August, 2010

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8/31Here's a project SteveM (Original Ab) has been working on that's related to the Hotlist and where IA fires are reported as being located. I think his hotlist post that I'm reprinting below will speak for itself. Click the final link (GACC Boundary Maps) and then try any link to be amazed... At least I was. The Google Earth links require Google Earth. I must say, I am honored to be Steve's partner and appreciate his attention to the cutting edge of info needed by wildland firefighters. Ab.

GACC Boundary Maps Available (from the Hotlist under Help, Questions and Answers)

A while back there were a few fires posted that were located in areas where one Geographic Area Coordination Center responsibility area intruded slightly into one State or another. This led to some understandable confusion amongst our members (and us) on where the new fires should be posted.

When we first split our Hotlist IA forums last September, we thought it much easier to have our forums generally follow the GACC boundaries, but where they became complex, we'd deviate and instead, follow the closest State borders.

The main reason for that was our being unable to find any detailed (or free) maps we could post and share with our audience. Doing some more research, we were able to find a couple of sources who had some basic GACC boundary maps available and permission was given for us to modify them and make them available here.

The Common Operating Picture website is where I found one map. In addition to the GACC map, there is an abundance of other information and maps available. Using an included link to contact Matt Gibson to request permission to use the map, I was advised that it is a government maintained website and that the information and files there were public domain. My thanks to Matt and the rest of the folks at the Geospatial Equipment and Technology Application Group (GETA) for all the fine work they're getting done. I encourage you all to check out who they are, the information they have, and what they plan on doing next.

Another map source I found was my own email inbox where I re-discovered a link to a file sent to me by Zeke Lunder of the NorthTree Fire GIS Fire Intel department. NorthTree Fire is well known in the fire mapping world since one of the many services they provide is mobile mapping and cartography resources to incident management teams.

Early Sunday morning readers may have already noticed a few changes to the IA Forum titles and/or sub-titles. The new descriptions now better conform to the National Interagency Coordination Center boundaries. I kept the descriptions brief due to space considerations, but having good maps to refer to now should minimize future confusion.

The link at the bottom is a page on our website where you can find a complete list of our maps and links. I recommend downloading the desired Google Earth kmz files and saving them to your computer for faster use. The Google Maps file links can be also be saved as a bookmark in your browser.

My thanks again to Matt and Zeke for their help and expertise on this project. As always, our members' thoughts and comments are welcome.

Here's the maps link: GACC Boundary Maps

8/31Help with OWCP Schedule Awards:

I received an interesting phone call last week from Trish Arnold. She was starting a new business and curious about advertising her services here at WLF. She explained what it is she's offering and how she became aware such a service was needed. I confessed I wasn't sure of how many of our audience may be interested, but due to our demographics, the potential was certainly there. She sent me the following to introduce herself to our readers. If you think she may be able to help you or someone you know, check out her website for more info. It's one of the most open and honest websites I've seen in a while. OA (Ab Note: for those that don't know, this is Original Ab, SteveM)

My name is Trish Arnold. I own and manage SAS. As a 19+ year administrative assistant with Civil Service, I am very familiar with the red-tape process. Thus, as a personal favor, I started out assisting wildland firefighters in obtaining their entitlement to a Schedule Award (this is NOT a settlement). Through word of mouth, requests to help their friends, and friends of their friends increased. Consequently, in good faith, I decided to establish Schedule Award Solutions, LLC or SAS in hopes of extending my services to not only firefighters but all injured federal workers.

8/31Looking for an article ref: illnesses on fires:


I recently had an article come across my desk reference about an illness recently seen on a fire. It had something to due with muscle breakdown and atrophy due to dehydration.

I've scoured all my email boxes and usual websites but I cant find this article anymore.

If someone has it, please send me a link. I'd like to forward it on to some friends of mine who teach Wilderness EMS classes for use as a case study.

And on that note, with all the talk of EMTs on crews and EMS on incidents lately; I need to throw out a plug for Northern Cairn in Petoskey Michigan. They taught my W-EMT class several years ago and I've gone back to them for my Wilderness EMS refreshers. They have an upcoming Wilderness EMT/EMT-Intermediate class that still has space in it.

