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July, 2010

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7/31 Ab,

Press the EASY BUTTON. Have fun.

Fire Geek

7/30 Tanker 121 photo, '76 or '77:

Ab,

The "Wonder Bread" paint scheme is rumored to have come from some IHC personnel who were bored
one night. I get this info from the person who happened to be PIC in T-121 at the time.

Some people's kids!

LMAO

Thanks for the bit of history, T. Ab.

7/30 Ab,

We had a hot fast fire here in Eagle a couple days ago and I wanted to express to you all how honored I am to be a part of this community. I don't k now what was different about this one as I am in fire camps alot, but it was different. Maybe it was the cop cars and engines racing by my house and what looked like a a real dog fight with all the planes and helicopters or just the raw black smoke that engulfed our neighborhood but I found myself in the middle of the battle, I was helping neighbors move horses and animals from in side houses, I could see men and women in green and yellow in the black evacuating people and putting out hot spots, they were really heroes that day. As night fell it was calming down and people were out looking at the devastation. I was among them as well.. I cant tell you what went through me standing there with my neighborhood looking at the war zone. I was so dam proud of all the firefighters and equipment that were involved in that I couldn't stand it, People were amazed at how precise the retardant drops were and how professional every one was, only four homes were lost a couple barns and a few cars but it could have been just as easy 50 homes, people, horses and cows. 

Days later just looking at the black hill above me I still feel so honored and proud to serve this community as I do, thank you all so much for the hard work and dedication you have brought to the people you serve, I wonder sometimes if you all really know what heroes people think you are. I hope every one has a safe season and again thank you..

Burk Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

and yea Boise Hot Shots that was me on the hill waiving like an idiot at you guys lol

I think this was the fire Burk's talking about. HOTLIST Ab.

7/30 HCN gas exposures in fire smoke: What is it and should you be concerned?

Last September several firefighters were exposed to HCN during the LA Station Fire, resulting in "exposure to cyanide which caused brain injury" to one firefighter according to Dr. John B. Sullivan, Jr. The exposure brought to light that wildland firefighters, most especially in urban interface are susceptible to hydrogen cyanide exposure in fire smoke.

I think the word "cyanide" is the problem here. When we think of cyanide, we think about a deadly chemicals, chemical warfare and all sorts of scenarios. What we need to do is train the fire service to understand that the chemicals and toxins in fire smoke have changed in the last several years because of products we have in our homes. Think about the plastics and laminates in homes today versus that of ten years ago. The bottom line is those products produce hydrogen cyanide (HCN) during the combustion process and is therefore present in the smoke/air. Obviously, structural firefighters (if wearing and using their air) are protected from smoke toxins, but wildland firefighters are not.

The objective is not to panic - but educate. Awareness brings light to tactical solutions.

Very simply, the message is: There's a new kid on the block and if it's on your block, be prepared to tactically address the issue.

Let's all learn together.

Shawn Longerich
Executive Director
Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition
www.firesmoke.org/
7/30 Ab, 

I have been trying to get a handle on the issue of the HCN gas exposures, but it is getting confusing.

  • What is the issue about the gas?
  • Where and when did this all start?

As a structural firefighter, HazTech, wildland firefighter, and the POC for the Hanford Fire Department HazMat team, I think I have some info to pass along to better educate the wildland fire community. But, there seems to be a whole lot of knee jerking, panic attack, and just plain BS misinformation running around. I am a bit lost on what to kick out that will defuse the issue. If I can help let me know. As a structural firefighter to avoid inhalation hazards we have been wearing SCBAs since the earth cooled 29 years now for me. The stuff in smoke is just plain bad, add hazmat issues and it is deadly yes, education is the best teacher.

Zimm

Thanks, Zimm. Ab.

7/29 Hi to everyone out there.

I am a retired Forest Service Fireman. My career spanned 5 decades or parts of them anyway.( 1967 thru 2002). I've enjoyed reading They Said for many summers since my retirement. Anyway to my point's. Was digging through an old bag of memorabilia the other day and found an old hard hat decal from my HOTSHOT days. I had the distinct pleasure of serving on the CHILAO HOTSHOTS, Angeles National Forest beginning in 1977. Note the spelling "HOTSHOTS" and that was 30 plus years ago. No disrespect intended, but alot of you folks probably weren't even a twinkle in your fathers eye then. If memory serves me there were 17 or 18 HOTSHOT Crews in those days including the Redding HOTSHOT IR Crew. (Inter-Regional) Which meant the Redding crew was the elite of the elite. Anyway I'm not sure on the overall issue with HOTSHOT Crews, but as in my day there are HOTSHOTS and there are crews out there. It all boils down to leadership!.

My second comment has to do with Fly Overs. Again, if my memory serves me in 2000 on the Lincoln National Forest Scott Able incident??? an Air Attack air craft crashed killing both the pilot and FS ATGS on board. Several days later a memorial service was held at the Ruidoso Performing Arts Center. As literally hundreds and hundreds of friends, family, and colleagues were assembling for the memorial, and I want to say it was at 11:00 am a P-2-V Air Tanker appeared over head and and performed a low level fly over-wingwag. I believe this brought tears to many of those in attendance. There were no fires in the area and no Air Tanker Base. How do I know of this event you ask?? Well I was there. Also, I was at the Alamogordo Air Tanker Base/Dispatch Center when the plans for this tribute was being organized. Again, this took leadership and courage to do the right thing!!

Last of all I read a lot of Agency Bashing issues on They Said. Almost all of it is over pay issues. As stated my career spanned some 35 years. I remember when CDF was called the Division of Forestry, then it went to the Department of Forestry, then Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and now simply Cal Fire. When I started my career with the Forest Service I actually took a pay cut. My first summer I was making $2.98 per hour, and you know what---I was making more money than my friends working for the Division of Forestry. I can actually remember being released from mutual aid fires (CDF) because I or we (FS EMPLOYEES) made to much money. During my career many of my friends and colleagues have been Cal Fire employees. I can't ever remember us arriving on an incident and standing around and comparing paychecks---we were there to get a job done and we did. I can honestly say I choose my profession. If I had it to do all over again I wouldn't change a thing. As a matter of fact I can't believe I actually got paid for doing some of the things I did. But again that's just me. To sum things up--choose a career that pays you the big bucks---I personally enjoyed all the life's experiences and going home each night at the end of my day.

Well enough from an old retired guy.

hang in there

7/29 Some great SQF-Bull Fire photos from Polo. I put them on Fire 44 and Fire 45, Helicopters 28, Handcrew 27 and Airtankers 33 photo pages.

Some nice fire photos of the Callahan Fire 2008 on Fire 44. Thanks to Matt.

Also put a historic AT photo from '76 or '77 on Airtankers 33. Thanks, Tim. Ab.

7/29 Hazard Tree Safety Advisory

Hazard tree advisory doc

7/29 Congressional Panel: The Initial Attack on the Station Fire

Rep. Adam Schiff
With fellow Members of Congress:
Rep. David Dreier
Rep. Howard Buck McKeon
Rep. Judy Chu

August 10, 2010
10 am
Volosh Forum at Pasadena City College
1570 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106

Last summer, the Station Fire ravaged the Angeles National Forest, burning 160,000 acres over 50 days. Thousands of homes were threatened, and two members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Captain Ted Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, tragically lost their lives fighting the fire. In addition, the Station Fire suppression effort cost almost $100 million, a significant fraction of the Forest Service firefighting budget for the year. The initial attack on the fire was swift and aggressive, but over the first evening and the next morning, the fire escaped into terrain too dangerous to approach and spread quickly thereafter. Some former Forest Service employees, fire experts and local residents have raised questions about whether the responding agencies followed the appropriate protocols and made the right decisions on the first night of the fire, and the early morning of the next day.

Rep. Schiff has convened this panel with his colleagues to hear from representatives of the Forest Service and other responding agencies, as well as outside experts and critics. The panel will endeavor to shine some light on firefighting procedures and techniques, how they were applied during the Station Fire, and how they should be revised to improve outcomes in the future.

Invited speakers:

Panel 1:
William Derr, retired Forest Service employee
Don Feser, retired Angeles National Forest Fire Chief
Duncan Baird, homeowner, Vogel Flats Fire Recovery Alliance

Panel 2:
Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor, Angeles National Forest
Will Spyrison, Division Chief, Angeles National Forest
Jon Tripp, Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations, L.A. County Fire Department
Battalion Chief, L.A. County Fire Department
Dispatcher, Angeles National Forest ECC

Panel 3:
Tom Harbour, Director of Fire and Aviation Management, Forest Service
Bob Cavage, President, Wildfire Research Network
Casey Judd, Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
David Gillotte, President, Intl. Assoc. of Fire Fighters, Local 1014
P. Michael Freeman, Chief, L.A. County Fire Department

7/28 New R5 Occupational Health and Safety Program Manager:

I am pleased to announce that Antonio (Tony) Cofresi has been selected for the position of Regional Safety and Occupational Health Manager. Mr. Cofresi is currently an Industrial Hygienist/Safety Specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security, Oakland, CA, where he has worked since April 2007. Previously, he was an Environmental Specialist with the U.S. Air Force located in Washington, DC. Mr. Cofresi is retired military having spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force in the fields of Industrial Hygiene and Safety and Occupational Health. He has completed numerous Incident Command System courses and has experience leading high complexity industrial health projects and investigations. Mr. Cofresi earned a Bachelor's Degree from Southern Illinois University in Industrial Technology and a Master's Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland. He is currently deployed to the Gulf where he is part of the Incident Command Team working on the oil spill and clean up. Mr. Cofresi is scheduled to report on August 30.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Cofresi to our leadership team. Jim

Jim Peña
Deputy Regional Forester (R5)

7/28 For Chief Goldfeder;

Here in California the agency Cal-Osha keeps records of injuries on wildland fires (and any other incidents, as well). You might try their website (dir.ca.gov/dosh) and contact them for further info. I couldn't find any specific data on the website itself. As for close calls, I suppose it's what you mean by "close". I doubt if any records exist other than war stories.

Tool Pusher
7/28 Please take time today to remember the crew of Lassen Engine 11.

Eight years gone from the earth, eight years watching out for us from across the river.

Steve, Heather, John.... we miss you.

-Rob

Indeed. Ab.

7/27 To All:

FWFSA Business Manager Casey Judd along with current & retired FWFSA members have been invited to testify before members of Congress looking further into issues surrounding last year's Station Fire as well as issues relating to the management of the Forest Service fire program.

The event will be in Pasadena California and is usually referred to as a field hearing. The hearing will be on August 10th. More information will follow. Testimony by the FWFSA will be available within the Member's Area on the FWFSA website before the hearing and subsequently provided to TheySaid after the hearing.

For more information please feel free to contact Casey at cjudd@fwfsa.org or by phone at 208-775-4577.
7/27 Hi Ab,

Been lurking for years and although tempted to comment at times I've always felt I could learn more from listening than speaking. The time to speak finally came because I couldn't resist issuing a compliment to airtac on the 6/27 post. What a classy way to put this whole discussion in perspective.

I have tremendous respect for those who have taken the time to mentor me and provide opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise had but its all just the employment/work/pride thing. The most important things are those airtac mentions which extend way beyond what we seem to get wrapped around the axle about.

Thanks airtac - you made my day.

Still Listening...

7/27 Howdy Folks,

Was wondering if anyone out there has had issues with the older B/K standard hand mics for the handhelds (m/n LAA0207). We have 6 of them sitting around busted and they all seem to have the same problem. The mic gets to a point where the speaker won't work half the time, even though the radio is receiving and the RX light is on. When we detach the mic the radio works fine. The only thing I can guess is that the actual jack is getting tweaked from pulling on the cord or something else is in the plug assembly but I'm not sure what. We like the older ones because of the volume toggle and don't want to trade them in. It would be nice to just buy new jacks and tools to swap them so we don't have to do the ticket shuffle. Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

-another pulaski motor
7/27 Posts here:

Following the posts here over the past week or so makes me think folks don’t have near enough to do. Honestly, squabbling over memorial fly-over policy and spelling of fire terms … geeeezz! Here it is, nearly August, just days away from peak season with indices inching upward in the inland Northwest. There was a serious close-call engine burn-over in Yakama, WA just days ago. Put your Nomex on, lace up your boots, water up your line gear, and let’s get our heads back in the game people. Can you spell “LCES?”

Nozzel Hog

7/27 I don't know if there's any relevance or not, but how are the flyovers at NASCAR Sprint Cup races justified?

Just curious.

Matt
7/27 We'd like to welcome a new advertiser here at WLF. As an intro, Rob Hart of HuntingGPSmaps.com asks the following question.

Have you ever been on a fire with a paper map in one hand and a GPS in the other and wondered exactly whose land you were standing on? If you have, you’re not alone. This exact situation is what led us to create private/public boundary maps for your GPS. In addition to land boundaries, our maps offer 1:24K topo, section lines, back-roads, trails, lakes, rivers, creeks, and much more.

HuntingGPSmaps was started four years ago with the idea of creating a statewide BLM map for a GPS. Since then we’ve begun hearing how important a tool this can be for other folks, especially firefighters. Join the many BLM, Fish and Game, and other wildland fire organizations currently using their state's Land Status GPS map. Offices in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona have already simplified their navigation and saved money in the process!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the hard work you do each and every fire season! To help show our appreciation, we are offering a 10% discount on map purchases for those who mention hearing about HuntingGPSmaps on Wildlandfire.com. Please also inquire about separate discounting on government agency orders.

Thanks for your time, stay safe, and know your boundaries!
Rob Hart
HuntingGPSmaps.com
7/26 flyover

I am grateful to be part of a community that cares enough about one of its own to debate how they should be honored. I admire those managers who are just following policy and I also respect those who would appreciate a fly over.

The discussion makes one ponder what the measure of success is in the fire business. Is it achievement to the upper echelon in the organization and the resulting high three salary before retirement? Is it the number of jumps/rappels, years as a Hotshot, OT, or position on an Incident Management Team?

Or is it relationships with others? Is it how many birthdays, anniversaries and quality time including summer vacations one made with the family during fire season? Is it how good of a spouse, father, mother, or mentor one was?

In the big scheme of things, how important is anyone's contribution to the fire business? I believe the only thing that will bring a family peace is their knowledge of an individuals relationship with their Maker, not if a fly over took place.

Respectfully,

airtac

7/26

flyover

Despite my commitment to end my part in the flyover controversy, a few have communicated some confusion about the apology I issued.

I apologized to Tim, John, and Kevin about making it personal, naming them, putting it below the waterline (honor, integrity, etc.). I apologized for at least partially going after “The Who,” not “The What” in this AAR. Not walkin’ the talk at all, pard.

On the flip side, I am not apologizing in any way, shape, or form for my expressions of disbelief at the manner in which this was handled, i.e., The What.”

I would still very much like them to work this out.

In the meantime, I'm gonna follow Dunton's 99.9% probable course of action of "Screw it, Hugh.Let's go have a drink and have some fun."

See you in Carson City, folks.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/26 hotshot heritage and spelling thread

United we Stand,

Other things to cling to:

* The gratitude and relief division shows when your crew is assigned to him/her
* A safety/knowledge/work/skill level second to none
* Solving, not creating problems
* Intolerance of mediocrity within the crew

It's about what you do, not what they call you. I can go online and buy the exact shirt Drew Brees wears, but it doesn't help my passing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, enjoy it.

Giving my Hotshot shirts to my grandkids (they all shrunk somehow),

The Fire Curmudgeon

7/26 Help for One of Our Own

Ab,

I had the pleasure of meeting earlier today Daniel Palazzolo at our US Forest Service Fire Station in Northeastern Utah. He is an 8 year veteran of the US Forest Service, most recently working on a Heli-Rappel crew out of the Payson National Forest. His sister contracted breast cancer and he is on a cross-country ride from Atlanta, Georgia to the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Pink for the Cure Campaign. Knowing how our profession likes to take care of the own I am hoping that you post this on They Said to help spread the word and help Jason raise money for Breast Cancer Research. A web site where more information is about his ride for the cure is ATL to the Arctic. Thanks for your help.

Former North Ops AFEO

7/26 Fly the plane and/or helicopter at the Dunton Memorial! Spell “hotshots” however you please (are people seriously that concerned??!!) (or is it just the shot crews?) - no disrespect to either situation, but isn’t it time to “think clearly and act decisively”. People people people … the fly over is a no brainer (honor the man and do it!) … and the spelling, well, it all gets the point across, no matter HOW it’s spelled, get over it and go fight some fire, sheesh.

Sign me- in awe
7/26 Scribblemaps location for the CA-SQF-Bull fire

Tobias Peak webcam for the Bull Fire

IC req. Kern County SO Representative for Possible evacuation of Kernville. HOTLIST

7/26 flyover:

Guess I will throw my grenade in with Hugh's. There was a flyover at the "Iron 44" tribute in Central Point and I am pretty sure one of the aircraft was a Forest Service Sherpa Jump ship. So, does BLM operate by a different set of rules and regs than USFS. Don't remember anyone during or after the ceremony wondering, or caring, who paid for that flight? Those were not even federal employees being honored and someone within the FS organization stepped up to the plate.

DO THINGS RIGHT or DO THE RIGHT THING? Somebody did the right thing that day. As far as me and everyone else at the Jackson county Expo, the FS was raised a few more notches in our books!!

If donations are needed to fund a flight, AB knows how to get ahold of me.

Firehorse

7/26 Nomination - Vicki Minor:

Hi Ab,

We wanted to let the wildland community know that Vicki Minor has been nominated for a Caring Award through the www.caring-institute.org/. Please help us get the word out that folks can go on and vote for Vicki, which is a vote for the wildland firefighter and the wildland firefighters' foundation!

Thank you ~ We'll keep you all posted on Vicki's nomination.

Melissa

Nice, and welcome back to the WFF, Melissa!
Halfway down the left-hand Links list is Vote Here! 2010 Caring Award Nominees. Vote for Vicki Minor! Please let your family and friends and your congressional representatives know! HAW HAW. Ab.

7/26 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250

Many of you have contacted me to offer your support, and for those comments, I am appreciative. This has been a very difficult week for many of us at USDA because of a decision I made regarding the employment of Shirley Sherrod. For that, I want to apologize to all of you.
I reacted too quickly. I should have taken the time to listen and learn.

I apologized to Mrs. Sherrod on Wednesday and told her I was sorry for any pain this caused her and her family. Thankfully, she graciously accepted my apology. I also offered her a unique opportunity to continue her service in federal government at USDA and I am hopeful that she accepts.
As we all have learned, Mrs. Sherrod has a compelling story to tell. She and her family endured discrimination and overcame adversity. Fighting to advance justice and equality, she has helped farmers who were struggling to keep their land, fought for women in need of social and economic justice, and also for African-American men and women who faced discrimination. With all that she has seen, endured and accomplished, it would be invaluable to have her experience, commitment and record of service at USDA.

We continue to make important progress correcting USDA’s record on civil rights, but obviously, there is still a lot more work to do. You have heard me talk about my commitment to fairness and equality through the last 18 months, and I ask that you continue working with me to correct injustices of the past.

Thank you for your commitment to USDA and your continued service to the American people.

Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
7/26 Request for snake bite info:

Hey,

I am writing to see if you have any details of any kind on any close call, near-miss reports, documented history or anything specifically related to wildland firefighters suffering snake bites while operating, working or at training, be it minor, serious, major or fatal.

Your help is appreciated, and please feel free to forward this to anyone you know who is involved with wildland firefighter safety and survival and has any info related to snake bites to wildland FF's.

Thanks,
Billy

Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder, E.F.O.
Loveland-Symmes Fire Department-Ohio

7/26 Pyro sent this in on the Dunton memorial:

From today's WBC News and Notes:

7/26; 0751: WBC: Celebration of Life for Al Dunton (FBX '67) will be held Saturday, July 31 at 1600 at the Silver Saddle Ranch in Carson City, Nevada. For information go to: Aldunton

7/26 Making the rounds, fire in beetle killed timber:

Safety Alert and Pocket Card

Attached is a safety alert on the changed fire behavior characteristics of bark beetle attacked or killed trees and pocket card for working in beetle killed stands. Give me a call (email) if you have questions. Steven

Steven Zachry
Fire Risk Management Officer
Northern Region FS

7/26 Coalition Formed to Combat Wildfire Threat Where U.S. Urban Neighborhoods Meet Wildland Areas

National Wildland Urban Interface Council formed

Dan W. Bailey
Director of Wildland Fire, Environmental, Natural Resource and Natural Hazards Programs
Email: dbailey@iccsafe.org

International Code Council World Headquarters
500 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Telephone: Toll Free: 1.888.icc.safe (422.7233), ext. 6275
Telephone: 202.370.1800 | FAX: 202.783.2348

Visit our website@ www.iccsafe.org

7/26 Dunton Memorial:

To respond, I mentioned that Congressional inquiry option by design since there already developed actions by at least 2 people with direct contacts and who were just waiting to pull the trigger. And I made it perfectly clear that Congressional sh*tstorm was not a preferred option. I am certain it was passing through more than 2 persons’ heads. By the way, those who know me know that I operate very rarely with ulterior, hidden motives (at least conscious ones) – it’s all laid out there, and in this case as I’ve admitted below, occasionally over-the-top and not well thought out about roll-out effects.

Having thrown the grenade into the room – and knowing that other grenades were being thrown and by Friday trying to evolve some other courses of action – this morning I fell on the grenade, knowing full well that I had already caused, and possibly still cause, some collateral damage. That’s all I can do.

I’ve consciously stayed off of They Said for the better part of a year now, but this one sucked me right in, so it’s time to use DRAW-D. Adios, vaya con dios.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/26 Dunton Memorial:

Hugh,

I did see and noted how you brought up those potential courses of action (the Congressional, etc.), and then appeared to refute them. However, I have seen that action in politics quite a few times, and knowing and agreeing with quite a few of your own political opinions, I know you have seen it too. You've heard a zillion pundits "just point out the options," any number of times and then say, "Well, I didn't tell them to DO it..." By bringing up those potential courses of action, you planted a seed in many minds that your mentioned routes were legitimate options. Whether it was deliberate and whether it was successful are two things I cannot speak to, but the fact remains that you put those actions out there.

