June, 2010

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6/30 Can someone help me with the policy for Maxi-Flex hours?

During fire season can the Maxi-Flex schedule be used for fire engines and crews? If so, are there core hours and days the crews are to work or can management change as needed to help limit the overtime? Again if so, is night differential used? If management can change the hours and days as needed to limit the overtime, then can the employee(s) use the Maxi-Flex  schedule to accommodate them too if the whole crews agrees?

I think it is weird to see a Maxi-Flex schedule used during the fire season. This means one cannot make any plans for a 3/4 month period because you are not even sure of your days or hours you work. I do understand that is how fire season is anyways, but having my regular hours and days change daily is rough. We are already paid way too low as a firefighter and now all the overtime will be cut too.

I appreciate any assistance on this.

6/30 Ab,

Does anyone have tail numbers for various fire aircraft with their aircraft numbers? Like HT737= n.....?


6/30 Abs... saw folks were looking for this:

To "long line grunt"...


Links to documents:
2010 Helicopter Rappel Stand Up (70 K doc file)
Rappel Decision Memo (53 K doc file)

Thanks, Warthog. I added the official electronic documents to the posted text below. Ab.

6/30 From ML:

You might want to put this in your links section.


If you know tail numbers of tankers, helos, etc etc You can follow them on here. Great if you dont have access to AFF.

Thanks ML, a good link for those who follow aviation... Ab.

6/29 re helicopter rappel standardization:


I read with great interest the following statement in Mr. Harbour's Decision Memorandum:

"Three distinct groups were involved with and agreed to the standardized procedures including the Interagency Helicopter Rappel Working Group, the Interagency Helicopter Rappel Equipment and Procedures Committee, and a group of senior rappel check spotters."

Really?? Is he sure about this? They all agreed, signed-off and committed themselves to what they created? And there is an actual document stating this? Because if I'm not mistaken, and I could be, their approval needs to be solid and documented prior to the chief or anyone else higher up signing off on it. And I'm not so sure they all agreed the way he says they did.

Can someone set me straight? I'm just a grunt who supervises a bunch of rappellers. I try to keep my ears and eyes open, and have been trying to stay abreast of this whole situation and right now things ain't exactly lining up with what I've seen and heard.

Long line grunt

6/29 Hello,

My name is Alonso C <snip>, i'm 17 turning 18 this August 21. I'm hispanic just graduated from Sonora High School last Thursday I'm currently in an explorer program.

I was wondering if there's any of your programs of wildland training near where i live? I live in the city of la Habra and your location is pretty far from where i live but i would like to attend the wildland program. it seems like a great program for me so i can get more experience.

Being a firefighter has been my dream and aspiration for the longest time. I was attracted to the profession due to the combination of citizenship skills and physical agility. The profession of a firefighter will help me fulfill my career goal of being in a profession that gives back to the community along with giving me personal satisfaction. If you can get back at me that would be great thank you very much for your time.


6/29 I am not sure if you are aware of this resource. This site has some nice free EMT practice questions.

EMT Test Questions.com

You may want to link to it as a resource.



Thanks. Ab.
6/29 T-44 photos after the non-fatal crash ... from Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson's T-44 Image is no longer posted, but here's Steve's FS AT base photos from Broomfield CO.

Thanks, Steve. Ab.

6/29 Memorial Service for Sean Fleming:

To All:

As a previous post indicated, Vandenberg Fire Dept. lost member Sean Fleming to a boating accident on June 20th. I am sure many of our wildland firefighters on the LP may have known and or worked with Sean over the years as Vandenberg has a great group of wildland firefighters.

I was honored to represent the firefighters at Vandenberg from 1998-2003 as the California Professional Firefighters 5th District VP and Vandenberg Local President John Crotty has asked me to convey the memorial service information for Sean with the hope some of you may have an opportunity to attend:

Thursday July 1, 2010 @ 10:00a.m.
Our Lady of Assumption Church
3175 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA


A reception is planned on the church grounds after the memorial service.

You may RSVP to Devin Misiewicz by phone at 805-558-9275 or by email at devin.Misiewicz@Vandenberg.af.mil.

Donations can be made to:

Sean Fleming Memorial
C/o Vandenberg professional Firefighters Local F-116
P.O. Box 5156
Vandenberg, CA 93437


Casey Judd

6/29 re helicopter rappel standardization:

Some important information for many out there.


Links to documents:
2010 Helicopter Rappel Stand Up (70 K doc file)
Rappel Decision Memo (53 K doc file)

Text of 2010 Helicopter Rappel Stand Up below

File Code: 5700
Date: June 28, 2010
Subject: 2010 Helicopter Rappel Program
To: Regional Foresters

The enclosed decision memo reinstitutes the Helicopter Rappel Program as noted in the Chief's letter dated February 1, 2010, (File Code 6730," Accident Review Board Safety Action Plan on the Willow Helibase Rappel Accident Fatality"). Prior to returning to operations, Regions must schedule a quality assurance review through the Assistant Director Aviation Operations, Airworthiness and Quality Assurance, as described in the enclosed decision memo, and meet the requirements.

Contact Paul Linse, Acting Assistant Director Aviation Operations, with related questions at (202) 557-1545 or plinse@fs.fed.us .

/s/ James E. Hubbard
Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry

/s/ Ron Hooper (for)
Deputy Chief for Business Operations

cc: Tom Harbour, Pat Norbury

Text of Rappel Decision Memo below:


FROM: Tom Harbour, Director, FAM
SUBJECT: Re-Initiation of Rappel Operations
FILE CODE: 5700/6370


On February 1, 2010 Chief Tom Tidwell issued a letter under File Code 6730 regarding the Accident Review Board (ARB) Safety Action Plan on the Willow Helibase Rappel Accident Fatality, directing a "standing down" of the Forest Service Rappel Program until the recommendations from the Willow Helibase Accident Review Board (ARB) were completed and accepted by the Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry.

The purpose of this decision memo is to outline the actions taken regarding helicopter rappel standardization, the helicopter rappel Strategic Risk Assessment recommendations, and the Willow Helibase ARB recommendations. These three related efforts have culminated in the criteria for re-initiating operational rappelling in the Forest Service.


The rappel program experienced a fatal accident in the summer of 2009. This event resulted in a review of the program and actions have been undertaken to standardize the program.

  • Rappel procedures, training, equipment (including enhanced inspections), and documentation protocols have been completely standardized for Bell medium helicopters. Bell medium helicopters have been used for agency helicopter rappelling since the inception of the program in 1972. Three distinct groups were involved with and agreed to the standardized procedures including the Interagency Helicopter Rappel Working Group, the Interagency Helicopter Rappel Equipment and Procedures Committee, and a group of senior rappel check spotters.
  • A Strategic Rappel Risk Assessment was completed in January; recommendations from the assessment were drafted in February, and were addressed in a packet delivered to the WO April 29th .
  • The seven recommendations from the Willow Helibase fatality ARB have been completed and documented in the packet delivered to the WO April 29th.
  • A Quality Assurance (QA) process has been established that will be enacted when rappel operations commence that will provide detached oversight from the national office on all rappel activities, including all training sessions.


  1. Abolish the program. It is rarely a good strategic decision to completely abandon a program noted by success. Alternative means of delivering firefighters to remote locations exist but many are less efficient and include additional risk. Prior to the fatality in 2009, there has been minimal lost time injuries associated with the program, and hundreds of thousands of successful rappels. The absence of rappel in 2010 will atrophy the program and require a greater expenditure of effort to bring the program €œon-line€ to the same level of efficiency and integrity currently enjoyed once the program commences.
  2. Stand up a piece of the program for purposes of program integrity, and maintaining capability for IA in steep terrain, high winds, and big timber. This option will maintain an enhanced medivac capability by providing for insertion of paramedics & EMTs, and provide enhanced helispot construction capability for purposes of extracting injured employees. Additionally, operational capability is needed to test a new rappel descent system currently under evaluation by Missoula Technology and Development Center. Resuming rappel operations with a smaller number of crews/helicopters is a viable strategy for standardizing and strengthening the program (reduce the program to a core size and rebuild based upon those aspects that have proved successful - consolidated training, larger crews, one standard platform, etc.)
  3. Do an agency "needs assessment" before determining what, if any, of the program will stand up. A programmatic review (needs analysis) is warranted, to determine the number and locations of rappel programs nationwide. This effort is underway and should be completed by later this fall.


The Forest Service helicopter rappel program has a 37 year history which includes hundreds of thousands of successful rappels and continues to have one of the lowest injury rates of any mission-specific specialty program under the Fire and Aviation Management directorship. The rappel standardization effort has met due dates and expectations to meet the goal of seamless boosting of rappellers nationwide. The rappel risk assessment for the over arching program is complete, and those hazards directly related to operational rappelling out of Bell medium helicopters have been appropriately mitigated. The Willow Helibase ARB Safety recommendations have been developed and implementation is ongoing. Operational criteria for a successful rappel program have been developed, with metrics for performance. Based on the proceeding summary of actions, it is my decision to reinitiate rappel operations as described in option 2 above, using the Bell medium helicopter platforms. Final determinations for operations for each regional program that desires to be reinitiated will be completed by the national Quality Assurance group in consort with applicable Regional personnel.


Date ____
Approve _____
Disapprove _____
Discuss with me _____
Reviewed by: ____

HOTLIST Thread on this: summary of theysaid discussion. Ab.

6/28 For those that did not see this the first time around, this message is circulating and it's a fine video:

Station fire video clip. Amazing

this is a very interesting video........Mike D.

Angeles Requiem

6/28 Greetings Ab -

Been a while but been lurking. In regards to the oil spill I have to say that there are a lot of familiar faces here from the fireline. Speaking of ICS structure our plans are plenty hefty in size. My division plan is 63 pages, 40 of those being resources and assignments - single spaced.

This spill is setting records for money spent on an incident, scale and people deployed.

stay safe.

6/27 Dear AB:

Lots of good information on safety as the season encroaches on the West. Hydration is an integral part of remaining safe during the season.

What better way to stay hydrated in the field than to have your FWFSA water bottle with you! Just a little levity...

Fedwatcher II
6/27 Anyone know of any helitack crews older than this one? That would be formed before 1960. >>> GA Peach

Helitak Program at Sequoia and Kings Canyon Marks 50 Years of Flying

Submitted by Jim Burnett on June 27, 2010 - 12:41am

The National Park Service employs men and women in some unusual and occasionally dramatic jobs, and one of those-- a helitak crew --celebrated a milestone anniversary this month at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

According to information from the park, the term "helitack, meaning 'helicopter initial attack of wildfires,' was first used in 1956 by the Los Angeles Times in an article describing operations involving helicopters transporting personnel to fight wildland fires." The helitack operations at Sequoia and Kings Canyon have been used for initial fire response, search and rescue, law enforcement operations, and many other backcountry services.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have one of the oldest helitak programs in the National Park Service, and ...

more at the link

fair use disclaimer

6/27 Sad news ...Sean Fleming -missing; search called off -- From Roadrunner


Our condolences to friends, coworkers and family. Ab.

6/27 Western Slope fires (Colorado) key to new national guidelines

Do groundpounders understand the new national guidelines? If fires are being allowed to burn to meet veg management targets, and weather conditions change will they burn interface?

In another region, AZ uses this "burning for resource gain" fairly extensively and with good effect, usually. Does that influence the culture of fighting fire aggressively from the get-go? Are more fires that could be caught as IAs allowed to escape?

