"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
Photos: Minden Air's T-55 and T-48 chillin.
Ab, just thought these might be
fun to post in the photo section.
Thanks, Buck, I put them on the
Airtankers 32 photo page. Ab.
||Hotshot Squad Leader hiring:
The Hotshot Squad Leaders are still advertised nationally on the open and
continuous announcement as 6/7's. Below is the
announcement number to search for in AVUE.
Thinking that maybe they pulled a fast one and went back on there word to
advertise IHC Squaddies as 6/7's, I did go into
AVUE to confirm the announcement shown below is still available in AVUE to
submit an application, and it is.
Either I misunderstood your post or you just overlooked it. If you want
ab's can give you my email and I can help you find
it in AVUE. You might have been looking at the 10-person crew or fuels crew
GS7's that are supervisors however they
are not squad bosses. The IHC 6/7 Squaddies are not supervisors.
Hope that helps
||Supervisory Forestry Technician /
||OCRP IHCSUPT 462-9G
OCRP IHCSUPT 462-9DP
||Supervisory Forestry Technician /
||OCRP IHCASST 462-7/8G
OCRP IHCASST 462-7/8DP
||Forestry Technician (Squad Leader) /
||OCRP IHCSQDLR 462-6/7G
OCRP IHCSQDLR 462-6/7DP
Hotshot Squad Leader hiring:
I know the Hotshots converted the 6 position to a 7, and last fall the
jobs were hired as a 6/7 now I see that the only job available is a Supervisory
GS7. I have been working in fire since 2003, been on engines, Hotshots, Helitack
and now am permanent in fuels as a GS5. I have been wanting to get back into
fire permanently with an emphasis in Hotshots. However when I tried to apply for
the Squadleader position Avue's system said I didn't qualify for the 7 because I
didn't meet the time qualification as a GS6. Since the GS6 has been eliminated
from the Hotshot organization, do GS5's have to bail on their crews to other
modules so that the can get GS6 time so they can come back to their crews as
GS7's? I'm pretty experienced with Avue and have had to use Avue to get all the
positions I've ever held for the FS. I think I could eliminate the possibility
that I accidently made an error on my application that would disqualify me for
the squadleader position. I have been told that if there is no intervening grade
in the current organization you are qualified for the next grade as soon as you
have enough time and grade in your current position. I don't know if, since this
is a fairly recent application, there might be a glitch with avue. If you have
any more information on GS5's trying to get a GS7's on Hotshot crews, that would
African American SJs:
Don't know if you have seen this but i think its pretty exceptional! Here's
USDA Forest Service Honors First African-American Smokejumpers
555th Parachute Infantry Battalion- Triple Nickles WWII Film
Seeking night-time pic of the ’93 Topanga (Calabasas) Fire
Does anyone out there have that great night-time pic of the ’93 Topanga
(Calabasas) Fire as seen from the beach
north of Malibu (maybe right down from Pepperdine). Has Topanga totally on fire
on the left and the sand/ocean in
the foreground. I believe it was a Boise BLM Smokejumper who gave it to me to
use when I was developing S-470
and now I can’t find the original. If anyone has a copy, please e-mail it to
airops@ nospam paonia.com
Passing of George Geer:
GEORGE WALTER GEER
November 24, 1948
March 14, 2010
George started his career in the Forest Service in July 1970 on the Arroyo
Seco Ranger District, Angeles National. He worked in recreation at Chilao. In
1975 he transferred to fire prevention Patrol 1-5 (Chilao) and then to Patrol
1-10 (Angeles Crest). His entire career he was a leader in fire prevention
through: Team Teaching, Los Angeles County Fair, California State Fair, Smokey
program to schools and anything that had to do with fire prevention and Smokey
Bear. But his heart was with the Southern California Special Olympics. Come
June, George and his FS volunteers and friends, spent the weekend with Special
Olympic athletes. The last years of his career he worked as a Land Use
Administrator on the Santa Clarita River Ranger District. George retired on July
The motto of the Special Olympics can well be applied to
George’s life also.
Let me win. But if I cannot win, Let me be brave in the attempt
George W. Geer
This house is full of the unsung Hero types.
Date: March 30, 2010
Subject: 2010 Unsung Hero Award Program
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy
Chiefs and WO Directors
OPTIONAL REPLY DUE APRIL 19, 2010
Since 1985, the first Monday through Sunday in May is recognized as Public
Service Recognition Week. This is an opportunity to inform Americans about the
broad variety of services provided by Government and an opportunity to show
appreciation to public employees, who ensure that our Government is the best in
Each year, the President issues a proclamation extolling the virtues of public
service and thanking the many talented and dedicated employees who serve the
critical needs of America. To support the Presidential initiative, the
Organization of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (OPEDA)
established a special award program to honor and recognize U.S. Department of
Agriculture employees who have demonstrated a high level of service to the
The 2010 Unsung Hero Award Program will be held May 4, 2010, on the Whitten
Building Patio at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Managers, supervisors or peers may
submit nominations for individuals who have demonstrated a high level of
commitment to advance the mission, goals and services of their employing office,
the agency or the community. Each submission should be no more than one page.
The criteria are:
Individual Employee Contributing to the Forest Service Mission:
The award will recognize an active employee that has made a lifetime or singular
contribution to advancing the mission, goals and services of their employing
a. Define the Region/Forest/Area/Unit mission, goals and/or services.
b. Provide a description of the significant achievements, contributions,
difference and benefits the individual employee has made.
c. Letters of support from two individuals containing reasons supporting the
An Individual Employee Contributing to their Community:
The award will recognize an individual that has provided outstanding volunteer
contribution in their local, county or regional community in promoting the
Forest Service’s mission and goals.
a. Provide a description of the significant achievements, contributions,
difference and benefits the individual employee has made.
b. Letters of support from two individuals containing reasons supporting the
We apologize for the short turnaround on the reply due date. However, I
encourage participation from all levels of the Forest Service. Please send
submissions to Rhonda Thomas, Washington Office, Civil Rights Staff, by April
19, 2010. If you have any questions, please contact Rhonda Thomas at
202-205-9507 or email@example.com. Thank you for your continued support to
recognize the many valuable contributions made by our employees.
/s/ Thelma J. Strong (for):
CHARLES L. MYERS
Deputy Chief for Business Operations
Everyone Goes Home:
Doesn’t matter if you wear yellow and green, brown, black,
or what ever color your protective clothing maybe.
We all share the responsibly to see that everyone goes home.
You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.
Everyone Goes Home: This month's feature Situational Awareness
In response to unfair hiring practices:
Everyone that has posted something in regards to the "EEO" has a legit point!
There are unfair hiring practices, unfair labor practices in every industry and
facet of America. Get over it! The best chance that we stand in correcting these
wrong doings is by sticking together, not by creed or color but by coming
together as one and backing each other up the same way that we do every summer.
If you see somebody being mistreated, Stand up!
If you know someone who was skipped over due to race, Stand up!
If you're the real Slim Shady please. Stand up! "Just kidding"
When your Brother/Sister is down carry them! Don't just point and say see, now
you know how it feels!
When times are tough we stick together, not because of our skin color, because
we fight the same fight.
It's an honorable experience to sit here and have been passed over for a job
because i am white and over flow the scale of equal opportunity too far to the
I think of how humbling that is. And then i ponder what it must have been like
to live during the 50's and 60's as a person of color!
With that said, i think it cowardly for people who have experienced racism due
to color or creed or whatever to sit there and watch as other people are
mistreated. That is inexcusable in my book.
Regardless of color, everyone should have the same chance. Period. Hiring agents
and SMEs shouldn't even be allowed to know your race until the day you walk in
Now that is equality.
Saying that there are too many red jelly beans in the jar is just as bad as
saying there is not enough yellow ones (In my humble opinion). Racism is Racism,
no matter what kind of face you put on it.
That's the view from this soap box!!!
Signed: Not taking sides
Unfair hiring practices:
Respectfully (outside R-5)
I am not sure I would consider you comments about MB7's accusation of "unfair
practices" as respectful. While most would find the points you make possible
even plausible, you weren't there and your opinion should be presented as
possibilities, not a dissertation on what really happened or comparison to
dating. One reason you might find out a ranking is if a person or persons on the
panel were equally disgusted with the situation and mentioned the position
informally. I agree that we must be very cautious about the story of the self
designated victim, I would argue we should be equally cautious of those who
present the hiring & promotion system as the perfect process, as you do. The
current culture of PCness seems to find its way into everything.
In the early eighties I held the short end of several consent decrees making my
high placement on hiring lists ineligible for hiring positions. The rankings for
the list were provided, so this isn't guess work. Anywhere from 50% to all
positions were hired from the "underrepresented" list. Racial discrimination is
unacceptable. Anyone who engages in it or allows it to occur should be
dismissed. True zero tolerance will go much farther to eliminating racism than
the PC feel good diversity quotas, oh I mean goals we have now. If you really
think the diversity programs don't pass up more qualified candidates on occasion
to meet the arbitrary PC goals, you should look again.
Maybe there was more truth than fiction to MB7's story, only he/she knows.
So it's once again time for a little shameless promotion.
It was pointed out to me a few days ago that there's a bunch of
newguys coming up who probably haven't heard of or (even better) seen
me.. So in a nutshell, here's the story:
2001 season I was 2nd saw on Plumas
IHC, based near Tahoe California..
Just before Halloween we received a call to the Daniel Boone NF out in
Kentucky- It had been a dry fall & they expected a bunch of arson
fires. When we got there there weren't any, but the next day the local
arsonist(s) didn't disappoint as we had 30+ fires to contend with.
It was a strange place for a west coast crew- Flame heights of about
1.5' as the fire crept through the leaves.. All of said leaves had
fallen so it was difficult for us to identify snags.. Our tool
line-out on the digging side changed from shovels, 'pocnas & super-p's
to a leafblower, church-rakes & some kind of strange 'rubber floor-mat
on a long-handle' beater thing. Thankfully I got to keep my saw!
Second fire we were on we had almost completed the line- A bomber had
hit that last flank & pretty much killed the fire so the guys were
hand feeling while Jeremy (my swamper) & I were cleaning out anything
that would get in their way. Brett & Andy, the first saw team had gone
to take a hazard tree so Jer & I were out in front.. I remember
reaching up to cut a little bitty stick & next thing I knew I woke in
the hospital.. Beeping machines clustered up real close to the bed-
Hoses coming out of me all over the place.. One was plugged into my
neck & was doing the breathing so I couldn't even make a noise if I
I had no idea how I'd gotten there, what day it was or what had
happened. Not one clue.
Three of the crew came in a bit later- Mike Sherman, Pete Duncan &
Steve Tolen. Between the three of them they told me what had happened-
About the time I stopped to cut that little stick, 67 feet in the burn
a black locust was on fire. It had a cat face & the fire had gotten
inside.. Right then it failed & started falling in my direction. The
crew saw it coming & tried to get my attention but my back was to it,
I had earplugs in & a live saw in my hand.. My eyes were on what I was
doing & where Jer was.. I had no idea I was a target so I just stood
there as it hit me right over the back of the head.
The extraction took 6ish hours- That tree broke 30+ bones plus my back
& put me in 3 different hospitals over the next 6 months. Although the
proverbial "They" have never said it, it's likely I'll be riding this
wheelchair for the rest of my life.
There are several silver linings- One of which being now I get to go
all over the country talking to the crews about what happened. I have
a powerpoint of about... 70 pictures of my life that I put up- My life
before the accident, the time I spent in the hospitals and what I'm
doing with life now. It takes about an hour and a half.. And seems to
be fairly effective 'Safety Training' else nobody would ask me back.
With that said, Now I'll toss it to you guys. If you've seen me & want
to leave a comment, good or bad.. Do so. If you haven't & think you
might want to drag me in front of your crew / engine / station /
whatever.. There's some more information here:
plus there's a few names of folk who have seen me and certainly have
an opinion as to if you should.
So. Thanks for reading- If I see you this year say hello, if not then have a
Good to hear from you, Krs. Ab.
Happy to have been a wildland firefighter:
I recently was required to retire from the F.S. under the mandatory age/years in
service firefighter retirement mandate. If I had the choice to make I would
still be working. I can truly say that I was lucky enough to be able to say that
I can count the days on one hand that I didn't feel like reporting to work that
day. I see quite a bit of malcontents posting here sometimes and felt compelled
to remind us all how grateful we should all be for the jobs we have, especially
in this current job climate. Pay grade may be a lot less than other fire service
outfits, but other perks such as living in awesome small towns, working in the
woods, seeing parts of the country I would never have seen albeit for fire
assignments, opportunity to be exposed to other forestry management disciplines,
every paid holiday off except for groundhog day, training of all manner if you
are interested in branching out and working with a lot of talented, good,
dedicated people for the most part are but just a few reasons that pop to mind
about what is great about the Forest Service as a career. Sometimes we all tend
to focus on the negative and don't give enough credence to the upside of things.
I had a good time and managed to feed my family as I did. Sign me lucky, blessed
Thanks for the service! Ab.
re: Wildland Fire Suppression Tactics Reference Guide
Several years ago, we bought some of the last copies of the PMS 465 Guide from
the NIFC Great Basin Cache when it they decided not to re-publish. After cutting
the binding off one of the book, we scanned in as a .pdf copy with searchable
text at a relatively small size of 5.2 mb for 343 pages, which can be downloaded
Tactics Guide (pdf)
We started the process to post the entire book in .phpl format, but have only
gotten as far as the section 1, Fire Suppression Principles,
Thanks vfd cap'n, I made the Suppression Tactics docs we got
available to Zimm. Thanks to the firefighters that shared them with us. Ab.
re: Wildland Fire Suppression Tactics Reference Guide
To Battalion Chief Don Zimmerman:
Back in October of 2002 while re-writing S-336, Tactics and Strategy, I wrote a
white paper regarding phasing out the publication you referenced. An excerpt
from that paper should help you understand where updated information might be
found. The publication was in need of significant updating back in 2002 and was
not used like it was originally intended.
"The contents of units 2, 3, 4 and 5 appear to be a compilation of information
derived from courses listed in the 1993 edition of PMS 310-1 as “Suggested
Training” or the 2000 edition of PMS 310-1 where they are considered “additional
training which supports development of knowledge and skills.” Unit 1 is
apparently derived from chapter 50 of the 1986 edition of PMS 414-1,
“Firefighters Guide” because of the similarities in layout, content, and
duplication and commonality of the drawings and figures used. Unit 6 exhibits
close similarity with S-215, “Fire Operations in the Urban Interface” for the
same reasons. Unit 7 is a reprint of the document sometimes referred to as the
“520 Fireline Appendix” because it was originally distributed to students in
S-520, “Advanced Incident Management” presented at NARTC. The following table
summarizes the possible derivations of the units."
|Fire Suppression Principles
Use of Water and Additives
Use of Fire In Control Operations
Tactical Air Operations
Fuels, Fire Behavior, and Tactics by Region
Glossary of Terms
|Firefighters Guide Ch-50
I did a quick search and could not locate it on a CD. If it is really vital I
could dig out all my old 336 stuff and go through it or you might try a call to
one of the training specialists in Boise. It was phased out a long time ago and
copies may not exist anymore.
Zimm, I have another offer from a person that has the material you want
July '86 and April '96. Will get it to you. Ab.
Marty Alexander's Mystery Photo:
The photo is at LAC FS 70 the fire is the
1993 Old Topanga Fire. Mike Meadows is in the photo as is Alan Simmons..
Both out of town right now.
If Marty needs other info on this photo and fire, this area and the fire as it
approached FS 70 can be seen in Alan Simmons.
1993 Fire Storm Video (still available from Al).
The 1993 Fire Storm Video has the Green Meadow Fire, Kenniloa/Altedena and Old
Topanga Fire, I believe the best
Southern California wind-driven (50-70 mph) fire on video.
Alan Simmons is listed in sponsor on “They Said”. (Check the
JP Harris, LAC retired (sort of)
Thanks, JP. Ab.
Hello, my name is Francisco Senra (“Paco”) and I studied
at CSU from 2001-2002. While getting my MS Science I had the chance of helping
Paul at his Fire Management Course. I didn’t know his background when I met him.
In my country, Spain, Paul is well known because of the LCES rule, but at that
time I even didn’t know it. The professional I met was unbelievable but nothing
compared to his human’s profile. He was very generous and patient with my work
as teacher assistant in his lab’s course and offered me his company many times
while having his “five-shots espresso” at CSU cafeteria. Seven years has passed
since our emotive goodbye in Feb 2003, but it is still, and probably will be
forever, one of the unforgettable moments during my stay at Colorado. Rest in
peace dear Paul.
(pacologia@ nospam yahoo.es)
Welcome, Paco. Ab.
In this continually fair world our leaders are creating, it's
inevitable, someone's toes are going to be stepped on. Whether it's the
caucasians, the rich, or anyone else. It's truly difficult to be fair
when everyone's definition of "Fair" is different. This whole issue of
"Affirmative Action" is a whole lot bigger than just the Feds. There
are many inconveniences we all must deal with for the benefit of a
minority (like being told to "push 1 for Spanish, 2 for English"). I
once lived in an apt that had been totally wired just in case a tenant
in a wheel chair ever rented the place. It was a real pain in the ...!
All of the outlets and light switches were lower than waist level. Haha
However, During the HSA. I sat in the office of an engine on a so cal
forest and listening to my Captain tell my best friend that he
couldn't hire him because he was still trying to locate a Hispanic
firefighter... That position remained open the entire season. I had
another capt on a diff forest, that was Hispanic. He had around 20yrs
in fire, and a whole lot of quals. He applied several times for BC
positions on our forest, and he was passed up every time. From what I
have gathered, it is no secret that this capt had stepped on a few too
many toes, and had rubbed the wrong people in the wrong way. Those who
had been peers had long ago passed him up in their career ladders,
and may just not have seen his drive and motivation. He was passed up
for the jobs/details by much younger candidates so... Again, I have no
idea what the whole process involves, nor what the reasons were. But
this stuff does happen, otherwise we wouldn't have the safeguards that
Again this is a difficult and touchy subject, I honestly say, do some
serious contemplation and studying before filling a complaint. Be sure
you have your facts str8 and that you are not filing a complaint based
on your perception of the situation. Our leaders often have a much
clearer idea of what the bigger picture is than some of us
occasionally have. I agree with some of the previous posters. There is
such a process that goes into our hiring of candidates and so many
contributing factors. It is very possible that you may not have made
the cut for one seemingly small reason. Just like situational
awareness, the hiring factor my have made a decision with a diff or
less exp candidate due to a perception that was formed by the hiring
party, while putting together all the different facets of your
I personally fought a letter of warning that was full of false
statements and was a total violation of our family leave act rights,
and I won. There are tools and resources for us, protecting all of us,
they are there to be used. Dont be afraid to do just that. Just be
educated and honest, be honest with yourself and do some serious self
examination. Your perception is only YOUR reality.
Now with all that said! I do unfortunately mostly agree with the
beaten down white boys. There is a lot of BS and rotten deals goin on
with affirmative action stuff. I think that affirmative action has and
continues to be way over the top. The HSA agreement was foolish and
yet another perfect example of a knee jerk reaction. In trying to do a
good thing the pendulum swings too far the other way, crossing other
groups of people and stepping on their toes. But alas, just like they
say, it only takes one jerk to ruin it for everyone. After all, aren't
most Laws and regulations in effect for exactly that reason!?! Alright,
Nuff yabberin from me.
Is there such thing as Reverse Racism!?!
Remembering Charles Krenek:
Hi Ab, please post this remembrance. Thanks.
Remembering my friend Charles Krenek who died this day in 2003 during the STS
107 Columbia recovery mission...
He was an all round good guy who loved everyone and left an amazing legacy. The
world would be a better place if
more people were like him. I'm thankful to have known him and called him friend.
Memorial (and scroll down to 2003)
Thanks Greg. Ab.
Since it is spring, and we are getting ready for pre season, I humbly present
THE LONG CARD
Warm up run & stretch
200 Seated Flutter Kicks
20 Push Ups
10 Pull Ups
80 Swimmer Stretch (lay on your stomach, arms at 90 degrees w/90 degree bend,
lift arms and legs off deck)
200 Flutter Kicks
20 Dive Bombers
30 Half Jacks
10 Chin Ups
80/80/80 Sun Gods 3 pos (hold arms straight out from the shoulder & circle, then
straight to the side, then reach behind)
20 Diamond Pushups
10 Pull Ups
20 Dive Bombers
20 Wide Grip Pushups
10 Chin ups
20 Diamond Pushups
80 Rope Climbers (pin feet, half sit-up position, then reach as high as you can
alternating hands. Looks like you are climbing a rope.)