I'd also like to address the perception part of this: hypothetically, let's say you're a neighbor of the family and you attend the service. You look up in the sky and watch the fly-over. It may say something in a program for the service about, "This flight paid for by the friends of Al Dunton," and you go home and mention to a family member that there was a nice aerial salute to the departed by a tanker/smokejumper plane/whatever. Do you see the great potential for that person to not understand that the flight was paid for by friends, and instead just assume that the government funded it? And I know, I KNOW, that you know how easy it is for the public to get the wrong idea and assume the worst about the government. Personally, I rely on managers to make decisions like this in order to protect me, the employee of the federal government, from situations where I have to defend the agency against public misperceptions. Denying the fly-over, while maybe personally uncomfortable, was the RIGHT decision for the agency, and that's what Glenn, Hamilton and Murphy get paid to do.

JaSA

7/26 Time To End This: FOR IMMEDIATE POSTING

Dunton Memorial:

First, I want to issue a formal apology to Tim Murphy, Kevin Hamilton, and John Glenn for my part on the assault on their integrity and honor. I know all three are ultimately working towards what’s best for the greatest good of all. It may not be the way some of us woulda’ done it, but it was what it was, and more importantly it is what it is.

Contrary to MCS and AAR doctrine, on Thursday by naming them specifically I made it about “The Who” and not about “The What.” Maybe by the time I’m 70 I’ll learn to truly walk the talk on this. I’m getting better at this, emotion-driven verbiage and decision-making have their place, but this is not the case here.

Secondly, it is what it is. As I’ve stated, the denial could have been handled in a better way, but we are all adult enough (me being the bellweather on knee-jerk childish behavior on occasion) to put this behind us.

Recognizing that I have no ability to alter others’ decision-making on this, i.e., continuing to pursue this, I can try to influence some of you by stating explicitly that we need to put this behind us, and stop beating this dead horse on TheySaid. Now. And as the Staff Assistant, whom I raked over the coals pretty good below, so aptly said, do the right thing and focus on honoring Al’s memory and be sensitive of his family in what is already a difficult time and their need not to let this conflict adversely affect what is intended to be a celebration of his life.

To correct someone else’s post, the flyover was NOT a dying request. And as I stated in my second post, I think most of us who knew the man recognize that he probably would have said “Screw it, let’s have some fun.” And in my book at least, any or all of the three managers are welcome at the celebration next Saturday.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/26 Making the rounds:

I pleased to announce that Sue Exline, Forest Public Affairs Officer has been selected as the new District Ranger for the Ojai Ranger District on the Los Padres National Forest. Her report date to the District will be September 13. We wish her well on her new assignment and will miss her greatly. Congratulations, Sue!

Scott G. Armentrout
Forest Supervisor
Sierra National Forest

7/25 Flyover Continued

To: Just a Staff Assistant

Some of your points are well taken, but you are absolutely incorrect in two major areas. Whether you did this conveniently to make your point or misperceived my points, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter.

1. “Hugh, you speak of honor and accuse Glenn, Hamilton and Murphy of not showing any by refusing the fly-over. But where is the honor in an agency spending those dollars on something that is not in its mission? As public servants, we have to HONOR our duty to the tax-payer, and if a flight cannot be justified, it just can't happen. There shouldn't have to be efforts made to whitewash something like this. We need to be transparent and accountable to the American public, and making some kind of pilot refresher or maintenance flight end-run is not honorable.”

Did you read my response?? There were some not-so-inside jokes about how this could have and has been in the past, and some opinions were expressed by others that we should have done a below-the radar flight, but you will NOT find any advocacy of that be me. For Chrissakes, I was a SAM for 11 years and taught these regulations – and believed in them too!! If you re-read my posts, It is obvious that my (and others’) anger is directed (1) at the insensitivity shown by first approving the flight, then denying it in a curt, short letter with apparently no thought of contacting a family who se expectations had been raised; and (2) an apparent unwillingness as illustrated by #1 to explore other possibilities of accomplishing the mission.

Then re-read my recommendation. What do I say about “going Congressional?” I said “let’s not go there” – Al would not want that, nor does his family. Nor do I feel it is the honorable course. You conveniently ignored that. Selective criticism and turning a blind eye to factors and points that don’t fit your agenda don’t work here, you’re not dealing with rookies.

As to your inference that we dishonor Al’s memory, I have my knee-jerk response to that which is totally unprintable, so we’ll just let that one pass.

I repeat, we need authorization from Murphy, Glenn, and Hamilton to do this flight and we’ll pay for the flight time. We already have commitments for 1 flight hour. And, Staff Assistant, I’ll expect your check in the mail, whoever you are.

Since our Staff Assistant has potentially confused things from his/her selective reading of my position on this, let me be clear. My recommendation is that we formally ask Tim Murphy and staff to allow friends of Al to pay for the flight. I repeat, we do NOT want to get into the political shi*tstorm business on this one, a point that CJ made so eloquently below: “What disturbs me most is the growing distance between "Doing things right" and "Doing the right thing" They should not be so far apart.”

As I stated, going that route, as emotionally satisfying as it may be for some, falls into the category of “Hank Wouldn’t Have Done It That Way,” a song I played for Al on my tribute show to him last night. And as stated, it would not be good at all for the family. That goes for contacting the media.

The 2nd route would be for Tim Murphy and Staff rescind the decision to disapprove the flight and find some way to make it happen legally (you listening, Staff Assistant, LEGALLY.)

The 3rd route, which is eminently feasible and apparently legal under the CFR, is for us to pay for the flyover. Although Al the man would have some serious problems with all this hoopla over him, unassuming gentleman that he was, this option meets our collective (almost) need as a community to follow some of the standard practices of professional organizations, Line-of-Duty Death or not.

So here’s to some immediate conflict resolution by Tuesday.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/25 Fly over vs. No fly over

What disturbs me most is the growing distance between "Doing things right" and "Doing the right thing" They should not be so far apart. As someone who has been there and made some hard and risky choices, I will say this. Always find a way to do the right thing. You have to be able to live with yourself and your organization when it's all over. You only get one shot to get it right! Many of the people who really count are not on the payroll and will remember it one of two ways for life. Hopefully you have a hand in helping to produce the best possible outcome.

CW

7/25 All,

Just got the resource order for the gulf, I fly out tomorrow 7/26/10 at 12:50 CST. I have been on the availability list for almost 2 weeks and am a little surprised it has taken so long. Going as a READ/Resource Advisor. Reference the text below, and straight off the Parkie Web-site from last thursday. Be back in 3.5 weeks.

Later

Lucky Lindy

~~~~
Gulf Coast Parks
Resource Advisors Assure Careful Cleanup Of Sensitive Lands

The Department of the Interior recognized from the very beginning of the oil spill event that the cleanup effort had the potential to create additional impact on the fragile shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico. Early on, the NPS and other federal agencies, specifically the US Fish and Wildlife Service, created a “sensitive lands” branch as part of overall incident management. The keystone of the sensitive lands approach to the cleanup effort is the cooperative effort between work crews on the beach and the resource advisors (READs) assigned to accompany them. READs are specially-trained natural resource professional employed by land management agencies, including the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, who are on the ground with the crews to identify known nesting sites and dune vegetation as well as looking for new nesting sites of sea turtles, birds and beach mice. READs also assist when new ecologically sensitive resources are documented, assist managers in the sensitive lands office to develop amended recommendations for the critical area, and communicate those recommendations back down to the people doing the work. The Department of the Interior believes in using techniques and tools that are effective to get the job done while impacting the landscape the least. According to JD Swed, branch chief for the sensitive lands office at Mobile Incident Command, the national parks and wildlife refuges are being treated like the sea pods of the future. If these areas can be cleaned up while still preserving the biology and ecology of the area, they can be the catalysts to speeding natural recovery of other coastal areas which have been impacted more deeply. The goal of the sensitive lands branch is to clean these areas effectively, and carefully. Meanwhile, here’s what happened in the parks yesterday
7/25 Could you please post the following to the They Said board? I'm not a member, but would like to add a different perspective to the Al Dunton flyover hash... Thanks!

Hugh, you speak of honor and accuse Glenn, Hamilton and Murphy of not showing any by refusing the fly-over. But where is the honor in an agency spending those dollars on something that is not in its mission? As public servants, we have to HONOR our duty to the tax-payer, and if a flight cannot be justified, it just can't happen. There shouldn't have to be efforts made to whitewash something like this. We need to be transparent and accountable to the American public, and making some kind of pilot refresher or maintenance flight end-run is not honorable.

Certainly things were different when Al Dunton and Hugh Carson worked their respective parts of the program. It's easy to arm-chair quarterback this and get indignant, but the easy thing to do isn't always the right thing to do. Stirring up a sh*tstorm seems to be coming pretty easily here, but that's all that is happening. I think publicizing the issue and the tough decisions made does nothing to honor Dunton's memory.

/s/
Just a Staff Assistant
7/25 Important new NOAA update.

Hotlist

7/25 Happy Sunday...

Some lightning fires yesterday afternoon/evening on the Sierra Front (as one Hotlist member calls it on Region 4.5).

Firefighters be sure to wear all your PPE, including gloves.

Check the Hotlist...

Carry on.

Ab.

7/24 Hugh,

Just for the record I am not Tim Murphy, just an old retired firefighter with two kids now working the line.

You are correct, the reversal is unconscionable, something went terribly wrong.

This is a case where the hotshot (or hot shot) adage of "It is easier to get forgiveness than permission." would have made sense.

Before I go I am going to request an evening service so that "Night Flight" can fly the mission.

Tim
7/24 To Tim:

Re: Dunton Fly Over

If, as Hugh assumes you are Tim Murphy, I have unfortunately not had the opportunity to meet you and chat with you about what the FWFSA is trying to do on behalf of your firefighters. Perhaps the lack of an opportunity to meet is firmly based on the fact that the Forest Service fire program and the management thereof is far more dysfunctional than that of the BLM and dealing with the FS has taken up much of our time.

I did not know Al but we have a number of members up in Alaska. I can appreciate your viewpoint about LODD and deaths after retirement etc. However:
In the years I have been working on behalf of all of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters from all five land management agencies, I have seen the deterioration of firefighter morale. Granted, it is likely far greater within the Forest Service than the other agencies but nonetheless it exists.

Issues that we are currently addressing through federal legislation on behalf of these firefighters are issues that firefighters from all agencies have faced for decades with not so much as total indifference shown by the agencies. The fact that the agencies have failed to address and embrace fundamental changes to pay & personnel policies clearly shows these brave men & women that the agencies really don't give a damn about them.

While I understand your quip regarding Pepsi & beef jerky was in response to another post, please forego your flyover so your firefighters can finally receive portal to portal pay; hazard pay on prescribed burns; basic health care and benefits for temps/seasonals and proper classification as federal wildland firefighters.

All the agencies need to demonstrate to their firefighters that in fact their firefighters are important. In this particular case a flyover would perhaps send a message of hope not only to BLM firefighters (sorry, Range Techs) but all federal wildland firefighters that someone up the chain gives a dam*.

With respect to LODD and non-LODD:

My father was a State representative in the Hawaii State legislature for many years. He left political service in 1972 and passed away in 1976. Despite the fact that he did not die while in office, the State of Hawaii and the City & County of Honolulu funded and dedicated a public park in his honor in 1977, five years after he left office.

My point is I don't think firefighters expect flyovers and other types of similar recognition in all instances. But there is a place for them and it seems appropriate in this case... especially if the commitment was made then reneged on because of pressure from bureaucrats. I do not believe a flyover in this case creates a precedent. If the Agency thinks it does, then maybe its time for the agencies to develop some sort of protocol to deal with the deaths of their firefighters.

It is unconscionable that in 2010 the Forest Service, and perhaps the other agencies, have to rely so heavily on local government fire departments to manage a federal firefighter funeral/memorial because they have no such protocols.

Given the fact that the Wildland Firefighter Memorial is just outside the doors of NIFC, and given the fact that some at NIFC have bent over backwards to help and work with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation across the street, it would only be appropriate that an emphatic decision to provide the flyover from the BLM fire folks at NIFC should trump the ignorance of the agency at the national level... who as with most of the agencies, is woefully disconnected from their firefighters in the field.

Respectfully,

Casey Judd
Business Manager, FWFSA
7/24 STARTING IN A FEW MINUTES! Tune in. Ab.

Al Dunton Memorial Radio Show Tonight: Help Needed

Doing my usual Saturday night Turn It Up Show, but dedicated to Al.

You can steam live on your computer by going to kvnf.org  and clicking on “Listen Live” (won’t work unless you have high=speed Internet connection)

Need help, because this one’s not only from me to him, but can be from you to him, too.

Although we have 35,000 CDs and 10,000 vinyl albums, and I have 8,000 songs on my ITunes, send me the song or songs you would play for Al, with whatever one sentence sendoff you’d like.

Please send ASAP to airops@paonia.com

show starts at 1900 MDT to 2130 MDT

We’re burning daylight as we speak, so please act now

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/24 Re: Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

Tim, I hear what you’re saying, it’s a slippery slope, but I go back again to the poor manner and insensitivity of the reversal.

I suspect I am replying to Tim Murphy – if not my apologies to the “Tim” who replied.

Your point is well taken on LODD versus “just passing away.” Slippery slope.

Your point is well taken on how do you measure “stature?” But, and I recognize that I am again engaging in relative thinking, Al, in his quiet and unassuming way, was not only friend/mentor/changer of the fire paradigm in the 90s, but also, quite frankly, GOD to a lot of us (and, to hopefully inject some humor into this, not one of the so-called lesser gods either – he was the main man, period).

So if I am in fact talking to Tim Murphy here, I respectfully request your utmost effort to get Option 3 approved. And time is of the essence, not because we have only a week left, but because we need to decrease the friction co-efficient here pretty quick, as I’m sure you realize, and continue on.

If you are Tim Murphy, please consider the option 3 I outlined – his friends will pay for it, but we will still need your
authorization.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/24 Fly over

Well let's see if the papers here in Boise will do anything I wrote them on this issue. Maybe they can put a little pressure on NIFC if they deem it necessary. Well let's hope someone will come to their senses.

Strive for 205
7/24 Re: Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

I was just about to post something pretty much on the same lines, so THANK YOU to “A Friend of the Wildland Fire Service”

There are provisions in the CFRs which allows attendance at memorials of retirees "when it is in the interest of the agency as determined by an Agency Administrator". The use of government funds for aircraft (and any other official vehicles), however, is pretty clear.

There are a couple of options: <snipped 1>

2. Another option would be for reimbursing the contractor through donations. I personally would contribute to such a fund if someone was willing to coordinate it. I would think that the amount of aircraft costs would be rather minimal and certainly less than 1-2 flight hours.

Having claimed in a previous post yesterday that I knew the regs, I was pretty sure that Murphy/Glenn/Hamilton were on solid ground with this.

However, it was the manner in which they did it, that, quite frankly, sucked: rescinding permission in a short curt letter without any justification (above), no recognition that an expectation had been made, and particularly without even the courtesy of a phone call to family. The letter said “respectfully rescinded” – there was NO RESPECT in any of this.

So, now that I’ve got the emotional venting over, this is where we’re at folks: it’s time to go to the cognitive and determine possible courses of action (ya’ know, that MCS a”bove the waterline/below the waterline” stuff!!). Here’s how I see it:

  1. Contact the staffs of Senators Reid (NV) and Young (AK) and have a sh*tstorm rain down on NIFC BLM HQ, ETA Tuesday.
  2. Allow the triumvirate who made this “unanimous decision” to figure out a way to do this (I still cannot believe that one of them bought into this 100%)
  3. Pursue Option 2 above, i.e., we pay for the flyover (BLM Jumpship is approx $780/hour, stationed currently Winnemucca, possibility it may be in Carson City depending on forecast and need)

So it’s now back to “What would Al have wanted?” This is what it’s all about, and by Al, I mean his family members also.

As to

#1, without a doubt, I know that he would have NOT wanted Option #1 pursued, and I KNOW that his family does not want a time of sadness, remembrance, and celebration of his life sullied by this friction and conflict. I have considered this option very seriously, have had some key people offer key contacts, and 10 years ago, those of you who knew me know I would have pursued this approach in a heartbeat. But not now. Let’s not go there.

#2 would be optimal, but there’s so much egg on the face on this situation, and hard feelings already out there, that I’m not sure the triumvirate have the emotional wherewithal to do the right thing and “just make it happen.”

#3 seems eminently doable, folks. The BLM Jumpship is approx $780/hour. As Al would say, chump change at this table. This will still require approval by the triumvirate, but the offer is hereby put on the table to them, as least by me and, hopefully, a few hundred of mis amigos out there.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/24 Re: Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

As pissed as I am about the flyover reversal order, I'm going to hold my tongue about my inner feelings right now. NIFC / BLM would NOT like what I have to say!

I felt these same feelings when my Father passed away in 2007 and his Agency refused a request for a tanker flyover at his service. My God, the man helped get the air program from damn near nothing (1964) to close to what we see today!

In the end, (under the radar and by the pilots themselves) there was a maintenance flight and my Mom said that flyover at the service "...was the icing on the cake"...for her husband. Mom knew Dad enjoyed what he did to the fullest and just seeing the plane fly over the cemetery gave her a nice, final peace in her heart, she knew Dad was home and "his guys" hadn't forgotten him after he retired. That meant so much to her. I stopped by the airport the next day and thanked the guys for what they did. In their words, they were going to make sure SOMETHING was in the air that day....dam* all else. Dad always took care of his pilots and crews....and in the end, they MADE sure he was taken care of.

It's absolutely mind numbing that the powers that be, or a crew can't muster the courage to do the same thing for Alan and his family. Yes, I understand the politics involved in something like this, however, I've yet to know a pilot worth his salt who didn't know the game better than the Agency he worked for, as is the case 99% of the time.

Blue skies forever Alan...and thank you.

Signed,
An old pilot
7/24 Hopefully someone at the award presentation remembers and acknowledges the sweat, labor and sacrifice of those Firefighters who put the dam thing out.

Pulaski Motor

R5: Region 5 to receive Secretary’s award

On Aug. 3, the Secretary of Agriculture’s group honors award will be given to the “Pacific Region Fire Cost-Recovery Team” for recovering more than $160 million in affirmative fire claims to be used to conserve and restore National Forest System lands. The ceremony will take place at the Jefferson Memorial. Regional Forester Randy Moore, Deputy Regional Forester, Jim Pena, and current and retired employees from the Albuquerque Service Center will accept the award. They were nominated by the Office of General Council under the category “Ensuring our National Forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing water resources.”

7/24 Re: Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

Al Dunton had a distinguished career and will be missed by many. It is unfortunate that his memorial ceremony has become such a contentious issue.

I think there has to be made a distinction between a line of duty death and an off-duty or after retirement passing. I am sure that most would agree with pulling out all of the stops for a LODD. The others are somewhat more problematic.

We are all going to pass on at some point. If this occurs off-duty or after retirement, what are the criteria for an honor such as a fly-over? "Stature" has been suggested as an indicator for making decisions of this type. How do you measure stature? Is there a stature scale? Who makes that decision? Who communicates to the family that their departed lacked sufficient stature to receive some type of honor?

A high profile situation like this becomes precedent, which makes the decision to approve that type of an honor much less likely.

A comment was made concerning money being wasted on creature comforts in fire camps. As someone who has spent many a night sleeping in those camps, I feel that any reasonable expense to provide comforts to firefighters is money well spent. I am willing to for-go my fly-over to defer the expenses associated with providing firefighters with Pepsi and beef jerky.

Tim
7/24 The spelling issue

Really does it matter how it is spelled and does it make you better crews if it is standardized? How about if you get crews to keep their logos and crew colors and not change them every few years like some have now, that wouldn't be a bad place to start. And if we change the spelling are you going to standardize the type of lettering each buggy has? Sorry but when it comes down to it the only thing that matters is the pride and hard working individuals in those buggies and as we know some are way better than others. This must be a slow year for this subject to get put on the site.

Stay safe the summer is just beginning.

Strive for 205
7/24 Big Al Dunton knew how to make things happen.

He had radar regarding important issues and delivering justice to all who worked in wildfire. What a great honor he did for so many of us. He did a lot more than just log time.

For the ghosts of legends past like the infamous Eldo "Mick" Swift, the great smokejumper leader who got thrown into the slammer for weed problems..... Big Al set him up as Chief of Security For the Reno Air Show, so he could work release; during his lock up time in the Federal Big House. Then when released he gave Mick a job up in Alaska, and everyone benefited.

When "mouse" got black balled from the Forest Service he was on top of it long before Mouse even heard he was Black Balled. Mouse was the smallest Marine in the History of the Marine Corps, the smallest, and the best trainer/squad leader, that Cave Junction ever had.

Also, thank you Al for calling, and giving me a job, during Reagan's Freeze, when I too was Black Balled from the Forest Service, and did not even know it. Thanks also for all the other untold numbers of decent types who you gave a job to and kept them from sleeping under a bridge.

You were indeed much more than just a great one!!!!

trooper tom

7/24 Firehire

I have heard that "Firehire" will be making it's way to the rest of the regions; I believe it is in R-5 and now R-3. I would like to know what it is and how bad is it?

Morty

7/24 Re: Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

Unfortunately the decision was made to dis-allow the a flyover for a very respected man who was devoted to the agency and the wildland fire service.

There are provisions in the CFRs which allows attendance at memorials of retirees "when it is in the interest of the agency as determined by an Agency Administrator". The use of government funds for aircraft (and any other official vehicles), however, is pretty clear.

There are a couple of options:
  1. The contractor could conduct a flight at his own expense and "go off the contract" for that period of time. And would probably have to bear the expense himself. This could be a "donation" by the contractor.
  2. Another option would be for reimbursing the contractor through donations. I personally would contribute to such a fund if someone was willing to coordinate it. I would think that the amount of aircraft costs would be rather minimal and certainly less than 1-2 flight hours.

signed

A Friend of the Wildland Fire Service

7/24 Dear Al Dunton,

I never had the pleasure of knowing you........but I've always said the following prayer to ANY Air Ops personnel.......

"FLY LONG........FLY SAFE.....AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU S.O.B.'s.....(SOULS ON BOARD.....)

Fly Long Al.......God Bless you!!!

CDF Fire Captain
7/23 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

BLM and NIFC,

Do to right thing..... Al deserves a fly over. His family and friends and those he touched deserve a public apology for rescinding a promise made. He did so much for all of us and he deserves a HERO's welcome home. How many times have we ordered air tankers, heavy helicopters and jump ships only to cancel them for a false alarm?

THIS IS NOT A FALSE ALARM..... YOU HAVE A DUTY TO FILL THIS ORDER.... He always answered the call and it is time that whomever calls the shots for that jumpship makes that call. He deserves that last flight.... May God bless Al, his family and all of his fire family.. We have lost a leader, mentor and friend... LET US HONOR HIM...

Driver54

7/23 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

Dear Ab,

I HAVE to chime in on the utter disgust of NOT Honoring Al Dunton with a fly-over, and hope the powers to be can approve a "re-con" flight or pilot efficiency flight.

How any MILLIONS of dollars have been wasted on pepsi, and beef jerky in fire camps.???

This is NOT a mis-use of government funds... this is the VERY LEAST that BLM can do to honor of their own. This is what our country is about ... Honoring our heroes.

I never had the privilege of meeting or knowing Al Dunton... but as AB, will know.. (starting to become a "habit"....LOL.. ) ... as I've done in the past ... tonight I will raise a "shot" in AL's memory ....

Please, please, powers-to-be... approve a fly-over... call it what you want. Think of every-time Al answered his telephone on his days off, think of every time Al, gave up his time to support the wildland fire community ....

Sign me,

CDF Fire Captain (yeah ... I know .... its CALFIRE now ... never had the privilege of being a "Division of Forestry"... so I'll stick with the CDF nomenclature)

7/23 hotshot spelling thread

For starters, I know for a FACT that the black eagles have never given us a run for our money (poor observation on your part). Secondly, there's an inordinate amount of pride that goes into being a hotshot. We need something to cling to in these tough times. Such as our shirts, hats, credo and most importantly ... our history.

I believe it would be a good thing to standardize the name. Many of us claim to be professionals, or at least want to be viewed as professionals. Many of us even want to be held in the same regard as city and county agencies. We should get our spelling straight before we make ludicrous demands of  _____ (fill in your biggest gripe).

You're right, there are more pressing issues, but being a hot shot / hotshot is an important one to me.

United we Stand

7/23 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

Chris (Parkan):

While we know that various things happened in the past under the guise of whatever (and those of us who lived in the real world “back in the day”) have all done, and I know where you’re coming from, this is quite emphatically NOT about hiding anything (I’m sure the pilots could have been directed to do some proficiency flying in the vicinity, right?).

This IS about duty, respect, and integrity. If this was about CYA from possible misuse of govt aircraft, I am sympathetic, being intimately familiar with those regs from my career in aviation as well as teaching those regulations in the old IAMS course.

However, I am NOT persuaded that the powers that be could not have easily justified the flyover. Show me a professional emergency response organization in this country that does not “pull out all the stops” for figures of such stature as Al.

We shall see. I am hoping that some weekend thinking by those involved will bring good results. I counseled with some folks this morning, and part of today thinking about “What would Al do?” and “What would Al want?” I think most of us who knew the man recognize that he probably would have said “Screw it, let’s have some fun.” Regardless, I had to express what I did earlier, because what occurred was NOT “doing the right thing,” an approach that informed Al and his very being: “Doing the right thing.” Pax.

Best regards,

Hugh Carson

7/23 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

"Alan Dunton's Memorial Service I am beyond outrage at the reversal by BLM NIFC mgmt authorization of the Al Dunton Memorial flyover. Utter disbelief at this insensitivity and lack or respect not only for him, but also for his family and for our core values as a fire organization. "

I suspect it is about funding as to who will pay for the flight time.

"Back in the Day" When Al was running the AK SMJ program and for many years therafter, the AK Jumpers, in celebration of the end of Rookie training, would have an after hours Pig ( roast) party \ and SMJ would jump into the party under the guise of a Training or Refresher jump ... I wonder if the Battle MTN jumpers need a refresher jump into Solver Saddle Ranch on the 31st ...

... Sierra Front Dispatch ... " Smoke Check " Request 1 load jumpers to Silver Saddle Ranch, ETA 1630 = Fire number ...

Parkan

7/23 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

I am beyond outrage at the reversal by BLM NIFC mgmt authorization of the Al Dunton Memorial flyover. Utter disbelief at this insensitivity and lack or respect not only for him, but also for his family and for our core values as a fire organization. Tim Murphy, Kevin Hamilton, and John Glenn, whatever were you thinking when you did this?! You have brought dishonor and shame to our organization and exhibited incredible disrespect for Al and his legacy. That said, you can recover some modicum of integrity by reversing this arrogant, insulting misuse of power and allow the flight to go forward.

Hugh Carson

7/23 Thought this info might be of interest and relevance on Theysaid with the recent discussion about HCN poisoning and the speculation and discussion following the recent incident on FHL. Feel free to edit and use as you see fit.
KSENGB
~~~~
also from vfd cap'n and
from a hotshot in California and
from a wildland firefighter's spouse
and from Shawn Longerich to the Ab account