NPS does not fight fire in remote wilderness. With growing wild-urban interface, what is remote? If fires get big with multiple fronts and weather or fire weather changes them and moves them aggressively does not failure to suppress them early endanger firefighters? >>> GA Peach

Western Slope fires key to new national guidelines

By Dennis Webb
Sunday, June 27, 2010

When crews responded to the Water Creek Fire on the Roan Plateau near Rifle last weekend, they brought with them lessons from past western Colorado wildfires that have been applied nationally.

In one case, the lessons came the hard way, through tragedy. The more recent experiences have been positive for wildfire managers as they tested new approaches to wildfire management. Those approaches were figured into a 2009 policy revision for wildland firefighting nationwide.

“A wildfire can be managed for multiple objectives. That’s the change,” said Ken Kerr, state fire management officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.

That said, it’s a lot more complicated trying to explain the latest evolution to federal wildland fire policy, Kerr said. But it represents ongoing efforts to follow policy objectives established during a major rewrite in 1995, which was the result of the death of 14 firefighters on Storm King Mountain near Glenwood Springs the previous year.

“That fire caused a major shift and relook at federal fire policy,” Kerr said.

much more at the link

fair use disclaimer

6/26 Fuel Bottles, Hardhats, Chainsaw Chaps, Wedges, High Visibility, Heat Illness


6/26 from the hotlist: Non-fatal Airtanker 44 crash

from Silkbrother:

T-44 lost hydraulics during landing and went off the runway at Rocky Mt. Metro Airport. No injuries but damage to the aircraft.

T-44 crash Plane crashes, brings firefighting from the air to a halt with small photos and informative video. Left engine was on fire, hydraulic failure.

from Musher Cubby:

Tanker Fighting Wildfire Crashes, Pilot and co-pilot Survive Plane Crash

larger photo: thedenverchannel.com

6/25 Attached is the FireWatch Brief (pdf) regarding the moving of the South Operations FireWatch Helicopter to R4, Lucky Peak Helibase, this year.



6/24 From Bill, Chainsaw Requirements: 9. Required chain saw features:
(i) Spark Arrester
6/24 We've also posted the doc on wildlandfire.com. Unclear why it was posted on the FS intranet.

Wedges -good safe practices document, 6/2010 (84K pdf file) Thanks contributors. Ab.

6/24 Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) for the Chain Saw Lessons Learned hotlist thread.

FLA Document (196 K doc file) has been posted. Thanks SD.

Anyone have access to the Wedges document referred to in the same Safety Alert?

Fy10 Good Safe Practices -Wedges  (pdf) internal fs web

Thanks! Ab.

6/24 Update on the death of Chad Bauermeister from Sammie:

This morning this is being reported as Franklin County Chief District 4. Initial reports were that Adams County didn't think it was one of theirs.

Thanks for the info, Sammie. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Ab.

6/24 Hotlist on R3 Fires. Thanks to CWZ and TFDFF for their dedication to keeping us informed.

Arizona wildfire rages, but residents allowed back home

6/24 Would someone please send in the Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) for the Chain Saw Lessons Learned.

We're getting requests for it from many western firefighters that can't access the FS intranet.


6/23 LODD if WA state - Chet Bauermeister

Franklin County District 4 Fire Chief Killed While Fighting Brush Fire

ADAMS COUNTY, Wash. - The Franklin Fire District 4 Fire Chief was killed while fighting a brush fire just off highway 24 near Othello in Adams County on  Wednesday afternoon. Fire officials say 46-year-old Chet Bauermeister was driving a snow cat converted into a fire apparatus on steep terrain when it rolled about 100 feet down a hill.

29-Year old Ryan Cheroff was riding with Bauermeister when it rolled. Cheroff was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken to Othello County Hospital where he was treated and released for minor injuries. Community members are telling KHQ tonight, Bauermeister's death has devastated the small town of Basin City. Both Cheroff and Bauermeister are from the Basin City area.

Picture at the link above.

fair use disclaimer

Condolences. Ab.

6/22 2 FS Employees lost their lives yesterday in a plane crash

From Tom Tidwell, FS Chief, in round robin

Our deepest condolences go out to the families, friends, and coworkers of our two on-duty Forest Service Northeastern Area employees, Dan Snider and Rodney Whiteman, and the pilot who sadly lost their lives yesterday when their plane crashed on approach to landing following a field survey assignment.

The Forest Service is working with the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) as they determine the details of this accident. Now more than ever, as we suffer this loss, it is critical that we put safety in the forefront of all that we do each and every day.

We got this message last night, and although we usually do not post until more info is known, we always appreciate the heads up Thanks DDA. Condolences. Ab.


I am a long time lurker on your site. The reason for this e-mail is a tragedy that occurred today. At around 1300 a small single engine Cessna crashed attempting to land at the Lock Haven, Pennsylvania airport. There were three people on board who were all killed. They are the pilot and two "USDA Forestry Service employees"  The quotes are from the newscast I received the information from Channel 16. WNEP out of Scranton, Pennsylvania did four live broadcasts from the wreck site.  The 6 o'clock broadcast contained the above news and you should be able to access it from their website.  You will also be able to get information from the Lock Haven Express website tomorrow.  At this time no word on the identification of the victims.

We are not in fire season.  Currently aerial surveillance flights are occurring for defoliation mapping.  All those planes with Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry personnel are accounted for.  So I have no real idea what the plane was in the air for.  I expect the names will be released tomorrow once next of kin are notified.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. 


6/22 Jump base museum:

I’m happy the Siskiyou Jump Base will be preserved as a museum. My first visit to the base was in the early sixties when I was a young lad in the cub scout program. I remember listening to the jumpers as they described their jobs. They took us through some of the training and PT stations. Ten years later I visited the base as firefighter. I look forward to visiting the museum.

Good work for a good cause…


6/22 Jump base museum:

Jun 21, 9:30 PM EDT

Ex-smokejumpers fix up old Oregon base for museum

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. (AP) -- More than 50 former smokejumpers from across the nation have gathered to help turn the former Siskiyou Smokejumper Base into a museum about the airborne firefighters.

The restoration project began last week after the announcement that former jumpers would get the lease for the historic site at Illinois Valley Airport.

"We have jumpers here all the way from Pennsylvania," said Wes Brown, a former smokejumper at the base known as "The Gobi," after the Mongolian desert, because of its barren, rocky landscape.

"I think that was a giant boost to... [read the rest at the link hosted.ap org ]

fair use disclaimer

6/22 Lessons Learned

Chainsaw Injury LPF - Facilitated Learning Analysis


6/21 Fire whirl on Schultz Fire

Looks like the new Schultz Fire is putting up fire whirls, photo at this news link:

Wildfire Burning North of Flagstaff

attached (Firewhirl is in the photo slideshow. Ab.)

Old Sawyer

Nice one. Ab.
Hotlist thread

6/21 RE: Mellie post of 6/21; gloves needed to hold down fire shelters:

1977? idaho 3 deaths, no gloves and couldn't hold fire shelters?

The fire referenced was the Ship Island Fire in July 1979. This was up from the Middle Fork on the Salmon NF Kyle Pattee, CRWB of Targhee Regs, died, and Jim Camp was burned during the scenario described.

We were just up the ridge with shelters on our laps. CIS was a day off and new gloves for all!!!

I are an IR

Stay safe!!!
6/21 Anyone know what's up with the San Bernardino NF website?

san bernardino


Probably will be back on line soon. Ab.

6/21 Ab,

I did not realize that Chuck Gulick died April '09 from lymphoma. Chuck was an Information officer on the Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4. Here's a link to a tribute flyer (pdf file) a friend sent me.

I'll miss him, his ease and his smile.


6/21 OK, here's some info from earthpig 11/6/03 theysaid:

Re: Rose Valley

the Rose Valley night flyer, H-29, was involved with LACO 14 on the Middle Fire in 1977.

however the Rose Valley Flight crew continued into the mid 1980's, moving to Casitas Springs.

the mid air did cause a stand down and a re-evaluation of the safety and viability of night flying operations, however the program resumed the following season, 1978.

night flying, utilizing night vision goggles, nvg's is standard operating procedure for the military. and the agency night flying pilots all met the requirements of the time.

the night flying came to an end as a result of the costs associated with the contract - twin engine a/c, pilot quals, # of of pilots, # of personnel to staff a 24 hr operational period - and not as a direct result of the mid air.

for those that were around in that era, the night flyers, when utilized, were a very effective tool, water dropping particularly during night shifts (seems we've lost night shifts too these days). and were also used for medivacs.

Chantry Flats, on the ANF, was also a night flyer operation. (Dick Black, a pilot there and at Rose Valley, Hugh Carson posted concerning his recent passing, was involved in the mid air.)


6/21 Ab,

Maybe those proposing the renewal of night flying should recall the lives lost on the Middle fire in 1977.



Was that the one on the ANF that burned most of the Middle Fork of the Mill Creek Drainage? Ab.

OK, here's some info from 11/6/03 theysaid:

Re: Rose Valley

the Rose Valley night flyer, H-29, was involved with LACO 14 on the Middle Fire in 1977.

however the Rose Valley Flight crew continued into the mid 1980's, moving to Casitas Springs.

the mid air did cause a stand down and a re-evaluation of the safety and viability of night flying operations, however the program resumed the following season, 1978.

night flying, utilizing night vision goggles, nvg's is standard operating procedure for the military. and the agency night flying pilots all met the requirements of the time.

the night flying came to an end as a result of the costs associated with the contract - twin engine a/c, pilot quals, # of of pilots, # of personnel to staff a 24 hr operational period - and not as a direct result of the mid air.

for those that were around in that era, the night flyers, when utilized, were a very effective tool, water dropping particularly during night shifts (seems we've lost night shifts too these days). and were also used for medivacs.

Chantry Flats, on the ANF, was also a night flyer operation. (Dick Black, a pilot there and at Rose Valley, Hugh Carson posted concerning his recent passing, was involved in the mid air.)


6/21 Researching for Always Remember! while following NM IA and I found this interesting site on the Boise Hotshot Crew 1981-1986:

1977? idaho 3 deaths, no gloves and couldn't hold fire shelters?
Boise Hotshot Crew 1981-1986
Past Life Regression: A Narrative of Wildfire and Misspent Youth
By Donald A. Barclay
Barckay's fire and crew photos www.flickr.com/photos/25387106@N06/  on pages 2,3,6,7,8
some by George Ragan and some by Penny Myers

Interesting descriptions.


6/21 MG says thanks for all the replies on his corporate ICS trainer question. He plans to review and get to making calls on Friday. He's very busy right now... Please, no more emails on that topic. Thanks. Ab.
6/20 Large fires in AZ yesterday and today. Check the Hotlist. Ab.
6/20 RE: Flying fire on/after 9/11?

I was deployed with Crew 1, South Fork RHC, on the Hyampom Fire on/after 9/11 and also remember there were no flights being used on our Forest (SHF) at that time.

6/20 Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there.


6/19 ICS training

I am looking for someone who may do ICS training on a corporate level. Ab can forward on any responses. I am in the Portland area.



Will do. Ab.

6/18 Re- Senate Appropriations Hearing:

I watched the Senate appropriations hearing, I even went back and listened to it again, but found it hard to sit through a second time. I even seem to recall Senator Feinstein actually mentioning a dollar figure when she said that she would provide the funding for night flying equipment and capability, but cannot pinpoint it again. So there you have it, the Forest Service doesn’t have to come up with the money, someone from the Appropriations Committee has told them, “there will be money.” If anyone can confirm Feinstein’s dollar figure, please do.