10 Pull ups
30 Push ups
Do for time, try to complete in less than an hour. 45 minutes is exemplary. I
can't do it in 45 minutes. When done with proper intensity, it will make you
want to vomit.
Apparently used by the USMC on ship when they do not have enough room for
running/more extensive PT.
Class C Sagebrush Faller
photo and Marty Alexander's request:
This was a LA County fire. I believe
it was in the Malibu fire of 1995. Fire was coming down on LaCoFD station 70 at
Mike Meadows who is a great LA area photographer should know who took this.
Mike, does this ring any bells for you?
Writer / former firefighter seeking info.
I used to be a wildland firefighter for a brief stint--1 1/2 years on a type 3
engine, 1 year on a type 6 engine with details onto the MD900 with the helitack
crew, and 1 season on a hotshot crew--and now write nonfiction. I've been
wanting to write a book about the season on the hotshot crew for a couple years
now but only recently feel my skills as a writer have matched my desire to
write! Some time back, I sent the following email to the forest I worked on
which was forwarded to the Superintendant of the crew.
"I am interested in obtaining copies of my records from 2003. I would like all
information on the Klamath IHC from 2003 such as my IQCS, crew IQCS, crew log,
listing of 2003 fires and locations and assignment type, etc. There was an end
of year report created for overhead and crew that I didn't receive. Or if you
have any other ideas that would be great! I appreciate your help."
He replied that he couldn't find my file and just sent me a list of the names
and forests of each fire we went to.
So my 1st question is... is there another way for me to get the information I'm
seeking? I've got quite a bit of the book written strictly from memory but feel
that the technical information from each fire would enrich the narrative. Any
help would be greatly appreciated!
Secondly, any information or links or contacts you could provide me for the
Flame-N-Go Hotshots would be very helpful. A second project I've got on my mind
would involve that crew, at least in part. I've not yet decided if the book will
only detail their experiences or contrast that with experiences of other inmate
crews but I would like to write a fire book on the from the inmate's
perspectives including interviews and narratives from fire and possibly after
release from prison.
Love your website. Keep up the great work!
I do not know of any database that would have the fire and crew info you're
talking about prior to about 2002. Prior to about 2002, no one kept it, aside
from some individual crews, and that wasn't too common either.
Several databases could be of some use.
- The 209 database was formed in 2000 or 2001. Maybe someone
with more detailed memory could fill us in on the early history of that.
(I'd have to dig back to find the details.) As the R5 web was changing in
2001, several of the first years' data was dumped, I believe by someone that
did not realize its importance as a historical record or realize that people
were already using it for research purposes. It was more carefully archived
after that. Anyway, you can find that info here:
fam.nwcg.gov fam-web scroll down to Previous years ICS
- You could also look in the
Incident Management Situation Report (ISMR)
Archives for some bare bones info on large fires
Links to both of those can be found among the links on our Links Page.
If anyone else has suggestions, please chime in. Ab.
New R-5 FFAM Director: "Qualities You Want to See in our New FFAM Director?"
The qualities I would like to see in my new FFAM Director are:
The brain of Gary Biehl.
The personality of a Rich Hawkins.
The professionalism of a Joe Millar.
The superior leadership of a Dietrich and Molumby.
The attitude and strong support for the rank-and-file firefighter displayed by
Put them all together and we get? Hummm. Well, lets see..... Is it legal to
I know I missed some goods ones out there..........
Decision coming soon. Lead up.......
Panther Fire Report
I think its all about situational awareness. CPS gives
us a bitchin "tool" for fire behavior and verbology to communicate it.
I bet dollars to donuts that 99.5% of this group would bump out without a
question if a Hotshot crew left the line.
I have read the Q/A on the attached website before, however every
time I come across it, like I did this morning, I say to myself; I really wish I
would of met Paul. His reference to Chuck Hartley brings back so many memories
of Chuck who is not only a legendary wildland firefighter. He is also an
unbelievable person. One of the most caring human beings I've ever met. We need
more Chuck Hartley's in this business.
Paul Gleason - He continues to be an inspiration to me and hopefully to you all.
Every time I read about Paul and think about Chuck, it reminds that even with
all of are issues, I picked the right business to get into.
Interviews with Leaders - Paul Gleason
Never Forget Black Tuesday - April 1, 2008 - "The Day They Lied from Coast to
If you still have your wristband, I ask you to please wear it this coming
Good Saturday morning All,
I added a pic from Nate H to the
Fire 44 photo page. He said "It's the Rail Belt Complex in AK taken around
Aug 2, 2009." I put a larger version on the red bags on
Sometimes we get questions about what is a red bag... (Marty's mystery photo is
on the same fire 44 photo page. Ab.
attached photo. Looking to track down details on the photographer (including
fire name and location from your readership.
Thanks very much in advance.
Any timeframe? Any region? There's a king cab truck in the
driveway, but it's scanned, not digital... so at least in the last several
Hiring, EEO, CD etc etc
What I like about this discussion is that everyone is
right, all these issues are true and have happened or still are happening.
To deny it or ignore it, simply put, nothing would change. Everyone has been
affected in one way or another. If you don't
think there is discrimination just look at American History. We know what is
wrong, We need to make change, We need
to do what is right. We The People........is the Foundation of Our Constitution.
Thanks for all the input,
Well put. It is interesting to hear all the different perspectives. Ab.
In Response to MB7's claim of "Unfair Hiring Practices," 3/9/10:
am very suspicious of the 3/9 post by "MB7".
There is no way "MB7," would have been told by the hiring panel that
he/she was the #1 candidate for any position. It just simply is not
how hiring was done and isn't how we operate as professional federal
agencies. There are many things that contribute to the selection of a
candidate, beyond diversity, and more than likely the person selected
over him/her was a more refined candidate based on years of quality
experience, qualifications, education, supervisory/personal references
and specific knowledge/skills/abilities of which applied to the
The claim that "unfair hiring practices," have occurred not just once
but THREE times...may give an indication that he/she simply is not a
good candidate. AGAIN- the hiring panel shouldn't be telling the
candidates how they rate out...if a person isn't offered a position
then they aren't the top candidate. He/she more than likely was not
selected based on an application that did not reflect actual work/life
experience nor did the supervisors and references collaborate with the
content of the application. It takes more than fluffy words on an
application to get a position on a firefighting module. A "Hiring
Panel," was mentioned, which indicates he/she applied for a permanent
LEADERSHIP position on a fire suppression module of some sort, that
being said, fire managers carefully evaluate applicants for positions
of leadership...we can't have just any one person hired because they
simply meet basic qualifications. It saddens me when people play the
role of self proclaimed "victim," perhaps it is time to look within
oneself and evaluate why he/she is not genuinely making the top
candidate list. "Extremely over qualified," in ones own mind may be
perceived completely different by others...think about how people
describe themselves in "Dating/Seeking," advertisements....seriously.
Fire Management leaders and Forest Supervisors have the heavy
responsibility of selecting individuals who are able to utilize
training and experience (fire line / life/ leadership) to keep our
firefighters alive in such dynamic and high risk environments. Often
times it is best to go a bit slow in leaping to higher ranks within
our chain of command...in due time, with refined experience, quality
training and a positive attitude, opportunities could improve. The
younger generation of Wildland Firefighter's deserve only the best
leaders, to entrust their lives to.
To MB7: I encourage you to do some self reflection & to revisit our
core values of Duty, Respect & Integrity before jumping to grievances
and lawsuits. I feel it is important to reserve those processes for
situations and occurrences which warrant deep consideration.
I also leave you with this quote from one of the best all time
"pigskin," leaders known to mankind:
" Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity;
having the capacity to lead is not enough.
The leader must be willing
to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There
must be truth
in the purpose and will power in the character."
The Honorable, Vince Lombardi
"It's what it is, isn't it?"
( from outside of Region 5 )
To add to the continuing discussion:
Just my bit of perspective; I too am a white male, who came out on top of an
engine captain cert after several years at the district with fully successful
and better performance appraisals (not that I think anyone really believes those
mean much). A co-worker walked by District Ranger Linda Fee's office as she told
the FMO that he would hire a diversity candidate. I found out more immediately
though, when the FMO told me himself that it was a diversity decision. The hired
individual is an excellent firefighter whom I have complete respect for and
didn't overwhelmingly out qualify, it just rubs the wrong way when the law is
broken and it becomes personal to you. Fast forward to a future year's hiring
(that is, 2010) where you look through applications and find "Diversity
Candidate" written in pen across a resume by the recruiter. I'm pretty sure
that's illegal, even though it's probably more common than I'd like to think.
Much of this conversation has been about male/female diversity, but I think a
big problem with our efforts to get ethnically diverse people into the workforce
stems simply from where we work. There just aren't a lot of minorities in most
of the towns that house ranger districts, at least not in R6. It seems
unrealistic to expect people from x ethnic group (or whatever you want to call
it) to want to move to what in most cases is a nearly all white community. Even
in a totally warm and welcoming community, I think there are times when there is
no substitute for people who can relate to you and vice-versa.
Speaking purely for myself, I just get frustrated when the organization -which
has so much potential to be great and successful!- touts itself as equal
opportunity while people at the Forest Supervisor and District Ranger level tell
their subordinates who do the actual hiring to break the law. That two-faced
failure of the organization is what prompts me to jump into these conversations.
These are some of the things that have prompted me to begin plotting my
pre-retirement exit from the organization. Maybe someday they'll get it
together, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Well, I've kicked around several different agencies for quite a few years and
can see both sides to the discrimination issue, at least as it pertains to
gender. On one hand, are there still folks up and down the ranks who would rid
the fireline of every last woman, given the choice? Do women still have to deal
with these people and their attitudes on the job? You betcha. Until a few years
ago, the overhead on a certain 'shot crew prided themselves on round-filing any
application with a female name on it, no matter what her skills or quals. And
several friends have been turned down for jobs not because others rated above
her, but because, in the hiring official's words, 'We've already hired our
diversity candidates for the season.'
That said, things are better than they were even a decade ago. Women are moving
up the food chain - hopefully on their own merits - in every agency. Sometimes,
as 'The ball is in your court' points out, there simply aren't a lot of female
applicants for a position. Even with the retention bonus. Even with the
outreach. At the same time, dedicated and qualified male colleagues get passed
over for positions again and again in the hopes that a woman will eventually pop
out of the woodwork and let them meet the quota. IMHO, it's no less insulting to
be HIRED for reasons other than your merits than it is to be turned down for
those reasons. And eventually some of those talented guys are going to give up
and go elsewhere, taking their skills and experience with them.
In an ideal world, the Forest Service, BLM, NPS et al could come up with a
system in which applications contain no factors that could ID gender (or race,
or what have you), so that hiring officials would be clueless, at least until
the reference check/interview phase, by which time at least the field would be
narrowed down once according to merit alone. Beyond that, if there must be some
sort of Consent Decree-type action, at least implement it as originally
intended, where a 'diversity candidate' must have qualifications EQUAL to a
white male applicant in order to be selected. But to blindly decree that the
workforce be a perfect mirror of local demographics is to ignore reality. And to
set someone up for failure, by fast-tracking them into a position for which
they're minimally qualified at best, hurts them...and, in a worst-case scenario,
could hurt a lot of other people, too.
Well lets settle the IFPM/FS FPM debate right now.
Education will only be required at the GS-13 Level and above. It will be under
the 401 series onslaught. IFPM is something that I believe is long overdue. IFPM
takes effect October 1st, 2010. FS FPM takes effect in 2013. If you are
wondering who fits in to what the requirements for each position is there is a
great cross-walk that talks about IFPM and FSFPM qualifications. As for what
will happen to FS personnel that do not meet the deadline. We are still
waiting for a letter from the Chief describing what will happen. As I
understand it the DOI has already said that if you do not meet the IFPM
requirements by the deadline that the next day you are hitting the road. I hope
this helps the thought process? It is not that these folks are dangerous,
because they do not meet IFPM. It could be something as simple as they are
missing the required class for their position. I mean is a Fuels Specialist
really dangerous if they are not RXB2? Where I like it applied and believe in it
is at the module leader level with Engine bosses being ENB and ICT4 qualified.
That is essentially part of their job. If they are still ICT5 and working on
ICT4 are they really dangerous though? Come on folks are we not being a little
As for the poor white male or kill whitey attitudes. Don't we have bigger
issues on our plates? First and foremost I will hire the best person for the
job. I will tell anyone that to their face Forest Supervisor, Civil Rights
Officer, BC, DIV, or who ever else has a problem with it. Hiring the best person
for the job does not really mean hiring the most qualified either. Some people
have great qualifications, but lack the proper leadership skills to be in
certain jobs. Personally, I look for passion, drive, work ethic, and a strong
positive attitude in my employees. I don't care what race, sex, sexual
orientation, or religion they are. If you are being passed up for jobs, my first
advice would be to take and objective look at yourself. Then take a look at your
job references. Then seek help in building a job application. (I have seen a
lady on here advertising help with that!) Sit down with your boss and ask them
what you can do to strengthen yourself for the next round of hiring. If it has
to do with Forest Supervisor decisions and you can prove that you were ranked
higher than the person hired in Fire Hire, you may have action with the Merit
board. It is not anyone in the Forest Service's job to make sure you promote or
get a permanent job. It is your own. If you do not know the path the only
suggestion I can make is a acronym. F.O.I.A.
On another interesting note! The Region 5 Engine Captain's Committee has had
some much needed CPR thanks to our Chairperson and a loyal band of Idealists.
Personally I hope to see a large, productive and powerful group come back to
full swing. With 272 engines in the Region this will be one of the groups to
follow. I expect great things from these folks! The call needs to go out that
all Engine Captains need to step up and become involved! Help shape the future
of engines in Region 5! The Engine Captain's group gives you one voice to speak
loud and strong!
Thanks, Northnight. Ab.
Wildland/Urban Interface Conference next week in Reno
If any of you will be
attending the Wildland/Urban Interface Conference next week in Reno, please stop
Booth #711 and we’ll show you some cool stuff.
Poor White Males are most welcome.
ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist
CD, Fire Hire and EEO Complaints:
For the Record, I have never and never would
file EEO, against anyone, even if my rights were violated (again). The
resolution process is total BS, ending in blacklisting of individuals, and a
scarlet letter for the filer (stamped 4F). and
the bottom line for me is, I don't want settlement money (i don't even like
money). I want a better United States
Caring for the land and serving the people. Maybe we ought try caring for one
another for a change, instead of treating
each other, as if finding fault in another will advance our careers.
I let my work stand on its own because I am a Region 5 Hot Shot. If you ever
were a lead saw on a Shot Crew then
lets hear what you have to say. My blood sweat and tears for acres, you guys (and
gals), nothing in my work ethic
exists to slam others.
Nice post. Ab.
The ball is in your court
I don't know how to keep women in the fire service
or minorities or white males. I am not a retention specialist!!!! My whole point from my first post is I am tired of hearing about the poor white
males. I also love my job and my
fire community. That is why I stay.
Tired of hearing...
To 'Tired of hearing about the poor white male',
Where should we get more women?
In the last temp hiring round we had scores of folks on the list, 3 or 4 were
women. When we called the women (and, trust me,
they were the first to get the calls) most had already been offered other jobs
so we are left with one out of twenty new hires.
Should we conjure up these women to hire out of thin air?
I have worked with many very capable women in fire. Where are they now? Most
opted out of fire and into admin positions
or other jobs. Should we have forced them to stay in fire?
How do we keep them?
The ball is in your court
Ab, & Tired of hearing about the poor white male,
Sorry for the over reaction! Been out of the Fire Service for awhile, but when I
heard "...where 3 out of the four
fire module over head are not qualified for their job." that scared me!
I have lost a few friends due to someone
not speaking out! Thanks for the explanation, it appears to be little different
from when I use to sign off on my people.
ARCH, I misinterpreted the post too. Ab.
Whoa, Whoa Whoa ARCH simmer,
Taskbooks do not define experience or knowledge,
and no AB's, the basic quals are still ICT 4, crewbooss or
engine boss. Everyone is having trouble with ICT4 and engine boss. Only one
person gives me the heebies. Post
what you want on this one.
Tired of hearing about the poor white male
OK, I guess I misunderstood your comment as well. Ab.
When it comes to unqualified fire personnel it is due to the fact that the FS
has adopted OPM's X-118. Which I believe states you just need time in grade and
able to obtain the proper quals in a certain time frame. That is discussed with
one's supervisor which develops a training program to meet the needs of the
employee. But then again I believe it’s the Agency's responsibility to see that
the employee get the training and is put on priority lists for training
assignments. Come October we will see if there is a lot of demotions or an
extension for the training. I put my money on the extension. The Agency hired
them and is responsible for the training.
You are right. If one feels they have been discriminated against it is their
right to file a complaint and they should do so. Do not file a complaint just
because your P_st O_f, make sure you do your homework. This is serious stuff.
AVUE and Fire Hire is where there are some real issues. I rated a #1 for a BC
job, but just because I marked a box yes that said "is this the highest grade
you have held in a permanent position" I was disqualified. The position I
referred to was a detail, but I am a permanent employee, it was the highest
grade I ever held and it counts towards my High 3. I am a type three IC with 35
years experience and the person who got the job does not have the quals, was a
GS 7, and was ranked #3. I came up thru a time when You got all your classes and
quals, then applied for the job to be competitive.
Guess I'll see were they stand come October.
Signed. 1 Year 6 Days and counting
AKA Had Enough
P.S. Love my job and my fellow FIREFIGHTERS
"Tired of hearing about the poor white male" stated:
"Right now I am working for a forest in region 5 in an office where 3 out
of the four fire module over head are not qualified for their job. They do not
meet the minimum requirements that they need to have by the October 2010
"Tired of hearing about the poor white male", YOU need to
take action and report this ASAP! This is how accidents and fatalities CAN
BE AVOIDED!! Report this! If you fear retaliation call or meet with
someone not connected to that office or forest! This is far beyond a gender or
race issue it is a SERIOUS live or death safety issue!
ARCH, they are not unqualified under the older pre-existing
qualifications and many are eminently qualified in fire experience/ KSAs but
there's a new system coming this October that requires a college degree or
college equivalent to advance in fire and aviation management above a certain
level. If you search on IFPM or FS FPM you'll find references to the new system as it's been laid out in
the last few years. Here's a Crosswalk.
Deadlines have been pushed back,
etc. So I don't think Tired of Hearing is talking about unsafe firefighters the
way you'd think about them, but no doubt she's met the new standards. In a
couple of years we're going to lose some experienced firefighters that have not
met those standards. The world of firefighting is changing... Ab.
I really enjoy this forum and I have worked in the federal fire service since
1995. I have been hearing the whole poor "white male" story my whole career!!!
Really are you kidding me? I have worked in 3 different states in fire CA, OR
and MT. I am female and every place I have worked has had few women in
leadership positions or fire in general. On my Forest there is one female
captain. I look around all of my training classes and there is usually one other
women in the class. I was actually very surprised when there were two other
women in my strike team leader class last year. Three women out of 30. Yep we're
are taking all of the "poor white" male jobs that are so wrongly taken from
Right now I am working for a forest in region 5 in an office where 3 out
of the four fire module over head are not qualified for their job. They do not
meet the minimum requirements that they need to have by the October 2010
deadline. So please don't tell me that women and minorities are the only ones
getting hired who don't meet qualifications. I don't agree with people who get
hired who are not qualified for the job. It brings down morale. I have been
passed over for a jobs where a less qualified person was hired. I even had 8
more years of experience than a person and a college education. Oh and guess
what, he was a male. Did I do anything about it? No that was my choice not to,
but I don't blog about it on they said. (Well I just kind of did.) If it is
truly happening to you do something about it, file a complaint try to remedy the
situation. It just gets so old hearing about the poor white male . Take a good
look at your forest fire organization and you will really see how many women are
in that organization . I know that there are 11 women on the forest that are in
primary and secondary fire position out of 170 fire positions. You do the math.