For more information go here: northerncairn.com Good classes (they teach the WMA material), great instructors in a wonderful setting.



Rhabdomyolysis (Rhabdo-myo-lysis) or Exertion-Related Muscle Damage

Hotlist: Lessons Learned & Safety Zone subforum has a lot of what we've received on this: 

I believe the "Rhabdo" condition came to light in the wildland firefighting community in the mid-2000s following a hotshot accident (maybe a stumphole accident?). Ab.

More wildlandfire.com archived links on Rhabdo:

2006 Field Season Employee Health Risks (doc)
calfire safety standdown 2008.pdf  (pdf)
Hotlist thread 13025
Hotlist thread 8290
Safety Alert- Heat Illness 0709 (doc)
Tech tips heat illness (pdf)

8/30Mr. Payson,

Thank you for including your team's well-thought-out Emergency Evacuation Mitigation AAR. Strong work! I too hope that this will become a national trend and have forwarded this interesting document to our region's MEDLs.

I agree that short haul capability is not a panacea, having overnighted with patients due to weather or inversion problems myself. I also agree that It should be approached as just another tool in the toolbox, but the leadership needs to give us the ability to choose that option. We are not asking to reinvent the wheel, just borrow the blueprints.

Doc Smitty
8/30Re: Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring thread:

Mellie, Your two statements below are written well! Sounds exactly like part of our brief from our suit that went to the U.S. Supreme Court years ago!

A few other posters below had stated the following:

"Randy Moore (R5 RF) held a conference call this morning with all R5 forest sups regarding this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire. He is looking at cancelling this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire due to the lack of diversity applicants. He has a request out for all forests to provide documentation of their outreach attempts. "

If Mr. Moore does cancel the hiring due to lack of diversity applicants as stated, he WILL open the door (he has opened the door either way now for complaints, by just making the statement) to numerous EEO Complaints, including violating Veteran's rights. His statement above would be the evidence needed in the EEO Complaint process that would go in favor of a complainant, allowing the complainant to prevail in the case.

This same type of discriminatory process (cancelling the hiring due to lack of diversity applicants) happened years ago, ALL individuals that filed a EEO Complaint prevailed! Why more people don't review history (and learn from it) bothers me! Why the hell does someone have to file a EEO Complaint to be treated fairly and be evaluated on their MERIT!? I remember a few years back when the firefighters motto was "Safety First" then the social engineering specialists (SES) appeared and it was changed to "Diversity First"! Keep in mind Randy that these positions you may cancel due to lack of diversity are Firefighting positions, not for burger flipping positions at a fast-food joint!

Be safe out there!


8/30Monterey Crew History

Looks like you were looking for some history regarding a crew in Monterey. After some time spent tracking down and talking to people who were either on the crew or on the district we were able to track down quite a bit of information. If you check out the website under history you may find it informational.


If anyone has any additional information and/or pictures please get in contact with the crew we would appreciate it.


8/30Ab -

I thought your readers might be interested to learn about a great new aerial firefighting book that just became available last week - Fire Bomber Into Hell.

As you may recall, Linc Alexander is a legend in the airtanker world. Among other accomplishments during his 37-year career, he wrote both Pilots Notes for Firebombing and Air Attack on Forest Fires in the 1960-70s, which became the definitive manuals on aerial fire-fighting techniques the world over.

Fire Bomber Into Hell not only relates Linc’s story, but relates the drama of every pilot who sits in the same dangerous seat. Readers will get the full inside story of Fire Bombing and as well as hearing about many great adventures.

Much more information is available on the AAF website - airtanker.org. In a post on the AAF message board, Linc dedicates this book to all the men and women who are involved in aerial firefighting.

The book can be ordered directly from Booklocker at Fire Bomber into Hell

For a brief period of time, Linc is also offering a special autographed version by emailing him at linc_104@msn.com.