(Ab NOTE:
This is not a recall of Cyanokit which is the antidote for Hydrogen Cyanide exposure (HCN) (aka acute cyanide exposure) from fire smoke.
It is a recall of CAK, which is the antidote for Cyanide exposure (CN), the solid ingested "cyanide" that poison centers know about.

Some large trivia:

  • HCN is a gas that was used in Hitler's death camps and is 35 times more toxic than carbon monoxide.
  • HCN occurs in smoke on the wildland-urban interface: dump fires, vehicle fires, homes burning, meth labs burning, plastic irrigation pipes of pot plantations burning, gold and other mineral mines burning, etc.
  • HCN is in modern-day fire smoke.
  • Read this very short article for starters: HCN is not a Cable Channel
  • Luckily, the kind of antidote that is being recalled is not the kind of antidote that wildland firefighters need to counteract our kind of fire smoke HCN exposure.
  • Study up. Your brain and heart will thank you.

~~~
--- Original message ---

From: "Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition" shawn@firesmoke.org
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2010 12:15:05 -0500
Subject: FireSmoke.Org / FDA Seizes Cyanide Antidote Kits (CAK)
[1]Forward to a Friend
___

URGENT ATTENTION! - CAK Kits Seized - NOT the Cyanokit  
___

The following are links to the FDA press releases distributed yesterday by the Federal Drug Administration regarding seizure of the Cyanide Antidote Kits (CAK) from Keystone Pharmaceuticals. Do not confuse the CAK with Cyanokit and/or Hydroxocobalamin.

According to the FDA, the Cyanide Antidote Kits (CAK):

1. have not proven safe or effective for their intended use;
2. the kits also are misbranded because their labeling does not contain adequate directions for their use; and,
3. the products are adulterated because they were manufactured under conditions not in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) to assure that they meet the identity, quality, and purity standards they claim to possess."

Please share this information with those in your EMS and medical networks to expedite removal of the CAK from the pharmaceutical mainstream.

We also encourage you to read the publication, [2]SMOKE: The Toxic Twins of Smoke Inhalation wherein Drs. Augustine, O'Brien, and Walsh discuss the contraindications of CAK administration in the face of smoke inhalation versus that of the Cyanokit (also referred to as Hydroxocobalamin) which has proven to be an effective and safe antidote for acute cyanide (HCN) poisoning.

For more information:

[3]FDA Warning Letter [4]FDA Inspections, Compliance Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

[5]Federal Government Seizes Cyanide Antidote Kits from California Company
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 14:00:00 -0500

For information about the Cyanokit, please see: [6]www.Cyanokit.com

Shawn Longerich

Executive Director
Direct Dial: 317.690.2542
[7]shawn@firesmoke.org

References

1. mailto: slongerich@gmail.com
2. firesmoke.org
3. www.fda.gov Warning Letters 2008
4. www.fda.gov ICECI
5. www.fda.gov Press Announcements
6. Cyanokit.com/
7. mailto: shawn@firesmoke.org

This message was sent by: Shawn Longerich, 120 East Market Street, Suite 1201, Indianapolis, IN 46204

7/23 NTSB Report

Sent to the Ab account bt RetFSFireCop:

David Jamsa died on 8/20/10 when the SEAT he was piloting crashed while working on the Hoyt Fire in Central NV.

NTSB Probable Cause released 7/1/10

Article:

Feds cite pilot error in air tanker crash last summer

Pilot error likely was responsible for the fatal crash of a single-engine air tanker that smashed into rugged terrain while battling a Northern Nevada wildfire last summer, federal investigators said. Pilot Dave Jamsa's "failure to maintain a stabilized approach prior to the retardant drop and his subsequent failure to release the retardant load" as he attempted to pull out of a dive caused his aircraft to crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said. ~check the link~

7/22 Flyover Alan Dunton's Memorial Service

The BLM National Office denied the use of a Smokejumper Aircraft to fly over at Alan Dunton's Memorial Service after promising a dying man it would happen. Al's last request was for a jumpship to fly over at his memorial service and the BLM approved it prior to his passing on Saturday. Alan Dunton was one of the first Alaska Smokejumpers and was a cornerstone in making BLM Fire and Aviation what it is today. Current BLM Management at NIFC barely understands fire, its culture and the legacy. Their understanding of the business is brittle and Tim Murphy wouldn't know a fire if it was on the end of his cigarette.

In the Navy request for Burial at Sea is about honor, tradition and culture, it's a reward for service. The BLM has denied reward for Al's service and disgraced his honor. They ignored sentiment and history.

Thank you Al for supporting the truth and defending honor - those involved will hopefully not attend the celebration for our brother.

GR

7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread etc:

KB

No voting on removing anything from me. It was the talk that surfaced following one of the meeting this last winter. I agree with the logo, shirts, and names and agree with how it defines a group and builds the cohesion.

KP

7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread:>

A hotshot:

1. A person of impressive skill and daring, especially one who is highly successful and self-assured.
2. A nonstop freight train.

It doesn’t matter how you spell it…I like definition #2 personally...

fyrbill
7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread etc:

KP,

There is a lot of pride, tradition and history behind a Hotshot crew. Part of the tradition is the crew logo, the crew name, even the color of their shirt. It gives a high efficiency organization something to associate each other with and own. You will often times see this with special operations military units.

So, before you vote to ditch the names, look past the vinyl art on the side of a buggy.

To your second statement, there is more to being a Hotshot Crew than just digging line, completing a burnout or hiking long line. Sure some shot crews have lost sight of the dedication and discipline that others do. You even have some Type 2 crews who have it more than those shot crews. However, you are still missing a lot of gravy in your meat and potato dinner to be a Hotshot.

KB

7/22 Remembering Jeff and Shane:

Ab,

Today marks 7 years since the Cramer Fire made its fatal run, killing Jeff Allen and Shane Heath.

vfd cap'n

Our best wishes to their moms, dads families and friends. Ab.

7/22 Good article on the Firefighters- Engine 31, West Valley Fire and Rescue- that were burnt over on the WA-YK8N-Cowiche Mill Road fire:.

One of em tells it like it was... Listening to it on the scanner was hair raising.

Firefighter talks about being overrun by flames
Last updated July 22, 2010 10:59 a.m. PT | By Shannon Dininny, Associated Press writer

teaser:
YAKIMA, Wash. -- From his rear seat on Engine 31, Michael Rhine watched the fire, seemingly at a safe distance. But as the engineer swung the truck around to face the one way out, a big stand of sagebrush blew up into a 40-foot wall of flame. Amid zero visibility and intense heat, Engine 31 was engulfed, crashing through a dirt barrier and a barbed-wire fence before faltering to a stop.

"They're off the road," someone yelled on the radio. "Probably need a mayday."

The two firefighters in front bailed out the driver's door, but Rhine couldn't budge the back door. It was so hot his hand blistered as he tried to push it open.

The others yelled at him to go out the front, but he couldn't hear over the roar of the fire. They began to flee, and he dove over the seat, out the door and to the ground. As the three sprinted across a field in search of safety, Rhine felt the fire burning his ears. He kept running.... link to the rest is at top...

HOTLIST thread with photo of the burned up engine. Thanks Sammie and Richv.

roadrunner

If anyone has the 24 hr report, or what passes for it in the state of Washington, please send it in. Ab.

7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread:

A n F,

You hit my thoughts dead on. I agree that the tradition is great, and there are some awesome crews out there. There are some that are slipping a little but how much of it is there fault. Can I say FIRE HIRE.

How much change do we keep getting hit with that comes from the boots in the dirt? I don't think very much, if any at all.

KP

7/22 From NWCG

Safety Advisory : Cache Memorandum N0 10-3 - Non-Compliant Fuel Bottles (295 K pdf file)

7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread:>

<*}}}}}}><,
HOTSHOTS or HOT SHOTS BOTH WORK and mean the same. I believe Hot Shots was the original way to spell it back in the mid '40's. Not sure when we changed to Hotshots, maybe the '70's.

KP,
The name does matter, there is 60+ years of history and tradition in it. And thus the reason why many are jealous they have not obtained this honor. But that is OK, there will always be a need for Type 2 Hand Crews...

DirtMiner

7/22 The FHL exposure is being written up as a Facilitated Learning Analysis

How Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) compares to other kinds of reports and fosters lessons learned.

Nice. Ab.

7/22 Hot Shot spelling thread:

KP,

I think we Hotshots care and that might be about it. Some of the old Hotshots are on teams and they care. It's our own world. Some Hotshots have moved on to other agencies and have even retired. Those guys like to see those truck in town or on the highway going to fires. I little deeper than you might know.

When I am pulling into an active or non active fire it is nice to see that name on the side of the rig and know who I am working with. Crews have changed throughout the years but some crews still have a solid reputation. Nice to see some things have not changed. Some have made a turn for the worse. Also I think you are missing the point about the difference of the spelling. We used to be Hot Shot, but for some reason we now are Hotshot. Why is there a difference? Each crew has their own style, originality and history. Have we lost some history throughout the years? I think so! It was not Passed On!

The folks talking about removing the names where they Hotshots or were they Hot Shots?

A n F

Maybe Naugies? and not former Hot Shots? HAW HAW, Naugies! See eljefe's post from yesterday for a description of the term. Ab.

7/22 Hot Shots and hotshots and HS and IHC, etc:

With the advent of the internet, many 2 word open combinations have been made into hyphenated compound
words and some into solid compound words. Permanent compounds of any sort are listed in the dictionary but
common usage can vary greatly and determines what becomes permanent. Here are some people come across
in fire and on the internet that have changed in the last 12 years:

wildland fire fighter --> wildland firefighter
electronic mail --> E-mail --> email, whether noun or verb
on line --> online
web site --> website
up date --> update (verb)
mop up --> mop-up --> mopup
wind driven --> wind-driven --> winddriven
air tanker --> airtanker
blow up  --> blowup
helicopter base, helicopter landing spot, etc  --> helibsase, helispot, helishot, helirappeller
hose lay --> hoselay
hot spot --> hotspot
Hot Shot  --> hotshot --> HS or IHC--> hs
time lag --> timelag
under burn --> underburn
burn over --> burnover
tie in --> tie-in

With the advent of chat, texting and "multitasking", many words have been reduced to acronyms or letters and
capital letters to lowercase and many companies have gone from full name to letters:

air tankers --> airtankers --> ATs
wildland urban interface --> WUI (or woowee as a new note-taker at a R5 BOD meeting put it in the notes
   in 2001) and often now just called "interface" in conversation
Initial Attack --> IA
Extended Attack --> EA
Job Hazard Analysis --> JHA --> jha
USFS --> FS or fs
British Petroleum --> BP to bp to oil spill
International House of Pancakes to ihop

list of fire acronyms
list of chat/texting acronyms

I like Hot Shot, but I think people will take the route of posting it Hotshot...

Mellie

7/21 HotShot spelling thread:

<*}}}}}}><,

HotShot

yactak

7/21 FHL exposure

Got the investigation results from FHL Safety today. The 10 fire fighters were exposed to CS gas (tear gas).

KP

24 Hour Report? AAR? Ab.

7/21 HOTSHOT vs. Hot Shot vs. IHC

Does anyone really care? How about national standard of removing the names off of the top of the buggies like being talked about. Does the spelling of Hot Shot, HOTSHOT, IHC makes a difference at how good of a fire fighter you are, Ive seen both version's to and honestly think the Black Eagles could give them a run for their money.

KP

7/21 Folks,

Thought you all might find this collection of work interesting on "Top Secret America", as reported by the Washington Post: Top Secret America

Of note for this group is a discussion of the heavy use of contractors, and an article on that topic from the main site ("National Security Inc.", July 20). Something that may be relevant here for this crowd is the ODNI's (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) response to the contractor piece, including a discussion about "inherently governmental" work: Truth About Contractors (pdf) .

Food for thought.

Be safe, as always -

-Fly On The Wall
7/21 <*}}}}}}><,

How about HOTS HOTS?

Thinking beneath the box,

The Fire Curmudgeon

7/21 My family had never heard of Thomas “TJ” Marovich until this day, a year ago.

I heard of his passing at 10:20 AM on July 21st, 2009.

I have thought of him each day since.

Throughout the past year I have come to know that he was the kind of firefighter who had all of the finest qualities I had strived for in my fire career… service to others, selflessness, attitude, commitment, professionalism. He made it seem so easy to be so good at what he did, enjoy doing it and give back to others.

Today I honor TJ’s giving spirit, and the tragic loss of that for his family.

My husband traveled from another state and attended TJ’s funeral with the Chester Crew . He was approached by a crew member who asked him if he knew my brother. It was a surprising question, since this young man was a stranger to my husband… and also because my brother had literally disappeared four years earlier, without a trace.

The young man said that my brother had Stage 4 cancer and was in a California hospital. That was all he knew, and the young man went back into the crowd.

We learned that the story was true and shortly thereafter, I found my brother, and our family was reunited. He has completed chemo and major surgeries… and the cancer is in remission. I know of only one other person who has survived Stage 4 cancer. It is amazing ….

My brother believes that he survived because he was not alone… that he had his family with him, and that our love and support sustained him. Had we not found him when we did, he would not be here today with us.

I believe that this was a parting gift of the spirit of TJ…. that even as he was grieved, and honored…. that moment provided an opportunity at a time of crisis.

His memory reminds me each day…. to reach out, to share what is known, to change another life in the best way possible; by caring.

The tragic accident that took TJ’s life reminded us a year ago that our work in fire is not simply a job… it is not only seasonal….  it is never "only" temporary. So pay attention to one another and listen closely…

You never know when it might be a message that changes your life….forever.

Thank you TJ…for this second chance.

LD

Tom's death was very hard on this community. I was there when Tom's plane took off. So sad. LD, glad your brother is doing well. My best to you and your family. Ab.

7/21 I stand Corrected on the WFAP numbers for California

Here are the corrected number of expected vacancies. Of course not cast in stone - but what the Forests are reporting:

ARCADIA (Angeles NF) 10
CORONA (Cleveland NF) Undetermined
PLACERVILLE (Eldorado NF) 10
BISHOP (Inyo NF) 4
YREKA (Klamath NF) 15 to 20
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit) 10
SUSANVILLE (Lassen NF) 5
GOLETA (Los Padres NF) 28
WILLOWS (Mendocino NF) No positions
ALTURAS (Modoc NF) 4
QUINCY (Plumas NF) 8
SAN BERNARDINO (San Bernardino NF) 3 to 5
PORTERVILLE (Sequoia NF) 13
REDDING (Shasta Trinity NF) 10
CLOVIS (Sierra NF) 10
EUREKA (Six Rivers NF) 20 to 26
SONORA (Stanislaus NF) 6
NEVADA CITY (Tahoe NF) No positions

Thanks

Rita Yates
R-5 Civil Rights Staff

7/21 Remembering TJ Marovich

1 year since we have lost a very kind firefighter. It is the anniversary of TJ's Marovich's death 7/21/2009 @ 10:10 a.m. If you could all take a moment today to reflect on Tom's presence in all of our lives that he affected. He is still missed in most of our lives and will also be remembered. He was a joy to have around in my work life and life. He was so proud to work for the USDA Forest Service. It would be nice if some of the new firefighters had his ambition and drive to work in the world of Wildland Firefighter. He had a very kind soul.

Miss you,

Blondie.

7/21 Crew Buggies: HOTSHOT or HOT SHOT or IHC?

Just thinking out loud here.... I've been looking at a lot of crew buggies lately and have noticed a significant difference. HOT SHOTS vs. HOTSHOTS (notice the space between us). How bout' a national standardization of the word/phrase? Are we HOT SHOTS,... or HOTSHOTS. Maybe we should roll with IHC, then we won't have to worry about it. I'm sure there are more pressing issues, but why not throw this one out too!

 <*}}}}}}><

7/21 Remembering Tom Marovich

One year ago today Thomas Marovich lost his life in a helicopter rappel accident. That moment has affected change to the program that will make it safer for all. Thomas is in my thoughts as are all the members of the Chester Fly Crew. TJ, you will always be remembered.

Fire Mom

7/21 For submission to "Quotes to Live By"

Div Chief Bill Clayton, CALFIRE (Ret)
“Never trust a Naugie.”
Describing mistrust of those high in an agency who determine policy from their nauhgaide chair (swivel optional)

Pete Pedersen, Fire Chief (Ret)
“There is no fire more important than the one that is currently burning.”
Speaking to a political body, defending his decision to send a large amount of resources to a mutual aid incident.

Submitted by exjefe

I added 'em. Thanks. Pretty funny on the naugahyde. I added a wikipedia link for those too young to know the term. Also www.naugahyde.com/ Kinda like a REMF in the military? Ab.

7/21 Is Safecom down or am I getting the Error Notice page for some other reason?

Thanks
JT

There's solicitation for a survey, but you can enter a SAFECOM by entering at either of the two links below https://www.safecom.gov/ and click on SAFECOM on the right. Sometimes websites are down (at night or in low traffic times) for a bit as techies work on upgrading them. Ab.

7/20 FEMA

Joe TOBSS Jones,

As a retired “structure guy” with 40 years and a bit of wildland experience (yeah, the fun stuff), I can’t agree with you more. Our successful WF folks are sorely needed in both FEMA and the USFA. If not at the top, somewhere where they are occasionally allowed to drive the dam* car. Why aren’t they? My guess is those that fill the posts are selected by the politicos. Who is knocking on the door when the vacancies occur? The structure folks outnumber the brushbunnies. And many of the structure people already have the political connections necessary to get the nod. But it requires a mixture of the skill sets!

How do we resolve this? Our WF leaders (don’t confuse them with the WTF leaders…) should be advising the politicians of the shortcomings seen, and the fact that the resolve is available… in the form of seasoned veterans of the wildland fires. Someone with the experience of successfully running a large campaign fire, coupled with the collaboration skills necessary to tackle the multi-hazard environment.

exjefe

7/20 RE: FEMA and oil spill.

Sign me Retired,

FEMA and State EMAs are indeed lurking around the oil spill response (Stafford Act or no Stafford Act.) And ICS is definitely an alien concept to most of the responding agencies. But there are a lot of competent people on scene and they are working hard to muddle through the mess.

So far FEMA has failed with regard to ICS. As long as ex-structural (and paper pushing disaster insurance) personnel control FEMA we will continue to see this lack of cohesion and effectiveness. The same goes for the US Fire Administration. These people don't have the depth of experience dealing with operationally long duration incidents. It doesn't take much to get these people wrapped around the axle with many of the details that wildland incident managers deal with all the time -- with hardly a second thought. Many (not all) structural folks only experience a handful of long-duration incidents (mostly wildland fires) in their whole careers.

Wildland personnel (of many agencies) experience that many incidents in a slow season, multiplied by 30 year careers. Often wildland incident management personnel are excluded because of the all-risk nature of incidents of national significance. Over the years wildland managers have wrote the book on ICS, we are the one's who regularly "live it"-- we should demand that we have a greater role in implementing it nationally regardless of the nature of the incident. During our core season we can set up and support a city of 5,000 people practically overnight, identify and mobilize thousands of responders and equipment across the nation within 24 hours and have an ICS credentialing system already in place. It is frustrating to say the least, to watch high level individuals in FEMA struggling to respond in capacities in which they should exhibit a lot more expertise and coordination. FEMA is wasting a lot of time and money reinventing the wheel. Until FEMA allows in more wildland incident managers, we will continue to see wasted efforts during critical all-risk national emergencies.

Joe Tired of Being Second String Jones

7/19 This Safety Advisory from NWCG on Heat Illness (48 K doc file) is being re-emphasized:

You can find the Tech Tips on Heat Illness HERE: Illness (2577 K pdf file)

7/19 Photo from the Yakama Herald of the burned over fire apparatus (fire truck, Engine 31) on the Cowiche fire yesterday.

burned over photo

GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic
The remains of a West Valley fire vehicle near Carvo Road on July 19, 2010 west of Yakima, Wash.

I have been told that all are out of the hospital.

article here: Cowiche fire 15 percent contained size now at 10000 acres

Thanks to Sammie and richv and others. Ab.

7/19 Quotes to Live By

Ab,

Not sure if this is worthy of your Quotes to Live By or not. This was my reaction to a WUI (I-Zone then) evolution that was being taught at our Academy many moons ago: “Whenever you apply a static procedure to a dynamic event you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

High Lonesome

I added that. Very good one.
Actually that understanding is the basis of Doctrine -- Commander's Intent -- and what the Union leader communicated at Little Roundtree during the Battle of Gettysburg. Shattuck's Article on communicating intent (K pdf file) located at  fireleadership.gov. Ab.

7/19 It has been a popping weekend.

Be safe ALL!

Ab.

7/19 AB... here are a few to consider for "Quotes to live by"
  1. (seen scrawled on the back of a traffic sign on HW 101 in Mendocino County) : "Mother Nature Bats Last"
  2. Came to me on a fire in an old burn in Humboldt County: "When fighting a fire in an old snag patch, stop a think how those snags got there."

John Barbour- Battalion 1212 (ret.)

PS, several of the existing quotes were original printed in Alan Brunacini`s "Timeless Tactical Truth's" While it was intended for the structure fire community, many applied equally to vegetation fires; "Fires fire". JB

Thanks, I added them to Quotes to Live By. Ab.

7/19 FEMA and oil spill

