"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
||Passing of Wes Ruise Sr.
On behalf of Cleveland NF Battalion Chief Wes
Ruise Jr. and his family, it is with great sadness that I share with you the
news of the death of his father, Wes Ruise Sr. Wes Sr. passed away yesterday
after battling leukemia and complications of diabetes. He was 76 years old.
Wes Sr. retired from the USFS in 1985 as Fire Management Officer on the Descanso
Ranger District, Cleveland National Forest. He began his career on the Palomar
Ranger District in 1959 and built a reputation over the years for his
dedication, toughness, knowledge and expertise in wildland firefighting. After
his retirement from the USFS, Wes Sr. served many years as Fire Chief of the La
Jolla Reservation Fire Department until health problems curtailed his ability to
continue a few years ago.
Wes Jr. and his family are doing as well as might be expected during this
difficult time. Funeral services are pending. I will pass on further information
as soon as it becomes available.
Please keep the Ruise Family in your thoughts and prayers.
Our condolences to Wes Jr, his family, friends and coworkers. A life
||From Milehighbar on the hotlist:
The hotlist topic of IA response “what do
you respond” in another thread is interesting as it presents one of the most
significant concepts of wildland fire protection based on values at risk,
historical fire behavior, IA success rate, fuel models, weather, topo and
One area all fed fire managers, fed firefighters and our cooperators should take
note is how the FLAME Act is going to get implemented especially for all fed
fires at the Type 5, 4 and 3 levels. FLAME Act implementation direction is
due out in the weeks ahead. For the Forest Service, how our smaller/lower
complexity fires are paid for (which pot of funds) including salaries, fire
replacement, fleet and cooperator costs at the Type 5, 4 and 3 levels may force
changes to IA response and ultimately affect IA success rates.
Early reports of FLAME Act implementation process seem to have the potential to
significantly impact local firefighting budgets. Much is riding on how this act
will be interpreted and implemented. For now I will take a wait and see attitude
as it could lead to an even more effective response or it could lead to status
quo or it could radically handcuff an Incident Commander. Like many, I grew up
and learned that a comprehensive, inclusive and most importantly an aggressive
IA with both ground and air resources is the norm especially when values at risk
Keep an eye out in the weeks to come when official word comes down to the
Forests on how to implement FLAME Act suppression funds. It's times like these
that we in R-5 are lucky to have a Regional Strategic Fire Planner who behind
the scenes does what he can to deflect and protect our fire organization from
negative budgetary impacts of new policy or direction. But don't say you were
not warned about the FLAME Act as someone much smarter than me warned us of
potential issues with the FLAME Act related to IA response over a year ago. Mike
Dietrich is one of the most respected to ever lead a fire organization or
command an incident.
Other info about the FLAME Act:
It's been about 10 years since my formal structural firefighter training so
please, anyone, feel free to correct me if I am off base here.
Wasn't the fire tetrahedron, and more specifically the "chemical chain reaction"
aspect of it, implemented due to certain Class "D" fires (combustible /
flammable metal fires) in which water, foam, and most ABC / dry chem types of
fire extinguishers were ineffective? I believe certain chemical agents were
developed that specifically stopped these types of rare, but unique fires. You
are also correct about Halon being used in expensive computer and electrical
systems, but Halon is also no longer legal to purchase in new suppression
systems but previously existing systems can still be in place.
My point is that the "Fire Tetrahedron" does have a specific place in the
training of the structural firefighters. When one of these situations occurs, it
is important to have the understanding and training to attack these incredibly
rare fires correctly.
But what are the real world examples for wild land firefighters? In my time on
type III engines on a very urbanized forest, I have yet to come across a
scenario where we used a unique chemical agent specifically designed to stop the
chemical chain reaction process. It would appear that our primary methods of
wildland fire suppression cover the fire triangle quite completely. Line
construction from hand crews and dozers effectively remove fuel. Firefighters
use tools to "hotshovel" and during mop-up use dirt and water mixtures to
smother burning logs and what not, effectively removing oxygen. Water and foam
from engine hose lines remove heat and separate the fuels from oxygen. Aerial
retardant drops, for a lack of a better way to describe it separate the fuels as
My point is that wildland fire suppression tactics are not based around removing
the chemical chain reaction. We do the actions listed above. I've never yelled
at my guys advancing hose to "Get in there and stop that chain reaction!" ...
It's something more like "Get in there and cool that down, or hit that with the
shovel, or scratch a line around it".
I understand that technically the tetrahedron is probably the most
scientifically correct, but in my opinion it's not the best fit for our
community. But if you or anyone has specific examples of how the tetrahedron can
fit well into wild land fire aspect, please do share. I'm always interested to
learn more and improve training where it can and needs to be improved.
You forgot that there is one more side to the Fire Tetrahedron:
It is the chief. Take the chief away and the fire will go out.
The four-sided fire figure has been part of training in structural
firefighting for 20 years or more.
You eliminate at least one of the sides and combustion cannot continue. I'm not
sure why this
concept hasn't been embraced on the wildland side
Still Out There As an AD
||A Future Wildland Fire Service Scenario
For those enthralled with the idea
of an independent wildland fire service led by experienced, dedicated
I offer a dose of reality as echoed in the NY Times ...
www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/opinion/27korb.phpl?emc=eta1 (opinion piece)
The "coasties" are as close a model of what a Wildland Fire Service would
look like (and where it would end up) as
anything ... a small service led by trained and dedicated professionals with a
specific mission strongly favored by the
public yet, woefully underfunded and constantly under represented in the daily
If we think being rolled within the current land management agencies is bad just
wait until until we go up against the
||Does anyone know if NWCG is considering, or possibly are in the process of
changing the Fire Triangle
To the Fire Tetrahedron ?
The three sided Fire Triangle consisting of Fuel, Heat and Oxygen has been
re-designed through research and a fourth side
has been validated that is the removal of the “chemical chain reaction” of the
combustion process, thus creating the four
sided pyramid, or a tetrahedron. All four sides of the pyramid must be broken
for combustion to stop. There are certain fire
extinguishers, such as halon that are very efficient in breaking the chemical
chain reaction of the combustion process.
Any help is appreciated.
||EARTHQUAKE and TSUNAMI
An 8.8 Richter Scale quake hit Chile about 0330 local time. Now 78 people
are reported dead.
Tsunami Warning is out for all on the Pacific Coast. Expect 4-5 hr
before it could hit Hawaii. (Will sound sirens at 0600 hrs local time in
Hawaii.). CA and OR and WA not in direct path. Noon or 1300 hrs is the time to
be alert for CA.
Hotlist thread with tips on how to
get the best online info.
||Chad Howard and Bill Oelig, gone but still making a difference:
This is my first commo with "They Said". In the past I was just a voyeur but
something caught my eye and inspired me to write, Bill Oelig's name in one of
the postings. This year I have lost 2 very good friends in the fire world. Chad
Howard and Bill Oelig. Both were wonderful people who touched so many, many
people in extraordinary ways. Both of them gems! I think what we all should
remember is when we are gone, people are not going to remember what we did or
what we said but how we made them feel.
Readers, Chad died on December 3 following a long battle with a brain
tumor. He was dearly loved. He was on Krassel Helitack and before that, Lolo
Hotshots. (See theysaid 12/3/09). Thanks BL. I did not know either man, but I
certainly feel their gem-like quality through your comment. Ab.
||WFF Race Car
Toyota Racing is sponsoring a race car design contest, in which my wife and I
have entered. The theme revolves around the WFF. IF, my design is chosen as the
winning design, I have requested that the ARV of the grand prize (approx.
$4,000) be made as a donation to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Voting is open to the public and the car may be found here:
Let's all make the vote count for the WFF!
Tom & Debbie
Nice job! Everyone, VOTE! Ab.
||HR4488 and another firefighter loss: Bill Oelig passed away
Keep up the
good work Casey. Nice too know that you are also a fellow veteran of the Armed
On a sad note, and there have been too many of them recently, former Seeley
Lake District (Lolo NF) FMO Bill Oelig passed away last Wednesday at the
young age of 59 while working on an FS burn detail in Mississippi with Homestead
Helicopters (Missoula). Bill retired three years ago from the Forest Service but
remained active in the fire aviation world as a contractor. A long distance
bicycle racer as well as a fit runner, Bill went out for a PT run early last
Wednesday morning and suffered a fatal heart episode. Another loss in the fire
ranks of one who touched a lot of lives over the years. Just to reiterate your
earlier note -- need to keep the important things in life prioritized.
I have been briefly following the debate and concerns
of utilizing local cooperators on fires and felt the need to speak out, just a
bit. I believe that the generalization that all local cooperators across the
country are banking big dollars is not an entirely fair assessment of the
situation. I have been a fire fighter in Region 3 since the 80’s, both as a fed
and now for a local fire department. I can assure you that in AZ, fire
departments that have Cooperative Fire Rate Agreements through AZ State Forestry
do not get portal to portal pay and we are not able to charge administrative
fees. We do work the same shifts as the other forces, sleep in tents and eat
camp provided food. We do pay for our own fuel, supplies and apparatus
maintenance. Departments in AZ have a standard schedule of rates that apply to
all across the state. Local cooperating agencies are regulated by AZ Forestry,
are red carded by a State Red Card Committee, and many of our members serve on
federal overhead teams. We make big investments of time, training, equipment,
apparatus and readiness to support our neighbors in a time of need. We do
recapture primarily exact costs, but if we are taking the fed to the cleaners,
I’d like someone to show me the money.
Mtn Man in AZ
Midwest Wildfire Training Academy
A link to many training opportunities. Click around.
I hope you can appreciate the fact that although the FWFSA wrote the bill, much
of the language and the use of certain verbiage is the result of years of
discussion/consultation with congressional members and staff from both sides of
the aisle and from both the House & Senate. There would have been no way a bill
would have been introduced if it targeted specific non-federal resources to
Further, it is not up to us to dictate what non-federal resources to reduce.
Suffice it to say however that I think most involved in the federal wildfire
business recognize where costs can be reduced. Again I refer to Mr. Moore's memo
about a new direction in cooperative agreements.
Again, with all due respect there is no language "against" the private
contracting community. As I've repeatedly said, if Congress wants to implement
the pay & benefit provisions of HR 4488 and not include any mechanism to reduce
suppression costs to pay for those benefits that's fine with us. However we were
compelled and obligated under current guidelines to at least offer a solution as
to how to pay for PTP and other benefits with a cost factor.
As a side note...I too am a Disabled Vet so I don't think it's fair to throw in
the suggestion we are somehow against Disabled Vets, women (we have many, many
female members and Vets as members) or anyone else. Simply we think that the
federal government ought to take care of their own first if federal tax dollars
are being used.
I can't offer an invitation for the private industry to join with the FWFSA.
That is something the FWFSA Board of Directors would have to address but we do
have a number of members (really anyone can join who supports our efforts) who
work in the private sector; are ADs, some federal DoD firefighters; many from
Cal-Fire etc. The private sector has organizations/associations working on their
behalf. We've tried to reach out to them on this bill.
As someone mentioned to me recently the real opposition might be those that
represent local government firefighters in the West. We have, unfortunately
already been declared a "rival organization" by the California Professional
Firefighters and the International Association of Fire Fighters for reasons that
remain a mystery and for which the CPF and IAFF refuse to disclose to us or
sadly, the majority of their members. Candidly, as a former member of the
Executive Board of the CPF and one who was involved with the hierarchy of the
IAFF, internal union politics is not a place for the faint-of-heart.
However the same holds true for them. We are not intent on eliminating them from
the wildfire landscape. However, there are some who make staggering sums of
money each season at the expense of federal wildland firefighters. We simply
want to level the playing field on behalf of federal wildland firefighters and
Again, if anyone has any questions or concerns they can contact me personally
||Worth the time if one has it.
Aerial Firefighting, Vancouver, 16th-17th March 2010
Your question leads to more questions:
* Did you just finish fire school or did you have it in the past?
* If fire school was over a year ago did you finish your refresher training?
* Are you State, Private or Federal?
* Do you have a training coordinator or fire officer that handles currency and
Sorry I couldn't be of more help and with no disrespect intended but there is
more into getting fireline qualified than taking a
test. If you are federal, check with your fire folks and look into the policy.
The 310-1 is one of the best references for feds.
Good luck and be safe.
||There is a new ad on the
Jobs Page for the Oregon Department of Forestry. Warning, the
application deadline is just a a little over two weeks away. OA
||40th Reunion of the FULTON HOTSHOTS
Ab and all,
Don't forget our 40 year Fulton Reunion
Announcement flyer (173K pdf file)
40th Reunion of the FULTON HOTSHOTS
U.S. Forest Service/ Sequoia National Forest
April 16th -18th, 2010, starting at noon in Fulton
It's posted with Flyer link on the Hotlist calendar. Ab.
I believe we are more closely in agreement than you can imagine
regarding HR4488. I believe I can speak for a lot of contractors in our support
of Portal to Portal, employee retention, pay & benefits for Federal
You ask "what would you have us do to "embrace" the private sector". I would ask
you to clarify exactly who the "higher priced non-federal resources",
"cooperators", "local government firefighters" are... really who are they?
Eliminate the verbiage against the private contracting community that is made
up of Disabled Vets, Historically Underutilized, Women Owned, Disadvantaged and
other Small Business. Otherwise you are throwing "us" under the bus with the yet
You have done an exemplary job in your efforts for the work FWFSA does on its
members behalf regarding the efforts to reduce the non-federal suppression
costs, but the private sector is right with you on those points. Yes, "we"
aren't "paying the freight" at this point, is that an invitation to join?
When I was about 4 years old, my Mom said "Don't put your finger in the raccoon
cage". About an hour later she said " I told you so."
||A memorial service honoring William Michael Alexander will be held on
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at:
Josephine County Fairgrounds
1451 Fairgrounds Road, off of Highway 199
Grants Pass, Oregon
Memorial Service will start at 1230 PM and a reception will follow. Bring
a side dish if you would like.
Mike's family has requested that in memory donations be sent to:
Wildland Firefighters Foundation
2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Mike will be missed by all.
Thomas V. Murphy
BLM - Medford District Fire Mgt. Officer
Medford, OR 97504
Office - 541-618-2236
Cell - 541-944-6622
I’ve poured over your website several times now, and can’t seem
to find my exact issue. I have been trained now
(even got a certificate) and passed the 45# pack test back in November. Wasn’t I
supposed to receive a small
hard card that basically says I’m “red carded”? Or do I need to go somewhere and
register myself to get “red
carded”? Or am I automatically on a list somewhere and anyone with proper
authority can look me up and I’ll
Any light on my situation would be greatly appreciated!
2009 Safety Gram:
2009 Safety Gram (pdf)
Fatalities, Entrapments and Serious Accident Summary for 2009
The following data indicate the fatalities, entrapments, burnovers and other
life-threatening accidents associated with wildfire, wildland fire use and
prescribed fire operations in calendar year 2009. The information was
collected by the NWCG Safety & Health Working Team, with confirmation of the
fatalities from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
7 page table...
||Sierraville Crew 6:
If you have the additional info on Sierraville Crew 6
and the decision to no longer fund the resource, I’d be interested.
The crew has a special place for me personally.
Jeff in NV
||Dalton Hotshot Relay Run Update:
As Dalton prepares to run the Ragnar
Relay for the WFF we get more miles to run. The course is now starting in
Ventura and will be a total of 200.4 miles. We got that covered!
There might be many of you out there asking what can I do to support Dalton
Hotshots and the WFF. Well, we are
looking for EMT Intermediate / EMT Paramedics and above. We need a total of 12.
If we fill this number (12) Ragnar
will donate $200 to WFF for each EMT. This request goes out to our Professional
brothers and sisters. Any and all
are welcome!! If you would like to volunteer it would be a 4-7 hour shift. Even
if you are not an EMT, you can volunteer!
Those of you that are interested please feel free to contact me. Ab has my
The final map update will be posted this week!
Thank you, Scott Gorman
Scott, I put this on the Hotlist too, as many interagency folks read that.
||Regarding frequencies at airtanker bases:
Interagency Aviation Tech Bulletin 2010-01.pdf (219 K pdf file)
||Re Big Meadow Escape Burn:
I reviewed the Big Meadow escape several days ago.
A couple of comments:
Was the perimeter set up so that fire that crossed the perimeter line
went out of alignment? Looking at the picture it was hard to determine
Attached is the
test fire analysis and record form we developed
and tested for 10 years in Ventura Co.
Go-No_Go check list has a couple of items that would have
resulted in a No-Go condition too.
||CAL FIRE Emergency Crew Transport (ECT) Pilot Rock #2 accident:
is an Informational Summary Report (Green Sheet) referencing a vehicle accident
involving CAL FIRE Emergency Crew Transport (ECT) Pilot Rock #2 that resulted in
minor injuries. Please provide wide distribution of the document for the
purposes of discussion and Tailgate Safety session.
Battalion Chief - Department Safety Officer
Green Sheet on hotlist, check the original for photos. Ab.
In regards to Vicki's post about the firefighter and
cyanide exposure, the source of cyanide was probably
left over from Cyanide Leach Mining - used to extract gold. Montana banned
cyanide leach mining in 1998
and Wisconsin in 2001. They remain the only two states to have done so.
Summary of Case of Injured Wild Land Firefighter
John B. Sullivan, Jr., M.D.