This was quite plainly Schiff’s show, but personally I think Senator Tester came the most prepared out of the bunch. Tidwell was obviously not prepared to answer questions that didn’t revolve around Schiff’s agenda. The audio went out on Tester’s first question about air tankers, but his body language said it all, sort of reminded me of the way my grandmother used to look at me when she knew I was lying and asking me what I have to say for myself. He later asked “We may dodge a bullet in MT this year, we may not, I think our chances of not dodging it are greater than dodging it… do you have the folks lined up, right now, to address a potential fire season that could be very challenging?” Tidwell replied, “Senator I believe we do, we have the same level of preparedness, the same level of assets as we had last year so I am confident that we have the assets available and the crews available to deal with that.” Now again, someone else jump in here if I am wrong, but we have not hit MEL in several years. Just because staffing was “adequate” last year, does not necessarily mean the FS is prepared for a typical or busy fire season.

You’d think with all the work Casey has done with Feinstein, and Feinstein’s pressing of the USFS in recent years to hit MELs, that she would have known that and said something. I kept wondering when Tom Harbour was going to get a chance to speak, after all he is the head of Fire and Aviation, I guess it just reaffirms what Casey said today, this was all a show, not really about working anything out. Oh, and the media frenzy continues at the LA Times, check out the latest from June 16 ... it’s not too hard to find.

fireweed lurker

6/17 Dear Ab & All:

Took it bit of time off to deal with my Mom's death on June 4th. Home is Hawaii where I was born and raised and the ancient, spiritual nature of Hawaii does wonders for mending one's emotional wounds. So bear with me. it'll take me a few days to get back into the swing of things.

I did want to address the recent post about the Senate hearing on night flying held by Senator Feinstein recently. The FWFSA was at first disappointed about not being invited to testify but after watching the hearing in its entirety, it would have been a waste of time and money to attend. I considered submitting written testimony but realized that what we had to say organizationally would be redundant compared with other testimony we have provided.

To expound on why Washington has been so weird this year, one Republican subcommittee staffer indicated the hearing was simply orchestrated to give Congressman Adam Schiff an opportunity to appear in a forum to build up his re-election effort as he is apparently in a tough re-election battle. Don't know if that's true or not but it is typical of the partisan politics that have taken center stage this year. In fact he (Schiff) plans to hold further hearings in LA to address contradictions in information from the FS.

The hearing, and possible legislative language simply seeks to have the Forest Service re-examine the ban on night flying. Chief Tidwell of the FS promised just that during the hearing. He also promised "by the end of the year," an aviation plan that the Agency has been promising to Congress for over 4 years.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that those who suggested to Rep. Schiff that the Forest Service re-examine their night-flying issue were from L.A. County which would stand to reap staggering sums if they were to get a contract to provide such night flying rather than the FS creating their own night-flying resources. It won't matter who does the night flying. The federal Government will pick up the tab.

It is tragic and counter productive, in my opinion, when fires like the Station Fire become politicized. The media, especially the LA Times is in a "feeding frenzy" hell-bent on finding blame for something. However, there is a common denominator to ALL of this:

The fact that the Forest Service manages its FIRE program with Line Officers. Chief Tidwell's performance at the hearing and his ability, or lack thereof to articulate intelligent answers to some very basic questions was disturbing at best.

The FS Fire & Aviation Management Director Tom Harbour, formerly of the ANF was at the hearing but not afforded the opportunity by Chief Tidwell to address Congressional concerns. The hearing did nothing to tone down the political and media rhetoric.

As you all prepare for this season, please realize there are some out there who feed on your potential failures and will use your actions against you for their political gain...or to sell more newspapers. Take care of each other.



Sorry about your mom, Casey. Ab.

6/16 Gulf of Mexico Oil Flow:

From photos I've seen; the booms ARE set up WRONG!

Let me explain!

If you sweep your arm through water; feel the resistance. Water goes over and under your arm/hand, and you get maximum resistance! In booming this is one cause of oil breaching over and bridging under the boom. It causes the most turbulence!

The people setting booms should first determine the current direction and align the boom at an angle so oil runs along the boom to a point of collection. There are many designs and configurations according to what you are protecting; but all follow the rule of diverting oil for collection as opposed to trapping and leaving it. Booms NEED CONSTANT ATTENTION!!!! Hire People!

Protecting shoreline with surf is difficult but requires less adjusting of booms and more maintenance. The first row should be V shaped design (avoiding a direct hit by waves) with a small opening at the narrows where the oil passes through and is trapped by a second boom line also in a V pattern but without openings. You vacuum oil out where it accumulate at these V points! At least have absorbent material soaking it up if it's a light sheen.

Rivers and currents use a series of booms at an angle to the flow that divert oil to slower water near the edge where it is COLLECTED. You can't just leave it!!! Get those Santi-Jon trucks converted to suck oil!

Ever notice boats dragging boom? Notice the stream of oil trailing out the rear, where all the oil accumulates and has a direct hit on the boom. What's this accomplishing?

It's a cluster I tell you!

William Riggles

Bill, bet you're a great source for functioning of Mark III pumps, too, when it's wildland fire apparatus. I'll have to remember that.

Someone sent a note this morning: "The front page of USA Today shows the largest fire burning in the lower 48 states... a prescribed oil burn in the Gulf of Mexico!" I did some research and today's oil-burning fire is burning 5000 gal per hour and 30-40,000 gallons per day. Amazing.

Readers, regarding the oil flow, follow this thread: Hotlist thread. Ab.

6/16 Gulf of Mexico Oil Flow:

Link to CSPAN video on the management of the oil spill. Interviews with one of the ICs, Coast Guard and BP officials.

6/16 Gulf of Mexico Oil Flow:


Talk about a cluster!!! ALL the photos of boom deployment I've seen have been WRONG!

Boom works great if you do it right.
I worry about long term health issues, I know you do too.

I thought fire was bad.

just rant'in


This is very frustrating for the people working on it as well. Ab.

6/15 Some photos from the Ongoing Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Photo credit to the Civil Air Patrol for the aerial pics. These are georeferenced photos that can be displayed in the exact location where they were taken such as
Google Earth or ArcGIS Explorer.

6/15 Red Flag Warnings: Change finally happening in SoCal?

Officials Hope Policy Shift 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

Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 12:56 a.m.

The region’s most visible alert system for extreme fire danger is undergoing a major revision that should lead to far fewer warnings — and a more accurate portrayal of the risk. Starting today, the National Weather Service will change its criteria for issuing red-flag warnings by putting more emphasis on high winds and less on low humidity levels alone. The shift probably will save taxpayer money and, equally important, fire officials said, lower the chances of residents tuning out. (ETC at the link..)

Fair use disclaimer

Hotlist Discussion

6/15 This is how I remember the 10,s

Lookouts communicate calmly on weather with instructions to control aggressive behavior to escape to safety we must learn this bit or (what) add what ever you want to finish it up. It took me awhile to remember the line.

Bless safety

6/15 Hello,

I understand all the concern with the memorization of the 10 & 18 without understanding what it really means, but I have a more basic question. Does anyone have a good trick for memorizing the 10 & 18? I know they exist, I've heard firefighters for years help each other out by telling stories that helped them remember the 10 and 18 or relate how each number helped them visualize a scene that remembered the 10 & 18. The problem is, I can't seem to find anything written down about it anywhere. I would love to have anyone share their tricks, so I could pass them on to the poor firefighters still holding a wall squat after 5 minutes because they can't remember number 7.

thx cc

6/14 9/11 Aircraft Flying

Dear Ab - sorry for the late response. My Mom passed away and I was on leave. I saw there was some discussion about whether aircraft were allowed to fly on 9/11. I was in Washington DC on 9/10 to give a presentation on TFR Graphical depictions to FAA Headquarters and Pentagon personnel. I was talking with FAA Airspace Rules and Regulations folks when 9/11 happened.

Because of my knowledge of the SCATANA agreement (Security Control of Air Traffic and Air Navigation Aids), I was quickly able to advise the FAA and DOD on how our firefighting aircraft fit within one of the "exceptions" that would allow us to fly. After lots of negotiations in FAA Headquarters, DOD, NSA and other various Security involved personnel, I was able to send word out that firefighting aircraft only would be able to fly. This was for tactical aircraft and not for admin travel or non fire flights.

The DoD initiated an Aviation Cell at the FAA's Air Traffic Command Center (then considered an "unknown" location) and I was the Firefighting aircraft airspace liaison officer. I sent out numerous emails daily interpreting the extremely complex NOTAMS (Notification to Airmen) that was detailing the various flight restrictions and closures. I was in the Command Center when they "re-opened" the Airspace and then closed it within minutes due to DOT Sec Pena's orders.

I had to go head to head with a Air Force General who wasn't as acquainted with SCATANA as I was .... he was ordering the firefighting aircraft to land. (Two Colonels were sitting side by side in the cell - one told the State to fly and one told the Feds to land - and the aircraft were at the same base!). I got that cleaned up pronto.

After days of endless NOTAMS, the FAA/NSA/DOD et al decided to ground all Agricultural aircraft. Our Airtankers are considered agricultural aircraft by the FAA. I received verbal approval to fly but had to stand firm for written approval. It took some doing but I managed to get the Airtankers back in the sky.

I discovered that if I set my alarm every night for 3 AM, that I could negotiate and accomplish getting the NOTAMS corrected or rewritten with the FAA's night shift so that everything could be better in the daytime hours for flying. Slowly but surely, the airspace reopened but there remained numerous NOTAMS to explain, interpret or provide input on.

Being in Washington DC during the attack on the Pentagon was surreal. There were fighter jets everywhere on the first day, a mass evacuation of downtown and no one knew what was happening. I was invited to assist the FAA folks at headquarters on September 12th. The building was almost completely empty as was most of downtown DC except for helicopter gun ships and National Guard and DOD units.

In addition, I obtained permission for the jets to fly who brought the IMTs to NYC and Washington DC. NIFC was having problems getting the jets in the sky but I was "in the right place at the right time" and every single contact I had made during my career was instrumental in opening doors. With a couple of "escorts", the IMTs were able to head to the east coast......

I still have all my e-mails and notifications that were issued and am ready for the next time. The FAA and DoD has rewritten SCATANA and it is now called ESCAT (Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic). I have a power point about the "ins and outs" of ESCAT that I have presented at numerous aviation and dispatcher conferences around the US. If anyone is interested, please drop me a line. It's important to note that one should not expect an immediate "carte blanche" to fly during the next "situation". There are steps that need to be processed before aircraft will be allowed to fly.

Hope this trip down memory lane helps..... it was a very sad but memorable month in DC.

(Note - afterwards, I traveled to NYC as an Ambassador to the Arts in the "Flight to Freedom" sponsored by the city of Portland, OR. It was a journey I had to make after such an experience).

Julie J. Stewart
BLM/USFS National Airspace Program Manager (and you know I help the other agencies and States when they need assistance) julie_stewart@blm.gov

Thanks for the history, Julie. Ab.

6/14 Thanks everyone for the info pertaining to Red Flag Warnings.

A few years ago I was back in So. Dakota. They had Red Flag warnings around the 4th of July. At the time I couldn't understand what the worry was all about. No wind, No low Rh and No Fireworks! Thats why I was there...


6/14 I just got a call from Mark Ruggiero who's in charge of the NPS portion of the Gulf Oil Flow incident. FWS is also involved.