Poor devils, they [FEMA] still cannot spell ICS. Worked for them 2 years after 20+ with USFS; I had to retire just to keep my sanity. I was on one of their ‘special’ teams they conjured up to mirror USFS IMTs….. it was a JOKE. So please, do not look for FEMA to help with oil spill or any other disaster, I definitely saw them at their “BEST” and it was not pretty.

Sign me Retired!

As I understand it, the oil spill is not a Stafford Act event, so FEMA is not involved; it's BP and then primarily a Coast Guard & NOAA effort on the govt side. Ab.

7/18 rating Paxon's book - The Monster Reared His Ugly Head, the Story of the Rodeo-Chediski Fire

As a Fire Captain from Ca-OES Strike Team 1810-A who was assigned to the Bison Ranch and Heber-Overguard areas, I fought some of the toughest, hottest, fire in the 30 + years of my fire service career.

Jim's book brings you right there to the front lines. It is well written and captures a piece of Arizona's contemporary fire history. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the multiple challenges faced in managing an incident of this magnitude. Definitely rate as 5 brushooks

Sincerely,
wrongway

7/18 Memories of Al Dunton

Al Dunton was the best “boss” many of us ever had. He had an amazing capability to think things through from all vantage points. He was a great listener, not requiring a lot of convoluted justification from staff to get some very big and impacting things done (Kevin Hull and I with all due respect but big grins called it “management by yellow sticky”).

Al made things happen without a lot of hoopla, sometimes like magic. He defined the saying, “Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast.” He was one of a kind, and part of a generation of fire managers (Rosenkrantz, Chambers, etc.) who left on an honorable and indelible mark on our profession.

Big Al, I will miss you.

Pax vobiscum, wherever you are.

Hugh Carson

7/18 Al Dunton's passing

From this morning's WGB New and Notes:

We would like to extend our condolences to the Al Dunton family. Al passed away yesterday at his home here in Reno. Al was one of the first Alaska Smokejumper Base Managers, the State Fire Management Officer for Nevada BLM and the National Fire Director for BLM at the time of his retirement. Al's daughter Amber worked here at Western Great Basin and his daughter Melanie was a Mc Call Smokejumper. Al will be missed by many.

Pyro

Condolences. Ab. I added his record in a special category under the SJ to Fire Manager History. One of his daughters was a SJ. Was he?

7/18 Just read the joke about the Smokejumper. I've got one for you AB, but you may have already heard it.
How does a hotshot put out a fire in the kitchen? ... By starting a fire in the living room. No need to post unless you feel the need.

Quick Connect.

HAW HAW. I may have heard it, but still funny! Put it on the old Scratchlines 2004, One Liners and Jokes list. Ab.

7/18 cyanide vs hydrogen cyanide

Hi George,

There's cyanide (CN) and then there's hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in firesmoke.

Mellie

7/17 Hey there,

I dig the website and frequent it often. Been in and around for 3 years and I know this is my career. Wanted to add a joke to the board but I didn't see a link to do so. Post it if you please.

Q: How do you know when a smokejumper walks into a bar?
A: He'll tell ya.

RG

HAW HAW, good one... I put it on the old 2004 Scratchlines One Liners and Jokes list.
For amusement you can also visit Quotes to Live By, Funny Fire Terms & Nicknames, Tactical Truths 2000 and IMWTK. Ab.

7/17 FHL Exposure

I found a list of cyanokit side effects, I think folks with potential exposure should talk it over with a Doctor, preferably a Toxicologist, before just taking the shots....

We had people on our Forest get very sick once with some bad Hep A vaccine we were told we needed after sewage exposure...later told the vaccine could have been more risk than the potential exposure to the HEP A....

Cyanokit Side Effects.doc

IF

7/17 FHL Exposure

OK I understand everyone is concerned for the safety and welfare of the Firefighters that were exposed and the potential for exposure in the future that's a valid discussion. But lets take a step back and start looking at facts instead of making presumed decisions and conclusions. At this time there is not a single person who can without a reasonable doubt say that cyanide poisoning occurred. We can all sit at home hear rumors about what happened and look up symptoms on GOOGLE then type all kinds of cool things to stir the pot. Remember people's families read this all the time we don't need to be filling there minds with things that are not proven facts.

Facts:
- Firefighters were fighting a wildland fire on FHL
- 10 Firefighters ( 7 USFS, 3 FHL) were exposed to an UNKNOWN inhalation hazard
- 10 Firefighters were accessed and transported in a timely manner to hospitals for evaluation
- All Firefighters were evaluated and released and appear to be doing fine according to the Superintendent who should have more facts on the incident then everyone else combined since HE/SHE was there
- FHL will be doing a survey of the area to detect what was actually there to cause the incident

So till all the rest of the fact come out lets just keep the Firefighters in our thoughts and hope that they are doing better. There is no reason to speculate when answers will be coming very soon.

HC

7/17 FHL Exposure

As a budding Emergency Medicine physician and former wildland firefighter, I've been reading the discussion about Cyanide exposure with great interest.

There there is a lot of good information and advice, but there is also some very incorrect and potentially dangerous information out there.

A couple of things:

Cyanide toxicity should be on the minds of wildland firefighters, especially with increased WUI and fires on military/mining/industrial sites. As firefighters it is imperative that the profession understand the potential risks of any fire, including that of toxic exposures. Because of the unique work environment, wildland firefighters often have knowledge that others don't, including members of the health professions. Cyanide exposure is a very rare event - (U.S. Poison Control stats say somewhere ~250 mentioned exposures/yr, though there are undoubtedly more that aren't reported.)

It doesn't take a toxicologist to diagnose or treat cyanide toxicity. There are three things it takes to do so: a hospital with a lab that runs standard labs 24 hours a day, an antidote kit, and a suspicion that exposure has happened. The last part is where firefighters come in - because any doc, (or PA, or nurse) can be alerted to a problem with a little prompting. As for ER docs training, those who went through approved Emergency Medicine residencies receive much more than 2 hours of toxicology training, as most have formal toxicology rotations. (However, not all EM physicians completed an EM residency or are even board certified in Emergency Medicine.) But the big thing is that there needs to be a suspicion that exposure occurred. Please let medical personnel know of this risk.

As it is currently, there is no "useful" blood test for cyanide itself. It was mentioned that a blood sample can often be sent to specialized labs across the country. While this might confirm cyanide exposure, there is not currently any data on what this means. Blood levels of cyanide are, for all purposes, useless; and as mentioned in a previous post, will be reported long after the treatment window has passed.

However, this does not mean that we can't test for other markers of toxicity. Right now, to diagnose cyanide toxicity we need only two labs: plasma lactate and a blood gas sample (venous or arterial.) These labs are available at any hospital that runs lab samples 24 hours a day. They come back in about 20-30 minutes. If there has been a potential exposure, clinical signs of toxicity, and elevated lactate or decreased pH on blood gas, then treatment for cyanide toxicity is recommended.

There are two different antidote formulations. One is the Cyanokit, a relatively new product (2006 or so), and the older "CAK or Lilly/Pasadena Kit". The Cyanokit has only 1 medication, while the CAK has 3 different medications, given in succession. Depending on where you are, you might see one or the other. The older kit has some contraindications (one of which is smoke inhalation), though that can be avoided by only giving certain medications of the 3. The Cyanokit, while having a low side effect profile, is NOT completely benign. It has been associated with life threatening allergic reactions, heart rhythms, and respiratory problems.

As of now, administration of the drug is through an IV and must be accompanied by cardio-respiratory monitoring, usually meaning in hospital administration. If there is long transport times and the EMS is proficient in IV, C-R monitoring, and the suspicion is high, it can be given "in the field." Most EMS have protocols that deal with this. However, I'm aware that many USFS units, especially those that travel out of state/region, do not have defined protocols and are often operating without medical direction/oversight. Be aware of these limitations.

The Cyanokit is fairly costly ($600/kit) and does have an expiration date. The manufacturer was, at one time, offering replacement kits to EMS/Fire units if the Cyanokit expired before use. I'm not sure if they are currently doing so. The Cyanokit also does have temperature ranges for storage and transport (15 days at temps down to 41F or up to 105F/ 4 days at temps -4F or up to 140F); I do not believe there are any studies of the kits on rigs exposed to higher temps - something to keep in mind for fire vehicles that are often out in the hot temps fighting fires.

Finally, a plug for the Poison Control Center. Having spent time in a regional center, please CALL the poison control immediately if there has been a suspected exposure. They will be able to help with locating facilities with capabilities for treatment (i.e. closest trauma centers, burn centers, hyperbaric oxygen centers), as well as giving advice on antidote, and possible co-exposures. (Furthermore, reporting exposures to Poison Control allows toxicologists, doctors, and researchers to analyze the data and develop better treatments and protocols.) A Poison Control Center will have access to a toxicologist 24 hours a day, so even in the most rural hospitals or clinics, consultations can be given over the phone. Every state has at least 1 center (some have multiple.) There is one number to call: 1-800-222-1222. Wherever you are in the country, this will get you the Poison Control Center covering your area.

Thanks to all who are keeping an eye out for these exposures, and keeping our firefighters safe and healthy. Please continue to do so. And please utilize the Poison Control Centers as well as your regional Trauma Centers.

George Kochman, M.D.
Senior Resident, Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Maryland School of Medicine
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
Baltimore, Maryland

Thanks George. Ab.

7/17 Hi JJ,

I didn't know the answer to your question for sure so I contacted Shawn Longerich at The Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition (CPTC): firesmoke.org

Here's her reply:

Regardless of whether there was a confirmed exposure, if the Cyanokit is administered, the individual will still temporarily turn red and urine will be red, gradually decreasing in intensity, over the course of a week. Shawn

By the way, the CPTC is a great organization. They presented at the hotshot's group last winter and at some other wildland firefighter and team meetings, I think. Go to their website, read, join watch the videos.

Mellie

7/17 Mellie

Thanks for that. Any more references or info to follow up on?

Q... If firefighters get the antidote after symptoms and turns out weren't exposed do they still turn red and pee red? or is that only if the antidote has HCN to work on?

JJ

7/17 8 or more wildland firefighters (from 2 agencies: FS, military-FHL) exposed to a toxin that could be hydrogen cyanide while cutting fireline at Fort Hunter Liggett CA:

Ask the doctor, ask the army base, ask yourself:

How was Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN- in smoke) or Cyanide (CN) exposure ruled out?

If there's no HCN meter and no readings at that time and place, we don't know for sure about exposure to HCN Cyanide in smoke does not hang around unless it's also in the ground (CN)... if it's in smoke from something burning or exploding, it will likely be gone

So how do we know if we've been exposed to HCN from fire smoke?

Diagnosis from symptoms -- "presumptive diagnosis" -- is the quickest way to assess risk.

  • disorientation
  • labored breathing
  • fainting
  • vomiting

At the very least there are these symptoms; at the worst there's respiratory arrest, unconsciousness and death.

The symptoms above can also indicate Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning aka "smoke inhalation".

In addition to the symptoms, with HCN

  • Blood pressure will be low (as with CO poisoning)
  • Lactate levels will be higher than normal.

Most doctors -- that are not toxicologists trained in poison exposure -- will assume it's "smoke inhalation" (carbon monoxide CO poisoning or generically "something in the smoke"). They'll get you resting, administer oxygen, get your blood pressure up, "cool em down" (psychologically) and release you as "good to go" with the diagnosis of "smoke inhalation"... and may possibly suggest you rest up for a day. It's not their fault. Typical ER physicians at small hospitals have on average 2 hours of toxicology training as it relates to medicine in the ER. (Survey of ER docs, I can look up the reference.)  Hydrogen Cyanide poisoning is not on their radar.

In the first few hours after exposure to a poison a doctor/nurse can do an arterial blood draw, send it to a toxicology lab on ice (sometimes as far away as MN!) and 24 to 48 hours later you can rule HCN out (or in) but only if the blood was drawn immediately following exposure. That much time has not passed in this case, since our firefighters were exposed to whatever poison they were exposed to yesterday (between 1-2 PM). Results cannot be back yet. So how do we know "It was not HCN"?

Unfortunately, by the time the HCN toxicology test results do come back, it's too late for the Cyanokit antidote to counteract the small or large killing effects of the cyanide. The antidote has to be administered within 12 hours, and the sooner the better. If the exposure is severe, moments can count.
With longer time passing, the risk increases that cells and possibly organs are already dying due to HCN in your blood. Central nervous system (brain) and heart are the most immediately affected, and are also the most affected in the long term.

Sidebar: For those that have taken the wildland firefighter leadership training classes, there's a relevant graph of time (horiz axis) by options (vert axis) that's used to illustrate the need to think and act quickly to maximize your chance of achieving the best outcome. In many high risk situations or accidents being situationally aware, having the training, acting quickly and decisively and knowing and making the right choices are key to your own survival or survival of your crew.  With the passage of time options to mitigate or avoid the risk diminish.

That is really true in this case with HCN. Cyanokit should be administered immediately if HCN exposure is suspected. The risks of not administering the antidote are HUGE; the gains from administering it are HUGE; there are NO SIDE EFFECTS. The longer the delay, the greater the risk of bad outcomes.

Cyanokit

  • The Cyanokit antidote has no side effects, was approved by the FDA in 2006 and is widely used by structure firefighters, mine workers and others at risk for HCN exposure. I'm told other agencies and industries think it's the best thing since sliced bread.
  • It is administered as an injection.
  • It should be a pretreatment to hospital arrival or administered immediately upon arrival if that's within the golden hour. The sooner the better. Cyanide is a very fast acting poison.
  •  The only side effects are you turn cherry red and pee red for a week. The antidote attaches itself to the HCN in the blood, producing vitamin B-12 which is precipitated out in the urine.

What can we do?

  • First of all if you're a fire leader or fire manager you /we must be educated or trained, we need this information in your/our slidebox. (Like when we were figuring out about burn inhalation injury and what to do to protect our people: that is, to send them to burn centers where the knowledge is.) See something, say something! Know something, say something! Get them the antidote and help asap.
  • There needs to be a protocol to follow when the presumptive symptoms of HCN poisoning occur. Cyanokit is a start. It's easy to say Get them to a hospital, any hospital. This is not enough! Just because someone is a doctor does not mean they understand, are trained or know how to treat this BAD BAD toxin. We need to take care of our people the right way. If not, it could be your crew or your or my son or daughter that lives with the damage that could have been completely mitigated by a simple antidote.
  • We need to know where to get good, knowledgeable medical help and treatment for HCN. Poison exposure is not an everyday occurrence. Doctor training in HCN poisoning is minimal across this country, but especially at small rural hospitals.
  • We need to educate hospitals and physicians to this risk that wildland firefighters face.

This issue of likely HCN exposure is not going away. This time it was a military base. Last summer HCN exposure occurred on the Angeles NF.  Forests are increasingly being used for self gain; you know the risks are growing out there where fires burn. We need knowledge, training and procedures.

This is not about politics, looking good, keeping the info out of the media or closing ranks.  It's about Lessons Learned and mitigating future risks. Let's get about it. We owe it to ourselves and our wildland firefighters.

I hope it was not HCN exposure. Guess we'll find that out. I hope it was not some other poison equally as bad. Whatever the case, we need to use this opportunity to learn lessons so we know the "parameters of the risk management field" for next time.

Mellie

7/16 I am the Superintendent from the exposed crew.

The fire fighters from the FHL exposure (USFS and FHL) are fine. They were tested for cyanide and results show negative.

So thanks for the thoughts and entertaining speculations.

KP

7/16 HAZMAT exposure on a Fort Hunter Liggett Fire

The crew needs to get checked out for hydrogen cyanide exposure by a TOXICOLOGIST and given the antidote. 12 HOURS...

HOTLIST FOR ANTIDOTE INFORMATION.

Ab and Steve M (Original Ab).

7/16 Another note that says the apprentice numbers are incorrect. To clarify the numbers, contact
Rita Yates
R-5 Civil Rights Staff
Fire Recruitment Liaison Specialist
7/16 Wildland Fire Apprentice Numbers

The spread sheet I have shows very different numbers, especially for some forests. The Tahoe and the Mendicino NF's aren't going to be hiring any, the Stanislaus will only be hiring 6 and the San Bernardino shows 3-5. If you are applying for an apprentice position, you may want to call the forest apprentice coordinator and check out how many positions will be filled. I would hate to have people applying to forests if no positions are going to be available!!

Lori

7/16 Please give wide distribution to the attached link for the Airward News.
Congratulations to the Airward Recipients.

Airward 2010 (2,138 K pdf file)

GOOD STUFF

JS

Excellent! Good work. Ab.

7/16 Want a wildland firefighting career?
Wildland Fire Apprentice Numbers

Estimated number of new FS Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship positions in California

Avue ( avuedigitalservices ). The vacancy announcement ADS10-R5-WFAP-2345DP closes August 16.

ARCADIA (Angeles NF) 20
CORONA (Cleveland NF) 15
PLACERVILLE (Eldorado NF) 10
BISHOP (Inyo NF) 4
YREKA (Klamath NF) 18
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit) 8
SUSANVILLE (Lassen NF) 9
GOLETA (Los Padres NF) 25
WILLOWS (Mendocino NF) 10
ALTURAS (Modoc NF) 7
QUINCY (Plumas NF) 15
SAN BERNARDINO (San Bernardino NF) 20
PORTERVILLE (Sequoia NF) 13
REDDING (Shasta Trinity NF) 25
CLOVIS (Sierra NF) 6
EUREKA (Six Rivers NF) 15
SONORA (Stanislaus NF) 15
NEVADA CITY (Tahoe NF) 20

7/15 CPS Project is on SourceForge

Hey Guys,

Kenai.com is still experiencing a network outage -- since midnight. However, just yesterday, I placed the Mac and PC versions of the CPS software on an alternate site EMXSYS 

What incredible timing! Is that cool or what? I tell ya, there's a greater power at work here than just me. :-)

Anyway, it would be cool if you visited that site and gave the new software a "review". Preferably "thumbs up!"

Thanks,
-- Bruce

7/15 Thanks for stepping up, Engine Captain.

Mellie

7/15 Re Want to save a station? STATION SAVED!

Ab,

Thanks, Station and crew saved...

Thanks so much for the response for a Captain for SRF Orleans R.D.

Someone stepped up, paperwork is done, and a done deal. the Station will stay open, Engine crew keeps working....Thanks again, all!

And to those who called me but were a bit too late, thanks, and I will send on your info to any other District on the Forest that might end up needing a Captain...

And remember all, this position will be flying permanently in the next round of Firehire, Orleans, CA as Duty location.. (even though it's an outstation), it is a GS-8 PFT position.

7/15

OPEN CALL

For FWFSA Members

Living & working in the 2nd Congressional District of California

Represented by Congressman Wally Herger

The FWFSA has secured a district meeting with Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA) on August 13, 2010 in Redding. For those FWFSA members who live and work in the district (Klamath NF, Shasta-Trinity NF and parts of the Lassen, Mendocino & Plumas) and who are interested in attending the meeting, please contact Business Manager Casey Judd at cjudd@fwfsa.org or by phone at 208-775-4577 as soon as possible.

7/15 plans for a hose drying rack needed:

Ab,

We need some plans for a hose drying rack, could you post this and see if anyone out there has some to share.

Thanks Terry

7/15 Gulf Coast IC:

Is it just me or is any one else strongly reminded of the late Rick Gale while watching former Admiral Thad Allen in his role as Deepwater Horizon IC?

Leonard F.

7/15 Want to save a station?

Good morning,

I also want to ask anyone who might consider a detail to Orleans District, SRF to step forward. This is in my "backyard" and we need our fire forces. Our very tall fine fuels are curing fast and are developing into a real threat. We seem to have at least one big fire every year, and in every other year recently we have had multiple large fires.

Come on up and help us out! Folks here are good. We'll welcome you with open arms!

Mellie

7/14 Want to save a station?

Outreach at it's finest. I don't exactly know where this is, however I like the energy and commitment shown in the post and of the poster.

Come on people, let's help this District out and keep that fire station open. Spread the word around. Let's fill that Captain position. We're not in this business to layoff Firefighters in mid-July. Period!

I ask each of you to share widely.

ms

7/14 Ab, Normally wouldn't post something like this, but we need to keep this Station open:

Want to save a station?

The Six Rivers N.F., Orleans R.D. needs an ENGB and ICT4  with CDL qualified person to be Engine Captain for the rest of the season at one of our stations on a Type 3 engine.  We are being told to close the station, and possibly lay off the parts of the crew we cant place on District if we cant find someone by THIS SATURDAY.

We can pay all costs for the detail, travel, Per diem, and salary. Barracks type housing would be provided, but Per diem would be paid for meals, as no restaurants around.