February 16, 2010
A female wild land firefighter was involved in fighting a wild fire in
California on September 1, 2009. During the cleanup phase of the fire she was
over an area of a hidden defunct mining operation. While extinguishing the
residual flames of a tree trunk, the roots collapsed into a hole and a strange
blue flame emanated. She backed away and retreated from the site. Minutes later
she suffered symptoms of tremors, nausea, and dyspnea. She had what was
described as a respiratory arrest and was resuscitated. She was taken to a local
emergency department where she was hospitalized for two weeks. A Sherriff’s
hazardous materials team investigated the incident three days after exposure
that documented an airborne cyanide concentration of 45 ppm near the area in
which she was working. An airborne level of 50 ppm of cyanide is immediately
dangerous to life and health. I evaluated her on October 19, 2009 in my Toxic
Exposures Clinic. I performed an MRI and MRS of her brain as well as a
neurological workup. At that time she was confined to a wheelchair because of
difficulty walking and neurocognitive deficits (abnormal thinking). I reviewed
her brain MRI/MRS with a neuroradiologist. She had non-specific encephalomalacia
(brain swelling) within the parietal and occipital lobes, she also had an
abnormal choline peak on MRS. The medical literature reports cases of elevated
choline with encephalomalacia (brain swelling) involving carbon monoxide and
cyanide exposure. She has been in physical therapy with some improvement,
however cognitive (the process of thought) skills are worsening. My diagnosis is
exposure to cyanide which caused brain injury.
There are no known pre-existing conditions that are related to this injury. The
conditions I have described were reached after careful examination and standard
testing, and are not mentally imagined or induced by the patient. Wild land
firefighters face a number of hazards in the course of their duties. The affects
of cyanide inhalation are just beginning to be understood at the wild land
level. Suspected cyanide exposure can more effectively be dealt with if proper
diagnosis and treatment is given in a timely manner. Proper treatment is
available, especially at Level 1 trauma centers. Regional poison control centers
can provide medical toxicology consultation and antidote recommendations for the
patient. Proper treatment for suspected cyanide inhalation needs to become
standard protocol for wild land firefighters.
Ab & Community,
The only thing in this letter that I am not sure about is the source
of cyanide.. "hidden defunct mining operation".
One thing that I am sure of... we as a community can make a different outcome
for our firefighters in the future.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho 83705
A Keebler situation. Deep seated stump/Tree fire. "Damn
Keebler 's ben cookin in the trees again".
Haw Haw. Ab.
||Death takes yet another beloved friend:
Although this has really nothing to do with the wildland firefighting community,
I hope you'll appease me by allowing to pay tribute to a lost friend.
As many of you know, I was born and raised Hawaii. (yea I know, what the heck am
I doing in Idaho?) While there I had the privilege of attending Punahou School
from K through 12. This same school produced President Obama, a few years behind
me, and perhaps one of Hawaii's best known athletes, Mosi Tatupu who was my
Although I wasn't considered a jock, Mosi and I were friends who played football
together. He was also a Hawaii State basketball All-Star the day we both (and a
few jocks) ditched a school assembly in favor of a one-on-one game of
I did not play varsity basketball, favoring instead the run-and-shoot circus of
a community basketball league. On this historical day, I beat Mosi Tatupu at
one-on-one basketball and ran into the auditorium late where the assembly was
being held and exalted to the world that I had taken out a State All-star
one-on-one...much to the dismay of the jocks.
Before and after Mosi and I were friends. Not "best friends" but close friends.
Mosi went on to play fullback for USC and played 14 years with the New England
Patriots. During a visit back to Hawaii in 1989 I remember running into him at a
local Hotel and we proceeded to go out to the beach and play some football.
Today, the world lost Mosi. The cause has not been released but he was having
some health issues and high BP. Nearly a year removed from my quadruple bypass
open heart surgery, the condition of my heart being described as a "widowmaker"
and just several weeks after the loss of Tim Stubbs, I am feeling like I'm on
I guess the point of all of this is the hope that folks will slow down a bit,
take a closer look at what is truly important in this world and don't ignore the
signs your body is telling you. Please take care of yourselves.
||HR 4488, the National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement and Cost
Dear Mr. Wood:
There is obviously nothing I can say to once again insist that our legislation
is not designed to be a "direct attack on the future liability" of your
businesses. I referred to the Pacific Northwest because that is where the
organization that represents many private entities that I have communicated with
on this bill are located.
I certainly agree that the private sector provides a better value than most
state & county cooperators in many parts of the West. That statement, in itself
should underscore where we expect the reductions in non-federal costs to come
Already as seen posted here on TheySaid, the Forest Service in R5 is changing
direction a bit with regards to their cooperative agreements; the cost of Admin
fees, who gets portal to portal etc. While a baby step, it does signal an
acknowledgement that non-federal costs need to be reduced. Could it be that the
influence by the FWFSA is congress about these issues is finally having an
You are also absolutely correct that federal agencies need to live within their
seasonal budgets. The FLAME Act was created to eliminate the "raiding" of
non-FIRE accounts to pay for suppression. Not much has been said by anyone
except the FWFSA about those same FS folks raiding FIRE to pay for non-FIRE
projects. It truly is a shell game that fortunately is starting to unravel.
We have frequently provided congressional testimony to that end. We have made it
abundantly clear that the current funds appropriated by Congress for suppression
can not only sustain the status quo (which really isn't a good thing for the
taxpayers) AND pay PTP to its own federal firefighters. The fiscal management of
those dollars is the underlying key to all of this. We firmly believe that if
those FIRE dollars were allocated and administered by those with some semblance
of FIRE experience and expertise, everyone would be happy.
Organizationally we have not taken on an "anti-contractor" attitude. Obviously
we can't control individual feelings in the field but as we've stated
repeatedly, we have never, nor will we ever advocate the wholesale elimination
of contractors or cooperators from the field. We simply believe that the
resource pool has become a bit unbalanced as a result of the failure of the
Agencies to address federal firefighter issues over decades and that has created
an over-reliance on higher-priced non-federal resources.
As I recently explained to someone, the bill may make a difference in a
cooperator making $300,000 off the federal government in a season rather than
$400,000. Yup, costs are that ridiculous. I don't think those costs should be at
the expense of the government's own firefighters especially when federally
appropriated dollars are being used.
As a former Executive Board member for the California Professional Firefighters
I was always awed...and jealous of the negotiating ability of local government
firefighters with respect to pay & benefits. I have nothing but admiration and
respect for their ability to negotiate some of the most lucrative contracts in
the fire business. That being said, at some point in time, especially when the
economy tanks, those negotiated contracts can spell trouble for local government
coffers and ultimately taxpayers.
The same holds true at the federal level. At some point folks have to look at
why the costs of suppression are skyrocketing. Despite the assertions by the
"experts" (those in think tanks etc., who have no fireline practical experience)
that climate and WUI are the only factors leading to increased suppression
costs, we have asserted that it is the fiscal management of the FIRE dollars by
the land management agencies that is the leading cause of increased costs.
The FWFSA's actions, its goals and objectives etc., are crafted by the dues
paying membership. The issues addressed in HR 4488 have not been created in
recent years. They have impacted our Nation's federal wildland firefighters for
The business of advocating any issue before Congress is extremely time consuming
and expensive. Thus our actions are specifically geared to seeking redress on
the issues that affect our dues paying members recognizing clearly that HR 4488
will benefit far more federal land management agency firefighters and personnel
than we have members and will also benefit other federal firefighters such as
those employed by the DoD.
I'm not sure what you would have us do to "embrace" the private sector. Simply
outlining the offsets for how to pay for PTP and offering the obvious...that
non-federal suppression costs can be reduced is not disrespectful and does not
treat the private sector as second class citizens. Further, with all due
respect, you are asking us to do something for the private sector which doesn't
"pay the freight" for the work the FWFSA does on its member's behalf.
Without trying to sound crass, the FWFSA cannot possibly carry everyone's water
on Capitol Hill for free. We struggle everyday to compete for the access to and
support of congress with organizations that are vastly better financed than we
are and who have huge membership bases. It means we have to work longer and
harder to achieve our goals.
If our language specifically indicated that the non-federal cost reductions were
to directly and only target the private sector, then I could understand your
concerns. Some in the private sector have inferred that the section on "Equal
protection under the law" is an effort to eliminate seasonal fire contracts with
private entities. Not the case. We are talking about the prevention of
contracting out the entire federal wildfire operations, not eliminating the
seasonal contracts with private entities.
If I didn't respect the private sector, I would not have paid attention to the
industry's concerns nor try to allay their fears about the bill. I'm truly sorry
you feel that way. Finally, let's not bring this issue down to putting food on
the table. Folks sometimes forget the fact that striving for less fires, less
injuries, less fatalities, less damage and less cost for wildfires is what we
are supposed to be striving for... Last season I even had some our folks
complaining they weren't getting the assignments and thus the OT they were used
to. The efforts of the federal government on behalf of its citizens is not
supposed to be a money-making venture but because of land management agency FIRE
policy, it has become a financial feeding frenzy to the detriment of our federal
firefighters and the taxpayers.
If you are not getting the "bang" for your buck from those that are representing
the private industry, I am truly sorry. But gone are the days of going to
Congress and saying "we're firefighters, give us this or that." We too have to
earn their support and despite the incredible dollars flowing out of Washington,
any bill that changes they status quo or redirects funding from one source to
another has to provide the clarity with how that is to be accomplished.
If Congress wants to retain the status quo with respect to its wildfire
suppression costs and implement reforms for their own firefighters, that's fine
Latest LEO post
Idaho Panhandle NF -
On 11/19/08, a fire contractor was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Rapid
City, SD on two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. The case
involved a scheme to defraud private fire contractors and the government by
forging fire training certificates and task books to obtain higher paying
jobs, including instructor certifications in fire services. In one
instance, the contractor forged the name of an FS employee identified as a
supervisor on a state fire.
On October 27, 2009, the contractor pleaded
guilty to one count of mail fraud in exchange for the dismissal of the other
two counts and future charges relating to the incident. On 2/1, the
contractor was sentenced to serve 10 months in Federal prison with 3 years
supervised release, pay $5,000 restitution to one of his victims and to also
pay for his own incarceration. He was also ordered to receive psychiatric
care. This case was investigated by BLM, OIG and FS personnel including a
Region 1 SA.
||Incident Business in R5:
Ever since Ms. Elliot's arrival in the region, communications to the field
on incident business matters is all but dried up. I wonder who in the regional
office she learned that from?
This is the R-5's second attempt to tell local gov how things will work in
California. Notice the wording from last year about those not in a bargaining
unit do not get portal to portal has been replaced with non-firefighters wont
get portal to portal. Now who was the genius who made that change? An ambulance
chaser lawyer and 2nd year reserve firefighter can figure out a way to drive a
mack truck through that legal language.
We wont accept Randy Moore placing on hold his own portal to portal proposal
that he promised us he would fight for (see partnership notes 2/21) and we
support our LG cooperators as we move into agreement signing season. What if
agreement signing season never arrived this year? What if...............?
We forced two federal agencies to finally realize how much they mismanaged a
floundering AD program. They proved how much they mismanaged the program by
providing across the board 25% raises for our AD's in the middle of the worst
economy in 75 years with record breaking deflation occuring in all business
sectors. After years of mismanagement casuing many AD emergency responders to
leave the program for better paying departments, it hit them like a deer in the
Date: February 23, 2010
Subject: Local Cooperative Fire Agreements and Annual Operating Plans
To: Forest Supervisors
Last March I provided updated policy concerning Region 5 Local Cooperative Fire
Agreements and Annual Operating Plans (AOP). This letter updates that policy and
requires certain action by forests who administer Local Cooperative Fire
Agreements. These updates are necessary to address issues related to the use and
cost of the agreements and to incorporate recent updates to national direction
on cooperative agreements.
Below are the significant changes to both the process and content of the
Agreement/AOP Form - The agreement generator will no longer be used.
Updated national direction requires the use of approved form OMB 0596-0217;
FS-1500-17 for all Cooperative Fire Agreements.
Agreement/AOP Process – Forests are no longer required to post and
maintain current agreements and AOPs on the Agreements File Share
(FTP) site. Completed agreements and AOPs will now be provided to the Province
(or Forest) Grants & Agreements Specialist for proper posting in IWeb. An
electronic copy of completed agreements and AOPs will also be available on the
Region 5 Incident Business website under Cooperative Relations/Agreements. The
site is located at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/management/incident_business_practices
Administrative Rates - An Administrative (or Overhead Assessment) Rate of
10% has been established for local cooperators that opt to charge an
administrative rate on their billings. The option to choose between three
alternatives is eliminated. Only language in the AOP has changed.
Actual Direct Rates - Local cooperators choosing to develop and use
actual rates will no longer be allowed to include costs associated with
retirement, health, life and other benefits that are already covered in the
cooperator’s budget. Language in the agreement and AOP has changed.
Support Personnel – Department support personnel (non-firefighters) will
no longer be reimbursed for portal-to-portal. These resources will be reimbursed
for actual hours worked consisting of straight time and overtime as applicable.
Only language in the AOP has changed.
Attached are the new agreement and AOP forms, and further instructions on how to
use the documents. As with last year’s direction, these documents cannot be
modified without the approval of the R.O. (see instruction sheet). I realize
significant work was done last year to update agreements and AOPs.
Implementation of these new changes will require a similar effort, but is
necessary to ensure compliance with updated direction.
I am aware that some of these changes will involve significant discussions with
your local cooperators, as well as adjustments on their part. In recognition of
this, I will allow forests the option to transition to these new
documents over the next year. Specifically:
· Forests can extend expiring agreements and AOPs for one year. Forests
choosing this option must execute a modification for any expired/expiring
agreement or AOP,
· Forests can implement new agreements and AOPs immediately. In this case,
all expired/expiring AOPs must use the new form. However, since the current
agreement language accommodates the new changes, use of the new agreement
form is not required until the expiration of the existing agreement. All new
agreements must use the new forms.
Furthermore, this year’s review indicated the region administers more than
250 Local Cooperative Fire Agreements. A number of these are solely for the
purpose of mobilizing overhead resources for Incident Management Teams (IMT) or
other incident needs. Local government resources play an important role in the
makeup of IMTs and the management of wildland fires, but the business impact
is significant for those forests maintaining local agreements for these
purposes. To address this issue, the Fire and Aviation staff will analyze and
explore methods, other than Local Cooperative Fire Agreements, for fire
personnel assigned to IMTs or deployed to incidents outside the local area. More
information on this effort will be available over the next few months.
Any questions or clarifications regarding this direction can be addressed to
Willie Thompson, Deputy Director, Fire and Aviation Management or Sheri Elliott,
Regional Incident Business Program Manager.
Again, I understand the work associated with managing the Region’s Local
Cooperative Fire Agreement program is significant. I would like to express my
appreciation for the effort you and your staffs give to maintain these important
/s/ James M. Peña (for)
||HR 4488, the National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement and Cost
Response to Casey Judd's 2/23/10 post
Casey, It is not just the Pacific
Northwest contract community that is concerned that the Bill will impact the
private sector, it is the entire private contractor community from across the
U.S. that is waiting and watching. This appears to be a direct attack on the
future viability of our businesses. Most of the private sector agrees that the
respect that the federal firefighter gets from their own overhead is weak but
why have you taken-on this anti-contractor attitude? The private sector has
proven themselves over and over again, we are a far better value than most state
and county cooperators ( to the Federal Government) and we employ over 5,000
people in any given fire season. Best Value contracting is here and we have
proven-up our value, training and qualifications. Perhaps it is time for the
Federal Fire Agencies to live within their seasonal budgets, to stop raiding
other departments' funding and not rely on the national fire suppression budget
to balance their district budgets. Perhaps the FWFSA would gain more favor with
the private sector if the FWFSA would embrace us, treat us respectfully and not
treat us as second-class citizens. Just like your members, we are just trying to
feed our families.
Rock P. Wood, Operation's Chief for Wood's Fire & Emergency Services
||HR 4488, the National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement and Cost
Hi to all:
Just a reminder that the FWFSA will be heading to DC the week of March 8th in an
effort to secure additional cosponsors for HR 4488, the National Wildfire
Infrastructure Improvement and Cost Containment Act as well as work on a
Senate companion bill.
We have already enlisted the help of a number of staff contacts on Capitol Hill
to get us into see those in leadership positions as well as committee leadership
to which the bill was referred. If you support the bill and our efforts and have
not contacted your elected officials I'd encourage you to do so before we head
back to DC.
For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, regardless of agency, we have tried
as hard as possible to allay the fears of those in that area who operate or work
for private fire organizations who fear our bill will put them out of business.
Further we have worked hard to ensure their congressional representatives that
reducing non-federal suppression costs over the 3 year portal to portal pilot
program will not put their constituents out of work. I think all can agree that
costs can be reduced, especially in the West without significant disruption of
the resource pool now utilized.
FWFSA members can access our staff contact information in our web site's Members
area. General information for contacting congressional offices can be found on
the web site as well under the "links" tab.
Your voice does work. As I've been scheduling meetings, a number of offices in
DC have acknowledged hearing from their constituents on the bill so to those
that have done so, thanks. If you have any questions please feel free to contact
me any time.
||Mike Alexander passed away
You will be missed. Our condolences to family, friends and co-workers.
||Mike Alexander passed away
Medford District BLM and Medford Interagency Dispatch
It is with deep sadness that I am informing you that one of our own, Mike
Alexander, passed away this morning in Redmond while on training. Mike was
a long-time member of the Dispatch team at the Medford Interagency
Coordination Center and held a number of other jobs with BLM during his
career. His warmth, humor, and knowledge will be impossible to replace but
will also be his enduring legacy for all who knew him.
Our thoughts are with Mike’s family in this difficult time.