Bob Fish
Board Member - Assoc Aerial Firefighters

Linc is a legend. Linc, it's great you're sharing your story that has many commonalities with all AT pilots. Nice summary page HERE: Ab.


Today is the 1 year anniversary of the loss of Arnie Quinones and Tedmund Hall of the LA Co. FD on the Station Fire. Please join us in observing a moment of silence for our fallen brothers.


Amen, Dave. Ab.

8/30Re: Short Haul & EMS on wildland fires comment


I have been a reader of your hotlist comments for some time and now feel the need to comment.

Ever since the Dutch Creek fatality (RIP Mr. Palmer), I keep hearing the same comment over and over again... "we need short haul capability". I am here to say that short haul capability helicopters have a place and may be beneficial in some situations but they are not the "golden apple" that most folks think they are. They are just another tool in the toolbox.

Rocky Mountain Team B managed the Cow Creek Fire, located in the Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park in June/July 2010. This was a high elevation fire that was primarily a fly in/fly out fire. The team was able to do several things on this fire in reference to medical care & patient evacuation that will hopefully be a trend in Region 2 as well as across the nation.

Please find an AAR attached to this email that was sent to me. In the original email it was stated to share with anyone as well as they were going to submit the AAR to Lessons Learned. I hope this gives folks an insight on the use of short haul on wildland fire as well as the need to think "out of the box".

Thank you.

R2 Paramedic
James Payson

Emergency Evacuation Lessons Learned relating to Dutch Creek Mitigation Measures (145 K doc file)

Very interesting and informative reality check. Thank you, James.
LCEES = Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Evacuation Mitigations, Safety Zones, I've added it to our Acronyms page.
I also posted the AAR on the Lessons Learned & Safety Zone database subforum of the Hotlist. Ab.

8/30With some things going on with me, I thought I would remind the FS folks to highly consider joining the union. Protection is good and all, but there is more to the union than helping "trouble makers". The union can and does lobby congress for things, and they try to make things better for everyone

8/29I have read the Deer Park FLA and there is a consistent theme with other incidents of the not too distant past.

It is unfortunate that we have yet another incident that highlights the inability of the US Forest Service to develop an adequate response to a medical emergency. As an agency we still have no protocols or standard operating procedures for use by our medically trained employees on the ground. Too many of our overhead have no experience in dealing with medical emergencies or even the training to appreciate the intricacies of medical evacuation. Our EMTs have a wide and diverse level of training and experience, but no direction. Over the past several years requests have been made to improve training and the equipment available and still nothing has been done.

Once again I strongly recommend that you make every effort to get your own training and equipment. There is training available and time should be made early season to train crews and talk of the possibilities of what may happen on the fire line or in the field.

Brian Kliesen
W-EMT / NREMT / 68W Combat Field Medic

8/29Deer Park FLA and short-haul operations

Kibby and David Johnson,

Thank you for your posts regarding the use of helicopters for the medical evacuation of injured firefighters from the backcountry.

Having just returned from yet another assignment largely composed of "goat country" I again wonder why the Forest Service can't cross train with the Park Service to begin training a small cadre of short haul capable air crews and paramedics. Having this capability available at Heli Base (it does not take long to hook up a "belly band" to a chopper that is meanwhile available for other duties) maximizes the area medical coverage, especially in the case of the now more frequent Complex fires.

I have been using an unsatisfactory work-around in which an extrication package (rigid litter, backboard and a "real" trauma pack) is prepositioned at helibase so that it can be lowered by rope to folks on the ground. All type one crews and most type two crews have EMTs but they can carry only limited equipment. (I believe EVERY crew should be required to have an EMT.) Line EMTs cannot be everywhere and take time to arrive on scene, especially hauling litters etc. With the extrication package system the the folks on the ground can begin stabilizing and packaging the patient while waiting for the Parkies, or Military or CHP or some other short haul/hoist capable chopper to arrive. (Usually much more than an hour.) All this while we have a heli base with choppers nearby who know the fire and are dialed in with Air Attack and Air to Ground freqs. (Note, the medical helicopter that became disabled on the Deer Park incident never had commo with the folks on the ground.) Having flown medevacs for years, I would be very reluctant to bring a medical helicopter into a smoke filled environment with lots of iron moving thru the air. They are just too valuable an asset to put at risk.