Good crew already working, FEO in place, trying to run the station by himself the best he can, he needs some more overhead to help.

If interested call T. Annand , FMO @ 530-627-3255 or M. Jameson  ADFMO @ 530-627-3263 ASAP.

Thanks, all...

7/14 Bruce Schubert's CPS project, A picture is worth a thousand words.

Readers,

This open source program -- a union of Behave and the Campbell Prediction System (CPS) -- is really a breakthrough.

Bruce and Doug have been working on this for several years. With Bruce's program, you can learn BEHAVE in half an hour. On breaking fires with info (wind, air temp, direction of max spread) from the nearest RAWS site, fuel model info, and your crosshairs positioned on the fire (lat/long), you will be able to predict flamelengths. Soon you'll be able to find when Wind, Slope and Solar PreHeat are In Alignment on a going and blowing fire. You'll be able to set fire Tracks and locate Trigger Points. I understand that it was tested yesterday evening on the CA-VNC-Loma Fire (aka Camarillo) with great success.

Check the program out here at emxsys.com
Download it, try it!.
Once you have the program screen up and running, you can click the HELP button on the menu (top left of the screen) for UPDATES  of the program. Check often and update! It's a great work in progress!

Doug sent this message this morning:

For training on the use of the CPS program that can be downloaded from cps.kenai.com  go to emxsys.com

Please feel free to comment on your ideas as we are not finished developing the program. The Behave
portion is done and tested to agree with Behave Plus.

To Students of Fire everywhere.
Doug Campbell, consultant to Bruce Schubert, programmer.

Doug sent this message several days ago. (I've been sick so Ab did not get to review it until this morning.) GREAT STUFF!

Ab, This is a screen shot of the program Bruce has developed.

The crosshairs is mid picture and slope % is calculated as is upslope direction, wind
and preheat value. The hauling chart shows the Behave outputs for the inputs selected.
The fuel temperature variation over air temperature is bottom right and is from Rothermels
research paper. Wind direction and speed are set with sliders as is time of day and
temperature and humidity values. All fuel models are here to pick from with help
showing the picture of the fuel selected. Move a slider and the hauling chart responds
with the behave outputs.

There is more to accomplish such as a fire perimeter or Rx burn perimeter to add to the map
layers and the actual fire signature, flame length.

This makes Behave calculations way more easy.

Submitted by Doug Campbell, consultant to Bruce Schubert, programmer.

If you have trouble finding the download page, it's HERE: kenai.com cps downloads To run it requires Java 6 (for Windows or for the Mac). There are lots of download options on the download page.

You only need ONE for this program. Check the right one that fits your computer.

  • The program for Windows is the fourth box down (CPS Application v1.0 Windows Setup Beta0 4).
  • The program for the Mac is the third box down (CPS Application v1.0 Mac OSX App Beta03).

Download takes only a few minutes with broadband. I chose the program for Windows. On Windows following download, you'll probably be cued for an EZ Zip installation so the CPS install can be unzipped. Click yes (or OK). Then just follow the cues [next, I agree, continue, etc]. Simple, really. I renamed mine and saved it on my desktop.

Have fun! It's not too much more difficult than Scribble Maps. Thank you Bruce and Doug! Ab.

7/14 Message from Randy Moore on Helicopter Rappelling (doc file of the letter, text below)

File Code: 5100
Date: July 12, 2010
Route To: (5700)
Subject: Helicopter Rappelling
To: Forest Supervisors, Forest FMOs

The Pacific Southwest Region has had a long history with Helicopter Rappelling ever since the Region revitalized the rappel program at Scott Valley, on the Klamath National Forest in 1989. Over the course of time, our program has grown to 17 Helitack/Rappel bases. These programs average 462 initial attack fires annual, of which, 63 are rappel delivered fires.

A lot of good work was completed over the winter by several groups, both regionally and nationally, as it pertains to rappel. All but one of Accident Board of Review action items were completed this off season. This action item is centered on a programmatic needs assessment for the rappel program. Until this is complete, I am not willing to stand up any of the 17 rappel and cargo let down programs in the Pacific Southwest Region for the 2010 fire season. The Pacific Southwest Region will enthusiastically continue to support the risk assessment and standardization efforts for rappel operations. In the interest of allowing adequate time for equipment development and testing, and the development of standards and training for safe rappel operations, our focus will continue to be on safe and efficient fire management using helicopters for helitack with plans to resume rappel operations following the new national standards in 2011.

In addition, the stand down of rappel operations will apply to all aviation activities within the Pacific Southwest Region including resources assigned to the Region from other agencies or partners. Any questions may be directed to Jeff Power, RAO at 916-640-1031 or Willie Thompson, Deputy Director FAM at 707-562-8927.

/s/ James M. Peña (for)
RANDY MOORE
Regional Forester

7/14 MTR-
We have a copy of the Crank Fire video at Lava Beds National Monument -- give us call and we can facilitate getting it to you for copying. Ab has my email addy.

firegirl
7/13 Former Bureau of Land Management Official Sent to Prison

Restitution Ordered in Scheme to Defraud BLM

7/13 Hi,

I'm looking for a copy of the 1987 Crank Fire Burnover Video on VHS, for use as a training tool for my Crew here in Redding, Ca. If anyone in North Zone has a copy we can borrow and duplicate it'd be appreciated.

-MTR

7/12 Re: Chief Greg Hickman is retiring.

Whoa... Congrats Greg!!! It wont be long and I will be following your lead, my friend..

Pulaski
7/12 RE: Rappelling

Let me start by apologizing as I fear this may go long.

There has long been a rift between regions in regard to rappelling. That rift has become very clear reading through some of the posts here. Let’s give credit to each other and appreciate the contributions that each region has made. There have been many great rappellers since the inception of the tool, and they certainly did not all come from any single Region. There are people who go with the “my way or the highway” approach and we would all be better off without them.

XMAN – I must take you up on the offer to call BS. Other than the anchor location, please tell me what was “standardized” in the Bell Medium. In the aftermath of last year’s fatality, a review team discovered many discrepancies in how the Type 2 bases were operating. Some bases were putting people out of both side of the aircraft, others were putting everyone out of the same side. Some were using belly bags with minimal safety equipment to reduce awkwardness and minimize weight on the rope, while others were going out with their full line gear. When it came to cargo letdown a variety of boxes and bags were in the mix. How about spotter seating? Nope. We don’t even have the same height of skids on all of the Type 2’s. That lack of standardization is what started this whole mess.

On the flip side, it was confirmed that all of the Type 3’s, with an exception of a small handful that chose to utilize internal cargo, had only minor differences for the specific make and model. Of course some will argue that with the 3 basic light models, there are three procedures. I agree, but only because the rappel anchors are not in the same location. If the Type 3’s are not abandoned, the progress toward using overhead anchors and over the skid exits on all light models could be capitalized upon and make all 407, L4 and A-Stars “standardized” from the rappeller's perspective. Of course those few bases that have done internal cargo would need to concede to external cargo for maximum efficiency, minimal exposure and a national standard.

As far as boosting goes, the system was working. I have sent and received boosters, to and from multiple models of aircraft without issue. The main requirement is for managers to plan ahead. If you need people out there right now, you probably need to slow down and make sure they are familiar with the geographic area and fuel types that you’re sticking them out in.

FOR ALL RAPPELLERS – We have some big issues that we need to push through. Rally the support of your Rangers, FMOs, Fire Staff and Forest Supervisors. This has to be a ground upward push. We have had a couple people in the WO pushing a personal vendetta as to what they want rappel programs to be. I’m not just bashing on leadership here, I’ve worked with and learned from these folks over the years. I’ve learned what they want to see and have agreed to disagree on more topics than this one. It is your job to make sure that we have a program that works for us in the field and isn’t someone’s legacy.

THINGS THAT NEED ATTENTION – Equipment quality has steadily declined, an MTDC rep was quoted as making a statement in the committee meetings last winter to the effect of not being able to guarantee a rappeller getting to the ground safely with our current equipment. Hopefully progress is being made on this one.

The Rappel Guide – The Interagency rappel working group did not approve the draft guide. Back to the drawing board folks!

Have you checked the Federal Aviation Regulations lately? External human cargo falls under Part 133. We require our vendors to be certificated under Part 135 but not 133. In the old days, we were exempt from 133 once the aircraft was contracted for a period of greater than 90 days, no longer the case. Unless you are rappelling to an emergency situation, you are violating the Federal Aviation Regulations. Can we get a count on the number of proficiencies everyone has done in the last…….. what is the statute of limitations on that one?

MY PERSONAL GRIPES – If the decision is final to only use Type 2 helicopters for rappelling in the future, we have set ourselves up for failure. Our Type 3 fleet has moved from Llamas and L3’s in the 90’s to modern aircraft less than 15 years old. If our Type 2 fleet was eligible for firefighter retirement, most of them would be on a beach in Mexico.

Rappelling has been a tool that gave managers and pilots an alternative to squeezing into marginal helispots. We will see an increase in rotor strikes, mast bumps and other issues resulting from people trying to get the job done.

The percentage of operational rappels to proficiency rappels will go up as Type 2’s rappel fires that Type 3’s could land at. As this statistic changes, remember why.

The only rappel related fatality and the biggest incidents with potential, (i.e. settling with power while rappellers were on the ropes, rappellers going to the skid without being hooked in, engine failure while setting up for rappel ops) have occurred during rappel operations from Type 2 Bell Medium helicopters.

Some people are under the impression that a twin engine aircraft provides a safety margin. Twin engine aircraft have a higher rate of engine failure than single engine aircraft, and a 212 does not have the ability to come out of the hover and fly away on one engine.

TYPE 3 FOLKS – You will probably hear that the battle is over, but do not give up. Type 3’s are valuable and safe rappel platforms, organize yourselves, plan your attack and push the message upward until somebody listens!

Yup, it ran long…

I guess I had a reason to be,

Skeptical
7/12 Correction to R-5 WFAP Outreach Notice

For those who monitor the Forest Service Region 5 Outreach Database - outreach fs region 5  - you may have noticed that the Los Padres National Forest's Outreach Notice stated that the closing date for the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program (WFAP) was September 20, 2010. That was an error - All of R-5 WFAP Vacancy Announcements Close on Monday - August 16, 2010. It has been corrected on the web site, but just in case some of you are carrying around a hard copy of the original - we wanted to let folks know.

Rita Yates

7/12 From Charlie S.

Fire destroys NE Oregon forest ranger offices -AP via Seattle Times

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (AP) -- The building that houses the U.S. Forest Service visitor center and ranger district offices for the popular Wallowa Mountains region of northeastern Oregon has burned to the ground.

One wall was left standing Monday after the 20-year-old log building erupted in flames late Sunday afternoon. It housed the Eagle Cap and Wallowa Valley ranger districts of the Wallow-Whitman National Forest.

A state fire marshal and the local sheriff's office were investigating the cause of the fire.

Forest Service wildfire firefighters pitched in with (read the rest at the link)

"Our hearts go out to employees and to the community for this great loss," Northwest Regional Forester Mary Wagner said in a statement.

Eagle Cap Wilderness - FS website
News Release
Pics of the building burning

7/12 My good friend and theysaider Chief Greg Hickman is retiring.

I "met" Greg -- one of the original theysaiders "Hickman" -- via theysaid when first learning about fire following my involvement in the Big Bar Complex. Greg came West every summer but our paths never crossed. He posted factual fire info and was full of explanations and advice whenever I needed it (and sometimes when I didn't ). Greg has been a fine mentor for many years off and on, not only to me, but also to others behind the scenes.

The first time I really met Greg was in Dec 1999. I had solicited info on the Big Bar Complex or some safety issue related to it. I'd been posting for a month or two, so Greg knew Mellie or thought he did...

[Those were the days Steve M (Original Ab) said theysaidit had 250 unique visitors a week! Wow!]

Anyway Greg (Hilbille) sent me a private email with the info I needed. I the same email he said he was sure I was another dude chumming the posters!!! It took me a while to convince him I was really a female. Maybe it was Steve that gave him the word on that...

Through the years I've dropped Greg a "phone call" now and then, returning his unfailing playful good humor and always finding the info I've been in search of.

Thanks Hilbille! Thanks Chief!

One thing that's great is that his retirement from his Neosho (Missouri) Fire Department will not mean he retires from this community. He's been helping with Always Remember! filling in info from Missouri and elsewhere from databases unknown to the rest of us. Hopefully that will continue.

Maybe he and Gay will get a chance to come West on vacation or assignment.

Love Ya Greg, my friend! You enrich my life! And you better keep enriching it!

Mellie

Here's a great article and photo.
Neosho fire chief to retire after serving nearly 4 decades
7/12 Station Fire mess not over yet!

Hi to all:

As the season progresses westward, the 3-Ps (press, public, politicians) are still looking for blood in the aftermath of the Station Fire. Already there has been one firefighter thrown under the bus by the Forest Supervisor who apparently would rather serve up a firefighter than take responsibility for her fire program.

It is expected that a congressional field hearing will be held in Pasadena in early August. Despite the FS review, despite the LA Times articles etc., the Station Fire, as many before it, has unfortunately become politicized. That coupled with an election year does not bode well for our firefighters who make split-second decisions in dangerous, inhospitable and ever-changing environments.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for our federal wildland firefighters, both on the ANF and throughout the Country, to protect each other's backs during this "feeding frenzy" looking for blame. I know that in the field, there are even personality conflicts between FWFSA members. Such is life. But the 3-Ps insatiable appetite to 1) sell newspapers 2) get re-elected and 3) blame someone is a very serious threat.

This is not an FWFSA "position" but rather a personal appeal from me as each day I see the direction this post-fire aftermath is going. The vast majority of those within the 3-Ps who scream the loudest are those with the least amount of knowledge about wildfires, fighting them etc.

We are doing everything we can organizationally to deflect the focus away from firefighters and towards the common denominator of the Fire Program being managed by those with nary a lick of firefighting experience or expertise. That should be the focus; not the actions of firefighters confined by the management of Line Officers.

As you prepare for the season, please be cognizant in the back of your mind that the Station Fire issue has not gone away and won't go away for some time...

Casey
7/12 Medical Marijuana NOT ALLOWED in Fire Camp (Ab adds... even in California):

This is a small part of a longer message that's been circulating behind the scenes. If you want to talk with Mary, email me and I'll send her phone number. Ab.

Marijuana is still an illegal drug under Federal law.
This is the information which is from our training which will shortly be loaded on AgLearn, which you may choose to disseminate:

Controlled Substance Categories For Which Employees Are Tested:
The term Controlled Substance includes all drugs which the Federal Government has seen fit to control. The use and possession of marijuana remains illegal under Federal Law. The following drugs or categories of drugs constitute the basis of the USDA drug testing program, and will be tested for in each sample:

Marijuana (dope, herb, pot, hashish, hash, grass, weed, smoke)
Cocaine (coke, crack)
Opiates (heroin, morphine - "designer drugs”)
Amphetamines (speed, bennies, uppers, methamphetamine)
Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)
---------
Prescriptions for medical marijuana will not be accepted as justification for a positive test for marijuana; marijuana is still considered an illegal drug under Federal law.
--------
One of the regulatory citations regarding drug testing is 49CFR40 which states the following:

Drugs. The drugs for which tests are required under this part and
DOT agency regulations are marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines,
phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates.
------

We would greatly appreciate whatever you can do to correct the misunderstanding employees may have, erroneously believing that state-sanctioned medical marijuana has an effect on federal law--it does not. If employees or managers see individuals using marijuana or possessing marijuana paraphernalia, they have an obligation to immediately inform management so that the situation can be dealt with, and so safety is not compromised.

Mary L. Wintch
Employment Policy

7/11 Seasonal FF wanting to work the rest of the year...

I'm a seasonal fire fighter in AZ that wants to stay busy during the off season. I can't go over my 1039 hours for the year so I'm wondering if someone has any advice about getting connected with contracted fuels crews or contracted engines or thing that is fire related and is a contracted company. Websites, phone #'s, email addresses... any info will be helpful. I'm not tied down to AZ, so anywhere in the U.S. will be just fine for me.

KAM

7/11 Recall of Brunton Fuel Bottle

Safety Advisory - Fuel Bottle NSN 7240-01-351-2133

Attention attention, this is NOT an emergency! But it's not a drill either.
Seems like slow fire seasons always tend to magnify issues beyond their true stature.

First of all, we haven't had any reports of failures of these bottles! None! Unless you have heard reports that haven't been shared. Just because the GSA letter says something "could" present a safety issue doesn't mean that it has or will in the future. So, let's all take a deep breath and consider that what's really happening here is likely more of a supply and logistics issue than a safety issue. As previous safety alerts have indicated, over-filling of any fuel container is probably the biggest hazard our folks need to be aware of. Remember, these fuel bottles are designed to be pressurized (like when you use one with your backpacking camp stove) and are pressure tested by the manufacturer. There may be no significant difference between the pressure that one type of bottle can withstand and another. GSA has simply identified that the bottles provided don't meet their specification and should be replaced.

Tory Henderson is on leave, I spoke with Matt Cnudde a few minutes ago and they have been working on a cache memo for some time now. It has taken time because they have been doing some needed research and gathering facts etc. If you notice, the copy of this letter that's getting forwarded around is still kind of in draft format. Sharp eyes will have already noticed that there is a discrepancy between what the letter says as far as the date, and what the web site says (2008 vs. 2009). The 2008 date in the letter is the correct one. Matt also said that the issue may extend to other manufacturer's fuel bottles as well.

Before we take a lot of action and get everyone stirred up, I suggest we wait for the cache memo. (Ab's emphasis) That should include instructions on how to get replacement bottles and so on. Apparently these types of fuel bottles have been in the system since February 2008 and we haven't seen a rash of reports on mysteriously exploding fuel bottles at any point since then. It doesn't seem like this GSA contract compliance issue really translates into a safety emergency for us.

Larry Sutton
Fire Operations Risk Management Officer

www.gsa.gov  VS  GSA recall letter (57 K pdf file)

7/11 Redcard, training, hiring of new firefighters:

Adam B,

I'll give you my 2 cents on what you should do. Having a 'red card' in no way disqualifies you from getting a job. Just the same, not having 130/190, doesn't disqualify you from getting a job. Once you get hired, the place that is employing you should run you through 130/190 and take care of inputting your qualifications into the computer database which is called IQCS. At that point, you would receive your red card. In my opinion, you are worrying about the wrong things. The person who told you to get your AVUE application all dialed in, is the person you should be listening to. AVUE is how Forest Service hires people. BLM and NPS have their own hiring systems. Not having a red card or 130/190 shouldn't make you feel like a total cluster, when applying through AVUE. I live in AZ, so I can't really help with your Michigan questions, but if you can get your AVUE app ready to go, pick the locations you want to work and hopefully you can find a job somewhere. There are tons of them out there. Good Luck.

Quick Connect

7/11 Abs --

These are stressful times, with many serious issues that we each deal with daily, both on the fireline and off, both on-duty and in our personal lives. In sorting through some old files, I rediscovered this poem -- handwritten on the back of a page torn from a shift plan (as IAPs used to be known) on a western assignment, and it brought a smile. The author, now long retired, was an old time Forest Service technician -- who always got the job done and got all his folks home safe. I was always glad to work for him - on his crew or on his division.

As always, Abs, THANK YOU for wildlandfire.com. /s/ STUMPIE

“The Division Supe”

The Division Supe is the man in the middle,
Heat all around, like a cat on a griddle.
He had four crews when his shift did start
But that was at daylight, and now it’s getting dark.

Two went left, and two went right
He’ll be hunting for them for the rest of the night.
Droppoints are running around in his mind
The one that he needs is the one he can’t find.

He lost an engine or two last night
And his dozer schedule is much too tight.
He had to skip breakfast to make the pre-briefing
