Times about the Station Fire and fire fighter “accountability” and I thought it would be a good time to re-introduce your readership to Federal Employee Defense Services (FEDS) and provide information on the necessity of professional liability insurance for all those involved in wildland fire fighting. As many of you know, FEDS has assembled a nationally recognized panel of attorneys to provide the legal defense under the policy who have had specific experience in defending federal employees involved in the Thirty Mile, Cramer and Esperanza fire tragedies. It is our commitment to and understanding of the federal wildland fire fighting community, along with the quality of the legal defense provided under the plan that sets FEDS apart from other professional liability programs. I know that if you ask around, you will hear that FEDS truly cares about the wildland fire fighting community.

This is one of the many reasons that FEDS is endorsed by the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association and many other federal employees associations. I encourage your readers to visit our web site at fedsprotection.com and read the endorsements from these associations and former federal firefighters about liability insurance and FEDS.

Now, more than ever, the need for liability protection is necessary for all federal employees — especially those engaged in wildland firefighting. In light of the dangers associated with wildland firefighting, and the scope of the criminal and administrative investigations into firefighting fatalities due to entrapments or burnovers, training and other accidents, professional liability protection is an absolute must for all line officers, fire management officers, incident commanders and any employee involved in firefighting or fire management.

For more information about the benefits of professional liability insurance visit our web site at fedsprotection.com, or if you are interested in speaking with someone at FEDS, our telephone number is 866-955-FEDS.

Very Truly Yours,

Anthony Vergnetti, President
Federal Employee Defense Services, Inc.
Phone: 301-229-2481

Thanks, Tony. Knowing you guys/gals care about firefighters and are helping on the legal front lets me breathe a bit easier.

Readers, the FEDS permanent link is located on our Classifieds page which means FEDS supports this website financially. However our endorsement of FEDS is not primarily about financial support, but about necessary wildland firefighter legal support.

Readers, read what Tony's FEDS site says. You can ask any federal wildland firefighter (or AD firefighter) -- who has had need for professional liability insurance through no fault of their own -- what they think. Let them tell you how FEDS provided a safety net for them. In my opinion, FEDS is a must for all federal wildland firefighters from the ground up. Unfortunately, it's not enough to do your job with professionalism and integrity so long as we live in this blame-game legal reality.

Again, THANKS FEDS! Ab.

10/15 Sad News

Ab, thru the smokejumper channels ...

"Orr, Roderic A. (Redmond 1983)
Roderic died September 30, 2009, at his home in Eagle River, Alaska, after a four-year battle against cancer. He was a graduate of Humboldt State University, California, with a degree in wildlife biology. Roderic rookied at Redmond in 1983 and transferred to Fairbanks in 1984. He began a flying career in 1991 as a charter pilot and eventually flew freight internationally in 747s for Atlas Air."

Rod (Bam Bam) Orr grew up in Santa Barbara and started in fire on the LP. He was a member of the Rose Valley Helishot and Ojai Hotshot crews. He was a great crewmember, a tremendous worker and the source of much humor and good times. He was a hell of a guy and although he lived life to the fullest he passed much too young.

EP

Sorry he's gone. Ab.

10/15 Couple of new posts on the Hotlist Lessons Learned forum:

Missed Target Drop with Heli-tanker and Fractured wrist from helicopter water drop

Hotlist thread

10/15 ABC on Station Fire

Great to see the USFS getting some positive press in regards to our fire management although I wish the media would stop calling Hotshot Crews "Hotshot Teams"...

One thing that disturbed me when I viewed the newsclip was the total lack of GLOVES being used during the firing operation. While running drip torches and firing quoin guns, nobody had that basic piece of PPE on.

I have witnessed first hand when a firing device decides to do what it wasn't designed to do, causing serious burn injuries to the persons UNGLOVED hand.

Even the PIO doing the interview wasn't wearing gloves...LOL

Anybody ever see how they rehab your hands after they've been burned? Its not pretty. I use that "visual" every year during refresher with the crew, it paints a good picture as to why you should wear gloves.

You'd hope that Hotshot Crews, which strive to be the best and most professional resource we have, would set a better example, especially in front of national news media.

Sign me, noname 51

10/15 Wrapping up for winter and collecting the helpful hotlist fire links:

Here are a couple links for Arizona if you are interested, its the Central Arizona Wildland Response Team. (Made up of City/Town Fire Depts from around the Phoenix area that respond under contract with Arizona State Forestry Division)

Central Arizona Wildland Response Team East (Departments East of Phoenix)

Central Arizona Wildland Response Team West (Departments West of Phoenix)

Thanks Abs
Mike

Thanks, Mike. I've added them to the list. Ab.

10/15 I guess the Casey’s done sharing the sand box. I think that the association would have been better off recruiting the private sector to help them in their fight for increased pay and benefits. As I see it now they are attacking a select few in the private sector (Engines and crews) and for what? To build an organization so big we will need to be taxed more to pay for it. The private sector bears a great deal of the tax burden in this country. If we use the 80/20 rule and apply it we could decrease the size of the organization. You all know that rule 20% of your employees produce 80% of the completed work. I’m not sure that’s what we have in mind here.

I find it odd that Casey would mix cost effective fire fighting with 24 hour pay. Will that actually cost less as a pilot program ? I am confident that we won’t be saving any money by doing all the fuels work with force account. We couldn’t do it in the 70s,80s,90s and as far as I can tell the work force isn’t getting more productive.

RW56

10/14 ABC on Station Fire

I had to send in this link to an ABC report on the Station Fire, lest we forget the reality of fire in SoCal. The Monday morning quarterbacks, how quickly they forget.

I hope you firefighters are proud of the work you and your teams do. This was a stellar effort. This made me wish I was in the West during the Station Fire siege. Maybe next season if it's busier I can come "home".

Who are those guys in the white helmets, anyway? Hotshots I guess. Good to see Dietrich doing his job.
I miss the West Coast!

ABC report on the Station Fire

GA Peach... wish I was CA Peach these days

10/14 Humboldt State University - Wildland Fire Studies Program - SESSION-4

Many have seen the R5 RF letter stating this program is no longer regionally sponsored. Local units must contact HSU directly to register for Session #4. The program has not changed. It will be presented in the same format as Sessions 1, 2 and 3. Classes will be located at WFTC and on campus at HSU.