In summary, a small cadre of short haul capable aircrews teamed with a paramedic and gear could quickly respond to incidents in a large geographic area and would be a proactive and cost effective solution to this ongoing problem.

Doc Smitty

8/29Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring thread:


Come on you know the Agency doesn't hire based on quotas, it's "Goals".

There are so many problems with our hiring that we can't even start to fix until we get some people in charge with some backbone. Why do you think they took the hiring away from the Districts and Forests? It's easier to fill their quotas when the managers on the ground have no say so in who they should hire. We need to get these career managers out of the agency and start building land mangers and base their performance standards on completing the work on the ground and get away from how good they did at filling a quota.

The WO, RO and SO's are so out of touch with the people on the ground that it's no wonder why morale is as low as it is. They used to support the districts now we are here to serve them so their lives are easier. Just hire the best and the rest will fall into place.

Thrive for 205, but heading to 216

8/29Re: Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring thread:

Mellie, you've proven that "verbose" is not synonymous with "articulate".

Thank you for clearly stating, in three short paragraphs, the exact position I've been unsuccessfully attempting to articulate on this subject for the past thirty years.


8/28Deer Park FLA and short-haul operations?

Mr. Johnson's post on the Deer Park FLA again brought into hard focus something I've been wondering since the Dutch Creek tragedy in 2008: has the Forest Service explored adding short-haul operations to its helicopter program?

Helicopters stationed at several large national parks have been using this tool to extract seriously injured people from remote, LZ-free areas for years. Most operations require only minimal, (relatively) lightweight equipment that's easy to transport. Short-haul diminishes or eliminates the need to move a critically injured patient, cut a sizeable helispot or rely on non-agency aircraft to respond from distant hospitals or airbases. The NPS already has a program with rigorous safety protocols and a proactive, well-established working group in place.

At Sequoia-Kings I have seen the timeliness of a short-haul response mean the difference between life and death for several Park visitors. It would be wonderful if the same level of care could be reliably offered to firefighters on the line.


8/28Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring thread:

I think the problems with outreach, when linked with the problems with retention of quota categories, create a mix like we find with FMOs that should not be retained and so-called leaders (mediocre managers?) in leadership positions that get people killed. When we have quotas or pressures not based on ksa's, it's more likely we have an unsafe chain-of-command. When we cannot fire people based on lack of ksa's because it reduces those in our unspoken quota category, we're more likely to get people killed.

Often outreach to under-represented (quota) categories will not provide enough applicants to meet the unofficial, unspoken quotas unless a blind eye is turned to ksa's. Often we can't find the quota category applicants however hard we try. Often the good ones are amongst us, never having checked the race/gender boxes or letting us know they're in a desirable quota category.

Firefighters, work on outreach as you've been doing, hire based on ksa's, promote based on ksa's, fire under-performers based on ksa's. People do not want to be hired or promoted or retained based on gender or race. They want to accomplish the those things based on merit.


8/28Where do we get more applicants that are minorities? We can't make them apply!


8/28Injured firefighter near Salmon ID:

The injured party was a smj, suffered an L-2, L-3 fracture and a sprained ankle. Was held overnight for observation and released.


8/28FF on a fire near Salmon ID life flighted to a local hospital in Salmon:

Here's the media story so far:

Firefighter injured in Idaho blaze, hospitalized
- The Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — U.S. Forest Service officials say a firefighter was injured while working to contain a wildfire in central Idaho and will remain hospitalized overnight.

The man was struck by a falling tree while fighting the Jesse Fire, a small blaze burning seven miles northwest of Salmon, and flown to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported Friday that crews were battling more wildfires in Idaho than in any other state. About 312,600 acres - or roughly 490 square miles - of active fires were burning in Idaho, the agency said.

No name released.