His Task Force Leaders must still be sleeping.

The helicopter has sheared a pin,
And they don’t know when it will fly again.
OPS and the I.C. are both on his case
It’s starting to look like a big ol’ rat race.

Crews on the line with no transportation,
We’ve got every coach bus in the whole dang nation.
He had one little slop when he came on the clock,
Now it’s crowning and running and just won’t stop.

His shift plan got lost and his boots came untied
And his darned old radio just lay down and died.
This just ain’t his day and he knows it well
The whole darn thing has gone to hell.

But he’s good man and knows what he’s doing
He’ll straighten things out and he ain’t a’fooling
And just when he gets things to going his way,
It rains……..,
and it ruins,
a perfectly good Div Supe day.

Walter Merrill, Cherokee National Forest, early 1990s

A real treat! Can you contact him and see if he wrote any others he'd like to share? Ab.

7/10 Ed Allen, gone but not forgotten...

Ed Started at Oak Knoll working for my Dad, Glenn Robinson in 1956. Later, there were 3 assistant “Fire Control Officers”; Ed, his brother Jim Allen, and Jim Klump. What a crew! Good memories, real firefighters.

GRJ

7/10 Chuck Brooks, Libby, Montana, died on July 6.

Chuck was a good guy that spent many years on Type 1 teams in Region 1 as a Plans chief and Planning section Chief. He was involved with fire his entire career and post career. Chuck was always a strong supporter of fire. In his last position prior to his retirement he was the fire staff officer on the Kootenia National Forest, R-1. Chuck was one of those guys who always saw the glass on the plus side of half full even if there was nothing in it. His enthusiasm was contagious. The outfit was better for having Chuck Brooks as an employee. It could stand some more Chuck's today, especially in the line officer ranks.

I was privileged to call him my friend.

I know I swore off posting on this site, but figured I could get a pass for this one.

thecynic

Thanks for sharing memories of Chuck. Ab.

7/10 Dear HOG & All:

Re Hazard Pay on Rx Burns:

Chap. 17-3 of the "Red Book" states:

HAZARD PAY FOR PRESCRIBED FIRE IMPLEMENTATION
Current policy is that hazard pay will not be paid for any prescribed fire. Under certain circumstances, environmental differential may be warranted. Offices should contact their servicing personnel office with specific questions.

in italics:

FS- is proposing to allow hazard pay for prescribed fire, consequently, this may change this year. If it does, this will not accurately reflect the current policy.

As most know the FWFSA's legislative proposal, HR 4488 calls for Hazard Pay to be compensable for such fires. The definition of Environmental Pay is identical to the definition of Hazard Pay, yet WG employees on an incident receive their Environmental Pay while GS employees on the same incident do not receive their Hazard Pay.

Although there is language in our bill to address this, it is our hope that as Congress becomes more educated on the issues, some have perhaps "suggested" the Agency reform this policy rather than have Congress mandate the change.

This is not a new issue. Both the FS & OPM have vacillated on this issue for decades. It is time to make the common sense change now.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
FWFSA
7/10 Subject: Rappel Activities in Support of Large Fire Operations

Making the rounds in OR, from BF:

FYI, Review and Comments,
Attached is Appendix N of the Interagency Helicopter Rappel Guide (38 K pdf file)-
Rappel Activities in Support of Large Fire Operations. Please share the information with your Team members and forward any comments after reviewing to: Paul Linse (listed in the FSNOTES address book), Assistant Director (Acting) Aviation Operations Airworthiness, USFS Fire & Aviation Management, Washington Office - Boise. Note that this attached Appendix includes operational rappels in support of the incident and proficiency rappels. The IHRG requires at least one helicopter rappel in any 14 consecutive days. Thanks for your Support.

Text below:

Appendix N – Rappel Activities in Support of Large Fire Operations

Integration of rappel activities into the often complex airspace associated with large fire operations necessitates additional planning and logistical support in order to assure the safety of personnel and helicopter. While working on large fire incidents where rappel operations are planned or a possibility of rappelling exists the following conditions shall be met:

• Planned rappel operations shall be identified in the Incident Action Plan in the ICS-220 and the ICS-204 for the division where the rappel operation is planned to occur.
• Preplanning for emergent situations in which rappel operations might be utilized (Medivac, IA within the incident response zone, Crash Rescue, etc.) will be completed, documented with signature of the highest level aviation position assigned or IC and briefed to all involved.
• An operational risk assessment will be completed by the manager, documented with signature of the highest level aviation position assigned or IC and briefed to all involved prior to each operation. (Each operation may include multiple loads of rappellers.)
• Aerial supervision should be in operational control of the airspace if three (3) or more aircraft will be airborne during rappel operations and will be briefed on the operations prior to commencement.
• A discrete frequency shall be in place for communications for rappel operations in order to support midair collision avoidance.
• Division supervisors shall be notified when rappellers are deployed on their divisions. • Ensure that the highest level aviation position assigned or IC is informed when planning proficiency rappels. Consider conducting proficiency rappels away from the helibase in order to prevent distractions to the helibase operations and rappel modules.

7/10 Adam B -

Unfortunately, you just missed the 130/190 put on by the USFS in Mio, MI in early July. However, between the 3 national forests (Huron-Manistee NF in the LP, Hiawatha NF & Ottawa NF in the UP), various NPS and USFWS units as well as Michigan DNRE, there are many chances to get the S-130/S-190/I-100/L-180 suite of classes in Michigan. Contact whichever agency office is nearest to you and talk to someone involved in fire. They should be able to tell when they normally offer the classes or at least point you in the right direction.

R9 Engine Captain

Passed the message... Ab.

7/10 Future of the aerial fleet

TS

No truer words have been spoken.  AND it's not just some fond memories that have kept the tanker program alive.  Maintenance and money is what makes airplanes fly ... not some glad handing handshakes between some politicos and folks in the land management organizations that get assignments in DC.

Time for some serious Congressional action like MORE grilling of natural resource types like they have been grilling BP and the Continental / United merger of the future.  Oberstar and other in the Transportation Committee maybe ought to take the USFS to task on the NR aviation world like he does with the airline industry.

A more serious approach to aviation and the FIREWISE program HAS TO be taken than just some leftovers in the funding process.  I haven't seen real figures on FIREWISE this year and maybe the kind and gentle readers of the natural resources world can give us a little glimpse of the true money needed for fuels reduction projects and how it could be applied to ALL those NEPA and court protected areas that need a serious thinning and reduction of overgrown timber

I expect a lot of words to fly when the USFS starts the process from their current dreams of C130 J tankers.  THAT in itself will require a few paychecks from those in the proverbial SES and GM series to fund.   What the USFS doesn't seem to get ... that the USAF will get around to it WHEN their missions are done.  But I have been wrong before.  We will just have to see how this pans out.  I am quite positive they are NOT going to get 12 to 25 J models right out the gate ... be RDL to see one in the next 6-18 months

Do not know where these USFS types are thinking that fire is going to be the #1 priority to the USAF ... when the sandbox operations are still going on.

BUT maybe someday folks will understand ALL that maintenance ... After all ... when one reads ALL those SAFECOMS out there on the USFS website ... 60 to 80 percent of the write up are what?     WAIT FOR IT ... MAINTENANCE ... and thank God for those mechanics that are getting paid just a little more than a firefighter GS 4-6/7  and QUITE a bit less than most GS11- 15 land management types.   There is where the true realization will be when all those FFTRs on the wildlandfire website are chirping about their paychecks.

So let's hear a little more appreciation for the folks who have kept the airtanker industry alive and the mud that needs to be delivered and the folks who have to be delivered to many fires or scientific projects that the land management agencies have.  I know there are many contractors out there that thank their lucky stars every year for a Fed contract.

ENUF of my soapbox ... money and maintenance are what makes aircraft fly... not some promises!!!

LL

7/10 I just read the news about Ed Allen passing...

I had the great and honorable pleasure of working with Ed Allen for many years in YICC dispatch. He was a true professional. I learned a lot from him. I will miss him greatly. I considered him my friend and mentor. The stories I could tell, especially during the siege of ' 87 on the Klamath. The Klamath had a great team of dispatchers, Ed Allen, Joe Bowen and Jeff Brown.

God Bless you Ed you will be missed...

4200

7/10 Future of the aerial fleet

LL

I couldn't agree with you more. It has always been the ingenuity and resourcefulness of folks like Aero Union, Hemet Valley Flying Service, Sis-Q, Neptune, the late...great Hawkins & Powers and many other contractors, who over the last 50 years have provided the home grown technology for aerial firefighting as we know it today. A lot of times, it was crude in form, but we learned from our mistakes, made advancements and fostered our step-children into the wonderful machines that we see today. Many men and women have died in the course of the transition from what once was, to what we have today. Remember them, thank them, never forget.

You hit the biggest problem head-on. MAINTENANCE. They don't make "round" engines anymore. Parts are hard to come by and if you're lucky enough, you have a full service (FAA Certified) machine shop to make new parts. Add to that, the countless employees who have the skill to know these old girls inside and out and keep them in the air. God bless 'em! MARSH did a great thing with the S-2 and gave them another 10 years of service. What's out there in 10 years? We can't keep these airframes flying forever...everything wears out eventually. I'm retired, trust me....things wear out!

I think we both know the day is coming when all that we know now, will be nothing but a memory. Progress leads to new things, innovations, ideas, and a safer working environment. More thought and concentration - SERIOUS thought and concentration needs to be focused on this form of firefighting if it is to remain a tool in the box. It's a shame that the powers that be, continuously put the aerial fleet on the back burner. Unfortunately, I feel that I'll live to see the day that we loose 99% of our Federal tankers due to inaction by WO on a suitable replacement for what we have now and the DOD for not releasing anything new from AMARC. What then? By the time a new, purpose built tanker comes along, I fear that the invoice will be written in the blood of my brothers and sisters, both on the ground and in the air.

Sorry, to me that's just not acceptable.

TS

7/10 Getting a firefighting job:

Love the website (Wildlandfire.com) Looks like a really useful tool for networking. I have my EMT license and my firefighter I & II. I am desperately looking to get my s130/s190 certifications and/or get on a hotshot crew. I have done endless hours of research and called/emailed everyone possible but I keep reaching a dead end. Everyone has told me to apply to AVUE which is a total cluster especially when your applying with no "red card". On top of that I understand there is a field portion of s130/s190 you need to complete.... and there isn't anyone offering that in Michigan. I'm considering taking the Wildfire Academy at SWC in California, but so far that has been unsuccessful. I'm at a total loss here, I need someone to tell me exactly what to do and when. It seems like my entire life I have been successful in getting a job mainly because the locations were local and I knew someone in the job, which is not the case with Wild land firefighting. I really appreciate your time.

Thanks so much,

Adam B.

Most apply in January and get hired in May, and the training required comes with the job. Timing is key and you're a bit late for this season. Ab.
Threads on hiring: FAQ ; Hotlist

7/9 Going round robin in SJ and Hotshot circles:

Stihl 361C Safety Problem: Stuck Throttle due to "Safety Device" -- video

Video of the saw problem is attached. If you don't have sound capability, please observe the chain during this problem demonstration. No injuries have been reported to my knowledge. It is my understanding that this model saw was just added to our inventory so it might not be in widespread use yet. The SMJ whom demobed late last night said it appeared to be a design issue where any amount of debris could cause the "safety" throttle guard to jam.

A preliminary SAFENET has been filed. The IC, Kip Shields, or the sawyer(s) involved will submit a follow-up once they get back to the base. Unknown when they'll actually arrive.

I met with Bill Miller this AM and he is aware of the problem. We may very well need to pull this model from service or take other actions that will make the saws safe to use.

I've got a higher quality (much larger file size) version available but the BLM file size restrictions render it useless. You can pick up a DVD of it my office if you'd like.

Thanks to Mike McMillan for taking the time to notify us of the problem and get a video shot back to the base. Thanks to Heith Hoerdeman for being willing to make the demo after a long hard shift.

Take care,

Bill Cramer
Chief, BLM-Alaska Smokejumpers

I was able to open the little video attachment and play it, but have not been able to get it uploaded in a playable video format. The .3gp version times out or says there's a broken link possibly because of a query. The converted avi version has no image of the saw only the image of the sound of the chainsaw revving. It's clear in the video that the throttle sticks and continues running when the hand is removed from the trigger. This is a serious safety issue even if the video is not available. I'm sorry I do not have the technical ability to present this chainsaw video properly. Ab.

7/9 THE CHIEF’S DESK…
PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS
July 9, 2010
Personnel News

R5 RO, Deputy Regional Forester (3 positions), in Vallejo, CA:
Jeanne Wade Evans accepted the DRF for S&PF-FAM position, Jeanne is currently Forest Supervisor, San Bernardino NF - R5.
Daniel Jiron accepted the DRF for Resources position, Dan is currently Forest Supervisor, Santa Fe NF – R3.
Ronald Ketter accepted the DRF for Operations position, Ron is currently AD Strategic Planning, Budget & Accountability – WO.
7/9 To those sending in spectacular cloud photos. "NorCal Buildups" and "T-storms from Big Hill Lookout/Heli base ENF"

I haven't had time to work on them and I may not have time. They are remarkable. Thanks, Ab.

7/9 Very Sad News - Ed Allen has passed away

Ed Allen was our Center Manager for years. He saw the Klamath National Forest through the 1987 Siege and we all trusted him and his decisions. Ed Allen has been a part of the "Ed and Ed and Tom" show down at the Fire Cache these last few years. Some of you might know Ed because he has been making the beautiful KNF plaques for the retirees for several years. Woodworking was one of Ed's many hobbies.

Ed started his Forest Service career in 1956 on a fire crew. Ed began working on the Klamath at the Oak Knoll Work Center, before coming into the SO/Dispatch. Ed is survived by his children from his first marriage and a wealth of friends on the Klamath NF and in Yreka.

We do not have any details yet on family wishes or services. As soon as we get any information, we will share.

Please hold Ed's family in your thoughts and prayers.

SO Employees Committee

7/8 Ed Allen / KNF

Hello Ab,

Sad news from behind the scenes , Ed Allen from the Klamath National Forest / Fire Cache passed away 7/7/2010 .

Ed was the manager for the warehouse / KNF Fire cache for many years . I have had the pleasure to know him for last 11 years supporting the KNF cache and fires . He always had a smile , a joke , overall just a great attitude for the job and people . I know I will personally miss Ed as well as the folks on the KNF will.

Take care and have a safe summer to all.

J

7/8 we lost a real good man yesterday...

Ed Allen, Klamath National Forest AD, ex YICC center manager among many other things, lately running the KNF forest cache. He passed away at home, circumstance are unknown other than "natural" causes. I personally saw him a week ago he was full on life and energy. Just wanted to give you the heads up, do what you will with the info, but please don't post until notifications are complete.

-norcal fyrgrl-

Sad news. Ab.

7/8 Hazard pay on prescribed fire?

Thumbing through the 2010 red book the other day and noticed that hazard pay is being considered for prescribed fire and to standby for new policy regarding this for the USFS.

Has anyone out there in the quilting circle heard anything about this?

-HOG

7/8 Aero Union has been doing mods and rebuilds of these aircraft from the old MASDC now known as the AMARC Boneyard.

None of the mods are new. look at their website...they have been working on different airframes OTHER than P3's for YEARS

That IS what makes the Airtanker industry what it is today......... pure Stateside ingenuity, working with what they have with no other funding and working with what they have for contract and those operators KNOW more about aircraft modification(s) than ANY land manager known today. ME included as a forester, who has worked on aircraft and helicopters, with both an A&P license and Forestry degree

Only thing is......aviation has been rolling along whether the Fire and land management business wants to admit it. Or not.

We folks in " The Industry" BOTH Fire and Aviation have known the capabilities of these contractors for YEARS.

Nothing new to us in "The Industry"...removing windows or not, new sheetmetal, engine replacements and overhauls ...just good old aircraft maintenance work at its best.

They even do this to the "new" DC10 and 747....and those are not purpose built airtankers.

LL

7/8 Aero Union History

Hi Ab,

Aero Union has a long history of using nearly every fixed wing airtanker in the book. Here's a link to a short history of the company: Aero Union

Best regards,
Gordo

7/8 Rappelling standards:

In response to... how should I word it? The most emotionally charged comments from Doug B, I have a response. Although you might not agree with the events occurring in Region 6, you must, in an objective view admire the tenacity to push forward. I agree it is not how we get to a fire, but how we fight it, yet your words had a distinct tinge of anger and disgust towards a region, a group, and even individuals whom you do not know. In the midst of tragedy, is it not admirable to push on albeit safer and with a clearer perspective, to continue the legacy with which this young man died? I may not be an "expert," or an "sme," in rappel, but I do respect, and admire my fellow brothers and sisters to PUSH ON. Respect, learn, and lead from the events past, and try to eliminate the classifications, the jargon, the whatever of how we get there. Your comments instill divide, when now more than ever we need unity. If you disagree with all that is going on, why then are you not there? If you read reports, and news briefs without physically witnessing the training, I suggest you keep your mouth, and your e-mail shut. Ab, I know this is about the who, but the ball was laid in OUR court, all wildland firefighters court.

Respectfully yours...

SC

7/8 re: T-14 and Aero Union:

Kenai,

Yes, Aero Union has had so much more than P-3's. Back in my day, they had C-119's, which eventually went to Hemet Valley Flying Service. Going even farther back, they had B-17's, a pair of AF2-S Guardians and in the 60's...even a small fleet of B-25's and TBMs.

Aero Union was and is, a major player in the tanker conversion business. A lot of the tankers flying in Canada and a few more around the world were converted by AU.

TS

7/8 Recent Midpines Incident

Ab-

The person that passed away on this fire was not a firefighter, but a local that was trying to extinguish the fire he may have started while clearing weeds. He has been identified in the Mariposa Gazette.

Rick

Hotlist

7/8 Passing of McCaleb M. “Mac” DeCausmaker

hey ab. I just wanted to post this. Mac was a great guy and he will be greatly missed. McCaleb M Mac DeCausmaker

BCMx3

7/7 Just found your site, nice pics.

In regards to your pics labeled "At Minden,  T-14",  "T-14 Again",  &  "T-14  New Paint".

As you say in description, much controversy & chuckles.

I find it interesting, however, as if you look @ T-14's front landing gear doors (shaped like DC-6's I've worked with in the past), 4 RADIAL engines (NOT turbine engines that any P-3 I've seen uses), & slope of underside of fuselage from behind wings to tail with prominent tail skeg (compare "T-14 New Paint" with "T-27" {which I've also worked with}).

Overall "T-14" looks like a DC-6 but the round window suggests DC-4 (Window location different between "T-27" & "T-14 N.P").

Never heard of Aero Union having anything but P-3's however.

Hmmm. Interesting.

Kenai

I post them as I get them... Ab.

7/7 Interesting Article on Volunteer Fire Departments and Congress

Fedsmith: Will Congress Kill Volunteer Fire Departments?

5000

7/7 Mellie-

Always remember the California Fire Planning and Mapping Tools maps... you can add all the available fire history under the Fuels drop-down (in the Layers section) and then click on the fire perimeters to find out info. fireplanning

If you have any questions on that shoot an e-mail to me through Ab and I can always walk you through it.

The state of CA has an interagency fire history (mapped) layer showing all known fires and the BLM NorCal bunch have a pretty good historic record out there. By the way that's NPS, USFS, BLM, CalFire and a smattering of other agencies when they felt like it. For BLM it was anything over 10 acres since 2000 and previous it was the big ones.

Smiles,
GISgirl
7/7 Ultra Marathon to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Ab and Wildland Firefighting Community,

Please distribute this, hang it where ever you see fit; if you could try, please get all the lists back to me by the 31st of August so I can get all the pledge forms out to everyone. Thanks, our goal is $5000 dollars which I think is easily doable with everyone's help. If you need any more info feel free to shoot me an email.

The RUN:

The Bear 100 is an ultra marathon that runs 100 miles through the Wasatch and Bear River range. The Race begins in downtown Layton, Utah and ends in Fish Haven, Idaho. The race is 100 miles with 21,986 feet of climb, maximum elevation 9060 ft and a minimum elevation of 4860 ft.

Bear 100 race for donations for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (1,289 doc file)

Thanks,
Eli Grooms

Looks like an amazing endeavor! Community, please publicize it! Ab.

7/7 From TS

New mobile dispatch computers help county's fire department reduce response time, increase safety

7/7 Death of San Diego County helitack pilot

Sorry to bring more bad news. Tim