One can debate the pros and cons of the 401 series For the FS it's on hold and probably DOA which most likely lead to Region-5 reducing the importance of this program. Fortunately HSU did not throw the baby out with the bath water. College level education that relates to wildfire management and natural resource management is a good thing.

ms

Humboldt State University - Wildland Fire Studies Program - SESSION 4

10/14 Grant to Colorado State University for improving FF Gear

This research is in good hands...one of the professors on the team is Wade Troxell. He is the son of Harry Troxell who taught Wood Science at Colorado State for over 30 years. I did a search on the CSU site and Wade Troxell is credited with work in energy, water, and robotics as well.

CSU Forestry Alumnus

10/14 Hi

I'm desperately looking for an aerial or satellite image of Marble Canyon, British Columbia, Canada latitude: 5111'00" Longitude: 11608'00", between Sept 2003 and May 2004 to show the forest fire aftermath. Preferably no sun, no smoke, few clouds and even snow cover.

Is this an image you might have?

Any help appreciated
Lynn Wood

10/14 Dear private industry:

First & Foremost, the FWFSA has never (and I've repeated this many times on TheySaid) advocated the wholesale elimination of contractors and cooperators from the federal wildfire landscape.

After my conference call with the Congressional Legislative Counsel, some sections of the bill have been rearranged. I presume you are speaking about the "Equal Protection Under the Law" section? If so:

The FWFSA did not create the existing language in Chapter 146, sec. 2465 of the United States Code regarding the outsourcing of federal firefighters. Adding Dept. of Interior and Dept. of Agriculture firefighters to those federal firefighters employed by the Dept. of Defense simply seeks to provide similar protections against outsourcing as currently enjoyed by those DoD federal firefighters.

The language does absolutely nothing to put anyone "out of business." Simply, the "Big Government" you refer to has done more than enough "studies" of federal firefighters at taxpayer expense to determine again and again that it is neither cost effective or efficient to "contract out" federal firefighting services. In fact it was former Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey who on July 14, 2008 in a nationwide TV show I happened to be on, stated that wildland firefighting is an "inherent government function."

The language will not affect in any way the current processes of the land management agencies entering into contracts with private resources. The language isn't to eliminate private industry but rather to protect the existing federal firefighters.

If you are in the private industry providing wildland fire services, this language does nothing to impact you other than perhaps to say we're not going to spend anymore tax dollars studying the outsourcing of these firefighters and we're not giving a federal firefighter's position to you...but you certainly can continue to enter into agreements with the land management agencies for your company's services.

If you or others have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at cjudd@fwfsa.org. By the way the revised (post-conference call) language is on the FWFSA web site.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/14 AB,

ASC has been put on notice per say, according to a forest supt. The new chief of the FS and others in Washington are very interested in the issues coming forth.

With any luck, ASC will be shut down.

Noname Fire

10/13 Wow! What a storm the Ca NOPS area is going thru...hope it extends to SOCAL as well without too many flood slides.

Historical records suggest this may be the earliest precip Oct storm since 1962. I am old enough to remember that event. I was confined indoors as a Boy Scout!. in SF bay area!!! in OCT..UGH!! Now if only the snow level lowers for this winter to get Ca outta this H2O dilemma.

Fish01

10/13 Proud to be a FWFSA Member,

I am a retired US Forest Service Federal Firefighter (Supervisory Forestry Technician according to the Forest Service).

I joined the FWFSA shortly after it was originally formed. I still believe that it is the only voice that truly represents federal wildland firefighters, both currently employed and retired. As you stated, many have worked tirelessly to increase awareness and education among the policy and lawmakers in Washington and Boise.

I was an OSC2 on a local team, a chief officer and type 3 IC on a complex, fast fire paced district in Southern California and spent six years on a Type 1 team as an Air Tactical Group Supervisor. The bulk of my career was spent on Hotshot and Helishot crews with three years as an Air Attack Base Manager and two as a Forest Aviation Officer and full time ATGS.

When I was a Foreman (Captain) on a Hotshot crew in the 80’s, contract fire hand and engine crews were just starting to appear on the scene. We all had huge concerns that our jobs would be threatened, who would make sure these crews had “real qualifications”, etc, etc, etc…

Well, we still have hotshot crews; engine crews and the Contractors have formed organizations to police themselves (such as the National Wildland Suppression Association or NWSA).

Contract crews, both other agency and private, have provided invaluable services in the form of trail building and maintenance, fuel break construction and maintenance, felling, private land clearing and fire control. All hand in hand with Land Management Agencies as well as State and Local Fire Departments.

Why are the contractors being used? As you stated, Federal, State and Local Government crews are often spread thin, at times due to many incidents being staffed and other times due to the agencies inability to staff modules due to budgets or administrative issues such as FTE ceilings or lack of qualified agency personnel.

One thing that is certain, contract crews will continue to be used, and I for one would prefer to have a contract crew that is used in rotation to keep them sharp and not just bring them out for the “few and far between” as you put it. To do so would be courting disaster.

I also have worked with and been an IC on fires with contract crews. What I have found is that some contract crews are outstanding performers and some leave something to be desired. I also have found this to be true of agency crews. The best solution here is proper documentation to the home unit and then good follow up.

As for your stating that Federal Resources are less expensive… well I would tread carefully on that one, especially with FERS and true cost to government. Another reality here is year round cost for federal workers as opposed to a one shot project approach with “contractors” or other agency crews.

Lets talk aircraft. In the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s the Forest Service owned and operated air tankers. What they found was that it was less expensive and more efficient to contract out for air tanker services. Much the same as exclusive use helicopters.

As for the FireWatch Cobras, you are correct, the US Forest Service owns both aircraft, both attached GIS Data Vans and all of the equipment on the aircraft and vehicles. HOWEVER, a contractor provides all maintenance on both aircraft and all the wiz bang mission equipment and the primary Cobra pilots and the GIS technicians. Due to a lack of ATGSs, the primary South Zone ATGS position was also contracted out to a former agency ATGS for the first two years the aircraft was based in South Zone.