He said that this continuing oil flow in the Gulf of Mexico is a Coast Guard, BP and trust agencies (USGS, NOAA) incident. It is not a Stafford Act event, so FEMA and the FS are not involved. No IMTs will be ordered because there is no process (or funding) for that, nor is that the kind of expertise that's needed. They will need trained people that can head up cleanup teams for beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, bays, marshes and other intertidal areas.

More info coming later.


6/14 BarkR

From my vantage point in the Midwest and watching BP and FEMA and being a former wildland fire type

Its a big Easy Button to chirp about these operation s and quals during a massive scenario such as this.

Just MAYBE a bunch of those FEMA, BP and other doing the cleanup are carrying their taskbooks with them this moment.

Care to sign em off?? Somebody at the Big NIFC and FIRESCOPE ought to be signing everyone off at this scenario ... no worries about WAITING for the big one to get ones taskbooks signed off ... that would be a great job for the NWCG and others in the wildland fire world to got out and sign off taskbooks RIGHT NOW as it is operational ... don't have to haul STEX (sandtable exercise) around and pretend!!!

Now is time for those "who invented ICS" to go out and sign taskbooks and put together taskbooks for EVERY conceivable task for oil spill operations.

Are the presses rolling at NWCG to cover these types of missions? Think ANYBODY was even ready for this? FEMA ? BP? I KNOW the wildland fire world wasn't really ready for this either.

Might have a handle on ICS and IAPs ... surely not the mitigation nor the seminars, tabletops, drills, functional, or full-scale exercises needed for these operations ... It appears NO one was ready not even wildland fire.

So in this regard FEMA with its 4000 or so FTE and approx the same DAEs and BP are doing the best they can ... They are the best oiled machine available right now along with the citizenry who are suffering and are going to suffer future effects. Maybe the land management agencies' personnel can take some NON PAID one week at a time and VOLUNTEER their ICS and clean up skills to assist the cause ... hmmmm?

Pilot / Forester / Aircraft Mechanic
6/14 Folks

Regarding last weeks hearing between USDOI / USFS and Feinstein......

Can't say much in 90 or so minutes

Looking at the AAP website "rumor" of USFS wanting a J model and a "burning" desire to revisit night flying operations for fire suppression ...

AGAIN... where is the money going to come from to keep the contract industry current in these operations? ... NOW it seems there will possibly be a justification for all that "night experience" the land management requires in all its aviation contracts. SOOOOO there might not be any "pumpkin time" for operators that are night current.  The night current for contractors as it stands now, is just basic everyday Part 91, 135.137. etc stuff all of pilots are used to and nothing special to really note UNLESS one is some contract spec thinkin that this is some "new requirement" for the contract.

AGAIN... the USFS best get some dinero on the table for night currency ... maybe something on the order of FEMA grants to help the operators out IF this "night flying" is going to come to fruition. Maybe reorganize some of that FEPP money and program, eh? THIS Time they had better not waste time time revisiting this program. The land management agencies had 30+ yrs ago to get this done. I remember all the quotes from my superiors in the USFS about sticktoitiveness that was preached to be as a GS4 20 yrs ago ... You folks in the land management agencies CARE to do this now that you have the citizenry on the West Coast revisiting this for YOU when you "had the idea" 30+ yrs ago??

Where in the world is the USFS going to pick up a C130J model in this day in age with two sandbox actions going on?

Does anyone here REALLY think the USFS is going to get ONE let alone a few 130Js with MAFFS tanks?

Must be some massive budget cuts coming from somewhere in the hallowed halls of DOI and the USFS ... Could start with the massive HR debacle in ABQ or wherever ...

Better have an USAF training program put together WELLL BEFORE the land management agencies even think of spoolin those T56 engines

This program had better have some semblance of order in it ... there is alot of US out there (pilots and non pilot in the REAL aviation world)

This program of 130J's on the fly ... what SES or GM series who is NOT a aviation type is dreamin this up

It s going to be alot of scratch ... those T56's don't run cheap nor do they at overhaul time

The land management agencies got a REAL timeline on this OR are they just in AWE of the USAF doing the mission that they "GOTS" to have for themselves??

Better get the USAF and industry involved B4 going out half cocked on this deal ... This program and its costs are not for the faint of heart trying to suppress fire on a BUDGET! Got some FEMA funding or some Fire Grant money you are applying for?

Pilot/ Forester/ Aircraft Mechanic
6/14 Ab,

BP and their ICS organization/implementation of ICS makes FEMA look like a well-oiled efficient machine. Qualifications and training for positions are irrelevant as far as the positions personnel are filling, and that applies to all agencies/organizations, both federal and state and private.


6/13 Strive for 205

Another consideration to look at is that the UTFs are out of the SW GACC, which has many Native American Reservations and BIA response areas. Many times, due to the cultural sensitivity of fires (or potential fires, if you looked at the 7 day prediction for next week), host agencies would rather have someone who is familiar with specific cultures (Apache, Hopi, Navajo) or familiar with BIA policies/procedures.

Many years ago, I was sent to Oregon on a fire near the Warm Springs Rez. There was nothing else in the region going on and was unsure as to why I was being sent from AZ. Once I showed up with my white helmet sporting a BIA decal on the front, it became increasing clear why I was there ...

Just my $.02

AZ Trailblazer
6/13 Abs--Ye know not what ye speak.

Each Branch has its own Ops/Plans/ Logistics/Finance/C and G Staff

Been here 2 wks, still have not seen an all encompassing IAP nor Org Chart, except the IAP/org chart for this Branch

Some Branches have an outpost ICP, with only core representatives in the huge chaotic ICP

It really doesn't matter though, as the oil keeps flowing. No light, no tunnel, just more oil.

Save those oil plume maps, you will soon say "remember when the maps had open water on them?"


I sent you the IAP for 4/2710. No doubt it will be a historical document, like the twin towers pics that came in here on 9/12 and during the following weeks. The ICS trainers that requested it wanted to see what it looked like. Ab.

6/13 Strive for 205-

KSENGB is correct in that orders can be specific, or host agency. The ordering host agency will send the order to their local dispatch. If the order cannot be filled the order will then go to the gacc. The resource order may have closest resource available (within the gacc) if for initial attack. The gacc will then shop around the area for that resource. If no one is able to fill the order, then the resource order will go to NICC to be filled by a different gacc. Again these steps in filling a order can be circumvented in a variety of ways ie name requesting, etc.

6/13 Strive for 205 -

I'd asked our dispatch center the same thing some time back when I saw UTF'd orders and knew folks with those quals were available. They explained that often those orders are very specific, like host agency only, or other specific details that don't show up on a UTF summary, but prevented them from being filled with otherwise qualified, available folks. I know I saw some orders on one of the lists for the oil spill that specified host agency only, which would eliminate a lot of qualified folks from filling them.


6/13 How is it they are getting a UTF list in the SW when we have those people available in ROSS.

Three overhead positions on that list I have available here in R5. Doesn't make much sense.

Strive for 205

6/12 Weather in Alaska


With the weather/red flag criteria discussion going on at "They Said," I thought I would offer the following weather tidbit...

This morning at our wx briefing at AICC, we were cautioned about the "winter storm warning" for the Eastern Alaska Range (~200 miles SE of Fairbanks) above 3,000 ft!

At Mentasta Pass, south of Tok/Tanacross where a T-2 team (Kurth) has the Eagle Trail fire, there is snow on the highway!

No wonder Alaska just dropped to PL3 and #2 in the national priority!

Pete Buist

6/12 BP IAP

I keep hearing the USCG IC talking about ICS when managing the oil spill.

Has anyone seen or know where a Incident Action Plan (IAP) can be viewed? I was on the Exxon-Valdez spill, and the organization chart was something to behold. I did find a "response plan" for the New Orleans sector of the BP spill, but it was 117 page document with committees and sub-committees listed. Just curious as to if/how the other Fed Agencies interpret the use of Incident Command.

Chena Helitack

The only IAP we have is the first one. If you're teaching ICS, it might be instructive for an Incident Command System example that is not fire.

I have heard that there are 2 R5 ICs or former ICs that are ICS advisers to the USCG and 2 more firefighter/fire manager retirees formerly R5 upper management that are also advising. (One speaks very, very quickly.)

OOPS, Have just heard there are more like a dozen retirees that are advising. Also, I have not heard yet that any teams have been called in, although there's always a rumor (wishful) of possibilities. The cleanup efforts are spread over 4 states.

If any of you end up going and are on the coast itself, wear your PPE, watch what you touch, breathe, drink and eat. The volatile hydrocarbons in the air are toxic in addition to the crude itself. Like the twin towers cleanup, there will be serious long term health effects from this for ALL living things. Ab.

6/11 Adopting these 3 IMT Daily Operation Protocols/ Procedures prior to all fireline injuries including potential HAZMAT exposure --> "smoke inhalation" could mean future cyanide exposures could get the antidote in time to save the firefighter.

How's she doing?


Not well and will never get better.

6/11 Red Flag Criteria from the Ab account:

There is no one set of Red Flag/Fire Watch/Warning criteria that is applied nationally. This makes sense when you figure that an RH of 50% would mean active burning conditions here in Florida, while 50% RH in California would mean most of the time you could hardly get anything to burn cleanly.

Instead, each GACC has its own set of criteria for critical Fire WX thresholds, and these can be found in each GACC's Fire Weather Operating Plan. For instance, Region 8 that includes Florida is so spread out that each NWS office has its own criteria. In contrast Northern California's criteria can be found starting on page 17 of the California Wx Operating Plan.

Here are the links to the Fire Wx Operating Plans for each GACC:
Region 1 - gacc.nifc.gov/nrcc  (pdf)
Region 2 - gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc (pdf)
Region 3 - gacc.nifc.gov/swcc (pdf)
Region 4 - gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc (pdf)
Region 5 - gacc.nifc.gov/oscc (pdf)
Region 6 - nwccweb.us/ (pdf)
Region 8 - So spread out that each NWS office seems to have its own criteria. Go to gacc.nifc.gov/sacc  for a list of each office.
Region 9 - gacc.nifc.gov/eacc  (pdf)  Page 93

Hope this helps

Thanks, lurker. Ab.

6/11 Red flag criteria are different for each weather service forecast office. This information can be found in the Annual Operating Plans posted on the GACC weather pages. For southern California:

RH ≤ 10% with sustained wind ≥ 15 mph or with gusts ≥ 25 mph for 6 hours or more.

RH ≤ 15% with sustained wind ≥ 25 mph or with gusts ≥ 35 mph for 6 hours or more.

Other regions are slightly different, with many having red flag criteria for dry lightning as well as wind. See the GACC sites for a copy of the Annual Operating Plan for each GACC.


6/11 Red Flag Criteria:

Here's a link to the 2010 California Fire Weather Operating Plan (pdf). Red flag criteria starts on page 17.

Tom Jones

6/11 For Danfromord ref Red Flag:

Changes for So Cal

The major change is to emphasize the combination of wind and low relative humidity, eliminating one criterion that only required sustained very low humidity.

Previously, a warning could be issued if relative humidity was expected to fall to 10 percent or lower for 10 hours or more regardless of whether there was wind. The standard was created after the 2003 firestorms that swept across Southern California, destroying thousands of homes and causing two-dozen deaths.

That has been dropped and now the criteria for issuing a red flag alert in the NWS' San Diego (San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino) warning region is a forecast of 15 percent or lower relative humidity with sustained winds of 25 mph or frequent gusts of at least 35 mph for at least six hours, or a forecast of dry lightning.


6/11 Re dozer cabs:

Ab and all who responded; Thank you for the information.

I think the HFEOs get a bit short changed in this biz as far as recognition goes. The news never mentions them.