The District will be providing assistance to employees in a session on
Thursday. Location and time will be forthcoming. For more information
about the session or personal counseling, please contact Julie Wheeler at
(541) 618-2445. Employees may also contact Wellness 2000, our EAP
provider, who can be reached at 1-800-866-8344 toll free or locally at
||Fire Season Start Times:
Thanks for the replies on fire season start
times. FC180 had a nice document he or she shared on the hotlist.
My question was general, not a question about predictions, more historical to
illustrate how fire season varies
across the US and where resources might be needed.
Fireweed, if I did something to offend you, my apologies. My group is looking
at Regions, GACCS and states,
so I asked the way I did and included some info on states so they can understand
the the organization of the
hotlist IA forums. People beginning in fire don't have the experience you do.
It's new & they want to learn about
firefighting everywhere. We're in the western part of Region 8 so we know some
about that and also some about
Region 3. Mostly my group knows about TX and heading back east. TX firefighting
is different than most places.
What firefighters have done on the hotlist thread is talk about typical
historical fire start dates by state where they
live. That has been very helpful. There are posters from FS Regions 8 and 9 and
interagency across the country.
Your perspective brings up other issues. It's clear you have lots of experience.
Sign me: Finding good answers and a few more topics for discussion.
Hotlist t=13091 Thanks folks.
I have to disagree with Now one too and Strive for 205 on the issue of
drive cams. Drive cams could be used as a great lessons learned tool if they
can be made to survive a burnover. Besides, the engine I run belongs to Uncle
Sam and the owner of the engine can do whatever he wants to it. Now, when they
want to put one on my private vehicle, I would agree that it would be an
invasion of privacy, but not on a government owned vehicle.
On a side note, there are a whole lot of apps for smart phones that allow
someone to track the phone on a map from a home computer. I have tried to get
this technology to be used on my Forest, but no one is interested. Many feel
that it is an invasion of privacy. I have a problem with that argument since
the phones I wanted to track were assigned to the engines. I predict that in a
few years, this tech will be used on fire to track resources.
||Fire Season Start Times:
In reply to "Looking for answers".
As far as fire season start dates across the nation: too soon to tell. I can
tell you that your regions are a little out of wack. Assuming you are talking
about USFS regions and not NPS regions. Of course the BLM breaks down by states.
You are mixing USFS regions and GACCs. Some regions have two GACCS (EGBCC and
WGBCC for R-4). Why NV needs its own GACC for cheat grass is a whole other
question that has gone unanswered. But I digress. There is no Region 7 and
Region 5 has two GACCs also. Region 10 of the USFS (Alaska) has never had a
wildfire bigger than a couple of acres in recent history. Alaska BLM (AFS) has
many large fires but has two GACCs (SLIC, AICC) for one state. Sort of. But not
really. You left out the one region, R-8 that probably will show the first sign
of a fire season. But who knows.
Hope that answers your question regarding fire start dates in the regions.
||GIS for Fire Station Locations and Response Protocol
Chief Bill Teie's latest book, Leadership for the Wildland Fire Officer, goes to
the publisher tomorrow (today). It is every bit as good, and in some
areas better, than his popular
Firefighter’s Handbook on Wildland Firefighting. Although, the most recent
2008 NFPA Fire Protection Handbook has an entire chapter dedicated to GIS for
Fire Station Locations and Response Protocol, this is the first wildland
fire textbook to recognize the value of GIS to enhance situational awareness on
the fireline. See
The book may be purchased through the Deer Valley Press link at the bottom of
I added this post to the
GIS History page. Ab.
||This report - Aviation Management Efficiency Assessment Report - was put out
in July 2008.
Has anyone seen an update to it?
av_mgmt_efficiency_assessment_report (1402 K pdf file)
||Some new logos posted on
Logos 17. Thanks contributors. Ab.
||R5 Safety Message:
Watchout for Gates Improperly Opened: Most of us have to drive through
access gates at some point of our driving careers. We have had numerous
incidents with gates swinging in the wind and hitting vehicles. This guy caught
a gate that was probably hidden by the tree line as he rounded the corner. Share
the following pictures with your personnel. Look at all four pictures to see how
lucky this guy really was. (He was inches away from talking in a really high
Can we say profiling? Is there a drive cam in Randy Moore's
vehicle? Is there a cam in Obama's
secret service vehicle? No an No. Why is it allowed to profile FS employees in
R5? This is profiling
at its best. The Government thinks that FS R5 employees need a special eye to
keep them in check.
This is profiling.
I believe that this is unconstitutional and illegal. Be warned R5 regional
office, a class action suit may
be in the near future.
Now One Too
You have got to be kidding me. How much is this little program going to cost us,
and why aren't we
putting these in the vehicles of R.O. personel? To me this is just another waste
of time and money
when budgets are being cut. How about office cams? And who were the people that
doing the wrong things while driving? Do we really want these people driving if
they got caught while
they knew they were being recorded? Lets start doing things to improve morale
and quit wasting money for these drive cams. But then again I am sure we can find a GS-11 STEP to
evaluate the videos.
Strive for 205
||Big Meadow Escaped Rx burn:
For Burn Boss Refreshers:
Big Meadow Rx Fire Escape Review (Yosemite NP)
||EM sent in some new fire photos from last season. I put them on
Fire 43 and
Fire 44 and
Handcrews 27 photo pages. Thanks, pretty spectacular. Ab.
Here's the message he sent:
Ab, Here are a couple more photos for the wall from last season.
First set of 3: These pictures are all of the Rainbow fire on the Umpqua NF
in 2009. This fire started right next to the Boze Fire also on the Umpqua.
Second set of 3: First pic is of the Tumblebug Complex on the Willamette NF
taken on the day Boze, and Rainbow on the Umpqua were doing the same. The second
closer column is Rainbow on the Umpqua NF about 8 hours after it started. The
last is a picture of my crew (Wolf Creek IHC) burning out on the Boze fire
(Umpqua NF) utilizing the Tactical tenders for support.
||2010 Firefighter Retention Allowance and other issues:
N.F.F.E. AND U.S. FOREST SERVICE (doc)
Hey Boat Guy and others…
Although it looks like Boat Guy’s problems have been solved (awesome!), this is
a problem that many people encounter. Here’s a semi-quick synopsis on how to set
yourself up to succeed after updating your Profile:
Understanding How Your Profile Works: For most Forest Service applicants, I
recommend completing all updates in the Profile section of your Avue account (as
opposed to within an application itself). This gives you a solid,
straightforward foundation to work from.
The content of your Profile will be automatically transferred into any NEW
application that you start. That’s why it is a good idea to have your Profile
completely polished before starting new applications. However, if (after you
update your Profile) you would like to make sure that your existing applications
reflect the updated content, you will have to go into each application and
manually update many of the sections (i.e. Work History, Additional Information,
Supporting Documents, etc.).
In other words, just because you updated your Profile doesn’t mean that it
automatically updates your existing applications at the same time (exception:
some limited information, such as your personal contact information, does
automatically transfer to all applications).
The Trick to Updating Completed Applications: When you go into an existing
‘Completed’ application to manually update it with the new content from your
Profile, for example to update your Work History section, there should be a
link/button near the bottom of the page that says, “Update From Personal
Profile.” It is different from the text, “Update Personal Profile,” which has a
square checkbox by it (checked by default).
If the “Update From Personal Profile” link/button isn’t there, simply go back
out to the Home page and then back into the application. When you return to the
Work History section, that button will be there. Then, when you click on it,
it’ll transfer the updated Work History from your Profile into that application.
You must go through those steps with every ‘Completed’ application that you have
going (existing ‘Incomplete’ applications will have the “Update From Personal
Profile” button/link already in place).
If, by mistake, you hit the ‘Save and Continue’ button before finding/clicking
the “Update From Personal Profile” button (and if you forget to de-select the
checkbox next to “Update Personal Profile”) you will essentially wipe out your
recent updates in your Profile with your old content. This is really easy to
do…unfortunately -- partially because "Update From Personal Profile" and "Update
Personal Profile" look so similar. When I work on my client’s applications, I
de-select that checkbox prior to hitting the “Save and Continue” button *every
time* to avoid any mistakes.
Backing Up Your Work: Finally, to reaffirm what others have said, I also highly
recommend creating and saving your content on your computer (outside of any of
the automated systems) so that you have a backup copy to work with if something
I hope this helps people avoid the cost of ammunition and/or paranormal
specialists. I wish everyone the best of luck this hiring season!
Bethany E. Loomis-Hannah, owner
Wildland Fire Careers & Loomis Hannah Wordsmithing
WildlandFireCareers.com | 1.866.414.1447 (tollfree) | 1.866.686.5484 (fax)
Big big thanks to all the responses, while general, and somewhat obvious
answers, (no offense intended to anyone) i actually got a great big HELLO from
the web site itself. I came home tonight (sat) and received a "blocked call" on
my cell phone. while i do not normally answer these, call it firefighter
intuition if you will, I answered it and LOW AND BEHOLD!! It was a person
calling regarding my issue. Now here is where you pay real close attn...... If
you are trying to update an application THAT YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR IN THE PAST
IE: OPEN CONTINUOUS ETC....or for ANY job you have applied for and are just
trying to update and fail to UNCHECK the update profile box (very small
print right above save and continue or cancel) ON ANY GIVEN PAGE , very small
and easy to miss (i thought it meant it would update info TO APP.. FROM
PROFILE.. WHEN IT DOES THE EXACT OPPOSITE!!!!!), it will not only erase all
the info you worked so hard to put in.... but also make you want to shoot
your computer hahahahahahaha.
HUUGGEEEE THANKS!!!!! to Brenda Bird @ the Avue tech help line. Not
only did she take the time to look at my issue and send me an email but she
thought to give me a call and make sure i was ALL GOOD TO GO!!! (and here i was
bashing the site.. maybe need to bite my tongue.. lol) Little last tidbit for
you all. IF you are experiencing problems you can also call 18004070147 8 am to
8 pm EST (i did not know this) AGAIN this person (maybe i got lucky and got a
good one) was EXTREMELY HELPFUL and spent about a half an hour helping me with
my issue. Thanks again,,, Brenda Bird!!! And all you out there in They Said land
THE "woo hoo!! got my AVUE problems fixed so who knows what will happen to my
Are you spending lots of time working on the text in the
window...maybe the page is timing out before you click
Save and Continue, and that's why the info is not being updated. Perhaps you
should try perfecting the text in a
notepad or Word and then copy and pasting to AVUE.
Since you asked me by name, I would strongly suggest that whenever you do any
type of work creating or updating
online applications you make sure you copy and paste that information somewhere
in a document that you keep as
a back-up. The worst feeling in the cyber world is doing a bunch of work and
having it accidentally end up going
down the cyber toilet. If the information is backed-up, you can copy and paste
it back into you application.
I would disagree with Pyro in that you should go big or go home. Look at a 45-70
or 12 gauge slug for the maximum
satisfaction in tech destruction.
Make sure your tabs or pages are refreshed when you enter info or check for
updates. (Using the back button on
your browser causes problems.)
Just use your text editor to compose and spell check, then paste it online. That
way you have a record and if you
have to redo it, it's just a copy and paste operation.
If it's the machine causing problems, call a professional and have it exorcized,
you have a ghost in there somewhere!
If you're using anything less than .30 cal, I've found the 55-grain .223 BTHP to
be pleasingly effective on
malfunctioning computers, both desk- and lap-top.
Some computer-drivers prefer the lighter grain wieght SP's or AP's , but I find
that they simply produce a
"laser puncture" effect without producing the desired result.
Of course, from .30 up, just about anything works well...
Best of luck; remember to use solid impact berm, and please police your target
Anyone who knows!!
So after spending multiple hours updating and checking my profile for errors on
AVUE i go to update the jobs i have applied for only to find that my work
history WAS NOT UPDATED!!! and most corrections were not updated
earlier......Assuming i did not click the save and continue button on certain
said pages i went back and spent MORE HOURS (MY OWN TIME ON DAY OFF, NOT IN THE
OFFICE) updating my profile by updating ONE work history at a time then clicking
save and continue.... seemed to work and was able to update only one "jobs i
have applied for". assuming the problem was fixed i then proceeded to try to
update the other three only to find that all previous info was reverted back to
original profile???? WTF???? not only was this very time consuming but also very
frustrating... at least ONE of the jobs i really wanted has the updated info.
Anyone know whats going on?? Hannah any input?? I have sent an Email to the help
desk guy firstname.lastname@example.org do not know if i should even expect a response from
who knows who!!! i am so ready to just use my computer for target practice
SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
The "got my clothes on cause it's winter and cold" Boat Guy haha :)
||Take care of Brother Hoisington:
Just making sure you were aware of this, and he gets the care and support
Forest employee burned in planned fire
By BARBARA ARRIGONI-Staff Writer
Posted: 02/19/2010 12:06:01 AM PST
FORBESTOWN — A Plumas National Forest employee was burned Thursday during
a "subscribed fire" at Sunset Hill, near Forbestown.
Plumas Forest spokeswoman Lee Ann Schramel Taylor said Craig Hoisington
sustained second-degree burns on his leg. She said the injury was not
considered life-threatening and his condition was stable. He was flown by
helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento as a precaution, she
The accident was at about 1:15 p.m. at a fire that was part of a hazardous
fuels reduction associated with the Slapjack Forest Restoration Project
underway near Sunset Hill.
The area is rugged foothill terrain southeast of Lake Oroville, about 1.4
air miles west of Forbestown near the Butte-Yuba county lines.
Taylor said it wasn't known how Hoisington was hurt. No one else was
Hoisington is an employee at the Feather River Ranger District in Oroville.
||Sorry if this was already posted, but does anyone know where I might find
schedule/time line for R5 fire hires?
||Here’s my tailgate on this coming fire season….ask me when it’s over.
Haw Haw Haw. Ab.
||OK, here's my tailgate analysis of the upcoming fire season:
One moist winter won't erase years of drought-stress, beetle-kill and so forth.
If (read when for some locations) things dry out, the potential will be there
for many years to come.
I've worked fires in several western regions that had lots of precip over the
winter, then dried out in the spring leading to significant fires. Except for
the higher elevation where the snow pack will keep moisture in the timber longer
than usual, what happens between now and summer might be the better indicator.
Even then, I've seen prognosticators take any weather to make bad fire season
predictions. In California, it always seems like a dry winter leads to a bad
fire season outlook while a wet winter and spring also leads to dire predictions
due to the fine fuel loads. "Just wait till they cure out." And when a
California fire season stays slow into late summer, someone will remind you that
the siege of '87 didn't start until around Labor Day, so "just wait." Even so,
in SoCal, Santa Anas streaming over fuels that have sat dry all summer will
burn, and burn hot.
Spring fire season in the the east will likely be limited by the wet winter, but
ice storms and heavy snow loads in areas that don't normally see them will
likely add considerable fuel loads from dead and down branches and trees. That
could lead to a heavier fall season if the weather dries out in the late summer
and early fall as it often does in the south. Some parts of Florida have stayed
dry, so a spotty spring season is possible there.
Will this be a 7-million acre fire season? Not likely, but you still need to go
and work out today.
Still Out There as an AD
If you have time you may want to look at what the Federal land mgt. agencies
will be getting soon:
session from the Federal Users Conference in Washington D.C
This link has the entire plenary session from the Federal Users Conference in
Washington D.C. It
contains segments of Jack’s vision and the new enhancements in the next release
of ArcGIS. The
“What’s New” video has several wildfire and SAR examples using the Yosemite
We’re excited and hope more firefighters will want to use the “Geographic
ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist
||Mikef offered to keep us updated on the hotlist when Australia had extreme
pyroconvection, He posted the following this morning:
Looks like some extreme
pyroconvection going on in southern Western Australia today.
Here's a MODIS shot:
||Looking for some answers...
At our recent SW IMT meetings we were told that El Nino is now weakening
but has caused a delay in fire season. In the last 3 years we've had fires
as early as Jan 1, and well into it by Feb. This year...no way. We are
hearing that it will be April drying and May being the earliest that fire
season will start here in the desert. June until it gets significantly
active. They are saying we could see little to no fire season in the
timber. So the outlook is a late start, a grass/brush fire season, late
starting monsoon season.
What we are seeing on the ground pretty much confirms that. We are worried
about our Rx fires due to the potential of green-up. Hope that helps.
||Got a question in training the other day about fire season start times
across the US:
I saw a list once upon a time telling when fire season starts
for the other regions than R5 (CA)? We all know socal is usually
When does fire season pick up in Region 3 (AZ, NM, west TX), soon if not
already? (for those new folks that don't know regions:
Is R8's season (deciduous trees) over with all the green-up of veg? or maybe
with the freezin temps in east TX and across the South there's no chance of
wildland fire. Eastern Area (R9) is still in a deep freeze... as is AK (R10)
- WGB (NV: R7)?
- EGB (ID, UT: R4)?
- Rocky Mountain Region (WY, CO, SD, NB, KS: R2)?
- Northern Rockies (northern ID panhandle, MT, ND: R1)?
- Pacific Northwest (WA, OR: R6)?
Typically there's a California Fire Season
Outlook that I get sometime in Feb. Haven't seen it yet. Is that out?
Do other regions have a similar Outlook docs?
Thanks for any info or outlook docs.
I told the guys/gals to check the Hotlist IA categories. Different regions
have different styles and agreements in place among cooperators.
I like good questions even if I don't always have answers--- like regional
fire season start times..
Sign me: Looking for some answers...
Hotlist for IA by regions. Ab.
||Good dialog on the
Hotlist about the Esperanza Report Analysis. Ab.
I was a founding member of the Ojai Hotshot Crew in 1974. Bob Burnett was the
first supt. Terry Raley and John Szlay
were the crew foremen. Richard Power, Desmond Warren and myself were squad
bosses. At the end of 1975, I received
a 13 & 13 appointment and went to the Cleveland NF. Worked with Terry Raley
again and Lew Yazzie on the ANF at
Tanbark Air Attack 1978 &79.