CAL FIRE aircraft… the USFS name is on the data plates on the S-2 air tankers and OV-10 air attack platforms. Why? Part of the Federal Excess Property Program. So for all intent and purpose, CAL FIRE owns the aircraft and again, contracts out all the maintenance and pilot services for the S-2’s and OV-10’s. The CAL FIRE helicopters are also owned by the state, a contractor performs maintenance and the helicopter pilots are CAL FIRE employees.

Lead / ASM aircraft… Both the Forest Service and the BLM lease the current aircraft and the contractors provide all of the maintenance. Why is this? Probably because the “fund” to replace the Barons was mismanaged by the agencies and no money existed to purchase new aircraft at the end of the Barons service life. Even when the Forest Service did own its own Lead aircraft… Maintenance was contracted out as FAA quals come into play here.

I agree with you in principle that it would be nice to own our own fleet of “state of the art aircraft designed for wildland firefighting”. Canadair (formerly Bombardier) of Canada does this.. they are called CL-415’s and cost in the neighborhood of 30 million each. Maintain our own fleet?? We (the Forest Service) cannot even maintain land-based vehicles much less aircraft. I for one was extremely thankful that the Air Attack aircraft I flew in while working were operated and maintained by contractors. It would be scary propositions to have an agency that cannot even manage Human Resources (current ABQ fiasco) or keep vehicle fleet mechanics try to maintain aircraft!

So what is the right mix of federal, state, local government and private contract resources? I am sure we will continue to struggle with that answer and it will ultimately fluctuate with budgets and who is in “power”.

I do know though, that there is a place for all of these resources on the fireline and just as agency resources come and go, so do private contractors.

yactak

10/13 Proud to be...

Excellent presentation of the fly or artificial lure...but as good as the bait looks I'll just swim by for now on your Federal approach to fire fighting and hope that in the future you will practice catch and release angling instead of indiscriminate trolling.

Oliver

10/13 Ab, please let folks know who are in Region 5 if they are not getting paid contact me directly and I will get the problem resolved.

Thanks

Dan Duefrene
NFFE Local 1771 guy

10/13 Good Bye private industry!

This bill was written by the FWFSA.

The Federal Wildland Fire Service Association is an employee association formed in 1990 by and for federal wildland firefighters. We are THE political voice for all federal wildland firefighters. Our membership spans the full spectrum of federal firefighter positions from entry level through management officers.

The FWFSA is dedicated and committed to improving pay, benefits and working conditions for the Nation's federal wildland firefighters as well as providing a forum for our members to become active advocates in the process of increasing awareness and education among those in Washington D.C. who are in a position to effect positive change.

The Dues Paying members had a say regarding what was put into the draft. If your perception is that it will hurt the private industry, you may be correct, but remember it was drafted to protect Federal Employees and we are not from the Private Industry.

Am I prejudiced when it comes to using Federal resources or Private? Yes I am. I am not new or naive on the fireline and my experience tells me that 99 times out of one hundred I'd rather have a Federal Engine or Crew backing me up, or working for me out on the line.

Are there times when we are spread too thin and have no other choice than to use the Private Industry, yes, but those times should be few and far between like the Military. It makes me sick and pissed off every time that I see Federal Crews leaving a fire to be sent home while Private Industry Crews are left to Patrol, and clean up. Our folks are cheaper, and usually produce a better product. I have personally been an IC on several large fires after the team left, and got stuck with all Contract Resources, and it was a nightmare.

Am I in this job for the money? NO, but it would be nice to get compensated for the work I do. No one should be out on the fireline for the money; it will get someone hurt. They should be there for the sense of Duty, Respect and Integrity. Will the wildland firefighter bill put 10,000 people out of work? NO, a number of people can come and work for the Federal Government bringing the Federal Fire Department up to MEL (Most Efficient Level).

I also believe that we should get out of the contractor game when it comes to Aviation. We should own our own Aircraft. Other Government Agencies have their own fleet, designed for safety for their own special needs, why don't we? We are using World War II Aircraft when we should spend the money to design, develop, and maintain state of the art Aircraft designed to our specs for fighting fire from the air. Not sure but I herd we own Helicopters, but lease them to CalFire. I do believe the Fire Watch (Cobra) Program is successful with federally owned and Maintained Aircraft, why can't all of the Firefighting Aircraft be like that?

Proud to be a FWFSA Member

10/12 ASC problems and not being paid:

Thank you everyone who responded to my pleas for help regarding my not being paid.

It would be great if I could let you all know that something has changed, but alas... nothing has.

However, I have followed the advice you all provided and contacted a variety of people (congressperson, WO, RF, union) and as is usually the case when you research something, you learn a great deal more than you ever thought you would.

I have learned from someone within ASC (who wants/needs to remain anonymous) as well as from other regular working class citizens like ourselves that I am most definitely not alone. So, in order to hopefully turn this ugly situation into something which can benefit myself and others I am looking for people who have had to deal with similar or other situations related to the ASC. Your names will not be shown on the web, Ab will get your contact info to me and I won't do anything with the information without clearing it with you first. I am looking to maximize my efforts with a show of force, so-to-speak. So, even if your situation has been resolved, give us the details and hopefully this will help the situation. After all, knowledge is power.

Unless someone else knows something I don't know, I don't see a change on the horizon. I'm guessing and assuming that eventually a HR person will be placed back at the forest level around the country. Hmmm, isn't that what ASC was supposed to replace?? Seems like an awful expensive and demoralizing way to make a circle, don't you think?

So, send in your experiences and I'll try to create some change that will benefit more than just myself. Oh, and enjoy your paychecks a little extra for me.

Signed: Still haven't been paid.

I am happy to forward emails and think this is an opportunity for folks with a similar problem to band together. "Still haven't been paid" has made some contacts in high places and is capable of sharing the information in circles that can effect change, so if you've had trouble with ASC and getting paid, please join the effort. Keep in mind that this is not directed against the PEOPLE at ASC who are doing the best they can and in some cases did not want to be moved to Albuquerque to a centralized "service center". Rather it's directed at correcting the bureaucratic process that hinders people getting paid or otherwise having their needs met. Ab.