I would love to have been one but "other duties as required" made me think twice.

Thanks again.


6/11 Red Flag warning criteria

Today here in Nor-Cal we are seeing our 1st Red Flag Warning of the season. What exactly is the criteria for a Red Flag warning ? I know it's a combo of low Fuel Moisture - Wind speed -Temp - Low Rh etc. But what exactly are the values (how low can you go?) that puts us IN Red Flag Warning.


6/10 I remember a CDF dozer with a cab at Redding CDF Station 43 prior to the burned operator down south. It was numbered 2441 and one of the operators was Tom Smith and I think the other was Bob? Longacre. No other cab like it in CDF as I recall.

Signed “Why ... Shoot, Critter ...”
6/10 Here's the entire CalFire Burn Policy broken up into small pdf files.
Thanks to my CAL FIRE friends. Mellie

Burn Treatment Introduction: 1810.pdf
Burn Categories: 1810.pdf
Guidelines: 1812.pdf
Guidelines 2: 1813.pdf
Burn Treatment Supplies: 1814.pdf
Responsibilities of first medical provider: c1815.pdf
Responsibilities of IC: 1816.pdf
Responsibilities of Emergency Command Center: 1817.pdf
Responsibilities of Home Unit: 1818.pdf
Medical Consultant:  1819.pdf

Current Burn Center & Heliport list from CalFire

Most pdf files under 20 K. Ab.

6/9 FS Fire Accident Stats

Here are some interesting statistics compiled by Larry Sutton.
You might find them helpful for your next safety presentation or maybe to help your line officer craft a
Fire Season Expectations letter.

Interesting how variable the numbers are with respect to fatalities from year to year.

Steve Holdsambeck

NWCG Wildland Firefighter Fatalities by Cause 1999 – 2009 (422 K pdf file)

Thanks for that Larry and Steve. Ab.

6/9 Just had the chance to look over the Dutch Creek Management Evaluation Report. It is unfortunate that the NWCG's response to this and other future ems emergencies is to create more paperwork and levels of management. Procedures, Protocols and Paperwork at the team level are not going to help and are not the answer.

Half of the recommendations made in the report deal with well known deficiencies in the medical training, equipment and planning currently utilized. As an EMT, I am still waiting for standard operating procedures, protocols and equipment I can use every day, not just on the next type 1 incident. Adding two large absorbent pads to the current 10 person first aid kit is not even remotely an adequate fix. We will continue to see the same outcomes over and over until decisions are made to properly train and develop an adequate and timely response to incidents and accidents that occur on and off the fireline.

Dr. Kochman makes some excellent points in his post on hazardous materials exposure (post on 6/5). As the fire environment we operate in becomes more challenging, exposure to HAZMAT and other serious injuries will only increase. His statement 'Finally, in my experience, the MOST important resource is well trained and knowledgeable first responders and EMTs. With potentially long extrication times and transport times in the fireline/wilderness environment, it is imperative that line EMTs/paramedics be able to both recognize and treat life threatening exposures AND ensure that the patient is routed to the appropriate next resource.' is especially important as it applies to all ems situations.

This is yet another opportunity to go out and get yourself trained and equipped, because the fire agencies we work for aren't going to help.

Brian Kliesen
6/9 Thanks very much for the info on Burn Centers and the dialog, some of it phone calls, on the cyanide exposure issue. This community is awesome!

Several of us have been researching for Always Remember and I wanted to share something...

I came across this slideshow and audio about the fires of Colorado in 2002 that included info on Tanker123's crash. We have had a number of successes and some tragedies in the last 10 years.

Here's a screensave from my computer. I greatly encourage you to go to the site and listen to Janet Reeves Director of Photography for the Rocky Mountain News telling the story of that fire season in Colorado. rockymountainnews.com


6/9 dozer cab history:

I don't recall any cabs being on CDF Equipment until after RRU-HFEO Dave Howard was burned over in 1988. About a year earlier we had bought a New (Open ROPS) D-6H that was in stock at Johnson Tractor-Riverside and had it retrofitted with a Saf-T-Cab (that cost about $15-K) because we thought that we couldn't wait for a new machine from the factory with a Sound Suppressed CAT Cab that we were already running on other older D-7G and D-8K's. One of the CDF people from Davis at the time (possibly Pay Fay) came out to look at ours, take pictures and ask us about it. Saf-T-Cab had just started making cabs for the high tracks and they didn't hold up very well in daily hard construction and land clearing use of over 2,000 hours per year. Within two years we had to completely remove ours from multiple and reoccurring cracks in the main cab and doors and transfer it to regular construction jobs with an open cab. Saf-T-Cab gave us most of our money back. I can also recall a lot of the old CDF-USFS and County Agency Operators (before) the Dave Howard burn-over didn't speak that kindly of cabs..... feeling that they would obstruct their vision at night from the glare and dust on windows... that they couldn't "feel the heat" ..... and that the windows (may) blow out and other nonsense as in my opinion there couldn't be anything much worse at the time than wearing the original air filtered "White Cap" Helmets... later retro-fitting Bell Helmets with radio capabilities.

Mike McDonald / Western Heavy Equipment, CDF-USFS CWN Contractors since 1962.
californiadozeroperatorsgroup.org (has fairly loud music if you're in the office)

6/9 10/9/88 burn over of Riverside CDF Dozer 3141, dozer cab history

Further comments from Cal Fire Dozer operators on the hotlist thread: Historical: When did CDF Dozers get Cabs?


6/8 Historical: Stable Fire, 1980:


I am reasonably sure there was not an official report on the Stable fire. I was LAC Supt 2 at the time and I inherited 7 USFS Engines (no FS overhead available) when the fire blew across Fish Cyn at 0100 then down and around the plateau. Shortly after the pump station burned down and we lost all water and it burned approximately 45 homes down by sun-up…. I cannot recall the FS FMO from the Arroyo who allowed me to keep the 7 engine until the following night.

A lesson I learned that night was,…. I picked up the FS Engines and proceed up on to the plateau without siren, the residents' biggest complaint was they didn’t know about the fire until it was at their door step..

Paul Stimpson who latter moved to Boise and served on National Teams was LAC Operations Chief…

TSM if you want, you can email me at jpharris1@sbcglobal.net

jp harris retired LAC

6/8 It's great when someone picks up a file like the California Burn Units from MedicDoug and it comes back to the Ab account several days later having gotten emailed all over the federal system. Whatever works! Haw Haw. Ab.
6/8 10/9/88 burn over of Riverside CDF Dozer 3141, dozer cab history


Actually the Dozer that burned over was Dozer 3141 from the Perris HQ station, not 3770 the Rainbow Dozer.

The old CDF Region III included San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino, and LA and Orange Contract Counties. It was consolidated with Region IV (south Sierra) and half of the Region V (coast Region) to make the South Region.


Thanks, I fixed the typos. Ab.

6/8 The Forest Service, California Region (R-5), Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program Vacancy Announcement opened June 7. It will be open through August 16, 2010. This is the entry level GS-462-2/3/4/5

This premier basic Wildland entry-level firefighting program is a 3,000 hour on-the-job learning program including two month-long firefighting academies at the Wildland Fire Training Center in McClellan, California. Applicants will be eligible for noncompetitive promotions to the GS-462-5 Forestry Technician “Firefighter Type 1” without further competition, upon completion of program requirements. They will be required to obtain a Class B driving permit and submit to random drug testing as required by State law. Initial appointments are permanent seasonal: guaranteed 13 pay periods (6 months) plus 2 pay periods as needed. Upon completion of all program requirements, participants will be reassigned to a Permanent Full Time (PFT) position on a specific Module/Crew. Pay scales and availability of government provided housing will vary by geographic locations. Selectees must be able to meet the arduous fitness level and complete a Work Capacity Test consisting of a 3 mile hike within 45 minutes carrying a 45 pound pack. Applicants must be at least 18 and under 37 years of age. Selectees are required to maintain a valid State Driver’s License. For more information on the Apprenticeship program go to wfap.net

It is posted on avuedigitalservices  Potential applicants can locate the vacancy announcement by logging into the web site - establishing a log in name and password and enter AJZHK in the Reference Code Box and click GO, or search for the Vacancy Announcement Number ADS10-R5-WFAP-2345DP

DUTY LOCATION "ISSUE". The initial announcement lists only 1 duty location - Yreka, Ca. This will be corrected to include all 18 California Forests.

Applicants can monitor a new Avue function called "Talent Communities" which has a network dedicated to Wildland Firefighting. Status of the announcement and application tips will be posted there on a regular basis from the Forest Service Advocate.

Rita Yates
Fire Recruitment Liaison Specialist
6/8 Found a couple of interesting videos made with Mark Thiesen of National Geographic.

On the front lines

On the Front Lines: Join National Geographic photographer Mark Thiessen as he joins some of America's bravest as they fight wildfires.

wildfire warrior

Wildfire Warrior: Thirty-foot-tall fire tornadoes, walls of flames and debris flying in every direction -- it's all in a day's work for wildland firefighters


6/8 10/9/88 burn over of Riverside CDF Dozer 3141, dozer cab history

The Hyde fire on October 9, 1988 in the Riverside Unit on Saint John's Grade in the Sage area is the incident that resulted in the enclosed cabs for the dozers. There may have been a few enclosed cabs before, but after this incident all the cabs were enclosed. Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Dave Howard was burned terribly, but survived.

I have attached a scan of the green sheet.


The old document was 5 jpg pages, 2 of them diagrams. I reproduced it here on the Hotlist Lessons Learned. There were several typos which I left as they appeared. Is CDF Region III = RRU? If not, what were the historical CDF Regions and what units took the place each of them? Ab.

6/8 10/9/88 burn over of Riverside CDF Dozer 3141, dozer cab history


Yes, the 10/9/88 burn over of Riverside CDF Dozer 3141 was the beginning of CDF converting the dozer fleet. Up to this point in time, the standard CDF dozer was a D-6C with ROPS and Gentex fire curtains. Shortly after HFEO Dave Howard was burned on this fire, CDF did some live fire testing which confirmed the increased safety factor; (you can buy a lot of iron for the cost of one serious burn injury). Today, the fleet is all high track D-5`s with environmental cabs and angle blades.

1988 was a bad fire year: Many major fires (49er, Brewer, Clover Mist, Eagle Bar, Canyon Creek, et al. There were 256 documented shelter deployments that season.

The cause of this incident was a mild Santa Ana that subsided, causing a change in wind direction and speed. Two dozers were working in tandem on a direct flanking action down slope . Howard's dozer encountered a large rock out cropping that forced him to go about 50` into the green, when the fire came up at him from his right side, forcing him out of the cab onto the ground by the left drive sprocket. He had all his PPE on, including structure gloves for the extra protection they afford. The right side fire curtain was destroyed by the intense burning.

I sometime use this incident when teaching S-290 to illustrate how quickly fire behavior can change when a gradient wind dies. Substitute crew for dozer and you have the Loop Fire.

John Barbour (retired CALFIRE)

6/7 Dozer cab history


I know the CDF D-6 in Redding had a cab about 1978 or '79. I'm not aware of any incident that brought it about, just a concern for operator well being. I think the cab and air conditioning unit were purchased with funds from the old Forestry Research and Development Equipment Committee .

After the old time operators got used to it, they liked it.


6/7 The Stable Fire 1980:

Does anyone know where I can find information on the Stable Fire that burned down homes above the cities of Duarte and Bradbury back in 1980.


6/7 Do you know when cabs were applied to CDF dozers?