I also worked last half of 1971 fire season on
ANF Oak Grove HS, with Chet Cash, 1972 ANF Chilao HS with Dick
O'Conner and Don Lopez. I retired last year from a small department here on the
central coast of Calif. Hard to believe
how fast 30 some years can fly by.
Love the site, mostly been a lurker for years.
Welcome Wrongway. Thanks for sharing the hotshot history info. Time does
fly... Seems it flies faster the older you get. Ab.
||various topics -- cutting of Sierraville RD Crew 6; 10/13 or 18; Jennifer
Ziegler's paper on the 13/18 watchouts development; Special note on Brad
It is my understanding that Crew 6 had become a Fire Use Mod sometime over the
last couple of years. Before that they were a fuels crew dedicated to fuels work
on the Sierraville R.D. They were supported by the use of QLG money on the
district. It has been my understanding and may be completely wrong, but it is
the information that I have been hearing. That crew has been on the chopping
block for several years, because someone at the top of the food chain had taken
exception to them. It was only the willingness of the now retired D.R. and
retired AFFMO to go toe to toe with the folks in the S.O. that kept this crew
alive. It seems that with the reduction in QLG money and a general decrease in
Fuels dollars and some recent retirements that the folks at the S.O. took
advantage of the situation to eliminate the crew. I do not believe it was the
Forest Supervisor. He has delegated all personnel matter to the Deputy Forest
Supervisor. I've met the Forest Supervisor and he is a good guy and leader. He
has a history of sound decisions. The problem is that he made a decision based
on the information he was given from below. Decisions made are only as good as
the information you have from the ground.
To all that have contributed! Thanks again! It is all great stuff. I know it may
be a bit to ask from some folks that come from a generation that is not really
tech savvy, but if at all possible. Could I get scanned copies of some of the
older stuff that is in short supply? The old stuff from pre-80's stuff. They are
excellent legacy documents that are quickly disappearing. Maybe the ABs would be
willing to post them on the site for all to see and read. I feel it is important
to study and understand history, because if not we are doomed to repeat it.
It is good stuff! Good Stuff! Appreciate the work you did. Liked the paper! I
actually understood all of it which is rare for me.
Any of you that have not seen Brad Mayhew's presentation. My advice would be to
see if you can get him scheduled for a Forest refresher or just as a
extra-special training. He is passionate about the stuff he brings to the table.
I think we need to support what he has going more than we currently do. It is
some next level thinking that should be employed by all field going folks. Any
one that has gone to his presentation knows he has full buy in to what he is
brining to the table. Either that or he has had way to much coffee that morning.
We're working on getting some of the info from the Old Guy who offered his
documents following his post.
Don't know about the rest of the docs others mention.
If you don't know who Brad is, he won the Gleason Lead by Example Award
for initiative and innovation in developing the Fireline Factors Curriculum,
||Esperanza Analysis Report:
AMEN to both MW and Royal`s comments on the
effort of the BDF captains to set the record straight.
They showed real courage. Makes one wonder about the veracity of some past
Speaking of which, what ever happened to the final report on the Div. Sup. from
Washington State local
gov. fire dept. who was killed in the Panther Fire burn over on the Shasta
Trinity in 2008?
Battalion 1212 ret.
I am looking for a little info on engine typing. Now, I may have missed a memo
somewhere along the way so
I might be speaking out of school here. In October 2007 there was a memo issued
from NWCG stating that
they had come up with revised standards for engine and tender typing. They also
stated that the new standards
would be included in the new reference materials coming out this year. So, I got
my new orange covered
IRPG today and to my surprise, the engine typing standards seem to be unchanged
from years past. They also
do not correspond with the FEMA standards (no big surprise there).
So, does anyone know what the current NWCG engine typing standards actually are?
If so, is there written
guidance somewhere on the issue?
Confused in R2
NWCG Engine Typing '08
||Esperanza Analysis Report:
Thank you for printing the Esperanza Report Analysis and the Seltzner
perspective. It's downright criminal that
these eyewitness accounts were not included in the original report. I join MW in
applauding the courage of Fire
Captains Gearhart, Fogle, Dinkle and Espinoza for speaking up.
I have worked in and been affiliated with wildland fire suppression for almost
50 years and it has always been
the practice of the various Agencies to blame the victims for the tragedy. I
suppose the Agencies feel that by
publishing Guidelines like the 10 and 18 and various directives they can absolve
them selves from liability or
Its time for all involved to recognize that fire fighting is a dangerous
profession. The men and women on the
firelines are called upon to make decisions with very little information, often
at night or when they are sleep
deprived, in unfamiliar country in a dynamic environment..
They make those decisions to the best of their ability based on experience and
training, but sometimes things
just go wrong.
Its time for the Wildland Fire Service to stop vilifying its employees and start
honoring its Fallen Heroes.
Royal Burnett aka viejo
||Esperanza Analysis Report:
I just now read the analysis report and would like to make a comment about
the assumption within the analysis report that the flank of a fire is somehowa safer place to attack the fire than the head of the fire. On Page 4 of
that analysis I have added my remarks on my copy.
Quote from the analysis report:
More importantly using the verbiage "main" implies that this was the Head or
portion of the fire. This is not correct, the initial run that crossed over
as well as the two subsequent runs were Flanking runs
**(In alignment runs) not Head runs.
Engines 57 and 52 were positioned along the South Flank of the Esperanza
Fire not the
Head. The head of the fire was north/west of Wonderiew Road and
approximately ½ - ¾
of a mile down canyon (north and west) of 15400 Gorgonio View Road (Octagon
Doug Campbell's remarks:
**(The head of a fire is a general description of
the fire as a whole. Any part of a fire can
reach a trigger point where a run can occur. Whether the head, flank or heel of
the fire is
safer because of the designation, head, flank or heel is not valid. Where the
intensity and becomes dangerous is not dependent on whether it is part of the
head or not.)
The old teaching that cautions firefighters not to take certain actions on the
fire's head looses
site of the fact that when the ground between your position and the fire is
“In Alignment” to support a hot run, you could be in a dangerous location.
I applaud the effort made in the analysis report and
I hesitate to make this comment, but thinking that tactical actions can be
safer on any
point of the fire could lead to safety problems.
The South Canyon fire was a backing flank of the fire that relocated to
a hot aspect and then the wind caught it and the position of the
people caught in the path became endangered. They were taking
action on the flank of the fire.
How about the Loop fire and the Cramer, Tuolumne, Calabasas where
things are similar?
What folks need to do is to identify
when and where any part of the fire can relocate to a position on the
fire-ground where it
could host a significant variation in fire behavior. One needs to act on that
the fire changes and causes a use of an escape route and safety area use.
CPS teaches how to
identify trigger points of fire behavior change, trigger points for tactical
tracks the fire will take on the predicted run and fire signature evaluation to
the probable intensity based on prior observations of like terrain and fire
In the name of safe practices,
||Questions about wildland firefighter career following military service:
My recommendation if you want to get your foot in the door with the feds would
be to look in Region 8 of the Forest Service.
Region 8 (green) covers the south eastern part of the US from Virginia south
to Florida and west to Texas . They hire dozer operators on a WG (Wage Grade)
basis as opposed to a GS (General Schedule) pay scale. The WG scale in some
cases makes more than a GS with a even amount of overtime. Pick a state you
might be interested in working in and look up the national forest information on
the web. Find the directory of ranger districts and call them. Ask to speak to
the FMO (Fire Management Officer) or AFMO (Assistant FMO) tell them about your
service and skills with heavy equipment. As a dozer operator in R8 you would not
just be limited to running the dozer on fires but on projects as well. Most of
your time would be spent pushing line for prescribed fire which is great
practice for the real thing. All of your training will be provided by the agency
and a large part of it will be hands on. You will need a CDL for this job. It
would be a bonus to have it before applying but you could get it on the job.
Being the district dozer operator on a unit with a large RX program would be one
of the most exciting careers in the USFS. I have many times wished I had taken
that path, but I chose the hotshot route and pounded the line out with a
pulaski. Believe me it's much easier from the climate controlled cab of a
JD-550H. Good Luck and thank you for your service.
||Questions about wildland firefighter career following military service:
I agree with TNF that you might want to try a seasonal position first before you
apply for a permanent position. As a temporary seasonal you will not be turned
down for a job with the Forest Service unless a justification letter is written
and submitted to OPM with reasons why you were passed over. If you do decide to
apply for a permanent position you will still have Veterans preference if you
meet the criteria for the 5 or 10 point status.. Most entry level or apprentice
position only require general work experience which you will have by being in
the military, and a 21E MOS will give you some specialized experience also. I am
a Vet that took a temporary and have been a permanent for a number of years. If
you have any questions feel free to send me an e-mail. I am currently deployed
to Afghanistan so I wont be answering any phone calls.
Still dodging bullets in Kunar
Thanks for being on the pointy end of the stick for us, Dodging Bullets.
We look forward to you making it home safely. Ab.
To Captains Richard Gearhart, Chris Fogle, Anna Dinkel, and Freddie
Thank you for sharing your perspectives on the Esperanza Fire investigation
report. I applaud the courage it
took to publicly challenge portions of the official report. I doubt your
individual decisions to participate in this
exercise were reached without considerable discussion and anguish. The Forest
Service should give each of
you an award for your collective example of leadership of the finest kind.
Unfortunately, based on the USFS's
recent track record, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the checks to arrive.
||History of 13 watchouts:
I have found it interesting and have been following the posts on the 10 Standard
Firefighting Orders, the 13/18
Situations that shout watch out and info on old manuals and publications. I
started digging thru old stuff my wife
says should have been thrown out 30 years ago and came up with the following:
(Make that 40 years)
Oct. 1939 Fire Control Notes. Interesting to see critiques of some fires -
1940 Fire Control Handbook, Part III, Region 5. What is interesting here is many
examples of potential fires
and by looking at their aerial photos with what I guess are 3D glasses, the best
and safest places for control
lines and suppression actions are explained.
1955 Fireman's Guide, California Region. I could not find mention of the FF
Orders or Watch Out Situations.
1957 Fire Control Notebook. Has 'graphs' to predict fire spread, line
construction, etc. No mention of FF
Orders or Watch Out Situations.
1960 Fire Line Notebook. First page does have the 10 orders and 13 watch out
situations. Has job descriptions
and graphs as above.
1968 Firefighter's Handbook. Pacific Southwest Region. Seems to be an updated,
pocket size Fireman's Guide
and does mention the 10 Standard orders, but I could not find the Watch Out
Situations. The may be there and
I didn't see them. If they are in the 1960 book one would think they are some
place in the '68 one also.
||Questions about wildland firefighter career following military service:
"If you separate from the military honorably, you automatically qualify
for a government job
with the Forest Service under the Demonstration Project...".
Veterans preference does not automatically qualify anyone for jobs. Basic and
specialized experience must still
be met to qualify.
In addition, the above statement is partially incorrect. For an honorably
discharged veteran to receive either a 5 pt.
or 10 pt. veterans preference, they
must meet the following conditions of service:
5 Point Preference
1. 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred during the period
beginning September 11, 2001
and ending on a future date prescribed by
Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi
2. Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
3. 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31,
1955 and before October 15,
4. In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been
authorized or between April 28, 1952
and July 1, 1955.
10 Point Preference
1. have a service connected disability, OR
2. received a Purple Heart.
Veterans' preference can be confusing. The law we follow in Federal civilian
employment can be found in title 5,
United States Code, Section 2108 ( 5 USC
2108). Not all veterans are considered veterans for the purpose of
civilian employment, and not all active duty service is qualifying for veterans' preference.
||Questions about wildland firefighter career following military service:
If you separate from the military honorably, you automatically
qualify for a government job with the Forest Service
under the Demonstration Project, better known as DEMO jobs, with most of the job
announcements ending in "DP",
you would have first dibs on these jobs if you meet minimum qualifications,
(which isn't much). You may also apply
under the merit promotion jobs if you meet certain criteria (I don't work in HR
so I don't know the criteria).
However it would behoove you to find a seasonal position first and find out
if you like the work. I have seen more
people quit than tough it out, including Vets. No disrespect intended by that. I
would rather fight fire than dodge bullets
and I have much respect for those of you that put your lives on the line for our
So if you think a life of traveling around the country chasing fires is for
you the door is wide open. There are links on
"they said" for these jobs or contact Hanna Loomis, she has a Business that
specializes in helping folks apply for these
job (also has a link on this site). Good luck and Thank you for your service to
||I added these links - that clarify and correct the Esperanza
Investigation Report- to the list (under Esperanza) on the
Documents Worth Reading page of
the Archives. For comparison, the
Esperanza Investigation Report (in
manageable, down-loadable pieces) is located on the CAL FIRE website. Ab.
ESPERANZA FACTUAL REPORT ANALYSIS (92 K doc file)
September 10, 2007
Report from firefighters on the ground.
Perspective (28 K doc file)
||A Forest Supervisor letter below. See 4th paragraph. The Forest Supervisor
is apparently cutting a handcrew due to budget.
Is the region going to transfer the funds for that handcrew over to another
forest so they can develop the crew and not lose capability? Is the region going
to report this capability reduction to the WO? Or did the Tahoe add a different
resource to offset the loss in capability?
An air base here, an engine there and a handcrew other there and before you know
it we will find ourselves with circa 1999 capabilities. If you do this
throughout R-5, before you know it you lose much capability.
Date: February 12, 2010
Subject: Change in Tahoe National Forest Eastside Fire Organization Structure
To: Forest Leadership Team
Effective February 14, 2010, the Tahoe National Forest Eastzone Fire
organization, which is currently all assigned under the Sierraville District
Ranger, will be divided into Truckee RD and Sierraville RD organizations. There
will continue to be one Eastzone Fire Management Officer position which will
report directly to the Sierraville DR. Both Rangers will be responsible for
coordinating the work assignments, performance appraisals, and the schedule of
the Eastzone FMO.
The positions in the Eastzone Fire organization currently assigned to Truckee
Ranger District locations will have their organization code changed to reflect
working for Truckee District Ranger Joanne Roubique. No other personnel actions
should need to be done.
The Truckee and Sierraville District Rangers are currently working with the
Eastzone FMO and Battalion Chiefs to develop operating guidelines for continuing
to share Eastzone Fire resources for prescribed fire, Multiple Incident Response
Guide (MIRG), initial attack, duty officer and target accomplishment situations.
Constant communication between the Rangers, SO Fire staff members, the District
FMO and the Battalion Chiefs is crucial to the success of this organization
An additional organizational change which has taken place within the Eastzone
Fire group is the abolishment of Sierraville Crew 6 due to budget shortfalls.
The incumbent Crew Leader and Assistant Crew Leader will be officially
reassigned to existing vacant Fire positions at the same location.
I appreciate the willingness of the Eastzone Rangers and Fire employees to make
this transition as smooth as possible for all involved.
/s/ Judie L. Tartaglia
||Questions about wildland firefighter career following military service:
I came across this site while doing some searches and was hoping that you
would be able to offer some assistance or recommendations. I graduated high
school in 2004, went to a Technical College for two years and received an
Associates Degree for Building Construction Technology. Upon graduation I
enlisted in the military and have been on active duty since with my main job
being as a Heavy Equipment Operator. In July 2010 I will honorably separate from
the military and I have been considering getting into a firefighting career, in
particular wildland firefighting. My questions to you are what steps or
direction would you take to get started in this career? I have read that Heavy
Equipment is actually used a lot for building fire lines, do you know how one
would go about looking into this type of career? I have no prior training in
firefighting or any type of forestry training. Do stations offer any type of on
job training or training once you are hired, or must you get hired on with prior
training? I am originally from Pennsylvania but would love to move out west to
the Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming mid-west region and think this would be a great
career and experience. Thank you for your time and any help or suggestions you
Thanks for the offer but I plan to pass it on to my son. I also have a 1957 Fire
Control Notebook that has the
Mod. 48 computer but plan to do the same with it. I got them both from my
father-in-law who went to work
for the FS after returning from WW II.
An Antique Road Show surprise value some years from now? Ab.
||Historical Documents relating to wildland firefighting
I’ll give you 100 bucks for the 1949 California Region Notebook, with
accompanying Model 48 Wheel.
Whaddaya say ?
Do I hear $125? Ab.
||USFS Region 5
Model 48 Computer aka Whiz Wheel:
I have a 1949 California Region, Fire Control Notebook. It has a Mod. 48
Computer inset in a pocket inside the
cover. On page 4 of the notebook, it states: "Values given in the computer were
derived from those included in the
Region 5 'Fire Control Handbook', Part III, 1940. There are no dates on the
supplements. Hope this helps your
||History of the origin of the 13 Situations that Shout Watchout:
In 2008, I
had provided Jennifer Zieglier with some of the earliest references related to
the origin of the 13
that I was aware of, notably:
- Gaylor (1974)
- Wilson and Sorenson (1978)
- Mobeley and others (1979)
- Chandler and others (1983)
The Gaylor (1974) reference was the earliest published account (formal anyway)
that I had seen on the 13
until I dug up my copy of the 1971 USFS Fireline Notebook last fall. Gaylor
gives no particular source for
the 13 other than his "Suggested Readings" list the USFS 1970 Fireman's Handbook
and Regions 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, and 6 Fire Fighting Overhead Notebooks, 1960 to 1972.
A copy of all the these items are attached for everyones' info. All of this is
alexander13 watchouts (pdf)
||History of the origin of the 13 Situations that Shout Watchout:
Thanks! Lots of good information! I feel the history behind it is important and
would love to
add this in to our Refresher this year.
