"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
New logo on
Logos 18 photo page. Ab.
Re: CA - fall fatality:
Mellie, found this:
Josiah "Joe" Knowles, Jr. was a lookout volunteer with the Sierra National Forest Detection Program
at Miami Lookout on the Bass Lake Ranger District.
If anyone wants the IAP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, please let me know.
I understand burnout was not successful the other evening... Ab.
Thanks for the details on Spencer Koyle on Devils Den (az) and Mark Stanley (tn), Hickman
and GA Peach.
Does anyone know if or where there's a US map of National
Forests, Grasslands, Wildlife Refuges?
Does Google Earth have NF boundaries?
It seems that no two agencies or groups refer to fatalities or fatality
locations in the same way. It's
surprising but National Forests don't seem to provide a boundary map on their
internet sites. It would
be nice to quickly view national forests.
Thanks for the help.
The TN -Bolivar- Snag was Mark Stanley. Good man.
I attached the
I have a question
Spencer Koyle died on the Devils Den Fire in Utah in 2006. Is this the same
incident as the Fishlake NF
entrapment that killed 1 on the
NWCG list? You can scroll down to 2006 on this pdf file, but info is
The USFA lists no other UT wildland firefighter deaths that year.
ps another few questions:
The NWCG also lists a wildland firefighter fatalities at
- AZ - Gila Bend - Heart attack 1
- CA - Nipinnawassee - Fall 1
Nipinnawasee CA (
location ) as a result of a fall. Does anyone know the circumstances
surrounding that LODD?
- OK - Ponca City - Run over by vehicle 1
- TN - Bolivar - Snag 1
None of those are listed in the USFA database that I can find. Anyone have
recollections of those? Links to newspaper articles or press releases?
Regarding HR 4488,
I was doing a bit of brainstorming today regarding HR 4488. I know it might be a
moot point to a lot of people but if you are registered to any sort of social
networking site such as Myspace or Facebook or Myface or Spacebook or
whatever(there's a bunch) or you twitter or tweeter, consider posting some
information regarding HR 4488 to a blog or your profile or whatever. I blogged
on Myspace for awhile just for grins and noticed a lot of people actually read
much of what I wrote, at least in the 100s each month (more so than the actual
amount of friends I had on the site...I don't get out much and I didn't write
anything too profound).
If you also copy and paste the prewritten letter and suggest people do the
same or at least send in the letter, odds are someone, even a few or more might
take the brief amount of time required to send it off. For that matter they
might get involved or at least get a better idea of the sort of passion that we
bring to the job. There's also some people that just scan the sites you might
not even know that might be in favor of it. I promise that many of the people
who read my blogs had no clue who I was and were just poking around using some
restrictive search. Just figured I should throw that out.
Thanks again Ab for giving everyone in the community and outside it a place
to speak and in my own opinion, thank you Mr. Judd for all you've done.
-another pulaski motor
Another Pulaski Motor,
As the second Pulaski Motor said, WELL SAID! Me thinks someone in management
should listen to
you as you sound like the voice of the current backbone of the workforce...
a retired pulaski motor
After a long windy journey I am back in emergency management.... I was talking
to some finance folks (not fed)
about the crew card concept. I know crews have a federal crew card... does
anyone have policy (any agency/level
of govt) for crew card guidance, policies, procedures? My fire books are all
packed away- is it in an NWCG
publication or agency documentation available on-line?
I know you guys have the answer so week 1 back and I'm already asking you guys
questions again ;-)
Well, praise Big Ernie! So glad you're back. All questions welcome! Ab.
Another pulaski motor apologized for being a bit long winded. I'm a man of
few words, so I'll just say, Well said, very well said!
There, that saved me writing my own long post.
Another pulaski motor wishing somehow, my morale will improve.
Dalton Ragnar 2010 fundraiser for the WFF
The beginning with Burk Minor.
PHOTO of runners and Burk from the WFF.
Great job, Runners. Thanks. Ab.
Casey and All working on the passage of HR 4488,
This evening I'm working to
get all my firefighter friends and extended contacts in line for supporting HR
We need everyone interested to get on board. I know the democratic process of
lawmaking is one of development,
compromise and change. We have to start somewhere with legislation and let that
This bill was created in the House. Regardless if it passes or not, we can
also educate and drum up support in the
Thanks for your hard work, your suggestions and your continued support,
Organizers, Supporters and Casey.
Count me in.
Regarding previous sentiments
I've been in fire for 8 seasons with the Forest
Service, I also spent about about 13 seasons on fire lookouts with my parents as
a youngster and both dad and mom fought fire as well as my sister, grandfather
and uncle. In the small logging town I grew up in, FS employees represented a
large portion of the local workforce and I recall BBQs and assorted
conversations and complaints and all the usual informal discussions regarding
work and the community. I'm by no means any sort of expert and I find every year
that I seem to know even less than I thought I did my second season.
I follow They Said quite a bit, every time I go out with friends, we hit that
point where someone says "I'm done talking about fire" and then we continue
talking about it for another 3 hours. Anyway, I was having trouble articulating
myself very well, I posted once regarding something that happened on our forest
to someone else and how that person was perceived but I noticed a trend today
sorting through my myriad of Lotus Notes and a statement Mr. Judd had made.
I received a survey from a Regional Forester regarding what I felt about morale
in the workplace, I also received an email from the Forest Supt. that suggested
ways that we could improve morale, it included items like team sports events
after work and BBQs and things like that and suggested we work to implement
something and improve morale. It reminded me a little of bumperstickers that say
"Free Tibet". I'm all for it but I have no desire to confront the Chinese Army
When I was little I remember a bunch of dudes running around with mullets and
half strapped radio bras over a wolf-and-lightning bolt t-shirt with the sleeves
cut-off. I remember my father playing music with a Mexican gentleman who was one
of the early jumpers and killed it on a 12 string guitar and told great stories.
I remember women too, I had an adolescent crush on the timber lady (who looked
like Catherine Zeta Jones and was mean but friendly). I remember the local
finance lady who hid Easter Eggs for the local kids and still works despite her
age (I'm now 30) and I remember a sooty and friendly young woman on the local
engine allowing me to ride in it so we could find a lightning start very near
our lookout. I remember sitting in daycare while mom was working and I remember
dad's stories of working in a now obscure guard station as both brush crew and
fire suppression and later, his time with the BLM. I recall our FS fire folks
running a beer garden (yeah, I know. Heaven forbid, but it was okay then) at a
local crafts fair for charity money. We had a grizzled and very lovable old vet
who always played Smokey at the booth near the park where the event was held and
pretty much worked prevention until he died. Him and some others got us off the
lookout one season when we had an unexpected blizzard. This was about late 80s
and prior to, a long time to some people and not long to others.
When I was older and had been working on my own after high school (I was doing
timber frame joinery as an apprentice). I remember hauling scrap iron and beams
around the yard near where I grew up, in the middle of August and seeing yet
another massive plume-dominated fire looming over the hill. I was covered in
sweat and it was about 110F out and I thought "holy s**t, whoever is up there
working right now is entirely insane." I was wearing overalls and a t-shirt and
I was already pretty miserable. From when I was little to when I had turned over
20 I always deeply admired the character, cheerful tenacity and diplomacy of the
firefighters and Forest Service people I knew.
Later I got hired as a lookout myself and later transferred to firefighting,
starting at an engine and then moving to a crew. I'm a squadboss and I'm not in
charge of more than about 8 people and a lead so I pretty much have to research
and ask questions to get how things really work.
Mr. Judd at some point described how firefighters were being treated like dirt.
I'm pretty wordy and I couldn't put it that well or nearly as clearly.
I have no political interests, I don't receive a cash bonus of any sort for
doing a good job and I don't know if all of HR 4488 will pass. It would probably
cost a lot, probably up to 90% of what using 4 type 1 helicopters to repeatedly
bomb the interior of a going burn (see Tumblebug) for a week would cost, or
about as much as it would cost to appoint a group to determine why morale is so
low, especially if you incorporate professionals to analyze why everyone is so
disgruntled, or to try to figure out why not suppressing a type 4 incident at
around 30,000 dollars led to spending millions (see Trapper, helped with the
medevacs) cost so much. I do agree with Mr. Judd though. We get treated like
So far, I have a slipped disc and a bad knee, which I ignore because I don't
want to be slower or work less than our seasonals. I P.T. on my own all winter
and if I have some extra money I give it to charity, as of now it's a lot of
money. I support the WFFF, Amnesty, Oxfam, Salvation Army, you name it, I was
deeply involved with our refugee program and even the people with the cardboard
sharpie signs asking for a buck usually get one if I'm not running late. Not
just me at all, many of the folks I work with are committed to causes, they
donate at the least and several have started a non-profit of their own. They
aren't running for office and they won't make it into any magazines.
My point is, many of the classes I go to and many of the mass emails I get and
much of the arbitrary aglearn stuff I have to do and the 2 audits so far (both
requests for my purchase information were sent to my government email and I was
laid off so it was shut down and I got collection notices and demands for
payment when I hadn't misused my TVL card in the first place) as well as the
staggering amount of people I know purchasing liability insurance, people our
forest supt. has forced us to hire because of whatever bubble they sit in
regarding an archaic perception of diversity based off of some arbitrary
definition that uses census numbers instead of actual applicant percentages and
qualifications as well as the inherent "CYA" mantra seems to indicate that
someone with a great deal of influence believes we are racist, sexist,
incompetent, criminal, technologically challenged and unable to make our own
decisions. If we need a morale survey at this point, Mr. Judd's statement is
probably pretty accurate or someone has a bonus lined up and doesn't want to
listen to anyone. I really hope we get a professional series and I'm pushing for
it because I feel like a great legacy has been devalued and I'm being treated
like a 2 year old. Sorry for the long post.
-Another Pulaski Motor
Serious Accident Investigation Report is out.
Thanks SG. Ab.
Camp 16 Incident
Fatal Vehicle Accident
August 30, 2009
Lessons Learned: Camp 16 Serious Accident Investigation Report (HUGE 13,000
K pdf file)
You do bring up some important, valid points that have not been raised before.
The draft of the bill, nearly the same as the final product, was "on the street"
for comment/feedback nearly a year before the bill went to the Congressional
Legislative Counsel for final review and language.
With many legislative initiatives that affect federal employees, often agencies
like OPM that are provided the authority to develop regulations for such
legislation once it is passed, interpret the intent of Congress and the bill
When this occurs, Congress in essence clarifies the intent of the new law often
with a "technical Amendment" that provides OPM with clearer guidance on how the
regs should be developed. I have no doubt in my mind that OPM may in fact raise
the same questions you have, especially regarding FERS employees. They suggested
the creation of a wildland firefighter classification series would cause
firefighters to lose their hazard pay so we included language that said "No,
The "intent" of the bill is certainly not to impact the supplement nor the rate
at which you contribute because you are required to retire early. That being
said, it may be a technical issue that will need further work or a change in
language to ensure OPM and others don't mis-interpret the bill.
Everyone needs to understand that currently, there is only the House bill, HR
4488 introduced. We have yet to secure a Senate version. While it would ideal to
have a companion bill in the Senate with identical language, often times the two
bills (one from the House the other from the Senate) on any given issue differ
substantially at which time a conference committee made up of House & Senate
members hammer out the final language in order to merge the two bills. In the
meantime the backroom deals go on determining how a particular bill will be
As a result, there is ample time for additional thought/ideas to be developed
that may create a more palatable Senate bill for all. For instance, the
firefighter liability section is not the best case scenario, but it is a start.
So too with the concerns from the private sector over the reductions in
non-federal resource costs. We have suggested to them that if Congress wants to
ID the costs of HR 4488 to be borne by the FLAME Act funding rather than through
an incremental reduction in non-federal costs, that would be fine with us.
As I've said before, since each congressional session is two years long, we had
hoped to have had this bill introduced early last year to give us more time to
educate the Hill, fine-tune the provisions and get the bill moving. Because it
was introduced in December, and because of the partisan environment on the Hill
coupled with it being an election year, where the current bill goes and how it
gets there is still a great unknown.
I cannot emphasize enough the difficulty of navigating Congress. I've used the
example of the huge International Association of Fire Fighters and their # 1
issue for the past 12 years or so, National Collective Bargaining. Despite
versions of the bill garnering the support of over half the members in the House
of Representatives and even with a Democratically controlled Congress and
Administration, the issue could yet again be dead by the end of this year and
have to be brought up once again during the next session.
Changing the way the government does business is a very slow process.
Introducing such a comprehensive package of reforms certainly creates even more
debate than if the bill was a one-issue bill only. What I can say is regardless
of the passions on either side of the pro-4488 or against 4488, the issues
facing our Nation's federal wildland firefighters are now at the forefront of
many congressional offices that until the introduction of the bill, had no clue
who or what federal wildland firefighters were or what their issues were or the
impact those issues have on taxpayers etc.
Lastly, the bill was drafted on behalf of our members, knowing full well it
would benefit many others who are not members. The bottom line is they (our
members) pay the freight for our work and we are responsible to them. That being
said, if there are FWFSA members out there who share this individual's concerns
or any other concerns raised about the bill, let us know.
If you are not a member, but would like to offer clear language that you think
might make better sense and cover more bases, feel free to share it with us. HR
4488 is a foundation to build upon. It has not been written in granite for all
ages, but after years of inaction by the Agencies in addressing issues facing
their firefighters, we felt it was time to take some action.
FERS and age 65 retirement
I am not sure this has been thought out completely. The FERS retirement system
has a couple of benefits for employees with mandatory retirement. The first is
the social security (SS) supplement. Since we are required to retire before we
are eligible for SS, we get the supplement. The supplement is an estimate of our
actual SS amount given to us when we retire up to the point we are eligible for
SS. It can be quite a bit of money depending on length of service etc. The
supplement ends when are eligible for real SS. The second benefit is that since
firefighters are required to retire early. We earn 1.7% of our high three for
the first 20 years of service. After 20 years it drops to what everyone else
gets. The reason for the higher percentage is because we have to retire early.
It seems that if the retirement age is moved to age 65, we would lose both of
those benefits because we would have the same retirement of everyone else. FERS
retirements sucks for non fire employees.
It is for this reason I dont support the Bill. I am hoping Casey can talk about
my concerns on this forum and put my mind at ease. I have been around a long
time and know lots of Federal Firefighters and I never heard much mention of the
age 57 thing. Now all of a sudden it ends up in this Bill. We have lots of young
firefighters that this will affect. If a person hits the age 57 thing and has
not prepared for retirement and needs to keep working, there are other options.
Passing of Ron Clowes in AT crash in Canada.
Passed on from RL Tex Smith, Forest
Ranger, Wildland Fire Behavior Specialist DNR; this message came to him with the
request to pass it on...
every now and then a big stick hits u in the head. This was my stick to remind
me of where I came from. Please send my condolences to all the guys at "Dunphy"
aka Miramichi. I consider them my brothers and mentors. Without their guidance
and sometimes misguidance I wouldn't be who I am today. They have also saved my
bacon both on the fire ground across Canada and also from the wrath of an angry
grandfather and father. Getting into trouble was easy and the "guys" made it
bearable to be in deep trouble because usually they were helping me along.
Too many good memories of the crazy pilots to be in sorrow so Im going to
remember them and our fallen brother with a smile. I do not remember him
personally but all wildland firefighters and pilots are the same... Characters.
Many condolences to his family... if they only knew the joy young boys get from
watching an old turkey groan across the sky and wish that was us up there. I
express deepest sorrow to his family, friends and relatives but with this in
mind... Mr. Clowes was doing what he loved and was good at. As a firefighter
that is a high compliment to a man, who has been part of a great tradition and
History in the fire service. Please send this to all our brothers on the ground
and in the air that knew Mr. Clowes and let them know they are not alone in
Sincerely, Lt Garth G
"Former young lad raised by characters from Dunphy Airstrip"
Ron Clowes of Grand Falls dead in water bomber crash
Ron Clowes of Grand Falls dead in water bomber crash (Just before
1400 hours on 4/23/10, TBM Avenger crashed.)
Probe begins into fatal New Brunswick (Canada) water bomber crash
The Canadian Press
Date: Saturday Apr. 24, 2010 5:35 PM ET
MIRAMICHI, N.B. — A federal investigation has started into the fatal crash
of a water bomber in
northern New Brunswick.
The crash of the Forest Protection Ltd. aircraft occurred Friday not long
after it took off in northern
New Brunswick, resulting in the death of 62-year-old pilot Ron Clowes of
Michael Cunningham, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of
Canada, told CTV
television news that the debris field of the aircraft covered over 200
He says when it hit the ground near the Miramichi airport it left "quite a
crater," and the impact was so
violent that the aircraft came apart in pieces.
Cunningham told CTV that at this early stage of the investigation the
federal team is simply gathering
facts and it is too early to draw any conclusions on the cause of the crash.
David Davies, a spokesman for Forest Protection Ltd., says that Clowes was
conducting a practice
flight on the TBM Avenger aircraft at the time of the crash.
Photo of Avenger at the link.
fair use disclaimer
Condolences to friends, family and colleagues. Ab.
Whenever one lobbies for a specific group, it is in effect an argument
that their group deserves a larger share of
"the pie". In order to make this redistribution, some other special interest
group must, in the end, receive a small
share of the pie.
Increasing the size of the pie is an option, but that requires some group
(taxpayers) to make additional contributions.
A retired personnel officer (buddy of mine) would use a different metaphor,
"Someone else's ox has to be gored".
Advocate or Opponent, one needs to be prepared to argue for your position, and
against the opposition. Some
questions that should be addressed may include:
PTP: Why should only firefighters qualify while away from their families? What
about wilderness rangers who are
out on extended assignments? (Casey has provided some response).
Change of age limitations: Will this be interpreted as an argument against the
special retirement that firefighters
Costs: Paying other agencies PTP is pointed out as being costly. How will PTP
result in lower costs? ie If paying a
portion of the firefighting force PTP is costly, how will paying all of the
firefighters PTP equate to a "savings"?
If you are for the bill, you should certainly feel free to express your opinion.
As pointed out, do so outside of the
federal workplace. Lobbying by a government employee in an official capacity is
If you are opposed, you may also avail yorself of the opportunity to contact you
representative. Or, you may wish to
organize and hire your own lobbyist to argue your need for an increased share of
People writing or emailing your House Representative and Senators (2), be sure
you do it on your own
computer and not on govt time.
Tahoe Terrie, one of the retired taking up the
Since I wrote HR 4488, I guess the proverbial "buck" stops here. It would have
been nice to have had an opportunity to answer your questions before you offered
your opinion to your elected officials based upon your assumptions and
inferences, but as we all saw and heard with the health care debate, many
formulated their opinions and offered those opinions to their elected officials
without reading the bill or having their questions or concerns addressed. It
just comes with the business.
In any event I will try to articulate the method to my madness.
As long ago as 1999, the GAO forewarned of a growing chasm between those federal
wildland firefighters nearing mandatory retirement age/exercising their rights
under the special federal firefighter early retirement provisions, and those in
lower grades who were to move up to become the next generation of fire leaders.
This chasm has grown in recent years thanks in part to many leaving before the
mandatory age of 57 simply because they are fed up and the loss of many in the
grades of GS-5 through 9 for better pay and benefits elsewhere. This chasm, or
gap, has most recently been addressed in the Forest Service' OIG audit on
Firefighter Succession Planning Process.
The idea behind the language in the bill is to offer a choice to the federal
wildland firefighter approaching the age of 57 to work beyond the current
mandatory retirement age if they are medically/physically capable of doing so.
This would allow some of the "brain trust" to remain in place a few years longer
while the gap closes.
Naturally, without creating incentives for either those nearing retirement to
stay, or those in the lower grades to remain in the system, changing the
retirement age would be moot. That's why the legislation contains other
provisions which may be incentive enough to stay in the federal system.
Many have already seen the consequences of the Agency trying to fill positions
Portal to portal:
I cannot emphasize enough that providing PTP to federal wildland firefighters on
emergency incidents exceeding 24hrs as well as to those that support such
incidents (militia) has absolutely nothing to do with what employees of Cal-Fire
The issue of PTP for federal wildland firefighters has been discussed for over
two decades, long before the lucrative compensation and retirement packages of
many cooperators in California. Back then, the concept of PTP was believed to
provide for better morale and the ability for better supervision of a crew on an
incident since they would be "on the clock."
The concept of PTP is enjoyed by nearly every paid, professional firefighter in
the country, including federal firefighters employed by the DoD. PTP does not
always mean getting paid 24/7, it means being compensated from the time you are
on duty until the time you're off duty. Countless firefighters across the
country get paid for a tour of duty whether they go on a call or not. That tour
of duty includes sleep time and meal time. Still further, a close examination of
FLSA regulations would lend credence to the idea that the time spent by
employees on most wildfire incidents, inclusive of being in camp is compensable.
In recent years, the call for PTP has become one of equity in the methodology of
compensation on an incident. Very simply, if the federal land management
agencies are going to continue to pay PTP to many cooperators, especially in the
West; continue to pay the departments from which those cooperators come from an
"Admin fee," backfill costs and lodging costs while taking their own, inherently
less expensive federal wildland firefighters off the clock, then we will
continue to pursue PTP.
In your opinion, the bill is an R-5 wildland firefighter bill. Let's deal with
facts. California has the most federal wildland firefighters employed than any
other state. Some cooperators in California make $200, 300 thousand and up each
season courtesy of the federal government. California likely results in the
greatest percentage of suppression costs because of those resource costs. It is
unfortunate that because of the costs of wildfires in California, taxpayers
across the Nation are paying the price. So...California, and particularly the
land management agency fire programs there and how those programs and their
dollars are managed, is a microcosm of what is wrong with the system.
However, if HR 4488 was an R-5 bill, we would have stated as much. Our
responsibility is to provide fundamental pay & personnel policy reforms for ALL
federal wildland firefighters in all grades and in all agencies. You are
entitled to your opinion but I can tell you it is not consistent with our stated
goals and objectives.
Hazard Pay as part of retirement pay:
You are reading far more into this issue than exists. In the federal government,
among others, there are GS (General Schedule) employees and WG (Wage Grade)
employees. Certain WG employees earn "environmental pay" while certain GS
employees (federal wildland firefighters) earn "hazard pay." The definition of
environmental pay is identical to that of hazard pay yet the environmental pay
for WG employees IS included as base pay for retirement purposes while the
hazard pay for GS employees IS NOT. We don't know if this is an oversight in the
law or not but if WG employees have their environmental pay included as base pay
for retirement, than GS employees, by definition of hazard pay, should enjoy the
Candidly, I'm really fed up with those worrying about federal wildland
firefighters padding the hazard pay for retirement etc., yet seem to have no
problem with their tax dollars paying some folks hundreds of thousands each
Non-federal resources financial cap: Since I wrote the bill, I have read it a
few times and I cannot find the term "non federal resources financial cap." For
the number of posts you've made on TheySaid, I would have figured you to have
some significant time spent in a fire camp in the West. Many of these camps have
developed into a cottage industry of contract services. Many of these camps have
expensive, non-federal resources sitting for days in camp...on the clock.
Your scenario of no retardant and no helicopters is a bit like chicken little. A
recent memo from the R-5 Regional Forester to his fire staff dictated that
during development of cooperative agreements with local government entities,
those cooperators should be informed that in the future, they will likely be in
camp maybe 1-2 days rather than 3-5 days. Maybe it'll mean that some non-federal
firefighter may ONLY make $250,000 next season instead of $300,000.
Anyone who has been in a camp knows where significant costs can be cut without
impact to the fire operation. And, as an alternative to your "cap" and the
threat to subdivisions etc., perhaps the next time you discuss the bill with
your elected officials, tell them the heck with offsets, pay PTP out of the
FLAME Act funding they just passed. We'd gladly desire not to take the flak for
being responsible by identifying the offsets expected by Congress.
Finally, transparency is supposed to be a good thing. We have nothing to hide
but it is clear we have an awful lot of educating to do. We recognize that no
matter what we say or how we say it, someone will disagree just to disagree. But
remember, this bill was introduced on behalf of our Nation's federal wildland
firefighters who, through the consistent application of archaic pay & personnel
policies have been treated like crap for risking their lives to protect our
Nation's natural resources, its citizens and their property. If the work they do
means anything to you, be a part of the solution, not the problem.