Was there a particular incident that led to it? I'm thinking of the Perris operator burned in '88 and his curtain failure.

Were they fitted to existing machines or were new machines bought with them installed?

Thank you,


6/7 Ash Pit Safety Advisory

Ash Pit Safety Advisory.pdf

6/7 Burn Centers:

Hi Ab,

Ref the Burn Center thread

Attached is the current Burn Center/Heliport list from CalFire (27 K pdf file).


Thanks for that MedicDoug. Ab.

6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?

If I dig back in my memory to the days after 9/11 I can remember having no air support on the Moose Fire for several days after 9/11 due to being within 30 air miles of the Canadian border on the North Fork of the Flathead in Montana. Not that big a deal until things dried out enough for the fire to add another several thousand acres inside Glacier NP.


6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?

Off My Rocker,

I flew ATGS on the Earthquake Fire on the Nezperce NF on 9/11.  This was facilitated through a portable FAA Tower at Grangeville Air Center.

I had the opportunity to to listen to Todd Beamer's father speak, (United Flight 93) that was forced down by the courage of passengers.  I highly recommend anyone to read "Lets Roll" by Lisa Beamer.  It puts life in perspective.

Ken Stump

6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?

Off My Rocker,

Aircraft did in fact fly on 9/11. It was only after the aircraft changed their transponder code to a preset number. It was given to the pilots by the ECC around mid-day. I flew that day, but I'm not sure how to support that with documentation. You might check around with Cal Fire and see if they can help. Good luck.

Happy California Cow

6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?


You are correct. I was part of H554 (Apple Valley / California Desert District) and we actually flew on 9/11 just hours after the attack- we had been ordered up on 9/10/01 for the Northern CA / Modoc area. I can't remember all of the details, but I do remember we had to send our pilot's and flight crew's names and SS #'s to some Air Force commander to get "clearance" to fly.

It was pretty eerie as we flew up the HWY 395 corridor. Finally, we landed in Reno and were told by Flight Control that we could not got any further.

As for documentation, good luck getting dispatch logs or finding anything else that still exists.


6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?


Regarding the question about firefighting aircraft on 9/11.

The Earthquake fire south of Grangeville, Idaho was on going at this time. No mention of the "attacks" was made during the morning briefing but several crewmembers listening to commercial radio commented on it while driving out to our assignment. On the line that morning we were working with helicopters in direct support of line construction. Shortly before noon all aircraft were shut down. I don't recall having air support the rest of the shift. The following day limited aircraft were up, air attack if I recall correctly.

This Region 1 newsletter references Grangeville airport, in support of the fire, being the busiest non military airport in the nation...

(nrn winter 2002) (pdf)


6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?


Now, I am reaching far back into the memory bank, but if I recall correctly, we did fly on the afternoon of 9/11. The ENF and TNF were in the middle of the Star Fire. All A/C were grounded in the morning by the FAA ground stop. Again, this is where it is foggy, but I think we got permission for rotor wing ops on the afternoon of 9/11 for the fire. I believe there was a radius of 5-10 miles from the fire as a limit. I think Air Attack and other fixed wing ops were cleared on 9/12 on direct paths from certain Air Attack Bases to the fire and return.

This help?


6/6 Flying fire on/after 9/11?

I have a question, I am pretty sure that on 9/11 Fire-fighting aircraft did fly can you find me sources or documentation to support this fact? I know R5 flew aircraft and I believe R6 did as well???


6/5 HazMat Exposure...

In regards with Mellie's question on HazMat Exposure, I've never heard the term "HazMat Treatment Hospital" but I think Dr. Kochman answered the question very well. Idaho does not have any hospitals rated Level I Trauma and only one Level II Trauma Center. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) located in Idaho Falls is Idaho's only Level II Trauma Center. EIRMC has a DOE Nuclear Facilities (Idaho National Laboratory-INL) near-by so they routinely train on HazMat Exposure as do area Fire/EMS Agencies. Note: INL main facilities are located in the desert hence surrounded by wildland fire threat. Several large wildland fires have occurred on INL land over the years and some level of radioactive exposure occurred...ever seen an aerial ladder fighting a brush fire?.

EIRMC also has a hyperbaric chamber and 3 blocks away from EIRMC is Mtn View Hospital which also has a hyperbaric chamber. EIRMC also operates a Medical Flight Operation (AIR1-Air Idaho Rescue) with both helicopter and fix wing resources. The Idaho Falls Fire Department operates a Regional HazMat Response Team which covers Southeastern Idaho and the INL has many PhD.s to refer to for advice when exposed to nasty things that can make you glow and melt in a minute. Severe burn injuries in the region are transported to EIRMC for treatment/evaluation then on to the Inter-Mountain Burn Center in Salt Lake for further treatment.

Lawyer/FF's Wife
6/5 Thanks George.

As you know in the middle of an emergency people might not even recognize HCN exposure for what it is. How can we be prepared so that firefighters don't die? Time is of the essence. The antidote is effective and without major side effects. I wish we had had it for Rose Marie, Carrie Lynn and others of the Ft Apache Swift #16 crew and some members of the Black Mesa #1A crew four days later?

Hydrogen cyanide was not on our radar during the Station Fire, but shame on us if there are no lessons learned from these two exposure incidents.


6/5 Mellie:

You ask a good question about which hospitals are best for HAZMAT exposures. It's a pretty complicated answer, let me explain:

Unlike burn care, there are no Hospital/Emergency Department standards or ratings for exposures/airway burns. The designation that comes closest would be a Trauma Center designation. Trauma centers are rated on levels I, II, III, with Level I centers being the highest/most capable. These designations relate to things like sub-specialty availability (usually referring to surgical capabilities and interventional radiology.) All Level I trauma centers have the capability to handle airway burns. All can handle toxic exposures. Furthermore, Level I Trauma centers are used to seeing multiple patients at a time - they have built in "surge capacity" - such as you might get in a burnover or other type of wildfire medical situation.

You mentioned having toxicology as a specialty. Medical toxicologists (usually Emergency Medicine physicians, occasionally Pediatricians) are a fairly rare breed. Most are employed through individual Emergency Departments; others work for state/local poison control centers. There are only a handful of hospitals in the country where there are a group of toxicologists that practice together and are on staff as a specialty; there are a couple toxicology units in hospitals, but they are so few and far between that's it is not practical to recommend transferring anyone with a suspected exposure. Toxicologists most important asset is their brain: as long as there is a competent person to assess the patient and provide the proper antidote, most tox cases can be handled over the phone; its the reason why poison control hotlines are so effective.

Most toxicologic cases can be handled in regular Emergency Departments/Trauma Centers. Obviously some small rural hospitals won't have the capability, but any hospital meeting a Trauma Center I or II designation can handle these types of things. As you mentioned, TIME is usually the most important factor in tox emergencies. Transferring or transporting patients to specialty centers takes time - time that could be spent treating the patient. Antidotes like the Cyano-kit/Cyanide Antidote Kit are stocked in these places.

A different problem arises with carbon monoxide exposure. The treatment for CO is oxygen; for severe poisonings, it is pressurized oxygen (hyperbarics.) Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) chambers are often located in Level I Trauma centers; however, not every Level I center has HBO chambers. And some smaller hospitals have HBO, but not other specialties that may be needed (such as intensive care units.)

What all this comes down to is that there are a handful of time sensitive medical conditions that need to be treated or stabilized immediately: any airway issue, any toxicologic exposure, major trauma, heart attacks and strokes. These conditions need evaluation and stabilization immediately. Level I Trauma centers (and some Level IIs) have all these capabilities. But sometimes it is not practical to transport directly to a Level I (for instance, there are no Level I trauma centers in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming.). Stabilizing at a local facility and then transferring for definitive care is often a more appropriate course of action.

Finally, in my experience, the MOST important resource is well trained and knowledgeable first responders and EMTs. With potentially long extrication times and transport times in the fireline/wilderness environment, it is imperative that line EMTs/paramedics be able to both recognize and treat life threatening exposures AND ensure that the patient is routed to the appropriate next resource. An experienced EMT will know that while skin burns may look impressive, it may be more important to get the burned patient to a place where a definitive airway can be placed quickly, rather than taking a longer time to get to a specialized burn center. Patients can always be transferred to a higher level of care later on.

All of which is a way of saying that rigid guidelines: "must transfer to trauma center/burn center/etc" may not always be the most appropriate. Listings of the closest burn center, trauma center/ HBO center should be standard in every IAP (I've been out of the game for a few years, but I remember them being on most IAPs that I received.) Knowledgeable people on the ground will make the most difference in outcomes. I'm not sure if this type of thing exists in all states out West, but here in Maryland we have a statewide EMS communication system. ANY EMT can radio a Level I trauma center or even local ED for information and advice. Our Traumatologists/Toxicologists/Emergency Physicians routinely give advice on field treatments and where to bring the patient over the radio. I think something like this would be a huge benefit to injured firefighters.

Sorry this is a bit long winded and jumbled. I'm happy to answer any questions,

George Kochman, M.D.
Senior Resident

Thanks for the info, George. Good to have you visit. Ab.

6/5 More quotes & aphorisms to add to the list:

From my AFMO:
Set the example, don't be the example.
Manage the fire, don't let the fire manage you.

Unknown: You manage procedures, you lead people.

And my all time favorite, also unknown: Nobody ever calls the fire department because they did something smart.


Good ones, I added 'em to the list. Ab.

6/5 From Sammie:

Tentative agreements reached with families of 10 firefighters involved in fatal California helicopter crash By Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian
June 04, 2010, 5:42PM

The families of seven men who were killed and three who were injured in the Aug. 5, 2008, crash of a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter in California have reached a tentative settlement with three of five defendants in multiple lawsuits filed after the crash. (snip)

Hopkins (atty for some families) said the tentative agreements were reached with Carson Helicopters, Columbia Helicopters and the U.S. Forest Service. No settlements have been reached with Sikorsky, the maker of the helicopter, or General Electric, which built the engines. (snip)

Always Remember Iron 44

6/5 Video: Explosion injures FF in Hugo

Wow, I didn't mean to ruffle the feathers!

I am in no way connected with the "Department" in the video. I now live 30 miles from where the departments protection area is, but did live in the past about 2 miles outside of its jurisdiction. They are a small organization that has had problems for years. I can recall in the late '80's hearing local news stories on them and the many complaints that where filed. What is scary is the fact that this department is comprised of many young people that are not aware of the major dangers involved with fire suppression.

In my opinion it would be better not to have a fire department at all if they are going to risk their members in such a fashion. The community does have another choice for fire protection yet many have subscribed to this department for protection. Likely based on pure cost. One point that burned me was when the woman, who had on more "gear" than the two "kids", sent the kids in to check on whomever may have been injured. One of the kids only had on an orange road workers vest!!

I do not do structure fire, however I can bet that the structure was a total loss, and based on the materials in the background (drums, garbage) and knowing the general area (drugs), I would have pulled away and just contained the fire to the general area. No one had SCBA and I would bet a whole mess of HAZMAT was being ignited.

In 20 years are these individuals going to be on some bed somewhere needing cancer treatment? Again no offense towards anyone. We need to LIVE by the rule in fire "if you're not trained and wearing PPE, stay out of the area!!!"


While anonymous in moniker to those reading here, this person that sent in the video is a long-standing member of theysaid and a wildland firefighter as are the other two contributors that sent it in with only a heads up. Ab.