10/12 Becky Quigley Fundraiser:

Here's another note with Flyer on an upcoming fundraiser (on 10/17) for Becky. I hope all will support her and her family in any way possible. Text of flyer below:

Friends of Becky Quigley

Fundraising Dinner
Sons of Italy Hall Weed
Saturday, October 17
5:00 pm No-Host Cocktails
6:00 Dinner by The Garden Party
Tri-Tip, Salad, Beans and Weed Bakery Bread
Raffles, Silent Auction,
Dessert Auction
Tickets Available at: Weed Cal Fire, Scott Valley Bank-Weed & Mt Shasta
Cal Fire Yreka, Fifth Season-Mt Shasta
Monetary Donations can be sent to any Scott Valley Bank location or to “Friends of Becky Quigley” c/o SVB PO Box 297 Weed California

~~~~
Message circulating among the hotshots:

We have a benefit event being organized for Becky Quigley (Salmon River Hotshots) and her family. We are hoping to get word out to all R5 hotshot crews. Jeff (Shasta Lake) seems to think you're someone who can help pass on the information.

Here's the flyer with information for the event:

Donations can be made to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation in Becky's name or to following:
Checks payable to: "Friends of Becky Quigley"
Send to: Scott Valley Bank, P.O. Box 297, Weed, CA 96094

The family has set up a webpage at carepages.com. Updates on Becky's condition are posted daily and messages of support can be sent here. You need to sign in with a username and password - then search for beckyquigley (all one word).

Here's a link to a recent local newspaper article: Benefit Dinner for Becky Quigley

Thanks, Dusty

10/12 Wildland Firefighter Bill:

AB,

As I read the draft legislation I can only wonder what will happen to the private industry. I am all for the Fed Firefighters getting the respect and recognition they deserve and I hope it will create working conditions that increase retention and recruits. But section 3 seems to close the door on the private industry! Not just the private wildland firefighters, Fallers, aviation folks and support personnel but all the supply companies that support those companies. This bill may be good for the growing federal government and its control over the tax payer, and it may be great for federal firefighters, but is sucks for the private industry and the 10,000+ people it is going to put out of business. Not to mention the tax payer who is going to foot the bill for another growing government agency that repeatedly fails running programs. It will be very interesting to see what happens during the next fire storms. I hope Canada and Australia can get here quick...or maybe we can get our national guard trained up with a 4 hour on the job training session again... One person's gain is another's loss!

Signed,
Good Bye private industry!

10/12 Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraisers, including the 2010 CALENDAR

Ab,

I want to let everyone know that the 2010 WFF calendars are in house and ready to ship. At $10 each a real bargain compared to $15 to $20 for calendars at the mall. And ALL $10 goes to the Foundation. This calendar is larger, 8.5” by 12” and we returned to the “traditional” format of squares for each day. We only printed 3000 this year as we have had to throw away many the last 2 years when we printed 5000. So hurry and get them while you can.

Also, I wanted to promote another WFF fundraiser. The Region 2 Hotshot crews are holding their annual golf scramble Oct. 30th here in Fort Collins. If you are a R2 hotshot, current or alumni, you can form a team and come play. If you can not make the scramble, you can give a donation to WFF on their website supporting this fundraiser. For more information contact Michael Lehman of the Roosevelt Hotshots at 970-419-4431.

Thanks to everyone for supporting the WFF.

Jim Felix
President
The Supply Cache, Inc. &
Board member Wildland Firefighter Foundation

10/12 Grant for improving FF Gear:

Good morning,
I thought this might interest you.
Sincerely,
Emily Wilmsen

Colorado State Improving Firefighter Gear

10/11 Smokey Val contact info

Tom,
Contact San Bernardino Tanker Base @ 909 382 4974. The Tanker Base Mgr there (Leslie), the FAO (Kenneth) or any one of the folks on duty will be able to get you Smokey's contact info.

If that fails, Ab can send you my contact info and I will get Smokey's 411 info... Smokey is one of my hero's!! He was one of the "voices in the sky" that we could ALWAYS trust!

-- Tony Duprey

10/11 Smokey Val' story:

It wasn't too bad!

Mellie

10/11 Re: the investigation on the Camp 16 vehicle fatalities:

The investigation is not out yet.

Mellie

I was told that when it's complete, the report will become part of the arson homicide investigation like with the Esperanza investigation. Perhaps there will be something in the interim. I'm sure we'll hear as soon as possible. Ab.

10/11 Smokey Val contact info

As long as were in the "looking for" mood, I'm looking to get into contact with Smokey Val, aka Frank Vallesillo. He was my dad's counterpart at Ryan AAB back in the 70's and early 80's. I've heard he is semi-retired now, but occasionally fills the tankers at SBD...just for fun I assume.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Tom Stein (jr)

I found his contact info given a clue from Yactac and emailed it. If he has email and anyone knows it, please send it in for Tom. Ab.

10/11

Re: Tom Marovich

Aunt Marlene,

As I would normally refrain from responding during work hours, I returned from an IA dispatch this morning to a phone message asking me to check They Said and decided to make a quick response.

I must have written at least a dozen letters with the intent to send to your family, only to delete them feeling unable to properly convey our feelings as a whole or even personally. Even now it’s difficult to write something short.

We are doing as well as can be expected and indeed returned to the ship after spending some time as a handcrew. The Lassen and Modoc National Forests and the national aviation community as a whole have been extremely supportive. We are focused to finish this season as strong as possible.

Thank you for your kind words. They mean more than you can imagine. As this season comes to a close I’m sure we’ll be in contact.

If Ab doesn’t mind, he/she can pass on my personal contact info to you. Please don’t hesitate to use it.

Most Sincerely,

Mike Yearwood
Captain 510c
Chester Fly Crew

I passed it on. Thanks for writing during your lunch break. Ab.

10/11 Re Tom Marovich

Hello again, AB,

This Saturday, October 17, the Marovich family, along with my family will be traveling to Sacramento for the tribute to fallen firefighters. We are looking forward to the tribute and once again to honoring Tom. We miss him so. It is hard to move forward - you just don't want to forget a single moment of his life.

I'm wondering if you have heard from any of his crew - we are wondering about the helicopter crew -- I'm sure they are back up and flying - we are just wondering about them - wanting to extend our love and support. Any news you might have would be appreciated.

Thanks so much for all you do!

Aunt Marlene

Hi Aunt Marlene. Thanks for writing in. Our best to the family. Let me see if anyone is near a computer and reading. Ab.

10/11 Marty contact info:

Hi Ab,

I'd like to get in touch with an old friend. Last I heard, he was up in Payson, working as a Hotshot. We grew up together in Phoenix 40 years ago. If anyone knows of his whereabouts, please forward my email address to him? His name is Marty Lankford, he is from Phoenix originally. He and i were great friends. I moved back to Michigan in 1976, and haven't talked to him since! Please help?

Thank you,

Brian