All you do is criticize and complain...Offer an alternative, participate in the
solution. Until then, I'll take my direction from our members.
We need to send a special community "shout out" to Fulton and Texas
Canyon Shots for putting on a fantastic
Sporting Clay Shoot to benefit the WFF Foundation!!
The weather was great, the
food was great, the people were ridiculously great and even though my shooting
was crappy, We had a crazy good time.
Thanks gang for one heck of a shoot!!
Sore Shoulders in North Zone!
Good news! Did Burk survive? Ab.
HP for retirement:
re: the cynic's comments
I believe Wage Grade employees receive retirement credit for their work on
fires, as do the DOD fire employees.
Many Fed plough operators in R-8 are WG employees. The retirement provision in
this bill sorta levels the playing
field. I'll leave the response from the wal-mal post speak for itself. I think
if anyone really challenged the Feds to a
FLSA violation about what really are compensable hours, the feds would be paying
A LOT! of back pay.
Casey, AB’s, everyone,
Thank you for your hard work and diligence in advocating for the Federal
Wildland Firefighter, it is painful to imagine what our workplace would be like
without the FWSFA and your efforts.
HR 4488 is a far reaching and long overdue new look at how the Forest Service
can operate as a land management agency. I see a lot of room for compromise in
this bill and doubt it will look anything like it does now when it is becomes
law. That is not necessarily a bad thing though; it is just part of the change
I do have a few differences of opinion that I would like to share with you. And
I hope you will consider them as the compromise process evolves.
I don’t agree the retirement age should be raised. Once you open that door, it
will stay open and impact every one. It is a slippery slope, you must recognize
that. There are many people, like me, who have worked their butts off,
sacrificing and personal lives and their bodies working for this agency and the
public good. I cannot be the only one who is looking forward to retiring at 57
(or sooner if I feel like it). There are some people who would like to continue
working and I know some of them, however, that should not mean that the
retirement age should have to be raised for everyone. I think the new law
allowing the rehiring of annuitants could be a good tool to keep those who want
to continue working on board. It would be great to see DFMOs move on to District
Ranger positions, for example. It would be much more agreeable to lobby for
loosening the currently restrictive annuitant rehire policy than raise the
I think allowing overtime to be included in retirement deductions would be a
more inclusive way to insure all aspects of firefighting receive the maximum
benefit from their hard work. By allowing retirement deductions to apply to
overtime, it would include support and line going personal equally. Why create
that separation; is one person’s contribution more worthy than another’s?
I don’t agree Fire Management needs to be centralized to be effective. I don’t
recall if it’s in the bill or not but I hear it a lot when change is discussed.
I do agree we need a professional series classification. One that is an equal
ladder to District Ranger and Forest Supervisor Positions. Fire is an integral
part of the ecosystem and it needs to be managed in concert with other aspects
of ecosystem management. Fire Management should have a larger role in forest
management. Instead of empowering Fire Management by separating it from the rest
of forest management we should empower Fire Management by including it. It is
cultural change and assimilation that will have the largest benefit for the
workforce. It is a lot harder to do but more effective in the long run.
You are right about the encroachment of for profit enterprises directly
correlates to the rising costs of suppressing our fires. It is not the only
reason, but it is a significant factor. While the private sector has a role in
support, firefighting is a public servant endeavor. You can not be a public
servant for a profit. If you work for the federal government you are a public
servant. Our interest is for the public good, not a profit. That’s what makes us
an employer of choice, in spite of what management does to demoralize us. We
need to avoid the dilemma of profit vs. safety, or the public good, or whatever,
because in the long run profit always wins and the firefighters always lose.
The White House and Congress are both looking at the private sector vs. public
service. Joe Davidson summed it up in this 4/14 article.
Hearing on Federal Protective Service examines profit vs. public service
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of writing to our representatives.
Emails are effective, but hand signed hard copies through your local
Congressman’s office and The White House have a larger impact; it appears as
though there is time for it to be effective. If Congress and the White House
don’t hear from us, they will only hear those who are motivated by profit. We
are already at a disadvantage with funding and lobbying resources; our voice,
loud and consistent is most effective tool. We will only get from Congress what
we put into it. We need to give Casey, FWSFA, and the Union every tool we can
Your post was cynical, as always, I’m glad you are at least willing admit it
with your moniker. You often make some very good points and I find myself
agreeing with your posts, despite your rabid cynicism. However, on this
occasion, I am disappointed to hear that you have shared your relative umbrage
with elected officials as truth. You are giving these politicians the impression
that firefighters are divided, and it is counter productive to improving our
Federal fire program, which is in every one’s best interest for the long term.
On the issue of PTP, I have to say, I am a bit torn here myself. While I agree
that with current financial state of California, and the Nation, that PTP seems
like a money guzzler…. Like buying a Suburban, when you could get a Honda Civic
(I’m a long time Toyota lover myself, but suggested a Honda instead for obvious
reasons), both essentially serve the same purpose, to get you where you want to
go. Be that as it may, CA fire employees have negotiated that benefit, meaning
the State willingly gave it to them in compensation for their service, so that’s
that now. You’re right, currently this is an issue unique to California; but as
far as CA goes, if the Forest Service wants fire employees, they’re going to
have to pony up and match it. I believe it to be fair compensation for the
expectations that firefighters are required to meet.
I gather that you are outside of R5, I can certainly identify with your position
as I am also not from R5. I used to think that that R5/CA issues did not pertain
to me because I did not live there, nor did I care too; but I have come to
realize that the other states that make up the Western US will soon find
themselves facing the same problems as the FS and R5 Fed Firefighters. Why not
let R5 be the guinea pig?
I think you are missing the principle of things like PTP, factoring H Pay into
retirement, and raising the retirement age. It’s about fully reimbursing our
fire employees for their sacrifice they make to serve the public. Sure we all do
it because we love it (not because we’re forced into it), but don’t negate the
fact that a career in fire results in many sacrifices. The numerous physical
impacts, the stress on families, time away and missing special occasions, the
risk to your life, need I go on? As Casey has said before, these are issues that
have been neglected by the Agency for years- morale is low, retention of
qualified folks is a problem, it’s only a matter of time before all that becomes
a serious, widespread safety issue. Are people not working under hazardous
conditions less important? No, they are equally important- but the risk they
take on to do their job is not equal. We need to start compensating our
firefighters for the risk they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Oh, and as for the cap on Non-Fed resources, I thought people in Washington
would like that on since they seem to loove “Cost Containment” so much. While
air resources are important, and can assist firefighters in a lot of situations,
I think if the American Public knew how much they were paying for those, they
would agree that they should be tactfully limited.
So those are my points, you may or may not agree. To be honest cynic, I think
you have already made up your mind, and it will not be changed. Even if you do
“reconsider,” well, I guess that’s all it will ever be, a personal
reconsideration, as you have already shared your opinions with members in
fireweed (always lurking around)
My understanding, and I checked with our retired personnel officer, is
that the special firefighter retirement came
about because OPM (formerly Civil Service) was convinced that firefighting is
such an arduous activity that one
could not be expected to work a standard 30-40 years in the profession. They
agreed that a minimum of 20 years
would qualify for retirement (certain other restrictions) and that a maximum age
to perform would be 55.
If we now successfully argue that due to whatever reasons (better nutrition,
training, equipment, tactics etc) one
can indeed perform up to age 62+ on a regular basis...and thus negate the need
for maximum hiring or retirement
age limits.....then we might find OPM in agreement to drop the special
Not a rejection or support of 4488, just an observation.
Old Fire Guy
A couple agencies that get portal to portal: LA County Fire, Chester Volunteer.
I know that their primary mission
isn't wildland but whats the difference? They are getting paid Portal plus
finance charges and at times, we have to
pay for their replacements back home. So why shouldn't we be getting it also? Or
why don't they just get rid of it
all together on Fed fires and make us all equal. We didn't negotiate this with
their unions so why should they reap
Strive for 205
Failure to pass WCT:
Any federal agency employee can file a SAFENET report should they witness a
violation while on incident or in training (i.e. WCT). This is a productive way
to speak up while
remaining anonymous. Go to
Student needs photo help:
I am a student in baltimore county and i was
wondering if you could help. I need photos for my
photography class to prove that forest fires are a disadvantage to the
environment. Please help
with any locations in Maryland within the past several years or anything that
could prove a forest
We have no photos of fire in Maryland that I'm aware of. Contributors, any
photos of fires that show damage to the environment? Ab.
MT-CRA-Birthday Fire, falling snag accident - Preliminary 72 Hour Report
Learned Birthday Fire 72 hr Report
I don't know enough about the bill to argue the points you made on
non-fed resource cap and I know we are losing firefighters or are unable to hire
some due to the age restriction so the age cap raise seems good to me but I
would like to offer a small counter point to the portal to portal point you
You said that most people do not get paid 24 hours when they are called upon
to travel and I would say that is true and I will relate this to my wife who
used to work for wal-mart as a manager. She was often asked to attend meetings
in other states or locations without being compensated for non duty time. Other
times, employees who worked overnight were told (forced) to stay within the
confines of the store even during their meal breaks which were not compensated.
(They would lock the doors.)
I would say that of the 2 situations, the latter fits the description of what
firefighters are told (forced to do). You know, stay here, don't go there, be
available at a moments notice...? Sound familiar? Oh yeah I almost forgot. The
wal-mart employees who were told (forced) to stay with in the confines of an
area defined by the employer without compensation, filed a multi-million dollar
law suit and won. But hey, wal-mart was not on fire or dropping snags on them
while they were off the clock so it is different afterall... my bad.
Contact info needed:
I'm looking for contact info for Susie Harvin, who
made/makes gonzo gear line packs. Anyone know if she's
still in business and if so, how to get a hold of her for some repairs?
Failure to pass WCT:
Asking the readers,
What is the right thing to do if you observe; Captains, AFMOs, and FMOs who
no longer are able to pass
the pack test, and are passed by the WCT administrator because of the perceived
need for these people in
arduous positions? Believe it or not this is fairly common with the U.S.F.S. in
some parts of the country.
As a temp, I won't get hired back if I voice my concern.
HR 4488: Ok, as usual I will swim upstream a bit on this one. I think the bill
has several strong points, however there are a four points I have some real
heart burn with.
Retirement age raised to 65. What was the premise behind federal firefighters
getting firefighters retirement? It was my impression (and I could be wrong)
that one of the major points was to maintain a young and vigorous fire fighting
organization. If we are not going to adhere to that, I have no problem with it,
just drop fire fighters retirement. I mean if firefighters want to work until 65
fine, but why should they then get special retirement? Why set the age at 65 why
not 85? I will bet you your last dollar if the age is raised to 65 someone is
going to bitch when they reach 65 that they are still tough as nails etc etc and
da**it, it is just unfair to be forced to retire at 65.
Portal to Portal is a non starter. I have asked numerous times on this board for
someone to name an entity that has wildland fire suppression as a primary
mission besides Cal Fire that is paid portal to portal and have yet to have
someone name a department or agency. So we are going to hang our hat on Cal Fire
as a justification to get portal to portal? As a tax payer I say California is
in such good fiscal condition maybe someone ought to be looking at taking portal
to portal away, not trying to expand it to Federal fire fighters, even though we
all know how sound the federal budget is. I will admit to being old school, but
come on, how many of your brothers, fathers, sons, daughters etc get paid 24/7
when their jobs take them out of town. I know damn few. In fact I know no one!!
I defy you to defend portal to portal to those folks.
Hazard Pay as part of retirement. Boy this is really an equitable one isn't it?
So the folks that can gobble up the most HD get a higher retirement package. So
where is the incentive to work at a location that does not pound down hours and
hours of HD? Are those positions less important? This is another non starter in
Non Federal Resources financial cap: yep this is one of those sound good sound
bite deals that makes little to no sense. I can't wait to see some Forest
Supervisor or Regional Forester standing on the porch explaining that no
Retardant ships, no helicopters etc etc are available because we have already
expended the money allocated to non federal resources. While the flames gobble
up another So Cal subdivision. (Which we all know are more valuable than
subdivisions any where else in the US) Come on, some on has to think this stuff
through don't they?
So those are my thoughts in a nutshell. I have shared them with my congressional
delegation and most of the congressional delegations in the Western US. If some
one can convince me I am off base I will be glad to reconsider. In my opinion
this bill is basically an R-5 wildland firefighters bill. It is so transparent
as to be almost laughable. But hey, if you can swing it more power to you. I
will be glad to support it with the exceptions I have noted.
Be Engaged in May - HR 4488 SAM (Support and Awareness Month)
“All Call” - To: WLF Hotlist Forum Leaders
Across this Country!
PA Fire Warden
And all other Hotlist Leaders and Contributors!
Join us in support of HR 4488. I don’t know your affiliation or your opinion of
HR 4488. We do know that you and many others are the leaders of the Hotlist
Forum. If you support HR 4488, write and email your elected officials, phone a
friend and family member, spread the word among other members and request them
to do the same.
If you’re opposed or neutral on HR 4488, we understand and respect your opinion
and your “continuing” outstanding contributions to the Hotlist. Thank you for
your consideration of this request.
More information for Hotlist Members can be found if you email or call Casey
Judd at 208-775-4577
Write your House of Representatives Member
>Memories are short.
I guess I will jump into this debate with a little history. Below was the Forest
Service Green Plan time line to study the outsourcing wildland firefighting and
other Forest Service jobs. The 2006 mid-term elections and the 2008 presidential
race placed this time line on hold. Allow me to emphasize that those elections
did not eliminate outsourcing, they only placed them on hold. Future
administrations can direct agencies to once again pull these plans out from the
filing cabinet, blow the dust off and start anew. Between 2001 and 2008, Forest
Service computer, radio and telecommunications services, roads and fleet
management services faced competition. We all remember what happened when
private industry managed our fleet.
I offer Federal Wildland Firefighters from all 5 agencies two simple questions
to think about:
Who was in favor of the previous administration's goal to conduct Green Plan
outsourcing activities of Wildland Firefighting jobs?
Who is opposed to HR 4488?
Keep your friends close and the "opponents" of HR 4488 closer.
Federal Wildland Firefighters who believe in the framework outlined in HR 4488
need to get into this fight TODAY! It's your future, it's your family.
So Cal Fed Firefighter who supports of HR 4488 and will do what I can to fight
· ·· ·
Competitive Sourcing “Green Plan”
USDA – Forest Service
July 22, 2005
A. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FOREST SERVICE FY 2005 – FY 2009 COMPETITIVE SOURCING PLAN.
Competitive Sourcing Plans for 2005-2009.
The agency plans to conduct feasibility studies on 6,180 FTEs from FY 2005 to FY
2009. Follow-on competitions of previous studies may result in studies of 694
additional FTEs. The following tables highlight each year’s plan:
HOG & All:
Thanks for your post. If you want, access the member's area on our web site
which will list my staff contact in Minnick's DC office.
I sincerely appreciate the recent posts about HR 4488 and the FWFSA. Just a
reminder, I am not the FWFSA, our members are. I just get to be the one to bang
my head against a wall on a constant basis :)
TheySaid is read and viewed by many so it is important for everyone to
understand that the introduction of HR 4488 and our efforts on behalf of our
Nation's federal wildland firefighters is not a "battle" being waged against
private contractors or cooperators. There is ample opportunity for all three
segments to continue to exist in the federal land management agency fire program
scheme of things. However in recent years things have become a bit skewed.
While it may inflame passions on either side of the spectrum, the FACT remains
that the federal wildfire response has become a financial boon to many at the
expense of our federal firefighters and the American taxpayer. The system has
created an imbalance of federal & non-federal resources because the land
management agencies, primarily the Forest Service, have failed to address long
standing issues facing their firefighters and has been somewhat "loose" with the
expenditures of FIRE dollars appropriated by Congress.
This imbalance has led to an over-reliance on non-federal resources. This FACT
has been identified by, among others, some in Congress, the GAO, the Forest
Service' own OIG and OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
That being said, the FWFSA has consistently suggested to Congress that even
before the FLAME Act was passed, Congress appropriated enough FIRE dollars to
make everyone happy, including paying our FEDS portal to portal and other
benefits contained in HR 4488. The problem historically has been the management
of those dollars by Agency Line Officers. Hell, give the members of the FWFSA a
billion bucks to manage the programs and we'll get the job done and have plenty
left over! Sorry ASC, you won't get any dough if FIRE folks are actually running
the FIRE program... yea I know, what a concept.
In introducing legislation with a cost factor associated with it, the FWFSA was
obligated to identify a way to pay for such costs. There is no dispute that
non-federal resource costs, especially in the West and more specifically in
California have resulted in skyrocketing suppression costs.
Not only are federal land management agencies paying the higher salaries of many
non-federal resources, they are paying those salaries for 24 hrs. They are
paying Admin fees to the department from which the resource came. They are
paying for backfill costs and housing costs. Yup, we all know there are
firefighters in the West making in the hundred(s) of thousand dollars each fire
season while our FEDS are taken off the clock on the very same incident.
The federal wildfire landscape has created a cottage industry of all sorts of
contract services for any incident. The food service contracts alone are
mind-boggling. I dare say all the luxuries and Foo Foo stuff available nowadays
is not to cater to the FEDS.
It is unfortunate that a small segment of non-federal resources cost so much. It
is simply ironic that they exist in the most fire-prone areas of the West. And
it isn't a situation where blame is due. These local government resources and
State resources like Cal-Fire have a luxury federal employee don't have...the
ability to negotiate pay & benefits. They have done an exceptional job providing
pay & benefits for their members. It is also a fact however, that in tough
economic times, some communities struggle to make ends meet because of public
safety officer pay & benefits.
While I was on the Executive Board of the California Professional Firefighters I
was in awe of the retirement package CDF was working on. I was shocked by how
much some firefighters in California were earning. There wasn't a sense of
jealousy or envy. In fact I don't know of any federal wildland firefighter that
expects to be paid like other firefighters. What I did feel, and still feel was
a sense of duty to work towards a better environment for our federal wildland
firefighters so that they too could raise a family regardless of where they
chose to live and work.
Yup, California is expensive. But that doesn't mean every federal wildland
firefighter in every land management agency, regardless of grade or position,
doesn't deserve basic fundamental changes to outdated pay & personnel policies.
One Congressman from California assumed that it was our intention with HR 4488
to "copy" the pay of Cal-Fire and we shouldn't expect to try and provide that
all over the country. I had to explain to him and his staff the issue of portal
to portal for federal firefighters has been an issue for over 2 decades, long
before Cal-Fire's lucrative contracts and retirement package came into being.
Over the last year I have taken the time to respond to every concern raised by
the private sector. I have had steady communication with the National Wildfire
Suppression Association and have even offered its Executive Director to meet with
their Board to ensure all private sector firefighters understand our intention
IS NOT to put anyone out of business.
There has been some confusion about Sec. 5 of our bill, Equal Protection Under
the Law. Some infer it means that it is designed to eliminate contractors and
cooperators. That is not the case. Section 5 provides federal firefighters from
the DOI and USDA the same protections against wholesale agency outsourcing of
their jobs as currently enjoyed by DoD firefighters. It has absolutely no impact
on the seasonal contracts entered into between the land management agencies and
private, state & local entities.
The Forest Service fields the largest fire department in the world. It is my
humble opinion that federal land management agency wildland firefighters are the
best in the world. They are versatile and are relied upon by the federal
government to respond to a variety of emergency incidents. Unfortunately (and
this is my personal opinion) if the Forest Service managed its fire program more
like a fire department, with fire staff managing the program and funds rather
than Line Officers, the programs would be more effective and efficient.
That said, it is not the intent of the FWFSA to create an R-5-like fire program
across the entire country. However, we do believe that federal wildland
firefighters everywhere deserve basic fundamental reforms. Captains in
California are GS-8s. Captains everywhere else should also be GS-8s. No
firefighter should be expected to risk his/her life for GS-3 or even GS-4 pay.
That is an insult and demonstrates the sheer ignorance of OPM and the agencies
for not equating the grade with the risk.
If you're going to be involved in a prescribed burn, I don't care if it is in
Michigan, Florida or Nevada, you deserve hazard pay. Federal wildland
firefighters deserve to not be unduly burdened by the fear of criminal
prosecution for making split-second decisions in some of the most dangerous,
inhospitable environments known to man. I could go on and on...and I have so I
HR 4488 is too important to get into a battle among wildland colleagues. However
if the Agencies are going to continue to stick their heads in the sand and
ignore the voices of their employees, those voices will undoubtedly become
animated at times. So let's keep our heads, respect all in the wildland
firefighting community and fix this where it can be fixed by focusing on our
HR 4488 SAM! - May, 2010
I used this template that I found. Use these talking points or create your own.
I changed some of them. I agree that nothing is more important then my family
members. We are all family and we all have our families to think about. Lets do
this for them. Tool up!
I can tell everyone that when I joined FWFSA, Casey called me and personally
thanked me for the support. He was down to earth, easy to talk with and he
related to my situation. I knew right then I made the right decision to join. I
don't see anyone else fighting for me, my family and my firefighters as hard as
· ·· ·
Dear Representative (Insert Name),
I am writing today to ask for your support of HR 4488 –
The National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement and Cost Containment Act.
I am a (insert “a federal wildland firefighter”, a “family
member of a federal wildland firefighter”, a “friend of a federal wildland
firefighter”, or what ever best describes your reason for writing in support)
and I am one of the constituents in your Congressional District.
H.R. 4488 addresses long standing issues affecting the safety, effectiveness,
and efficiency of the federal wildland fire management program. Specifically,
the background issues are:
(1) Significant losses of Federal wildland firefighters to non-Federal fire
agencies have been experienced by all 5 Federal land management agencies over
the last several years. Federal land management agencies have failed to take
actions within their authority to reduce or eliminate such losses despite being
aware of the issues and solutions for over 20 years.
(2) These losses have primarily been the result of Federal wildland firefighters
leaving the Federal system for better pay and benefits offered by State and
local fire agencies, particularly in the 11 western contiguous States. Pay and
benefits for Federal wildland firefighters have not kept pace with other fire
agencies, which continue to offer significantly higher pay and benefits to
attract Federal firefighters.
(3) These firefighter losses have resulted in significant vacancies in critical
fire positions, resulting in reduced levels of personnel and other resources
within the Federal sector as compared to those envisioned by the National Fire
(4) Federal wildland firefighting resources are, by and large, inherently less
costly to the Federal Government than the use of non-Federal resources.
Therefore it stands to reason that strengthening the inherently less expensive
Federal infrastructure will allow Federal land management agencies to reduce
their reliance on higher-priced non-Federal resources and ultimately reduce
wildfire suppression costs.
(5) Federal land management agencies have failed to maintain Federal wildland
firefighter staffing and resource levels pursuant to the National Fire Plan and
its ‘Most Efficient Level’ (MEL) as envisioned by Congress.
(6) It is incumbent upon Congress and the Federal Government to provide
America’s taxpayers with the most fiscally effective and efficient wildland fire
programs managed by the five Federal land management agencies.
I would like you to consider being a co-sponsor to H.R. 4488, or letting me know
that you will support it after it comes out of committee. I can be contacted at
(Your Email Address).
Thank you for considering my request.
/s/ (Your Name)
(Your Phone Number)
"HR 4488 Support and Awareness Month" (SAM).
Ab & Idaho firefighters,
Please write your Rep.!!!! District 1 is Walt Minnick (western Idaho and the
panhandle), you can email him @ minnick.house.gov.
Don't forget to
Call or email the WFF with your donations of AIR MILES for Family Fire
(877) 336-2950 or
info @ wffoundation.org
I added a few posts to
Studebaker's memory page. Thanks for those. Ab.
"HR 4488 Support and Awareness Month" (SAM).
I want to CHALLENGE all fed wildland firefighting retirees to email
your congressional reps to get behind HR 4488. These issues have been
around and a problem for many years as evidenced by the
Dealing with them would do a lot for FS morale, establishing a sense of fairness
or parity for fed wildland firefighters. Passage would increase firefighter
safety, and just culture, not to mention it's more cost effective. We need all
the help we can get: families, friends, wildland firefighter advocates.