Thanks to all,
P.S. If there is more information please feel free to keep it coming! It is all
for the good of the order.
||Re Ragnar Race location:
Ab and all,
The Ragnar Race you posted about that Dalton HS are running in starts in Santa
Barbara and ends in
Dana Point - 177 mile relay. Here is the direct link to the Los Angeles bases
Good enough. Ab.
||Firefighting Community and Friends,
One of our Firefighters, Tyler, has been fighting cancer for the last year.
Tyler has been a firefighter for over a decade and has worked for Santa Barbara
County Fire for the last eight years. Tyler is still being treated after two
dangerous surgeries and has gone through a devastating period in his life and is
not out of the woods yet. Tyler’s girlfriend Amber has stuck by him through his
ordeal and they recently became engaged.
Tyler and Amber have entered a Dream Wedding giveaway competition to win a
fabulous free wedding. How fantastic would it be to help one of our own and a
very special couple have a dream wedding after all they have been through. All
you have to do is vote! Please pass this along to your friends if you wish.
Please click on the link below and help them have an unforgettable bright moment
in their difficult lives. Place your cursor over the pictures to see the names
of Tyler and Amber.
Thank you for your help!!
Interesting DB. Why not... it's free. I voted. They currently have 39% of the
vote with no one else close. Ab.
Updated 2/13: Voting is closed.
Updates on the
||Re Ragnar Relay fundraiser
Dalton Hotshots are competing in the 180 mile Ragnar Relay So. CAL on April
23rd and 24th. Dalton Hotshots
are competing in this race for the second year in a row. This year, Dalton is
competing in honor of the Wildland
We need to get the information out there so Pass It On!
WFF and the Ragnar Race director are working on a partnership so more will
That starts in the Santa Barbara area. I posted it on the Hotlist Calendar,
scroll down to the
of the page. Ab.
||Re: Hang Tree safety advisory
There's a huge disconnect between the new Safety Advisory and the Freeman
Reservoir Fatality factual report.
The Freeman Reservoir fatality involved a hung up tree.
The second sentence in the Safety Advisory is: "[A hang-up tree] presents one of
the most difficult and
dangerous felling operations you will face when performing chain saw
The first finding of the Freeman Reservoir report complacently starts out: "The
unplanned fracture of the tree
trunk during routine felling operations...." (emphasis added)
"Routine" does not properly describe the tree
||No Name Fire,
I have to go with Captain 64 on this. There is sound reasoning why the agency
has spent so much time observing,
studying, and gleaning leadership techniques, concepts, tools and tricks from
the military since 1994.
Leadership is leadership. At this point, he either has it or does not. My guess
is he does. He may struggle with
management issues (purchasing, records management, paperclip accounting rules,
etc…). If he is a solid military
leader he will find those people who are willing to educate his ignorance’s, and
help him solve those problems
with which he has a limited background. Try and be one of those people. If he is
solid, he will give back far more
than he takes from the relationship. You may also have the unique opportunity to
find out what traits, skills, and
abilities the “higher-ups” saw in a 2-year PIO. Sounds like a great opportunity
to get some expensive leadership
lessons for free. Take advantage, and let me know how it turns out.
||No Name Fire.
No need to watch out...at least not any more than usual anywhere, including on the Six Rivers. I
echo the surprise at the bizarre twist. Who would have thought that we (maybe
not you but the FS, a line officer, ANYONE) would actually realize that someone
who hasn't been FS for years could have the traits to lead a district? Well
let's talk about leadership. This man has learned about leadership at the sharp
end of the stick. Where did the guys from MCS learn about leadership? Where did
the folks at NOLS learn about leadership? From the FS? No, it's the other way
around. I will follow this man anywhere, even into a fire. While he doesn't have
the fire fighting experience he does know how to get his crew out alive. I can't
say that about most long standing rangers. Duty, Integrity, Respect. My words
will not convince you that Jim has these traits. His actions will show you that
he has these traits. Give him a chance.
We're great at tracking fire experience. We're great at providing training. As
an agency we are largely incapable of recognizing ability. Jim's ability will
become self evident. I once underestimated Jim, never again. Will this be a
learning experience for him? Of course. Will this be a learning experience for
you? I hope so.
||Excellent Felling Safety Advisory entitled Hang-ups: ‘Take a
Second Look’ from NWCG Safety and Health Working Team. Check the
Lessons Learned and Safety Zone.
The SHWT has an excellent website on
Hazard Tree Safety
I appreciate seeing The Rope Method for Felling Hangers, among other
documents and educational materials provided there. Ab.
||Re the recent R5 BOD meeting:
USDA Forest Service
Region 5 Board of Directors
Fire and Aviation Management
Principles Associated with the Roles of the Fire Management
Officer in the Incident Management Environment
Statement of Intent
In an effort to achieve a focused assessment of the Fire Management Officer
role in the organization, the following principles were developed by the BOD to
be shared with Agency Administrators and Fire Management Officers throughout the
region. The intent is to use this tool in the development of expectations and
allow it to guide the role that the Fire Management Officer plays in incident
- The FMO serves as a liaison between the Incident Commander and the
responsible Agency Administrator to ensure that intent is clearly understood
and implemented through appropriate actions.
Example Role: Attend planning meetings and interact with incident
personnel to ensure the Agency Administrator’s strategy is being implemented
through acceptable tactics.
- The FMO helps the responsible Agency Administrator understand the
consequences of their intent and offers alternatives as necessary to achieve
the agreed to end-state.
Example Role: Actively engage in the development of incident strategy
through participation in the WFDSS process and discussion with the Agency
Administrator and Incident Commander.
- The FMO facilitates communications necessary to accomplish the agency’s
mission and achieve leader’s intent.
Example Role: Function as a liaison of the Agency Administrator to
the IMT and involved stakeholders to ensure relationships are maintained
- The FMO monitors the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of the
incident, identifies issues and makes recommendations as necessary.
Example Role: Review and provide feedback on incident plans and
ensure that selected tactics manage for the safety and efficiency of the
- The FMO exemplifies the values of Duty, Respect, and Integrity.
Example Role: Be present, remain engaged and interact with
individuals at all levels of the incident in an honest and professional
manner. (See Doctrinal Principle #15)
||IFPM & FS-FPM requirements:
The letter posted by JL is a reference primarily to the 401 series and
college education requirements. However still scheduled for implementation are
all IFPM positions on 10/1/10 and all FS-FPM positions will be implemented on
10/1/13. A decision is due in the next couple weeks from the Forest Service for
those in IFPM positions on what will happen if they do not meet ICS
qualification requirements and training requirements.
More important than what they will do to those currently in the IFPM jobs, is
what future applicants need to be aware regarding the ICS qual requirements to
get into those IFPM jobs after 10/1/10.
- Example; Engine Capt (IFPM) needs ICT4 and ENGB.
- After 10/1/10 AVUE will ask you if you have these quals, if you answer
no, you will not make the referral list.
- Employees will also be required to provide an IQCS Master Record report
to show they meet the qualifications/training.
- GS-7 FEO on a high complexity Forest needs to be ENGB and ICT5
For a list of all positions and the requirements read the crosswalk
previously offered in the link by AB.
Desert Rat 2
To add to the lack of leadership direction in R5, please read on.
In what seems to be a bizarre twist with a total lack of SA, the Six Rivers
- Mad River District Ranger has been the detailed Forest Supt. on the
Modoc NF for the last month.
- Now the Modoc NF PIO is going to take the vacated Mad River District
Ranger's position, back
on the Six Rivers.
Good o’l switch O'ro.
To further erode any confidence we in fire may have, this Modoc PIO has been
with the USFS for just 2
years after a life long career with the Military.
- Arrived on the Modoc NF, January of 2008 as the Forest Supervisor's
secretary (Admin assistant)
- A year later became the Modoc NF PIO.
- Now heading off to the Six River's as a detailed District Ranger.
Can anyone give a logical reason for this? What could he have possibly
learned as the forest supt.'s secretary
and a PIO that would demonstrate District Ranger potential? With only two years
with the agency.
Can we say “Watch Out”.
||History of the origin of the 13 Situations that Shout Watchout:
Northnight asked a question about the original 13 Watch Outs. I
presented a poster with Bruce Vanderhorst and Kent Maxwell at last year's
Wildland Fire Safety Summit in Phoenix where we tried to answer the same
questions about the list's origin. Attached is an excerpt from our outline that
discusses what we were able to find out. I'll also paste it below.
Thanks very much,
Excerpt from a poster presented at the 10th
Wildland Fire Safety Summit in Phoenix (2009):
Help Solve the Mystery of the Original “13 Situations
that Shout ‘Watch Out!’”
Jennifer Ziegler, Valparaiso
Bruce Vanderhorst, Riverside
(CA) Fire Department
Kent Maxwell, Colorado Firecamp
How well do you know the history of the Watchout
Situations? Take the following quiz:
True or False?
- The Watchout Situations were invented along with the
Fire Orders in 1957.
- The Watchout Situations were originally created as a
set of safety procedures.
- The Watchout Situations were originally 13 in number,
to honor the number of fatalities at Mann Gulch in 1949.
- The Watchout Situations were originally called the
“Situations that Shout ‘Watch Out!’”
- The Watchout Situations were expanded from 13 to 18
after the 1994 South Canyon Fire.
- Spin offs of the Watchout Situations include “WUI
Watch Outs,” “Aviation Watch Outs,” and “Prescribed Fire Watch Outs.”
- False. The 1957 Task Force report created only the
10 Standard Firefighting Orders.
- False. Early fireline notebooks categorized “Watch
Outs” under “suppression techniques.” (The Fire Orders were always
categorized under “safety.”)
- Believed False. No evidence has been found linking
this list with that event. It is more plausible that they stemmed from a
list of 13 items that was said to have contributed to the Loop Fire tragedy
in 1966 (see below).
- False. There were already 18 at the time of the
South Canyon Fire, and they are cited in the accident investigation report.
The Watchouts were expanded from 13 to 18 by NWCG in 1987 (see Ziegler,
OUR SEARCH FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE WATCHOUT SITUATIONS:
- We began this project when we learned that some
younger firefighters were developing misconceptions about the 18 Watchout
Situations, as evidenced by our “True / False” quiz, namely:
- They were developed in 1957 along with the Fire
- There were originally 13 in recognition of the
number of fatalities at Mann Gulch.
- They were expanded to 18 after the South Canyon
Fire in 1994.
- They have always been paired with the 10 Fire
Orders as tactical safety standards.
- Although the history of the Fire Orders is well
documented, the history of the original Watchout Situations is less well
known. Beginning with the premise that they had been developed after some
major event, we narrowed it down to the 1966 Loop Fire (CA) based on the
a. The 1966 Loop Fire accident report was the genesis for the Downhill Line
Construction Checklist. And, the first of the original 13 Situations that Shout
“Watch Out” is “YOU are building a line downhill toward a fire.”
b. In addition to mentioning the Downhill Checklist, the Loop Fire accident
report (and subsequent documents) mentions the Fire Orders but nothing about any
Watch Out Situations, which suggests they had not been invented yet.
c. Similarly, a 1965 “programmed [self study] text” for safety only mentions
the Fire Orders.
d. A safety task force that was convened in 1967 to update the trend
analysis started by the 1957 task force found that the Loop fire had “13”
contributory items in common with past fires. There were originally 13
Situations that Shout “Watch Out”
e. The Situations that Shout “Watch Out” were included in a 1968 training
guide for interregional crews that predated the Hot Shots.
- We also noticed that most of the early artifacts of
Situations that Shout “Watch Out” were dated in the early to mid 1970s:
a. They appeared on an ICS form from the 1971 Romero Fire in Los Padres NF.
b. They were included in a 1976 NWCG Fire Behavior course
c. They were included in safety instruction booklets in 1978 (after Carl
Wilson developed the Common Denominators of Tragedy Fires in 1977) and 1992.
d. In their effort to rework the 10 & 18, Braun et al (2001) studied a list
of Watch Outs that they claimed was “circa 1975.”
- However, we also became aware of earlier published
versions of the 13 Situations that Shout “Watch Out” that predated the 1966
Loop Fire (thanks to Jim Cook and Mark Linane for tracking these down):
a. A 1960 R5 Fireline notebook
b. A 1961 R5 Fireline notebook (may not be original pages, though)
c. A 1962 R4 Fireline notebook
d. A 1964 R4 Firefighting Overhead notebook
e. A 1964 R5 Fireline notebook
f. A table in the 2004 refresher that dates the Watch Outs to “1958-1959” (n.b.:
the refresher provides no source documentation and some dates in the same table
- We also reasoned that:
a. The Watchouts may not have been mentioned in the Loop Fire report because
the early 1960s documents mentioned above did not categorize them under
b. Back then, the 13 Situations that Shout “Watch Out” were included in
c. Additionally, firefighters we polled who began their careers in the mid
1950s to early 1960s stated that the 13 Watch Out Situations were developed
sometime between 1958 and 1962.
- So, our current theory is that the original 13
Situations that Shout Watch Out emerged first in the field and, perhaps more
importantly, emerged for the sake of fire overhead, and not necessarily for
fireline personnel. Then, they eventually migrated to NWCG policy in the
a. Note that this is unlike the Fire Orders which began as top-down policy
b. But, this is also unlike LCES which emerged in the field but as a
tactical safety guideline for firefighters on the fireline.
- Incidentally, we do know why and when they were
expanded from 13 to 18: when NWCG developed the Standards for Survival
Course in 1987 (see Ziegler whitepaper at
a. They were also shifted from S-190 Fire Behavior to S-130 Firefighter I at
b. We also know why the 18th Watch Out Situation is “feel like taking a nap
near the fireline.” (Kent knows the answer to that one.)
- We would like to know when YOU originally learned the Watchout
Situations. Please email us at
Jzieglervalpo@ gmail.com, with the year, agency, and city and state, and
please include your current contact information so we can follow up.
Ab, those asking specifically about the change from 13 to 18 might be
interested in reading
How the “13 Situations that Shout ‘Watch Out’” Became the “18 Watchout
Additionally, readers might check out Wildlfire Today's impressive series of
Watch Out graphics developed by the El Cariso Hotshots in the early 1970s, and
posted from Feb 2009 to March 2009
History of the origin of the 13 Situations that Shout Watchout:
From theysaid discussion in May of 2004. How JSJ eliminated the
Watchouts overlapping with Fire Orders
18 --> 13 Watchout Situations
Fire not scouted and sized up. <-- violates Fire order # 2
- In country not seen in daylight.
Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
<-- violates Fire order # 4
Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.
<-- violates Fire order # 3
- Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.
- Instructions and assignments not clear.
No communication link with crewmembers/supervisors.
<-- violates Fire order # 7
- Constructing line without safe anchor point.
- Building fireline downhill with fire below.
- Attempting frontal assault on fire.
- Unburned fuel between you and the fire.
Cannot see main fire, not in contact with anyone who can.
<-- violates Fire order # 5
- On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.
- Weather is getting hotter and drier.
- Wind increases and/or changes direction.
- Getting frequent spot fires across line.
- Terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.
- Taking a nap near the fire line.
ORIGINAL FIRE ORDERS
1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.
2. Know what your fire is doing at all times. Observe personally and use scouts
3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.
4. Have escape routes and safety zones for everyone, and make them known.
5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.
6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.
7. Maintain prompt communication with your forces, your supervisor and adjoining
8. Give clear instructions and insure they are understood.
9. Maintain control of your forces at all times.
10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.
||I have a publication called 10 Standard Fire Fighting Orders published by
the USFS and dated August, 1965.
Don't know about the 13 Watchouts. I also have a publication dated 1950
called Forest Fire Fighting
Fundamentals, also published by USFS, that does not list any Standard Fire
Fighting Orders under safety.
The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders came about after the
1957 Task Force. The 13 Watchouts came later. Ab.
||Situations that "Shout Watch!"
My Region Five - Forest Service, Fireline
Notebook, dated 1969, has the Situations that "Shout Watch!" listed on the first
page. There are 13 of them So they have been published since at least 1969. And,
I thought they even date back further but don't have anything to support that.
Hopes this helps those that are wondering. I started in the mid-sixties and
thought the situations were part of the Fire Order workbook we did every year at
the start of the season ('65-'68 time frame). Any other OF's (Fogies) that still
have a memory that far back?
Hi there, glad you're still lurking... and posting. Ab.
||Making the rounds: We wish them the best... There's more in detail; if
anyone would like to read more, email Ab.
Sierraville Wildland Fire
Module's Good Bye
It has been a pleasure to work with and for all of you for the last 6 plus years
in the capacity of Crew 6’s leader. It is with great regret and heart ache that
I must inform you that Crew 6, Sierraville’s Wildland Fire Module has been cut
due to lack of funding. It does not look like funding will be back any time
within the next five years so the decision has been made to eliminate the
Sierraville crew’s positions to help balance the district budget. Leading the
crew has been an incredible experience that I would not trade for the world. I
consider myself lucky to have worked as a crew leader on a very special district
with an incredible surrounding community. In the future I still look forward to
working on the Sierraville District in a different capacity. Thank you for all
your advice, counsel, and your support of our crew over the years.
My assistant Brad Moschetti and I are being placed in vacant jobs within the
district’s fire organization and we are thankful for that. Our crew people are
most likely to be picked up by other crews on this and surrounding Forest. Again
they are all great people and it would be a mistake not to hire them. We are all
shocked by the sudden change of direction but moving on. Please feel free to
talk with me about it if you have more questions.
Thanks for all your concern and best wishes for the future.