Kieft-wescoshoppers@ nospam sbcglobal.net (remove spaces and nospam)

10/11 Camp 16 vehicle fatalities:

Hello,

I haven't checked this site for a while. Did LAC ever finish the investigation on the fatalities on the Station Fire? I used to work there a long time ago. Thanks.

-RedBox82-

10/11 The Wildland Firefighter Bill:

I read the proposed draft bill, and really like the proposal. The only thing I saw that I think might need an extra word is in Section 5. The (b) Requirement mentions HP for airborne (smokejumpers) should include helitack also. It would make the requirement section more "airtight" in determining that pay differential.

Fish01

10/10 Re ASC and Person not getting paid:

A good place to start at this point would be the union to talk to your union representative and file whatever paperwork it takes to make ASC's life very difficult. I hope you have been documenting all of this.

My next stop would be the District Ranger's office. If he/she isn't any help then the next door I'd be knocking on is the Forest Supervisor's door. This may not be the most politically savvy way to go about this, but I'm not particularly politically savvy and they aren't paying you.

Have you asked if they will advance you part of your paycheck while they figure out their end of the problem? They will typically do that if a paycheck is not submitted on time.

burn

10/10 I worked on photos and there are a number of very fine new photos posted on Fire 42 and Equipment 16 (includes foam treatment and hotshots burning out). Ab.
10/10 re ASC and person not getting paid:

Ab,

Unfortunately, this is not the first person who has had this problem. I know of one case years ago that ran for 4 months.

Suggestion: congressional assistance. The employee needs to gather their info, contact the field office of their congressperson and ask for assistance. Info needs to be as complete as possible; copies of e-mails, correspondence, names and phone numbers of persons contacted etc.

They need to specify what result they want: back pay with interest due to administrative errors.

Also suggest CC of this info to Regional Forester and the Deputy Chief for Admin.

They might also try providing this info to the local press is they are in general "good" to local forest issues.

Hope the local unit has an employee assistance fund.

John Bennett USFS Ret.

10/10 Firefighter series and centralized fire:

Abercrombie,

It's definitely time to let everyone that is waiting and watching know it's time for all the land management agencies to stand together with a very clear and direct voice! Centralize fire management. Congress gets it, we get it, the public is realizing it but the line officers think we signed up because of the sunsets? Casey is not our voice alone, we are and we need to start taking more ownership together on our own behalf!

Jeffsz00tv

10/9 working for free: ASC and person not getting paid...

Do any other FS fire employees know how a person (me) who hasn't been paid in three pay periods can go about getting more attention and help from Albuquerque? Neither myself, supervisors, or calls to Albuquerque seem to be very effective. I find it hard to believe that I'm the only person to have this problem, could it be?? And thank you, but please don't tell me to get a case #, I've had several, I've even had a couple closed (meaning the problem was resolved). And also don't tell me to ask for a supervisor, because that hasn't worked out very well either.

I realize the ASC is broken, or perhaps was never really assembled properly, but this seems unbelievable to me.

And if I can offer a bit of advice to anyone calling the fine folks in Albuquerque, be careful if you mention something that is wrong (like not getting paid for a couple of months), because apparently it upsets them, and we wouldn't want to do that. Afterall, I'm sure they aren't being paid to be upset, and I'm just not being paid.

Signed: Would rather not work for free

You may be the only one; you're certainly special. Haw Haw. Ab.

10/9 I posted Nin Terry's very nice photo of the Sugarloaf Fire, LNF 8/09 on the Wallpaper page and featured it on the wildlandfire.com Home page. Thanks to Nin and Phil for the sweet addition. Ab.
10/9 Wildland Firefighter Foundation 2010 calendar fundraiser:

Good evening Ab,

Just wanted to let you know that one of the photos I sent in to you last week was selected for the wildland fire 2010 calendar :)

oregonfirefighter

Great news! Hey All, preorder your 16 month calendars from The Supply Cache. It's to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Nice. Ab.

10/9 hey yactac

With all due respect, you must've been an Army dog. you cats are always tryin' to cut corners: three General Orders! WTF? Us Devil Dogs would never call a Master Gunnery Sergeant anything but that, or possibly Master Guns if you both are on familiar terms. Same goes for the Gunny; officers are simply addressed as 'Sir'.

Just had to bust yer balls a little, still p.o.-ed that I had to learn 11 General Orders!

BE

10/9 Wildland Firefighter job series and names:

Jeffsz00tv.,

Just keep on keeping on! You are correct... all the dinosaurs are extinct and the ones that are left in the agency will soon be retired. Keep up the good fight as you are right. Times do change and government will eventually have to change with them. The public deserves it as do our Firefighters (notice I did not say forestry or range techs!).

As for the "Chief" name discussion.... Standard historical fire department protocol has been to verbally address all "Chiefs" with the rank of Battalion Chief or higher simply as "Chief". Very similar to the military.. a 1st or 2nd lieutenant is simply addressed as "Lieutenant" as in Lieutenant Dan.. A sergeant, whether a three stripe buck sergeant, 4 stripe staff sergeant or multi striped (cause I can't remember, as it has been awhile) Chief Master Sergeant are addressed as "Sergeant". Same goes for the Genera Officers... no matter how may "stars" one has .. they are generally (lol) verbally addressed as "General".

yactak

10/9 Re: Name Calling and FF names

Ah, but "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet" Are you in love with the name or that which the name stands for? Many of us in R-6 are still left out of the name calling club as well, but don't be so sad - notice the true atrocities that occur around you daily...oh, and I would prefer from now on to be addressed as "El Conquistador!"

-Dozershot

Haw Haw! Ab.

10/9 Firefighter name and firefighter series:

A quote from the movie "American Pie" keeps going through my head…"Say my name b_tch!!"

So, if I refer to the FMO of a district as "Division Chief", and the AFMO as "Battalion Chief", and the FFMO and AFFMO as "Chief-1" and "Chief-2" but refer to any one of them simply as "Chief" while in conversation or written reference, should the chiefs then decide who is in fact the best choice for the title of "Chief", or is the chief complaint the title itself? Good thing we all call the SFEO, FEO, and AFEO by their acronyms or we could really get confused, people might want an Engineer to inspect a bridge or something…but someone help me out here, should I call a Foreman "Captain" or a Captain "Foreman" and if I call that person by the wrong title will they answer me? Maybe I should ask their assistant what to call them first? Cr p, how do I address the assistant?!

Suffering from CRS, BS, and simply LMAO,

-Joatmon

CRS? I had to look that one up. (CRS=Can't remember S***, a syndrome) Haw Haw. Ab.

10/9 Wildland Firefighter Bill:

Ab,

Attached is the most current copy of the draft.

Casey

Draft Legislation (84 K doc file)

10/9 Passing of Remy Pochelon:

Sad News, Remy was a excellent Safety Officer and a great person who long ago helped me become a Safety Officer. Rest in Peace Remy!

Mark

10/9 Is there someone on TheySaid, the hot list, or elsewhere that we can see the content of the FWFSA bill? Seems like I’d seen it before, but can’t find it now.

Casey and all, keep up the good work!

KSENGB

I asked Casey to send the most recent version. We have one that is older. Ab.

10/9 from OZ - new DANGER WARNING SYSTEM

Abs,

Following the tragedy in Victoria earlier in the year it has been decided to change the fire danger warning system across Australia. (It appears that stinking hot temperatures, gales force winds & a lack of rain are obvious enough signs...). The message "Wait until the fire is on top of you, and you may die" = <tick>. It's about time we stopped being warm and fuzzy. The craziest thing I heard after the initial report was from a resident in one of the towns that got razed. It went something like "I always knew there was extreme fire danger, but now I know there the Forest Fire Danger Index that tells me just how extreme it really is". <WTF?!>

The attachment better explains the new standards, as do the following videos which have been put out.

Links:

* Bush Fire Survival Plan
youtube Bush Fire Survival Plan - NSW Rural Fire Service TVC
* Survive
youtube Survive - NSW Rural Fire Service TVC
* Act
youtube Act - NSW Rural Fire Service TVC
* Prepare
youtube Prepare - NSW Rural Fire Service TVC
* Prepare
youtube Prepare - NSW Rural Fire Service TVC
* Rebel Talbert
youtube Rebel Talbert

Cheers

OB

Operational Brief New Bush Fire Changes for Coming Season.pdf (530 K pdf)

10/9 Searching for Colorado State Alums fighting fire

Hi all,

I'm a student at Colorado State University I'm looking to apply for IHCs next season. I was wondering if there were any CSU alums on shot crews and what crews you are on and any tips or advice you can give me. Thanks!

Brett

10/9 Jeffsz00tv,

What...you think the LP is the only place people expect various colored fire trucks to show up and save their houses? I know what the public thinks- I think they expect too much. If they want full scale fire protection of their homes- which is what they expect from the various land agencies simply because they are a gov't agency with engines- they should pay for their own municipal departments. If they expect land agencies to protect their homes in the capacit that they catch the fire before it gets there- then there might be times when lights and sirens might get them there faster to better accomplish this mission. And don't worry- I won't be on the LP any time soon.

fireweed

10/8 Wildland Firefighter Bill:

Hi Ab & All:

The conference call between the FWFSA, Congressman Bob Filner's office and the Congressional Legislative Counsel was rescheduled to today.

I was pleased with the result. The Legislative Counsel commented on the amount of work and effort that had apparently gone into our discussion draft. He also indicated it could be introduced "as-is" to which Rep. Filner's staff concurred, or we could do a bit more "homework" to make sure the portal to portal provision isn't written in a way that could produce "unintended consequences" since the laws are so varied for different federal employees, tours of duty etc.

He also remarked that I was "preaching to the choir" but that he wanted to ensure the technical aspects of the language were sound. Thus we agreed we would pour through our stack of documents, re-read them, review Title 5 USC once again and ensure the language meets the intent.

In the late '90s, legislation benefiting many federal firefighters employed by the DoD was passed but it required a follow-up technical amendment because the language produced an "unintended consequence." We would like to ensure our bill is thorough and meets all technical questions.

The Legislative Counsel had no other questions on any of the other provisions, mainly just language referring to Title 5 so I am hopeful we'll get a bill soon.

All of this takes a tremendous amount of work and it costs a lot of money. Once the bill is introduced it will require a commitment from everyone who supports it to contact their elected representatives for support. If you've been sitting on the fence as far as joining the FWFSA, this is yet another step in the right direction and I hope you will make a commitment to support our efforts through membership as so many wonderful folks across the country have.

More information will follow.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

10/8 Re fed mission:

There are many of us out there who are old school and still think of positions in terms of FMO/AFMO. A Forest AFMO can hold the ranking of Chief, just like the Forest FMO- many actually do. I looked around at a number of the WildCADS, and with the exception of some in MT and NM- most of them used the new ranking systems with Bat. Chief, Div. and Chief. Not so absurd.

fireweed lurker

10/8 Re fed mission:

Fireweed Lurker,

Your comment about our mission! I hope that you don't get confused when showing up on a lp fire. During the jesusita fire, people didn't care a bit about what color truck you had, it was about our mission caring for the land and serving the people. Dinosaurs went extinct awhile ago. Lead or follow.

Jeffsz00tv.

10/8 Remy Pochelon passes:

Obituary for Remy Pochelon, long time IMT member from R1.

TMC

From his obituary and there's a nice picture of him at the link:

Throughout his career, Remy was active in the fire program and continued to be a member of a Northern Rockies Type 2 incident management team after his retirement. He was one of the longest-serving safety officers for the USFS and had just completed an assignment on the Table Mountain fire southwest of Philipsburg. Indeed, Remy was around for so long, his co-workers eventually gave him a symbolic stuffed dinosaur that was a permanent fixture on the dashboard of his pickup. His knowledge and experience with forest policy and recreational issues continued to serve him well in retirement.

He is missed. Ab.

10/8 Firefighter names plus lights and sirens:

I don't think BLM'ers comment was horrible, but it was a bit misinformed. I believe that an AFMO is supposed to be called "Battalion" and the FMO is supposed to be called "Division." The Forest FMO would be called 'Chief' and his assistant would be called 'Deputy Chief'. I am also in R3, but with the FS, not BLM and I don't see these titles being implemented any time soon.

I agree that his AFMO's comment about 'saving houses' was a bit strange, as we don't physically go into houses to save them when they are on fire. We have a more indirect purpose, which is to save any savable houses before the fire reaches them.

The lights and sirens comment is NOT, specific to his area, in fact that relates to R3 as a whole. R3 includes Arizona, New Mexico and a slice of Texas

Quick Connect

10/8 Regarding R3 BLMer's comment:

Those comments are so specific, it's hard for anybody to relate. Also, if the chief is the AFMO, as he sarcastically states, what is the FMO, the Super chief, or would only the old schoolers get that as he puts it.

I enjoy a lot of They Said comments but this one was horrible. The large majority of the country has not and will not adopt the ranking terminology as he puts it. Therefore, to state it as if the BLM in NM is one of the last outposts calling their positions AFMO's and the rest of us would all look at our screen's and agree at the absurdity is absurd in itself.

DS

10/7 From Regional Forester Randy Moore. This came out today.

I wonder who wrote this for him? End State?

Signed,
"End State"