Tired of hearing about the poor white male
Haw Haw on the ("Well, I just kind of did.") Good one! Thanks for your
Some new photos posted on
Equipment 17 and
Airtankers 32. Thanks Contributors! Ab.
Perspective counts for a lot.
When I first applied for a fed firefighting job, I figured I was applying to
do a job I'm qualified for. I'm a minority but don't
necessarily look like one. I have an AC/DC gender name that also gives no clues
to my ethnicity. Figure I'll make the first
cut on my quals (KSAs) and that's how I like it. After that, I'll make it on
MTR, my guess is that you're not a Native American female. For myself, I'll
let my KSAs and fireline actions speak for me.
As some have said, it's 2010. It's not my parent's or grandparent's generations
altho I honor their contributions to change.
The person sending email from .mil ; please send your message, etc. from a private
email account. Thanks, Ab.
I don't follow the EOE train nor do I subscribe the the BS of that within the
current hiring practices. Do I believe in EOE? Yes I do. Do I believe that the
best person....male or female, irregardless of race, that qualifies with a top
score during testing should get the position? Damn straight. C'mon kids, this
isn't rocket science.
It shouldn't be up to the various agencies to "educate" those who couldn't pass
step 1, just so their EOE quota's are filled. I don't mean to sound racist or
anti-whatever....but the job needs to be given to the most qualified, PERIOD.
EOE be damned. Who would you rather have in charge of a your crew, someone who
KNOWS what they're doing or someone who THINKS they know what they're doing?
This is the kind of thing that makes me so happy I am retired!
Back in '78, there was a girl I went through basic FF1 training with. I remember
all the crap about that and the "changes" a woman in the station brought. She's
now an Admin. Chief and thinking of retiring with 33 years under her
command.....and she KNEW what she was doing! I'd have followed her to the gates
of hell, because I knew she was good leader and cared about her crew.
EOE and fair hiring is a good thing, taken in the proper perspective. However,
there are quite a few high scoring individuals who are passed over because of
the EOE, simply because they aren't the right race or don't have the "correct"
background. This is 2010, this crap belongs in the history books from
1964.....not now. I urge those in power to get off their respective ass's and
take a good hard look at your state of affairs. EOE may look good in the books,
but when lives are on the line, I could care less who'd leading me, just so long
as they KNOW what they're doing.
OK, off my soap box now..........
Are all these white people complaints helping the agency? Or are they just
showing the resistance that exists within the agency to racial equality in the
And, why is it that a CD issue about males and females gets turned into a race
issue, by those not of any ethnic minority group? I suppose some of the "white
males" are beginning to feel like the minority, however you are not. Quit
complaining. This country has a long ways to go to true equality, and this
federal agency is just a small example of the dynamics at work in our society
today. Thing about that is, you only hear about it if its a "white male" thats
loosing out? This ain't "tit for tat", this is corrective action for generations
of racially motivated hiring practices at the agency... starting 30 years ago...
and your still mad about it? Hmmm, lets think about that shall we?
Where's all the minorities voices in this discussion? All I hear are the
predominant class here voicing their concern in the name of "white males",
calling for "white males" to "stick together". Thats one hellova message the FS
is sending to us. "We know there is racial violations happening, and we're going
to slap the violators on the wrist with a 3 day suspension, while another
qualified minority goes unhired. Anyone mention the qualified females, mexicans,
Indians, ect that do deserve the damn job? Funny thing about race in this
country is the "white males" are the ones still defining race relations, 150
years ago ya'all Americans didn't even want to accept the Irish as White. Point,
the definition of race is relative, and will continue to evolve. No matter the
resistance, however flawed, from the predominant class.
Re: Palmer Perspective
Robert Palmer is one of the finest young leaders that I
have ever had the privilege to work with. His character and dedication to
wildland firefighters shines through his grief in his well written and well
thought out piece, "The Palmer Perspective" and I thank
this forum for posting it.
Much has been said previously about the state of medical care on wildland
incidents and I won't rehash it here. I just wanted to
let Robert and his family know that I will be presenting a lecture this year at
our annual Incident Medical Specialist training that
incorporates many of the current techniques and lessons learned from military
forward medical care, to include maximum
utilization of the golden hour.
I can't do anything about people being put at risk in places that should be left
to burn. What I can do is pass on these hard won
lessons to the men and women who will be the ones standing over an injured
brother or sister firefighter. For Andy.
Our friend Jess from Thermo-gel (Thermo Technologies) asked if we would post a
link to a press release wherein Thermo-gel and Absolute Fire Solutions joined
forces to offer an innovative new way to increase firefighting effectiveness.
The big news regards a new 'fast gel' initial attack helicopter bucket designed
to increase firefighting effectiveness. You can read the full story here:
AFS & Thermo-gel News OA.
Discrimination of "white males" has been going on in this
outfit (USFS) for many years, since the inception of the Big CD. The USFS had it
coming. Some line officers, etc were not even in the ranks back then, but yet it
continues. This is, and has been, social engineering. You may be the most
qualified candidate, with 25 years in fire management, but the so-called
managers could give a hoot. They have quotas ya know! Quotas that determine
their ability to manage and create a diverse workforce. Absolutely nothing
side-ways with a diverse workforce, need to have it. Humans are just that, we're
all in it together. But, if the managers don't meet their quotas, they get
shipped out. Simple as that. I am retired after 30 years with the outfit and I'm
absolutely troubled that the hiring practices have not changed. Way back when,
the late Jerry Levitoff, Mr. Bob Grate, and myself stood up to the agency and went
to CNN with the agencies discriminatory practices and still they continue for
the sake of "social engineering".
Filing EEO Complaints:
I have been following the discussion concerning
possible discrimination during hiring practices of the Forest Service. From a
historical perspective it is important to know that the Forest Service VOLUNTARY
entered into the Consent Decree back in 1979, which the district court approved
in 1981. The terms of that decree were to remain in effect until 1986.
In 1986, the female employees' class filed a motion for
contempt of court, in which they alleged that the Forest Service had not
complied with the consent decree. The district court granted the motion and
ordered the consent decree to remain in effect until 1991. In 1992, the
parties agreed to a new settlement, which expired in 1994.
Judge Samuel Conti (San Francisco) was the presiding Judge
of the CD (Consent Decree). He questioned the Forest Service on why
they wanted to voluntary enter into a CD back in 1979. This is important
because Conti had not determined that discrimination had occurred within the
Forest Service against women and Conti WAS NOT going to rule that a CD was
needed. The Forest Service CHOOSE to enter the CD on their own! That is a
true fact, look it up!
As time went on it was very clear that there was no way
the Forest Service could meet the demands of the CD. The pipeline
wasn't there. So... the Forest Service tried other methods and they
also failed, in turn, went back to Conti and said they wanted out of the CD.
Conti went ballistic.. in the court room (I was there). Conti said BS, I
cautioned the Forest Service about entering into this CD and now you want
out! Get out there and complete it or I'll put the Secy. of Agriculture in
contempt of Court!
Then started the BIG problem of discrimination against
anyone who wasn't a member of the Consent Decree. The Forest Service went
OUTSIDE the bounds of the Consent Decree! The Consent Decree only
allowed gender to be used as a tie-breaker if there was other equally
quailified applicants, the highest qualified was still the rule of
selection. The Forest Service then started cancelling job
announcements if a veteran with preference applied, cancelling rosters when
no females appeared, letting positions be vacant until they could locate a
female to apply, by-pass its own qualified Region Five females if a out of
Region female applied to bring up the percentage, etc. The Consent Decree
DID NOT allow the Forest Service to do these aforementioned things! The most
famous example (Read in the Senate, also shown on CNN and 20/20) was the job
announcement from the Six Rivers National Forest:
QUALIFICATION: ONLY UNQUALIFIED APPLICANTS MAY APPLY.
The result of this type of hiring practices was hundreds and hundreds of EEO
Complaints. Most of the complaints were settled in favor of the
complainants, BECAUSE the Forest Service was outside the bounds of the CD!!
Jobs were given, large amounts of dollars in back pay, retirement and
Attorney costs were covered. One Regional Office Staff member reported to me
that the Region (Region Five) had paid out 12 million dollars in
settlements to the complainants (EEO complainants). This I believed because
Court records showed that Region Five had spent 23 million dollars in just a
three year period on just the implementation of the Consent Decree.
Remember, the CD went on for 13 years!
Discrimination is costly in more ways than one!
If a person feels or believes he or she has been discriminated against, file
a EEO Complaint. That is YOUR right! If someone complains to you about
filing a EEO complaint ADD them to your complaint, you will hear nothing
more from that person! The process is simple. Make sure you meet ALL
timeframes. If you believe that the settlement they offer you in the
informal stage is not correct, then you need to file a FORMAL complaint.
This can take time. Very few are settled in the given time frames. The
longest I know of was 8 years.. BUT, full settlement was made, and that was
after the person had retired!
I do not suggest or encourage anyone to file a complaint unless they know or
feel they have been discriminated against.
Individually and as a group we need to "Keep them Honest".
Maybe I should add this to the IMWTK page. Ab.
Had Enough and Others
I started working for the FS in 1984 and have seen discrimination of white males
since I started. I have yet to see any discrimination of women or minorities in
my 26 years so far, but I am a white male and everytime I listen to our EEO
folks they would have me believe it is inherent in me to unknowingly
discriminate and they have to balance that out by giving advantages to women and
minorities, and even though that is a disadvantage for white males, that is not
discrimination. So do what I did. I filled out the AD 1086 form claiming
minority status and encouraged the folks that work for me to do the same. You
folks in California could end your problems overnight if the Agency met its
"GOALS". It is a violation of your privacy to even suggest you prove it. And for
all of you who would chastise this response I bet you had no problems with the
Forest Supervisor on the Six Rivers hiring practices. After all, no matter what
you do, you can't discriminate against a white male, right.
Another R1 FMO
Applicants, this may not be an easy time on the seasonal
fire hire jobs front, however, please represent yourselves honestly. Lying is
not the answer. Maintain your integrity and values. You should also apply to as
many firefighting positions as possible to get hired. Ab.
Thanks for the idea, if I have a minute between things around the base here,
I'll make a call and see what I can find out.
Your comments are spot on. I don't see why we can't do things "the way we used
to do". People from the forest going to the S.O. and going over applications,
kinda like we go through temporary hiring now. It makes sense that we'd do the
same thing with key overhead positions on modules. And like you mentioned, I'd
bet its even cheaper doing it that way instead of a week of hotel, per diem and
potential overtime at Fire Hire. You can still use AVUE, the continuous open
list, etc., etc.
How does the Recreation Department and Biology Shop hire folks for jobs? I know
its in no way the same number and scale of positions but it makes you wonder.
Job opens, they throw out an outreach, they put the job on the street, it
closes, they pull a cert and make a selection, right? If I'm wrong please
I know as a chief officer (when I eventually get there), I'd want to see the
best and brightest applicants for some of my key module leader positions, not
"who had the inside info on the position opening" or "that's a garden spot
location, I'll throw my app in there" and ended up being one of the few
applicants for the job. I'm sure people are doing this (I've begun too, just in
case and know a few others who are going to start doing this) to cover
themselves on the chance the job they desire opens up.
So people are wasting time calling my supervisors and former supervisors for
reference checks for jobs that will probably not be open!
Seems a bit broken.
Reverse Discrimination or Reactivation of Consent Decree?:
I've heard more and
more about people not qualifying for specific jobs in the wildland fire
occupations with the Federal Government.
I started fighting fire as a volunteer in 1983, and started my first paid season
in 1987. During that time of the late 1980s to the early-1990s I saw where white
males were continuously passed over for less-qualified minorities of both sexes.
If you were white male, you need-not apply.
In 1988 I saw a white male Seasonal Prevention Technician who had five seasons
of experience competing for a 13-13 position told that he would not be selected
for the position, but he would be expected to train the minority woman with one
season of experience that would occupy that position. The male Prevention Tech
stuck out the season, then left for another position. The woman who filled the
position lost it the next season because she could not do the job.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) was asked by the feds to
fly seasonal fire positions with the emphasis on 'minority' hiring for the fed
fire positions. Many qualified white males were passed over or simply had thier
applications 'held' if they could not find enough qualified minorities to fill
About the same time I saw a female seasonal firefighter for CDF (Now CAL-Fire)
with one fire season be promoted to a permanent engineer the next season,
passing over several white males with more than five seasons of experience.
Some of the minorities hired or promoted because of Consent Decree were good
people, but there are a lot of them now who are now in charge and are running
programs into the ground with political correctness and useless projects.
In the mid-1990s the Federal Government dumped the 'consent decree' after not
getting enough qualified minorities to fill positions and moved back to merit
and experience as qualifying traits.
Its very disturbing to me that it sounds like that bad experiment of the 1980s
and 1990s is being resurrected again, being "White Males Need-Not Apply". I
sincerely hope I am wrong, because I have never discriminated against anyone
because of color, sex, religion, or orientation. But I have judged people on the
content of their character, or lack-of, and the quality of their work ethic.
Since the early 1990s minorities have held many of the highest positions in
State and Federal government, the last administration had two african-americans
as Secretary of State, and an african-american now holds the highest position in
the land. To me, we are now all equal. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream was
But now were going back down the old roads of "we need to make up for the sins
of the past" with a return of a form of Consent Decree. When will I be denied
moving up to the next step? When will I be 'bumped-down' or 'bumped-out' because
I fall into that category of 'those evil white males need to pay for the sins of
I hope and pray that what we are seeing is an accident of circumstance, and that
content of character, education, qualifications and experience are the deciding
factors in selection for a job.
Unfortunately, and disturbingly, the more and more I look at the current
administration in power I see that "We're in Charge Now" and "you didn't support
us" are the rules of the day.
What's happening to our agencies, our government, and our country?
You said: "Or, crazy as this sounds, let the forests handle the hiring
of their individual jobs that open up, (I know, I know, not many HR and
Personnel people left on the forests themselves, would take a long time, a
lot of money, etc, etc)
I say: Back when individual forests were afforded the ability to conduct
evaluations and hiring on the home unit, it certainly didn't take more time or
money. In fact, we spent far less time and much less money.
We approached the task at hand in a motivated, organized, fair and impartial
manner in which true group consensus was reached and considered in developing
our recommendations. Rarely, if ever, do I recall the Forest Supervisor
questioning the quality or validity of our work or recommendations before
forwarding to the Regional Forester's Team for approval. I would like to add
that while it took a lot of effort, it took far less time than what we currently
expend in support of R5 Fire Hire.
As for your reference to "a lot of money" to conduct hiring on the home
forest, I'll let you in on a little secret. I have yet to find a line item in
our WFPR budget to support the cost of sending folks to McClellan to participate
in the process. R5's expectation is that we should send anywhere from 3-5 people
to assist in this collective effort. Where I come from, that's around $1000.00
in travel and per diem for a 5 day stint. In the current atmosphere of increased
operating costs and declining budgets, I have a problem with this concept. And
don't forget, Fire Hire occurs twice a year. Wow! I wonder at what cost for all
Is it right to sacrifice scarce fire preparedness funds to support Fire Hire vs.
using them for other important things like employee training and career
development, supplies and equipment, specialized tools we need to carry out our
jobs, etc.? I think not. I believe its time for R5 to redeem its responsibility
and "Pay for Play".
Okay, I've had my chance to rant. But the bottom line being: All I know is, it
never came close to costing as much to conduct the hiring process on the home
forest as it does these days. Nor did we ever come close to making some of the
blunders in selection of Level 3 applicants which I've seen affect our
organization in recent times.
Carry on and never let 'em get you down,
I am not even sure if backfilling is legal according to OPM. I believe all
Federal jobs have to be advertised to make the
system fair and competitive. A call or research with OPM might answer that. I
believe the Region did that under pressure
from Feinstein's Office to fill vacancies.
Idaho/Montana: 1910 Monument and fund raising
As you are all aware 2010 marks
the 100th anniversary of the great fires that burned in Northern Idaho and
Montana. Many events and commemorations are planned but this summer and a
committee has been formed to finance, construct and dedicate a memorial for the
firefighters that lost their lives in the 1910 Forest Fire. The committee has a
plan which is in three parts:
- Repair and refurbish the 2 mass graves at the Nine Mile Cemetery near
Wallace. These graves have 5 firefighters buried in each one. We will also
purchase and install directional signs at the cemetery to assist the public
in locating these historic sites.
- We will have a granite stone that matches Ranger Pulaski’s original
design for a memorial for the 6 firefighters that lost their lives on his
crew. We plan to have this stone installed at the edge of the grave site in
the Nine Mile Cemetery where 5 of the 6 firefighters are buried.
- We are going to purchase a large black granite stone and install it as
the centerpiece to a memorial that will be constructed at the Wallace
Visitors center at the West end of Wallace. The wording on the memorial will
1910 FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL
This memorial is dedicated to those firefighters who lost their lives
fighting the “Great Fire of 1910.” Their heroic efforts while enduring some
of the most severe fire behavior in our nation’s history will not be
Dedicated August 21, 2010
As you can imagine accomplishing this long overdue project it will take a
substantial amount of money. We have set a goal to raise $25,000. Any individual
or organization that donates $500 or more will have their names listed on a
plaque as a donor. Any donation will be appreciated. If you can make a donation
please make your check out to:
1910 Firefighters Memorial
and send it to:
1910 Fire Commemoration Committee
Historic Silver Valley Chamber of Commerce
10 Station Ave.
Kellogg, ID 83839
I thank you in advance for your support to our project. We will be dedicating
these memorials on August 21, 2010 as part of the 100th year anniversary
celebration of the 1910 fire. We invite you to attend this very special event.
Osburn, Idaho 83849
Hello, my name is Earl Buenting from Illinois. I was searching for a classmate,
Bill Oelig, and found a posting in
wildlandfire.com that Bill had died while
working a fire. I was wondering if you can confirm that for me. Any
you can provide would be appreciated.
Look at the post on Feb 26. Bill is gone. The info is there. Ab.
Re: unfair hiring
The complaint process.
I looked at the MSPB website. It looks like the USFS needs to begin the process
by calling the EEOC, which
yactac posted a while ago. I called the number and talked to someone. It seems
pretty scary to go down
the complaint path against the green machine and the forest supervisor that
One important thing the person I talked to said, is that you have 45 days to
file, from when the offense occurred.
Im going to keep thinking about it a little longer....
Again, I dont want to ruin the career I do have?.....
More Fire Hire:
Another thing that makes me wonder is how do we find out if
jobs are going to be open once folks vacate positions?
For example, say an Engine Captain moves up to a Battalion Chief job during the
Fire Hire process. That Captain job
is suddenly open and from what I've been seeing from Fire Hire, the job is
immediately backfilled with someone off the
cert, if there are applicants, for that current open captain slot.
This is good because it keeps modules staffed but if you wanted to apply for
that captain job, unless you had some
inside information about the possible opening, you don't get a chance to apply.
Can a forest/unit NOT hire off the cert, say they wanted to get more applicants
for a job or are they held to selecting
off the cert that's right there at that time?
I know it would lengthen the hiring process but I think there's a lot of quality
candidates that miss out on positions
because they don't know they were going to be vacant. Perhaps start fire hire a
little earlier in the year, or have a
couple of them. Or, crazy as this sounds, let the forests handle the hiring of
their individual jobs that open up, (I know,
I know, not many HR and Personnel people left on the forests themselves, would
take a long time, a lot of money, etc.
So do we apply for locations/jobs that we might want to work at in the hope that
the job will open? Do we start calling
the incumbents in the position and ask them if they are looking at taking
another job so we can apply for it?
I know a lot of quality applicants that would've applied for positions had they
a notion those positions would possibly
Re: The Palmer Perspective
Before I jump in, a little background on me; I
started in EMS and Fire in 1988, I became a Paramedic in 1990 and have worked in
both busy urban and rural systems throughout the Western US. I have also been
involved in wildland fire since about 1989. Six years ago I switched to wildland
fire as my full time gig but I still keep my EMS quals through a part time job.
I am currently run an engine module but I have also run type 2 IA crews.