See you soon,
||Here's a page that explains
Campbell's Glossary of Wildland Firefighting Terms
I added it to the Documents
Worth Reading Archives.
||History of the origin of the 13 Situations that Shout Watchout:
Long document, with some good history about the 10-13-18 at the front end.
wildfirelessons.net documents -Withen (pdf)
This one is directed at the 10 orders, but it helps put the 13WO in context.
wildfirelessons.net documents -Thackaberry (pdf)
This is the report that triggered both the 10 and 13's formal development.
Report of Fire Task Force 1957 (pdf)
There is a good article in a back issue of Fire Management Today with a history
overview of the 10 and 13,
but I cannot find it. I will keep looking and let you know.
Thanks FOBS73. Readers, see Jennifer's article on the next post
also. (Ziegler = Thackaberry, she got married) Ab.
||Try this link for
fire orders history...
Thanks, Tim. Readers, Jennifer's pdf article on the development of the
Watchout Situations is linked there. Ab.
||Jim Cook knows a lot of that watchout situations history.
||Re: A-Star Helicopter
It has a potential problem with the design of its hydraulic system; the NTSB
has investigated 3 or more recent crashes in
Hawaii and California.
A-Star helicopter = Aerospatiale AS350BA (Aerospatiale Inc later changed its
name to Eurocopter, Inc. when French
Aerospatiale and the German Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm
(MBB) merged (after 1979)
According to one article, the helicopter's hydraulic system is prone to failure.
Nov 14, 2009 ems helicopter crash; NTSB Identification:
Mountain Lifeflight EMS Helicopter Crash at Doyle, California
March 8, 2007 Hawaiian sightseeing flight crash NTSB Identification:
Kauai copter crash spurs debate
FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin
Feet on the ground
||Ab, on today's theysaid, there was a mention of 18 situations that shout
watchout. There was also mentioned
about the 13 chances to watch out. Looks like they were trying to figure it out.
These used to be 13 Chances, but was enlarged to 18 in the 70's I think. I can
remember the change, but
memory fails me on the year. Know someone will have the answer. Maybe I can find
it in some of my old stuff.
Some good info, worth a look, from the recent Southern Area Incident Management
meeting -- several powerpoint presentations posted on the Intel page of the SACC
IMT 2010 Meeting
This was the annual joint meeting of the three southern area teams (Type 1 Blue
- Quesinberry, Type 1
Red - Ruggeiro, and Type 2 - Wilder), and was held during the last week of
January in Atlanta. The
meeting alternates between C&G only and all team members - this year was all
members. One highlight
was a visit from Burk Minor of WFF, and a fair chuck of change was raised for
WFF through a variety
of fundraising events.
Among others, that's an interesting ppt on using the social media to share
fire info. Ab.
||Making the rounds from R6, OR BLM:
I am passing these notes on to you as
they give an update (FS Side) on the implementation of IFPM. I have highlighted
what I thought were major points.
On the BLM side- I'm told by the N.O. that the consequences letter and following
instructions/directions are forthcoming.
Situation on FS side is being discussed at highest levels. No definitive word on
implementation of IFPM (doc)
found this and more when I googled
Chief McArdle's 10 Standard Orders...
KC, I took a look around last night for the Watchout Situations (WOS) and
found the same lack of historical info that Northnight found. The 13 watchouts
must have been mentioned on theysaid at some time, but I found nothing except
1957 paper about fire orders. Hopefully someone will have details and we can
put it on the
IMWTK page and the
Worth Reading Archives for next time the question comes up. Ab.
||Ab and all,
I am looking for a paper or information on the original watch outs and where
they came from. It is my understanding that they came from fatality fires in the
40's and 50's. So my question is when, how, and why were the original
13 WOS developed? Were they developed from previous fatality fires? If so which
ones? Is there any written documentation left as proof or is it all urban legend
and oral history passed on from old salt to young salt? I know that they
originally showed up in the Standards for Survival package from 1987 and then
the additional were added in '89 or so. There is a gap in history from '67 to
'75 that is blank on this and to when the WOS were developed. They appear to be
mentioned additionally in '75 ,but with no idea where they came from.
||Ab, check this out! Move over ATV here comes something new!!
||This IFPM Stand Down Letter from the WO was posted on theysaid on 5/30/09
Many thanks for the doc form. Ab.
The attached is a
document sent out by the WO on 5/29/2009.
||Anyone know what is the status of the IFPM and FS FPM deadlines? ARE THEY STILL ON?
As I have been transferring forward on my calendar, October, 2010 is when some people get thrown out of
their jobs if they haven't met the 401 series requirements. There's been lots of
changes, including the OPM
directive that seemed to bring everything to a halt. Is it really halted, or
lurking in the background ready to bite?
Does anyone know the status of this? Here's all I could
find on short notice:
ifpm index Ab.
RE: Budget of the U.S. Government for Fiscal 2011, impact on fuels:
making the BLM rounds
2011 fuels funding for all DOI and FS would be cut by 21% in President
budget. "Interesting" is not the word I would choose to describe 2011
planning for PTA.
Thomas V. Murphy
BLM - Medford District Fire Mgt. Officer
Gravy train is over Tom. You can fight wars, bailout banks and fund the
Oregon Suppression Contract off the top of the BLM budget- but you can't
have it all.
When you are broke- something has got to give. Anyone out there for a
National Fuels Trust Fund?
||Found: Aviation articles:
Thanks to Larry Roe for reference on the 1992 type 1 and 2 helo study. Also
thanks to Rick Dunlap and Sheila Valentine for finding it.
It is nice to have community that helps. Ab.
I couldn't agree with you more. I will not comment on last year's fatality as I
was not there and have only met those folks in passing. I do not feel it is my
place to make judgments on things that I have not seen with my own eyes. My
heart remains with Tom's friends, family and co-workers as I know a "report"
will eventually be released and either contain very little or inaccurate
I have trained many first year helitack to rappel. On my unit, there is no
pressure to get the ship on the boards. It is my call when training is complete
and the crew is ready. Sometimes that happens quickly, sometimes it takes a bit
longer. I know each individual is with me for the entire season and possibly
many seasons. I only hope that every other crew has the same support.
To clarify, I am not saying our equipment is unsafe, I am very aware of the lack
of quality control that we have seen in recent years. The rumor in the field is
that a person much higher up the food chain than anyone hanging on a rope has
commented that with our current equipment, we cannot guarantee a rappeller
making it safely to the ground.
I'm not sure where you got your information from, but I have to tell you it is
the same lip service that the rest of us get in the field. Of the sky genies in
my program, zero have been X-rayed. It is a visual inspection before and after
use, genies are retired based on wear or signs of damage. In recent years, we
have received new genies that are shipped from the factory with flaws and had to
return them for replacements. Either way, I have never heard of a sky genie
Ropes have been an entirely different story. Once again, it is a visual
inspection. In recent years hand tied splices have appeared through visual
inspection. Hand tied splices are not allowed on life bearing ropes. Many issues
have come up with ropes being twisty or having pigtails. Experienced rappellers
can negotiate some of these problems but less experienced personnel are much
more likely to get in a bind. These are some of the problems that we have seen
on the surface. What is the percentage of a rope that is on the surface? How do
we know if there are splices on the inside of the rope? Still, there has never
been a rope failure.
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Apicello, but unless someone has hooked in and
locked off in the last 5 years, it is unlikely that they are fully aware of what
is happening in the field.
For those of you running the meetings and deciding the fate of rappelling, don't
look around the room and wonder if I am there. I'm not. I do have a pretty solid
background in rappel operations and have the brains to read between the lines.
Listen to the check spotters that are working together to ensure a safe and
standardized program. There are many grumblings in the field and concern that
someone is taking advantage of an unfortunate event to drive an agenda. By
eliminating the A Star, we are losing the highest performing type 3 helicopter
we have in our arsenal. What else is coming?
Until I see a result that proves me wrong, I am - Still Skeptical
||rappellers vs helitack and other aerial resources:
I'm a newbie at helicopters... and helitack and rappellers. What's the
difference between the two? Do they do different things? I thought they both
could rappel but some helitack do not, they just get to fires by helicopter?
(Other kinds of crews can also get helicopter transport from time to time, can't
I looked on the
in Fire page. Helitack and Rappellers are listed differently, but there are
not any in California that are listed? Do you have to have handcrew experience
to apply for a helitack crew?
I see you have a photo page for
Arroyo Grande Flight Crew in CA and they rappel. How is a flight crew
different from helitack? What do they do? Looks like they're a Type 1 crew like
hotshots. Is a rappel crew a Type 1 crew?
Someone told me CDF has helitack crews and each crew goes with an assigned
helicopter. Is that true of all helitack crews, like Eva's crew was
Helitack 404 and the helicopter was H404? Seems like the AG crew did not have
the helicopter name, but a location and the big helicopter was not called Arroyo
Are there only 3 types of helicopters? 1, biggest; 2 medium; 3 smallest? What
size helicopters carry helitack? Type 2s or 1s? (Was helicopter Arroyo Grande a
Type 1 helicopter? Does the agency own the helicopter if it's married with the
crew? Do they contract with some helicopter for a season to carry a crew to
fires or stick with them all season?
I read a bunch of the names ff are called (feel the ribbing) on the
Terms page. I heard "hot rope" at some time and it's not there, so maybe
it's not one of the humorous terms. Does anyone know what that means?
Thanks for any help. So much stuff to figure out, so little time...
Consider posting this on the Hotlist. Ab.
||Save the dates for the WFF's 6th annual Fire Family Day: May 14-16. I
added those to the
calendar (bottom of page) and will update info there. Ab.
Perhaps you are a rappeller and if so you already know
the answer is and always will be human error. Equipment used
back in the beginning with no QA checks being done was far more subject to
failure than the current equipment. The
program is solid, but like many programs that the "Agencies" have used in the
past, it has grown; when it grows new
players get involved. R5 for years was allowing first year helitack crewmembers
to concurrently learn helitack and
become a rappeller in the same season (too much for some individuals in M.H.O).
You cannot throw everything away every time there is an accident. If this is
he new model then we should just keep all
the aircraft parked and we can rest assured that we will be 100% safe. If the
rappel op is shut down even for the year,
all I can say is "be safe jumpers because you will be busier".
||Ab please consider adding this to the
“Tactical catastrophes are never the outcome of a single poor decision.Small compromises incrementally close off options until a commander
is forced into actions he would never choose freely.” Nathaniel
I added it.
For those that might not know, there is a group of firefighter risk managers
that have been pursuing and honing alternatives for lessons learned (for
from AAR to SAI, especially the APA) and pushing Just Culture for the
last 5 years. Hats off to them. They are among FIRE's true heroes in their
attempts to change the culture in the spite of the cloud of legal mess
firefighters live under. Ab.
Ab, I asked for some feedback on these
questions and received the following. Any replies to his please contact Mike Apicello / with the FS Branch of Risk Management, Human Performance and
Development - he is the FS NIFC PAO and I'm sure he will get questions to the
appropriate person. Mellie
Now that I know you're a follower of They Said, I would like to pose a few
questions in regards to rappel
standardization and your previous post.
1) It is my understanding that the reason we would reduce our rappel
capability this season is due to unsafeequipment. If that is the case, why would we consider using our current
unsafe equipment to rappel at all
The Forest Service puts all of its aerial delivery firefighter equipment and
deployment systems through arduous testing procedures in order to provide the
safe equipment for its users. The safety of our aerial delivered firefighters is
paramount. For example: Sky genies are X-rayed for any cracks or faults; frayed
ropes or let-down lines that develop twists or don't spool properly are culled
and replaced. Replacement parachutes when acquired from manufacturers are
inspected by master riggers many times before they are ever jumped. And perhaps
the best example has been the evolution of the fire shelter over the past
decade. Safety check must be continuous and ongoing and every firefighter has
the right and also the responsibility to check, inspect, and report equipment
deficiencies in order to mitigate unwarranted risks.
2) If we are concerned about safety records, why is the Bell medium
the apparent platform of choice? A
quick look at history shows that the Bell medium (and other platforms that
the rappellers leave the ground
without being hooked in) have a recurring incidence of rappellers going to
the skid without being hooked in.
Aerially delivered firefighters are taught to maintain a constant, and widely
focused situational awareness about where they are when situated in aircraft and
also how to maneuver in the various types of platforms they are trained and
qualified to use. Rappellers, Helitack and Smokejumpers are trained up to
mission standards for each different platform that might deliver them to an
incident. Practice and Proficiency flights are mandatory to keep skill levels
high and performance at peak levels without compromising safety. The issue here
is maintaining the ability to stay focused on equipment during equipment checks,
while keeping situational awareness keen on all the procedures involved while
exiting an aircraft.
3) I hear rumors of a number medium helicopters being dedicated as
rappel ships; no bucket, no crew
transport. Does this really sound like an efficient use of aircraft?
The Forest Service has no intention to do away with the multiple use
capabilities of the aircraft platforms they use for rappel ships. If rappellers
are used on a fire, the same platform can be used to bring in other equipment
and support the incident as needed.
4) You stated that the development of new equipment has been
progressing rapidly. Can you give us an
update? There has been no new information in a year on the work at MTDC. Can
we expect a safe and
functional product prior to the end of FY12? Last word was that MTDC was
funded for the project until
Research, development, and testing of new types of equipment is a mission of
MTDC. Much emphasis and time is spent looking at a multitude of products, and
where possible, adopting the best qualities from multiple types of equipment to
develop the safest tools possible. The goal is to build out the "risk factors"
to insure the most efficient and safest equipment is developed. These processes
take time. As new equipment becomes available MTDC will often issue bulletins,
tech-tips, directions, guidelines and specialized reports when it comes to new
or replacement types of equipment.
I thank you for prompt clarification of these issues.
I'm happy to copy and paste or forward any further questions to Apicello
or send them to him yourself. Ab.
||Memorial Run in memory of Mike Schweitzer to benefit WFF
Mike Schweitzer Memorial Challenge (2738 K doc file)
This is an opportunity for
family, friends and coworkers that knew Mike to share in his memory, recognizing
both his love of running and his passion as a wildland firefighter. We also
invite people who may not have known Mike, but are members of the wildland
firefighting community, or running community, and those who just want to enjoy a
spring day outdoors to join us. Families are welcome.
When: April 24th, 2010, 9:00 am race start time, 8:00 am race
Where: Scott Valley Pleasure Park, Etna, California
Parking & bathrooms available at the Pleasure Park. Post race refreshments will be available
Course: The entire
course is a mixture of road and trail in and around the historic town of Etna.
The 5km route winds through the town. The 10km and half marathon events
continue through the woods outside of town. The final leg of the half marathon
winds through ranches and farmland before returning to the Pleasure Park. The
course will be marked and there will be volunteers to help direct runners.
Water aid stations will be provided along the course for the 10km and half
Participants can also print a copy of the registration form online at
wffoundation.org/. Please make
checks payable to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation with a notation for Mike
Schweitzer Memorial Challenge The registration can be mailed to : (see the
Early entry: 5km or 10km event: $15 Race day: $20
Early entry: Half Marathon $20 Race day: $25
Note entry fees are tax deductible.
Additional donations above the requested entry fee are welcome. All proceeds
will directly benefit the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
More info and entry form on the
flyer. This is a worthy and fun event. Try to make it if you can. I added it
to the hotlist calendar of events. Ab.
||Mcleod's original commentary is in italicized bold black and indented. Fork
in the Trail responses are in normal text.
I almost hate to ask this question...
Is there a new policy in place by the Forest Service in Region
5 or Nationally not to release or share Serious Accident Investigations? The
National Park Service released the Andy Palmer SAI (accident '08) but not the
FS. No one has seen the Packer / Panther Fatality Serious Accident Investigation
Report (accident '08). The NTSB released the Iron 44 Report (accident '08), as
it was their jurisdiction. Now it's clear there's a Draft Report on the rappel
accident ('09) that researchers were given. It seems a bit bass-ackward that the
research article was released even before a factual accident investigation
report. Don't get me wrong, the article is very good in my estimation and
explains the likely human factors causes, but why release it before the
investigation's release? Is the article supposed to take the place of the
AB - I am not sure but since the Packer fatality
happened on Forest Service land it may be in the hands of the Accident Review
Board. They will be the group that determines what needs to be done to rectify
or modify any practices, policies or procedures surrounding this type of event
in the future. Because these are serious and somewhat rare incidents - they are
given time to vet solutions that can work. They do not take these fatalities
lightly and the goal is if we can not prevent them - then to determine steps
needed in the system that may be barriers or better practices to better react to
these very sad and traumatic, somewhat rarer then usual events from occurring in
the future - at least that is my take.
Ab, if there is a shift in FS policy, shouldn't theysaid also
have a shift?
Hmmm - good question for the
editors of Theysaid, (a balanced thinker here?)
If there is not a timely lessons learned discussion because
the facts are being withheld or severely delayed or requiring FOIA, I think you
should allow us to discuss what we think might be lessons learned. There are
critical lessons to be learned from most things that go wrong. How do we ever do
better if we can't talk about what was planned, what happened and how to do it
One thing I do know is that in a Serious
Accident Review, it can take up to 45 days to compile the final report which in
other accident investigations has been a critical factor. I know that people
want immediate answers after bad incidents occur; unfortunately it takes time
to put the pieces together and unfortunately its also during the post trauma
period when emotions are the highest, people grieve, and the pains are many and
heavy. However there are other tools out there for finding the lessons in
mishaps and close calls that could also be highly traumatic. I describe two
organizational learning tools below:
First off I certainly agree with McCleod's
train of thought. One thing that the forest service accomplished was they
developed a Branch of Risk Management to help foster along the fire suppression
Doctrine discussed during the Pulaski Conference in 2005 as one of their primary
missions. Little do people realize that the key to having SAFE outcomes is in
the skilled ability to manage, interpret and mitigate risk; hence Risk
Management. Right now - to answer the question above regarding how can we learn
from things that go wrong. -- In the Branch of Risk Management for the Forest
Service there are both a ground Operations Risk Management Council and an
Aviation Risk Management council - there is also a lot of development going on
with organizational learning that is finally coming to fruition out of the
foundational principles associated with the early thinking about Forest Service
Wildland Fire suppression Doctrine.