Thanks for the heads up last night. We hope all goes well. Speedy recovery! Ab.

8/28Lessons Learned: Deer Park FLA


I read with interest the results of the Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) concerning a recent incident on the Deer Park fire in central Idaho involving a helicopter and a firefighter with a broken femur.

There are several similarities with this incident and the July 25, 2008 accident on the Dutch Creek fire on which Andrew Palmer was killed.

A Senior Firefighter/Paramedic from the Sawtooth Helitack Crew made profound observation when he said

"The federal agencies still have an ethical and moral obligation to develop procedures that deal with the time frames for providing appropriate medical treatment for their employees at their work place, where ever it may be."

Fire leaders need to assure that they are making this a priority BEFORE placing firefighters in difficult positions.

Please take the time to read the summary of the Deer Park Facilitated Learning Analysis at wildfiretoday.com

David Johnson
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Fire Staff (Retired)

Thanks, Dave. Ab.

8/28benefit dinner for Tom Lane

Hi -

Just a reminder that the benefit dinner for Tom Lane (dozer dude) will be held on

SATURDAY 9/18/10, from 5:30 - 8:00
at the Gianelli Winery out on Algerine Road in Jamestown.

For those that don't know
- Tom was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and is going through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The dinner will be catered and the cost per person will be $25.00 and reservations can be made by calling or e-mailing either myself Gayle Howey at 532-3671 Ext 409, or Deb Romberger at 532-3671 Ext 332.

Checks can be made out to Gayle Howey and I will make one payment to the catering company and to Tommy's fund at Wells Fargo Bank. The final date to reserve a spot and send in your money is: SEPTEMBER 8, 2010. There will be entertainment provided and Mark Twain will make an appearance during the dinner hour. A silent auction will also be taking place. There will be beer and wine provided for cost and soft drinks and water available. Potluck hors d'oeuvres and desserts are needed and please let us know what/if you can bring a dish.

For those folks that can't or don't wish to attend, donations can be made to Tommy's account at Wells Fargo # 995 734 0244. The proceeds from the dinner will go to the account.

There will also be a need for helpers to :

  1. SET UP (2:30 day of 9/18) transport tables and chairs from the SO to the Winery and set up at the winery.
  2. TAKE DOWN (8:30 evening of 9/18) ) tables and chairs back to the SO.
  3. There will be various other tasks that evening that we will also need help with so if you can help in any way please send either Deb or Myself a message and we will plug you in.

I know that Tommy's family will appreciate seeing everyone and the support.

Cheers - Gayle

8/28THE SURVEY IS DONE. THAT WAS QUICK! Thanks, Participants. Ab.

Good morning All.

We've had a request, the results of which will benefit wildland firefighters and also could benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation if you choose to donate your stipend. Please read the request below from Russell Research and see if you'd like to participate. We hope you do. It's a win-win. Ab.

Russell Research, an independent marketing research company, is currently recruiting professional Wildland Firefighters to participate in a short, 15-minute survey that can be completed at their convenience on the internet. The survey is designed to get opinions and awareness on firefighting clothing and gear for an apparel company who is considering expanding into the wildland firefighting market.

We would greatly appreciate the help of Wildland Firefighters and ask that you take a few minutes to give us your input. The answers provided are confidential and would never be identified with you personally. Please be assured, that this is NOT a sales effort, we are only looking for your opinions.

To show our appreciation, each participant who completes the survey will receive a $50.00 check or if you prefer you may choose to donate it to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

The link to the survey is: LINK REMOVED http://rmrsurveys.com/

Thank you for your consideration.

8/28Just curious what Randy Moore and all are thinking even threatening to cancel fire hiring at any level. It is an inefficient process (at best) that makes a dispirited work force more dispirited. Now we get threatened with no hiring. How is that suppose to make us feel...

Oh, thats right. Happy Shiny People. I've seen the pictures on the AgLearn website.

Not angry or anything like that.

Does anybody respond positively to this kind of treatment? Let me know if I am missing something but it seems like treating adults like adults is going to get these fools more out of their workforce than threatening them like children.