The state of care provided for our firefighters on the line is pathetic in most
cases. I have said for years that there needs to be a change of culture on how
we deal with injuries on the line. While I have seen fantastic MEDLs strive to
set up a quality system for care on an incident, it is far too often the other
end of the spectrum that I see. A MEDL that had their EMT-B years ago, has no
line experience and has no direction other than the agency telling them to
reduce costs. I have been on incidents were they have pre-identified one of the
incident helicopters as a “Med-Evac” ship. Usually these helicopters are doing
other work and must come back to the helibase to re-configure and pick up
personnel (usually EMT-B level), in addition, most of these ships are not
configured to take a litter patient. Folks, if we need to fly a patient to a
hospital, there is a 97% chance that they will be flat on their back and need
more than basic care (no offense to the EMT-Bs out there).
Unfortunately the culture is not just on incidents, it is a daily thing around
our agencies. Why do I get questioned about purchasing basic life support items
for the engine? Why do we not require that firefighters have at least the First
Responder course? Why do we not request line qualified Paramedics to our
incidents? Why is EMS for our personnel always an afterthought?
While I am not advocating that the agencies become EMS system providers, we do
have a responsibility to our employees to provide a safe work environment and to
provide for their welfare when injured. I would suggest that we look a little
closer at the military model, all Soldiers get the equivalent of an advanced
first aid course, then they train a percentage of them to the combat life saver
level (the ability to provide more advanced care including IVs). After that they
have medics and then all the way up to trauma doctors. They attempt to provide a
large safety net so that when a soldier is injured they can receive immediate,
coordinated care from the basic to advanced level in as short an amount of time
as possible. We could most definitely learn from this model.
Whichever way we go, we can’t stay here.
Been reading They Said for several years lots of good
information being passed around. I am extremely curious as to
how many people have been discriminated against or faced Unfair Labor Practices
related to FIRE HIRE. For those
of you who do not fit in the usual E.E.O. complaint process there is the Merit
Systems Protection Board. It can be
found at Merit Systems Protection
Board website. You
need to carefully read through their site. If you have been discriminated
against, it is
your Constitutional Right to seek settlement. There has been a lot of
inconsistencies related to FIRE HIRE that are
George Geer's passing:
It is with a heavy heart that George Geer, recent
retiree of the Angeles National Forest passed away March 14, 2010.
His service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, March 27th at the Church of the
Good Shepherd, 400 W. Duarte
Road, Arcadia, CA 91007-6819. A map and driving directions are attached.
A celebration of his accomplished, vibrant and generous life will follow at the
Arcadia County Park, 405 S. Santa Anita
Ave., Arcadia CA. It will be picnic style with George’s favorite food group,
barbecue hot dogs, chips, tacos and drink.
Please bring folding chairs and blankets so that you have a place to sit and
reminisce the good times with family and friends.
If you wish to send your condolences to the family, you may send them his sister
Mary Geer, 909 Lotus, San Dimas, CA
91773. The family is also setting up the “George Geer Memorial College Fund” to
help kids achieve a higher education
and make a difference in this world. Checks can be made out to the fund and
mailed to Mary.
John B, ret
photo: George (on left) and Jeff Bradford at Special Olympics (George doing
what he loved).
“The Palmer Perspective”
Wildland Fire Reform, “The Palmer Perspective”
January 29, 2009
by Robert Palmer
My world changed on July 25, 2008. I lost faith in the "fire world’s ability
to help one of their own".
I had just returned from a 14-day wildland fire assignment in Northern
California, when my Fire Management Officer met me in the parking lot to tell me
about my younger brother, also a member of a wildland fire staff; "Rob, Andy was
hit by a tree this afternoon and isn’t doing well. I’m going to drive you to the
airport and fly you back down to California." I made it to the airport, 15
minutes away, when I received a call informing me that Andy had died en route to
He was 18 years old, a recent high school graduate, enrolled in college for
the fall, and lived a vigorous life. After a couple of weeks of training, this
was his first fire assignment and first day of real work when he died. Andy’s
incident provided me with a very raw and a very distinct perspective considering
my experiences. I now understand what it means to lose a loved one tragically. I
know what it is like to watch a falling tree kill a fellow crewmember and the
frustration of not being able to change anything. I also know how Fire
Management operates after serving over 10 seasons in fire and as a crew
supervisor with the National Park Service (NPS).
I have protected our national lands, I have worked with some of the finest
employees in this country, and I have fought for their interests. I now need
your support as I fight for my brother’s; we have a National Fire Management
Program that cannot provide for the safety of its most important resource, its
employees. Several weaknesses and human factors contributed to Andy’s death, but
Andy is not alone. One would be naïve to attempt to focus corrective actions on
one factor, for we have a much larger problem. We aggressively engage too many
fires. We need to ask the questions, "Why are we doing this?" and "Why
are we here?"
Objective: Golden Hour Response
Determine response and engagement based on the capability to deliver any
injured fire personnel to an appropriate medical facility in less than 60
minutes. This will:
- Decrease engagement to SAFELY mitigate risks during response
- Establish Emergency Medical Standards on an Incident
- Dramatically decrease costs associated with wildland fire
- Decrease impacts to the ecosystem
We must decrease our engagement because we do not have the capacity to
evacuate injured fire staff safely.
This is only the beginning. Read the rest of this thoughtful treatise --
complete with recommendations -- by clicking the link below. Ab.
Palmer Perspective (273 K
Thanks Rob and hotshots. My best to you, Palmer family. Ab.
The times I worked with Zig Zag when Paul was running the crew they were running
Forest Service Discrimination
I have recently been prevented from obtaining a
position with the Six Rivers National Forest because of discrimination.
I had already been tentatively selected for a position. When I called back 3
weeks later I was told that I no longer was
going to be hired because the Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley had decided that
the candidates the captain had selected
were not 'diverse' enough. So because I am a white male, I was prevented from
obtaining a job.
This goes directly against the stated policy of the Forest Service which I
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in
all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national
origin, age, disability....." (fs.fed.us/cr/
This is not the first time that the Forest Service has discriminated against
me but I am not going to let this one slide.
qualified, yet unhired
Zig Zag saws
Researching for the Paul Gleason Wildland Fire Scholarship here at CSU.
Can anyone tell me saw brand(s) used while Paul ran Zig Zag?
Scholarship update will be sent soon.
I have read the Panther report and have the following comments
to make.I think the report is one of the best that I have read and I do not disagree
with the content. Some of the language that's taught in CPS classes is there
and I think some could be added to help in the recommendations made.
Regarding the Panther Fire Entrapment Report quotes and comments.
By Doug Campbell
Doug Campbell's Fire Behavior Language
Page 27 of the Panther Fire Report:
“DIVS 1&2 missed the importance of two critical radio transmissions
regarding increased fire activity from a posted lookout. They undervalued
the lookout’s messages, compared to the crews who clearly understood the
warning given by the lookout and acknowledged the danger associated with
hearing “increased fire activity below the indirect line”. This is an
example of what is referenced in major industrial accidents as “inadequate
cue utilization”21. Proper cue utilization is a function of the
clarity of the cue, the ability to understand the significance and meaning
of the cue, an understanding of the actions that are required upon
perceiving the cue and the ability to react in time to the cue. An alarm
such as “Engine Fire!” on an aircraft would be an example.”
A CPS cue:
Fire behavior getting worse; reaching the trigger point of an in-alignment
Locate the first run track and perimeter.
The type of fire and best tactic.
Panther Fire Report:
“The ability to react to a cue is also a function of expectancy.
Briefings should therefore serve two purposes. First, they describe to the
participants what the area(s) of concern is(are) and what the warning should
sound like, by reviewing the expected cues to enhance the level of
expectancy and preparation. Second, briefings should inform the players of
exactly what action is expected to be taken when the cues or signals are
CPS methods Identifying the area of concern:
The variation of the fire signatures, head, flank and heel.
The location of the fire on the terrain and the alignment of forces present,
causing the fire (signature) fire intensity.
Make predictions of where and when the variation of intensities is likely to
Identifying the timing of mitigating actions.
Panther Fire Report:
2. Solicit Forest Managers to develop a safety briefing procedure for
newly arriving personnel that personalizes the safety briefings used in high
risk operations. Establish a working group to assess the current forms of
communication of safety information transmitted through briefings. This
group should produce guidance to reflect actual conditions facing the
firefighters on the line and prepare them for the hazards unique to the
specific conditions that crews are likely to encounter. The briefings should
address safety considerations and procedures unique to the assignment, based
on thorough risk assessment.
(Findings 2, 7, 8, 9)
3. Develop a policy to fully evaluate and, if indicated, develop a system
which standardizes communication of safety critical information and Crew or
Team Resource Management for ground firefighters. If indicated, include this
language and CRM training for personnel engaged in high risk operations.
Thanks Doug. Ab.
Panther Report (1048 K pdf file) does not call out for use of
Doug Campbell's Fire Behavior Language, I don't know
what does???!!! Doug has released the info from copyright as I recall, so
what's the holdup NWCG????
It's logical, fer gosh sakes!!! It allows LCES implementation. (It
also worked on the Station Fire- IA to
In addition to groundpounders being able to communicate on the ground, clear
communication is necessary
during IA to Team transition, especially when newcomers are from outside the
area and have not been
scrutinizing (sp?) the fire's behavior for days.
Look at the communication comments in the report starting on page 26.
Systemic communication problems
can be mitigated.
Let's get about it!!!!
Passing Of Porky Moreno
My Dad wanted me to put his tribute to Porky Moreno on They Said for him. He
and Porky worked together for
many years on the LP. Dad was the LP Hotshot Sup after Porky left the position.
"Vaya Con Dios Porky" - another hero gone on to a new place.
Julie and the girls hang in there, we are thinking about you.
Dick Calkins LPHS Ret.
Dear Ab, ms & All:
In keeping with MS' post about a wildland firefighter series, I thought I'd
provide the attached document from
1991 that addresses the need for a series. That was nearly two decades ago and
we still haven't seen much
progress on the issue. In fact, the FWFSA possesses similar documents about
classification and portal to portal
pay from as long ago as 1985!
Hopefully this will demonstrate to the younger folks coming up just how long
this struggle has been going on
and just how difficult it is to effect change.
1991 FS doc addressing Wildland Firefighter Series (8,753 K - 17 page- very
large pdf file)
Passing of Howard "Porky" Moreno: U.S. Forest Service, Santa Barbara Ranger
Santa Barbara News Press Obituary:
March 21, 2010 9:11 AM
Born September 25, 1920 in Santa Barbara, CA to Joseph and Edith Moreno. Died in
Anderson, CA February 21, 2010.
After attending Santa Barbara High School,
Porky joined the Army Air Corps (8th Air Force). Following his military
duty, he joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and began boxing,
turning professional as a bantam weight boxer. Porky joined the U.S. Forest
Service, Santa Barbara Ranger District in 1947. His duties included being a
crew leader and then foreman of the Los Prietos Hot Shots, a respected fire
fighting crew throughout the country. Porky retired from the Forest Service
in 1978 and moved to Anderson, CA in 1998.
A burial service has been planned for the Goleta Cemetery on May 15, 2010 at
1: 00 p.m.
Fair Use Disclaimer
The Forest Service has a response to OIG coming out in the next few weeks on
firefighter job series and incentives for supporting emergency management
activities. This is due out in the next few weeks. More soon on that letter.
Here is a letter that has some relationship to that response.
Date: March 17, 2010
Subject: Interagency National Wildland Firefighter Workforce Assessment
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director and
In 2004, the Forest Service (FS) and the Department of the Interior (DOI)
developed a five-year plan to conduct efficiency and workforce assessments of
key functions within the Federal wildland firefighting program. Under this plan,
the Agencies completed efficiency assessments for the aviation, dispatch, and
training functions. Recommendations are in various stages of implementation.
The area of study is an Interagency National Wildland Firefighter (NWFF)
Workforce Assessment. This assessment, which began in August 2009, is examining
federal fire positions in the FS as well as in the DOI bureaus. From this
multiyear review, the assessment team will identify potential areas for
increased consistency and program effectiveness, and recommend improvements to
succession planning and career paths for firefighters.
It is important to note that the NWFF Workforce Assessment is not in response to
the December 26, 2009, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of
Inspector General (OIG) Audit of “Forest Service’s Firefighting Succession
Planning Process.” The NWFF assessment began prior to the OIG audit findings,
with the goal of developing findings and recommendations supporting both
agencies as well as our state partners’ wildland fire programs.
There are two phases to the NWFF workforce assessment. The Phase I (FY09/10)
assessment will analyze all wildland firefighter positions within the FS and the
DOI wildland firefighting duties funded at least 51 percent of their base and
will examine how these personnel are recruited, hired, trained, and retained.
Phase II (FY10/12) assessment will similarly examine federal positions
supporting wildland firefighting that spend less than 51 percent of their time
on fire duties. The Phase II assessment will include our state partnership
Gilbert Zepeda, Deputy Regional Forester for the Southwest Region and Amy
Lueders, Associate State Director for the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, are
leading the NWFF Workforce Assessment team. The lead Subject Matter Expert (SME)
is Dan Olsen, Director of Fire and Aviation Management for Region 8. Robert
Kuhn, Washington Office, FAM Planning and Budget Specialist, and Elizabeth
Walatka, Washington Office, Strategic Planning & Budget Accountability
Management Analyst, are providing technical oversight and support to the team.
Other SME members include a highly experienced cross section of individuals from
the FS, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian
The FS invited the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) to designate
a representative to participate in this assessment to ensure inclusion of NFFE’s
valued perspective and membership’s vision. In response, the NFFE Forest Service
Council designated Darlene Hall, Airtanker Base Manager on the Lassen National
Forest, to represent NFFE on the team. The team is supported by a consultant,
Management Analysis, Inc. (MAI), aligning with the Office of Management and
Budget’s direction to use external non-biased experts when conducting program
assessments and workforce reviews.
The team will post information on the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)
webpage to keep the workforce informed as the assessment progresses. Please
contact Robert Kuhn, WO-FAM Planning & Budget Specialist, at (208) 387-5877 or
firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.
/s/ Robin L. Thompson (for)
JAMES E. HUBBARD
Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry
cc: Tom Harbour, Robert Kuhn, Mike Dudley, Gilbert Zepeda, Elizabeth L Walatka,
Joe Migyanka, Ronald Ketter, Mike Kerrigan, Raymond S Thompson, Dan Olsen,
Vickie Huelster, Darlene Hall, Merrie M Johnson, Jim Douglas, Kirk Rowdabaugh,
Dan Smith, Lyle Carlile, Timothy Murphy, Erin Newman, Aitor Bidaburu, pdl wo spf
fam regional fire directors, Erica Kim, Jaelith H Rivera, pdl wo spf fam ad's
If it has not been posted yet please post.
Cal Fire Captains Applications are open.
Fire Hire & R5's FS Chief meeting yesterday:
To SME and those in the Fire Hire process: There is a perception (in Washington)
that there is an abundance of qualified applicants wanting to enter the federal
system...they cite the high unemployment rate etc.
However I've also been informed that previously, even on the first day of Fire
Hire, folks are instructed to reach down to level 3 candidates because of a lack
of qualified candidates. We'd sure like to pass along the real scoop, especially
when the Agency and some in Congress are suggesting the R5 retention bonus and
the conversions to 26/0 have eliminated the retention problem for the most part.
While in DC I tried to explain that the slow down in losses from the federal
sector really had nothing to do with the bonus but rather the issues Cal Fire is
having with their hiring/interview processes and once those are resolved the
"exodus" will continue. It is imperative that we be able to provide the facts
from the field.
Also I was informed that during yesterday's meeting on the ANF with Forest
Service Chief Tom Tidwell, he was questioned about HR 4488 and indicated he knew
nothing about it. Given the fact that the FWFSA apprised him of the introduction
of the bill several months ago via fax and mail and the fact that the FWFSA has
provided copies of the bill to: The Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture of
Natural Resources and Environment; FS FAM Director Tom Harbour; FS Legislative
Affairs Director Doug Crandall; R5 Regional Forester Randy Moore and in an
article from the Press Enterprise last week FS spokesman Joe Walsh indicated
"officials in Washington are assessing the legislation and have yet to take a
position," I'd like to be able to validate his response about the bill. It seems
very implausible that he would be unaware of the bill.
If anyone has any further comments about the meeting yesterday please feel free
to pass them along.
Good Saturday Morning, All, on this first day of Spring.
season be far behind?
Re Fire Hire:
"The recommendation goes on to tell Moore that HR violations by SMEs and
Recommending Officials during fire hire should result in the SME or
Recommending Official getting sent home and face a 3-day suspension."
"Since R-5 Line Officers might be going on a witch hunt at the upcoming fire
hire, I would like to warn all Fire employees going down to perform as a SME
or Recommending Official to watch your back. Be very careful with what you
say and do."
I don't know if this Forest Supervisor's recommendations will be implemented
at the upcoming Fire Hire. It doesn't seem needed. SMEs and selecting officials
sign a privacy agreement to not disclose anything from there. I live up to mine.
What they need to remember is, SMEs are there VOLUNTARILY. If I go down there, I
can leave anytime for my home unit. They can't make me stay. Most of us as SMEs
give up travel/training $$ to go there instead of personal training. The RO does
not give us a Job Code to pay for our Per Diem while there.
So, if things get strange down there when I go, I will just return to Home Unit,
and let someone else deal with this from now on. I have been an SME almost from
the start, and try to be there every Perm round. To HELP the Region find good
folks looking for positions. To increase the hiring pool for Fire folks to
choose from. Not to be harassed by Line that started this whole thing. I don't
write or say anything down there that's not based directly on the application
and reference calls. If that's what you do, you can't get into trouble as an SME.
So, SMEs, lets go there, do our jobs, and come back, to show these others we are
doing a right thing, that is helpful. Just because a few folks have done
something wrong over the many, many rounds and years of Fire Hire doesn't mean
all SMEs or Selecting Officials are doing anything wrong....
-A SME going there to prove 'em wrong...
Thanks for your service on this front. Ab.
EPA / USFS restrict use of 2 stroke engines such as floto pumps or trash pumps
Maybe you or your followers may have some information, documentation and the EPA
restricting USFS/DOI in CaCalifornia from using floto pumps or other 2 cycle
pumps to provide a water supply to tenders or engines (maybe due to
Old reference guide
Who might have an electronic copy of the Wildfire
Suppression Tactics Reference Guide NFES 1256
from April 1996. It is out of print these days but the information is still very
good to use for training and
Battalion Chief Don Zimmerman
GS-8's: the rest of the story...
It's really not about the grade level, it's about approved secondary ff
coverage. Here is the link to a FS database of
approved ff pd's, which includes GS-8. The important issue, also identified in
the article posted, is to ensure you are
moving directly into an approved ff covered position description before you
accept the job.
FS database of approved ff position descriptions (FS
I found tremendous benefit in attending the ff/le retirement planning seminar
provided by S. Harman and Associates.
(Ab, snip if you don't accept plugs) It's your responsibility to keep informed
and plan your route. You own the
career decisions that affect your retirement benefits, nobody else. The agency
will just process the paperwork and
forward to OPM when the time comes to walk out the door.
(reaching for the doorknob)
For all you GS - 8's out there
Don't know what this means exactly, but I would look into it if I were a GS 8.
Ask the Experts... Retirement, Fed Times, by Reg Jones
GS-08 retirement pay
Q. My question is regarding special category employees. I’ve heard that over
16,000 employees would be affected
by this. If an employee is promoted to GS-08
before he reaches 20 years of service, he would not be entitled to
category retirement pay. Is this true? If it is, what can I do to retire as a
special category employee?
A. To be eligible to retire as a firefighter under the enhanced benefit
formula, you need to be employed for 20 years
in a covered position. While you
must start in a primary position, you may later transfer to a secondary
being promoted to a GS-08 position would result in your being in a noncovered position before you had accumulated
20 years of covered service,
don’t accept the offer. More at the link...
fair use disclaimer
Panther fire report appeared today on the Lessons Learned site
Panther Fire Accident Investigation Report
(1048 K pdf file)
To all of the wonderful people who knew Steve Uptegrove, my wonderful husband.
Thank you for the emails, words of support and encouragement.
This has been of great help to me, And my family. Upty was a great man with
many friends. And is missed every day.
Please keep us in your prayers.
Hi Hope, we are so very sorry for the loss of Upte. We are keeping you and
your family in our thoughts and prayers. Ab.