Two tools that have already been used and we
are finding good results from are the called the FLA and the APA - the
"Facilitated Learning Analysis", and the "Accident Prevention Analysis". These
tools were first rolled out under the moniker of Peer Reviews - with the key
to their success dependent on a few key items: the ability for a unit to agree
to take a close look at an event that occurred on their unit, and the unit's
agreement to "own" the incident and the derived lessons learned - all for the
sake of the greater good so others can learn from it. The type of mishaps and
close calls are usually events that can occur anywhere, anytime to fire
practitioners. And quite often they involve common practices that people do
every day and because they may have never been addressed or looked at from a
learning perspective, unknowingly slip away from corporate memory or even local
unit memory until they happen to a degree people are affected. These are the
moments of yin and yang where great learning opportunities exist and are
recognized as such. In a truly progressive unit, district, Forest,
interagency office etc - there first has to be an agreement to let the people
involved "tell their story" and without fear of reprisal - It's an opportunity
for those involved to truly explain not only what they saw, but what they felt,
did or did not do, and it also allows for them to speak out about what they
were thinking at the time - its a very introspective, honest and a real process.
Almost like the type of "reality checks" people take when they know they need
to air, vent, share, counsel etc for others to become aware. And it takes balls
to be brave enough to do it. The key though about implementation and changing
to a learning culture is having the passion for safety to be open and honest.
It is the true manifestation of what one person can learn from their mistake
and be brave enough to admit it. Of course this also applies to crews, and any
number of people involved in these mishaps, accidents and close calls. How are
we to become a true learning culture - one that learns from its mistakes - if we
do not talk about them? And then share the lessons learned. With an APA or FLA
- these are key objectives, with the timely delivery of the lesson made
available to the collective family of practitioners and to the Leadership of the
practitioners. To me, it encompasses shared learning and shared responsibility.
We have had so many brave people participate
in a growing number of FLAs and APAs and now it is growing to the point where
every leader in the agency should know about these organizational learning tools
and be able to distinguish when to use them. We have had many wise leaders
invite the process onto their units. In fact - there are many outside
industries that do this under the concept of a Just and Learning Culture. And I
am sure as we continue our evolution into high reliability organizing, we will
also help improve morale as well as cognitive communication. We see these type
of tools used in high-risk professions such as medicine, military ops, space
exploration and other professions. These tools fit right in with organization
and culture change and the implementation of Doctrine empowerment. In fact,
any reason not to use them begs the question: WHY WOULD AN ORGANIZATION NOT WANT
TO LEARN FROM ITS MISTAKES WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY IS THERE TO DO SO WITHOUT
ALLOWING "HARM" TO OTHERS and bringing greater knowledge to the future? That's
my personal take and I think it is the right way to go if we are going to become
even better at what we already do so well - and oftentimes just take for granted
- until tragedy occurs.
Let me say again, I have no inside knowledge of anything on
report release timing, but am commenting here on appearances that might be
As far as bad FS morale, I have not seen anyone mention that
morale took a real beating and set a powerful downward trajectory when the FS
decided to indict employees on the Cramer Fire that were simply doing their jobs
as best they could given job overload, etc. I'd say half to 2/3 of Type 3 ICs
not renewing their redcards sheds some light on declining morale ya think?
THIS STATEMENT IS RIGHT ON AND IT NEEDS TO BE HEARD!
Many people think that work overload, budget, and a number of things are
affecting morale- and I have to agree - but WE AS A FIRE COMMUNITY CAN NOT
FORGET WHAT THIS DID TO BOOTS ON THE GROUND and to people who care even at
higher levels. Did this hurt morale - you bet it did - and the ICT 3 issue is
just one fallout. -- Thanks for the time to air out. My English is not that good
as I am a member of the foreign legion. Lest I forget - every accident we
prevent is a good thing!
||Looking for an old aviation study:
I'm looking for 2 studies regarding aviation. After hours of surfing the web as
well as contacting the
FS Library, I have come up empty handed.
The studies are:
- USDA Forest Service (1992) National study of type 1 and 2 helicopters
to support large fire suppression; Final Report. USDA Forest Service.
- as well as
the 1991 National Shared Forces Task Force Report (USDA)
Any information email <snip>
Ward L. Hiesterman
Assistant Manager- National Helicopter
Gallatin National Forest Rappel Crew
Rapid City Man Sentenced for Mailing Fraudulent Firefighter
DOJ Webpage has the sentencing info.
||Lots of new jobs up on the
Jobs page. Ab.
||Tips for Applying to Forest Service Jobs (FireHire)
With the R5 FireHire deadline coming up (March 8th), I wanted to share
some tutorials that I put together to help people get through the application
process for Forest Service fire positions. These first three tutorials were
designed to address some of the typical problems/questions that we get asked on
a regular basis. We will continue to develop more tutorials over the next few
weeks and welcome any suggestions - particularly on topics to cover.
The video tutorials are located together on the "Resources" page of our website:
Or separately on YouTube:
How to Spot Critical Checkboxes in Forest Service Applications:
What Is My Announcement Number? (Forest Service):
Searching For Announcement Numbers In Avue (Forest Service):
I hope that these videos will help some folks get started in the right
Bethany E. Loomis-Hannah, owner
Wildland Fire Careers & Loomis Hannah Wordsmithing
WildlandFireCareers.com | 1.866.414.1447 (tollfree) | 1.866.686.5484
||Tim Stubbs passing
Good evening AB and all.
I've been away from the forum for a few days and tonight while the rain is
falling horizontally here in Nor-Cal I was catching up.
I'm very saddened to hear about the passing of NMAIRBEAR. I enjoyed the mans
insight and wisdom. Wildlandfire.com has
lost a great contributor. I will miss him.
||Retiree Annuitant Program?
I'm hearing rumors that Federal Fire Retirees may be going back to their last
GS-wage for the upcoming fire season.
Has anyone heard about this and is there anywhere to find out more? Is this the
Retiree Annuitant Program?
||Tim Stubbs passing
Dear Ab and All:
I was honored to get a call from Tim Stubbs' sister Terri this evening. We had a
nice long chat. There was a
recent post about where to send cards, donations etc., but according to her no
one will be living at the Texas
address listed in the post.
She suggested that letters/notes to Tim's kids Jesse & Amanda could be sent in
her care to:
Terri Christofk Stubbs
3700 Trieste Dr.
Carlsbad, CA 92010
She also provided her phone number so if someone wants that, please contact me.
Thank you, sir, for your response, and for clearing that up.
||Privacy Act and necessary or unnecessary redactions:
From a lawyer friend,
there is some discretion in whether or not redactions are necessary.
The Privacy Act and FIOA laws were the origin of redactions. First one was
the 1974 act of congress.
The first redactions I know of were present to a small degree in the South
Canyon Report (1994 South
Canyon Incident). There are some good links at the bottom of wilipedia page
below on additional
Now that I know you're a follower of They Said, I would like to pose
a few questions in regards to rappel
standardization and your previous post.
1) It is my understanding that the reason we would reduce our rappel capability
this season is due to unsafe
equipment. If that is the case, why would we consider using our current unsafe
equipment to rappel at all
2) If we are concerned about safety records, why is the Bell medium the apparent
platform of choice? A
quick look at history shows that the Bell medium (and other platforms that the
rappellers leave the ground
without being hooked in) have a recurring incidence of rappellers going to the
skid without being hooked in.
3) I hear rumors of a number medium helicopters being dedicated as rappel ships;
no bucket, no crew
transport. Does this really sound like an efficient use of aircraft?
4) You stated that the development of new equipment has been progressing
rapidly. Can you give us an
update? There has been no new information in a year on the work at MTDC. Can we
expect a safe and
functional product prior to the end of FY12? Last word was that MTDC was funded
for the project until
I thank you for prompt clarification of these issues.
||Thanks to Michelle Reugebrink:
I just have a simple post. We all owe Michelle
Reugebrink - R5 Safety & Occupational Health Specialist a big thank you for her support to the Fire Community. She is a true leader and
comes to work everyday and gives it everything
she's got. What more can you ask for. She does so much in front of and behind
the scenes for all. She has been locally,
regionally and nationally recognized as a true leader for her work in Health and
Thank you Michelle
I agree 100%. Ab.
||John Thomas Retirement: (sent in by Hutch)
I would like to let everyone
know that John Thomas better known as JT has elected to hang up his Whites after
32 years of fighting fire. JT leaves as the Deputy Chief on the Angeles N.F. He
spent his entire career on the Angeles with the very large part of that on the
Saugus District (later named the Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers) as a Captain and
Superintendent for the Texas Canyon Hot Shots. He subsequently moved into
management in 2002 as Battalion Chief and then a stint as the Angeles Fuels
Office before becoming Deputy. JT is an excellent leader locally and nationally
as well as an outstanding role model for young firefighters.
The celebration of his career will take place March 13, 2010 at the Eliopulos
Pavilion located at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster. Time is
1800-2330 hrs. Cost is $50.00 per head which covers dinner, gift and expenses, a
cash bar will be available. Any proceeds over the cost of the event will be
donated to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. For those from out of town, a
group rate has been established at the Hampton Inn in Lancaster under John
Those that are interested in attending please make reservations by February
22, 2010 through either Kenny Ellyson or Rodney Guillery at fs.fed.us, payment
by check is requested prior to February 26.
Hope you all join in the festivities and make sure you bring a good story about
JT with you to send him off to a well deserved retirement.
||response to Pyro post on 2/1
Pena did make a typo. The date is June 1,
Deputy Regional Forester
Pacific Southwest Region
||SAI releases and declining morale:
I almost hate to ask this question...
Is there a new policy in place by the Forest Service in Region 5 or
Nationally not to release or share Serious Accident Investigations? The National
Park Service released the Andy Palmer SAI (accident '08) but not the FS. No one
has seen the Packer / Panther Fatality Serious Accident Investigation Report
(accident '08). The NTSB released the Iron 44 Report (accident '08), as it was
their jurisdiction. Now it's clear there's a Draft Report on the rappel accident
('09) that researchers were given. It seems a bit bass-ackward that the research
article was released even before a factual accident investigation report. Don't
get me wrong, the article is very good in my estimation and explains the likely
human factors causes, but why release it before the investigation's release? Is
the article supposed to take the place of the investigation's release?
Ab, if there is a shift in FS policy, shouldn't theysaid also have a shift?
If there is not a timely lessons learned discussion because the facts are being
withheld or severely delayed or requiring FOIA, I think you should allow us to
discuss what we think might be lessons learned. There are critical lessons to be
learned from most things that go wrong. How do we ever do better if we can't
talk about what was planned, what happened and how to do it better?
Let me say again, I have no inside knowledge of anything on report release
timing, but am commenting here on appearances that might be reality.
As far as bad FS morale, I have not seen anyone mention that morale took a
real beating and set a powerful downward trajectory when the FS decided to
indict employees on the Cramer Fire that were simply doing their jobs as best
they could given job overload, etc. I'd say half to 2/3 of Type 3 ICs not
renewing their redcards sheds some light on declining morale ya think?
Fair question. I guess we'll have to evaluate. Does anyone know if the
Panther Fatality Report is completed and what is the timeline for release? Ab.
||Tim Stubbs passing:
I found the following on the NPS Morning Report this morning. It gives some
information on how to contact
the family. May Tim find smooth air on his journey and Gods speed.
Passing Of Tim Stubbs
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tim Stubbs, former
fire management officer for Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains
Tim passed away due to natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January
28th. A private memorial service will be held for Tim at his mother's home
Tim began his permanent NPS career in March 1990. He retired as the FMO in
February 2003. In addition to being the fire management officer, Tim was a
fire behavior analyst, long term fire analyst, and an air tactical group
supervisor. He was a wildland firefighter icon and staunch advocate for
Tim's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please address any cards
and/or donations to his children, Jesse and Amanda Stubbs. Please send your
cards and/or donations to the attention of: <snip, please see a better
address in post from Casey on 2/4>.
[Submitted by John Lujan, john_lujan@ nospam nps.gov]
||2010 Spring Centralized Fire Hiring - Grades 06 through 10
February 3, 2010
Subject: 2010 Spring Centralized Fire Hiring - Grades 06 through 10
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors
The first of three planned centralized fire-hire sessions for 2010 is
scheduled for this Spring. The purpose of this letter is to provide dates and
actions required to make this a successful event.
Vacant positions, grades 06 through 10, will be available for filling from
referral lists generated from the open-and-continuous announcements (OCRs)
listed in Enclosure 1. All positions vacated as a result of the incumbent
promoting during the hiring round (referred to as a backfill) will also be
available for filling. The timeline for the hiring process is as follows:
March 08: Last day applicants may apply to OCRs for the Spring
fire hire. Applicants are encouraged to apply early and to not wait until the
last day to avoid incomplete applications or errors that could occur.
Applicants must also apply or re-certify current profiles within 60 days before
this deadline, or AVUE will not refer them on a referral list.
March 09: Referral lists generated by Human Resources (HR).
March 10 – April 02: HR will work on applicant qualifications,
veteran preference, and printing applications for fire subject-matter experts (SMEs).
April 05 – April 16: Fire SMEs evaluate and document applications
for strengths and weakness, and make and document supervisor reference calls.
April 19 – April 30: Recommendations, selections and offers made,
and personnel actions processed.
May 23: Earliest effective start date for new hires. Extended
dates may be required for selections that include transfer of station or
It is critical this information be shared with your managers,
supervisors, and employees.
Applicants need to understand that when they accept a position, declining at a
later date may not be an option; their vacated position will immediately be
considered for backfill.
Forests will be asked to have individuals available to assist as subject-matter
specialists during the April 5-16, 2010, timeframe. In addition, each Forest
with vacancies will be expected to have at least one recommending official
available at McClellan during the weeks of April 19-30, 2010. The recommending
official should have a delegation of authority from the Forest Supervisor
outlining their responsibilities and authority during the hiring session.
Forests will be contacted to provide the names of individuals assisting in these
Each Forest should review their fire vacancies’ SF-52s for accuracy. They are
listed on the Region 5 SF-52 Tracker home page. The report is called “Recruit &
Fill – Fire O&C Summary,” which is listed on the left-hand side under the
section entitled “REPORTS.” Units should also verify that the Region 5
Centralized Permanent Fire Positions “Vacancy Posting” report correctly lists
all current vacancies and has an approved SF-52 for the applicable position
included in the “Recruit & Fill – Fire O&C Summary” report. The “Vacancy
Posting” report is located on the Jobs web page at
by selecting the “Region 5 Centralized Permanent Fire Positions” link on that
It is critical these reports be verified, especially looking at AVUE city and
duty station locations to ensure that correct locations are used in generating
referral lists and placing hires into the correct location. This validation
should be completed by Friday, March 5, 2010.
I request that each of you work with your managers/supervisors, Civil Rights
Officers, and recruiters to ensure that we document and complete outreach and
recruitment for all Fire OCRs in Enclosure 1. It is critical that you inform
employees who are interested in Fire positions to apply for positions, grades 06
through 10, by the March 8, 2010, deadline. In accordance with our backfill
procedures and new vacancies occurring between now and the close of the
generated referral lists, interested employees should apply to all positions and
locations of interest to them, even if the position is currently filled. Again,
your assistance in ensuring that supervisors and employees are fully aware of
these timelines is appreciated.
Questions for Fire management officials should be directed to Gary Biehl,
Assistant Director, Strategic Services, at gbiehl@ nospam fs.fed.etc or at (209)
532-3671, extension 315. Questions for Human Resources officials should be
directed to Robin Irvine at rlirvine@ nospam fs.fed.etc or at (530) 841-4481.
/s/ Angela V. Coleman (for)
(includes the rest of the info)
cc: Gary Biehl, Robin L Irvine, FCROs, R5 Recruiters, Elizabeth
||Updates on the
Work Capacity Test, Medical Standards Transition Information,
||Tim Stubbs' Passing
Dear Ab & All:
Regarding Tim's passing, I received a call this afternoon from the DC office of
his congressional representative from
New Mexico interested in doing something to remember Tim such as a letter to the
family etc., but they have no
contact information for family or who would know of such things.
If anyone knows I'd be delighted to pass along the information to the office.
Folks can always contact me at email@example.com or 208-775-4577.
Casey, from what I've heard there's a small family memorial service
at his mom's in socal this weekend. We have a request for info to several
people. Someone is forwarding one message this evening when he's back at his
computer. I'll let you know what I learn. Ab.
||In honor and memory of Tim,
Doug Campbell is offering an e-version of his
Campbell Prediction System Language: Glossary of Terms
It's normally for sale on his website, but
he says he wants it offered free to theysaiders, to all interested in fire
The file is large, 6,519 K. No breaking fires right now, so our server should be
able to handle download traffic.
Here's to Tim Stubbs!
||In Memory of Tim Stubbs:
In the fall of 1996 as a recent S-490 graduate I was fortunate to work with Tim
Stubbs for the first time. In 1996 The
Calabasas Fire in Malibu nearly took several firefighters lives during structure
protection in Corral Canyon.
FBAN Tim Stubbs was brought into the accident investigation team. Tim and I
developed a working relationship and
friendship that is encompassed by firefighter safety and its relation to fire
behavior. This man had a passion or quest for
the keeping all our firefighters safe is paramount.