I have friends among the private sector firefighters. My friends are
honorable people and hardworking, but this is our fed fight.
New guys and gals, join FWFSA and lend your voice to ours. Old guys
and gals, and those that are retired, join the emailing effort. Kick back some
bucks to FWFSA to help with the ongoing efforts.
Everyone, get your families and friends involved. Back in the day firefighter
wives organizing did a lot to educate and get legislation passed. These
days with more firefighting women, I'd have to say firefighter spouses.
We're getting there on that issue...
How to communicate with congressionals? I know from working on one particular
local environmental issue recently that we've been told by our advisor not to
fax, it defeats the purpose and wastes trees. It's also old tech. Anyone have
any feedback from DC and local congressional offices on how they like to get
requests or hear viewpoints and how do our votes get tallied? Phone calls? Paper
copies, probably not since anthrax. Emails, etc? Any of you that teach or train,
get your students involved. Lots of new folks coming on next week, mention the
issues to them, get them involved... Influencing their congressionals and
Together we can make a difference. We can make a change. As you
advance in your careers and family, you'll understand how great a difference.
Could someone come up with a "stock" letter? The 9 points from the previous
poster were very good.
More HR 4488 SAM - May 2010
A message from Congressman Bob Filner to each of us about HR 4488. Please
share this post with your family and friends today.
Introducing Legislation to Support our Federal Wildland Firefighters
I recently introduced H.R. 4488, the National Wildfire Infrastructure
Improvement & Cost Containment Act. This bill seeks to restore the strength
of federal wildfire response as it was originally envisioned by the National
Fire Plan adopted by Congress earlier this decade. H.R. 4488 will help
improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of these programs.
It is about time that we properly recognize our brave federal wildland
firefighters and make sure they are on par with other federal firefighters.
Congress must provide American citizens with the strongest, most
cost-effective, and efficient federal wildfire response possible to meet the
challenges and complexities of wildfires in the 21st Century.
This legislation will lead to reforms in fiscal management of the federal
land management agency fire programs which will provide significant savings
in wildfire suppression spending. H.R. 4488 is also a solution to an
outdated personnel law that currently provides federal wildland firefighters
with lower salaries and benefits than other firefighters facing similar
risks and responsibilities.
Don't let private firefighting company CEO's control the HR 4488 debate.
Contact your representative NOW. Mothers, Fathers, sons, daughters, uncles,
aunts, grandma, grandpa and friends, have them all email, FAX or call and show
support for HR 4488.
Support FWFSA - Call Casey today and become a member - 208-775-4577. If you're
not a member yet, I ask you to call and just have a conversation with Casey
about membership. This is about your career and your family. Nothing is more
important than doing something for the ones you love. Get on board and do your
part. Read the 9 parts of this bill that supports the work you do and your
CEOs = NO - Firefighters = YES
HR 4488 SAM - May 2010
ms - 221
I spent a delightful day today with my daughter and 2 year old grandson, getting
home just after 9:00pm mountain time at which time I checked my email.
On my fwfsa.org account was the following email:
Name: A CEO
Message: Kind of proves that you talk out of both sides of you mouth does in
not? And I quote right from wildlandfire.com \"CEOs who own private
firefighting companies shall not control the HR 4488 debate and shall not
control our nations natural resources. These CEOs shall be dealt with
accordingly. Hand them a 221. If these CEO's want to play hardball, bring it
Don\'t bother making excuses, alot of us can see your true colors.
Bewildered, I continued to check the rest of my emails then as usual, proceeded
to TheySaid at which time I read the post about HR 4488 and private contractor
CEOs. I hope you will let folks know that the post did not come from me. I
responded to the email I received and indicated that I use my name on my posts.
I'm not going to comment on the post except to say that it was a bit more
"pointed" then even I can be at times.
Heck folks, I don't even know what a 221 is!
A CEO, that was not a post from Casey, although it is well written as his
are. A 221 refers to the NIMS -ICS Demobe Checkout form.
Casey has no need to write in support of himself when it's clear he has a whole
organization of wildland firefighters that hold the same positions he does, can
write well and have employed him to educate Congress.
Carry on. Keep it civil. Ab.
Dalton Ragnar relay
We finished in just over 24hrs! Not bad for a bunch of
Hotshots. The crew did an awesome job!
We had some fierce competition this year!! The High Mountain Men kicked butt.
Thank you to all
that were there and who supported us and the WFF.
Pics will come soon!
May 2010 shall be known as; "HR 4488 Support and Awareness Month"
In advance of May 1st, here are the 9 major parts of HR 4488 that you need to
know about. Many Temp Firefighters have started working or will be starting this
coming Monday. Please ensure they know about HR 4488 and FWFSA.
Email or call today your local representative:
CEOs who own private firefighting companies shall not control the HR 4488 debate
and shall not control our nations natural resources. These CEOs shall be dealt
with accordingly. Hand them a 221. If these CEO's want to play hardball, bring
Email TODAY! Join FWFSA TODAY! 1) Call Casey Judd 208-775-4577 2) Log onto you
DASHBOARD 3) Done
9 points within HR 4488 that every Wildland Firefighter needs to know.
- Retirement age: The bill would change the mandatory retirement age for a
to firefighter from 57 to 65.
- Outsourcing: It adds protection from outsourcing for the five major
federal land management agencies, the USFS, BLM, NPS, USF&WS, and the BIA.
- Wildland Firefighter series: It requires that the Office of Personnel
Management develop a “separate and distinct wildland firefighter
occupational series that will more accurately reflect the variety of duties
performed by wildland firefighters.” Anyone who is currently in the 401
series would have the option of transferring to the new Wildland Firefighter
- Portal-to-Portal: $25 million would be authorized to begin a pilot
program in which firefighters would be paid for “all time the firefighter is
away from their official duty station assigned to an emergency incident, in
support of an emergency incident, or pre-positioned for emergency response”.
Standard overtime rules would apply and employees would be exempt from
premium pay limitations. The pilot program would begin “with the 2010
wildfire season”. The Department of Agriculture and Interior would
participate in the pilot program which would not exceed three calendar
- Non-Federal resources: The bill requires that during the pilot program
there would be
in the amount of fire suppression funds expended on non-Federal fire
- Hazardous Duty Pay would be treated as part of base pay for retirement
purposes. And the following is a little vague, but it appears that
firefighters would receive hazard duty pay for all the time they are “on
the fire line of any wildfire or prescribed fuel treatment burn or fire“,
regardless of the control status.
- Benefits for Seasonal Wildland Firefighters: there are
related to the availability of life insurance for seasonal wildland
- Buy Back of Previous Firefighting Time: there are
related to the buy back of work time and how it relates to retirement.
- “Sec. 8. Firefighter Liability”: The bill requires that for every
fatality to a firefighter or other employee of the U.S. Forest Service and
now the four Dept. of Interior land management agencies due to an entrapment
or “burrower”, the department’s Inspector General (IG) shall conduct an
This requirement has
been in effect for the U.S. Forest Service, only, since the 2002
Cantwell-Hastings bill, and has resulted in witch hunts, attorney fees, and
for firefighters who make mistakes on the fireline. The bill would repeal
the provisions of the 2002 bill regarding the IG investigations for USFS
fatalities but replaces it with similar requirements that would apply to the
USFS and the Dept. of Interior wildland firefighters. The bill does,
however, require that IG investigators “have the necessary training, skills,
and experience to competently conduct the investigation”, but does not
specify what training, experience, and skills are required. It goes on to
say ”The investigations and accompanying reports shall be used by all land
management agency fire programs to build upon the concept of lessons learned
from the fire event. It is not the intent of Congress that the
investigations and reports would be used to find fault or place blame for a
fatality, but rather to recognize that wildland firefighting is an
inherently dangerous occupation and to reduce the number of fatalities from
due to wildfire entrapment or burrower.”
The 9 points are from
WildfireToday.com Blog and belatedly permission was granted. Thanks for
permission, Bill. Ab.
Fed contributors, the goal should be getting the legislation passed
through positive efforts of a whole lot of federal wildland firefighters and
their families. Ab.
2009 Paul Gleason Award Winners. Simply something to be very proud of receiving.
Gleason Award 2009
Regional Office R-5 - Vallejo, CA
Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara, CA
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ishpeming Field Office, Ishpeming , MI
U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden , UT
National Park Service, National Interagency Fire Center , Boise , ID
Congrats all. Excellent contributions. Ab.
A Supt - Thanks for giving us all clarification on that.
For One Sorry Supt, I must of missed something. Maybe post was removed? In any
event no worries. Thanks for the work you do.
Now to the bigger fish to fry:
Firefighter Series and P to P - A two year look back in history:
Update In 2008: Efforts to complete this section of the retention strategy are
ongoing. Topics within the Regional Forester’s authority being considered for
recommendation include: Variations on the concept of “Portal to Portal” pay.
Update In 2008 Assessment and evaluation of a separate firefighter series is
ongoing. Regional staff work has been completed and provided to the WO
Classification Branch. In order for OPM to consider the development of the
firefighter series a proposal must be forwarded to OPM from USDA. OPM does not
have a standard timeline for response.
Update In 2009: A WO team at ACS is looking at a Wildland Firefighter series.
There is a lot of momentum and inter-agency involvement to create a fire job
series. Portal to Portal or Ordered Stand by is still being discussed.
Update in January 2010: After review, the Forest Service did not pursue ordered
standby as an alternative to portal-to-portal pay. The complexity, cost of
administration, and the ineffectiveness of ordered standby as a one-for-one
alternative to portal-to-portal all combined to support the decision to abandon
Update in 2010: Pursuit of a separate firefighter series is on hold. Discussions
were held with DOI partners and a briefing paper was developed and delivered to
the Fire Executive Council (executives for all DOI agencies and the US Forest
Service [not in attendance]) on November 13, 2009 (see Attachment 2). There has
been no movement since that time.
However we still have this below. Please send an email to someone asking how
this evaluation is coming along and how would it work. Pena, Moore, Willie,
Boxer or Feinstein, it doesn't matter who you ask, just ask someone.
In 2009: Evaluation of the current Special Salary Rate for firefighters in
Southern California area is ongoing. Regional specialists are working in
conjunction with the WO to determine if additional changes are required to the
current Special Salary Rate.
In early 2010: The Forest Service will develop a plan of action by June 2010 on
the requirements needed to determine if a special pay rate for California is
needed. If the analysis shows the need, a request will be pursued through proper
channels for submission to the OPM.
HR 4488 is the answer for the two years of Moore updates and Pena-grams that
have gone no where. Don't let private firefighting company businessman and CEO's
control the debate on HR 4488. These CEO's that are in opposition to 448 need to
be boycotted and demobilized. FAX, Email, Call - FAX, Email, Call your local
representatives in support of HR 4488
Write your House of
And finally the winner of the 2009 morale gut check award
goes to the following......
How those coffee's coming along?
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.
- Pursuit of a separate firefighter series is on hold. Discussions were
held with DOI partners and a briefing paper was developed and delivered to
the Fire Executive Council (executives for all DOI agencies and the US
Forest Service [not in attendance]) on November 13, 2009 (see Attachment 2).
There has been no movement since that time.
No posts removed. Thanks for laying out the info ms. Ab.
A Tribute to Don Studebaker for Posting on They Said:
In 2001, Don welcomed me to CIIMT2 from CIIMT5. I was first introduced to Don in
the 80’s at various training sessions, but began to work with Don on a more
regular basis in 1991 when I arrived on the San Jacinto RD as a young Battalion
Chief (Don was the Division Chief at Palomar).
In 2002, CIIMT2 had a pretty good fire season. This is where Don really was able
to show his skills as a leader, both professionally and for me on a personal
basis. Most of us have either heard and or seen the events that occurred on the
Eyerly Fire. I was standing directly behind the bulletin board when his fist
banged the board to illustrate his “sermon” on fire behavior characteristics and
firefighting. On the McNally Fire, Don brought his team back to the SQF after
taking on the Manter Fire two years earlier. Déjà vu for everyone involved. I
arrived late to the incident (as I did on almost each incident that year – more
on that in a minute), but Don was ready for me and assigned me to work with both
the INF and SQF in preparation for the fire to get on the INF. He sent me on a
task to Bishop to work with the INF leadership. While enroute, Don called me and
told me to look over my shoulder. From 395 I could clearly see the smoke column.
He described the events of the day as the incident took out a key drainage and
some of the actions we had to take with our firefighters. Without hesitation, he
provided me with a different set of intent messages for the INF. This is where I
would learn through Don’s style of leadership about the concept of “intent with
action.” It was a significant change, well packaged and was all about setting
firefighters up for success as only Don could describe.
I mentioned earlier that I was late for almost every incident during the 2002
fire season. I was diagnosed with cancer during the late spring of 2002. During
the course of the summer, I was in and out of various appointments, checkups,
surgery and other assorted activities while continuing to try and perform in
support of CIIMT2 as one of Don’s OSC1s. This is where Don really stood out as a
leader, mentor and friend. His support to me as I went through this period was
tremendous. Don’s assistance was key in allowing me to make some necessary
decisions related to my family and career. Don allowed me to gracefully
transition out of my roll as the lead OSC1 as I officially ended my IMT
assignment on the Curve Fire in order to spend more time with family. He never
made me feel anything but a sense of pride and accomplishment for my service to
the CA IMTs as a result of my decision.
I have much to thank Don for, as I was one of those that provided him many
opportunities to exercise his leadership and mentorship skills. One of his most
impressive traits was his ability to actively demonstrate leadership with what
seemed like very little effort on his part. For me, it was his approach to his
life, what he was and the person he chose to be. If there was anyone who
portrayed the concepts of Duty (accomplishing the mission), Respect (taking care
of the people) and Integrity (moral courage) during their career, it was Don
I still think of Don often, and will always remember that sideways look over the
rim of his glasses. Thank you Don.
Hi Ab, Could you please post this for me. thx - Legs
Entry level hazardous fuels/fire job opportunities for Veterans! Durango,
The San Juan Public Lands (USFS and BLM) have an agreement with the Southwestern
Conservation Corporation (SCC) to use Veterans hired through the SCC to work on
hazardous fuels/fire projects. Currently, the SCC has several Vet's funded by
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helping the San Juan Public Lands
with hazardous fuels WUI projects and pile burning. The Veterans take the basic
fire and saw classes (5109.17 and 310-1) and are then sponsored by the local
fire department, Durango Fire and Rescue, to obtain their redcards. The intent
of the program is extensive, but for my intent we hope to train veterans to gain
experience working on hazardous fuels/fire projects to build experience for
applying to fire fighting jobs throughout the country.
We are working diligently to put our veterans back to work and they are doing a
great job! If anyone is interested in this opportunity they should contact Kevin
Heiner at 970-759-3935 for more information.
Fire Management Officer
Just looked at the memorial page link for Don Studebaker that NorCal Tom sent
in. If regular viewers of "They Said It" have
not looked at this page, they need to. Especially the last photo showing Don's
idea of LEADERSHIP. I wish I would of had
this when I was in leadership roles to apply to my style. There are some real
gems in there that could improve the way people
lead others. For those of you that supervise, from Squad Boss to IC, you can
learn by reading these and putting them to use.
Showed me where alot of my shortfalls were located!
Here, I typed the words on Don's
LEADERSHIP poster Ab.
Listen - to those you
work with. Remember that the further you are removed from the tasks on the
ground, the more reality tends to pale and fade from your memory.
Empower - subordinates and
allow them to spread their wings.
Achieve - your goals
and help those that work for you achieve theirs.
Demonstrate - by being a
role model. Lead by example. Show them how it's done.
Encouurage - others to
achieve and reach for a higher standard.
Responsive - of the needs of
your people and the organization.
Share - what you know.
Help - others meet their
Inspire - lead and
others will follow.
Prepare - your people to
~~ ~ ~~
10-21-48 to 04-24-05
· · ·
Rest In Peace Don
~~ ~ ~~
Remembering Don Studebaker. Good man, excellent firefighter, FORCE OF NATURE.
Hard to believe he's been gone 5 years.
Don's Memorial Page
Thanks, Tom. Indeed. Readers, If anyone has memories or a thought to
share, I'll add them to Don's page. Was Don on a Hotshot crew in his early
years? My best to his family. Ab.
Big kudos to the R5 dispatchers who raised $1800 for the
Firefighter Foundation at their workshop
through a silent auction and donations!!
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the group and they are a great bunch of
folks. Thanks for inviting me
and remember what a valuable part of the fire world you all are! My hats off to
you for all you do.
Excellent work, Dispatchers! Couldn't fight fire without 'em! Just
think of how many IA fires dispatchers have helped pick up with their unique
KSAs... lots. Thanks Lori for the post. Ab.
Ab -- Always enjoy the TheySaid forum. Some scattershooting:
1. In reference to the thread about Felling. The entire curriculum that MTDC
developed for Chain Saw and Crosscut Saw Training and Certification (non-fire)
is on their website.fs.fed.us/t-d . For some arcane reason(s) the USFS T&D folks must only
provide info to agency folks, so this site is password protected. However,
non-USFS folks can utilize "t-d" for both the username and the password, when
prompted. Gotta search a little, but materials include student guidebook 2006
edition, instructor guidebook 2006 edition, and powerpoint situational awareness
programs for both chain saw and crosscut saw. Felling, at least basic felling,
is discussed. MTDC specifically developed this based on requests from USFS field
units to provide an alternative to S212 for personnel (employees, cooperators,
partners, volunteers) who are engaged in saw ops for project work - TSI, trails,
recreation, wildlife, research, etc. - but not on the fireline.
2. In reference to the 3/31 USFS WO letter, posted on TheySaid on 4/11 -
paragraph 7 - Workforce Development.....wow -- only 9% of USFS employees
participate in non-local fire assignments. Of course, gotta wonder about the
validity of the numbers, since, for instance, if it was pulled from ROSS, and
members of T1 IMTs in at least some areas never show in ROSS as available
nationally, but the way the team availability is shown as "local only". Also
gotta chime in as a proud member of the agency wildland fire militia since
way-way-before "milita" was a term used in this context. The Deputy Chief and
the head of the national LOT say this is important to the Chief. I strongly
agree that it certainly should be, but if it really is, then the Chief ought to
be the person saying so -- through the formal chain of command, and also through
direct communications with all employees (...and I'd suggest an e-mail document,
not a technologically unwatchable herky-jerky video)
One simple thing could
make a huge difference -- if the Chief required that each employee position
description and performance elements included some version of the old statement
-- "participates in agency fire management efforts consistent with training and
experience"........ well, imagine the possibilities....
I believe strongly that my involvement in fire makes me better and more
effective in my regular USFS job, and also that what I bring to fire assignments
from my regular non-fire job benefits fire and makes me a better wildland
firefighter. I'm encouraged to see some of our recent non-primary-fire new hires
taking the initiative to get involved with fire. And I'm grateful to work in a
region where the militia is still an important component of our wildland fire
3. I'm looking at my Wildland Firefighter Foundation calendar as I type this --
the April 2010 image is from the Blackhorse Fire in Feb 2008, involving lands of
the NPS Blue Ridge Parkway and the USFS George Washington and Jefferson National
Forests, during one of the most severe early season fire busts in Virginia
history. (Caption on the pix is not quite 100% accurate.). And here in the Old
Dominion, we are currently winding down from a mini-bust of T3 incidents -- so a
shout-out to our brothers and sisters who detailed in to help us out -- a
variety of single resources from across the country, and T2IA crews from the
Payette and Targhee, and the Smokey Bear and Silver City IHCs. Thanks and safe
And, Ab, always, muchos gracias for TheySaid.
Glad you're with us STUMPIE.
Readers, you can find a permanent link to the MTDC's tech and developmental
database on the
under Federal Agencies. Ab
Smokejumpers on CMT:
As an ex smokejumper, after watching this program I can only shake my head. What
was the hell was that? Starting tomorrow I think I will deny ever being a
smokejumper. That was the most embarrassing piece of crap excuse for a
television show I think I have ever watched. Then to realize there were actual
smokejumpers involved made it even more incredible. Well, I made it to about the
30 minute mark and had to go throw up and then turned on the xbox! So maybe the
second 30 minutes redeemed it to just your ordinary crappy reality type show. I
can only hope!
If you are a smokejumper and were associated with this show you should hang your
head in shame. How low will the outfit go to allow crap like this to be shown to
the American public. If the American people buy this drivel I guess you got by
with it. Most of my associates are intelligent type folks and they have been
calling me for the last half hour laughing hilariously and baiting me into
trying to defend the program. So thanks for putting me in the position of not
being able to defend the smokejumper program. In fact I may become an advocate
to get rid of the program.
IF you are a smokejumper and were not associated with this show, call those
jumpers that were and let them know how utterly stupid they appeared and as a
result how stupid they made you appear. If you are a jumper that was involved in
this travesty call your fellow jumpers and apologize.
I wish I could think of something worse to say, but the show speaks for itself.
For those quote "veteran" jumpers shown and quoted on the show, take a look in
the mirror! That is a fool looking back at you! And thanks for embarrassing all
of us that went before you.
Gads, I have to go throw up again, I hope this is the last time tonight!!
Don't forget the
Mike Schweitzer Memorial Challenge Run today in Scott Valley Pleasure Park,
Etna, California. 5 K, 10 K and half marathon plus picnic, etc. Ab.
Burk WFF just called from the
Dalton HSs' Ragnar Relay Fundraiser event.
The race has officially started. The Dalton HS crewmember took off and was
leading the field of 30-40 runners on this first and one of the longest legs of
the relay. The whole crew is there and will be gearing up each to run their own
leg of the 199.9 mile relay race. Here's the route:
Relay Route : The Map!
Donate to the WFF in support of the great effort.
page on Dalton HS relay
I am that superintendent who, in the space of 15 minutes, let outside stresses
build up and lashed out with two stupid emails that alienated my peers,
coworkers, past crewmembers, and the rest of Fire and Aviation Management; in
other words, everyone who I respect and consider my closest friends.
I am posting here in the hopes of quickly reaching IHC crewmembers that are at
training and otherwise away from their stations this week to apologize to them
for my words.
I have been able to get in touch with most of the Superintendents to offer my
apologies to both them in their crew and have sent out an email that should be
circulated today throughout the R5 IHC community. It has been very humbling for
me to hear from the Supts that I talked to that their main concern was for my
home life and mental well-being; not for me offending them. This has shown me
what great friends you are, and I’ll never forget it. For the crewmembers that
work for these Supts – you are lucky to be working for such special people.
Their forgiveness and re-acceptance of me makes me proud to be considered to be
one of them.
Everything that your previous posters have said about me is true; my actions
were unprofessional, stupid, egotistical, and went against everything I thought
I stood for and definitely everything Fire and Aviation Management stands for-
Duty, Integrity, and Respect. In particular, my words divided rather than built
the team; in this case the “team” is all of us in fire suppression.
To answer a couple of questions I have heard -
No, alcohol wasn’t involved. I can understand the confusion with the time stamp,
but I had to run home early that day to take care of a family emergency and then
came back to work late in order to get caught up. That this was a sober mistake
makes it even more amazing.
Yes, there will be some sort of punishment. You can’t make a mistake without
paying the consequences, and I will take my punishment standing up- just like
I’d expect my crewmembers to do. My desire is to get past this and focus on
re-uniting any divides that I have created.
There are no excuses for my actions. I can only offer to all of you my sincerest
apologies and humblest gratitude for your concern. Talking with Supts throughout
the last couple of days has reminded me that a Superintendent is just a grown up
crewmember; the magnitude of our mistakes is just greater. In my twenties and
thirties, I was amazed at the things I could do. Now in my forties, I’m just
amazed at the things I can screw up.
If any of you feel the need for a face-to-face apology from me, please feel free
to stop me on the fireline or call my office. If I don’t hear from you, please
have a safe summer….. and by all means have fun. I’ve had a great time doing
this job, and am especially sorry if I diminished that fun, excitement, and
passion for the job in others.
Once again folks, I’m truly sorry to everyone.
Sign me- One Sorry Supt.
We have 2 laminated posters for Suwyn’s Incident Management
Team of Great Basin Type 2 IMT.