Newhall Ranger Station, 1939 from Gordon Rowley, ANF Prevention Officer,
retired, to John Bennett who sent it here. Thanks, nice black and white
photo. Interesting that the first commercial color films were available in 1932
(Agfacolor) and 1935 (Kodachrome). Black and white has a certain artistic
elegance. Fire certainly benefits from color. Ab.
||Some fine dozers and flames photos on the
Equipment 17 photo page.
VNC Dozers on Zaca, Sheckell & La Brea:
VNC Dozer 3 on Zaca Fire, Santa Barbara, 2007. VNC Dozer 2 on Sheckell Fire
2008. VNC Dozer 4 on LaBrea Fire, 2009. Photos compliments of Scott Price.
||Re the Intermountain Region Rappel Program:
File Code: 5100/5700/5720
Date: March 15, 2010
Route To: (5100), (5700)
Subject: Intermountain Region Rappel Program for 2010
To: Forest Supervisors
The Intermountain Region has a long-standing and successful aviation program in
support of our fire management mission, including rappel operations using 16
helicopters out of 12 bases throughout the region. The Forest Service
Intermountain Region helitack crews will not perform rappel or cargo let down
operations in 2010.
All Forest Service rope-assisted helicopter insertion/extraction operations
for personnel have been told to “stand down” in a letter signed by the Chief of
the Forest Service on February 1, 2010. The Chief will require completion of the
seven recommendations from the Accident Review Board in response to the 2009
Willow Helibase rappel fatality prior to reinstating rappel operations
nationally. The list includes standardization and improvement of rappel
equipment, standard training and protocols and an exhaustive risk assessment to
assure that operations can be preformed safely. All items have an expected
completion date of May 1, 2010, after which the Deputy Chief for State and
Private Forestry will determine if the rappel program should be operational in
2010. The Intermountain Region will enthusiastically continue to support the
risk assessment and standardization efforts for rappel operations. In the
interest of allowing adequate time for equipment development and testing and
development of standards and training for safe rappel operations, the Forest
Service Intermountain Region will not rappel in 2010.
Our focus will continue to be on safe and efficient fire management using
helicopters for helitack, with plans to resume rappel operations following the
new national standards in 2011.
In addition, the stand down of rappel operations will apply to all aviation
activities within Region 4, including resources assigned to the Region from
other agencies or partners. Any questions may be directed to Clair Mendenhall
(801-625-5511), Regional Aviation Officer, or Sue Stewart (801-625-5513),
Director for Fire, Aviation and Air.
Thanks for your continued attention to safe and professional fire management
/s/ Harv Forsgren
cc: Susan A Stewart
Clair M Mendenhall
Intermountain Region Rappel Program for 2010 (57K doc file)
||Pictures Needed for honoring fallen brothers:
I work on CIIMT#3. I would like to make a video presentation honoring our
fallen brothers. I am requesting
photos to make this video to present at the California Team meetings this month.
I would like to honor wildland
firefighters who have fallen within the past 5-7 years.
I have tried utilizing the Internet but I have struggled finding photos. I
would like to make this a nice presentation.
If you have any or have a resource that could provide photos including ceremony
and tributes. The meetings start
March 30, 2010. Please send to
||New postings of fire photos on
Fire 44 and
Equipment 17 photo pages.
Thanks all! Ab.
First off let me commend Casey Judd for his dedication and desire to make the
working conditions of wildland firefighters better through Congressional Bill HR
4488. If it were not for his tireless efforts, we would not have retention pay
in Region 5 of the Forest Service!
Before FWFSA and Casey acting as "office manager", we had no voice and were
always told to be silent. I have seen over the course of my career and working
on many different Forests, that it comes down to the age-old Professional
Foresters vs Forest Technicians even though Timber is no longer King.
Throughout my career it has always been one more study! We study superficial
issues over and over and over again. Then paste band-aids on the issues and
problems, rather than addressing the systemic problems. This leads us right back
to where we started. When another leadership change at the top comes along so
does another study on MORALE. How many study's do we need!?
Change is coming if we stay the course! Educate and inform the whole CONGRESS.
They are the only sure reliance for hearing us and acting on our issues. Do you
want to know what we stand for? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define
us and lead us to our desired outcome! Don't talk about what you have done or
what you are going to do. Just do it! EDUCATE and INFORM WITH BOLDNESS!
I encourage all of you to write your Congressional Representatives, as now is
the season of Change!
||Wes Ruise's Service
I agree with Fyrbill's comments.... it was one of the
most dignified services I have ever attended, well deserved for a very honorable
man that none of us will ever forget. I was honored to drive the X-Vernon
Open-Cab 1956 Ford-Crown Hose Wagon that carried Wes's Casket from the Small
Catholic Church to the Cemetery on the LaJolla Reservation. I believe about (10)
of Wes' Sons, Grandsons and Nephews all in local area fire services from Wes
Jr., a CNF BC to Captain's at Pala and San Pasqual and even Young Reservation
Fire Explorers also participated in the services.
I first met Wes when I was (18) years old at the Descanso Ranger Station (45)
years ago. Wes and Ira Pearman, a CNF Dispatcher then, helped us get started
Contracting with the Forest Service. I also would like to recognize CNF Chief,
Carlton Joseph who arranged for the Strike Team of USFS Engines and Final Alarm
Ceremony, Pala Chief Tony Ravago for Organizing the 25 Mile Procession from
Escondido, the Traditional Native American-Fire Services Protocol and the
Color-Honor Guards from various agencies participating. Also to BDF Chiefs Dan
Gosnell and Greg Ross from the San Jacinto Ranger District for loaning us their
restored 1968 D-400 Dodge (Model 50 with a Slide-On Pumper) that brought back a
lot of memories to the older folks there, and a I believe a bit of
"bewilderment" for the younger firefighters that couldn't imagine it really
being used to fight fires up against the brand new units there from the USFS.
Western Heavy Equipment
Valley Center, CA
A recent article on the
wildland firefighter legislation
Thanks Fedwatcher. Ab.
Thank you once again for a really honest and open forum. This website has
dedicated itself to promote open discussions between the forester's leadership
vs. the fire and aviation shop!
I would like to offer up this at this point. Change is coming... We should
sit together at the table and realize that our mission is the same: Caring for
the land and serving the people. Line officers remain dedicated to their old
philosophies regarding fire! Those philosophies don't work anymore. They are
simply failing to lead us as professional firefighters! So, they need to sit
down and try to build the agency together from the bottom up! Or get spit out
for towing the bureaucratic politically correct line!!!
||Blast from the past from Shawn Burke on May 16, 2006:
Tom Plymale 1st Tree
T-14 Air Attack
Smoky Landing 527 EH
San Marcos Station
Sikorsky S55T Heaps Peak Helitack
New LZ, Matias Fire, Killer
Killer Circling, 1987
Arroyo Grande Helishots (After a Long Night of Work)
Arroyo Grande Helishots, Yosemite, '87
527 EH Matias Fire, 1987
527 EH Case Fire
527 EH Bob our Pilot
500 EH Arroyo Grande Helibase
Again, I did a lot of photoshop cleanup on these. Ab.
||I posted several pics on the
Engines 26 photo page. Thanks, contributors. Ab.
I've been following a few posts today remembering the
Decker Fire and the LODD of several brothers.
A section of I-215 dedicated in honor of firefighter who died of burns
I think it was around 1976 or so, that my father drove me up to a turnout off
the Ortega Highway, overlooking Decker Canyon. We parked that old VW, got out
and looked out over the hills. It was there, that my dad told me of the LODs,
the year before I was born. I was 16 years old and thinking of making a career
out of firefighting. I could sense the tone in his voice, as if to ask, "Son, is
this really what you want to do? Sometimes there is no turning back". Dad had
many years of experience in wildland firefighting, he'd seen the things that can
happen when it all goes wrong. I knew at the time, several airtanker pilots
who'd lost their lives and just a small bit about those on the ground. I looked
at the hills, felt the hot breeze and my answer to the unasked question was
Here I am in 2010, almost 30 years of experience in firefighting (now retired)
and these are my thoughts:
* Dad loved me enough to let me do what I felt I needed to do. Dad cared
enough to impress on me, the dangers and possibilities of the profession. We
both knew that at any given moment, we may loose one or the other.... or
both at the same time. That never stopped us from doing what we were doing.
We felt is was all for a higher purpose, other than ourselves.
* Dad is gone now, but his lessons have never failed me. He may not have
thought at the time, that a young punk like me was absorbing any of it, but
those lessons have served me well. There are several occasions I can
remember where his words of wisdom and shared experiences have saved me
and/or my crew. These are the things you don't learn out of a book or in any
* Dad and I were at odds for a long time over various issues. In retrospect,
Dad was right... experience was more valuable than what the book taught. The
book was a nice intro, but fire has a mind of its own and you need to be
prepared for whatever it throws at you.
* The knowledge I've accumulated over the years, I so wish I could pass on
to the "new kids" starting their careers. Fire is fire, death is death....
there is an unmarked line where the two meet. Sometimes, all the training,
skill and experience won't help you, no matter how long you've been a
firefighter. It's unfortunate, but that is a fact of the profession. In a
cosmic span of time, we are only here but for a blink of an eye. Make that
time count for something.
* There is a special place in Heaven for firefighters. All the grassland and
forest are green, the water runs clear, and the skies are the bluest....
beyond what anyone can imagine. However, the good Lord knows that
firefighting is in our blood and we just can leave that behind. God has a
mutual aid agreement with the world, anytime... anywhere, angels are sent to
help those in a tough spot. If you've ever spent any length of time in a
fire shelter, crawled out and looked up.... you just may see, but if for a
brief moment, the shadows of those who have fallen before you. Your backup
came from the heavenly task force. Say a prayer for them tonight and
remember them tomorrow, because they are the reason you are still here!
Sincerely with eternal gratitude,
Thanks, TS. Words of wisdom. Ab.
A recent post about the Ojai HS caused me to dig into the memory
feel free to pass this on to the CalifHS site.
Ojai crew picture is from 1978.
Ojai Hotshot Crew History
I am not sure this is exactly correct but these were some of the key players at
Ojai during their formation and early years. Doug Campbell being the FMO at the
time was on the right track.
1974 Bob Burnett – Supt Foremen – Terry Raley / John Szalay
1975 Bob Burnett – Supt Foremen – Terry Raley / John Szalay
1976 Bob Burnett – Supt Foremen – Terry Raley / Craig Lechleiter
1977 Bob Burnett – Supt Foreman – Craig Lechleiter / Ish Messer
1978 Bob Burnett – Supt Foreman – Craig Lechleiter / Ish Messer
Lechleiter left and went to the Redding HotShots, Mike Freed filled in behind
The crew was disbanded in August of 1978 during the great HotShot crew massacre.
1979 No Crew
1980/81/82 Ish Messer – Supt Foreman – Bob Becker / John Bald
John Bald may have left after 1981
1982 Last year of crew
Hope that this is helpful
Other "historical" photos ...
Engine 405 - the Los Prietos RS engine, circa mid 1970's, Darwin Maple was
H26/Sikorsky S58 - San Marcos Helitack, 1976, Tony Casmero was the Sup,
Willie Jewel was the Asst
H27/Bell212 - Arroyo Grande Helishots, 1978/79
H29/Bell212 - Rose Valley Flight Crew, 1979, night flying water drop
Rose Valley Helibase, circa 1978, the second 212 was the sister ship from
Tanbark ANF, there for a night training exercise and rx burn
Cosy Dell Fire, Ojai RD 1978, Rose Valley and Arroyo Grande Helishots along
with District and local personnel
Thanks, earthpig for the trip down memory lane. I worked a bit on
adjusting some color, contrast and brightness parameters to restore the pics.
Also removed the dust spots. I don't have time to get 'em into a photo table,
but I will do that. We are planning a historical section in our website
||Another fire research pioneer has passed away. Mark J. Schoreder who
co-authored the black "Fire Weather" book now used in so many courses, and the
more technical "Synoptic weather types associated with critical fire weather"
died last week in Riverside.
RIVERSIDE: MARK J. SCHROEDER
A Mass of Christian Burial for Mark J. Schroeder, 94, of Riverside, who died
Saturday, March 6, 2010, will be held Friday at 2pm at St. Catherine of
Alexandria, 92506 Brockton Ave. Visitation at church prior to Mass starting
at 1:30pm. Mr. Schroeder was born June 16, 1915 in Edgar, WI, son of Mr. and
Mrs. Frank Schroeder. On July 17, 1941 in Milwaukee, he married Eva
Zimmerman, who survives him. Also survived by nephews and nieces and dear
friends. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, he enlisted in
the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in meteorology and later served as a
weather reconnaissance officer in the European and American Theaters. He
retired as Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force. After World War II Schroeder returned
and served with the Weather Bureau and he was concurrently Project Leader of
the Fire Meteorology Project of the U.S. Forest Service and Meteorologist
in-charge of the Fire Weather Research Office of the National Weather
Service. While in the Federal Service, Schroeder held appointments as
Research associate with the University of Chicago and the University of
Riverside, CA. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Eva Schroeder
for her fulfillment of Mark\'s wishes or directly to The American Heart
Association. Acheson & Graham Mortuary (951) 688-1221 (Riverside CA)
Rest in Peace and thanks for the great book.
||The following was posted in our wlf forum back in December after was sent
out by R-5.
Soon R-5 will be announcing a new FAM Director. Once the position is accepted, I
would like to see Moore, Pena and the new FAM Director convene a large one day
meeting to offer some leaders intent from the new FAM Director and schedule a
fair amount of time for questions and answers. The audience should be no less
than 100 fire employees from Senior Firefighters to Forest Fire Chiefs with as
any Module Leaders as possible. This is NOT a proposal to get a bunch of Chiefs
together. We need Rank and File in attendance with a theme that displays a
commitment to the organization by asking all to have ownership and commitment as
we move forward. The meeting should be at McClellan in early to mid-May.
This is not a meeting just for us. We are not the dysfunction ones or those that
have created the dysfunction. It's a meeting that meets the intent of what R-5
outlined in the white paper below. It's a meeting to help the region push the
reset button and get started off right with a new beginning for all including
our new Fire Director.
Subject: Region 5 Morale Progress
Key Issue: How the Region is Addressing Agency-wide Morale Issues
Regional leadership adopted a guiding objective of ensuring a healthy workforce
and workplace for 2010. This key objective will drive overall efforts to ensure
a productive work environment. Dialogue continues at all levels in the Region to
identify and positively address issues affecting morale.
In the Regional Office, exercise equipment has been secured in response to
overwhelming interest and support by employees.
Good communication throughout the Region and Agency is foundational to
strengthening employee morale. The Region is currently assessing the following
specific actions to further improve communication flow and morale:
- Initiate opportunities and forums to connect the Regional Forester Team
with employees for constructive and healthy dialogue. These forums may
include the RF Team participating in regular “coffee” gatherings with
several employees who normally do not have the opportunity to interact with
the RF Team, periodically joining staff meetings, and greeting employees in
areas not typically visited.
- Identify employees who are willing to serve as “morale liaisons” to
facilitate communication and solve issues at different levels of the
- The Regional Forester will communicate to employees the steps that will
be taken to address morale in the Region, including information sharing on
the Chief’s sensing efforts. Encourage forests to adopt similar measures
that the Regional Office will be using.
- Conduct simple surveys in the Regional Office to detect and monitor
common themes pertaining to morale that may emerge that the Regional
Forester Team can proactively address.
||John Guthrie died in 1959 on the Decker Fire, here's his memorial:
A section of I-215 dedicated in honor of firefighter who died of burns
09:34 PM PST on Friday, March 12, 2010
By Gene Ghiotto
As friends and family looked on, a section of Interstate 215 was dedicated to
the memory of a California Department of Forestry firefighter who died of
injuries he suffered while battling a fire more than 50 years ago.
"One night, August 8, 1959, this firefighter stood the test," Fire Chief John
Hawkins said at the ceremony at the Riverside County Fire Department
headquarters in Perris. "John Guthrie did not make it."
(photo and the rest of the story at the link... )
I'll add the additional info on the incident to the Always Remember! forum
we're building. Ab.
||Last day to VOTE for WFF race car!!!!!!!!!!!
We're up to 13,267 votes...
||Ceremony & tradition...
I attended the services for Wes Ruise this last
Saturday and couldn’t help but relate my observations. What I saw was an
outpouring of respect, in the midst of ceremony & tradition. It was simply a
beautiful time spent honoring a man who served his community as a member of the
fire service. From the catholic mass, to the fire service ceremony, to the
Native American traditions. All three had their own images, music and song; it
blended together in harmony. My thoughts were, “this is the way it should be.”
If any of these traditions or ceremonies would have been left out, then the
honoring of this man would not have been complete and those in attendance would
have missed the full story of this man's life. Each movement, voice, and element
told me something about his value and what he meant to those in attendance. The
family and community loved and missed him. As a firefighter, it told me this
person had served with honor. You did not need to know him intimately to
understand these things.
Another friend of mine past away several months ago. He also served his
community for a number of years with honor. Due to the wishes of the family
there was no ceremony. Oh, we got together at a local pub, the pipes were
played, and we toasted him, and convinced our selves this is the way he wanted
to be remembered. Perhaps this is true. But it didn’t sit right with me. I felt
we didn’t do the community or fire service right, let alone his memory.
My point in telling this story is this. The community has ownership in honoring
those who have protected them at the end of their lives. If they aren’t given
that opportunity, they lose some of their humanity. They need to see the honor
we bestow, the respect we represent, and dignity we give in our ceremony and
traditions. A funeral service is that last chance for them to be reminded of
these things and the individual from their community who served them. As well,
the fire service has a duty and responsibility in honoring those who have served
in their ranks. If we don’t, we will become hardened to the fact that our life
long sacrifice was a privilege, not a job. This wasn’t an 8 to 5’er. It was
everything. We lived and breathed firefighting our entire careers because it was
what we wanted to-do, not what we had to-do. The message is this; our traditions
and ceremonies speak to those values and sacrifices and should not be
overlooked, dismissed, or forgotten. Especially at the end.
Very well put. Ab.
||Passing of Ray Balli:
Ray Balli, retired Fire Equipment Coordinator for
General Services Administration, died this morning after a long illness.
I know many of the line firefighters will not recognize the name, but Ray was
instrumental for 15 years in making sure
that Federal Wildland Firefighters had the equipment they needed. He was well
liked and will be missed.
Condolences, Dennis. Please offer his family our best wishes. Ab.
Deploying Your Fire Shelter in a Body of Water
by John Smith
* During July 2007, nine firefighters deployed fire shelters in a small pond
during the Seven Oak Fire in California.
* Deploying a fire shelter in a body of water can expose firefighters to
additional safety hazards.
* This tech tip discusses some of the hazards of deploying a fire shelter in
water and some of the precautions firefighters should take if they are
considering doing so.
Hotlist thread on this incident from July 7, 2007:
It certainly wasn't my intent to create a firestorm of an issue regarding my
post about not be able to speak at the ANF. There might have been some
miscommunication but also a lack of clear understanding of what the FWFSA is and
what we do.
The FWFSA is an employee association, NOT a union. There are clear, distinct
differences between the two.
For most federal wildland firefighters employed by the federal land management
agencies, those up to grade GS-8 in most areas of the country are considered to
be a part of the "bargaining unit." That is the group of employees who are
represented contractually by a federal labor union...in the vast majority of
cases for federal wildland firefighters, this is the National Federation of
Federal Employees (NFFE). Those in higher grades are not in the "bargaining
At the National level, NFFE can enter into negotiated contracts with the land
management agencies on a variety of topics identified in Title 5 of the United
States Code. The Union is considered the "exclusive representative" for
employees represented in their bargaining unit. As such, it is a violation of
law for any other union or organization to engage in labor relation/contract
issues for an employee represented by a different union.
Additionally, there can be "local" agreements between the Union on a Forest and
the Management of the Forest to address local issues. The local union leadership
deals with day to day labor-management issues such as grievances. Both the Union
and the Employer have Rights & Responsibilities under Title 5. There are some
things each can do and things they cannot do.
Being an employee association, the FWFSA is not bound by the requirements of
Title 5. At the same time there are things we will not do which are under the
purview of the Union. For example if one of our members needs representation for
a grievance and comes to us for help, we will refer him to the local union
That being said, since many of us have labor-management experience, there have
been occasions where we have shared information with the Union and/or worked
with them on an issue at their request.