6/5 I echo the thoughts of emt_mb, not all departments have the funding for all the goodies. When I lived in the Midwest several years ago, I was a volunteer on a department whose budget funding consisted of nothing but donations, pancake breakfast sales and a yearly dance. Membership was next to nothing but those who were committed to the cause did the best they could with what they had. Training was once a month and usually lasted 2 or 3 hours. I do, however, disagree that the video is in poor taste. Regardless of the motive behind it, this should serve as notice that not all departments are created, run and function like a professional organization. What I see, aside from the already listed problems, is a group of people who are trying to do a very necessary job. Why shoot them down because of it?

There are still some places in the United States where a call to 9-1-1 will not deliver a $200,000 rig to your front door. The department I volunteered at, our first response engine was a 1968 Ford, but it did the job! The volunteers were a rag tag mix of farmers, grocery baggers, and retirees. They didn't have spiffy clean uniforms and shiny badges either. They, however, DID have the desire to help the community and it showed. Commitment has many forms and colors. Instead of knocking those in the video, why not help them? Obviously, they are trying to help their community. Small donations of money, equipment (even if it's used but is safe order) and time can make all the difference in the world to some of these departments. Got a few days off, why not go and teach them something they may not have had the opportunity to learn? It's a big world and we're all in this together. Why not try and make it better?

6/5 Address for Tommy Lane donation:

Anyone can donate at any Wells Fargo bank, just make sure the account number is on the check. Or mail to

Tommy Lane Assistance, Account #995-734-0244
Wells Fargo Bank
808 East Mono Way
Sonora, CA 95370.

Just have to make sure the account number is on the check. Thank you for posting the info. When more info comes out, we will keep you informed as well.

Thank you,


6/5 Here's a video of the Station Fire moving through a canyon, thought to be Arroyo Seco between JPL and Switzer Falls, about a mile from where the fire began.

Angeles Requiem video


6/5 Does anyone have an address to which donations can be sent for Tommy Lane? Ab.
6/5 What makes a leader. We find leadership in all genders, races and professions.

In 1947, Wooden, in his first year at Indiana State, refused an invitation to what was then the NAIB tournament in Kansas City, because the organization prohibited black players from competing. One of the Sycamores, Clarence Walker, could not have played.

A man of compassion, professionalism and strong values.

Good bye John Wooden. You will never be forgotten.

Want to read more about leadership today?

student_pre course work (90 K pdf file)

6/4 Tommy Lane needs our assistance:

Ab, please post this to TheySaid, and possibly in a HOTLIST sticky. He is going to need assistance for a while and anything that can be done would help w/ the firefighting network. He is very known to the wildland fire community. Any assistance is appreciated. Thank you, PJ

To all,

As you may or may not know, Tommy Lane has been having some health issues. I spoke with him on the telephone recently and he agreed that it would be a good time to share some information as many of us have known Tommy for a long time and are concerned.

Tommy has had some heart issues for a few years. While having a stent placed recently, the doctors became aware of another problem. After some testing it has been determined that Tommy has cancer in the bones of his neck. To date he has lost 30 pounds. He is in for more comprehensive testing this week and will let us know the prognosis. His daughter has moved in to help take care of him through this process.

At this time Tommy would like everyone to know he is hanging in there and is confident things will turn out ok in the end.

Dennis Burns, from Tommy's Incident Command Team, has started an account at Wells Fargo Bank to help cover what the insurance won't pay for. While Tommy has plenty of sick leave available at this time, the additional expenses are getting hard for him to handle financially. Anyone interested in donating towards Tommy's additional medical expenses can do so directly at Wells Fargo using account number 995-734-0244. If you prefer, Shandy, Stanislaus SO Employee Association, will collect cash and check donations and make a deposit as well.

Please forward this message to anyone you think should have this information and keep Tommy in your thoughts.


PJ, I added it to the Hotlist. Our best to him. Does anyone have an address to which donations can be sent? Ab.

6/4 Video: Explosion injures FF


I am very disappointed that you chose to post the video link from anonymous. While the video does show some things that are definitely not safe, we should not be condoning the label of "wanna-be' fire department or "Worst Fire Department in the United States."

For all you or any of us know, the poster is a disgruntled former member of that department who is just trying to give them a bad name. Or, that particular rural area is not able to afford the big city fire trucks and gear that people are accustomed to seeing on TV. I'm willing to bet that every State in the Union has at least one fire department similar to the one depicted there. not everyone gets all the cool gear and training. Some departments just have to make do.

This video is in poor taste and in no way adds to the professional discussions of wildland fire and related topics that are normally seen here on They Said.


Thanks for setting the record straight from your perspective. I shifted from you tube to the other video link that has come in. This is buzzing among firefighters in Oregon, none of them disgruntled, all of them wildland. What lessons learned? Ab.

6/4 Firewhirls:

To banning89... you're welcome. Those tailgate sessions and discussions are exactly what I had hoped for.

William Riggles... I will leave the explanation of the mechanics of how a lee side fire whirl is formed to the weather guys who are far more capable of rendering an explanation than I.

My point is that when these are observed, they can be a warning of bad things to come. I have seen lee side whirls that came down the hill with frightening intensity. The rate of spread can increase dramatically as the whirl proceeds down the slope and the temperature of the burn increases as the vortex develops.

On the Eagle Fire near Honey Lake in Lassen County, Ca. a fire whirl over ran a CDF engine crew. The fire whirl burned a footprint into the asphalt as it crossed Hwy 395. The ROS of the whirl was probably 3 or 4 times the ROS of the main fire. The film of that event was widely distributed.

If any of you have read the accident review and watched the film of the Indians Fire on the LPF in June of 2008 you'll see that the firefighters saw a huge whirl forming and simply did not recognize the danger. That incident among others caused me to write the paper.

I am pleased with the response and appreciate the wide distribution the paper received from this website and internally in the fire organizations.

In forums like this, we wildland firefighters can share information and ideas that will hopefully prevent a serious accident. Thanks for the interest.

Royal Burnett

6/4 Here is a link to a video going around of a local "wanna be" fire dept. Someone is going to get hurt! improper PPE (if any ) lack of coms, etc.

Explosion Injures Firefighter in Hugo


6/4 Firewhirls:


Thanks for the article. Our unit (CAL-Fire Riverside) sent this out to all stations. It made for a great tailgate safety topic and with the weather warming was spot on timing. THANKS!


6/4 Firewhirls:


I enjoy reading through your theories, ideas and the pictures are great.

You call attention to firewhirls on the leading edge, just before the run gets pushed over the edge of a mesa. Please clarify how this wind-shear works.

The phenomenon of whirls at this point is documented. It would be nice to nail this down here.

I believe once the perimeter breaks over the edge, a flow of air begins upslope and in-line with the extreme heat rising from the fire's energy release. Is this the shear?

Wind driving fire over the edge, also lays the column over spotting ahead and down the next drainage. Embers from fire-whirls and interior burning almost instantly begin running back up to the main burn. Looks like the fire is running down hill but really it's a combination of everything.

Fire-whirls' ability to appear out of nowhere and suck up big stuff spreading it far from the source is definitely why it should be part of morning briefing!

William Riggles

Hotlist thread...

6/4 Does anyone know which hospitals are the best for HAZMAT inhalation injuries? Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN), carbon monoxide, etc? Burning dumps, burning tires, wildland fires on former mining sites, house fires where the wildland meets communities; there are many suspected HAZMAT exposures every year across the West. Quick antidote administration is the key with hydrogen cyanide exposure.

Would those HAZMAT treatment hospitals be the same as those that deal with burn injuries, including inhalation burn injuries? verification verified centers.php  (from the hotlist burn thread)

They would need to have toxicology as a specialty and be large enough to recognize HAZMAT exposure problem could exist ... even if the delivering ambulance or transport did not recognize the possibility.

On another, slightly different topic:

What are the federal protocols for injured firefighters being assigned a knowledgeable person that advocates for them in the hospital? When someone is injured they are not thinking clearly, may be unconscious or in respiratory arrest. Someone should be assigned for the short and long term, and it should be someone that has some knowledge of the possibility of HAZMAT exposure, signs, symptoms and that if an antidote is administered asap it could keep them from death or worse.

All firefighter lives are equally valuable!

6/4 Teddy Wayne Garrett of Appomattox

Teddy Wayne Garrett, 67, of Appomattox, was tragically killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, June 2nd, at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. He had been a seasonal employee in the park’s maintenance division since 2003 and leaves behind many loved ones, including his wife of 34 years, Delores Wooten Garrett.

He was a loving and devoted father and is survived by two daughters, Melissa (Missy) Dawn Garrett of Richmond and Cassindy (Cindy) Litchford and her husband, Ashley; a son, Teddy Wayne (T.W.) Garrett, II; a brother, Bobby Garrett and wife, Janice all of Appomattox; three sisters, Gloria Leveque and husband, Frank of Richmond, Geralynn Garrett, and Betty Craft and husband, Todd all of Appomattox; sister-in-law, Peggy Winters and husband, Hugh of Virginia Beach; and loving family friends, Glen Wilson, II of Richmond and Erica Renee Jamerson of Pamplin.

Born in Appomattox County on February 19, 1943, he was a son of Leonard C. Garrett of Appomattox and the late Emma Eulelia Robertson Garrett. Teddy was a member of New Hope Baptist Church, a United States Army veteran of the Vietnam War, and a retired employee of General Electric and Ericsson.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 5th, by the Rev. Ronnie Rogers and James C. Rogers, II at New Hope Baptist Church in Appomattox. Burial will follow in Liberty Cemetery and will include participation by a National Park Service honor guard.

The family will receive friends at Robinson Funeral Home today (Friday) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and other times at the family home.

Those wishing to make memorials please consider the Appomattox Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 57, Appomattox, VA 24522 , the Appomattox Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 894, Appomattox, VA 24522, or the American Diabetes Foundation, P.O. Box 1131, Alexandria, VA 22303.

Robinson Funeral Home and Cremation Service is serving the family and an online condolence may be sent at www.robinsonfuneral.com.
[Submitted by Mike Litterst]

Condolences. Ab.

More info: WSLS News: crash kills national parks service worker

6/3 Firewhirls:

Abs.. I wrote this paper on Fire Whirls. If you think it useful, please distribute as you see fit.

Royal Burnett

Fire Whirls In California (543 K pdf file)

Thanks Royal. Nice pics, too, of big and little whirls. Cool whirl in that structure fire. Ab.

6/3 Greetings,

The CU burn center has moved to:

1635 Aurora Court
Aurora, Colorado 80045

facility details


Tim, I updated it. Any other updates to the '07 list, please let us know. Presumably the ameriburn.org website has the most recent location and contact info than our 2007 list. Ab.

6/3 A Metaphor: The Cake, The Frosting...

Joeboy and Skip,

I apologize if I came across as rude. There is a lot of honor in your hard work & good intentions. I see those qualities as the frosting of the Agency.

I also enjoy volunteering my efforts through various voluntary ICS positions & through voluntary collateral duties and responsibilities at the district level.

However, I am disappointed when employees are prodded or persuaded into a 'sense of duty' in order to cover-up deficiencies. When the 'duty'... 'after-hours' is no longer voluntary, but being directed, then things need to be official all the way around.

Here is how I see it:
The Forest Service needs a cake (fire department). So each year, the F.S. goes to the bakery and buys the slices individually & attempts to put them together.
The problems with this are:

  1. There are seams & cracks that 'stuff' can & will fall through.
  2. Some years there aren't enough pieces to make a cake (reliance on contractors & cooperators).
  3. It costs way more to purchase all the slices separately as opposed to ordering your own cake and cutting it up as needed.

And still, the FS doesn't have a cake... They have a conglomerate of mismatched pieces.