Please forward a phone contact or call Diane at 801 xxx ASAP.
Delta Air Lines Lost & Found
Holler for the phone number... Ab.
OK, done, put them in touch. Ab.
I cannot tell you how each committee member feels. If you are asking for my
opinion, I would have to say NO, not every member supports this decision.
However, they did the right thing by taking the RHC's issues forward to the
Region. My main point of my post was the fact that we as Hotshots have folks we
can take our issues to rather than airing our dirty laundry on a web site, that
would be the professional thing to do. Many of the CA Hotshots have a rep
assigned to about every 10 crews. Some of the Reps are RHC (old term now) Supts.
Burk Minor from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is going to be at the
Dalton HSs' Ragnar Relay and then at the
Fulton and Texas Canyon HSs' Sporting Clay Shoot. If you live nearby, go and
offer your support or go and join in.
IHCs and Steering Committee:
One question before you go back behind the scenes. Are you telling us that every
member of the steering
committee supports this decision? That's a yes or no question.
Very good decision by the R-5 Regional Office in my opinion. However what
was really impressive about the RO
involvement was that this decision was actually approved by the WO before this
went out. For that, R-5 RO deserves
praise for following through on this request that originated from the field.
This is a done deal.
Some of you might be confused because when you look up Hotshot Crews at the
national website, they are all listed
as IHCs. Well now it's official.
Now it's time for the R-5 IHC Hotshot community to: convenio quod opus ut unus
We have bigger fish to fry people!
All R-5 IHCs need to support our remaining Type 2 IA crews still working on IHC
Hotshot status. Help them, for
they are us. They have been hit the hardest since the start of the MEL build up.
They are the victims of the region's
blind eye on the retention issue that is only now starting to improve and still
subject to a reversal.
Date: April 19, 2010
Subject: Appropriate Designator for Hotshot Crews
To: Forest Supervisors, Forest Fire Chiefs, Region 5 Hotshot Committee Chair
All Forest Service Hotshot crews in the Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) that
have been certified under the Interagency Hotshot Operations Guide will now hold
the designator of Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC). This includes the original
Region 5 Interagency Hotshot Crews and those developed under the MEL build-up.
The remaining crews that have not been certified as Hotshot crews are to be
identified and mobilized as Type 2 IA crews.
If you have any questions, please contact Willie Thompson, (707) 562-8927.
/s/ James M. Peña (for)
cc: Willie R Thompson, Neal Hitchcock, Kim A Christensen, Paul Bannister, Joe
Millar, Susie Stingley, Ralph Domanski, Art Torrez
I got a call from Vicki at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation this
afternoon. She was bubbling about the 7 families that have taken over the
planning for the
Fire event in Boise on May 14-16. As most of you know, this is a long
weekend event with activities designed for kids, spouses, siblings and parents
of the fallen. Firefighters show up and participate.There's lots of LOVE and
sharing and activities. It's always a hit!
So here's what the WFF needs -- on ANY AIRLINES:
- Air miles
- Air miles tickets
- Saver Awards
There are families from the West and the East that can't afford air fares or
can't afford tickets for all family members. We can help them get there! No kid
Call or email the WFF with your donations of AIR MILES
(877) 336-2950 or
It will make you feel SOOOOOOOO good!
Shhhhh... There was a whisper of an Idaho Rodeo Queen... and her mustang
Rowdy? Well, maybe I have my mustangs mixed up.... lol!
I usually don't post much but felt compelled to respond to the Hotshot
Superintendent thread. As a Hotshot Superintendent, I do not condone nor agree
with my colleague's email that was sent out. However, I am just as disappointed
in the Hotshots that posted his email and lambasting him on this site. As
HOTSHOTS, we have a Steering Committee (Who fought for the RHCs to get IHC
status) as well as Reps from said committee. As Hotshots, we should be dealing
with any issues in-house, not on the web. I would humbly suggest that you
contact your Representative with these issues. The works of the Steering
Committee in getting the IHC status was a big step, but doing what you doing in
this forum only take us backwards.
I got a good kick out of Super Supt. position on the mel crews getting
status as IHCs if they pass their evaluations.
Really Super Supt. sounds like you could put out a single fire with your ego. We
are all doing our parts in putting out
fires and if you think that because someone hasn't put in as many years on a
REAL SHOT CREW that they aren't
worthy, then you are highly mistaken. I remember years ago some of the old crews
members saying that the shots
now a days aren't as good or strong as the past crews. So when do we stop this
pi$$ing contest? Really let some
air out of that swelled head and let's just do our jobs.
Strive for 205
Casey sent a message that if anyone needs to reach him they should
call his cell or email him. His office phone is on the blink
Last time that happened, he'd burned out around his garage; his office
phone cable unbeknownst to him was under the grass! HAW HAW! Ab.
Here's the 24 hr report for the injured BIA firefighter:
Lessons Learned Birthday Fire 24 hr Report
(28 K pdf file)
After reading one of the earlier posts, this is an excerpt of the OIG Audit
Report that came out. I found it interesting. I agree that there is more that
can be done as far as the FS' effort in regards to aligning training with
positions that are in need. However, I think the lack of motivation partially
comes from the employees perception of the agency's effort to protect the
employee in high profile fireline positions (ie. I.C. Ops. Div.). I've seen
"qualification delay" occur for that exact reason. I have seen individuals
refuse or delay their qualification progression because they don't want the
responsibility, because they don't feel confident that the agency will back
them. And the fact that the agency encourages Liability insurance, is flat out
saying.... if something goes wrong, its on you, or that is the perception
anyway. Now, I know that the agency will back you as long as you are within your
scope of practice, however, a lot of times, there is a fine line as far as
decision making goes that may put you on the fence and I think that this is a
dance that a lot of folks don't want to deal with. So they avoid management
responsibilities and stay in their comfort zone....... thoughts? I think the
agency needs to address the issue of making folks feel confident in their
management positions. Additionally, you can't force someone to train in a
position they don't want: for this Job, you have to want to be where you are at,
otherwise, your lack of motivation could hurt yourself or someone else. Forcing
someone into a management fireline position is a whole other can of worms.
Forest Service’s Firefighting Succession Planning Process
Section 3: Availability
Finding 2: FS’ Firefighting Ability Challenged by Lack of Participation
FS’ ability to effectively suppress wildfires is challenged by a lack of
participation from its firefighters. We determined that voluntary
availability and the lack of career incentives have caused most FS
firefighters to list themselves as unavailable for the growing number of
large, costly fires where they are needed most. As a result, FS faces larger
and lengthier wildfire suppression efforts with fewer firefighters, which
increases the risk to natural resources, property, and the safety of
FS pays to train its employees for firefighting positions but has no
formal policy that specifies whether wildfire suppression participation is
mandatory or voluntary. After they qualify for firefighter positions, FS
practice is to let employees choose whether they will be available for
firefighting, what positions they will fill, and where they can be deployed
(local, regional, national incidents). Employees who choose to volunteer and
are called to duty are not rewarded for doing so but are only evaluated in
terms of their primary job responsibilities (e.g., soil scientist).
Similarly, qualified employees who do not volunteer are not penalized.
Although FS directs its managers to ensure firefighters on their staff are
available to participate in local, regional, and national wildland fire
incidents as the situation demands,26managers are also expected to ensure
employees’ primary work is accomplished.
This arrangement creates a career disincentive for firefighting
availability. For example, a soil scientist who serves as an incident
commander risks a lower evaluation if his primary work suffers. A manager
who makes her employees available opens herself to a lower rating if they
are called to a fire and cannot accomplish their local work. Since FS offers
no counterbalancing incentives, such as extra firefighting pay or adjusted
work targets, managers and employees have largely chosen not to participate.
For example, according to a 2001 study, 88 percent of FS’ incident qualified
staff said supervisory reluctance to release them for firefighting affected
their ability to participate in wildfire emergencies. 27This number mirrors
the availability rate in 2008 when 91 percent of FS’ qualified firefighters
listed themselves as unavailable t
"upset" over unprofessional IHC supt.
Today (yesterday) I went to work
and found my superintendant in a foul mood concerning an email sent out to all
The gist of the email was that all the mel crews in R5 should not be proud to
call themselves IHCs since they had not "sacrificed enough" and lacked the
tradition now apparently needed to be typed as such.
My initial reaction was that this guy had obviously made a "Boo Boo" and sent
out an "after hours" email. But then I just got angry. I was mad for two
reasons. First and foremost, where's the professionalism, buddy ? The guy sent
this out from his lotus account!
Second and I'm thinking WAY more important, I work on a crew that came about
from the mel buildup. This is my third IHC however and there is a reason that
the agency decided to increase its workforce. Every crew had its first year as
an IHC. Mr. Boo Boo went on to claim that he had been routinely crushing us mel
crews like so many puny grapes these last few years in the line production
category. Ya right ! We were all there too, Boo Boo.
I think that Mr Boo Boo needs to get to know his adjoining resources a little
better. Maybe then he can extend us the same courtesy that we have always
extended his crew in the past which is ........."This is a new year, let's give
em a chance!"
In sum, Mr Boo Boo, if this gets posted and you are reading this, I want you
to think hard about how your crew really stacks up with what you describe as
crappy mel crew. On my crew here are some stats and accomplishments:
- In our crew's experience, we represent 18 different IHCs nationwide.
- Our overhead, (top 5) have 70 + years of combined experience from almost
every region in this country.
- We have no rookies this season and our seasonals average 4 years
- We have senior firefighters that help write burn plans for the fuels
- We care deeply about each other, our district, our forest, our region,
but most importantly our national resources, which we are ready to respond
to within the Interagency time standards.
- In our SOGs it says " We stand on our line, not on our mouth."
Some flaming making the rounds behind the scenes following Randy Moore's letter
about interagency hotshot crews.
Woo Hoo! All of you are Hotshots! Never mind
those of us who've put in decades on a REAL crew and really know the real
meaning of personal and family sacrifice in order to uphold a tradition that
goes back to the 1940's.
You know what else?
I'll take my new <snip> crew, who are from different places and whom I
know nothing about.... and I'll blow doors off of you new crews cutting line.
I'm sick of it; my crew should be the slowest crew out there, but the last few
years you MELs have made us look good.
Please, PLEASE prove me wrong-
Reply on the email to the snipped name emails above, unknown if it's the
person that sent the round-robin:
Sounds to me like if you have not been around for decades on a REAL Hotshot
crew, your personal and family sacrifices are significantly less. Thats good
news, I'll be sure to go home and tell the family, they'll be relieved!
<snipped identifying info>
From Roadrunner, I checked the info. Best wishes for recovery. Let us know if
there's anything we can do to help. Ab.
There was a bad widowmaker/ hazard
tree accident in MT on IA (on Tues April 20 or Monday April 19). A BIA
moving out from in front of an IA fire up a ridge, one member was hit by a
falling branch or tree. The injured FF from the Crow
nation was life flighted to a hospital in Billings.
Please keep this person in your thoughts and prayers.
Re Forest Service Firefighting Succession Planning Process OIG Report
reading parts of the report and noticed the Estimated Training Inefficiency
numbers. Do you think that the numbers reflect issues related to State and Local
Agencies' participation on Teams and going out on a few shifts at a fire as STEN
or DIVS and getting signed off as Fed Employees are forced and held to a higher
standard? Don't get me wrong I believe in higher standards. Its just adds to low
moral for Fed Employees to be working around high paid Local Agencies on teams
that get porthole to porthole have to work harder to achieve the same rating
with less pay. What is really sad is most of these Local Agencies will not allow
their people on teams to hold the same quals on their department. Go figure! And
the best is that all the ICs are Feds.
Signed: ex team member
P.S. Good report. I like the Agency's cut and paste responses.
Just found out there is a "Smokejumper" show on CMT this Friday, 4/23, 1900 PDT.
Former BLM Official Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges
Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
District of Oregon
Contact: (503) 727-1000
Former BLM Official Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges
Sophisticated Contract Manipulation Scheme Defrauds BLM of Over $400,000
MEDFORD, OR—Luis Ramirez, 57, of Medford, Oregon, pled guilty today in U.S.
District Court to charges of wire fraud, personal financial conflict of
interest, and making a false tax return statement. In 2009, three indictments
were returned by a federal grand jury charging Ramirez with five counts of wire
fraud, along with separate counts of personal financial conflict of interest and
making a false tax return statement. Ramirez pled guilty to all seven charges.
Ramirez was employed as a Contracting Officer’s Representative for the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) in the Medford District Office. He was responsible for
administering BLM contracts including approving work to be done on the contracts
and submitting invoices to BLM Contracting Officers in Portland for their
approval and payment to private contractors. Ramirez, employed by BLM for 31
years, abruptly retired in July 2007 when his schemes to defraud BLM began to
unravel. The FBI initiated an investigation upon receiving information from an
anonymous source that Ramirez was allegedly receiving personal payments from
private BLM contractors involving his official duties.
In pleading guilty, Ramirez admitted that from May 2004 until July 2007, he
intentionally devised and carried out various schemes to defraud BLM of at least
$481,600. The schemes included Ramirez arranging for private contractors,
unbeknownst to BLM, to subcontract work to his son, Evan Ramirez, age 30, on BLM
contracts that were being administered by him. In other instances, work he
approved for the contractors to complete was never performed, while in other
instances he increased the cost of work that was merely redundant and
duplicitous of other approved work under the contracts.
As part of these schemes, Ramirez would then submit false certificates to the
BLM Contracting Officers in Portland certifying that specific work he had
approved under the contracts was completed by the contractor, and seek the
Contracting Officer’s authorization for payment to the contractor for the
claimed work, all the while knowing that the work was unnecessary, unwarranted,
not actually performed by the contractor or was never performed at all.
Upon securing the Contracting Officers approval and authorization for payment,
BLM funds were then sent by interstate wire to the contractor’s bank account.
Ramirez arranged through various deceptive means to have the private contractors
issue checks to Ramirez’s son, Evan, either directly or through third parties,
and sometimes directly to third parties who then transferred the funds to him,
and the contractors were reimbursed with the BLM payments under the contracts.
Large portions of the checks issued to Ramirez’s son by the contractors were
ultimately transferred into Ramirez’s personal bank account.
In carrying out his scheme to defraud, Ramirez also admitted that he violated
federal conflict of interest laws in taking action as a government official on
the BLM contracts he was administering when he had a personal financial interest
in them, all without the knowledge of BLM. Further, he acknowledged that he
submitted a false personal income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service in
2006, declaring under penalty of perjury that the tax return was complete and
accurate when he knew he was not reporting $166,000 of income to the IRS.
Evan Ramirez, of Boston, Massachusetts, also pled guilty today in U.S. District
Court to a government charge of making a false tax return statement in 2007. He
admitted that when he submitted his 2006 personal income tax return to the
Internal Revenue Service it was false and, while declaring under penalty of
perjury that the tax return was complete and accurate, he knew he was not
reporting $18,055 of income to the IRS, the source of which was from criminal
“We will not tolerate any form of public corruption,” said United States
Attorney Dwight C. Holton. “It is important for the public to know that
government officials perform their official duties free from corruption,
self-enrichment and conflict of interest.”
Both defendants are scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Owen
Panner on June 26, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20
years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Personal financial conflict of interest
carries a penalty of five years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, and making
and subscribing a false tax return statement carries a penalty of three years'
imprisonment and a $100,000 fine, together with the costs of prosecution.
This was a joint investigation by the Medford offices of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The
case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.
TO ALL FEDERAL WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS,
I fist want to publicly thank Mr. Judd
and the FWFSA for the amazing work he does for ALL federal wildland
firefighters. In particular with the introduction of HR 4488 to congress and
keeping us apprise of its status.
Second, its time for us to do our part in this process!
If we've learned anything over the years, one thing is we cannot rely on our
supervisors to voice our opinions or improve our situations. The Federal system
has its strengths and weakness. One of our biggest weakness is the chasm between
the boots on the ground and "supervisors" in Regional and Washington Offices.
For far to long we have relied on the FWFSA to fight our battles for us. No
longer can we simply hide in our offices, engines, buggies or helicopters. No
longer can we simply apply to State or Municipal agencies and hope for better
days. No longer can we simply post on 'they said' or complain to our comrades.
No longer can we simply do nothing!
In his last message Mr. Judd asked those that support HR 4488 to write their
respective members of congress. Below are the Committees and Subcommittees that
are reviewing the bill. As Mr. Judd suggested they need to hear from us!! Many
of the Representatives on these committees represent districts in which we live
or are adjacent to our forest (i.e. Santa Barbara County-LPF, Los Angeles
Counties-ANF, San Diego Counties- CNF, etc). If you live in these districts
write/ email/ phone your Representative. If you don't send a message to the
subcommittees office or the committees chairman. Take some time to look up how
to write a letter to congress (its simple but they're some rules). I know fire
season is close but lets not wait the time for action is now! LET'S COMMIT TO
WRITING A LETTER WITHIN THIRTY DAYS! Tell everyone that you work with, tell
everyone that believes in this bill to write a letter. One of our greatest
strengths is how we come together to accomplish a task. Let this be one of the
first thing we do this year!
The sword has been drawn and one man has led the charge. Let us heed the horn
and charge behind him.
I went backwards from both the broken Fire Potential Map and Fire Danger Map
links and was redirected to...
Looks like there are links on the left for the information the old links
Oh good, they added a redirect message. Ab.
Legislative Update/OIG Report and OMB Policy Letter
Hi to all:
We recently updated our staff contact list in the Member's area of our web site
as well as provided a follow-up to my trip to Washington last month. It was very
clear that members of Congress and their staff need to hear from more federal
wildland firefighters. The FWFSA cannot do this alone. Those in Congress have to
hear from their voting constituents.
I recognize that many private contractor firefighters read TheySaid and I want
to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the language in HR 4488 is not intended
to "take food off your tables" or put anyone out of business. This post is not
intended to create a new nasty thread. Our responsibility to the wildland
firefighting community is to provide facts to those in positions that can effect
positive change for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters.
It was very clear during my trip to DC that the private sector had blitzed
Capitol Hill with doom & gloom faxes about the affects HR 4488 would have on
their livelihoods. Unfortunately, it is hard to respond to such concerns when
the FWFSA wasn't provided any information on precisely what the private sector
was saying. We have bent over backwards to allay the fears of contractors but
apparently to no avail. Some members of Congress and staff passed the rhetoric
off while others took it more to heart...requiring additional time to try and
educate them on the intent of the bill.
The private industry should be more concerned with the direction of the
Administration with respect to the OMB-Office of Federal Procurement Policy's
"Notice of proposed Policy Letter" on contracting & outsourcing as well as the
findings of the Forest Service OIG report on contracting. The FWFSA has offered
to work with organizations representing private contractors but have reiterated
to them that HR 4488 has been introduced on behalf of 1) All federal wildland
firefighters and 2) America's taxpayers.
I think we all know where the exorbitant costs are in wildfire suppression. But
as I have said to many, it was the responsibility of the FWFSA to identify
"offsets" to potential costs for HR 4488 and those offsets are rightly directed
at non-federal costs. It is time to pull heads out of the sand and recognize
that the federal land management agency fire programs were not designed to
create a financial feeding frenzy for some as it has become. It is incumbent
upon these agencies to provide the taxpayers with the best value for their
dollar and clearly that is not happening.
We will try once again to ascertain from some of these groups what precisely
they are telling Congress. It has been frustrating that such organizations have
told us they support the bill... except the part where the inference can be
drawn that they too would be included in the incremental reductions of
non-federal resource costs required by the bill.
That being said, there is ample time to try [emphasis added] to please everyone
with this bill, but realistically our priority is our dues paying members.
The environment on Capitol Hill is the strangest I've seen in 16 years of
working the Hill. The partisanship is as vile as it has ever been. Add to that
an election year, violent debate on Healthcare and it'll be a wonder if anything
gets done this year in DC other than the effort for self-preservation. It is
stunning what affect a change in Administration and an African American
President can have on Congress and all citizens.
If you support our legislation, please utilize the information on the FWFSA web
site to contact your representative or their staff contact if listed. With the
wackiness in DC, I cannot predict, nor would I want to, the success of our bill
passing this session. Regardless, persistence in educating those on the Hill is
Driver Involved in Crash Steals Cal-Fire Truck
Driver Involved in Crash Steals Cal-Fire Truck
The battalion chief who stopped to help crash victims was in turn victimized
By R. STICKNEY
An emergency worker who stopped to help accident victims believes one of the
drivers involved in the crash stole his truck.
On his way to a meeting at Cal Fire headquarters, battalion chief Mark
Ostrander was just doing his job, stopping to help victims in a crash and
keep other drivers from colliding near the accident scene.
Ostrander parked his Cal Fire pickup on northbound Jamacha near Hilton Head
Road around 8 a.m. where two cars had just collided and vehicles were
blocking the roadway. "I was worried somebody was going to get hurt," he
He was working through a crowd of about a dozen people to assess who may be
injured, when a man jumped in his truck and drove off with emergency lights
“I turned around and looked and my vehicle’s going down the road as it’s
being stolen,” Ostrander said. “A couple of people standing by thought he
was with me and he was just moving my vehicle."
(read the rest at the link...)
Fair Use disclaimer
OIG report: Just read it
Frank and it ought to be
FS "generally agreeing" what's that all about? "Bout time OIG takes em to the
woodshed. IT is time USFS eliminates the "GS401 program" altogether and overall
starts practicing some Fiscal RESPONSIBILITY to the NATION.
Oh and that training of Aviation Resources matrix tables........ Pretty Shameful
those numbers and the "training time" to achieve ANY aviation or fire ground
operation ....coming from a "professional aviation organization." The USFS
should have had plan in place for retirements rather than plying their games
with social engineering, passing over people with clear quality and
qualifications, etc. Time for a agency cleaning. Especially with the antics
played on the USFS HR front. This proves the inability for HR to really
Time for us aviation professionals including USFS professional aviation staff
start running the program.... that means pilots, airport professionals, airline
dispatchers, mechanics and other with truly aviation certificated credentials
start running the show at all levels. We are out here. But the traditional USFS
attitude than no one outside can do the work we do. BS. More OIG reports need to
come about addressing all the land management agencies and their parallel
issues. Everyone wants an accounting from the Defense Dept... It is time for
more accounting of the famous land management agencies and more in depth
analysis of their spending
Time for the foresters, forest techs, wildlifers, and theologists and
technicians take a break from the USFS aviation operations and start managing
The OIG report ought to have a very tight deadline for the USFS to perform....
it appears since 1903 they have had plenty of opportunity to clean up the
Forester /Pilot /Aircraft Mechanic
So it seems Chief Tidwell's 'sensing group' is off to a rousing start!
It has been resolved that correspondence and such will include 'National
Grasslands' as well as 'National Forests'.
That will rocket us up from 206!
Has anyone checked out the composition of the sensing group? Fire's lone rep is
a smokejumper, and that is likely
the lowest GS level on the group.
I think we ought to let the Chief know that this weak attempt is not going to
'from 206 to 214'
I see folks are looking for the Office of Inspector General Report, re:
Forest Service's Firefighting Succession
Planning Process. Try this link; the report is frank.
Forest Service's Firefighting Succession Planning Process (pdf)
Ragnar Relay Race for the WFF:
In a couple days Dalton Hotshots are
participating in the 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race. April 23rd and 24th.
We are running to raise awareness and contributions for the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation. I wanted to thank
those that have supported us and continue to support the WFF.
Show your support for Dalton by contributing directly to the Wildland
Visit the Ragnar website and see for yourself what we are about to hopefully
take first place in the Public Service
group. Come out and show some love!
Thank you, Scott Gorman
Thanks Scott. It's also listed on the Hotlist calendar. Everybody, support
them with your presence if you can and show some love. Somebody take pictures to
share, please. Ab.
Paul Gleason Scholarship:
To the wildland fire community,
For the past 2 years Colorado State University and the Students of Fire
Association there have been working towards establishing a Paul Gleason
Scholarship at CSU. The initial deadline was Oct. of 2009, but some folks here
in Fort Collins and at CSU were able to convince the college to extend the
deadline until Oct. 2010. However, the fund is only half way to the needed
$25,000 to permanently fund the scholarship. We still need lots of help. We
created a new website dedicated to the scholarship. Take a look at this new
Here you can learn how anyone can donate directly to the fund. All donations are
tax deductible. We are working on a section with good “Paul Stories”. If anyone
has a great memory they would like to share, Ab can pass on my contact
information or you can give me a call.