~~~~
Rocky was one of the finest human beings we've ever known and we enjoyed every minute sharing the cockpit with him. He was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and served in the Vietnam Conflict as a Huey and Cobra pilot. Sheriff Gore has outlined his service to San Diego County in his message below. Rocky served San Diego Helitack as one of our Fire-Rescue Pilots since July 2005. He was in the process of planning his retirement. In his spare time, Rocky was a photography enthusiast. In fact, he has graciously served as the ASTREA in-unit photographer for several years. Please visit smugmug.com to enjoy his fine pictures many of which are job related He will be missed by all of us that have served along side him.

San Diego Helitack and would like to thank the Cal Fire-Pine Valley engine crew that provided the first response. Some on the engine crew knew Rocky both as a resident of Pine Valley and for one crewmember as a Fire-Rescue Pilot during the years he was assigned to helitack. It is no easy task to respond to one of your own and the Cal Fire-Pine Valley Crew did an exemplary job in providing the best care. As the on scene paramedics pronounced Rocky's death, the Cal Fire engine crew honored our pilot by retrieving their station's American flag and covering him with it. Thank You!

San Diego Helitack - A Cooperative Fire-Rescue Helicopter Program between the San Diego Sheriff and Cal Fire

~~~~
From: Gore, William
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 2:59 PM
To: Everyone

I am deeply saddened to announce that Sheriff's Deputy Bolitha “Rocky” Laws passed away today from an apparent heart attack while riding his bicycle. He was 61 years old and was working at ASTREA where he was assigned to fly the Fire and Life Safety Helicopters.

Rocky began his career with the Sheriff's Department in July 1983. He has worked at VDF, Fallbrook Substation, and transferred to ASTREA in July 1989 where he served as both an observer and pilot. During his career, Rocky has received a Medal for Lifesaving, one Report of Exemplary Performance, a Medal of Valor and two Meritorious Unit Citations. Rocky was a dedicated employee, an excellent co-worker who always had a positive attitude and was a good friend to many of our law enforcement family. He is survived by his wife Louise. Information concerning funeral services will be forthcoming.

Sincerely,
Bill Gore, Sheriff

7/7 Message from AZ re Mike's passing:

We lost a good friend and asset.

ICP: it is with deep regret that we announce the passing of ICP324, Mike Lanning. Mike was found deceased in his apartment over the weekend. Cause of death is not known at this time. Mike Lanning was a valuable member of the ICP team and was an avid Wildlands Fire listener and Wildlands Medic. He will be missed for his paging efforts and great team spirit. [ICP-AZ,963]

7/6 CWZWildfire -- Mike Lanning -- has Passed

Hotlist Thread

7/6 Chief Joe Millar. That has a nice ring to it.

Best wishes Mr Pena on your new challenges in the WO.

Strider

7/6 Hi Ab,

Here is a link to a memorial plaque for CAL FIRE Dozer Operator Matt Will who died in the line of duty in Palo Colorado, Monterey County. Could you please add to the Memorial page, go to: Matt Will

The legislature and Gov. recently passed resolution ACR-106, in Matt Will's honor, five miles of Hwy 156, between Hollister / San Juan Bautista to Hwy 101, will be designated as CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTER MATTHEW WILL MEMORIAL HIGHWAY. The signs will be placed by Cal-Trans, but no state funds can be used. Once the signs are up, still months away, we will forward a photo of them to you for the memorial page.

Thank you for your support !!

FPO

7/6 Rappel Brothers and Sisters

As a person who has been involved in the rappel program since 1992 all I can say is I am somewhat ashamed at how folks that are not from R-6 have busted out the rocks to throw at there glass house. As a lurker who never had a need to say much here, this is pretty weak. Better make sure your glass house is well defended. I have rappelled fires in about every region there is and can say that the R-6 bunch can hold their own with anybody on the fireline. I will also go out on a limb and say that they probably fight as much fire as any other bunch who call themselves rappellers. Yep I used to be from R-6 but now oversee a program that is in a Region that chose to ride the fence. If you are one of these folks as well, you should be looking at your overhead in your region; they are the ones that chose to put your program in the position it is in, not R-6.

If you have any hope to rappel in the future you better hope and pray that they succeed as if they don't we will kiss rappel goodby.

The letter the chief distributed gave the green light to proceed on a region by region basis. The only region that put on a "train the trainer" was R-6, I know that there was not alot of participation from outside R-6 but there was some. R-4 chose to take their toys and go home. So guess what? The program moved forward without their participation; this should not be a big surprise.

Type II helicopters were selected as the platform because they were the closest to having a standardized system. Call BS if you like but it is true most type III programs have a very limited ability to boost and share personal.

So enough, quit the winning and complaining and start working towards getting rappel back online. If you think that the program we had pre last year's fatality is what we will see in the future, then you need to wake up. We have a choice: adapt, overcome and succeed/survive or become a bitter distant memory. It's truly the choice of the rappel community I hope R-6 survives since they had the cojones to try. They probably would give more of a cr*p about this but they have rappel training to pull off and don't have time.

Xman

7/6 Re: sign me
Quit Whining

I'm with you on all the finger pointing. We all know things sometimes happen with aircraft and other resource orders. I wasn't there at the beginning, but I'm sure no one on the ground including the dispatchers from the IC down to the newest firefighter had any intention of letting the fire get bigger. I'm sure everyone was doing their best on a difficult fire in challenging terrain and fuels. The Fire and Aviation portion of the Forest Service is an excellent Firefighting organization but there are many others.

Haven't many posts on this site by current Forest Service officials been critical of the way the Forest Service as a land management agency sometimes fights fire? Doesn't the most recent article and most of the other media reports site current and former Forest Service insiders? This article and others quoted Don Fesser the former FMO from the Angeles but your rant seems directed to CDF and LACO only.

Signed Objective Observer

7/6 Concerning all the chatter about Rappelling and R6 bashing, I would just like to say, for the record, that I have worked with this fine group of people, and they are not cavalier about their safety. EVER. So, perhaps everyone could focus their energy on creating a solution, not more problems. This is a tough situation, resulting from a devastating one. It would be nice to see some mutual respect, or some adherence to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”, translation, IF YOU CANNOT CONTRIBUTE TO RESOLVING THE PROBLEM, GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO.

Enough bashing of R6.

The rappel program is taking some heat, which should be no surprise to anyone. These folks want to fight fire, and they want to do it safely. SO, time to jump through the hoops and prove that it can be done, safely, even if it may take some time to hash it all out.

Every one stay safe this summer, whether you are on the end of a rope or pounding the ground, BE SAFE.

NW fire gal
7/6 New FAM Chief for Region 5 (CA)

Joe Millar has been selected for the position of Director, Fire and Aviation Management, for the Pacific Southwest Region. He is currently the Assistant Director of North Operations on the Region 5 Fire and Aviation Management staff where he provides leadership to the Forest Service portion of the Redding Multi-agency Coordination Center, working with subordinates, other California fire agencies, and northern California national forests, to direct initial deployment, reassignment, and withdrawal of resources in fire suppression and emergency incidents. Previously, Joe was the Forest Fire Management Officer (FMO) directing all fire and aviation activities on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, providing technical advice and expertise to the Forest Supervisor and others, and participating as a Forest Leadership Team member. Other key positions he held include Deputy Forest Fire Chief, Division Chief, and Forest Fire Management Specialist. Joe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from Utah State University in 1981.

Please join me in congratulating Joe in the assignment to his new position. Jim

Jim Peña
Deputy Regional Forester
Pacific Southwest Region

7/6
Joe Millar - New R5 FAM Director

Nice. Ab.

7/6 Jim Pena - New Associate Deputy Chief for National Forest System (NFS) in the Washington Office.
7/6 Photo of Russ Gorden as a member of NorCal II and a note from Cathleen. He is missed... Good man. Ab.

Oh my -- I really loved Russ -- he was such a special person even when he was going through all his health challenges, he never complained and was always cheerful -- I will truly miss him! Here is a team photo from 9/11/2006 -- the Uncles Complex on the Klamath NF -- Russ is in the blue uniform, 4th from the right, top row, moustache. Thank you for letting me know - take care, Cathleen

7/6 Many thanks, Royal. Very helpful stuff. Mellie
7/6 NorCal Coastal Fire History

Abs..

Here's a couple of links that may help Mellie out. This document talks about drought periods in Humboldt County.
Humboldt HMP Vol 1 Risk Assess DROUGHT  (pdf)

This document (pdf) speaks about the Canoe Fire in 2003 (13,000 acres) and makes reference to historical fires.

Here's an excellent map of CalFire Humboldt/ Del Norte County fire plan (pdf) may provide some insights.

The Largest fire in Del Norte County in recent history was the Sour Biscuit fire (2002) which merged with the
Florence fire in Oregon to become the Biscuit fire (pdf) which burned about 500,000 acres.

I hope this helps.

Royal Burnett

7/6 July 6, 2010 is the 16th year of the South Canyon Fire. Take time to remember the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain, July 6th, 1994. Please stop and remember our fellow co-workers / friends that lost their lives in the Line of Duty.

Michelle

7/6 NorCal Coastal Fire History

Mellie,

Sorry, I don't have any data for you, but wanted to pass a long a name you should try and contact who would definitely have some info for you and good knowledge of Humboldt county fire history and planning. Try contacting Tim Jones, FMO for Arcata Field Office of BLM. Their office manages many parcels of land spread throughout the NorCal coastal counties.

FarNORCAL

7/6 NorCal Coastal Fire History

Mellie,

Don't forget all those Raging Humboldt Bay Eelgrass Conflagrations!

Fire Geek

7/5 Rappel Standardization:

This is what we heard about in R-3

~~~
SW Fire
Date: July 2, 2010
Subject: Rappel Operations
To: Forest Supervisors

Deputy Chief Hubbard issued a Decision Memorandum on June 28, 2010, regarding the re-initiation of the rappel program nationally (enclosed). In the letter, the Deputy Chief identifies the options and actions that were considered and outlines the decision to rappel from a standard platform (Bell Medium Helicopters) for the 2010 season.

In the interest of allowing adequate time for equipment development, testing and development of standards, and training for safe rappel operations, the Southwestern Region will not resume rappel operations for the 2010 season.

In talking to the other Regions, I have found that Region 6 will be the only Region to re-instate their rappel program in 2010. They will start their rappel academy the first full week of July.

A Washington Office Quality Assurance team will be working closely with Region 6 in reviewing standardization protocols for the medium helicopters.

There are several on-going efforts that will shape the future of the rappel program both in the Southwestern Region and nationally. A programmatic review will be completed in late 2010 that will make recommendations on the number of rappel bases needed nationally. According to the Rappel Risk Assessment Action Plan Response, after the programmatic review is completed, the number of rappel bases “will be substantially less” nationally.

Additionally, the Missoula Technology and Development Center is continuing to develop and evaluate a new decent control system. Once approved, all rappel bases will use the new device and all of the necessary components.

There is the distinct possibility that Type III helicopters will not be used in the future as rappel platforms, however the Washington Office has not yet made that determination.

There is still work to be done and personnel from the aviation community in the Southwestern Region will continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of the rappel program. I appreciate the generosity and professionalism displayed by our personnel in giving of their time, expertise, and advice on the rappel standardization program.

/s/ Kristine Damsgaard
KRISTINE DAMSGAARD
Asst Director, Aviation Officer

cc: Bill Van Bruggen
Bob Leaverton
Kristine Damsgaard
Alexander L Stone
7/5
HUU Coastal Fire History

I have some limited info that may help Mellie with the fire history part of her White Paper.

I retired in 1992 as the Southern Humboldt CAL-FIRE Battalion Chief. I have deep experience with fires / Rx burns in the Shelter Cove to Petrolia area; not so much further north.

There was a destructive fire from fall slash burn escape in the 30`s near Trinidad the cleaned out the Lufingwell Landing area. Del Norte County had similar experiences up thru the mid 80`s. I have as short slide show on the 9/88 Klamath Fire.

John

7/5 I sent a message last winter about the chances of success in standardizing the rappel program and was fairly negative in the chances for success. I got a couple responses back asking how I could be so cynical in my viewpoint. Now that the chosen few (R-?) are in the drivers seat all I can say is....I told you so..

NZ Supe (ret)

7/5 Hi All,

I could use a few facts and insights for a white paper I'm writing on why a nor-cal oceanfront community should be creating defensible space (it burns and brief history of burning) and the issues involved in doing that, especially interagency issues.

NorCal coast firefighters...

Does anyone know how long we've been in a drought on the northern CA coast? Woods on the coast itself are thicker than ever before. There's lots of dead and down trees (alders) and bushes in our dense (clogged) coastal woodlands and coastal lands bordering Humboldt Bay and north. This year's late wet spring has caused heavy flashy fuels buildup along the ocean and highways/roads near the ocean. These will dry as the season progresses. If not before, September with its bright hot days and winds will raise the burning ante.

Anyone remember the escaped Rx on the Samoa Peninsula on Humboldt Bay, maybe 5-6 yr ago? Heck, could be 7 or 8 yr ago. (I loose track of tie when I'm having fun!) If you could share the year, ROS and final acreage burned, I'd much appreciate it. Any info would be welcome that could pinpoint the incident. If you want to send that info as a PM or as an email via Ab, it will get to me.

Does anyone know of other fires right on the beach or inland a bit that could show that we're not an "Asbestos Forest"?

Does anyone know what the politics or the MOUs are with towns/communities and CAL FIRE 100' of defensible space law from 2005 vs the Coastal Commission not allowing thinning (if they in fact restrict that?). What trumps what?

Does safety for homes and WUI communities trump environmental restrictions? What happens if homeowners thin because they can't get their town to do it?

The Angora Fire around Tahoe, while not on the coast, had similar issues. As I recall, those in the Lake Tahoe community wanting the "natural look" had prevailed so the FS did not thin the forests on the interface near peoples' homes even when community homeowners (not in line with environmentalists) were attempting responsibly to maintain defensible space. Did some thin in the forest in spite of it being off their land, to create defensible space for their homes? What trumps what? How do communities deal with that?
  • If the town/community fails to deal with the issue of thinning on town land under their jurisdiction who is liable if homes or the whole community burns?
  • Do coastal communities have anything to lose if THEY fail to plan and execute thinning or fuel reduction and don't even address it?
  • Does the Coastal Commission have anything to lose if they block thinning requests and Rx burning near communities that might fall under their jurisdiction?

We're in a new era of expanding interface across the country where communities meet public lands and seashores. How does this stuff get resolved?

People want to do the right thing to protect their homes and properties and those of their neighbors but seem unable to deal with multiple complex bureaucracies.

Thanks in advance,

Mellie

7/5 Gettin' real tired of Mr. Pringle and Cal Fire and LA City.. and their repeated political attempts to make the FS look bad... it was one fire!!! get over it... your hidden agenda is quite obvious... when will the poooooo (yes that would be the word POO) litics be takin out of our arena...probably never.. i know... JUST GETTIN REAL TIRED OF ALL THE FINGER POINTING!! WE ARE ALL TRYING TO ACHIEVE THE SAME GOAL!!! you think some one let this burn because they wanted to be away from their family .. work for nothing .. and be crucified by some trying to gain points in the political arena... YEAH RIGHT... Get off your high horse! and quit being jealous of the best wildland firefighters in THE WORLD! Maybe we should all take a furlonh day, Oh say some September evening  with the SUNDOWNERS BLOWING and the RHs AROUND, OOOOOOO, let's say 15%... I'd rather be with my family than folks like you anyway ... and for the folks who know the real deal and work AS PART of the TEAM!!!....  i'd gladly wake up at three in the morning and fire up my truck and be there with you!

sign me
QUIT WHINING
GET OVER IT
DO YOUR JOB!!!!
7/5 In order for R-6 to start operational rappels, a few things need to happen.

The training at John Day this week is being evaluated by a Quality Assurance Group made up of people from other regions that have been involved in the standardization process. They should make sure that procedures are being followed by what was developed so far by the SMEs. Also, the Working Group will need to approve the very rough final draft of the Rappel Guide for use during the training.

In my opinion, with the sense of urgency and trying to cipher an unedited guide, it will be tough to produce and assure QUALITY!

Fire Descender

7/5 Article today in LA Times, narrative from CAL FIRE air attack officer, in the crucial / critical early hours of the second day, please post !!

FPO

Aerial expert's report on L.A. County's biggest wildfire flies in the face of official review

Station fire
By Paul Pringle

7/5 Re: Wildland Fire Smoke - Employee Exposure and Health and a wage commensurate with the FIREFIGHTER position

Re-read Dr. Ted Putnam's article "Fire Safety: Up in Smoke?" 

Putnam on human factors

One of Dr. Putnam's major points as to why the Land Management Agencies may never achieve  safety as a # 1 priority is:

Financial concerns. Personal financial incentives, while necessary, too often bias firefighters to work to the point of mental and physical deterioration, making accidents more imminent. This is more likely a cause of injury and near misses than fatalities. Fire managers and Incident Management Teams often under spend to save money in initial fire outbreaks. This results in insufficient resources attacking the fire. This alone or in combination with factor No. 1 puts firefighters at risk and can lead to fatalities (South Canyon, 1994).

Ever since I started with the Forest Service in 1974, one of the biggest hiring incentives was the almighty OT, OVERTIME... I still remember being told that while the base wage is extremely low, the crew makes lots of overtime which makes it a living wage.

That overtime went from 200-300 hundred hours in an "average" year in the 70's,  to 500 hours as the norm in the mid 80's to 90's and then into the 1000 - 1200 hours plus in the 2000's. Without that overtime I would not have earned a survivable wage. Everyone strives for more OT in the agency.

I retired in 2005 as a Battalion Chief after 32 years of experience which included HotShots, Engines, Prevention, Air Attack, Operations Section Chief, Incident Commander and a host of other Incident Operational and Logistical Qualifications. My base wage at retirement as a Battalion Chief was the same as the entry level firefighter wage for local government.

Did I do everything I could while working to maximize the almighty OT?? You bet I did! With OT the wage was livable and comparable. SO is Dr. Putnam correct? You bet he is!

The Land Management Agencies need to recognize and ACT on these facts. Safety of it's firefighters will never have a chance to be number one until the financial need to maximize OT is mitigated by paying their FIREFIGHTERS a true wage commensurate with the position.

yactak

7/5 Re: Wildland Fire Smoke - Employee Exposure and Health

Our Temporary and Apprentice Wildland Firefighters watch out for the effects of smoke, practice LCES to stay alive, look for snags, widow makers, work on almost vertical slopes, firing operations, falling rocks and boulders, tree felling, hour after hour of cutting fireline or laying hose, chain saws, hours of driving on highways, code 3 driving through cities and towns and driving on dirt roads with 1/2 mile drop offs to the bottom of the canyon all for $11.00 to $15.00 an hour.

While customer service reps who sell phones make$16.36 - $17.61 per hour.

JobSeek

Pay our firefighters a wage commensurate with the life and health risks involved with this profession. NOW!

mhb

7/5 Rappelling:

Douglas B.

I, too, have worked (rappelled & spotted) in other regions (although not quite all of them) and I am in alignment with what you are saying, completely. Especially the part about SMEs spending many hours trying to create a NATIONAL STANDARD, most people have NO IDEA how much time and energy was spent. Were we successful? No. Are we all in complete agreement? No.

Some other issues which might be worth considering include the following:

  • If only one region rappels, is this really working towards a unifying national standard? And what might the ramifications of the program not being unified be?
  • If there is an accident (and let's hope there isn't), say to your daughter or son for instance, you might consider the power you will have in court when your attorney discovers that the SME groups, which were created to come up with the best and safest standardized methods for operating the program were NOT in agreement and did NOT sign off on the plan.
  • Good point about lights. And on another note, if anyone is interested... Lights have a much safer record than mediums. Don't believe me? Ask your local aviation officer.

R4Booster

7/4 We Understand Justice and Truth and will Deliver it With our Lives:

Wildland Fire Community,

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

HAPPY USA INDEPENDENCE DAY!

HAPPY 234 th  BIRTHDAY,

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

On 9/12/08 I posted this message below from Shari Downhill and it's pretty sweet. I want to share it again today. The situation was that Shari was  poised in front of her TV, the record button under her finger, ready to catch the CNN special on our own Vicki Minor (Wildland Firefighter Foundation) and looked up to find her 14-year-old daughter slumped on the couch doing her homework, unenthused, bangs in face... Read on... Ab.

Shari's story:

I asked Emily what her assignment was. (After puffing air up through her bangs to show her disinterest…) She told me “Memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.”

“And” I asked her, “how far have you gotten?”….

“Hmm, ‘We the people…’ ”

“….and…??? That’s it?”

I had her read it to me out of her notebook to make sure she’d copied it correctly before we launched into etching this foundational piece into her brain cells.

This is important. Pay attention. (Paying attention is ALWAYS a good idea, even if you don’t agree with what’s being said.)