~~~~~
All Employees…

By now you have read the announcement of a Chief’s level review of the Station Fire. The intent is, with our partners, to explore the decisions made and actions taken during the initial attack phase, based on the context of the environment and situation at the time not in context with our knowledge of the outcome. The team will gather the facts and peer review the actions taken to identify what happened. The end state will be to tell this story in a way that improves our collective performance and that allows the public and others to understand the complexities, the issues, and the limitations we face in these dangerous and difficult situations.

This review is in keeping with, and will help us articulate our fire suppression doctrine. “Leaders regularly monitor operations for effectiveness…”, and the principles that we rely upon to be successful… “Command and control must be decentralized to cope with the unpredictable nature of fire… subordinate commanders are required to make decisions on their own initiative…”

Because of the seriousness of the Station Fire, we should expect open expressions of concern and doubt in our performance; there has to be a reason that can be held up as the cause for all the pain and the loss. We know that the reality of these very complex incidents is not so simple. I welcome this review with confidence that it will show that our and our partners actions were appropriate for the environmental conditions and fire behavior we faced during the initial attack of the Station Fire.

We have many weeks, and perhaps months of critical fire season to go, and we are entering into the time of periodic high-wind events in Southern California. I want us to ensure our situational awareness and our focus on the tasks at hand is not clouded by worries about this review or an outcome that hasn’t yet happened. Please stay focused and engaged. This will all sort itself out in time.

Stay sharp, take care of each other.

Randy

10/7 Searching for Cleveland Wildcad:

PJ

try WCCA-CNF

JR

10/7 Fed Mission:

While I am surprised that a Chief/AFMO would flat out say that saving homes is not a priority of the Federal govt, this person is absolutely correct. Unless the feds decide to centralize fire, in which fire suppression and protection is their sole mission; until then the so called "land management agencies" are just that- agencies charged with taking care of the land. As long as fire employees work directly for various fed agencies, NPS, BLM and FS, and not for a "fire department," I don't see how protecting homes should be the mission of fire resources.

fireweed lurker

10/7 Fed Mission:

About three weeks ago, our (Chief) or AFMO for you old schoolers, was talking to us in our office. Talking about not needing to run lights and siren, now and in the future, and some other stuff that BLM shouldn't do. Then I was surprised to hear him say that "Protecting homes is not our mission", now correct me if I'm wrong, weren't we all taught, our mission was to protect; Life, Property, and Natural Resources ? I was surprised to hear this coming from a chief, Ooops I better say AFMO since NM BLM will not adopt the ranking system terminology.

R3 BLMer

10/7 Firefighting from the air:

Here's an Article that I thought would be nice to share with the other members. khe2232

Blog: Standing on the edge

Post: Painting Mountains

10/6 Subject: benefit event for Becky Quigley

As many of you know, firefighter Becky Quigley of the Salmon River Hotshots received severe chest injuries two weeks ago on the Silver Fire near Quincy. She has been making steady progress at Enloe Hospital in Chico, but this is going to be a long hard journey for Becky and her family.

The Quigleys are local (Weed) and many of us know the family through firefighting, running, skiing, school, church, etc. Nancy and Darin are always among the first to step forward as volunteers for community events or as coaches. Darin is also the local CalFire battalion chief out of Weed.

A community event is being planned to help the family. Although still in the initial stages, the plan is for a dinner/raffle/desert auction on Oct. 17th at 6:00 in Weed. So mark you calendars.

We are also looking for raffle prizes and desert items to auction. Several cords of wood have already been promised. If you have any items you’d like to donate, let me know and I’ll pass the information on.

I should have further details and tickets on Friday.

It sounds like the COS Fire Academy will set up the dinner. Are there any crews that would like to help with cleanup or during the event?

I’m sending to all USFS contacts I can think of – but please forward this information to other hotshot crews (esp. Salmon River, Klamath, Smith River, Redding, Feather River – I don’t know contacts for these). Also pass on to any other fire crews or individuals who might be interested.