If any of the folks out in the wildfire community have any ideas for help with
fundraising please share. We have approached a few companies that are active in
the community but no luck so far. If anyone has any good contacts with companies
that are involved with wildfire, help us present the history and importance of
maintaining Paul’s legacy through this scholarship.
Go here to learn more about the
Student of Fire Association at CSU
My company helps sponsor this organization. For my contribution, my staff
here at The Supply Cache has come up with some products bearing an LCES logo
they designed. In addition to these products, any product we sell with LCES on
it, we will donate 25% of the proceeds to the scholarship fund. They make great
safety awards and reminders.
I know that wildlandfire.com has helped promote this for the last few years and
that assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your continued support of
I have no idea where that USDA link came from or where it is supposed to go. I
poked around and this is all I can find. Looks like someone had links
Service Center Agencies Online Services for USDA (NRCS, FSA, and RD). There
are forms and such links, but no fire link.
firemapper.com/ is a link
to the vendor a thermal infrared sensor. Phil Riggins at the FS SW Research
fireimaging.com/ homepage.phpl ) has one of these sensors as does Kolob
Canyons Air Services in Cedar City (kolobair.com).
These sites do not have a link to the thermal MODIS data. Both have supplemented
the infrared intelligence collection for the (NIROPS,
National Infrared Operations).
THE source is the link you already submitted to the forum (Active firemaps fs.fed.us),
This is the link to the US Forest Service's Remote Sensing Applications Center
in Salt Lake City where there is a MODIS antenna on the roof receiving data from
both Terra and Aqua satellites twice a day. This page also has a link for
viewing these data in GE.
Hope this helps.
I fixed the most obvious links on our Links page but it's not all sorted
out. Nor is our News page. Many thanks for the info IRGirl. Can someone call or
email the webmaster(s) to make a request that they fix their pages? Thanks for
any help. Ab.
OIG Contract Crews (click the link to get the
Sure you can figure out how to post these came out April 16 thought somebody
would have posted by now.
Somewhere in Utah
You're welcome. Don't get lost out there. Ab.
Pleasant Valley Hotshots:
Attached is the PVHS logo from the back door of one
of their rigs in the 1990s.
Thanks, I added it to the
Logos 18 photo page. Ab.
Broken fire maps links:
Good morning All,
We've been getting questions about maps having broken links
from several firefighters.
The Fire Danger map is bad but has a redirect. The new map is here:
radar.srh.noaa.gov/fire/ It is showing as 'experimental' and some
links have no data or content. It is interesting that there is a listing of KML
files in the mid-right side of the screen so folks can see them on Google Earth.
If anyone knows of updated map links, please let us know. I'll be trying to
find and correct these links this afternoon.
Anyone know what happened to this one from our LINKS page?
Fire Potential Map
This Fire Danger MapDrought Monitor Mapp
link is OK.
From the Hotlist:
The pilot episode is scheduled to air on :
CMT (Country Music Telvision) Friday April 23rd 9PM CENTRAL/10 PM EASTERN
They’ll be new felling reference materials out on the market very soon. Good job
for looking beyond what is currently
readily available. In addition, there’s also effort being put into “Train the
Chainsaw Trainer.” While the curriculum is
there (i.e. S-212) …that’s not enough. Those who deliver this training need to
make sure their training skills are up to
par. “Garbage In. Garbage Out.” I encourage you and others to constantly look
for ways to improve your training
approaches. Just as in chainsaw operation & felling, there is always more to
learn as a trainer.
Re; 1952 CDF Dodge,
This engine can be seen at the CDF Museum in San Bernardino. Also pic of it on
the video on their website.
Follow link to CDF museum then open gallery and watch video. Many old CDF
engines on displayy.
SB asked for felling references.
The Faller’s- Buckers Handbook used by the Workers Compensation Board of
British Columbia is available at this link:
Faller’s- Buckers Handbook used by the Workers Compensation Board of British
New firefighting resources:
You Rock, Girl!! Whatever you do, keep on charging.
historical ANF photos
Thanks Capt. J.S. for sharing the historical photos! You
are a man of your word!
1952 Dodge CDF brush truck
I've been surfing the web in an attempt to find a picture of one of the original
CDF brush trucks. I have found a Dodge 1952 truck that is for sale, but looking
for an original picture of how it was equipped, (pictures of left/right side and
the back bed.) The truck was configured with a hurricane pump behind the cab
with a single 2 1/2 discharge and a hose reel mounted above the water tank in
front of the rear facing jump seats. I did find a picture of a 1949 reo fire
truck from Morgan Hill fire that looks similar, but only shows the right side of
the truck. Hoping you can pass on information as to how I can find a picture or
maybe you have one in your file.
Thank you for your assistance.
FF/PM Scott Robinson
Los Angeles County Fire Department
We don't have one that I know of. Maybe someone can help. Readers? Ab.
Fallen Firefighter Memorial at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg,
Maryland. Photo compliments of Tom W. (0210)
Kegger Party Part 2
Alright, I will stop clowning around. First they will have a very important
FLAME Act discussion
(Its FLAME not FLAMT, jeesh who reviews this stuff?) and then it's onto the
Kegger Party Part
2. I am up for a Chief vs.Line Officer Karaoke competition. Winner takes the
Date: April 9, 2010
Subject: May 24-28 Regional Leadership Team Meeting
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors
REPLY DUE MAY 3, 2010
The Regional Leadership Team Meeting will take place May 24-28 (noon-to-noon)
in Sacramento, at the Doubletree Hotel Sacramento, l2001 Point West Way,
Sacramento, CA 95815. A block of 70 rooms has been reserved at a single
occupancy rate of $109.00/night. Please make your room reservations no later
than Monday, May 3, by calling (916) 929-8855, or 1-800-222-FREE (3733), under
the group code USF
The agenda team for May is: Jim Peña (lead), Kathy Gorman, Kelly Russell,
Stephen Deep, Alice Carlton, Eli Ilano, and Rick Balolong. We will have a
portion of the meeting to follow up on Safety, EEO training, one full day for
other resource topics, and Thursday/Friday will be devoted to the Risk
Management for Agency Administrators Workshop. The workshop will help us prepare
in FY 2011 for the Forest Service’s implementation of Risk Management on all
fires that qualify for FLAMT Act Fund reimbursement. For this portion of the
meeting, we require Forest Supervisors and their Deputy, and Fire Management
Officers and their Deputy. Plans are developing for a social event on Tuesday
evening. For travel planning purposes, please arrange to attend the full meeting
from noon on Monday to noon on Friday.
The agenda team is working on their draft preliminary agenda for Regional
Forester’s approval, and will be forwarded to you as quickly as possible. Please
submit any agenda topics you have; however, keep in mind that we already have a
full agenda of topics, and will devote time throughout the week for valuable
open forum discussion.
Looking forward to seeing all of you in Sacramento!
/s/ James M. Peña (for)
cc: Jim Pena
Kelly M Russell
Pleasant Valley HS Historical:
PV shots used the
“Keep on Truckin’” logo in the ‘80s.
Marty Rose changed it to the wild horse/Arizona flag insignia during his tenure
as supe. Here's the Pleasant Valley Hotshots old "Keep On Truckin" Logo on their
buggy. Photo compliments of Tom Jones. (0410)
Thanks for the pic, Tom. I added it to the
Logo 18 page along with a number of others that have been sent in. Ab.
I have used Procedural Timber Falling, by Doug Dent when I have taught 212
in the past. The Stihl website or
your local dealer should have the shop manuals for the saws you run.
I added some great engine and engine crew pics of the
Station Fire to
Engines 26 and
photo pages. Ab.
Notes on Pleasant Valley HS:
Pleasant Valley Hotshots
USFS Tonto National Forest
Pleasant Valley Ranger District
The Tonto got three crews in the early 1970s; Globe, Payson and Pleasant Valley.
Rumor has it that PV was formed in 1972.
Some of the supes were:
John C Jones 1972 to 1976
Robert Jones 1976
Bob Orlund 1980 Spring
Fred Schoeffler 1980 Fall (Fred was the long serving Payson HS supe)
Ben Cline –1981-1988
Jeff Prevey-1988 to
Marty Rose (Former assistant supe of Payson HS)
Fred Thompson (former jumper?)
PV shots used the “Keep on Truckin’” logo in the ‘80s.
Marty changed it to the wild horse/Arizona flag insignia during his tenure.
I added this to the notes. Do you have the old logo? If so, please send it
in for the records. Thanks. Ab.
felling references needed:
Just wondering if anyone out there knows of any
good tree felling books or reference besides the 212 handbook.
As far as procedures and techniques go. Also if anyone knows where to find a
good chainsaw repair manual (stihl)
that would be helpful too. Just looking for some helpful reference material to
go along with my training.
Some pics up on the
Engines 26 photo page:
From Erik, fire engine pics of Glacier Peak
Wildfire out of Wenatchee, WA.
Some new logos on
Logo 18 page. Ab.
Monster Fire at Minong: Wisconsin's Five Mile Tower Fire of 1977 by Bill
Bill will be appearing at various venues where the fire burned between 4/30
sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Does anyone know any details of a Pleasant Valley IHC founded in 1972, BIA? I
got an email last June providing those bare bones bits of information.
I updated various names and years for the
"IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project. Thanks, contributors
and thanks for your patience.
Someone wrote in "Steve Parr,
now Chief 2 on the Eldorado, unsure of what Hotshots, but think he was on one
somewhere" anyone know which HS crew?
Take a look at the HS to fire managers page above (control F and enter
Parr into the search). He was on the Ojai HS.
Readers, we are still working towards the new wlf.com website and will have a
better arrangement for this project and historical info and photos once it's up
and running. Ab.
Here are some photos that belonged to my Dad who started on the Angeles in 1938.
Angeles Crest Station's new 48-50 COE M/H.
Hugh Masterson got a little dent in his rig 1953.
Ranger and crew member 1953.
Old Newhall RS with parade prevention entry 1948. Won a trophy.
John Paige ANF Dispatch 1954.
Have some more, hope you enjoy.
Very nice Jody. Those were the days. Ab.
Thank you fuelsguy for the great idea. I have also considered that
route, taking a leave of absence from my
full time job, but our state highly likely would not approve it - they are too
geared towards getting timber
sale goals completed to allow me to take a leave of absence. Believe me, if that
were an option, I would
jump on it. Any other options, ideas, or contacts?
thanks once again
a wanna be hotshot
pre-2010 fire season read:
Before this fire season starts and things get…hmmm…active… I just wanted to
say how much I appreciate
They Said as a venue for provoking thought and healing. Most folks out there
might not think of They Said
this way…but I do. Thank you.
I have a book recommendation for those getting ready for the season,
particularly with so much cultural change
about to wake up our particular industry (Hang on…). With change comes agitation
and fear. Let’s not allow
fear to go unchecked and unhealed.
Here’s my recommendation for a good pre-season read: “Power vs. Force: The
Hidden Determinants of Human
Behavior.” David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.
The skillful are not obvious
They appear to be simple minded
Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute
To know the patterns is the Subtle Power
The Subtle Power moves all things and has no name
Polaris Ranger 6x6 UTV: anyone else having any problems with them?
response to the questions we've been getting about a recent UTV fire that
occurred during a Rx burn on 4/7 in Indiana:
First to quell rumors, it was not a burnover and no one
was injured. The UTV caught fire independently of the Rx burn.
Tom Krueger the burn boss on the Hoosier NF, Tell Ranger District filled us
Apparently the UTV caught fire from a worn fuel line. The line was spewing
gas, the gas sparked and fire began burning through the bench seat. The Polaris
Ranger 6x6 UTV has 3 bench seats. The operator (only occupant) stopped it,
jumped off and used the apparatus on the UTV to put out the fire. No one was
injured. Tom is doing an investigation and will send the report when he's done.
He just emailed:
We took the UTV to the shop to have it inspected 4/12 but they have not
completed the evaluation yet.
Once we get this, I'll finalize the report. Thanks.
Also heard about this
Safenet from 3/30/10 that also involves the same model UTV having other
mechanical issues with the throttle cable.
(Safenet website here:
Anyone else having problems with Polaris Ranger 6x6 UTV?
This is Dispatchers' week.
Link to a nice tribute on the
Dispatchers hotlist thread. Ab.
Change in Red-Flag criteria
Thought this was interesting.
Hope Policy Shift Will Save Money and Lives
Officials hope new policy will save money, lives
The frequency of red-flag warnings signaling an elevated wildfire threat has too
often become white noise. Today, the Weather Service is changing the rules,
which could yield more meaningful alerts
By Robert Krier, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 12:56 a.m.
Firefighters try to get a handle on a wildfire between Ramona and Santa
Old criteria: Many red-flag alerts were issued when the relative-humidity
level in a region was projected to dip to 10 percent or lower for 10 hours
Warnings issued: 96 in 2007; 137 in 2008; 36 in 2009, a calm fire year
New criteria: Sustained winds of at least 25 mph or frequent gusts of 35
mph, combined with 15 percent or lower humidity over at least six hours.
Expectation: About half as many red-flag warnings, given similar weather.
Firefighters try to get a handle on a wildfire between Ramona and Santa
(etc at the link)
fair use disclaimer
Years ago a firefighter from one of our cooperating agencies (local
gov) had the same desire. He contacted the Supe's
of our three closest shot crews and got on as a seasonal. He took a leave of
absence from his "real job" for the fire
season, then when back to his "real job". It was a very positive experience for
him...in fact he did another season with
that crew. Just a thought.
FS back seater-
KME was awarded the contract for R3 Crew Carriers last year after Unicor
(Federal Prison Industries) stopped making Crew Carriers, due to capacity
issues. As far as I know, R3 is the only Region contracting with KME for Crew
Carriers. The whole process started about 7 years, when the R3 Supts. came up
with a standard for R3 Crew Carriers. Through the hard work of several key
members of the R3 IHC community and LOTS of fleet management interaction, R3
IHC's now have Crew Carrier designed by Hotshots, for Hotshots. Unicor is still
making the Supt. Trucks, also designed by R3 Supts.
Here is a picture of Pleasant Valley IHC's new KME built Crew Carrier.
R3 Crew Carrier photo and specs
Here's a chapter from a CPS-Rx book Doug Campbell has written. He tells me he's
trying to work out getting
it posted here on the site. Here's the chapter. (below)
11 Years of Rx Burns: (42K doc file) Intro chapter, about the
weakness of the Rx burn requirements of the day and
how we increased the reliability of the program in Ventura County during an
Making the rounds behind the scenes
Date: 04/14/2010 03:29 PM
Subject: Appropriate Designator for Hotshot Crews
Forest Fire Chiefs - I wanted to give you all a heads up that a letter will
be forthcoming from Randy about the appropriate designator for Hotshots crews.
It has been determined that all Forest Service Hotshots crews, original and
those developed under the MEL build-up, will now hold the designator of IHC.
This adds 21 Interagency Hotshot crews into the pool of nationally shared
resources. Those remaining crews that have not been certified as Hotshot crews
will be identified and mobilized as Type 2 IA crews. If you have any questions,
give myself, Joe, or Ralph a call...thanks.
Willie R. Thompson
Fire and Aviation Management
USDA-Forest Service - Region 5
Here's my deal. I am a full time state, department of natural
resources forester who is highly involved in our wildland fire suppression. My
quals are FFT1/ICT5, FALB with FALC trainee, and engine, dozer, tractor plow
boss trainee. I have been on a Type 2 and a Type 2IA handcrews one in Oregon,
the other on that wonderful lightning complex in N. CA a few years back. I have
5 yrs of wildland fire fighting and prescribed burn experience.
Ok, so I have a strong, and I mean strong desire to get on a shot crew but just
can't give up a good, full time job to go seasonal. It's been presented to me by
a few of our folks here that maybe, I could get picked up by a shot crew as a
casual AD later in the season when students head back or injuries (definitely
not hoping those on anyone) occur to make a shot crew short personnel. I would
have to use vacation and comp time to do this but am willing to do so. Anyone
out there have a feel for the chances in this or have other options? I have
looked at getting on with a full time fire job with the feds but found out there
are age limitations, so that pretty much limits me to a permanent full time
forestry job. That would be acceptable but those are hard to come by I know.
Suggestions, info, contacts?
a wanna be hotshot
Communications Unit version
Let’s Confuse Everyone Simultaneously
Good one, I added it to
Funny Fire Terms & Nicknames. Ab.
Just received my message about the mandatory 4 hour Mini EEO
training make-up class in Sacramento and was just wondering why we are wasting
the time and money on travel when this could be done in a cheaper manner. It
cracks me up when I can't get some training because of funds but I have to spend
my travel training dollars to go to Sac for four hours. Why can't our EEO person
do this training inhouse on the forest instead of bringing in someone all the
way from Chicago? Why can't we do a video conference? Just another waste of
money so someone in the R.O. can get a gold star for accomplishing something
that wasn't needed.
Strive for 205
Thanks I laughed at a couple of your comments. The Temp GS-05 Ops Chief
(Beautiful thing about ICS) and the Swapping three engines for an X-use
helicopter and 10 "Dopes on a Rope". It was all in good humor. As are my
comments. I have long heard the Helitack version of LCES. Along with several
others. Locate Camp Extort Supply. <---This is more of a module leader mentality
than anything else.
Seems like that struck a nerve.. Probably still smarts. We are all valuable in
our own ways and it is your choice as a module leader to decide what kind of
module you are going to run and how you are going to motivate and lead your
employees. I have seen some R5 helicopter modules adhere strictly to the LCES
joke and I have seen R5 helicopters do some fantastic work on fires. In the end
it is the example and leadership that you as a module leader bring to the table
that dictates the attitude, motivation, and ability of your crew. This is not
only true of Helicopters, but also of engines and handcrews. The nifty thing is
that together we strive for success. Divided we become conquered and fall.
Personally, three engines for a helicopter is ludicrous. I'd much rather have
the three engines and the helicopter. It is kind of like poker. Three of a kind
beats high card, but a full house beats three of a kind. Your pride and defense
of the rotor world is admirable. Keep up the good work!
Tax Payers and their elected representatives want me to jump. "I
ask how high?" They want night flying. I say "this is how much it is going to
cost, how we can do it, and here is the risk involved." They want green engines
making house calls at 2am. I say "this is how much it is going to cost, how we
can do it, and here is the risk involved." Paving the road to decisions is best
done with information.
Another good fire acronym. I added that LCES example to the terms and
nicknames list too... Ab.
I wanted to thank you for posting my question (Help with a wildland job
question). I waited it out after reading what was posted
and today I was contacted by HR and they asked what happened, I explained and
they cleared me. So I officially start my new
job as a Forestry Tech with the feds at the (snip) in (snip).
I cant thank you and your forum enough for all you do for the people out
there. Keep it up.
You're welcome. Make us proud. Be safe and have fun. Ab.
Ab note: I'm going to make a hotlist thread for the 2010 fatality
information under General Discussion for the time being. Later it will be
incorporated into our Always Remember! project.
Hotlist: Wildland Fire Fatalities 2010
Report of second fatality this year dealing with wildland brush fires.
First in Ohio on the 3rd of this month, second in Kansas only 8 days later!
Bells, air horns, whistles, all kinds of alarms should start going off….
Remember Everyone Goes Home from this season.
Remember Everyone Goes Home….
I know there are a lot of young and old creative minds out there looking to ways
to improve on the educational and safety side of Wildland Firefighters…
I would like to challenge those individuals to come up with something for the
Wildland Firefighter and Everyone Goes Home, and not something to be found on “Youtube”.
~~~The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the
wildland firefighter fatalities
Name: Harold Reed, Sr.
Cause of Death: Exposure
Nature of Death: Asphyxiation
Emergency Duty: Yes
Incident Date: 04/11/2010
Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
Incident Time: 15:15
Activity Type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Death Date: 04/11/2010
Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
Fire Dept. Info: Peru Fire District #3
PO Box 70
Peru , Kansas 67360
Chief: Rick Peel
Initial Summary: While assisting at a rural brush fire, Captain Reed was
overcome by smoke. He was treated and subsequently transported to the Sedan City
Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Memorial Fund Info: Donations may be sent to the First National Bank, 101 West
Main Street, Sedan, Kansas 67361.
Name: Leo Powell
Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death: Heart Attack
Emergency Duty: No
Incident Date: 04/03/2010
Duty Type: Collapsed at his residence after working a brush fire with his
Incident Time: 12:03
Activity Type: Unknown
Death Date: 04/03/2010
Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
Fire Dept. Info: Morgan Township Volunteer Fire Department
7106 Bear Creek RD
USNG: 17S LD 1886 1141
Lucasville , Ohio 45648
Chief: Tim Phipps
Initial Summary: At approximately 1200hrs on 04/03/2010, Firefighter Powell
responded to a brush fire with the fire department. After clearing the scene,
Powell collapsed at his residence at approximately 1500hrs from an apparent
heart attack and could not be revived.
Incident Location: Pending
Memorial Fund Info: Memorial contributions in honor of Firefighter and former
Fire Chief Leo Powell may be made to the Morgan Township Volunteer Fire
Department, 7106 Big Bear Creek Road, Lucasville, OH 45648.
EMTs on wildfires -
I realize some of you may have seen this and some may not. I thought I would
provide it so that all may see what R5
has put forth in response to the
R5 Golden Hour Response notice (222 K pdf file, 1 page letter)
While knowing it does not work for all, it does give food for thought.
Bill Arsenault, FFTR/EMTP
Had a good time reading the Funny Fire terms and Nicknames and it reminded me of
a few of my favorites.
Paperwork: When you grab the roll of TP and a shovel
and go off to the nearest bush
Cone Zone: What inmate crews look like from the air
Breakfast laces: Used when its too dark to lace your boots, the technique of
tucking your boot laces into the tops of your boot and walking to breakfast
Helistench: the body odor you get from working around a busy, hot helibase ( not
masked by smoke smell )
Murse: ( man purse ) a small canvas handbag created to store wallet, keys,
chapstick, cell phone.
Cope stove: an empty Copenhagen can filled with sawdust, pine needles. Made out
of cardboard and wax lined, when lit, it generates enough flame to boil a
canteen cup of water for coffee.
Booger eaters: crews of questionable skill level and reputation
Prison suitcase: how inmate firefighters smuggle tobacco, dope, cell phones and
even chargers in and out of prison, guesses?
Holy grail: CDF term for a full months pay period being paid 24 hours a day
portal to portal while working on fires or staffing patterns at home
MIST line: black on both sides, must have missed something somewhere
I'll stop for now.. cheers
Good ones! I added 'em to
Funny Fire Terms & Nicknames. (Were you on undercover assignment?) HAW
HAW!!! BTW, great
Avatar you have on the Hotlist. I like
this Avatar too. Got'ta have the humor. Ab.
I get your point. I started out on a type 2 crew in Montana years
ago. I then went R3 and hotshotted for a long time and came over to R5 as an
engine guy almost 3 years ago. I got worked over on the fall fire hire last year
and, hopefully, will come up roses in another week or so. My point is: hey
folks, let's remember that our tongue in cheek sense of humor is what gets us
through all of the arduous things we deal with. We all have rights but those of
us that work in the Federal Government deal with alot of challenges from our
agencies. Let's speak honestly and with humor. Let's disseminate the wisdom we
have and stick to the meat of the conversations. I appreciate your insider
information, Ron (I'm considering filing grievances if I don't get an offer this
go around (I know I'm tier1, #1 candidate for the job I'm applying for, as I was
When I boosted H 332 years ago, the manager taught me that LCES on a type 1
helibase stands for Locate Cooler Establish Shade!
We all have our place and we all like to laugh.
It is with great sorrow that I share this information to you all.
Last Friday night, Sage River Corpus, who is the son of Joe Suarez, Capt. 6A
was killed in a hit and
run vehicle accident. Sage was 12 years old. As you can imagine, Joe and his
family are devastated.