There are restrictions on Union activities during "work time." It is not
appropriate for the Union to have membership meetings while "on the clock" and
undertake activities to recruit additional members. The FWFSA is not bound by
such restrictions but we generally recognize that Management has the right to
assign work during the duty day and so we are cautious about "membership
recruitment" during the work day. Union leaders do have the right to use time
during the duty day to work on Union Business but more often than not they must
use "official time" to do so. Often that amount of time, in hours in a given
year, are included in local labor agreements.
Passing along pertinent information about issues facing firefighters, whether
they are in the bargaining unit or not, has, for the most part, been accepted by
many areas of the country as a topic that can be discussed during the course of
business of a "Fire & Aviation Management" meeting.
While I appreciate "Still out there's" comments, the discussion of political
issues that affect employees during such a meeting is not the same as when I
visited the USDA yesterday. I am perfectly aware that in an official meeting,
Agency leaders cannot offer an opinion on specific legislation unless the
Administration has sought their opinion and it is a matter of public record.
That has not happened yet so I didn't even ask the question.
However the setting for the ANF FAM meeting, in my opinion and experience, would
not conflict with any "meeting" requirements of employees under Title 5 because
we are not conducting Union Business. I am keenly aware however, of underlying
resentment towards the FWFSA by some Forest Service Line Officers and I would
suspect the issues at play in this particular instance are a little deeper than
simply whether we could talk about issues during the duty day.
Sooo, once I decompress from my trip I'll put out as much information as I can
on what went on.
Casey's devotion has our line officers steamed! Their
mission is to
not acknowledge the core issues regarding the past 20 years during
which it has taken alot of solid people in fire and aviation in the agency
to be persistent and professional. We are finally at a table because the
FWFSA has done its homework and has a very big ear in Washington
Change is coming it has been slow and very difficult! But the naive
strategies of line officers are showing their true colors! They are trying
to deflect and insist that we don't support a true wildland firefighter series
and that we don't want professionalism either! We only do our jobs for
Casey educated them to the facts and continues fighting for us. Hr 4488
is in the face of the line officers and they oppose it! So we need to speak
up and write with one voice! Change is coming!!!
It's All About Me
Can't believe the FS Supervisor on the Klamath came up with this on their own
- has to be the latest
R5 Leadership tone - what happens to our employees if it's now "all about me".
Check this out. BL
and from another poster:
Hasn't the Klamath had enough? Seems like resiliency for the employees and the
forest would be
first and foremost - not "what's all about me"... "me" being the forest
Subject: Reminder on attorneys, etc.
Good afternoon. There have been a couple of situations lately when Klamath
employees have been contacted by an attorney representing an outside party and
asked for statements, information, etc. about something that happened at work.
In one case, the attorney identified themselves as being a "government"
attorney, which is a little fishy because the government attorneys I work with
don't know anything about it.
A reminder for us all - if you are contacted by an attorney looking for
information, a meeting, etc., regarding something you did, saw, heard about,
etc. at work, please (1) do not speak or provide any information to the attorney
and (2) notify your local Ranger or SO Staff Officer immediately. Please do this
even if the attorney says they are a "government" attorney. Your Ranger or Staff
Officer will work through Kelly or I to have our attorneys decide who can talk
The only time we, as federal employees, can speak with an attorney representing
someone/something in regards to a work related incident is when our Forest
Service attorneys say so. Our attorneys get really grumpy if we do otherwise,
and it's never wise to have the attorney who will potentially be representing
you be grumpy with you. Okay, I'll be more truthful about that - I don't want
our attorneys to be grumpy about anything having to do with the Klamath because
I want them to happy to represent me. Yes, it's all about me.
Any questions, ask your local Ranger or SO Staff Officer or Kelly or I. Thanks
and have a great weekend.
Klamath National Forest
||I know Forest Supervisor Pam Brown started out as a "Taper" AFEO on the Los
Padres NF. I am proud that a Fire Mgmt
employee goes into "Line".
Thank you .......... I hope you remember the job
you performed. Remember the people you worked with, their skills and
leadership. The sensing group has folks with fire backgrounds, There are some
"YEARS" in those careers!
Thanks for the perspective. Ab.
||In regards to the FS sensing Group:
After looking at the list, I kinda think you folks on the ground are SCREWED!
Did not see any reps from the union either.
Don't know Billy Phillips, but hope he is from the old smokejumper mold and can
have some impact in this group.
Enjoying retirement more each and everyday!!
||The Angeles, Chiefs Sensing Group and having each other's backs:
for the update on the "progressive" Forest leadership coming out of the Angeles.
In response to that, I'd like to invite Casey to speak at our upcoming annual
Forest-wide Fire meeting. I'll be in touch with Casey about the details. We have
some meticulous note-takers and will share important fire information discussed
at this meeting with anyone interested, and in particular, with our brothers and
sisters in Fire Management on the Angeles. I encourage fellow fire managers
throughout the U.S. to extend the same invitation and make appropriate
arrangements (maybe Casey doesn't want us filling up his travel itinerary --
sorry Casey) . Just finished some work on the M581 course that dealt with
"leadership" and also recently sent two employees to a Regional Leadership
course. It's amazing the disparity between what the agency presents as admirable
leadership traits in its training courses and the agency's tolerance for the
garbage that passes for leadership in its daily operations.
And yes, JMM, the roster of the Chief's sensing group speaks volumes. 206th
headed to 216th faster than greased lightning... But there is something we can
all do, and that's to have each others' backs. A Forest Sup in CA wants to
muzzle an important voice in the fire world? Then the rest of us need to step up
to the plate and turn up the volume -- and -- turn the tables on this
unfortunate situation. Yeah Jodi, count the fingers, you're number 1.
Keep up the good work Casey and All.
||I added photos to the
Logos 18 photo page and the
Handcrews 27 photo page. Thanks. Ab.
||This is the Chief of the FS sensing group, allot of heavy hitters.
Doesn't look very diverse. Not even a Wage Grade on the list.
One ground pounder from fire.
No wonder things don't change for the workers.
Chiefs Sensing Group
||Casey & the folks on the Angeles:
I find it very interesting, albeit not at all surprising, that Jody Noiron would
nix your meeting invite. What did you expect? A fair and supportive environment
where everyone can feel free to contribute to making a more productive, more
safe and often less wasteful work environment? From her? Are you serious?
This is in stride with other decisions made by her. It's not a secret (certainly
not a well kept one by many Angeles employees) and it won't change until other
obvious changes are made.
Hopefully there will be a way for you as a forest to meet with everyone
regardless of the morale busting behavior of the forest supervisor. And I think
it's appalling that you might have to sneak around and figure out an alternative
that might pass muster, how degrading.
Anyone who is truly supportive of their staff, as well as its morale and safety,
will support open discussion at all levels. One of the clear lessons we know
(and hopefully have learned) from history is that this sort of short-term
thinking creates rifts between management and those people (yes, we are
people/humans and we should be treated with some degree of respect Ms. Noiron)
that actually do the physical labor. To treat employees in such a manner by not
allowing them to speak and listen freely invites even more of a lack of respect
towards management and ultimately it tells us that someone has no clue as to
what real needs are on a forest.
Good going in the morale busting race for this season Ms. Noiron! (You're
probably in the lead)
Just a plain old firefighter
||Surely Mr. Judd you understand that executive branch employees have exactly
two answers to any political question involving their agency:
> The administration has not taken a position on this or
> This is the administration's position ...
You've made yourself and your association a political entity and that is likely
why your speaking to federal employees on company time has been nixed. FWFSA
does amazing things for firefighters and their families when someone has been
hurt fighting fires, and you should be commended for that. Likely, if that's all
you were known for, no one would have trouble with a speech or two.
But when you testify before Congress about matters regarding the Forest Service,
that's political. Go back a number of decades, and you'll see federal employees
coerced into supporting political candidates and issues. Literally, they had to
pay up to keep their jobs. Between federal law and the agency's longstanding
position against politically-appointed employees, politics have been kept out of
the workplace in an official manner. That is a huge protection that should not
(Hey employees will express their views over a cup of coffee during a break, but
that's different than publishing that opinion or going to congress.)
Still Out There as an AD
||More Morale busting from Line Officers
While here in DC working on behalf of our Nation's wildland firefighters I was
disappointed to learn that an invitation from firefighters on the Angeles
National Forest for me to speak at their Fire & Aviation Management meeting
later this month in La Canada, has been nixed by Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron.
My intent in accepting this invitation was to keep folks apprised of what's
going on in Washington. It was not my intent to "bash" management so I am a bit
dumbfounded as to why the FWFSA continues to intimidate Ms. Noiron.
Given the fact that the Forest Service Chief has commissioned yet another morale
study along with the fact that I will be meeting with the USDA's Deputy
Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Jay
Jensen tomorrow I will be certain to inform him of this decision by the ANF
Forest Supervisor as indicative of the morale-busting intimidation often felt by
firefighters on many California National Forests.
Rest assured that I will keep everyone abreast of the activities here in DC this
week and the response to many issues facing our firefighters by the Deputy
Undersecretary. For those of you employed by a DOI agency, I had the pleasure of
meeting today with Kim Thorsen and Kirk Rowdabaugh from the DOI's Office of
Wildland Fire Coordination to bring them up to speed on the issues and our
efforts to reform some of the existing archaic pay & personnel policies
encumbering their firefighters.
||Region 5 BOD meeting notes Feb 2-4, 2010
R5 Board of Directors 2/02/2010
I hear you on that letter. Surprising that the LP forest supe
committed that to paper. Wow!
For those that don't remember, that's the same supervisor that told the Type
1 Team not to contain the La Brea Fire last season but to let it run to private
land and threaten city watersheds. Was that to make the Rx targets or to balance
the LP budget or to avoid NEPA or gloss over smoke issues ??? Or was it a lack
of KSAs for fire? Was it Micromanaging without the fire knowledge for good
decision making? Then the forest supe told the team it did not matter that her
decision was wrong, it was a Supe's decision and the Supe was in charge, so
there. I think the Supervisor gave the team a bad performance rating for
containing the fire before the Supe wanted them to.
Go CWCG! for reversing that and Pena came through too... If that fire had
been allowed to run we'd of had it burning LARGE at the same time we had the
Station Fire. Now wouldn't that have been a fine load of spoiled mystery meat.
CWCG=California Wildfire Coordination Group; KSAs=Knowledge, Skills
||Remembering Charles Edgar, John Greeno and Victor Gonzalez on this day. I
fondly remember my friend Charles Edgar and the many good laughs that we shared
on the Sabine NF. Pray for the families who lost their dear ones on this day
5-years ago, and for peace and traveling grace for Lori Greeno. The attached
link reminds us of a little of how they served the Nation and of the impact they
had on our lives... They live in our hearts and we are thankful for the
Call me on the 1140 line! Think about you all the time....and
You are missed by many...
Rest In Peace...
||Complacency - The standard of idiots World Wide.
"Aw, you set yer stuff on fire, well, Mama Bear always said, 'Stupid is as
*Smokey Gump, Forrest's pet bear.
Remember, "I'll do it tomorrow" will not save you today!
Be FIRE SAFE, the burn center is overcrowded as it is.
Your "Things to Do" list will not call 9-1-1 tomorrow.
Just a few we used around the County when I was a volunteer way back when.
Donate to whatever District is trying for this.
||In the busy world that we think is so important, I ask you that we all just
stop (really stop) and remember that each
day that we have together is a blessing & the people that we share each day
with, good & bad, are what make this
the best job in the world.
5 years ago today, we lost John Greeno. Please stop & remember him and those
just like him.
We miss you Johnny Helco
- A Greeno Fan Club Member
||Making the rounds in R5 from a Forest Fleet Manager
SAFETY ALERT -
Employee trapped in the back of a SUV -cargo doors
Yesterday, when I was coming back from my walk, a car alarm was going off in
the front parking lot of the S.O. I noticed an employee in the back of a Forest
Service Chevy Tahoe pounding on the back windows to get my attention. I opened
the back doors and let them out. They were driving a vehicle they don't normally
drive (2003 Chevy Tahoe) and had crawled in the back to re-arrange
items that were moving around during operation. While they were re-arranging,
the door swung shut, trapping them inside. These were cargo type rear doors, two
hinged swing out doors that meet in the middle. We looked and could not find any
handles or emergency releases that would open the back doors from the inside.
And of course it was an SUV, so it had a permanent metal cargo barrier, leaving
them no way to get out on their own.
At this time, we are working on a "fix" for this situation with SUV's that have
these kind of rear doors. In the meantime, STAY OUT OF THE BACK OF THE SUV with
these types of doors. By that I mean don't crawl completely into the back of the
SUV, to avoid this potentially dangerous situation. If you need something out of
the back of the SUV, make sure both doors are open and do not crawl completely
in the back of the SUV. (snipped forest communication info)
||Unfair Hiring Practices:
Still an AD is correct and 205 hit the nail on
the head. Much pressure is getting placed on Forest Sups and District Rangers.
However these lower level Line Officers are not innocent bystanders. Nope,
they’re willing participates and accomplices. Remember if anyone feels they have
been discriminated against you do have path to seek a resolution.
FS - Treating Everyone Fairly Poster (9,700 K pdf huge)
This pressure is not limited to temporary hiring. Recently, one Forest
Supervisor and Dep Forest Supervisor have made a written recommendation to Randy
Moore that during permanent hiring (GS 6-9 and Apprentices) that only Line
Officers should be Recommending Officials. Usually this is completed by fire
GS-11’s and up to the Fire Chief. Additionally this duo made a recommendation
that during Subject Matter Expert (SME) week that all fire SMEs work in groups
with HR and Line Officers representatives integrated within the groups. Usually
this is performed by our Captains, Superintendents, Dispatch Managers and
Battalion Chiefs. The recommendation goes on to tell Moore that HR violations by
SME’s and Recommending Officials during fire hire should result in the SME or
Recommending Official getting sent home and face a 3-day suspension.
These recommendations to Moore detailed examples of perceived violations during
past fire hire events. Talk about opening mouth and inserting foot. Two Line
Officers have now just gone on record saying that discriminatory hiring
practices are occurring at fire hire events. Additionally these clowns just took
a swing at fire management leaders throughout the region. I am anxiously
awaiting Moore’s response to these accusations. Remember you have the power to
FOIA official federal documents and correspondence.
Since R-5 Line Officers might be going on a witch hunt at the upcoming fire
hire, I would like to warn all Fire employees going down to perform as a SME or
Recommending Official to watch your back. Be very careful with what you say and
do. Report back to this forum if you or any other firefighters in support of
fire hire are getting treated unfairly. If R-5 Line Officers want to play
hardball, we know of a couple local US Senators that have Secretary Vilsack’s
phone number on speed dial. Let’s play hardball.
Line has shown some true colors lately by coming after Fire Leaders because
someone decided to take off a seat belt. If they now want to blame Firefighters
for a centralized fire hire process they designed and approved, then bring it
We as a fire community need to continue to:
- back each other up regardless of our gender, race, age or the type of
firefighting module or Forest we work on.
- We must continue to support each other, look out for each other, and
help each other.
Every year Line Officers create more oversight, more distractions and
complexities to the preparedness and suppression mission. They hole up NIMO all
winter long to work on drafting more Line Officer large fire bureaucracy. Every
year something new comes out to implement. The new biz words are “shared risk
and responsibility”. White paper after white paper, new rules and more new
rules. A never ending flow of new rules and regulations to confuse and distract
the Commander in the field and in the office. Let’s go back to basics.
The Architects of this madness will fail. The Architects of this traditional
fire organization have created a system of punishment vs. cooperation
understanding and learning. Rules and regulations vs. common sense. They
compound the effects of this failure with continued burdens on Captains and
Chief Officers by centralizing every support function and calling it;
“excellence in self-service”. They have centralized almost everything, except
for us. The Architects of this madness have failed.
April 1, 2008 - The day they lied from coast to coast! And then about 90 days
later admitted that information provided during congressional testimony and the
R-5 video conference on this day was "factually incorrect".
||The regional office is soliciting "safety mottos/core values" in which they
are offering a district massage chair as a reward for the
winning slogan. That's right...a massage chair. Apparently if we can come up
with a meaningless safety phrase it will give us time
to take turns sitting in a massage chair.
Here's my entry:
"Smokey says 'Be Safe....if you get hurt it's obviously your fault"
or how about "Safety First!!! There, we did our part."
HAW HAW, but really... How about we come up with a meaningful safety
phrase? Many criticized the phrase that the old FS Chief used. Maybe we can
do better. Any suggestions? Ab.
||Unfair Hiring Practices:
MTB: Join the club, (as others have said) sums it
up pretty well. On another note, this was something that was brought up
at several meetings related to Forest Service low morale issues. However, I
wouldn't hold my breath for any change in
I am betting that we could have a pretty good contest on They Said with many
excellent entries on the topic of examples
of extremely unfair hiring practices. I can think of three situations in the
past five years where the focus of the hiring ignored
the concept of hiring the best person for the job, even when safety was an
Now what does THAT do for your morale??
Signed: Hands STILL tied and STILL no one listening (after 15 years)
||Unfair Hiring Practices:
The Master Agreement's definition of a supervisor
is as follows:
Supervisor: "An individual employed by an agency having authority in the
interest of the agency to hire, direct, assign, promote, reward, transfer,
layoff, recall, suspend, discipline, or remove employees; to adjust their
or to effectively recommend such action. The exercise of the authority is not
routine or clerical in nature but requires the consistent exercise of
judgment. For units that include firefighters or nurses, the term “supervisor”
only those individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to
exercising such authority".
Since the inception of firehire, Captains no longer have a say in who gets
hired on their fire engine. Also, if the staff officers and above are making the
decision on temps, what say does the Captain have on hiring temps? Furthermore,
I'd like to find out how many Captains actually do the things that supervisors
are supposed to do! If they don't spend a preponderance of time "supervising",
should they be exempt or nonexempt employees? Should they be in the Bargaining
For MB7, I feel your pain. I too was a victim of this a few years back.
Unfortunately, I don't think there is alot you can do, seeing as the person
hired did meet the minimum quals. I think there is a fine line between unfair
and illegal, and although this feels like a punch in the gut, it doesn't seem to
me that it qualifies as a grievance or Unfair labor practice.
||Use of Stickers & Inspection of Hardhats
Further Information Regarding
Stickers and Hardhats making the rounds with this message from Larry Sutton,
Fire Operations Risk Management Officer U.S. Forest Service - NIFC
This is good info -- hopefully should alleviate any concerns out there
associated with stickers on hard hats.
Safety: Hardhat Stickers (pdf)
If any surface cracks, however small, should
appear on the shell surface, either in the vicinity
of the stickers or elsewhere, the helmet should be
removed from service and replaced immediately.
||Unfair Hiring Practices:
Welcome to the club... My advice.. which is an opinion of which everyone has
one! If you feel you were the victim of unfair
hiring or labor practice... certainly file a suit / grievance! That is called
utilizing the system. A system that was put in place to
protect all workers.
Key thing here to remember though is that even if you "win", one of the
settlement items will most likely be a statement that
prohibits you from disclosing publicly either the amount of any monetary award
or any other settlement items such as a
different job offer in lieu of the one you applied for, etc..
So your attempts to "make it better for everyone else" will be swept under the
carpet so the agency does not look bad and
can continue to do what it does.
As I said, welcome to the club!
||I was a recent victim of unfair hiring practices. This didnt happen in R5.
The forest supervisor got involved and said I wasnt a good
choice. I rated out as number one by all people in a panel.
I was extremely overly qualified. The individual hired was diverse and did
meet the qualifications.
This is the third time in the past few months this has happened - the forest
supervisor gets involved and selects an
individual based upon sex or race, rather than who the panel recommended, or
the most qualified, etc.
Off the record, Im now being encouraged to file a grievance or lawsuit.
Everyone from the district rangers to fire staff
are fed up and waiting for a bomb to go off. I dont want to be the
sacrificial lamb and ruin my so called career. However,
maybe it would make things better for everyone else?
I am planning on doing nothing.
Anybody got recommendations, tips, lawyers or smart ass remarks?
Forester/Pilot/Aircraft Mechanic sent a post about 2 articles in
Rotor and Wing
magazine. Here is a link to their online site Scroll down to see current articles. I don't know
which articles specifically the original post
was referring to, perhaps they could give the titles instead of just the page
There was a reference in the same post to an OIG report from last summer, I
believe it was posted on Theysaid on 3/4/10.