Dusty Miller
~~~~~

If anyone wants contact info for Dusty, please email me or you can look him up on the FS Lookup. Also, if anyone has good wishes for Becky, please send those. I'll compile them and get them to her family or her nurses. Or you can sign up at her website and follow her marathon and send your best wishes that way.

carepages.com

Enter
beckyquigley one word in the search, then sign up so you can send positive messages.
We can all support her and her family as she heals. It's not an easy task, although optimistic attitude prevails. Ab.

10/6 NFFE Survey, survey takers needed

Ab, please help get the word out on this.

Subject: Reminder -- NFFE FSC Survey on Use of Temporary Hiring Authority

Reminder: temporary employee survey. We have already received 2,000 responses. We need more. The survey can be taken from any computer. You don't need FS intranet access; you can access the survey at the public library. If you know someone on a 1039 appointment who doesn't have agency computer access, please let them know about this opportunity to be heard. We will carry your concerns and your stories to Agency leadership, to the Department, to the Whitehouse, and to the Halls of Congress and use them to fight for some long-delayed justice. Many thanks to those who have already spoken up.

Mark Davis
Chair, NFFE FSC Legislative Committee

Access the survey via this announcement page. Tell your friends who have worked as temps on a 1039 appointment: NFFE-FSC-survey 2009

10/6 What happened to Cleveland Wildcad?

Did budget cuts cut that program since September 30 it hasn't been updated. They were always up to date prior to October 1st.

PJ

10/6 Thanks OB from OZ-

I went ahead and found the articles from Australian Meteorolgy Magazine about this study, it was published in 2 parts, I didn't get a chance to read them- but here they are if others want to read them.

www.bom.gov.au mills1.pdf

www.bom.gov.au mills2.pdf

Stringtown

10/6 Re: Ice Capping? Column Collapse?

G'day all!

Late coming in to this.

Slightly off topic but relevant.

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre has published a report which may have some relevance.

Initial overview can be found at Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre report. I assume the US fire weather forecasters are aware of this. For mine it seems to explain the column collapse that I've seen referenced in earlier posts.

Regards

OB
OZ

10/5 Added the Beiber Helitack Logo (LMU) to the Logos 16 photo page. Nice one. Ab.
10/5 Dealing with OWCP:

All

Here is a Link to an interesting article in 'FedSmith" about dealing with OWCP
All Hope Abandon Ye Who Enter Here.

The author is a retired Regional HR director with GSA. If someone with his background can't deal with them, what hope does the average employee have?

SWID

10/5 Message from the WFF:

The WFF has received several inquires about the Combined Federal Campaign and the WFF not being listed in this year's catalog of choices. We are not in there this year due simply to a timing error with the submission of a unsigned 990 form. We plan to be listed next year. Thanks to all those who contributed through CFC.

In the meantime people wanting to contribute to the WFF can use a variety of existing ways, such as joining the 52 club,
a donation, or contribution. With the receipt we provide by return mail, you can still enjoy all of the tax deduction advantages that you would have gotten through the CFC.

Thanks to all our supporters. It makes such a difference in our wildland firefighters lives when death and serious injury strikes.

Vicki Minor
Executive Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

10/5

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250

Dear USDA Colleagues,

As many of you know, last week President Obama launched the SAVE Award calling on all federal employees to submit their ideas for innovative ways to reduce spending within our respective agencies.

This is a reminder that the deadline is less than two weeks away.

With 917 ideas contributed so far, USDA is running in 4th place right behind the Department of the Treasury.

I urge you to participate not only so USDA can win the award for the best participation, but also because this effort is an important way to give the American people a government that does more for less.

Submit your idea at SaveAward.gov. The winner will meet the President and have his or her idea included in next year’s budget. No idea is too small or too bold.

Thank you for your contribution to this effort.

Sincerely yours,

Evan J. Segal
Chief Financial Officer
USDA

10/5 Worth watching….jp

Slideshow of Fire Camp 16, destroyed during the Station Fire

10/4 Everyone is over on the HOTLIST... Ab.
10/3* Hi Ab's.

I have a question for any forum participant who is expert with CFRs and can comment on the following CFRs

USC 5333 and 5 CFR 531.212

531.212 applies to "superior qualifications", not performance ratings, but more qualifications such as research abilities, designing experiments, etc. The CFR allows for higher pay setting (ie instead of a GS-7 step 1, could have pay set at GS-7 step 9 for superior qualifications). Do you see any opportunities for "mass" application of this CFR for those with ICS qualifications with pre-determined agency agreed to qual requirements? Not asking for myself, looking more big picture here (fire and non-fire), all emergency responders. In other words, set pay higher for those who build qualifications and perform as an emergency responder.

Reading some of this on line, I see some limitations agencies may run into, however I wanted to ask the CFR Pros.

Letterman

10/3 AZ is burning...

AZ-KNF-Twin Fire bumping Williams AZ:

HOTLIST

Twin Closure Map

10/2 Hi.

I would like to have these two pictures posted on the site.

The first pic is when i had my blm engine stationed at Mill Creek station (ANF) October of last year.

Second pic is when i came upon the station after the Station fire burned through. It was a sad sight seeing the station burned down. Our Strike Team 11C hoisted a flag to honor the firefighters of Mill Creek station.

FP

Thanks FP, I put them on the Engines25 photo page. Ab.

10/1 Update on the photo. It isn't Carol's photo:

Ab, Angeles NF sign: "Photo courtesy USDA Forest Service / Nathan Judy."

Photo is on the Fires 43 photo page. Ab.

Thanks EA and Ab !!  bp

10/1 Wildland Firefighter Bill

Dear Ab & All:

I am pleased to report that the FWFSA has finally secured a commitment for a conference call between it, Congressman Bob Filner's office and the Congressional Legislative Counsel (LC) for Tuesday the 6th of October to discuss our legislative draft language entitled the National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement & Cost Containment Act.

It is certainly our hope that the call will result in a clearer understanding on the part of the LC of the draft's provisions so we can get a final bill drafted and introduced and we can work on securing bipartisan support. More information will follow.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA

Nice job, Casey. Let us know if we should write letters or call in support. Ab.

10/1 Search for photographer

Hi Ab,

According to the 'RoadTrip America' website, the photo was taken by Carol Underhill U.S.F.S. It's at the bottom of the page titled 'Sign of the times'.

EA

Here's the original on inciweb and another DIFFERENT one after the flames. Ab.

10/1 Photographer ID needed for ANF sign, burning during the Station Fire:

Does anyone know who took this picture? Several request have been made to use it in publications. Would like to get the name of the photographer for permission and credits.

bp

I'll pass any information on. Ab.

10/1 Lessons Learned and Safety Alert:

Bear Canyon Fire on the San Carlos Agency
R3 Hotshot Crewmember Burned by Flare

Hotlist thread

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