The funeral is to be on
Friday the April 16th, 10:00 AM
St Lucys Catholic Church
Fowler, CA (google maps)
If anyone would like to attend, Joe has requested that you wear bright colors in
honor of Sage.
The Sage River Corpus Memorial Fund has been set up through Citi Bank.
The account number is 40058782802. If you're not a member of Citi, you physically have to visit
a branch to make the donation.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Joe and his family.
Its not too late to registered for the 2010 California Interagency
Fire Prevention and Mitigation Conference
near Palm Springs May 4-6, 2010.
There will be a wide variety of excellent speakers addressing topics relevant to
the WUI issues. Topics include:
- Building Standards
- How to Apply for grants
- Esperanza Fire Investigation, arrest and murder trial
- Santa Monica Mountains Community Wildfire Protection Plan
- Social Acceptability of fuels treatments-
Register for FI-110 (First Responder Fire Investigation) class.
Its at the beautiful Agua Caliente Resort for only $89 a night.
Yours was the second reply that I received to my posting that took offense to my
statement about coolers. If I'd known that it would take away from main message
that I was trying to get to on unfair hiring practices I probably wouldn't have
said it. If there are really a bunch of you that took offense to it then I
apologize, but that amazes me since I have heard the same statement hundreds of
times in my 30+ years and mostly from helicopter people who make it a joke. Is
this one of those things that only helicopter people can say? I never heard this
much pushback when I was the OPS or Safety on IMTs and made jokes about hotshots
or jumpers at the briefings.
Thanks for the invite to come down, but I've already worked with many helitack
over the years. The last time with R 5 helitack was in Quincy. I agree that we
all have a valuable job to do. I was also part of the Cramer investigation so I
know the danger that you all face.
One thing that I do want to address since it was a major issue to both replies
that I received, as a NFFE rep I am not required to lose my sense of humor.
That's one of the positives that I bring to the table whether it's with
management or BU employees. I think that there are some of us that take
ourselves way too seriously. I remember when I first came to the FS after 10
years with the state of Idaho and was told by the guys in charge of training
that I wasn't what they were looking for to be a helicopter crewmember. I didn't
know enough, but I had only been out of the military for a little over a year
and while enlisted I was a helicopter mechanic and crewchief. As a matter of
fact I was the crewchief on the first Jet Ranger to come to Southeast Asia. I
guess knowledge is one of those things that's shaded by perception.
I'd argue the value of an engine to a helicopter, but I'd probably make one of
those engine slugs mad. OOPS ! There I go again. Oh yeh, my FMO calls us "dirt
bags" when we talk about our level of firefighters and I don't take offense.
HAW HAW HAW I added that one to
Funny Fire Terms & Nicknames, Readers, remember that the written word
does not give us the benefit of face-to-face cues, body language, tone of voice,
laughter. I read Ron's post and assumed humor, "tongue in cheek". Fer Big
Ernie's sake, he signed his name to the danged post! Of course he was funnin'.
Uh oh, I am told that 70% of communication is nonverbal. (I can hear
Mellie giggling and muttering something about chill pill and panties in a
wad...She says Check
this one, her favorite.) HAW HAW HAW HAW! Made my day! (Checking my
ownself's posterior.) Ab.
Gosh dangit!! I tried to stay away from this night flying thing
but Y'all finally roped me in.
"Citing questions raised by the devastating Station blaze, a local House member
has asked that Congress require the U.S. Forest Service to consider lifting a
decades-old ban on the use of aircraft to fight fires after dark."
Key words: "Lift a ban"
Not "employ night flying helicopters"...just "lift the ban."
If a cooperator on a fed fire by agreement or assistance by hire, has night
flying capabilities, already performs night flights, is equipped for them,
trained, blah blah blah, the congressman is asking us to consider not kicking
them off a fed fire when we send our own ships home. Sounds like something we
should consider to me.
Now I will offer a counterpoint to save time. I know through extensive
experience that LACoFD ships are very difficult to talk with and have made
several drops on me in the day time let alone night time, so part of this
consideration needs to be "What kind of ground representation from the
cooperator will be in place on a fed fire while a cooperating ship flies at
night?" so that we can communicate with them better.
||backhanded helitack comment
Your arguments for anything lose clout the minute you talk negatively about a
certain discipline... especially Helitack.
If you are so astoot in what we do, I would
invite you to come for a 2 week stint in Region 5, on one of our Helitack
Being an NFFE rep, and saying those words are a dangerous endeavor to say the least.
will forgo your comments about coolers... and try to focus on the
positive. If we really wanted to get into it, I'd say
3 engines for a heli is an honest
trade... but I won't. We all have our part in the system.
Hey Brenda currently I am working on a similar project back in my home
unit, what I have discovered in this experienced journey of mine is that it is
not a easy task when dealing with permits in or outside of your jurisdicting
agency. You did mention that there is currently a memorial that is in place,
correct, but is it official? Since it is on a state highway, you might want to
check with the local state-trans office and inquire on possibly getting a
section of the highway dedicated to the fallen gentlemen.
For those doing something similar or for future reference for thos in CA,
here are some contacts of folks that work for Blue Star Memorial Highway,
program set up for such situations; J.D. Adams j.d.adams@ nospam dot.ca.gov
(530) 741-4299/ Ken Murray,(916) 274-6138, kenneth.murray@ nospam dot.ca.gov
I don't know the contacts for UT. Hope this helps!
I was just wondering about a memorial for the three FF's that lost
their lives on Stockton pass (Utah) April 25 of 09.
As a Volunteer FF/EMT I
was part of the search for the crash site.
There is a very small plaque with three small flags that are barely
visible in the sage brush. I was wondering how to go about getting a
bigger and better one to honor these men.
Any assistance on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Brenda Jo (Ab snipped last name)
Tragic AT crash.
Readers, any ideas for a larger physical memorial there near Stockton? That was
a Neptune Lockheed P2V crash that took the lives of Tom, Risk, Mike Flynn,
and Brian Buss almost a year ago (Hotlist
thread). This is the current NTSB Info:
Brenda Jo, could you get the lat/long of that memorial site and take a
digital photo with plaque and flags so we can include it in the upcoming
Always Remember! Google Earth Project we're working on? That way they will
be memorialized on Always Remember! at the very least. Thanks. Ab.
Unfair Hiring Practices:
I've been following all of the comments on the unfair
hiring practices that are going on with great interest. I've only been with the
Forest Service since 1984 so maybe I missed some of what's been going on. With
the CD, Affirmative Action, the Hispanic Imitative, the age discrimination of
the Firefighter Retirement, it's been a long hard road to get a job. The FF
retirement has cost me my job three times over the years. Maybe with the court
victory for the Veteran that said they can't do this at least to vets, is a
start for all of us. I felt foolish being a Type 2 Ops Chief when I was a
temporary GS 5.
Now for what I want to really say. I've seen where some of you even found out
that you were the most qualified Candidate. That's great, except for the rules
and regs. don't say that they have to hire the most qualified, only that the
person hired make the cert. Morally and ethically you would hope that they would
go for the most qualified, but that hasn't been my experience over the years. I
did see some of you mentioned EEO complaints or challenging system. I have seen
three employees that did this and won. All of them were in R 5, two were for
reverse discrimination and one for age discrimination on the FF retirement, so
it can be done if you build a good case, but it's risky. It's a personal choice.
It's good that R 5 still gets enough money that they can fill all of these fire
jobs. The only year that I can remember R 1 doing a regional fire hire is when
Clinton created the MEL hiring. On our forest we are getting rid of three engine
modules so we can afford an Exclusive Use helicopter module with 10 members.
That's a lot of coolers.
Lastly, thanks Casey for all you are doing. As a NFFE officer we are both
working towards the same goal. I wish you luck and we will be in D.C. the week
of May 9 to lobby for many of he same things that are in your bill. Maybe I'll
get to meet you there.
NFFE Council Vice President
Isn't that a requirement a new hire to the land management agencies to be
adaptable to change, be flexible to the mission, be able to multitask, and
ALLLLLLL those other expectations of a GS4 through GS8/9 employee of all the
land management agencies? You'd think they would have to hire Superman with all
Maybe the taxpayer and the employees ought EXPECT the same from the land
management agencies, their employer.
The rappel and night flying program SHOULD have all those expectations to be
flexible, to multitask, etc
YET those land management agencies EXPECT, EXPECT, EXPECT from contractors don't
Time for the land management agencies get some management types in those
aviation positions and get those expectations DONE
How long does it take to organize and clean up and standardize a rappel program?
Plenty here will talk BITD when we did this and that to lay foundations for
programs..... Where did all those foundations go, huh?
If the land management agencies EXPECT all these things from the temp,
intermittent, WAE types in the "lower GS" series..
How about those in the "upper series" get cracking since alll these foundations
have been established 20, 30, 40 ,and 50 years ago...with ALLL that land
management aviation knowledge these two projects should be done in a year,
I'm not buying its too much on the agencies plate...... it is what they claim to
do and can do, so it must be pretty easy to get done with all these foundations
that have been set, right?
Time for some changes...maybe sending all that to a new FAA wildland fire
agency? Sending it to a 52 year old Agency (started in 1958) rather than leaving
with some 80- 110 year old agencies.
Pilot/ Forester / Aircraft Mechanic
Big Congratulations to Steve Holdsambeck for
being awarded the
Paul Gleason Lead By Example Award!
Thank you so much Steve for your work fostering Lessons
Learned by storytelling (APA) and
your work to achieve Just Culture for wildland firefighters.
I heard the APA conference went very well with more than 50 people of diverse
backgrounds attending, learning and being inspired.
Thanks to you and the Cadre! You're the best!
Change takes time and dedicated
leaders like you, Steve. My utmost respect...
night fly...fix rappel
I've seen posts about night flying of late and still
have a question. Before we dive into new arenas for the
FS, lets get the rappel house in order.....too many projects at once usually end
in " to be continued"
NZ Supe (ret)
Hi my name is Alexandre Filiatreault. Last year I did the Fire Fighter Academy
at Mirabel and right now I am
at the Montmorency College in the firefighting program. So I was wondering, with
my experience even if I'm
from Montreal if I could apply for the job?
Job Number: 4956749
Title: Forest firefighter (Wildland Firefighters) (
NOC: 8422 )
For those who have not used this Canadian job listing: When you
get to the page, choose the language, drop down to the bottom left and enter
8422 to see the job announcement. Any Canadians reading that can help? Ab.
Letterman and Leadhook,
If you want to talk statistics, maybe you should ask Tom Harbour, he probably
knows a lot about statistics. What was it he said to the national Line Officer
Team last year? If memory serves, it was something like "the Forest Service
aviation management program accident rate is approaching that of military combat
operations." MILITARY COMBAT OPERATIONS! Think I'm kidding? Check it out for
yourselves, the LOT notes are on the WO FS website.
I don't really give a hoot if you don't like all the "negative waves" on this
subject, the reasons for your own optimism elude me. In case you haven't
noticed, the Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management program has been in a
steady state of severe decline over the past 2 decades, it can't even wipe its
own arse right now. If we can't competently manage our current aviation assets,
why would we want to consider taking on additional high-risk aviation operations
of dubious value? Our past and future fallen aviators may be just statistics to
you, but not to me.
I have to agree cynic
I should not beat it to death, either. But here goes.....
The realists will have to see the bills and training issues pile up. Just
because something was "established" 30, 40, and 50 years ago in the ANF and LPF
and NOT been "current" just like the taskbooks say....3 yrs or one gets to start
the quals all over again!!!!
Just because the ANF and LPF did it years ago DOES NOT equate to today's EMS and
military operations standards and the LA County flying standards.
Let the TRUE aviation professionals set this bar and the USFS come to MEET IT.
The best the USFS can do now
- LISTEN and watch everyone else
- When USFS can stop the 40 and 50 yr "how they did it BITD" and MEET
current training standards, the best they can do is establish and monitor
- If the USFS wants this...they had better FUND it and not leave it ago
and let the folks tell us how it was done years ago. That merely means two
- Lacking funding and the inability of the land management agencies to
stay on task when the going gets tough and simply giving up or in and
- A sincere lack of leadership to today's aviation standards or the
foresight to keep a program up and going and MAINTAINING a program
throughout the years. Just because it was done 40 and 50 years ago, does not
mean it is current or viable nor approaching any of those standards.
Time to get with the times...things have changed in those 40 and 50 years
more than a few land management types want to admit here publicly.
Let the contractors and the everyday (365 day) aviation professionals and the
ONEs who are ACTUALLY going to FLY these missions, rather than coming from the
seasonal contract deliberations, set the bar on this.
This issue of night flying isn't new to us professional pilots and mechanics,
probably not new to some helitackers or ground folks either.
But this arena requires more than worrying about some grass and fuels issues and
some lame NEPA requirements. The issue becomes for the land management
Better start to get to attending more city council meetings, FIREWISE type fuels
reduction projects (which there are plenty going on), establishing tighter
zoning standards and getting the buy in from the communities.......... The work
needs to be taken taken more seriously by the District and Forest level
supervisors than most Region 5 social engineering projects, if you know what I
Let the aviation types, pilots, trainers and yes mechanics who service and fly
with these ships establish the night flying program... some of us came from that
very training environment (NVG and nights) and are probably up on that, currency
wise, than most land management agency types dictating a night program. If
Congressman and Congressional types are the ones to convince..... then let it be
the folks who are actually going to fly the program, no pun intended.
There will not be enough said on this subject, cynic. The dead horse needs to
ride again only to KICK some sense to those in the USFS that thinks they can do this
Pilot/ Forester / Aircraft Mechanic
Letterman and Not Feeling Leadhook,
Thank you for pointing out my errors in being concerned with the increased risks
associated with night flying operations. I apologize for being so naive as to
not recognize any level of risk that we are willing to sign off on certainly
makes it worthwhile to take those risks to protect the brush, trees, and houses.
Especially the tremendously valuable brush, trees, and houses of So Cal and No
Cal as you guys so eloquently pointed out to me. I don't know what I was
thinking and I appreciate you two setting me straight.
And of course any of my concerns with cost were equally stupid and I apologize
for that naïveté also. I should have realized that my concerns in that arena
were ludicrous. If the budget will not support it we will just cut the existing
resources to make this work. I cannot believe I even mentioned concerns
associated with costs or potential tradeoff impacts to other resources. I just
don't know what got into me. Thanks again for setting me straight.
This is my last post on this subject. I think the horse has been sufficiently
It is just one week till my bro Ken Perry leaves for Australia to run in a 250
kilometer (155 miles) in six days.. An accomplished Ultra runner with numerous
Racing the Planet events under his belt, Ken is running this race to help
another bro (Asad Rashad) raise money to educate children for success in
Cambodia and the world!
Both Ken and Asad are Federal Wildland Firefighters..
Check it out!!
firstgiving.com/ projectenlighten ;
To quote Oddball from Kelly's Heroes "Why don't you knock it off
with the negative waves?... Why don't you say something righteous and
hopeful for a change?"
It's disheartening to see some of the terms used to describe the thought of
having the FS look back into reactivating night flying on their incidents. Words
like "trepidation"? Come on. Someone is fear-mongering, talking about a program
they have little to no real idea what it would entail. Why such intensity to
disparage a program that had, after the one accident, a stellar performance
records and caught numerous fire. And not just in the SoCal front country. It
was successfully used in NoCAL including the upper reaches of the Highway 50
corridor on the Eldorado NF, And oh, the Klamath NF (Happy Camp) too.
Since a good foundation was laid with the old program, I would guess that would
be a starting point to look at how night flying could be integrated back into an
operational mode, based on how things used to be done and how the modern world
would/could/should fit in. One of the premises the old program worked on was to
provide emergency response on the incident. But it was planned out in advance.
Approved helispots were id'd and marked. Yes it was before short haul appeared
also. The key was it was planned in advance. I don't see how you would want to
compare commercial rotor-wing EMS programs to a new night program. Don't see any
real correlation. Those programs are administered by different entities with
entirely different core missions
Why all this hooter-ah about risk? Why is it so much riskier? I was much more
comfortable with the night program because it had fewer players, fewer a/c to
worry about, people had more training and they spent more time making sure they
were doing things safely. If there were more risks, then more effort was put in
to mitigate them to provide a safe operation. Supplies were flown, troops were
moved, recons were made and incidents were kept small because of successful
water dropping with crew support at night. Oh, and only 2 ships were under
contract to fly at night. one on the ANF and one on the LPF. It wasn't used all
the time. There were times multiple requests were made for the night ships and
it was first come, first served. I feel fire fighting took a step back when the
program was cut.
Some random thoughts about the future.
- Don't try to compare it to the LAC night program. It's their ships and
- There should be a large number of well-trained, night-qualified pilots
available to the private market.
- Technology advances in NVGs and aircraft are real.
- Quit thinking that every helicopter under contract will be flying at
night. No way that will ever happen, although I would push for more than
just two ships if the program comes back.. And, if that means other
resources are impacted, so be it
- The greater good is more important than that an engine might be shut
down. With all the turnover that is occurring theses day, I doubt very
seriously that anyone would lose their employment if some other modules were
closed to cover costs.
And, without trying to demean anyone, let's take a look at the risks of the
wildland fire environment. If it's as risky as some allude, then we need to stop
committing people to the job. If one really wants to use statistics, then take
the time to look at wildland firefighting from top to bottom. I think the
numbers will prove it is safer than some want others to believe. Let's stop
over-hyping the job. Our tragedies are few and far between. But/and they get
lots of notoriety for that same reason. So much good work goes into making sure
we do the job safely and focus on making it work for all. The key to train;
often, correctly, and pertinent to the job hired/qualified to do.
Don't feel like a lead hook anymore.
The days of obtaining incident qualifications simply by the Boss giving it to
you are long gone. This has been replaced by qualification review committees
with diverse backgrounds for all ICS position certifications. That is unless
you’re a Line Officer seeking an Agency Administrator qualification. Then it's
easy. Then you just need to have another Line Officer follow you around a fire
camp, go to a few meetings, have someone update WFDSS for you, know where to get
your sack lunch, take ONE training class and bingo, you're qualified, “top” of
the incident command system food chain. No leadership skills required. Required
work on and learn the inner workings of an IMT? Nope. Required to take incident
management leadership classes? Nope. Required to even take basic wildland
firefighter training or an annual fire refresher? Nope.
The Agency Administrator certification program is a slap in the face to all
others who attend training, mobilize as a trainee and then obtain certification
by a qualification committee. Can’t you see how foolish it makes you to look to
have one certification system for Agency Administrators and one certification
system for all other Forest Service employees?
If the Forest Service had any guts they would:
- Mandate that each IC who worked for the Agency Administrator provide
documented feedback of performance, knowledge and leadership skills of the
Agency Administrator in writing to the Regional Forester.
- They would assign Agency Administrators to IMTs and NIMO to build
cohesion and eliminate the element of not knowing what a team is mobilizing
into on any given large fire federal assignment.
- They would avoid ambushes of Incident Commanders and IMTs by requiring
increased skills, better leadership for Agency Administrators/Line Officers,
and documenting those requirements within qualification directives used by
all other employees.
- They would allow strong, talented leaders from the non-Line Officer
ranks the ability to perform as Agency Administrators.
- They would centralize the management of the fire and fuels organization
up to the Chief of the Forest Service and eliminate non-firefighters from
within the supervisory change of command of all Federal Forest Service
As large fire incident management develops, a well trained, highly skilled
land manager with strong leadership skills will perform as the Agency
Administrator regardless of the Forest Service unit where the incident is
occurring. An Agency Administrator should be appointed on a rotating schedule by
the Chief of the Forest Service or mobilize with the IMT. We as a Forest Service
should not be handing out Agency Administrator qualifications to someone who
just happened to get a good education and was a successful Soil Scientist or
The current development, certification and learning processes used for Forest
Service Line Officers to perform as Agency Administrators are a scam. It’s a
system that was created to avoid the certification system used by “all other”
Forest Service employees. Maybe that’s one reason why
fewer than 9% of the Forest Service workforce is involved in incident
management. Why bother when Line Officers qualify themselves as Agency
Administrators outside of the agencies' required process for everyone else?
In the 7th paragraph below you might find
some good talking points in support of HR 4488.
A So Cal Advocate for a STRONG Federal Fire Service
Date: March 31, 2010
Subject: Line Officer Responsibilities in Fire and Aviation Management - 2010
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director and
The 2009 fire season may have been a far cry from previous years in size, scope,
and duration, however, many opportunities presented themselves across the Nation
which taught line officers about the evolution of the fire policy and better
prepared them for the 2010 season. These on-the-ground decisions implemented our
policies in the Wildland Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) programs. These
decisions have profound effects on the natural resources we manage, as well as
social and political implications that can impact our Agency’s credibility with
our public and Congress.
In this vein, we want to emphasize what the Chief believes you should be
aware of as we head into the 2010 fire season:
Firefighter Safety - each year we stress not placing our firefighters into
situations that jeopardize their safety, whether it relates to getting to a fire
(vehicle safety), activities on the fire line (situational awareness), or
supporting a firefighting effort (aviation). This year is no different. It
cannot be overemphasized that there is no greater effort expected of you than
ensuring that our firefighters are not placed into deadly situations.
Two Types of Fire - last year we implemented a modification to the “Guidance
for Implementation of the Federal Wildfire Management Policy.” These changes
focused on the management of two types of fires: wildland fire and prescribed
fire. In 2009 we learned about the challenges of implementing long-term events
and the impacts on our firefighting community, as well as communities adjacent
to National Forest System (NFS) lands. A number of national forests gained
insight in managing these long-term wildfire events on NFS lands. We would
encourage you to visit your colleagues who managed these long-duration fires
last season to gain insight in how to manage them.
Fire Analysis Tools - in FY 2009 we implemented the Wildland Fire Decision
Support System (WFDSS) that replaced the Wildland Fire Support Analysis, the
Wildland Fire Implementation Plan, and the Long-term Implementation Plan. The
WFDSS tool will be used this fiscal year and it would be in your best interest
to spend time with your fire planners early in the season to reacquaint yourself
with this tool. Also, while the “Key Decision Log” was still being developed and
tested, this log will be fully utilized in the 2010 fire season.
Line Officer Certification - we have come a long way since Line Officer
Certification (LOC) was implemented in FY 2007. Most regions have implemented
this effort to improve line officer decision-making, appropriate risk
management, and cost containment on wildland fire incidents. Most Forest
Supervisors and District Rangers have been certified on an annual basis as
Working, Journey, or Advanced. As new line officers come into our ranks, I
encourage you to work with your Regional Fire Directors to find appropriate
“shadow” experiences, and/or coaches, for those line officers who must be better
prepared. Information as it relates to LOC, as well as the Line Officer Team
(LOT) is at
Workforce Development - we will begin the 2010 fire
season with fewer than 9 percent of Forest Service employees actively
supporting large fire management by taking out of geographic area assignments.
The number of employees engaged in large fire management has declined for many
years and this effects confronting larger and ever more complex fire management
challenges. Are you encouraging new employees to explore career development in
fire training and assignments? Are you working with your employees so those
interested in fire assignments and training are receiving the necessary support?
As line officers it is critical, now more than ever, that we take a deliberate
approach to investing in fire management training and assignments for our
In closing, we recognize the many programs you must manage on any given day,
yet the effects of not keeping our eye on the ball as it relates to our
responsibilities in FAM are immense. Take time to establish your expectations as
the leader of your national forest/ranger district as it relates to being better
prepared when the season begins. We wish you a safe and productive 2010 season
in all the programs you manage.
|/s/ James E. Hubbard
JAMES E. HUBBARD
Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry
|/s/ Jerome E. Perez
JEROME E. PEREZ
National Line Officer Team, Chair
cc: pdl wo chief nlt mailrooms
Interagency National Wildland Firefighter Workforce Assessment OR could
it be the Restart of Outsourcing???
R-4's response to the national assessment
of wildland firefighting. Be heads up to this stuff, people. Ask questions about
what is going on here. Hopefully this is all about secession planning and
developing career paths for Federal Firefighters (as stated). Lets make sure
we're not returning to the attempts made by the previous administration at
studying and outsourcing federal wildland Firefighter jobs. That was until they
ran into Senator Diane Feinstein. Keep your friends close and your enemies even
closer. Or as they say in the Wildland Firefighting Community. Keep Senator
Feinstien's email close and your enemies even closer.