Having developed this friendship with Tim was reality for me and he is one of
the great mentors in my life in fire
behavior training. After Tim had me hooked I was now a fixed asset and support
group for carving change and as Tim
would say “making this stuff important.” I was fortunate to be asked to
participate on The Southwest S-490 Cadre
with great firefighters who are legends, i.e., Paul Gleason and Tim Stubbs…now
both sharing stories from above us.
Tim has left our Cadre with fond memories and a continuing deep hearted passion
for sending the message to the new
folks in fire that “this stuff is important.” Tim was a great friend to The Los
Angeles County Fire Department.
Ironically, Tim could not participate in the 2010 S-490 held in Las Cruces due
to his commitments with ATGS in ALB.
The cadre was sharing stories days prior of Tim passing. And what a blow when we
heard the news.
The Southwest S-490 Cadre is a tight bunch and are all sadden by his passing
which was way too soon! The night
sessions followed by Tim’s music with Charlie Possie we will miss.
Tim has had a way to group, attract and collect good people who shared his same
passion firefighter safety.
Tim you will be missed tremendously…I thank you for your friendship…continued
mentorship and I can’t thank you
enough for just being a part of my life, Vaya Con Dios mi Amigo.
||Ab and Contributors:
I applaud Theysaid for the in-depth perspectives they share and their ability to
accurately - and in a timely way distribute news and information to the
I laud the practicality, the insights, and the guts you have to take an issue
- determine its relevancy - and with fair minded oversight - share your concerns
for the manner in which information is conveyed. Specifically, I think that the
message regarding the golden hour and knowing when and how to pull triggers to
get harmed firefighters out of further harm's way was brought very positively
suggesting discussion with the M.D. regarding his thoughts of capabilities that
can be taken when responders are faced with life or death situations; especially
in dealing with remote incidents. Although I am not privy to any of the
conversation that must have occurred - I do see the tremendous potential in
discussing and sharing ideas with knowledgeable people whose professional fortes
can cross disciplines and subsequently assist fire agencies with their mission
of preventing, dealing with, and implementing the concept of "allow no harm, do
no harm." Every first responder, Hot shot, jumper, engine crew - ALL who work
firefighting should be as familiar with the "no harm" doctrine as they are with
fire suppression doctrine in firefighting operations.
So without a bunch of big, esoteric, bureaucratic words - there are many lessons
to be learned - if people are allowed to freely communicate what they saw, what
they did or did not do, what they thought and how they perceived the event, or
incident. Learning comes from listening. Learning also occurs with good
attitudes. Mindful and caring people should never be "put on the block" for
trying to do the right thing. No matter the unintended, or "unwilled outcome",
we all are aware that even the worst things happen in our line of work. Some of
these we can see and can explain, and some we just don't see and try to figure
out why; and some just happen - because of timing in the universal matrices of
nature. I don't mean to sound crude, but acceptance is always better than denial
when it comes to learning and telling the truth.
Much like Jack Thomas used to say about leadership: "Obey the law and Tell the
Truth" - what he meant was simply - do the right thing. I believe that in
today's firefighting culture there is a high awareness of what people are
expected to do in their jobs. Where many problems arise because of human factors
- such as fatigue and loss of attentive awareness - all too often greater harm
can be done when sense of the bigger picture gets missed, or swallowed up in the
vortex of lost situational awareness. However, this may also be the time when no
one can sense reality from the unexpected. We must always remember that people
are not infallible all the time; however the systems that they work in, do.
Without leadership, many important things get overlooked and all too often the
boots on the ground get stepped on with blame - and consequently both the system
and the people disconnect in the fray. That's why communications is so important
if a culture really wants to learn and better itself.
What I am encouraged to think is that a newer, greater effort is being placed on
empowering firefighters and boots on the ground to vocalize alone with
leadership their sensing of situations that don't feel right. I think that we
all try to make systems we are not even aware of work. We must understand what
dealing with and managing risk is all about. I believe that intuitive thinking
needs to be part and parcel to situational attentiveness in every firefighter,
no mater their degree of experience - People need to be listened to, and more
importantly - be allowed to openly address what they intuitively feel. Much like
teaching a young child to cross the street, intuitive learning is alive and well
and more often than not goes unnoticed - or unheard when faced with serious
feelings of insecurity and unknowing. Fortunately by nature, most people think
instinctively every day. In a lighter analogy, it's one of the first thing
school children are taught by their parents or guardians when learning how to
cross street. "Look both ways, walk, don't run, and cross where it is
appropriate - boom - lessons learned. Kind of like "look up, look down, look
around" when operating in the fire environment; only in these cases we know
there are multiple risks and we attempt to ingrain situational attentiveness as
a learned process as well.
Agency Doctrine has been talked about for awhile now. Many people still have
difficulty explaining it. It's almost an esoteric concept, including many with
trayfuls of slides of trays noting their experience. However, what I do see is
happening is a slow evolution of people speaking out and joining in what is a
foundational principle of Doctrine - and that is sharing questions, getting
answers, and looking out beyond the next ridge while focusing on spot fires. I
also see people making decisions about risk. A good example is the number of
qualified ICT3s that threw in their quals because the bigger "risk" to families
and loved one was more important; and especially if their comfort in overseeing
other people's lives makes or made them uncomfortable, especially with
decisions. I believe we will solve morale problems, reduce exposures, and make
better decisions when agencies allow leaders to follow their mindsets, intuition
Regarding the Golden Hour - this is a time where life or death is in the balance
- not only of those trying to do the right thing - but also in the mind of the
injured. Accidents do happen and for some, there will always be victims and for
some survivors. However, let us not ignore the golden opportunity to listen to
others. It's fundamentally right that a system of safety allow for this to
So thank you Theysaid for the job you do. Keep kicking tires.
||Budget of the U.S. Government for Fiscal 2011, impact on fuels:
2011 fuels funding for all DOI and FS would be cut by 21% in President
budget. "Interesting" is not the word I would choose to describe 2011
planning for PTA.
Thomas V. Murphy
BLM - Medford District Fire Mgt. Officer
more in the round-robin 2/2:
OMB made a significant reduction in our DOI fuels budget, the department
has been negotiations for awhile with OMB. Who can anticipate this large of
reduction? Of course, it needs to go through Congress until we receive our
true allocations. It going to be interesting on how we decide to plan PTA.
Jane E. Arteaga
Detail- Community Protection Specialist
National Interagency Fire Center BLM FA-600
more in the round-robin 2/2:
I was just looking at this document and found that the 2010 budget will be
reduced by 44 million for 2011. It is on page 79. Have we anticipated
this? Or should we not be worried?
www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/trs.pdf (869 K pdf file)
State Fuels Management Specialist
Alaska Fire Service
||Office of the Secretary
To: ALL FS
Subject: USDA's FY 2011 Budget
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
Yesterday, President Obama and I announced our proposed budget for Fiscal Year
2011, and I wanted to share with you the rationale behind our proposal.
This budget acknowledges the unsustainable debt accumulated over the past decade
and works to get our fiscal house in order. It uses taxpayer dollars wisely and
takes common-sense steps that many families and small businesses have been
forced to take with their own budgets. We are investing in American agriculture
and the American people without leaving them a mountain of debt.
Our proposed budget essentially freezes funding for discretionary programs at
the Fiscal Year 2010 level. However, limits we placed on select programs and
efforts to eliminate earmarks and one-time funding actually result in a bottom
line reduction to our discretionary budget authority of over $1 billion.
The budget also reflects the difficult economic climate of 2009, when more and
more Americans had to rely on USDA to help put food on the table, and the
challenges that rural communities have faced for decades grew more acute.
Because we care deeply about farmers and ranchers, this budget maintains the
agricultural safety net, while instituting some targeted reductions in farm
program payments. Just as importantly, this budget pursues priorities that will
have the greatest impact in our efforts to address the challenges facing rural
America and lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity.
As a whole, the budget is built on our four strategic priorities for the
- This budget will help rural communities create prosperity so they are
self-sustaining, economically thriving, and growing in population. We have
already taken important steps in this effort. With help from the Recovery
Act, we supported farmers and ranchers and helped rural businesses create
jobs. We made investments in broadband, renewable energy, hospitals, water
and waste water systems, and other critical infrastructure that will serve
as a lasting foundation to ensure the long-term economic health of families
in Rural America. This budget includes almost $26 billion to build on that
down payment and focuses on new opportunities presented by producing
renewable energy, developing local and regional food systems, capitalizing
on environmental markets and generating green jobs through recreation and
natural resource conservation.
- This budget promotes the production of food, feed, fiber, and fuel, for
the domestic and export market, as we work to strengthen the agricultural
economy for farmers and ranchers. America’s farmers and ranchers are the
most productive and efficient in the world, and this budget maintains the
policies that help maintain our nation’s food security. The budget increases
our funding for export promotion as part of President Obama’s National
Export Initiative and provides more support than ever before for competitive
- We will ensure that all of America’s children have access to safe,
nutritious, and balanced meals. The budget fully funds the expected
requirements for the Department’s three major nutrition assistance programs
and proposes $10 billion over 10 years to strengthen the Child Nutrition and
WIC programs. It also invests over $1 billion for efforts to reduce
foodborne illnesses from USDA-inspected food products.
- We will ensure our national forests and private working lands are
conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while
enhancing our water resources. This budget will enroll more than 300 million
acres into Farm Bill conservation programs, an increase of 10% over 2010. It
will strategically target high priority watersheds for restoration and
conservation. And it focuses efforts on forest restoration and hazardous
fuels reduction where they will offer job-creation opportunities and reduce
the chance of catastrophic wildfires.
You can read about the budget in more detail
There is no doubt that these tough times call for shared sacrifice. The American
people have tightened their belts and we have done so as well. We made tough
decisions, but this budget reflects our values, and common sense solutions to
the problems we face. It makes critical investments in the American people and
in the agricultural economy to set us on a path to prosperity as we move forward
in the 21st century.
Thanks so much all that you contribute to the Department,
||making the rounds, human factors and rappel accident:
Attached is a
document recently published that speaks to human factors that affect situational
and visual awareness.
I believe it is important enough to ask you to read and discuss it with one
another. I would ask you to raise awareness
of the contributions to and pitfalls of change blindness to operational
activities. Challenge each other. Take nothing for
granted. Stay sharp.
Rappel Accident HP (doc)
||Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Smoke Science Plan Questionnaire
Dr. Douglas Fox and I of Nine Points South Technical Pty. Ltd. are tasked to
develop a Smoke Management Research Plan for the Joint Fire Sciences Program (JFSP).
The purpose of the plan is to help guide funding for wildland fire/forest fire
smoke research for the next five to eight years by the United States Department
of Interior and Department of Agriculture's JFSP.
We have developed a questionnaire hoping to obtain input from a wide variety of
different stakeholders on the JFSP Smoke Science Plan. First, may we ask you to
take the survey? It only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Second, would you
be able to help us obtain input from others you work with in the air quality and
fire research community?
The link is:
We encourage people to share this link with whomever they think might like to
have input. So anyone who would like to share the link with somebody they know
is most welcome to do so.
Thank you very much,
Allen R. Riebau, PhD.
Nine Points South Technical Pty. Ltd
||Red Lights and Sirens in R5
I ran into some Smith River HS this morning at
breakfast and asked if they were in town for training.
"Leadership class?" I asked.
"No, Red Lights and Sirens training," they answered.
My husband who knows little about this issue (except for the BS lights and
sirens button on my desk).
"Training? Don't you just push a button in your vehicle after making sure that
it's turned on?" <hahahaha>
So it appears that R5 will continue to have red lights and sirens at least
for now, or at least on our forest.
Hmmmmm, bet that ate into some travel allotment.... Smith River NRA is up by
the Oregon border, an hour
to an hour and a half driving time.
Regardless, I'm glad to see R5 will continue using red lights and sirens.
Good for Chief Forester Randy Moore.
||Hope this is a typo:
On J. Pena's letter on the retention bonus remaining, he stated the the new
salary plan would be:
"We are on track to have the supplemental pay proposal drafted for review by
June 1, 2020. "
||Did Pena make a typo on his extension-'o-retention message, or did he really
mean that the supplemental
pay proposal draft isn't due until June 2020? If so, that ain't much of a
Re: redaction law.
If there was a new law passed, I am unaware of it. I raised this question with the Chief and the National Fire
Director in 2004, and was told it was due to an opinion that the Privacy Act required the redaction. I didn't
buy that then, and I don't buy that now. The redactions are detrimental to understanding the chain of events;
they are an attempt to conceal historical facts; and they are ludicrous in that it is (and should be) public
knowledge as to the identity of certain figures eg. "The district ranger (redacted) was attending a meeting".
Neither person could tell me why previous reports did not violate the Privacy Act.
Thanks OFG. Ab.
||Don't forget to answer our Hotlist Poll:
Vote for the 2009 Top 10 IA Thread Starters!
||Does anyone know hat law it was that congress passed that mandated redaction
of names in investigative reports, etc.
Cramer (2003, released 2004) was the first I remember that had all the
||Cal Fire exam info:
Attached is the latest regarding exams and lists.
CAL FIRE Exam info (77 K pdf file)
I recently received a list of recruitment announcements for
NV Division of
Forestry fire jobs.
Interested applicants need to go to the NDOP job search page and search
within it. These NDF recruitments are open for varying lengths of time; if interested,
check 'em out for details.
Good Luck, and Be Safe.
Tim will be missed from this world on numerous fronts, but his
passion for firefighting safety and care of firefighters in
the trenches will be missed most of all. I never fought fire with Tim but I have
had the great privilege to teach S-490
with Tim on numerous occasions in the late nineties and into the last decade. It
is ironic and very sad that Tim passed
the very week that many who had known and were brought into our cadre by Tim
were gathered in Las Cruces
teaching a 490 class.
Vaya con dios mi amigo.
||Will the OV-10 ride again?
WOW maybe the federal side could acquire some of
these new aircraft???
Signed, Look Ahead!
making the rounds:
OV-10X Design photo
Also Cal Fire has just acquired three OV-10D, with four bladed props on 1040
They are going to build them up as spares and relief aircraft when multiple
fires hit statewide.
Plus they received 19 30' seatrains full of new spare OV-10 A-D parts, wheels
OV-10D w/3 blade prop
Length: 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
Wing area: 290.95 ft² (27.03 m²)
Empty weight: 6,893 lb (3,127 kg)
Loaded weight: 9,908 lb (4,494 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 14,444 lb (6,552 kg)
Powerplant: 2× Garrett T76-G-420/421 turboprop, 1,040 hp (775.5 kW)
Tailplane Span 14 ft, 7 in (4.45 m)
Maximum speed: 298 mph (479 km/h)
Range: 1,382 mi (2,224 km)
Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,159 m)
Will the OV-10 ride again?
fair use disclaimer
||Remember. Practice your home escape plan!
DH, fire marshall
Layton City Fire Department, UT
||going round-robin, from several people:
Subject: FY 2010 Firefighter
2010 Retention Bonus Extension
Forest Supervisors and Directors,
I want to let you know that Randy approved an one-year extension for the 10%
retention allowance for GS-5 thru 8 firefighters region-wide. The extension will
be effective in March, with no break in coverage, for one more year. We will be
noticing employees this week. Affected employees will receive individual letters
informing them of this decision.
The evaluation of the first year was inconclusive in the effectiveness of the
bonus. Other factors that may have affected the retention outcome are the change
we made in back-fill hiring in our fire hiring, the overall economy, and the
increase in tour. Therefore, we decided to extend it to see if we can detect a
direct effect and have time to complete a new supplemental pay proposal. We are
on track to have the supplemental pay proposal drafted for review by June 1,
Thanks, Jim (Peña)
||Firefighter retention continued --- OMB feedback on what has gone forward is
in the attached document
Attached are 4 documents that we believe update
everyone on the current status and address the questions asked by (1) Rachael
Taylor, Senate Approps. Committee and (2) OMB - John Pasquintino. The papers
reflect specific actions and decisions and timeframes that R5 is committed to. I
am also copying WO-FAM leadership with these documents. We did not attempt to
edit the WO Paper that went to OMB that was annotated by John P. Our belief is
that this briefing paper and attachments provide the context and support the
actions being taken.
Briefing Paper with summary table (182 K doc file) of the Congressional
funding and Staffing (Planned, Current and Vacant Temporary and permanent
Attachment 1a (182 K xls file) -- Firefighter Attrition and Resignation Data
from 1997-2009 (xcel spreadsheet file)
Attachment 1 (522 K pdf file) - R5 Regional Forester Approval of Firefighter
Retention Bonuses (2009 and 2010) with attached attrition, resignation, and exit
interview information on "What would it take for you to stay or return?".
Attachment 2 (522 K pdf file) -- Assessment of Alternatives for Modifying or
Developing a new Wildland Fire Technician Series
||The 2010 IRPG is available for purchase through the
Great Basin Cache System
at the National Interagency Fire Center.
The Great Basin Cache System will be closed for inventory and transitioning to a
new cache tracking system from March 1, 2010
until approximately April 30, 2010. Orders to the cache should be submitted
prior to the end of February to receive training
materials for classes.
The IRPGs cost $1.28, and the NFES Number is 1077
IRPG can also be accessed on the web
||It was with great sadness that I read of Tim Stubb's passing yesterday. I
had not been in electronic touch since
mid January. Seems like it was just yesterday I was on the phone with Tim and he
was chiding me to attend the
R3 ATGS refresher with him. Wow... hit me like a ton of bricks.
Don, thanks for posting Paul Gleason's memorial poem.. You are correct... Tim
and Paul are laying on that
bench beside that cool mountain stream...