The only thing giving the appearance of a cake is the good intent of the individual 'senses of duty', the frosting over the cracks. Being the frosting is important at times, but to continually rely on it, and to provide it, is like enabling an addict. The FS has built its fire organization on Forestry Technicians. The work schedule is an 8 hr. day. Either accept it, or if it doesn't fit the need,... change it.

Don't let anyone smear you over their crack!

Just calling it as I see it.

What Tha,

6/3 Ab:

CCIIMT 7, Los Padres NF has developed a real clean Emergency Medical protocol. Contact Chief Jim Smith, Team IC

BC Jack

Now Chief Jack

Congrats on your promotion. Ab.

6/3 Ab,

Could you tell me if there is a resource/list anywhere on here that listed the medical facilities qualified for receiving severe burns? I realize I may not be saying it all correctly, but I thought I remembered this being discussed a while back. Can you help? Thanks.



6/3 R9 Engine Captain, you asked:

The latest SF50 I have received is still showing my Pos# as A9526, same with the last PD I requested from ASC earlier this year. Could ASC be wrong??? Can't imagine that. Do you happen to know when the A9526 was replaced by FS1471? And any idea of what (if any) notifications are supposed to be made when an employee's PD is changed? This is something I will definitely be looking into. Thanks for the info.

If you go to the manager's version of AVUE, called avuedigitalservices.com it has it there. This is what it says. "PD 9526/FS0862 Abolished - replaced by FS1471." It looks like it was changed in 2007. Perhaps people who were in that position prior to 2007 got to keep the A9526 number. And yes, ASC/HRM can be wrong, lol.

I would love to give those duties to the AFMO or FMO. After all, they are the real supervisors here. Speaking of those duties you mentioned, do you really hire people,,, or do you recommend to your line officer who you would like to hire? Appraisals and IDPs you go over with your crew, but then does it go to your AFMO or FMO for approval? My Captain has a folder entitled "sub-supervisor duties". And let me tell you, it is jam packed. Take a look at the definition of supervisor in the Master Agreement. IMO, There is a lot of stuff that doesn't apply to Captains.

And to answer your last question about changing PDs. As far as I know, they (FS) can change a PD without having to negotiate with the union, but I may be wrong about that.

Quick Connect

6/2 Ab,

Attached is a copy of the Dutch Creek management evaluation report (1,832K pdf file), which we obtained with a FOIA request to the Forest Service. It's refreshing to see that the WO and Tom Harbour made a discretionary release of the recommendations that could have been withheld, choosing instead to encourage lessons learned.

While I can understand why recommendation #1 (pasted below) was not adopted, I believe there are a number of ways besides the IRPG that the wildfire community could utilize the Green/Amber/Red risk assessment tool.

vfd capn

"National Wildfire Coordinating Group develop and incorporate a risk assessment tool into the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) that would allow all incident personnel to continuously assess risk elements, on a strategic level, on incidents of all complexities. An example would be the Green/Amber/Red risk assessment tool recently adopted by the National Park Service in their operational leadership program. (Causal Factor 01; Contributing Factor 05; Contributing Factor 10)"

Thanks, Ab.

6/2 Subject: Rob Meade Good News!
Making the rounds:

Just got off the phone w/Rob's wife. Laurie; Rob is still in the hospital in Spokane, planned to be released home 6/3 or 6/4. He had 1 stint placed in an artery with 80% blockage. Cards can be sent to:

Robert Meade
327 Grape Dr.
Moses Lake, WA 98837

Good news indeed. Ab.


CA Fire Alliance: Portraits of a Firefighter


As you know, it has been almost a year since we launched the "Take Responsibility" campaign under the California Fire Alliance name. We are continuing to educate homeowners about fire safety and prevention and encouraging residents to create 100 feet of defensible space around their home. These preventative measures will help residents protect their homes, families and communities - and help protect firefighters on the front lines.

One area where we've been able to reach homeowners and unite fire professionals is on our California Fire Alliance Facebook page. If you have joined the cause, we hope you will become a fan at www.facebook.com/CAFireAlliance

In the next few months, we hope to launch an exciting program on our Facebook page called "Portraits of a Firefighter" - and we need your help!

"Portraits of a Firefighter" will be an opportunity for fire professionals statewide to nominate their staff for the incredible work they do in the community. Each month we will profile one winner and encourage our fans to get involved. Fans will be able to vote, share their personal stories, submit community photos - and even nominate community members that have been helped by fire professionals. Our hope is that this program will continue to build our Facebook community, highlight community heroes and provide an opportunity for our fans to engage and support our overall cause - to Take Responsibility and eliminate wildfires throughout our state.

We need your support. We'll be producing a short video (two minutes) regarding the "Portraits of a Firefighter" program. If you know someone who would like to help us get the word out - please send us their name and contact information. We're currently looking for the right spokespeople to highlight in our online video.

You can also help us promote the program internally. Please spread the word by:

* Becoming a fan at www.facebook.com/CAFireAlliance
* Sending the above information to your employees, friends and professional associations.
* Nominating someone in the fire industry that should be profiled by sending their story to cafirealliance@gmail.com
* Generating conversation on our Facebook page - we're all apart of the California Fire Alliance. Please comment, like, vote and share! You're welcome to place (Fire Alliance Member) at the end of your personal comments for transparency.
* Promote our efforts in available communication channels to your staff, media and key stakeholders.

If you have any additional ideas or questions, please email me.

Thank you for your support and involvement.


Debra Hein

6/2 From several sources... Our thoughts and prayers for Rob's quick recovery and support for his family. Ab.

Subject: Robert Meade, Moses Lake Air Tanker Base Manager

Rob's wife Laurie called this A.M. and said that Rob had a heart attack yesterday and was flown to Spokane, Scared Heart Hospital (I think). She said he was doing OK. She wasn't able to talk long so I don't have much for details but will share more when I know it.

6/2 This came in from several people over the last few days with this message:

TO: NWCG Committees, NWCG Program Management Unit (PMU), Geographic Area Coordinating Group (GACG) Chairs, Geographic Area Coordination Center (GACC) Managers, Area Command/Incident Command Council (AC/IC) Chair

WHAT: NWCG#025-2010 Memorandum - Dutch Creek Serious Accident Investigation Report Response: Three (3) New Incident Management Team (IMT) Daily Operation Protocols/Procedures

ACTION: Please distribute.

WEB LOCATION: NWCG memos are posted at:
ganaral.php You can also go to www.nwcg.gov and
click on "memos."

Bonnie L. Bradshaw
NWCG Executive Secretary
National Interagency Fire Center

The 5/25/10 NWCG Memo on the Dutch Creek Accident

Attachment A: NWCG Medical Emergency Procedure Plan
Attachment B: NWCG Communication Center Protocol
Attachment C: NWCG Expanded ICS 206 Medical Plan

(The 4/29/10 NWCG memo on the Dutch Creek Accident.)

Hotlist Thread (archive) on Dutch Creek Falling Accident that killed Andy Palmer

6/2 To: Joeboy

A shout of acclamation and agreement.


6/1 What The,

I have been following the duty officer string for the last week or so and have seen the conversation go from constructive to the point now where those of us that have donated our time, energy, etc, be referred to as brainwashed or strung along.

Was it ever a thought to you to think that some of us look to the role as district duty officer as an honored position, one that is performed (or could be) as a service to whatever agency we happen to work for? That to be qualified for that position was a place of respect, not a place to complain because you have been asked to be available on your off time without compensation? Sometimes this job isn't about the money as much as it is about being committed to work for an employer that allows it's employees to perform a job unlike any other. After 26 years of service and having been on " uncompensated call" for every fire season so far I think I can live with not demanding to be paid for every second of the time I am employed and ready to go. If that is brainwashed and covering for the incompentencies of the agency, then I guess that hat fits.

Now, I agree with the compensation of two hours for some of the times I have been called in the middle of the night. Dispatching a crew, responding to a fire, vehicle accident, lost hunter, office alarm, etc warrant the commitment of some personal time and should be compensated. I just can't agree with thought that it is appropriate to collect compensation in the instance of being called while off duty to answer a question.

I want to commend Shorty on the last sentence of the second paragraph of his last post. After reading through it a couple of times it may be the best explanation of why folks accept the duty officer position and perform that role. Respect for and commitment to my employees and employer are why I share my family's time with the wildland fire community.

In closing, I think your last post reached the point of being insulting for those of us that don't see the need to be paid for everything we do. Push to change the way we do things if you must regarding this issue but don't insult those of us that are enjoying the status quo and have for long careers.


A case of "Agree to Disagree". Ab.

6/1 The University of Hawaii now has a Fire Science undergraduate degree program.


I am the assistant of a 10 person handcrew on the Fremont-Winema NF. The Region 6 supervisor's office, in conjunction with the STEP Asian Pacific Islander program, has charged me with the training of two individuals from Hilo that are enrolled in the first session of the Fire Science undergraduate degree program offered in Hawaii.

Your website helped me narrow down my educational focus and I attend the University of Montana on the off season. Keep up the good work.


I added it to the list of 2 and 4 yr Fire Universities. Ab.

6/1 How I handle Standby / On Call:

Shorty -

When I was detailed in as the AFMO, here is how I handled my off duty time. If I was contacted by someone from work about a work related issue, then I would charge 2 hours of call back time. If I was going to be doing anything where I was unavailable (whether having a beer, or heading out of town, etc) then I simply turned my work cell phone off. Yes, they could still get my on my personal cell, but caller ID is a wonderful thing. I hold my off time with my family dear to my heart. If the FS wants me to give that up, then they will pay me for it. If they feel it is important enough to call me 0100 hours to ask me a question or inform me of something happening on my district, then they are going to pay me for that. Easy enough. The first time I detailed into the AFMO slot, I was told I could not charge callback time for taking/making phone call after hours for IAs, off forest resources orders, staffing issues the next day, etc. I simply told them then don't bother calling me after hours. I will leave my work cell at work. You can either call me at home to come in and handle the situation, come in early the next day, or I will simply handle it when I come in on normal duty hours.

Yes, I did accept the fact that I would be duty officer when I accepted the detail, but I also accepted that fact when I received the fireline qualifications that allowed to be DO on my district/zone. What I did not and will not accept is that they want me to be available and provide a service for free. Simply put, my off time is my time. IF I am available when they call, then I will do what needs done and they will compensate me for it. I am committed to my job and during our fire season, I did make the choice to remain available pretty much every day, all day when I was the AFMO. I didn't do it because they made me do it. I did it because I wanted to out of respect for ZFMO, my crews, and my commitment to and love of the job.

When I was in R5, The FFMO tried to pull the same thing on the whole fire crew. He would tell us at the beginning of every season that he expected us to be available 24/7 during fire season. No drinking, no heading out of town, etc. You can just guess the reception that got from the crews. All it really did is degrade the respect and authority of the FFMO in the eyes of the people putting tools in the dirt.

Quick Connect -

If Captains are working leaders and not supervisors, then please take away all the supervisory paperwork we have to do: hiring and 52s, performance appraisals, IDP, etc. Well, at least the hiring and 52s the rest are actually pretty easy. Just kidding there.

The latest SF50 I have received is still showing my Pos# as A9526, same with the last PD I requested from ASC earlier this year. Could ASC be wrong??? Can't imagine that. Do you happen to know when the A9526 was replaced by FS1471? And any idea of what (if any) notifications are supposed to be made when an employee's PD is changed? This is something I will definitely be looking into. Thanks for the info.

R9 Engine Captain

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