The link to it is here:
Audit Report: Forest Service's Replacement Plan for Firefighting Aerial
(1690 K pdf file)
Thanks for those. I posted the OIG Aviation Report on out site
HERE in case the other link disappears. Ab.
||Weed Firefighter Becky Quigley article:
Sorry but the 3rd line of the
article on 3/8 should read that Becky Quigley was on USFS Salmon River Hotshots
and not CDF. Thank you!
Conejo (USFS Ret.)
Thanks for bringing that to our attention. I need to read the media more
carefully and critically. Ab.
Good to see someone taking it in stride and moving forward to make the best of
it all. No doubt Tom would have
wanted it that way. Leading from the front and making positive change in tough
times is what a real leader is all about.
Keep up the good work infecting us all with a positive spirit!
Air Ops Dude
In the midst of hiring politics, aglearn, and all the other
STUFF I too think about Tom. It's when I think about Tom that I feel good about
where I am in my career. We're entering a time of great change. Tom's accident
and the people I've come in contact with because of it have changed my life in
so many ways. I've changed the way I think, the way I lead, and the way that I
teach because of these experiences. It's a positive change, it really is. And
Tom is along for the ride.
The lessons of Tom's accident are not just for rappellers. I'm not a rappeller
either but these lessons apply in many different ways to everything we ALL do
from driving to entrapment avoidance to vehicle fire attack. Ever wonder why
they put those rumble strips on the side of the road? Ever wonder why the seat
belts in the back of your engine are red? Have you seen the moon walking bear?
Look into it and you'll see how the science of how we "SEE" can change our way
of doing things. Minds greater than mine have laid the foundation but it's up to
us in the field to implement these ideas. It's an exciting time.
So when I think about Tom I'm looking forward. I'm looking forward to teaching
refreshing refreshers. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends. I'm looking
forward to leading new leaders. I'm looking forward to seeing Tom's legacy take
shape. Keep thinking about him, and of our other absent friends, and when you
do... look forward.
There was a post/study concerning human blindness/perception. I tried to find
it in the archives and could'nt.
Any suggestions on where to look..?
Thanks, NZ Supe (ret)
All the links for that accident and Lessons Learned are here on the
Hotlist. Here's the
Analysis that describes the human blindness/perception. Ab.
||This is the gal that was on the USFS hotshot crew. JHMK
Firefighter Honored as Woman of the Year
A 23-year-old Weed wildland firefighter who was crushed accidentally by a
water truck last fall was honored today by California lawmakers as the north
state’s 2nd Assembly district woman of the year.
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, awarded Becky Quigley the honor, saying
her “fortitude and personal resolve” were inspiring.
Quigley , a Weed High School graduate, was a member of the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Salmon River Hot Shot Crew this
fall. (Should be US Forest Service Salmon River HS; the article is
On Sept. 21, after an exhaustive day fighting fires, Quigley returned to the
camp’s sleeping area where she set her sleeping bag to rest.
A water truck, attempting to turn around after emptying the gray water from
the shower units, ran over the sleeping firefighter.
The driver, having felt something, stepped out of his truck, but didn’t see
He then backed up only to run over her one more time.
Quigley suffered five cracked vertebrae, ten broken ribs, a shattered
shoulder, and collapsed lungs.
“Following her accident Becky, like a phoenix, rose from the ashes,” Nielsen
said in a statement. “Even today she continues the fight to recover from her
Quigley, who comes from a long line of firefighters, was joined by her
father, grandmother, and brother at the Capitol.
Quigley’s father Darin is a CalFire battalion chief and her grandfather
Gerald was also a battalion chief who received Medal of Valor in 1970 for
his service, Nielsen said.
Fair use disclaimer
Thanks for that info J. Ab.
||Just posted a pic of a dozer and dozer operator Tom L on the Telegraph
Fire with BIG flames. Very cool photo. Thanks Tom. It's on the
Equipment 17 photo page. Ab.
||Ab, please post. This was sent via lotus notes from Robin Irvine (R5 Fire
HR became aware last week that the Prevention GS-462-6/7 new announcement
was missing several R5 duty locations (44 to be exact). We have added these
duty locations to the announcement and due to the date these were added,
applicants for this announcement only will have until Tuesday, March 30,
2010 to apply if they want to be considered during the April selection
week. The OCR number is OCRP-PREV-462-5/6/7.
All other referral lists will be generated starting tomorrow as originally
planned. Please notify those on your unit who wish to apply of these
If you have any questions, please let me know. THANKS
||To those who are interested:
March 2010 Rotor and Wing Magazine March 2010
Articles on pages 56 and 62 OUGHT to be of interest to the natural resources
We in the aviation industry have known THESE items for awhile in both civilian,
LA County FD, and the military on the use of NVG's.
The other article really surprises me especially what we have been taught in the
aviation world when one goes down...STAY with the aircraft..sounds like a
Folks may say this is informed reporting......R&W is a pretty well respected
publication....as respected as the 5700 and 9400 series policy manuals in some
or most respects....
Did the USFS have an AAR on this??
Food for thought on both issues......
Forester / Pilot / Aircraft
I asked about a link to this article and there
is none. Those of you that get the publication could dialog with this poster on
the staying with the plane and the NVG issues. Not being able to read the
article makes it hard for most of us to participate. I got this reply to my
questions about a link, more explanation on the NVGs and staying with your
Access Intelligence, LLC is the "owner" of the magazine..... sorry I do
not have a link... I get this in the mail 1X a month cuz of my affiliation
with the field
Maybe some one at the USFS and others in the NR Aviation field already
should have access and could help ... sorry
I, personally, have not seen an AAR on the staying with the aircraft.... but
it is standard training practice unless civilization is close...no mileage
defined... best practice to stay with acft
Thanks for the good follow-up. Also, if anyone has
OIG's Aviation Report from last summer, please send it in. I'll
post it. Ab.
Audit Report: Forest Service's Replacement Plan for Firefighting Aerial
(1690 K pdf file)
Link to Wildland Fire Fighter Foundation NASCAR vote. You can vote EVERYDAY!
Hugs and Kisses has over 37,000 votes to our 8900.
Wildland Fire Fighter Foundation NASCAR vote
||re: Temp Hiring
"Rumor has it that our Forest Supervisor will be
attending fire hire as the SME and Recommending Official! HMMM"
Again, a RUMOR. SME' must meet certain experience levels to go to Fire Hire
and work on each type of Cert, Handcrew, Engine, BC, etc.. So, the only way a
Forest Sup could be an SME, (which stands for Subject Matter Expert) is if they
have experience in Fire to the expert level in one of those areas.
So, that's probably just that, a RUMOR.
Now, as a Selecting Official, Forest Sups are down there fairly often, and
always have been during EVERY Fire Hire round. So, Nothing has changed at Fire
Hire. Don't listen to rumors, and dont spread them....
-A Fire Hire SME. (and NOT a Forest Sup)
from the Hotlist:
Quote: Originally Posted by yactak
Not all of us in the wildland fire community believe that the residents and
politicians of the Los Angeles County communities affected by the Station
Fire and the subsequent flooding are entirely wrong.
While there is plenty of blame to go around... it is no secret that the
FS has been working at making the fire organization in R5 less effective in
the name of saving money..
Yactak, what are the cuts that are having the biggest impacts, especially in
the Station Fire area? How do you see this having further impact as time goes
I heard that over the next year or two the number of FS Type 1 TEAMS in CA and
elsewhere will be reduced and the number of FS NIMOs are going to go up
slightly. The NIMOs will be under the direction of the WO. Even now, the T1
Teams are taken out from under the Forest Supervisor's management where the fire
is burning and put under NIMO oversight and the WO direction.
This is not ICS as I know it.
Can anyone substantiate or refute any shift in future Fire Team use,
who will be issuing the "commander's intent" for them and who will be
supervising them? Ab.
from the Hotlist:
Quote: Originally Posted by burn
In the middle of one of the worst recessions in recent memory, I haven't
even had a second thought about my job being there tomorrow. I think most
people in fields outside of the fire world can't say the same.
Then I would venture to guess that you are in R5, I think that people in CA
have a little more confidence than the rest of the Regions that their jobs are
safe; a few slow years in the Rocky Mountains and it's easy to start cutting
fire resources that aren't being utilized. Fires over the last ten years have
shown that it would not be smart for the Feds to cut fire people in CA.
I wasn't around for the furloughs and layoff of the nineties. Were those
"overnight" decisions or were people able to have 2-3 months of warning?
Most FS employees were given notice about lay offs, some were given the
option of a transfer, but many available jobs were to areas with a higher cost
of living, and some people weren't interested in that option. The Forests that I
know of in particular were in R2, fire folks were initially told that they
simply not be able to hire all of the seasonals one season, but then later, many
PFT's all got laid off themselves for lack of funding. In some cases, they were
told it would just be for the one season, but the money never came back, and
Districts stayed at very low staffing levels for years after that. And I tell
you what, it was these budget cuts in the 90's that started the down ward spiral
of low morale in the FS. People who have been working for the FS since then have
continued to pick up the slack for very crappy pay along the way, and they are
simply holding out for retirement now.
What, in your opinion, is a fair wage in California for a GS-5 PFT?
That's a good question, I had to think about that for a bit. Lets start out with
how a GS-5 is not a livable wage.
GS-5 Base= $27,431
minus Federal and CA State Taxes, Social Security= $20,081
minus Health Insurance = $17,981
minus TSP/FERS (max) = $13,181
Take a look at that final number, why even bother offering that employee those
benefits if that is what they will be left with if they use them, what an
insult. If you take the 20K and no benefits, that might be an ok salary for a
single person; 20K puts a family of four below the poverty line. To make things
worse, they probably wouldn't qualify for many assistance programs because they
look at the gross salary number. You might be better off taking a job at
In-and-Out Burger, at least you would be home to see your family.
Is this how we should pay people who put their lives on the line to protect life
and property? So not only do their spouses have to worry about them while they
are gone for months out of the year to make ends meet; but also have to worry if
the car breaks down, or some one gets sick, that they might go bankrupt. Yes, I
do think the Federal Government should set a good example by providing fire
personnel, in particular, better pay.
The Feds pay better than the private sector for things like janitors, clerks,
cooks, accountants. The private sector pays more for high-skill jobs. I think
many FS people would fall into this category, highly skilled geologists,
hydrologists, engineers, etc could get much better paying jobs in the private
sector. So I think the Forest Service in general does not pay well, and that you
must really love your job to work there.
State and Local Government also generally pay better than the Feds. This is the
issue. People working for the Feds are long over due for a pay raise to begin
with. Most of the public in CA thinks that all FF, regardless of agency, make
six figures.....maybe if you work like 2,000 hours of over time with the Feds,
I'm sure even Cal Fire folks have to work a lot of OT to hit that. I think that
GS-8/9 salary just beginning to actually make a livable wage in R5. If pay
doesn't improve, eventually people will find jobs else where, either
geographically, or by agency. The idea that people who work for the gov't have
"high paying" jobs is really not all that true.
I'm not sure how OPM decides it's locality pay, but it doesn't seem to be very
fair. So Cal gets around 25% more, but the average home price is $800,000, at
least twice as much as most of the state. The Bay Area gets an extra 35%, the
median home price is $1.1M and gas is the usually the highest in the nation
there. The LP has no locality pay, but the home prices in Santa Barbara and
Monterey County top out the list in CA at 1.9M and 1.8M respectively. Take into
consideration that most areas near the National Forest you work on will have
home prices close to $400,000, and it is also likely that you will have some
sort of commute. I think there are a lot of factors when it comes to a "livable
You're right, the GS system isn't really very fair. Now that you mention it, the
gov't could actually save themselves a lot of money in TOS costs by offering pay
incentives to reward people with quality performance and stay where they are,
rather than constantly have to move around to get promotions to make that
||On march 5th, one of our Forest Service LEOs was shot and killed in the line
of duty. Christopher Upton was killed by
hunters in a reportedly negligent shooting in Georgia. Keep his family in our
I have much more to say however this is not the forum for my discussion
regarding land management law enforcement.
Rest in peace Chris.
Sad, our condolences. Ab.
USDA Forest Service Officer Shot, Killed While On Duty
||Hi to all from Washington D.C., or FWFSA East.
I am proud and honored to be here on behalf of our members and all federal
wildland firefighters. This week is shaping up
to be extremely busy but with great potential. Persistence does pay off as I am
pleased to have time to meet with the Deputy
Undersecretary of Agriculture as well as the Asst. Secretary of the Interior for
Policy along with a number of congressional
and Administration representatives on HR 4488.
If you support the legislation please contact your representatives. Persistence
IS the key. For FWFSA members please
access the Member's area which lists some of my personal staff contacts.
Although the week will be incredibly busy, I will
try to keep folks abreast on TheySaid and the FWFSA web site.
Thanks, Casey. Ab.
||Good thing Angie was in the office. Another year of retention bonuses
Date: March 3, 2010
Subject: Firefighter Retention Incentive Notification Letters
To: Forest Supervisors
Individual notification letters regarding the firefighter group retention for
your GS-05 through GS-08 employees will be sent to each forest supervisor under
separate cover. Each employee who received the allowance will receive a letter,
regardless of whether their circumstances have changed.
Please deliver the letters you receive to these employees. If you have a letter
for an employee who is no longer on your Forest, return it to the attention of
Cheryl Roth in the Regional Office.
The notification letter informs our GS-05 through GS-08 firefighters of the
extension to the 10 percent group retention allowance until February 26,
2011. It also outlines the circumstances where the retention allowance would be
permanently terminated. The Firefighter Retention Incentive letter, dated March
13, 2009, and Frequently Asked Questions are enclosed for your convenience.
If you or your employees have any questions, please contact Lirian Penn, Human
Resources, at (858) 674-2945 or at email@example.com.
/s/Angela V. Coleman (for)
cc: Region 5 HR, Administrative Liaisons, HRLs
FAQs for 10% Group Retention
Q1. Does temporary employment time count toward the “Have been employed by the
Forest Service continuously for a period of at least one calendar year on March
1, 2009” requirement?
Q2. I am in a developmental GS-07 position for a Supervisory Engine Operator
GS-08. Am I eligible for the retention allowance while in this developmental
A2. Yes, but if the developmental target grade was GS-09 then you would not be
Q3. If I receive a promotion to a GS-08 firefighter retirement covered position
will my retention allowance continue? What if it’s a promotion to a GS-09?
A3. Yes, the retention allowance would continue and the 10% would be based on
the GS-08 rate of basic pay. If you’re promoted to a GS-09, your retention
incentive would end.
Q4. Why would a temporary promotion to a position that’s firefighter retirement
covered end my retention?
A4. The intent of the incentive is to keep you in your covered position and that
would not be possible when you are occupying the position temporarily. The
incentive is temporarily suspended and would resume when you return to your
Q5. What should I consider before taking a temporary or permanent promotion that
would end my retention allowance?
A5. This is a personal decision in which you need to decide what is most
important for you and your current personal situation. One thing to consider is
the retention allowance is calculated on base hours paid. Therefore, the higher
grade may reap more money in the form of overtime. Another is the higher graded
position has the benefit of experience at a higher grade and would count as the
salary for the “high 3” earnings for the calculation of a retirement annuity.
Also, the retention allowance is not guaranteed to last beyond February 28,
Q6. What if I detail (not receiving a temporary promotion) into a higher graded,
firefighter retirement-covered position?
A6. Yes. As long as your official position remains the same and it is eligible
for the retention allowance (GS-05 through GS-08), then your retention allowance
would continue. The retention allowance would continue to be calculated on your
official position and not the position you are detailed in.
Q7. How can I tell I’m being paid the incentive?
A7. You will receive a Notification of Personnel Action SF-50B document saying
“Retention Incentive.” Also, on your Statement of Leave and Earnings you will
see Transaction Code 52 Retention Allowance.
Q8. How is the 10% retention allowance calculated?
A8. Multiply your hourly rate (which includes your locality or special rate) by
10%. This is the extra amount you will receive. Multiply this amount by the base
hours in the pay period (a maximum of 80 hours). This would be your biweekly 10%
Q9. Why isn’t the retention allowance used for overtime or high 3?
A9. It is a statutory requirement that the retention incentive is not part of
the rate of basic pay for any purpose [reference 5 USC Sec 5754(e)(3)].
Q10. Is the retention incentive taxed?
A10. Yes, because it is monies received subject to federal, state, and
applicable Medicare/Social Security taxes.
Q11. What positions are covered under firefighter retirement?
A11. The following are the list of positions used for the group retention:
Position types in NFP Tracking database qualifying for Firefighter retirement
Air Tanker Base Operations
Air Tanker Base Operations (Reload Base)
NSR Hand Crew, Category 1
Handcrew Type 1 Forest Crew
Hand Crew, 10-person
Hand Crew, 10-person/Fire Use Crew
District Fuels Officer
Emergency Communication Center(Dispatch)
Emergency Communication Center (Dispatch) 24 hour
Forest Fire Prevention Officer
Helitack, Type 2, Non Rappel (10 person/7 day effective)
Helitack, Type 2, Rappel Qualified (10 person/7 day effective)
10-Person Fuels Handcrew
Helitack, Type 3, Rappel Qualified (5 person/7 day effective)
Helitack, Type 2, Non Rappel (14 person/7 day or 21person /7 day effective)
Helitack, Type 2, Rappel Qualified (14 person/7 day or 21person /7 day
Type 1 Helitanker
Wet Prevention Unit
Wet Prevention Unit District Fire Prevention Officer
Tactical Water Tender, Type 2
Engine, Type III
Q12. I thought if I wasn’t covered under firefighter retirement I wouldn’t be
A12. The intent of the retention is to keep specific firefighter retirement
covered positions permanently occupied. Also, the Regional Forester’s intent was
to equitably compensate employees who were occupying the same firefighter
retirement covered position, whether or not individually they were covered under
firefighter retirement. Therefore, positions were targeted vice individual
Q13. Would I receive the retention allowance if I’m currently on nonpay status
on March 1, 2009?
A13. Yes, however, you would not see any payment until you started working as
the 10% retention allowance is calculated on base hours paid.
Q14. What if I take extended leave? What happens to my retention allowance?
A14. As long as you are paid for the leave the allowance would continue to be
paid on those hours.
Q15. What happens if I go on Worker’s Compensation?
A15. If you are on Continuation of Pay (COP) the allowance would continue
because you continue to receive base pay. When extended leave without pay due to
OWCP begins, then the allowance would no longer be paid.
Q16. I want to apply for a R5 position that’s offering a relocation incentive on
a position eligible for the retention incentive. Can I receive the relocation
incentive? Would my current retention allowance end?
A16. A relocation incentive may be offered to an employee who is receiving
previously authorized retention incentive payments. Therefore, you would be able
to receive the relocation incentive and continue the retention incentive.
Q17. Am I obligated to stay until the allowance ends? What if I leave?
A17. The retention incentive is to encourage R5 firefighters to remain in GS-05
through GS-08 covered firefighter retirement positions as long as possible. If
you leave for a position not eligible for the retention allowance, the allowance
simply ends. Since the incentive is paid after a person is paid their base
hours, you are not obligated to pay back the monies you previously received.
Q18. Is there a guarantee the incentive will last until February 2010?
A18. No, there is no guarantee the incentive will last. It is the intent of the
Regional Forester to have the incentive last through February 28, 2010; however,
there are no guarantees. Also, it must be reviewed at that time to determine if
it can/should be extended.
Q19. Can managers recruit firefighters from other regions to come here because
of the retention incentive?
A19. It is not appropriate to use the intention allowance to recruit
firefighters. However, if hired from another region and the employee meets all
the eligibility criteria, they will be included in the group incentive.
Q20. What are the reasons for terminating my allowance?
A20. Please refer to your individual notification letter on your allowance and
be aware the retention allowance must be terminated when you are demoted,
separated for cause, receive a less than Fully Successful rating, or you leave a
position authorized for the 10% group retention.
For Stacie Hendricks -
Don't confuse state firefighter certification (municipal/structural firefighter
1) with Wildland firefighter certification (firefighter Type 2/FFT2). Assuming
you are in fact talking about wildland certifications, contact the fire
management program at the state forestry agency in your new home, the Ken local fire department. You'll
need a minimum of S-130/190 classes (4 day basic wildland firefighter all the details. If you can't get what you need there, then
you might start contacting federal agencies in your area to see if they can
||re: Temp Hiring
Well goodm, I thought we were the only ones being asked to do illegal things.