For those that are interested in the reference to OIG in the letter. OIG has
recently come out with recommendations to the Forest Service on how to improve
emergency response capacity after an lengthy investigation. Some items within
the OIG report apparently support some of the proposals found in HR 4488.
Ask someone what's going on here. Stay involved
Date: April 9, 2010
Subject: Interagency National Wildland Firefighter Workforce Assessment (NWFF)
To: Forest Supervisors and RO Staff Directors
Enclosed please find Deputy Chief Hubbard’s 1310/1340 March 17 letter
referencing firefighter workforce assessment.
In 2004, the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior developed a
five-year plan to conduct an efficiency and workforce assessment of key
functions within the Federal Wildland firefighting program.
There are two phases to the NWFF workforce assessment. The Phase I (FY09/10)
assessment will analyze all wildland firefighter positions including USFS and
the DOI wildland firefighting duties that are funded at least 51 percent within
their base salary 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 workforce.
Please contact Bill Ott (email@example.com) or 303-275-5749 if you have any
/s/ Bill Bass
Acting Deputy Regional Forester, Natural Resources
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
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
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 Affairs.
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
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,
Region 5's 2010 safety message.
Date: April 9, 2010
Subject: Region 5 - 2010 Safety Message
To: All Region 5 Employees
I want to reiterate statements made by Chief Tidwell regarding safety. He and I
are dedicated to providing a safe and healthful environment for all our
employees, volunteers, and partners. We are committed to ensuring our workplaces
are free of recognized hazards and, prior to conducting any work project, all
risks are mitigated to the lowest level possible. This commitment can only be
achieved through mindful participation of every employee. We must approach every
task through a lens of critical awareness, looking for the hazards that may
interfere with the safe and successful completion of the task at hand.
Chief Tidwell has stated that Safety cannot be an afterthought. It must be a
core value of our culture, ingrained in the character of every employee. As an
Agency, we must endeavor to place the safety of our co-workers and ourselves
above all else. This obligation requires integrity, trust, and leadership: the
integrity of every employee to adhere to Agency standards, the trust in our
leaders to place safety as the first priority, and leadership at all levels to
provide a culture that encourages employees to communicate unsafe conditions,
policies, or acts that could lead to accidents without fear of reprisal.
Accidents are preventable. However, we are often challenged with working in very
high-risk and dynamic environments that are not always predictable.
Consequently, we each have a responsibility to ensure that we are properly
qualified, appropriately trained, and mentally and physically prepared to safely
undertake our work. The prevention of accidents can only occur if we commit to
safe work practices, continually assess our changing environment, refuse to
assume unacceptable risks, and continually address unsafe conditions. Every
employee must assume these responsibilities as a top priority.
/s/ Randy Moore
cc: Jim Pena
We can do it... rah rah rah, and debate about Night Flying:
This post I guess
you can label as one of those “we can do it” posts that someone recently
referenced. It’s interesting how we get those in our forum now and then who tell
us how much they avoid this forum and then send in a post. Many in here are here
to learn. Read things that are never emailed to them through official channels.
They want to grow and understand how to be a better Wildland Firefighter and
learn about the issues relevant within our agencies. Whether we read posts about
safety, history, pay or remembrance, we are supporting a Wildland Fire
community. Although I support Treeline’s 1st amendment right, it’s really
abhorrent to me and maybe others to read your cynicism in our forum. “They said”
is about coming out to debate the message. How else can we learn and become
better if we don’t listen to a good counterpoint discussion on issues. Come to
this forum to debate the message. Don’t come into this forum to condemn the
messengers or the administrators of this forum. As Forrest says: “That’s about
all I have to say about that”.
Now to my post....
I support the The Cynic's post as well. I thought about this for a couple days
before jumping in. His post is hard to argue since his points are most valid.
However as a starting point, I do think the Forest Service should continue to
explore using night flying helicopters from other agencies that already have a
night flying program in place. Use should be limited in scope after a risk vs.
gain analysis with continuous reanalysis of the effectiveness occurring during
the night flying operational period. I would like to point out that many night
flying opportunities will occur without an IMT in place. As a matter of fact,
probably the majority of night flying opportunities will be during IA and not
with an IMT in place. The decision to use night flying may fall in the hands of
an ICT3 during IA. The WUI should not be the only consideration to allow for
night flying. Fed and even some state agencies who are more prone to large fire
events because of the size of available fuel in the large land masses we manage
might consider other reasons to have a night flying operation. If night flying
is decided upon during IA, can we safely pick up this B or C class fire
overnight and avoid the makings of an F or G class fire in the morning? What
does a So Cal F or G class fire cost? Answer; Millions! How many hours and days
of driving and how many hours and days of firefighter productivity hazard
exposure will 1500-2000 ground firefighters be exposed to if we have a F or G
class fire vs. if we night fly and pick this fire up overnight?
During IA the Commander should evaluate the effects of his/her decisions not
only on the current operational period threats or objectives. They need to also
consider what potential effect those decisions or lack of decisions will have
tomorrow or in the days/weeks ahead. We don’t mount crystal balls in Chief rigs
and we can’t expect them to know the future. However local knowledge of weather
patterns and historical fire events go a long way in this business. What we all
know and can agree on is that a Firefighter is safer when in a fire station
cleaning the engine or buggy after a successful IA, then out on a hillside for
The answers are not simple and being forced to justify the decision at a later
date is not something we would wish upon any of our Brother or Sister Chiefs.
However taking night flying off the table completely and removing this potential
tool for the IA Commander tool box is not something that I support.
Many say “it’s only brush or Timber”. True and this statement should guide the
Commanders decisions. It’s an extremely relevant statement. However if a
Commander determines they have a chance to pick up this fire overnight with
night flying and avoid:
- A long duration fire event with 448,000 hours of exposure to the ground
firefighter (16 hour days x 2,000 humans x 14 days = 448,000) and all the
associated driving activities for these 2,000 humans.
- A $100,000 fire vs. a $100,000,000 fire
It really brings home how tough these decisions are especially in a
politically charged environments. Risk (having provided for safety first) vs.
Gain (fight fire aggressively).
I support the Forest Service continuing to evaluate night flying operations.
Letterman (a fed)
I don't believe I said anything about not performing night medivacs with highly
trained crews. However, if you care to look at the statistics, night flying EMS
operations have among the worst accident rates in the industry. One of my best
friends is one of those statistics. You might want to factor that in when doing
your risk analysis for a night extraction to meet the golden hour.
I think you will find even if you have a helicopter sitting on the pad, unless
it is running, crew loaded on board with all their stuff unless the accident is
at the far end of the helibase you are going to have one heck of a time meeting
the golden hour. That is a fact of life and part of the risks of this business.
That does not mean we shouldn't do our best.
Also, I did not say anything about not taking any risks. I said that we are in a
risky enough business that we did not need to add to that risk with night
suppression flying, in my opinion. You obviously have your own opinion which is
fine. It just happens to be wrong, ha ha!
I absolutely agree with you Cynic! Just because we can does not mean we
should, this whole subject should be approached with much trepidation. The risk
factors As well as the cost factors are and would be sky high. And do I ever
agree that there seems to be an increased "money grows on trees" mentality in
our Gov, and we are the ones picking up that tab. The only real point I was
making with the military argument is that the equipment and training are out
there. Oh and one more thing, I do not think night flying should be an
agency/region wide policy either. LA County is a whole different breed of land
than say the Sierras or the Cascades. But I guess the question to use or not to
use night flights in So Cal, when you have the units that are trained and
available, should go to the more than capable hands of the IMT. Again, this does
not mean we should just blindly jump right in and be all gungho. I am not a
pilot and I really don't have any place saying "yeah let's do it!" That voice
should be reserved for the pilots themselves and the overhead that represent and
supervise them. The people who will be held responsible for lives lost.
A thought... if we put folks (hotshots, etc) into places where it takes
helicopter extraction to meet the golden hour
in the event of a medical.... Night flying may have its place...
Of course if we chose not to fight fire because it is too risky... might as well
roll up the hose, turn out the lights and
go to the beach....
Just a thought,
Here's some photos of a 1935 Chevrolet fire truck we recreated using an
original Forest Service truck cab & Chassis we found in a back yard.
It was purchased with our personal funds and given to the Forest Service. The
Forest Service financed the restoration, most of the equipment
on the fire truck was donated by individuals, rural fire depts and businesses.
The restoration was done by Ochoco Manufacturing of Prineville
We finished this restoration in time for Smokey Bears 50th. It was used in
many parades etc. for a few years, it is now in the High Desert
Museum in Bend Oregon.
This was done by R-6 / Mt. Hood National Forest / Bear Springs Ranger
Original old Truck photo is what we used for Specifications, we had no
drawings. This picture came out of an old book.
New truck photo is the finished truck after restoration.
The colored photo is how it looks. This is the original color; we took a
sample from the Old Forest Service truck and had it matched.
Pete Martin AFMO and myself Gary Starkovich FMO made this happen. We are both
(Just saving a little bit of Forest Service History.)
For those asking about Angie Wheelock's service, this came in from Vicki (not
sure where it came from or what website deserves credit; if you know let us
Angela Kay Wheelock
(September 28, 1958 - April 6, 2010)
Angela Kay Wheelock 51, of Merlin passed away Tuesday April 6, 2010 in
A visitation will be held Sunday, April 11, 2010 from 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM at
Stephens Family Chapel
Funeral Services will be held Monday, April 12th 11:00 AM at River Valley
Community Church with Pastor Mark Goens Officiating. Interment will follow
at 3:00 pm at Hawthorne Memorial Gardens
Contributions: Living Water Ministries, 1332 Mt. Pitt Street, Medford,
Angela was born September 28, 1958 in Mesa, Arizona to Billy Don and Patsy
Joyce Snodgrass. She married Michael David Wheelock in 1986 in Cave
Junction, Oregon. She was a strong Christian and a prayer warrior. She was
bigger than life as stubborn as hell, and she was a fierce lover of her
family. She was a cowgirl to her core! She enjoyed horse training, camping,
fishing, dancing and so much more.
Survivors include her husband Michael Wheelock of Merlin; five children,
Nathon Wheelock of Grants Pass, Bryan Wheelock of Missoula, Montana, Audra
Moyer of Merlin, Bobbie Kern of Bonney Lake, Washington, Billie Nygren of
Merlin; three sisters, Tracy Roper of Casa Grande, Arizona, Crystal Ironside
of Merlin, Rhonda Noel of Cave Junction and twelve grandchildren
fair use disclaimer
24 hr Report on the Bradley Branch NC burnover incident
Lessons Learned Bradley Branch NC 24hr Report
More SoCal Historical USFS photos from Gordon R:
1930 Indiana, Lytle Creek, San Bernardino NF
This may be the
first fire truck on the Angeles NF, 1930s (Somehow I expect to see Dan
Gosnell sitting in a vehicle like that. Ab.)
1935 Chevy, Cleveland NF
1935 Ford CCC Coldbrook, ANF
Horses, Balloons, Communication & Training:
All the Rangers on San Gabriel Timberland Reserve about 1900
Early Balloon Recon, Los Angeles County Fire Dept
Relaying fire instructions (Fire Geek, that you?)
1941 Guard School at Chilao Station, Angeles N.F.
There was a burnover in North Carolina yesterday with 3 firefighters injured,
one with inhalation injuries.
RADAR sent in the info last night. Thanks RADAR.
Hotlist IA thread on this incident.
As always we appreciate the community's willingness to help with
connections to see if the Wildland Firefighter Foundation can provide any
assistance. Sometimes I wonder if Vicki and Burk sleep... Be safe All. Ab.
SoCal Historical USFS photos from Gordon R:
Dalton Hot Shot Crew Truck at Dalton Station Angeles National Forest 1955 or
Horseback patrol Glendora, CA, Mt. Baldy District, Angeles N.F.
First Ranger Station in Glendora 1920s
Civilian Conservation Corp practicing with pumper in 1930s
First Ranger Station on the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve (Angeles National
Arroyo Seco Warehouse Gas Pump
Thanks, Gordon. Ab.
Since the Panther Fire Accident Accident Report is out, I wanted to share
these photos in honor of Chief Dan Packer. The monument cross was packed up to
the area where Dan fell several days after the tragedy and planted by a few guys from Idaho doing the right
Chief Dan Packer Monument on the Mountain
Dear Cynic and All:
Just a bit of clarification:
While the language I posted earlier was to be included in the report
accompanying the Interior Appropriations Bill
and thus obviously offered by a California Congressman, the actual idea for the
FS to revisit the night flying issue
was brought to the Congressman by the LA County FD.
I have provided the Congressman's staff with the wide variety of comments on the
subject. It was not the FWFSA's
intent to offer a "position" on the issue to the Congressman but to ensure he
heard from the folks in the field.
For so long it has been the Agencies and the bureaucracies whose comments and
voices are heard on Capitol Hill
and it is simply time Congress hears the voice of those in the field.
Re: Fire Apparatus Builders
Thanks for the info. I believe S & S is no more, but I don't
have any facts to support that. I have always been
very happy with Pierce's but those have been mostly structure engines not
wildland. All the LACoFd guys I
have talked to seemed pretty happy with there KME engines, so hopefully that
will stay true for their wildland
I found an article now, that KME is building 6 CCVs for the FS. I wonder if
thats it for the year or if someone
else is building more.
Sittin here after completing IEMC E915 (Integrated Emergency Management Course)
at Emmittsburg, MD....
I "gotta" respond....
Night flying just cuz one is a land management agency and because of its desires
to be like LA County Fire and its program.....
USFS and DOI wildland fire ships, for the majority are contract operations other
than the few agency ships around.
So the question begs ... Whos is going to PAY for this? Is this going to be part
of a contract? Each ship and operator going to have NVGs and currency every 3 to
6 months just to keep Papa and Mama USFS and DOI happy?
You folks thinking that this stuff "we can do" just cuz LA County Fire and other
are doing it, requires probably more dough than the average GS 3 thru 15
wildland fire operator can fathom.
Currency and recurrency costs are going to HAVE to be passed down to the "land
management agencies" in the form of higher contract rates to recoup costs. You
think the average operator at the major fire helicopter can absorb those costs
just 'cuz we want to cozy up to the elected officials just to look good?
Any of you folks read the Federal Air Regulation for fun lately? Any of you
folks flown and aircraft or helicopter or fixed wing aircraft when it is coming
out of your own pocket at rates of $150 hr with instructor Cessna 172 / 182 with
fuel prices ranging from 3.89 to 5.25 per gallon aviation fuel? How about those
helo operators running an average 300/hr all the way to 2500 to 6K per flight
hour and Jet A parked at 5.25 to 7.00 per gallon?
Where's that money coming from, huh?
NOW the issues of night flight and CFIT and the ever proverbial risk assessment
matrix that everyone is using from the FAA and the civilian world and "land
Reading and hearing from folks in the field about inexperienced operators in
helicopters and some of the incidences in the SAFECOM, how will allllllll that
play out? The guys with 5000 plus hours may or may not be up to CFIT every night
or the inherent possibility of IFR conditions coupled with night ops and heat
and turbulence stress.
You know why LA County and some others are doing it?? Statutes, training money,
everyday events, more training, whATNOT... to keep skills sharp.
It will really be interesting to see what happens if the USFS pushes this
arena... BE READY for increased contract costs and PLEAASE do not be
shocked at any of those costs...those folks doing aviation EVERYDAY jamming out
a living outside of the fire season are just not going to give it away for
novelty or for the cause of we need to to do this to prove the land management
agencies prowess for wildland fire control
The money WILL have to come from somewhere...
Re: Fire Apparatus Builders
I don't have detailed info for the entirety of the FS nationwide fleet, but have
a little insight on the R-5 Type III engines that might answer some of your
question. Most of this info was provided in an email memo by our regional fleet
engineer. For this years engine productions, there are 25 being built for Region
5. These are the new Model 326 and 346 (4wd) builds which are the replacement
for the current Type III engine, the model 62.
13 of these models are being produced by BME - Boise Mobile Equipment. The other
12 are being produced by KME - Kovatch Mobile Equipment at their production
facility in Nesquehoning, PA. They are then being shipped to the Southern
California area for further inspections and readiness.
Over the past few years there were some engines here in R-5 that were produced
by Pierce Manufacturing, and I have also seen a few that were built by S & S
Fire Apparatus. I could be wrong, but most of the Pierce's were Model 62 4wd's.
They looked pretty impressive with all that diamond plate and such a tall
clearance, but many operators seemed to report a number of issues with them. I
have not seen any new Pierce engines in a few seasons now. The S & S engines I
believe were made a few years back when the model 62 was a bit newer. I was
never really very impressed with that build. They had vastly different layouts
on the pump panels and interior than their BME counterparts and seemed very
awkward to work around. But I never was assigned to one so maybe they were
Hopefully someone else has more detailed or inside knowledge than I do, but it
would appear that for the time being that all the new R-5 engines are either BME
or KME builds. I would be interested to see who is building what in other
regions and who is making the CCVs. Hope this helps though!
- Centrifugal Pump (no longer a dual stage due to cutbacks)
Condolences from all here at wildlandfire.com to Mike Wheelock at Grayback
who lost his wife Angie in a vehicle wreck Tuesday night (April 6). She was a
gem all the way around, funny, cheerful, lots of personality, easy on the eye,
tall and dark haired. She lit up lives. Class act, great person. Sorely missed.
you, your family and the Grayback community in our thoughts and prayers, Mike. All our love.
Dave, our best to you too. The Abs.
Fire Apparatus Builders
Who is building fire apparatus for the FS these days? I have tried to search the
internet but am not finding
much on who is building what. Once upon a time I know that BME was manufacturing
alot of the Model
62 engines (or at least thats the way it seemed). But lately I have seen
Pierce's and other brands, and have
heard rumors that KME is building some Forest Service equipment. So who is
building the FS's crew
buggies and engines these days?
Freeman Reservoir tree felling fatality report:
Attached is the
BLM response to our FOIA request (667 K pdf file) for the Freeman
Reservoir tree felling
fatality. Seven of the recommendations in the Management Evaluation Report have
been withheld "as still
under deliberation and no final decision has been made as to the course of
action that will be implemented."
In addition to faller training issues, this report is relevant to discussion of
the Palmer Perspective and the ability to
achieve the Golden Hour if agency EMTs are unable to request Flight for Life
transport prior to arrival of a local
ambulance on scene. It will be interesting to see whether trauma kits and
backboards are made available to
agency medical personnel.
re: Night Flying Comments by 'the cynic'...
Rational discussion enters the
scene... Your comments are spot on,
Cynic....this board could use a lot more discussion along the lines of what
I've lost interest largely in this site because comments are generally
simplistic and focused on either 'we can do it', regardless of any other
issues that might be lurking with any given subject or centered on 'we
deserve more because of what we do'. We don't deserve more just because of
what we do, by the way. We have free will and are able to choose to do
something else where we might be better rewarded if that's our goal... The
third topic of concern is that 'I'm where I am because of the "man"....I was
cheated or life's unfair in any number of ways.... Welcome to the real
It's refreshing to read a comment like yours Cynic....thanks
Treeline (36 fireseasons, OSC II, active on teams for over twenty years,
retired) maybe it shows.
re: Night Flying
To the cynic,
Well said. I was considering a lengthy comment on the night flying thread but
you said just about everything
I wanted to. Just because the military is willing to expose their people to
extreme risks doesn't mean the
Forest Service ought to do the same. The major difference between us and the
military is that our soldiers frequently have to kill dangerous people while avoiding being killed by those
same dangerous people. Their
risk assessment is (or should be) different from ours.
re: Night Flying
Kudos to "the cynic" for so eloquently speaking my mind on
the night flying debate which has been bouncing back and forth for the last week or so. I bear considerable responsibility for the
many who fly on my busy unit, and could
not have stated the case any better.
Does anyone know the R5 FireHire schedule. I know that they have been working on
the last few days and am just wondering about the timeline for offers.
Thank you in advance,
Well I can't resist.
So far everyone has acknowledged this is a riskier operation. So am I out of
touch or do we teach our firefighters that no bush, tree, meadow, or house is
worth a firefighters life? So why would we want to enter an even higher risk
environment to protect a bush, tree, meadow or house?
We can follow the reasoning that the military routinely performs nighttime
operations and other highly trained crews are doing medivacs etc at night. Well
the military also jumps out of airplanes at night from high and low altitudes
and they conduct low level bombing operations at night. So what the heck, lets
go to full time night ops with helicopters: rappel, helitack, cargo, bucket and
fixed tank water drops, recon, etc. And while we are at it, lets outfit the
jumper program and train them to the special forces level so they can jump fires
24/7 so they do not get too big. Then, lets use the military stuff and outfit
the retardant fleet from the heavies to the SEATS so they can perform retardant
missions at night. Of course the lead planes etc will also need to be brought up
to that standard, but it is possible.
Well it all costs money. How many folks are willing to give up an engine, a hand
crew, a non qualified night time helicopter etc to fund a night flying
operation?? Or do we just figure the American taxpayer will bite the bullet and
money is no object? What are the budget deficits in California, the country as a
whole? Does common sense enter the equation?? Just because something can be done
does not mean it is something that should be done.
Did it not raise a red flag that it was suggested by a Congressman?? Was that
Congressman from California?? I cannot believe folks are willing to throw Agency
aviation specialists under the bus because a congressman wants to fly at night.
If that is where the current and future leaders of the fire program in the
Forest Service are leaning that scares me to death and at the same time confirms
some of my worst fears. Maybe some of you folks should scoop up fellow fighters
in their body bags before you are so eager to enter an even higher risk
environment. There is one truism with the risks with night ops. It is not if an
accident is going to happen, it is when. You go ahead and sign on to risk folks
lives. Then you look in the mirror the first time they pile one up.
This is wildland firefighting, not war!
Ab, Thought this might be of interest. This is an excerpt from
edocket access gpo.gov
Daniel I. Gordon,
Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
Policy Letter No. 10-XX
To the Heads of Executive Departments And Establishments
Subject: Work Reserved for Performance by Federal Government Employees
1. Purpose. This guidance establishes Executive Branch policy
addressing when work must be reserved for performance by federal
employees. The policy is intended to assist agency officers and
employees in ensuring that only federal employees perform work that
is inherently governmental or otherwise needs to be reserved to the
Nothing in this guidance is intended to discourage the
appropriate use of contractors. Contractors can provide expertise,
innovation, and cost-effective support to federal agencies for a
wide range of services. Reliance on contractors is not, by itself, a
cause for concern, provided that the work that they perform is not
work that should be reserved for federal employees and that federal
officials are appropriately managing contractor performance.
It Seems like whatever the folks in DC decide, it should be
#1 SAFE and
#2 COST EFFECTIVE......
I'm sure they will screw this up too!
Tired of DC
Thanks to all who have offered comments so far on the proposal to have the
re-study its night flying policy.
"Baffled by the Noise" suggested I get a hold of the Casitas Report. If anyone
I can obtain it or has a copy, please feel free to email it to me at
I think that, to write off night flying ops over what Could
happen and what Has happened some time ago, is fear mongering. Yes there are a
whole lot more risks to flying at night, but if our military, LA County, and
others can do it, then so can the USFS. To just write it off and say it's too
risky, is in my opinion, sad. I personally love being on fires in so cal when
those ships are flying at night. It's a huge help, and really makes a difference
I think that with new AN-PVS 22 NVGs and other technology that's out there,
that pilots would have a much clearer picture, and higher SA. I also believe
that there should be a trigger point established as to when night ops are flown
and when they are not. Values at risk, urban intemix, etc... That way we are not
flying night ops on a fire out in the middle of bfe like Denny, Ca or anywhere
else out in the trinity alps. I hate firefighting out there. Haha but in all
reality, do we need night ops on fires in places like the hills around LA, San
Bernardino, Paradise, etc... Yes, hey would give an already big upper hand a big
boost on catching a fire at night.
Use military standards for training etc..., set up trigger points, use common
sense, establish training and standards for incident overhead for optimal and
safest use of night flight ops, and ultimately, allow the last go/no go decision
to be at the pilots discretion.