To clarify…according to Wikipedia…

~~~The Preamble to the United States Constitution is an introductory statement of the fundamental purposes and guiding principles which the Constitution is meant to serve. It expresses what the Founding Fathers thought the Constitution meant and what they hoped to achieve. ~~~

Okay…here we go…

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

My daughter looks up at me after reading this. Her bangs are still in her face. She is still unenthused and disinterested. She is my fourth. Poor girl. I can see it in her eyes. She sees “a lesson” coming right at her like a train engine at night.

We start with a memory sentence to help her remember the key points of the Preamble. The words in this sentence MUST start with the first letter of each critical word or concept in the Preamble. This is what we came up with: W…U...J…T…D…W…L (oh yea…and O for that “Ordaining stuff…) I told her the only way to really remember something is to reach out and to see meaning in it. Ya gotta feeeel it, baby

“Yea…okay mom.” (At least the bangs are out of her eyes now. I think it’s the decibel of my voice that has caught her attention.)

Our memory sentence: “We Understand Justice and Truth and will Deliver it With our Lives…" and this is what it stands for:

W – We the People of the United States of America
U – in order to form a more perfect Union,
J – establish Justice
T – insure domestic Tranquility
D – provide for the common Defense
W – promote the general Welfare
L – secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity…
…do Ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America.

And it turns into a call back sequence:

Me- “Who are WE, Emily?”

Em- “The People of the United States!”

Me- What do we UNDERSTAND Em?

“…in order to form a more perfect UNION…”

“…establish JUSTICE,”

“…insure domestic TRANQUILITY

Me- “Yea, you know…like we have at home here…because we’re SO PEACEFUL & CALM. (This cracks her up because it’s so far from the truth…especially right now in the middle of fire season.)

“…provide for the common DEFENSE

Me- “What does THAT mean, Em?...(Blank look.) So, I say…”Go to the next one for a hint.”

“…promote the general WELFARE

Me- “Good. Now go back to your memory sentence. “We Understand Justice and Truth and will Deliver it With our Lives.” I remind her of the firefighters who died in the Iron 44 Helicopter Crash incident. It was both close in time and proximity, so I knew she would understand what “Delivering it with our LIVES” really meant. It means doing something you believe in, in order to serve the larger good, to serve our community, to protect our people and our land… and be willing to lay down your life doing it. Lay down your life… That means “To Die.” That’s a pretty significant sacrifice. (The bangs are now nowhere near her eyes.)

“…secure the blessings of LIBERTY to ourselves and our posterity”

Me- “Who’s “our posterity” Em?

Em- ”Our children and our grandchildren.”

“…do Ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America.

And then … Epiphany!
McCain and Obama move your a$$s over…

VICKI  MINOR  FOR PRESIDENT!

We didn’t get to see the CNN special last night, but now I know why I wanted to. I’m now closer to realizing why I respect and listen to Vicki Minor and wholeheartedly support the work she has accomplished personally with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and INSPIRED thousands of others to take action to accomplish.

Rowdy said it right. (Right on Rowdy…) Vicki is wonderful as an individual, yes. But her most wondrous and profound attribute is that she has that soul level stature and strength to issue a call to action, and we BELIEVE in her enough to FOLLOW her. THAT is what a true leader does. And THAT is the cloth our Founding Fathers & Mothers were cut from. That is something we need to remember and to help our children remember.

Anything that doesn’t stand up to the Litmus test of our Constitution - which includes all of those key ideas in the Preamble - need to be challenged, even if it pisses off someone in the WO. If we look at the work the WFF does under the leadership of Vicki Minor, that’s exactly what’s being done. If you’ve ever seen Vicki challenging a violation of a wildland firefighter’s welfare, right to justice or tranquility, you’ll see true passion and determination in action. There is a fierceness fueled by a belief in justice and truth.

I’m pleased to report that my daughter is now able to recite the ENTIRE Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America… and she knows what it means. Our lesson helped remind me, too.

Vicki, thank you for inspiring us and for helping us to be better people.

Once again… All together now… ”We Understand Justice and Truth and will Deliver it with our Lives.” Now you know the Preamble too. Welcome to the United States.

Shari Downhill

7/4 TO : wildlandfire.com
FROM : National Wildfire Coordinating Group
REPLY TO : NWCG@nifc.gov
DATE : 07/04/2010
SUBJECT : SAFETY ADVISORY : Wildland Fire Smoke - Employee Exposure and Health

(See attached file: Wildland Fire Smoke - Employee Exposure and Health.pdf)

Wildlandfire Smoke, employee exposure and health (60 K pdf file)

7/4 Fireworks:

AB,

Idaho Statesman this morning,

Fireworks explosion injures 3 firefighters, cancels show in Mountain Home

Read more: idahostatesman

MOUNTAIN HOME - Rob Ellis, a golf pro at Desert Canyon Golf Course, heard a blast about 1:20 p.m. Saturday and thought it was a test for Sunday's fireworks.

"But all of a sudden, all the fireworks were going off, on the ground, up in the air," Ellis said.

A volunteer firefighter was placing a shell in a launch tube at the golf course when static electricity apparently sparked the explosion, police Sgt. Rick Viola said. The shell detonated in his hands, causing third-degree burns to his hands and arms. Two nearby firefighters also were injured. All three were taken to Elmore Medical Center, but two were released after treatment. (Read more at link)

Craig

Fair Use Disclaimer

7/3
Fourth of July Parade 2009, Crestline, CA

Pendleton Fire, in the San Bernardino National Forest near Oak Glen, BDF E11 on second alarm to Sheep Fire

-Thomas S

BDF E11Thanks, I put them on Engines 27 photo page. Ab.

7/3 Ab,

Here's a photo of Engine 12 on the North Zone of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF in Washington, brand new this year. I believe it is one of only two type 3 engines of this model in all of Region 6.

Brett

I put it on Engines 27 photo page. Ab.

7/3 Lots of new logos posted on Logos 19;
three new photos of skycrane and tatra on Helicopters 28;
and several new AT photos on Airtankers 33 photo pages.

Thanks All! Ab.

7/3 Nice photo with FLAMES of firefighters working on Hat Creek Complex, 2009: Photo compliments of RB. (0110)

It's on Engines 27.Ab.

7/3 Rappelling

Strive for 205

Region aside, I have worked and spotted in all regions, SMEs spent many hours and lots of time trying to get the rappel community to be on the same team, and the door is shut in our face and our experience doesn't matter! R-4 took the approach of "let's get things figured out before they get involved" which is good and bad, GOOD side is to make sure our equipment is working and figure out if there is better and safer stuff out there. And Bad because r-6 took the standardization to say, if r-6 continues that it was all their ideas,  they can write the rappel guide with only their perspectives!

So when they call and want boosters from my base maybe they should have had the same open door policy the rappel community had to get the program right!

Can of worms --- Why shouldn't lights be able to rappel? The only region that doesn't want to use them is R-6! Should they be the region that controls everything!?

Douglas B.

7/3 Glad to see that Hollingshead has finally retired.

The "Northland Mafia", as he called us, we were never big fans of his.

AZ Trailblazer
7/3 Rappelling

Douglas B

Just curious as to what region you are from? And really are you surprised that the W.O. wouldn't listen to the working group.

Strive for 205

7/3 Rappelling

If Douglas B. is saying, in his own creative way, that the SMEs did not come to a complete agreement on procedures and standardization this past winter and spring... Well, I can safely say that he is absolutely correct, it's a fact that they did not. And I am quite sure that the WO proceeded to approve the plan without asking why or spending much time considering the implications of not having agreement among the SMEs. I guess it could all come out in a post-accident investigation, so heck... Why deal with silly formalities now??

R4Booster

7/2 Rappel will never standardize!

Ab,

I have read the documents from Tom Harbor and cannot believe that rappel is going to continue this year!

Standardization in the rappel world is called R-6! In their eyes there are no other regions or rappel programs! During all the groups that met this winter and agree on things face to face, then go back to their region and make their own agenda!

A little history about the o ring that was introduced into the rappel world, it was not approved in R-6! Wake up, the only way the rappel community is going to survive is if one region opens their eyes and realizes that we are not rappellers we are firefighters! Talking with many spotters in R-6 they are brain washed, they think its safer to rappel a road than land and walk to the fire, they believe that take offs and landings are dangerous!

Our job as aviation mangers is to take all the risk and mitigate it, not by saying there is only one way to do things! The problem with the rappel community is not the equipment but it's been the R-6 mindset that the only way to fight fires is by going down a rope!

Wake Up and listen to the other regions that have more rappel bases than your region and can skin a cat in more than one way ! When WO management doesn't listen to the subject matter experts in the rappel working group and other groups, they are opening themselves up to another accident and I'm not going to be a part of one region's arrogance! The swiss cheese holes are lining up !

Be a leader, not a follower!

Douglas B.

7/2 Some articles on Google news... Be safe. If you're home, have a fun filled 4th of July.

Todd

----
Redding Fireman Hurt During Fireworks Demo

Fireworks can be dangerous, even for trained professionals. Redding fireman Jeff Granberry ended up in the hospital after a fire cracker exploded in his hand during a demonstration.

Cal fire and the Redding Fire Department were putting on the display to show how dangerous fireworks can be And how quickly a fire can start.

Granberry has been released from the hospital. Thanks to all his safety gear Granberry wasn't seriously injured. Firefighters on the scene say there appeared to be burns around one of his eyes and on his hand.

All fire works, even the safe-and-sane kind are illegal in Shasta County. Fire officials say they will be strictly enforcing the law.

----
Firefighter hurt by fireworks

Redding Fire Department spokesman suffered burns Thursday morning when a Roman candle he had lit exploded back into his face during a demonstration about the dangers of fireworks.

Jeff Granberry, the department’s fire prevention specialist, was taken to Mercy Medical Center with minor burns to his face and one of his eyes, said Battalion Chief Gerry Gray.

Granberry lit the Roman candle, which launches exploding shells, as part of an annual media day about fireworks, Gray said. It was the third firework he lit and it exploded in place rather than shooting one of its shells.

Luckily Granberry was wearing fire resistant clothing, a helmet and eye protection — gear the general public likely wouldn’t when setting off fireworks — said Phil Paige, the department’s fire marshal.

“I think that serves to illustrate the danger of fireworks,” he said.

The department honored Granberry as its firefighter of the year this year... ETC at link... Plus you can get fined if you start a fire!

Fair Use Disclaimer

7/2 Anyone have the news release on the Redding CA FF that had fireworks explode in his hand yesterday? It was a demo gone bad but he wasn't hurt due to ppe.

SLEDGE

7/2 Found this in our archives... Blast from the past, fire safety history:

Ted Putnam on Fire Safety and Human Factors, 2000

Our thanks to Ted for being a "First Speaker" on Human Factors.

Sadler Fire Entrapment Investigation, 1999

7/2 To All:

While I appreciate the comments recently posted relating to Congress' concerns over the misuse of Temp employees, as much, if not more credit needs to go to the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE).

Naturally the FWFSA has focused our efforts with Congress on the lack of benefits provided to federal wildland firefighters. That is just one segment of the workforce and one segment of the employee base that NFFE represents.

We have worked with NFFE on the wildland firefighter liability issues, Temp issues and others. It is likely that because they are much larger and represent a much larger group of employees than just wildland firefighters who are impacted by current temporary/seasonal policies, they were invited to testify recently on the matter. In fact yesterday I sent a letter off to NFFE National President Bill Dougan thanking him for his efforts.

Although the FWFSA can be vocal and visible at times, the vast majority of our work is behind the scenes with Congress, staff, Agencies, etc.

I am disappointed in the comments attributed to Mr. Kashdan. Perhaps he needs to spend a year in California and other parts of the West to realize that the work firefighters do is year round. If the need were not there, R-5 would not have recently offered to convert many Temps/Seasonals to permanent. The work & need is there year round. Perhaps Mr. Kashdan out to speak to his Agency's Fire & Aviation Management Director Tom Harbour, who, in a letter a couple of years ago to OPM seeking extension of the use of 1039 employees, indicated that the fire season was year round!

The fact that the OPM representative indicated that it (OPM) would be willing to work with Congress to provide benefits to Temps is indicative of just how long this issue has been out there. A near identical comment from OPM to Congress and the USDA exists from nearly 20 years ago. (I keep almost every document ever sent to me).

Since they all seem to be in agreement, there should be no further delay in getting these reforms accomplished. Despite the recent sound bites from Congress on the subject (remember, it's an election year) we will continue to work towards the passage of HR 4488 which includes such benefits.

Casey
7/2 Ab and All,

It is with a heavy heart that I present the news that Russ Gorden, Retired CALFIRE Air Attack Captain (HUU) and CIIMT Air Operation Branch Director for Norcal 2, passed away last night after his long struggle with Cancer. I for one can't tell you how much this affects me as I know it will you too. He was and is my mentor. His ability make people smile, calm nerves, and perform good work while he served with us will not be forgotten. Melanie has asked that we inform as many people as possible...In this business it is hard to keep track of all those we have affected or have known but I can say people knew and loved Russ. At this early stage a CALFIRE memorial is being thought out with more to follow...

Cards and Letters:

Melanie Gorden and Family
1837 Laurelwood Place
Fortuna, CA 95540

"Later Bubb"......

Sorry that Russ is gone. We'll miss him. Good man. Ab.

7/2 Hi Ab,

There is an article today in the Denver Post titled 'Sprite Brigade Steps Up as Slurry Bombers Retire'

Could you please ask wildlandfire readers on They Said to visit the site and leave a comment? I'm trying to establish a thread about HR 4488 and get support for it from Colorado legislators. If they get enough comments it will generate more interest and the firefighters can explain why the bill is so important to them.

Thanks much!
Colorado mom
7/2 Thank you, Casey

This has been going on as long as 20 + years ago

USFS has been using this sham of employment and not turning anyone into perms for as long as the United Farm Workers has had migrant workers picking the fields....

NOW it is time for the USFS and other "land management" agencies to start owing up the yeeeeaars of temp and intermittent workers as the true backbone of the entire organization to

Wait for it......

SAVE their budgets and still proving that they can not fix back log of facilities management LET alone managing the land.

Let's hear it for the the temp and intermittent!!

PILOT

In all fairness, in R5 there has been a push in the last year and a half to get temps into full-time permanent positions with year-round benefits. Some vocal temps have resisted that, preferring to work at other higher paying jobs or ski slopes, etc. in the winter. Ab.

7/2 Check this out. "Lawmakers Fault treatment of Temporary federal workers".
 EXCELLENT JOB.... Casey!!!!

Toucans in my Hand

Lawmakers fault treatment of temporary federal workers
By STEPHEN LOSEY | Last Updated: July 1, 2010

The federal government is abusing authorities to hire temporary workers, and it does not know how many of those workers lack health care coverage, lawmakers said June 30.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the problem is especially bad at the Forest Service, where many employees have worked as temps for five or more years. The Forest Service is allowed to indefinitely rehire temporary workers who work less than six months in a single year; anyone who to two years.

"It is morally repugnant to exploit temporary hiring authority to avoid providing Forest Service employees the benefits that they have earned through what is frequently long-term service," Connolly said at a hearing examining the government's temporary employee policies.

The federal government employs about 180,000 temporary workers, and is unsure how many lack health insurance. Those workers can purchase health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program after they have completed one year of temporary service, but the government does not pay for any portion of the premiums. Temporary workers are also ineligible for federal life insurance or retirement benefits.

The federal government needs to better understand how many of its temporary..... for rest, click link above

Fair Use Disclaimer

7/1 At the close of business on June 30, 2010, Ed Hollingshead retired.

ms
7/1 MM

To answer your questions,
  1. Yes, maxi-flex can be used for Engines and Crews. It is an Agency policy for all employees.
  2. Yes, there are core hours that have to be met by the employee, either by credit hours used, an approved leave of some sort, or by just working those core hours. No, management cannot shift your hours around to try and dodge paying OT. Night differential is a totally separate issue.
  3. Again, management cannot shift schedules to avoid overtime. Maxiflex, as has been said in earlier posts, is maximum flexibility for the employee, not management. It really shouldn't be influenced by the crew either.
  4. As far as your last statement, you still have a regularly scheduled workweek, for instance Saturday-Wednesday. It is really not that much different than a standard schedule if you think about it,,,,you just have a little more flexibility. You will still take Th and Fr off unless you have something to take care of on a different day, in which you would just "flex" days.

Brad W

7/1 Airtanker tail numbers here:

airtanker-id

FC180

Thanks, Ab.

7/1 MM

It looks like you got some good information from folks on the Maxi-Flex schedule. I always tried to get folks onto that schedule when I could because of the flexibility it gave us.

When I was working hotshots I had the crew on maxi and that helped us out for a couple of ways:

  1. We used the flexibility of that schedule in 1995 to facilitate getting the crew to South Canyon 1 year Memorial Service. With days off and the weird hours maxi was the only way I could get our crew there and avoid the paperwork. There were other times when some special event came up and maxi allowed us to attend.
  2. We used it to help folks who needed to take time off but did not want to use annual leave. They could make up the hours during the crew's days off sharpening chains, cleaning the fire cache, (or swamping out the Superintendent's vehicle!)

When I became an FMO we also used that schedule quite a bit and it was always used to the employee's advantage. (If you have good people you have to take care of them.) I never received any complaints about the schedule, only questions from H.R. as to why we did things differently.

I imagine there will always be some Machiavellian ways for management to abuse the system but we never had any issues with it. I guess it comes down to how well management gets along with ground.

Good luck and stay safe!

Tim

7/1 Ab,

Could you please post this flyer for a benefit that we are having for Tommy Lane? He is in some real need right now and we would like to do as much as possible to help him out!

Thanks,
Lori

Flyer (Please spread the word. Ab.)

Text from the flyer:

A Benefit for Tommy Lane

Tommy Lane, Fire Dozer Operator with the Stanislaus National Forest, has been diagnosed with cancer. He has accumulated many co-payments and insurance deductibles, making keeping up with his medical bills a challenge. Friends of Tommy have started an account at Wells Fargo to help with medical bills. All proceeds from this golf tournament will benefit this cause.
Wells Fargo Account # 995-734-0244

Golf Tournament:
Saturday, July 24, 2010, 1300 hours
Mountain Springs Golf Course $100/golfer
Contact Jerry Rundle at (209) 533-0430 or
Wendy Flannery at (209) 768-3814
Dinner plans to follow tournament are being worked on...

7/1 I know it's "just your job" but...

I was reading through the IHC to Fire Manager file again (thanks KMP) and just want to say how impressed I was with the Black Mountain and Ruby Mountain Hotshots in 2008 when they spiked at our place during the lightning bust fires. I feel honored to have met you and had your rough bedrolls on our land.

Our Trinity Mountains are vertical mountains, the New River and Trinity River confluence is a Class 5 kayaking river during the winter. A rock or downed tree falls from the top and lands a thousand + feet in the gorge without a sound until it hits bottom. Working on those slopes and ridges is not for novices or slackers and the poison oak is a terror to behold, much less to suffer... and the firefighting job goes on and on. My husband likes hiking until his calves burn -- for hours on end, crazy man -- and after our family hooked the fire on the edge of our property in the valley -- in the first few days after the bust -- with very few "troops", the multiple crews and resources came in, including Black and Ruby Mountain IHCs. Off and up they went, with my man insisting on going along and filling them in for a good ways up the mountain.. (He got to the road and headed "down home" the way he'd come along the ridge because it was 1 mile instead of 4 or 5 by road...)

Awesome work over the next days and weeks, our Black and Ruby Mountain hotshot crews holding that fire and burning out.

Thank you! And still -- when I see reports of you working around the West, I remember you with pride, just "doing your job".

Mellie

7/1 MM - To answer your question about Maxi-Flex here are some excerpts from the Master Agreement:

Article 18.2..b.1.c: Maxiflex: The employee may vary the number of hours per day and the number of days per week. The employee must account for at least 80 hours per pay period and core hours. For a part-time employee, the basic work requirement is the number of hours the employee must work in a pay period. Credit hours may be earned.

Key words here are " the employee may vary" not the agency. The agency can not force you to flex your day/hours due to avoid overtime.
(4) Management will not discontinue or shift the type of AWS for the purpose of avoiding overtime or other premium or extra compensation.

On the core hours issue:
b. For employees on a Maxiflex schedule, the tour of duty will fall between 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Saturday.

18.5 Core Hours
b. The default core hours for employees on Maxiflex schedules will be the 3 middle days of the employees’ RSAW from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This same issue has been been fought time and time again on my forest and it almost always about the fire crew and mandatory days of and/or work/rest issues with 14/21 days on unit, etc. The union's stance continues that MAxi-Flex is the employees option (as long as their supervisor agrees and they can meet the agency mission) and that the agency can't force someone to flex their hours/day to avoid overtime or to avoid someone getting a paid day off because they worked their 21 days on unit (my unit has a policy of 14 days).

Check with your local union rep, or if you are not a union forest start digging through the FSH/FSM on work schedules. They official FS policy is not that different then what was negotiated in the Master Agreement.

R9 Engine Captain

Appreciate the help. Ab.

7/1 "IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project

Hey I know I've sent you some of this before.

But I happened to look at the HS/SMJ to FMO page and re-called some other new info I heard recently (Gary Jennings fmr Yakima River FMO and T-2 IC)...
First of all, Gila IHC... originally Gila IR in '68
They had 3 10 person crews at Negritio Fire Base and they would take turns staffing the IR and the helicopter with the 3 crews. 1974 Silver City IHC formed and it was decided that the Gila IR name should change to Negrito IHC, that also finished the 3 10person crew rotation. Stayed that way until 2000 when the name was changed again to Gila IHC (also Dewey Rebbe's 1st season as Supt.). That was when I got there and we had some old narrative hanging around in the trailer there. Gary J, told me the part about the 3 10 person crews... he was there for it.
Also, Jerome MacDonald (was a T-1 DPIC (and longtime OSC1) and Regional Training Spec in R3) was the supt for a good part of the '90s.

Pleasant Valley IHC... you have that note at the bottom from a Tom S, I can elaborate on some of that.
Word I got when I was there, is that the crew was another of the '68 IR crews. We had crew pictures up from at least as far back as '70.
Not sure when they became an IHC.
As far as supts. go from the note... Bob Ortlund was the Payson RD FMO (retired in '08). Also, Rogers Wright (currently AFMO on the Santa Catalina RD, AZ-CNF) followed Marty Rose and took the crew somewhere around '00, he had been Rose's foreman and a jumper somewhere before that. In '03, Fred Thompson moved up from the foreman spot (he got there in '02, he had rookied at MSO in '00 and detailed to L&C IHC in '01) and he was the supt until he left for the Helena Supt job for the '07 season. I was the foreman from '04-'06 and the Supt for the '07 season. Andy Bernard followed on for '08 and '09. Pat Moore is doing the job currently.
The logo... in '04, when Fred T had the job permanently after the '03 season, the crew went back to a version of the Keep on Truckin' logo until the current Cow Skull logo in '09 (maybe '08?).
One other note... No supt has lasted more than 5 years @ PV, per Woody Cline (fmr PV IHC member and longtime PVRD AFMO retired in '06), from a conversation with Woody, Fred T and myself. I can tell you from experience, Young, AZ is a tough place to live (although easier than Negrito).
Current PVRD FMO John Thornburg was a crewmember at one point... not sure when.

Also, you have Chris Theisen under L&C IHC (he was also the Supt @ Wolf Creek in the late '90s, before that he was on Entiat in '88 and Redmond in '91) as an FMO somewhere... he was the Cle Elum Rd FMO on the OWF until they Zoned his job (Naches FMO Gary Jennings became the Zone), as of last fall he is now the Dep FFMO on the Humboldt-Toyaibe NF.
The current Yak Riv FMO is Mike Starkovich, he and his brother Anthony (S Zone FMO on the MBS) were both on Entiat IHC... not exactly sure when.

And Jeff Borucki, under the Redmond IHC... he's now the FFMO on the A-S NF in AZ. Mike Behrens, Tonto Basin FMO, Payson IHC

Lastly, San Juan's first Supt, Shawna Legarza, and started on Black Mtn, is now a ZFMO on the Columbine RD, SJ NF.

KMP

I'm adding in some of this and have "filed" your info. Steve (Original Ab) and I are still working on wlf.com website conversion so there will be a better place for historical info, but I have it all. Thanks, contributors. Ab.

7/1 Messages flying behind the scenes for Alonso:

Thank you very much i will look in to that... (etc)

Alonso

7/1 This should help with the maxi-flex question.

FS_correspondence (doc)

Noname Fire

Appreciate the help. Ab.

7/1 Oregonfirefighter

I have tried on several occasions to put a list together of aircraft and their respective tail numbers. I have not had much luck though, at least not with the Heli-Tankers. It seemed that every time I made a list of which tanker was which, it would change on me so I pretty much gave up that pursuit. Region 5 helicopters just all redid their contracts this year, so alot of the tail numbers will be different for specific helicopters than in years past. The Air Tankers numbers all stay the same for the most part over the years and I do somewhere have a list of all of the current Air Tankers and their respective tail numbers.

Mod-Chaparral
7/1 Fyi, NFFE is working on temporary employment reform. Check out nffe-fsc.org for more info. We participated in a Congressional hearing on the issue today -- testimony should be posted soon.

Mark Davis, Chair
NFFE Forest Service Council Legislative Committee

Thanks, Mark, and thanks on maxiflex, too. Ab.

7/1 Here is my understanding of Maxiflex:

Every crew that I have worked on is on the maxiflex schedule basically the entire year, not just fire season. Maxiflex does limit or take your OT hours. You can earn what are called "Credit Hours" in lieu of OT hours. The caveat with credit hours is that you have a maximum of 24 that can be rolled over into the next pay period. Also, credit hours are only worth your base pay vs. time and a half. Core hours are the hours between 0600 and 1800. Night diff is technically anything outside these hours, but generally is only used between 0000 and 0600. I have yet to see a crew get Night diff for 1 or 2 hour extensions after 1800. On Maxiflex you can work any combination of hours within this time frame to achieve your base 80, with supervisor approval of course. For example you could 5 eight hours day on week and 4 ten hour days the next week. There are the 4-10 and 5/4-9 work schedules available, but the catch is that you must have the same Start/Stop times for the entire pay period. With maxiflex you could start at 0700 one day and 0800 the next and not get fouled by Paycheck 8.

As far as an established work schedule, this is something in the hands of your Division Chief. All personnel on crews are allotted 2 days off, whether the whole crew takes those days, or it is staggered which is the case for seven-day effective modules. Depending on staffing needs, it may be strongly suggested that people work one or both of their allotted days off. This of course would be OT. I suppose you could turn them into credit hours, but you would only be losing money. Continue to make plans though, preferably important ones, as that is one of the best ways to ensure a fire assignment.

Hopefully this answered some questions. Anyone please correct me if my interpretations are incorrect.

Norcal grunt

Thanks, Ab.

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