But in all seriousness it's not good or funny.
I would recommend to everyone out there to start writing their representatives
and let them know of these practices and
let's start putting pressure on our upper management like the pressure they are
putting on us.
Well enough from me, good luck with hiring, All.
Strive for 205
||Read that sweet OIG Aviation report last summer...
What was new was.....get ready for it....... "by 1997 USFS did not anticipate
the WCF ...." paraphrasing
Looks to me that $450K aircraft back in the '80's are pretty shockingly
approaching the $ 5 million to $23 million
dollar mark, today.....
That any real surprise circa 2010? Not to us folks buying, fixin and flyin
aircraft. The FS must have thought you
could buy aircraft on a 1960's and 1970's shoestring budget, huh? NIIIICE
Where were these aviation experts?
I have torn down 1 million dollar engines on BOTH fixed wing turbofan engines
AND helicopters and THAT was
10 years ago!!!!
Better leave the aviation business to the TRUE aviation experts....cause even
the USFS is proven itself when it
argues the point(s) made by OIG
That is why there needs to be be more aviation experts in the USFS...not just
folks who are foresters and fire types
promoted to these positions
This report PROVES it!!
Forester/ Pilot / Aircraft Mechanic
If anyone has the report, please send it in. We don't have it. Ab.
Audit Report: Forest Service's Replacement Plan for Firefighting Aerial Reources
(1690 K pdf file) also on our server
Thomas D. Marovich, Sr. here. I am trying to find where to buy a few more "From
the Flames of Hell to the
Gates of Glory - Going Home" T- shirts. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
Sizes are several XL's and XXLT (three extra large and tall size)>
Hi Tom, you can get them at the WFF store:
My husband and I are State Cert Fire Fighters and have taken the
IS 100, 200, 700, and the is 800. We moved from Florida last year where we have
taken the classes and now live in Northern KY. Unfortunately Kentucky as far as
I can find out does not offer the remaining classes I need to be able to work
Logisitics. I believe we are considered Wildland Type 2. My husband would like
to complete the 45 # pack test as well. Any information you can give me would be
greatly appreciated. I was told I could finish the classes and testing on line.
I look forward to hearing from you,
FF1 Stacie Hendricks
State Certs in Florida & Kentucky
I met Mary Barr years ago and I'm so sorry to hear of her
passing. Does anyone know whether Mary was
interviewed before her illness? I'll check with her family but thought I'd check
with the firefighting community
too. She was an important part of our fire history....and fire family.
||re: Temp Hiring
My suspicion: someone on high has said line officers'
heads are on the chopping block over fire hiring. Don't
take it personally, though it's a pain in the $*&@, especially when good folks
don't get hired -- you want to
know who is going to be out on the line with you. Often forest supervisors, and
even rangers, have less power
than you might think.
Still Out There as an AD
||In response to the Theysaid post by Strive for 205 about Temp Hiring
I have run into this problem more than once. I even had a captain once tell me
that I couldn't be hired for the open position
because I was "white". Now tell me, how that is fair? I have been told by
multiple captains on one forest in particular that
the Forest Sup is breathing down their necks to make sure they DON'T hire people
of white ethnicity.
What happened to the best man or women gets the job??
||re: Temp Hiring
Strive for 205,
We are also facing the same challenges with temp and perm hiring. Rumor has it
that our Forest Supervisor will be
attending fire hire as the SME and
Recommending Official! HMMM...I guess that means that we are totally
when it comes to hiring our temp and perm workforce, that we (the SMEs and
don't understand what type of individuals with desirable
skill sets we are looking for.
AHH enough of my Rant!!
||Hi All, I'm on the road and have been having technical
difficulties of sorts. Reminds me of the "bad old days" when every
trip and meeting was difficult. Thanks to OA for the email relays and for Q
and Bruce and others for the messages. Thanks to the mods, too. Thanks to Finn
for the keyboard to plug into my laptop. To anyone that's sent in an
attachment to be posted with a message, I'll get to that on Saturday... Carry
||Here's a good article:
Influences on Risks: A Four-Part Model
Feb 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By Terry L. Mathis and Shawn M. Galloway
There remains in safety a rather naïve assumption that if we could simply
get workers to do their jobs safely, the accidents would go away. If workers
were the only variable in the safety formula, this would be true.
(click the link)
Just curious if the other parts of R5 are having trouble with temp hiring because of your rangers or forest supervisors. Where I am at the forest sup. is going through all our temp packets and he is making the decisions on
whether or not our rehires are going to be brought back and he will replace them with new hires if he doesn't like the people we are selecting. Also some of the rangers are telling our people to do illegal things during our hiring because they don't understand the process we go
through to hire. They think we can just pull certs whenever we want and that we don't have to clear the old ones before we do pull a new one. And all because they don't like the make up of the people on the cert. I am really having a hard time biting my tongue with this "white males" aren't good hires anymore. I thought we were over this; instead we just got rid of the good old boy system and replaced it with a new one. Sorry but let us do the hiring at the districts because we have been doing a damn good job with it for quite awhile. We
consider everyone and we don't discriminate.
Also if we are going to be questioning our rehires then let us know this so we can tell everyone to reapply every year and apply to other places so they have a chance to get a job.
It's not fair to tell someone we will be rehiring them then at the last minute we tell them sorry and they don't have applications in to get hired somewhere else.
Sorry for my rant but I am really getting disappointed with our upper management or is it mismanagement.
Strive for 205
||Thinking of Tom:
Over the past few months, many SMEs in the field of
rappelling attempted to explain to me what might of happened on the
morning of July 21, 2009 in Willow Creek, Ca. Not having a background
as a Rappeller, it was hard for me to put the pieces of this puzzle
together. That is until today when I read the report and looked at
photo # 10, 11 and 12.
Thinking about Tom, his family, his friends, the Modoc and
the Lassen National Forests tonight. God bless you all.
Users are required to login to LLIS.gov to view the full text of this document.
Forest Service: Emerging Issues Highlight the Need to Address Persistent Management Challenges
Date Published: 11 Mar 2009
Publisher: Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Abstract: This testimony was presented before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations. It highlights some of the major management challenges the Forest Service faces in carrying out its land management responsibilities. The report notes that although steps have been taken to improve the Forest Service's wildland fire management, it has been slow to take action on other issues. Specifically, the Forest Service continues to lack strategies for using its wildland fire management funds effectively, program management suffers from a lack of data on activities and costs, and financial and performance accountability have been inadequate.
OIG audit on FF Aircraft
OIG audit on FF Aircraft (pdf)
||Mary Barr passed away yesterday in New Orleans . If you didn't know her, she was the first woman pilot for the Forest Service. She and her Husband Dave ran the Susanville Airport for many many years. After her retirement she stayed in the area and made it her home. She had a 300 acre ranch near Bass Hill where she lived and enjoyed until she started having signs of Dementia. Her daughter Nevada, invited her to stay near where they lived and she lived out the rest of her life there.
If you knew Mary or know anyone who may have known her, please send them this link. Molly Barr made a memorial page for her mom. If you would like to leave a comment about Mary, pick on the words "Have your say" on the top of the page.
Memorial to Mary Barr
Susanville Airport (Mary and Dave)
IMWTK First woman pilot for the FS.
||Information on Services for Wes Ruise Sr.
Wes Jr. asked that I forward the
following information regarding services for his father, Wes Sr.
Friday, March 5th
Viewing: 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Rosary: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
225 South Broadway
Saturday, March 6th
Mass: 10:00 a.m.
Our Lady of Refuge Church
La Jolla Reservation
Burial: 11:00 a.m.
Highway 76 - west of South Grade Rd.
La Jolla Reservation
Dress for fire personnel: Class A for those who have them, otherwise, long
sleeve shirt and tie.
Chief Ravago of Pala Fire Department is handling logistics for the vehicle
procession. Contact # is 760-742-1632
Cards and condolences can be sent to the Ruise Family at: PO Box 574, Pauma
Valley, CA 92061
Respectfully, Carlton Joseph
||Blue Sheet CA-LNU-Mund E-26 Rollover
Hotlist Thread p=62574
If you open your workbook that you received when you took the IQCS class, it
goes through step by step instructions on how
to create a course, enroll a student, update records, etc, etc?
If you lost your workbook, you can download the book for dummies off the site:
iqcs.nwcg.gov Training Manual
Thanks for the link. Ab.
||In response to "Navigating IQCS":
It's called the IQCS user's guide. You get it when you go to the IQCS manager's
class. If you haven't
been to the class you are not allowed to be working in IQCS.
-- An IQCS account manager
||There's another race car sponsorship for fallen firefighter Tom Marovich.
Race Car Sponsorship for Tom Marovich
Take your pick or alternate... Ab.
Race Car Sponshorship for the WFF
(This is the race car Tom and Debbie created
for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation last week.)
I just heard that one
of the cars has a lot of votes; we need to vote... every day for the next twelve
I've been voting every day... Let friends and family know... Ab.
||To all that responded in regards to the Fire Tetrahedron,
I greatly appreciate it. It is refreshing, and I am invigorated with the
fact, that we can still carry on a technical
and educational discussion on this page.
I have the information I need to move forward. Thanks to “Irony” for pointing
out that the wildland community
has actually been instrumental with the application of aerial delivered long
term fire retardants that, in essence,
indeed break the “Chemical Reaction” side of the Fire Tetrahedron.
Thanks to all.
I've had it... It feels like no one knows how to navigate
IQCS anywhere and there are 10 ways to do just about
everything. Does anyone know of a document that maps out step by step how to do
things in IQCS like create
a course, enroll a student, update records, etc, etc?
Signed... When is the IQCS for dummies book coming out?!?!?!
The City of Santa Fe Fire Department is hiring 2 Lead Forestry Technicians
8 Forestry Technicians ($9.85/hr). These are the requirements:
Age 18 – 25
New Mexico Resident (last six months)
Currently unemployed (at least one pay period before the date of hire)
One season experience (Lead Forestry Technician ONLY)
The closing date is 5:00 pm March 12, 2010.
Wildland Urban Interface Specialist
||Link to Cal Fire captains application
Cal Fire captains application
Fire Tetrahedron was developed to explain why exotic chemicals that don’t reduce
O2 below burnable levels, remove heat or fuel still put fire out. Some class D
fire chemicals are one example and halon which will extinguish A, B, C, or D
fires in the proper conditions is the one that brought this to the forefront 20+
years ago. The fourth leg or chemical chain reaction is something all-risk
firefighters should be aware of, but is left to level I Instruction
‘Recognition”. Wildland Fires are exclusively class A and as previously stated
are suppressed by removing heat, fuel or O2. It is hard to imagine any advantage
to adding the fourth leg to the Wildland Fire Behavior equation.
No Bay FC
This is in response to the comment on the Fire Triangle vs. the Fire
There is a lot of information on the process of combustion in the wildland
environment and will deflect to the scientists on this.
Most wildland firefighters think that the woody material in a fire is burning.
This is false. The wood is NOT burning. Rather, it is the gases produced when
the woody material is converted from woody material to gas. It is the gas that
is burning and not the wood. Remember the book Fahrenheit 451? That is the
temperature in which paper is turned into gas and burns.
The only material found on the fire tetrahedron is in Class A Foam curricula
from about 1987. There may be other references, but it is largely ignored.
There are books and formulas written on the topic of combustion and it is just
an exothermic chemical reaction.
We experience the chemical reaction when fighting forest fires with the
application of fire retardant. Once the water component is gone, retardant
affects the chemical reaction of combustion! This is real and we need to
understand this component. Class A foam also affects the chemical reaction of
combustion as well..
The wildland fire community has been amiss for not describing the fire
tetrahedron! It is essential in understanding basic fire behavior.
Combustion is a very slow chemical reaction in terms of rate of chemical change!
Hence, we need to add in the terms “deflagration” and “detonation”. They are all
the same chemical reaction process. The only difference is the rate of speed at
which the reaction takes place!
The use of fireline explosives for line construction is the exact same chemical
process, except at a much faster rate of speed or chemical reaction. It just
happens quicker and creates a big noise.
Combustion is slow
Deflagration is faster (around 600 ft per second)
Detonation is really fast (up to 22,000 feet per second)
Detonation: Really high speed explosives (Iremite) is about 22,000 ft/sec. It is
good for cracking big rocks into smaller pieces. However, it is worthless for
building fireline or stump removal.
Fireline explosives (FLE) fits into the slower end of the detonation category,
but are much slower. Hence, they tend to be more effective in creating fireline
by removing brush and shattering things. True FLE is really nothing more than
5-7 strand det cord wrapped together.
On the still slower end of detonation, but closer to deflagration is ANFO.
Blasters use this in the forest environment because it is much slower. The
combination will force its energy into moving stumps out of the ground.
This information is found in the Blaster’s Handbook and reflected in Forest
Service/USDI policies, if more information is required.
Soooooo. The bottom line is that the chemical reaction of combustion should be
built into the wildland fire curricula.
The bottom line is still Einstein’s principle of Quantum Mechanics: E=MC2.
Hope this helps (or confuses).
Now, it is important to understand the lack of effectiveness of water as a di-polar
chemical, the effects of surface tension, heat absorption and other principles.
||Dear Federal Firefighter Supporter:
First & foremost I think you and I could have a great dialogue about some of
this stuff so please feel free to email me or call me anytime...I certainly am
not hard to find.
Your comment about the only place you hear about the CPF/IAFF vs FWFSA is from
me on TheySaid is exactly the point. As a CPF-IAFF member, why didn't you hear
about it from them? Why didn't the entire rank & file membership of each
organization hear about it? Why hasn't the action been mentioned in either
organizations newspapers or on their web sites? Why didn't either the IAFF or
CPF inform the FWFSA of the action when it took place rather than me finding out
happenstance nearly a year after the fact when I made the gesture of trying to
make time to see IAFF General President Schaitberger while I was in DC? Why
wasn't the FWFSA afforded the professional courtesy of addressing the alleged
causes of the action before it was taken? Candidly, that is what you should be
asking the CPF/IAFF leadership.
I believe in the year since we discovered the action I've referenced it 3 times
on TheySaid within the context of whatever it was I was posting about. I would
hardly consider 3 times, given the posting I've done here, to be "constantly"
bringing it up.
Axe to grind? Hardly. Many members of the FWFSA and I spent years and years
working on behalf of the CPF and IAFF legislative agendas. Many of us
contributed literally thousands of dollars to FIREPAC despite the lackadaisical
effort by the IAFF on federal firefighter issues.
Many of us, perhaps like you, spent a lot of money and left our families to
attend IAFF & CPF conferences and other events.
Perhaps the most disappointing fact in all of this is what we suspect is the
reason for their action and why they are not being open and up front about it
with their own members. We have corresponded with both IAFF General President
Schaitberger and CPF President Paulsen asking, on several occasions for
information on why the action was taken so that if warranted, we could take
corrective action. To date, both have ignored our requests.
I would suggest to you that if the rank & file of both organizations knew the
truth, they would be disappointed too. In fact, I am aware there is a growing
group of Cal-Fire folks considering addressing the issue at the next CPF and
IAFF conventions. If you would like to know the truth, let me know and I will
provide you the factual details of why the action was taken.
With all due respect I don't know how you could come to the conclusion that I
"make it seem" that the federal budget problems would be solved if there were no
local government firefighters. I have never articulated that thought because it
isn't true. What I have said is that the federal land management agencies, for a
variety of reasons, have come to over-rely on non-federal wildfire suppression
resources, particularly in the West, and dare I say it... California and that
those costs have increased the cost of wildfire suppression. That is simply a
fact. So too is the fact that a number of local government firefighters make an
awful lot of money each fire season while their federal counterparts are taken
off the clock. Simply another fact.
I agree with you wholeheartedly with your assessment of waste. In fact our focus
has been the fiscal mismanagement of the land management agency fire programs.
Your comment about tax payers is a bit broad. We want to see federal tax dollars
appropriated to federal land management agency FIRE programs to go to federal
resources first, IAW the National Fire Plan. That doesn't mean excluding
cooperators and contractors.
I am very aware of unfunded mandates. You're getting into politics which I'd
love to discuss with you but not by taking up space on TheySaid. While you can
make the argument of how the federal government and state governments screw
local governments, an argument can also be made about the FMAG program. It's a
two way street.
Finally, the issue isn't hourly rates, the number of weekly hours etc. The issue
is the fundamental inequity of how the federal land management agencies
compensate their own employees vs others doing the same work on the same fire.
I'm sorry if you think I am "using" anyone to improve things for our federal
wildland firefighters. It is not our intent to use anyone. It is our
responsibility and obligation to provide facts as we attempt to provide our
federal wildland firefighters the pay, benefits and working conditions they have
deserved for far too long.
Sorry for the length of this.
Thanks for sharing that information about the Coast Guard. I would have thought
that Katrina would have pointed out the need for a organized force that can
respond in a moments notice to all risk incidents. I also agree that they have
built the model for an emergency response organization that should be used as a
model when a Federal wildland fire agency is created. I think that this "change"
for the Coast Guard will probably be short lived, America has too much respect
for that venerable institution.
Race Car Sponsorship for WFF (This is the car Tom and Debbie created
for the WFF last week.)
I just want to say that we have a chance to let our voice be heard! We are
wildland fighters and we are a family. We need to do what ever we can to get
this car into a Sprint Cup Race! I dont think people realize how big this stage
is to bring attention to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation cause! If we can
get this car in the race, we can let the country hear our story and help those
PLEASE VOTE! tell everyone, email all your friends!!!
1 vote a person a day, 10 days left!
Lets all vote!! I want to see that car on the track!!!!!!!
||More on the FLAME Act and Firefighting Liability:
The FLAME Act...seems straightforward then you get into the minutia and it
leaves you scratching your head wondering if it is simply another fiscal shell
game wrapped up in a pretty package.
If anyone has any specific questions pertaining to the FLAME Act, I will be
meeting with Congressman Norm Dicks' Legislative Director next week in
Washington. Congressman Dicks is the Chairman of the House Appropriations
interior, Environment & related Agencies Subcommittee and authored the House
version of the FLAME Act. Please email your questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, March 12th.
I will also be meeting with staff from Sen. Cantwell's (D-WA) office and one of
the topics will of course be the firefighter liability issue. Again if anyone
has questions you'd like me to ask, please let me know.
||CPF vs FWFSA
As a California local government Firefighter and CPF IAFF member The only place
I ever hear about CPF IAFF vs FWFSA is from you on this forum. I believe what
you say about our union leaders declaring you a rival organization, but it seems
counter productive to your cause to constantly point it out. You continue to
mention your former status as a CPF insider, to continually bring it up makes it
seem as if you have an axe to grind.
I strongly support your efforts to improve conditions for Federal Firefighters.
The vast majority of Professional Firefighter Union members support our fellow
Federal Firefighters. In fact we are the ones who consider them Firefighters not
Forestry Technicians. We are some of the ones who have lobbied as private
citizens on your behalf. You make it seem as if there were no local government
firefighters, all the Federal budget problems would be solved. The truth is the
Federal Government is screwing all citizens with massive deficit spending. There
is so much waste and pork in the Federal Spending it seems that is where you
should focus you efforts with congress to redirect some of that spending on the
USFS and DOI agencies.
Regarding looking out for Federal Employee first with Federal Dollars. Don't
forget where those dollars come from in the first place. That is local tax
payers. Do you realize how much local government gets screwed by the states and
Federal government regarding un-funded mandates. Maybe that's why cities and
counties charge such high administrative fees. Remember unlike the federal
government local government can not print money when it needs it.
Regarding PTP ask your members if they want to divide their hourly rate by 1.4
to equal the average 56 hour a week Firefighter from local government. Also ask
them if they would be willing to earn 16 less hours per week OT while on a fire
assignment. I recognize that some of our base rates are higher but not as much
as people think. I think most Feds guys would be surprised how low some of our
56 hourly pay rates are. Isn't that the argument the Feds used against you as
they compared CDF 72 hour rates to your 40 hour rates on black Tuesday. My point
is to use us as a lever to improve your benefits can work against you. It can
also reduce the high level of loyalty and commitment the average local
government firefighter has towards your cause.
Signed Federal Firefighter Supporter