My limited opinion.
Food for thought as the SMEs gather today at WFTC for the next round of R5 Fire
Cut from the R5 Fire Website:
I count 30 GS-9 vacant Jobs, considerably more than the previous rounds from
my informal remembrance. Is this due the fact that the retention bonus stops at
the GS-8 level, and folks will have to take a cut in pay to rise up in the
ranks? Yes, they will make it up in Overtime, and Hazard pay, but a Base 80
paycheck would be cut more than $50. What entices somebody to move up in this
Has anyone has noticed this trend besides me?
Thinking Outside the Box
Los Angeles River
SO=Supervisor's Office; SME=Subject Matter Expert; WFTC=Wildland Fire
Training Center in Sacramento
||competitive sourcing info
Just a few links on the shifts in contracting/outsourcing for government
March 31, 2010:
OFPP proposes tests for deciding when to outsource work
"The Obama administration is creating a new test for agencies to
use when deciding whether or not to outsource work to contractors.
The proposed guidance is part of the administration's attempt to
clarify the definition of what is an “inherently governmental
function” and to bring more contractor work in-house. “There are too
many anecdotes that suggest work that is really inherently
governmental — work that needs to be reserved for federal employees
— is, in fact, being done by contractors,” Daniel Gordon,
administrator of Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in a
speech earlier this month...."
From April 1, 2010:
Administration hopes for ripple effect from outsourcing policy
"The Obama administration proposed policy to stop the outsourcing
of government-only jobs also will pressure agencies to avoid
contracting out work that is closely associated with the
government-only work, according to some experts..."
Be well, be safe -
I guess most people don't know or remember much about the FS's old night
flying program. It was a good program that fell victim to budget woes, real
and/or manifested.. It took two more pilots and more support folks to keep the
ship available 24/7. That cost a lot more money. There was also some influential
SZ critics lamenting the cost; but I think that was more related to the fact
that they didn't manage those tools. In fact, the program was used by the State
in one area more than by the neighboring NF. The program successfully recovered
from an accident on the ANF with LAC, and grew. In fact, several successful
night aerial ignitions projects occurred in R6 just prior to the program being
dropped. Night aerial ignition was also planned for the Bodfish incident in '84
(??). The reason that didn't happen was the incapability of the torch plug to
the helicopter which resulted in the FS WO aviation mandating the plug
configuration for national compatibility with all helicopters.
So, I'm pretty darn sure night flying was not dropped for safety reasons as some
have alluded to. It was successful both in CA and was taken out-of-state. It was
never able to find new champions after it was cut. I feel it has the potential
of becoming a very decisive tool with the helicopters and night-vision
technologies now available. It wasn't been seriously looked at in over 20-25
years. The best firefighting, in most cases, is at night. We need to maximize
all of the available tools and technology to take advantage of the dark, not
retreat from it.
Oh, I worked in the night program. Could you not guess??
Every time I hear folks pushing hard for night flying it always raises red
flags. Are the folks trained? Are there enough folks trained? How about the Feds
who contract? Are they all going to be trained and outfitted? How much NVG time
is enough NVG time? Are we being naïve to the strides technology has made? I’ve
seen many accidents during the day and many more close calls. I’ve seen the
arrogance of L.A. County telling the media their night flying would have put the
Station Fire out and I’ve seen the Forest Service hesitate to test the waters
Somewhere there is middle ground. I don’t think we’re ready as a whole for
night flying. Some are but not everyone. I think rushing into it could be very
dangerous, especially when we have a hard time talking to each other (different
agencies) in the air still. How about crews guiding in drops? Lord knows we
would never Heli-mop. What about an in-flight emergency, where does the ship go?
Because we know you can see troops on the ground so very well with the great
peripheral and situational awareness NVG provides at night. I think night flying
to extract the injured is great, you don’t have a giant glow to minimize the
technology NVG is supposed to provide. I hope the experts can figure out that
middle ground and provide a safe fire area for all of us who aren’t always
looking up, down, and all around. Risk vs. Gain. Keep the politics out of this
Please pass on my request that firefighting personnel call/ email/ write
their representatives and
President Obama to ask why federal emergency workers do not receive medicare or
credits for seasonal work. We all PAY state and federal taxes on our wages. We
need a fair deal.
Thanks for passing on the info.
Night flying thread
To all the Naysayers...
I flew as a crew person on the night flying ship out of Casitas. We (LP
Hotshots) trained and flew from Rose Valley to Los Prietos on a training flight
during the period prior to the accident.
I have recently talked to the crews of the San Diego and Santa Barbara night
flying ships and seen today's night vision equipment. I have also seen their
operating plans. One thing that stuck with me that one of the crew told me was
that it was much easier to drop H2o on a fire at night given forward airspeed as
opposed to hover hold for the medical and rescue hoists they currently routinely
do at night. All night flying agencies also have strict SOP's that govern their
night flying and the Pilots have the final say.. as with day ops.
So to all you naysayers.. I would say get out of the past and move to the
present and beyond...
Border Crew on the CNF
You posted a letter to the Ab account in the night time flying thread from JFF.
The poster asked about the Border Crew on the CNF.
Here's a link to the information he/she is looking for.
US Forest Service Border Fire Prevention Crew
FS night flying
I'm with JFF these things do make a person say Hum!!!
Maybe the congressional official needs to go ahead and purchase a helicopter
and give the night flying game a whirl. Everytime these uninformed suits want an
answer the poor old FS just bends and says sure we'll check it out. What about
the blood already spilled in the aviation environment for fires in the middle of
BFE that people lost loved ones over? If congress wants every fire caught every
time then we should let them go ahead and fund the agencies at full capacity to
do so. When are we going to start falling Class C trees at night because
Congress wants us to? Oh yeah and if I'm the contractor what is my new NIGHT
fire flying rate going to be? double/triple the day time rate? What about when
the manager and crew have hit their sixteen hour limit 2 to 1 might as well
double the over head up on a helicopter because if they went to night flying and
for some sane reason the thing didn't fly due to somebody being off the clock
then I'm sure heads would really roll.
Let's everybody slow down on losing an IA oh yeah didn't anyone point out
that the ANF was engaged in a type 2 incident down the road when the Station
really got established. That fire was way overdue.. isn't a fuels problem
For Casey get your hands on the report from the Casitas days and the accident
during that period for a real case study in the other 80 reasons to stay on the
ground at night.
Baffled by the noise
FS night flying
Some days I see posts that just stop me in my tracks and this
is one of them.
I have heard bits and pieces about night flying for years, have never agreed
with night flying, and never will. In certain instances it is necessary, such
as medical issues or law enforcement activity, but in a wildland fire setting
there is just too much that can go wrong for just too little (grass, brush and
trees), albeit, there are now homes of humans intertwined in those three
I had the opportunity to be on a helitack crew for an entire fire season in
2000. It was the best season of my, almost 20 year, career. I learned a
plethora of knowledge about helitack, helicopters and what really goes on with
those glorious flying machines. I also learned that flying at night is just too
darn risky. Even during the day, with the sun shinning and no smoke within
miles, the pilot, co-pilot and the 5-7 people in the back are not able to see
all hazards. I can't imagine the pucker factor of flying at night.
The Station Fire was, of course in my opinion, one of those fires waiting to
happen. Just like the Cedar Fire, Harris Fire or any other fire with tragic
consequences. Firefighters, my brothers and sisters, should not die over a sage
bush, oak tree or even a house, but they do. Why add to the tragic situations
by putting even more hazards out in the field during a time of chaos? The
Forest Service should stick to their guns and not change policy. They should
take some of these knuckleheads who want to fly at night for a ride, at night
and during a fire, and show them first hand the insanity of such thoughts.
By the way, does anyone know anything about a Border Prevention Crew on the
In response to the new Minimum Standards of Medical Units
I applaud the NWCG for their Minimum Standards for Medical Units. Its not 100
percent perfect but its much better than the fly-by-night system from before. I
know there has been much confusion on standards for federal firefighters. Ever
single EMS certified person I know (self included) felt as if they were
operating in a 'gray zone' of legalities on what they could and couldn't do.
do see several potential problems though, one is that alot of federal
firefighters I know do not have their state license; they only have their course
completion or NREMT card. According to my interpretation of the new standard,
that would require most of the NREMT certified EMTs to go to their local EMS
agency and jump through the hoops to acquire their ID card. For example in
Central California for Tulare, Madera, Kings and Fresno County you would have to
be licensed through the Central California EMS Agency. That requires quite a bit
of paperwork and livescans etc. Also as I read it, every licensed person would
have to know all the protocols for their perspective area. I don't know if any
of you have seen the binder for protocols but it's no short read.
Though I am nitpicking here, let me reiterate that I believe that this new
standard is MUCH MUCH better for the wildland community, and is a huge step
forward. In this day and age where people sue because you broke their name, this
is a requirement to have something to standardize care and to cover our butts.
Race Car competition, vote WFF for most liked:
From Fire Guy:
PLEASE KEEP ON VOTING !!!
This is not over, we all need to keep voting until this is over !!!
From the looks of this there will be more to see who gets the most votes this
time around + there are some cars that will not pass, no numbers on them + most
of cars would be impossible to put on a cup car !!!
Tom ~~~I want to thank you for getting this going !!!
I was a race car driver most of my life !!!
Vote WFF for most liked:
Keep up with the
hotlist thread on this. Ab.
We posted the 27 page draft Minimum Standards for Medical Units on theysaid
earlier in January. (Thanks Aardvark.) Links to the final version are on the
NWCG web. See memo below. Nice work. Ab.
To: NWCG Executive Board, GACC Chairs and GACCs
What: NWCG#015-2010 Memorandum - Interim NWCG Minimum Standards for Medical
Units Managed by NWCG Member Agencies
NOTE: It should be noted that the attachment was created prior to the Safety and
Health Working Team being reorganized to the Risk Management Committee. Please
note that the Attachment can be found on the Incident Emergency Medical Task
Group's (IEMTG) website at:
Bonnie L. Bradshaw
NWCG Executive Secretary
National Interagency Fire Center
-just another pulaski motor,
Your post is a prime example of why we need to "Keep them Honest". If you
statements about the MB7 case are correct, an EEO Complaint needs
to be filed! Not just for MB7 but for future applicants! If MB7 was rated as the
highest qualified by the panel all the way up the chain, the Forest Supervisor
DID NOT have the authority to drop below the highest qualified and select solely
on the basis of a diversity. The Forest Service (Department of Agriculture) has
no Affirmative Action Plan, CD, etc. that allows that type of selection.
Diversity is one of MANY factors not the sole selection factor.
As I posted earlier during the CD era, hundreds of EEO Complaints were settled
in favor of the complainants. BECAUSE Forest Supervisors, etc. selected
applicants based solely on gender and or diversity. Most all EEO Complaints went
formal due to Region Five not wanting to admit guilt. A lot of the EEO Contract
Complaint Investigators (formal stage) were retired FBI some CIA retirees, they
saw through the BS immediately after they put review/selection panel members,
Forest Supervisors, etc. UNDER OATH to get their statements. The same under oath
procedures are used today. This may sound harsh but when someone lies that is
Your statement about Herger: "Congressman Wally Herger in his testimony
before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on
Civil Service regarding the complaints of California FS employees and it's
becoming common where I work too."
2003 and before: Herger statement
This statement brings back a lot of memories. Herger received most of his
documentation for his testimony from me when I was employed by the Forest
Service. The Forest Service was well aware that I had supplied Herger with the
documentation. I never heard a peep out of them (Forest Service)!
If Forest Supervisors, selection specialists, etc. are circumventing EEO laws
they need to be held accountable. Their positions DO NOT exempt them from the
law, especially the truth!
We posted the draft Minimum Standards for Medical Units on theysaid earlier
in January. (Thanks Aardvark.) Links to the final version are on the NWCG web.
See memo below. Nice work. Ab.
To: NWCG Executive Board, GACC Chairs and
What: NWCG#015-2010 Memorandum - Interim NWCG Minimum Standards for Medical
Units Managed by NWCG Member Agencies
NOTE: It should be noted that the attachment was created prior to the Safety and
Health Working Team being reorganized to the Risk Management Committee. Please
note that the Attachment can be found on the Incident Emergency Medical Task
Group's (IEMTG) website at:
Web Location: NWCG memos are posted at
Congress wants the Forest Service to re-study nighttime air attacks:
Hi to all:
The FWFSA has been asked to weigh in on report language being offered in the
House Interior Appropriations bill which calls for the Forest Service to
re-evaluate its current policy of night flying. As you might guess, this is in
response to the Station Fire where some suggested that night operations by the
FS would have made a difference.
After any such fire, politicians come out of the woodwork suggesting all sorts
of ideas. Some good, some terribly ignorant. Just a few years ago one Republican
congressman from California suggested to me that the FS should turn all
mothballed B-52 bombers into firefighting aircraft.
The language below seems innocuous enough and I reminded the Congressional
office seeking the language (ANF area) that the FS thinks like a land management
agency, not a fire agency. If anyone with sufficient experience and expertise
wants to provide any input or feedback on the attached language please email me
Night and early morning flying. In the wake of the tragic Station Fire in
Southern California, it is necessary to ensure that Forest Service firefighting
policies provide the most effective initial attack possible, particularly for
forests close to urban areas. The Forest Service should examine whether its
policy against night flying should be repealed and whether the Forest Service
should once again acquire the equipment and provide the training necessary to
accomplish night flights. Specifically, they should conduct a study on the
efficacy, safety and cost of flying fire fighting aircraft overnight and in the
early morning hours. The study should examine several options independently and
in combination, including expanding effective flying hours by expanding pilot
contracts and overlapping pilot shifts, as well as acquiring and manning
aircraft capable of flying at night. The avoided cost of extended firefighting
damage to Forest Service lands and structures on the wildland-urban interface
should also be estimated. The Forest Service should provide the results of this
study to the Appropriations Committee within 90 days of enactment of this bill.
Additionally, I apologize for the delay in getting my "post-DC" report up on our
website, it will be there this weekend...I hope. Also, I'm delighted to have an
opportunity to speak in Escondido on April 12th at the module workshop and in
Missoula Montana the 13th at the R-1 IHC spring meeting. My trip to Missoula and
R-1 is long overdue.
Also thanks to the Engine Captain's group from R-5 who allowed me the
opportunity to speak at McClellan a couple of weeks ago. It is always exciting
to discover who you're going to run into there.
Progress in the field... faller module program:
I haven’t posted in some time, though some of the topics and issues almost
called me to my keyboard (like a sirens song)…However, sometime ago I committed
myself to focusing my attention on getting things done instead of talking about
Though things may look bleak out in the field in relation to agency sawyers (too
complex for a quick turn phrase…) there are productive things happening on many
fronts. It just takes time for them to become apparent and “felt” out on the
I realized this morning a trend that I want to mention. I want to thank and
applaud the Umpqua National Forest for stepping up on two important fronts. It
was the Umpqua National Forest that took the lead in launching and testing the
faller module program. They have also been instrumental in fine tuning it and
advocating its use nationwide. That takes courage. The faller module program has
literally overhauled the way fallers are now hired on 95% of the country’s
wildland fires, at least in the West.
Second, the Umpqua has also courageously taken the lead in working with
Northwest Timber Fallers to develop and deliver an Advanced Chainsaw Operation &
Felling course that is now in the final stages of production. The second Adv.
class is just finishing up today up on the Umpqua. I met with them at the
Steamboat training center last night for an informal debrief and introduced them
to the consultants we’re working with on the course’s interactive online
component. The entire program will launch in its final form Oct. 1.
Third, while the Umpqua hosted both the first training in 2009, as well as this
past week’s training (Thanks to the efforts of Wolf Creek IHC Eric Miller) those
forests who approved and sponsored their own sawyers’ attendance also deserve
recognition. The fact that these sawyers walked through the door and out into
the woods with our trainers means a lot to us. It means the advanced training
we’ve been developing is not only needed, but valued.
What I’m about to say next may be a bit unnerving, but it is true and it is why
I’m still here. (Many of my closest friends, peers and mentors know I keep
trying to head in a different direction.) Here it is…with each young sawyer
that’s died over the past few years, or been seriously injured in chainsaw
related accidents, particularly on the fireline – my gut turned. I have a son.
He is a sawyer. And he was out on the fireline during the last two fire seasons.
After the fatalities, our fallers would talk about the situations incessantly
trying to figure out 1) what had happened and 2) how it could have been avoided.
And then more began to die. And we all decided we had to try to do something to
help. Fallers began to talk extensively with agency Hot Shot crews, advanced
crew sawyers, jumpers, and other fire veterans out on fire assignments. The
topic: What needs to change so people don’t die?
The underpinning of the Advanced Chainsaw Operation & Felling course is aimed
specifically towards that end – It’s designed to save lives. And here’s the
kicker…the only way we’ll know it’s working is when people stop dying.
So, here’s to the Umpqua! Here’s to Wolf Creek IHC Sup. Eric Miller, and to all
the forests who have sent their sawyers to our first two Adv. trainings. Here’s
to the veteran fallers – including my husband, Ken Downhill - who have hung with
us and helped us develop this program by translating their decades of woods
wisdom into a language and training program that can be successfully delivered
to agency sawyers. And last…here’s to the sawyers that have come, laid their
egos and bravado at the door (or truck…) and headed into the woods to learn what
it takes to trust themselves at their core. They are the leaders of the future.
I told them last night as they were lamenting the fact that there would soon be
a day when there were no timber fallers left to teach them…There will always be
a need for skilled and wise sawyers. And so, there will always be a need for an
effective way to teach them. Focusing on the dwindling timber faller population
won’t help anything. Focusing on solutions is the only sane answer.
Be safe this coming fire season everyone!
For the quotes page, a quote by john wayne
John Wayne: “The fire is not
discriminating. It burns anything in its path for whatever reason.”
Put it on the
In response to unfair hiring practices:
I am commenting in regards to MB7's
post on 3/9.
What they are describing is accurate, the choice of the immediate supervisor
of the module was to hire MB7 because they (MB7) were highly qualified and had a
great deal of experience in fire as well as a good reputation among their peers.
This choice was overridden by the forest supt. and the module leader was told to
hire a female who had much lower qualifications. (I believe this is not
appropriate, I have read that the only situation in which a "diverse" candidate
can be chosen is in instances where the qualifications of both candidates are
fairly equal.) I can also attest that there are some pretty questionable hiring
choices being made in other instances in the same area of the region. The
primary reason no one has filed a grievance is because
- a) they feel they will be blacklisted and it will adversely impact their
job viability, I don't truly know how likely this is or how much of a
scarlet letter filing a grievance creates, but the idea of this happening
has led to the advice to "keep your head down" and "wait for it to blow
over". [In the big picture of history, this mindset has led to further
rights violations in other groups of individuals in non-fire circumstances]
- b) people don't feel that any representation provided by agency channels
will carry enough clout to precipitate much change at the region wide level
(as per the case in which the New Haven city firefighters went to the
supreme court...and won, this may be erroneous). Not everyone views this as
a personal grievance as much a larger problem.
In regards to the comment made on 3/27 in rebuttal to MB7 stating that there
was no way MB7 would have been informed by the hiring panel that they were the
#1 choice: MB7 had been told by the module supervisor who had selected them as
their first choice for the position, that the other selecting officials involved
in the panel had also chosen MB7. In this instance and region, fire hire has not
been fully implemented. As I understand it, applicants are rated out by
qualifications etc. upon reception of their applications. The list of rated
applicants is then given to a forest and district comprised panel that makes a
final selection. At this point, MB7 had been unanimously chosen by the module
supervisor all the way up to the panel line officers and MB7 had been
unofficially informed that they had the job. The choice was then overridden by
the forest supervisor after the normal hiring procedure had been implemented and
the selection made. In short, MB7 was far enough along in the hiring process
that they were aware, either officially or unofficially that they had been
chosen for the job.
In regards to the other comment made on the 3/27 rebuttal, MB7 said it was the
third time that unfair hiring practices had happened recently. MB7 did not state
that it was the third time it had happened to them specifically. I feel like the
poster assumes that MB7 was an undesirable or inexperienced employee who was
jumping the gun or bemoaning others for their own ineptitude. The reference to
"dating" solidified the feeling that a preconceived image of MB7 existed in the
poster's mind. I'm writing this because I recognized the 3/9 post and whom it
referred to and I work in the same area as this individual and have a more
intimate knowledge of the situation. MB7 is a respected firefighter with a very
impressive amount of experience and a developed list of quals. There has been a
definite push for quotas in my area for awhile now that has disregarded the
actual merit, qualifications and experience of the applicants. My views are not
necessarily those of MB7 nor am I speaking on their behalf but I understand what
they are describing.
I know this very issue has already been addressed by Congressman Wally Herger in
his testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
Subcommittee on Civil Service regarding the complaints of California FS
employees and it's becoming common where I work too. I've read about Mr. Herger
and feel he is normally way too right-wing for my own personal political views
but in this instance I think there are some serious problems with how we are
doing business. I also feel at some point it will become a safety issue and when
it does manifest in a tragedy, the person(s) suffering the scrutiny will not be
the forest sups and upper echelon of hiring officials. The Captain, Squadboss,
AFEO et al who were unfairly fast-tracked or promoted OR the module supervisor
who was commanded to hire them against their best judgment will be the ones at
the end of the proverbial finger. We cannot bill ourselves as a high reliability
organization while engaging in this horribly misguided attempt at promoting
-just another pulaski motor
I've sometimes appreciated having "birding glasses"
with me -- like the Nikon Travelites. They won't give you a very broad view,
especially the 9x, but they have great optics for a reasonable price. The 8x
might be more practical. Plus they can be put into a quart-sized ziplock bag
when not in use and you're in and out of smoke, dust, etc. In a rig, you might
want something bigger. Bushnell makes great stuff, but it can be spendy.
Still out there as an AD
One hundred years ago this August Hell met Earth where Idaho meets Montana.
The Great Fire of 1910 took the lives of 86 people, destroyed entire towns,
burned three million acres and killed enough timber to fill a freight train
2,400 miles long.
Smoke from the fire was said to have been seen as far east as Watertown, New
York and as far south as Denver, Colorado. Before it was over, 10,000 men were
on fire lines that stretched from eastern Washington across the Idaho panhandle
well into western Montana.
Growing up in St. Maries, Idaho, I have somber memories of visits to the
Firefighters' Circle at Woodlawn Cemetery, where 57 men who perished fighting
the 1910 fire are buried. The memorial is on the National Register of Historic
Places, and some sources say it is the only Federally-owned cemetery plot that
has nothing to do with the military.
For the better part of 30 years I've hardly missed and have always enjoyed your
show. I firmly believe that 'Sunday Morning' is, without question, the very best
program on television. Period.
That is why I am hopeful that this note will serve to "plant a seed" regarding
this upcoming anniversary. I know of no other group of newspeople that would
explore and present this story with the sincerity and respect that it truly
PS - My favorite part of the show is the "...we leave you..." clip at the end. I
always guess where your cameras will take me and what I'll see and hear there.
It's great -- don't ever change it!
I was on a San Berdu Engine and was on the initial dispatch to the
Old Fire. The white van that the suspect was driving, was later found within
miles of our station. That fire was a tragic and terrible, albeit amazing, fire.
I agree with the sentiment of leaving his suicidal a$$ alone. It's a shame that
nothing has been done with him after all these years. It would be a serious
shame if this guy were to receive reduced sentencing due to mental health issues
or something else like that. My engine and a cal fire inmate crew had 2 very
hairy situations on that fire, thank goodness for flood control drainage
Sent from my iPhone
Old Fire suspect on suicide watch
I say leave him alone and save the tax
payers some money!
Old Fire suspect is on suicide watch
Just thought I would ask the list what they used
for binoculars. Need something small, sharp and clear, for spotting
and look out work. Oh ya must be able to take being in a fire pack...
Hotshot Squad Leader hiring:
Ab and ms,
Thanks for clarifying the Hotshot and 10 Person handcrew jobs I just didn't want
the get passed up for not
applying to the strait 7. I'm in for the 6/7 so we'll see.
Dontcha love it when the question gets answered. Ab.