I wonder how much worktime productivity will be lost trying to prepare for this eventuality and the contingency if it is just a threat. Maybe we aren't suppose to plan ahead, I know I am losing my focus on any kind of planning given the work environment in R5. Might as well just show up every day and figure it out on the fly.

I remember leadership, it's like dreaming of sweet, cool water at the end of a long shift. Looks like two more chains though...

Processed to Death
8/28We'd like to welcome a new advertiser. While not our first advertiser from outside the US, it's our first from Spain. Vallfirest is a company whose main focus is on the design and manufacture of new wildland fire hand tools. They have one very interesting looking unit called a Gorgui2, that is currently available to order this side of the pond, via another of our advertisers, Wildfire Environmental. Check 'em out. OA
8/28Salary considerations for GS-5-9

To all:

There is no question that the limited application of the 10% retention bonus in R-5 to those in grades 5-8 created a number of instances in which captains made more than their GS-9 supervisors. As a result this created somewhat of a dis-incentive for many to move up into the GS-9 grade, take details etc.

When the FS in R-5 announced that a 10% retention bonus for those in grades 5-8 was going to be implemented courtesy of the $25 million included in the Omnibus bill by Senator Feinstein, the FWFSA immediately made it clear to both the RO and the Senators staff that such a plan would have unintended consequences.

While as an organization the majority of our members work for the FS and are located in R-5 and the preponderance of retention problems and staffing issues have been ID'd in CA, we nonetheless felt that the $25 million should have instead gone to a pot for the portal to portal compensation pilot program called for in our legislation which would benefit all federal wildland firefighters in all grades and in all agencies.

As I've stated before, since Sen. Feinstein represents CA, she dictated where the funds could be used. The FS determined how they should be used.

The current discussion about adding 9's to the mix may be a result of the Agency's recognition that the initial implementation of those in grades 5-8 did in fact create some problems. Perhaps they are trying to correct that.

With all due respect to "no name" there is a retention issue at the higher grades. It may not be reflected in losses to other agencies, but it is reflected in the number of those who are choosing to take advantage of early retirement thus expanding the chasm between chief officers and those expected to move up to fill the chief positions. The loss of the "fire brain trust" in the FS fire program nationwide as a result of early retirement is a serious situation.

While CA is an extremely costly place to try and make a living a raise a family, the bigger picture seems to be forgotten. Many FFs from other federal crews take assignments in CA and are working side by side with those getting a bonus while they do not.

FFs from the BLM, BIA, Park Service & Fish & Wildlife in CA are not provided such a stipend by their agencies but also work side by side with those who do.

Remedies with respect to pay & personnel policies, at least in my personal opinion, must be applied equally to all who are federal wildland firefighters. These inconsistent fiscal policies as well and inconsistent fire policies developed at the whim of some Line Officer in any given region prevent the Agency wildfire programs from becoming as effective and efficient as they could be.

Again, my personal opinion but I believe this piece-meal approach to appeasing federal wildland firefighters with pay incentives may have been born out of a genuine effort to fix what is wrong, but ultimately, since these decisions are being made primarily by those with not a lick of experience or expertise on how to manage a fire organization workforce in the 21st century, the final results will simply maintain the fiscal gobblety-goop that is the FS fire program.

8/28Proposed Salary incentive for GS 5-9 discussion:

Noname fire you said:

“What you heard is correct. However consider this. Pulling GS-9's into the equation may be the pill that kills this. Recruitment and retention at the 9 level is not an issue. That will skew the numbers and be detrimental to the current retention pay in R5”

Okay I understand that adding the GS-9’s to the equitation will alter the stats, but lets’ look at the unintended consequences here for a second by eliminating GS-9s from the equation.

  • Current Pay Scale for folk working in the Rest of the US pay Scale. TABLE
  • In the current system, if I am a GS-8 Step 7 and take a new job or a detail as a GS-9 I would become a GS-9 Step 6. Therefore, I will be making $52.00 less a pay period for a base 80 paycheck. That would be a total of $1352.00 per year more if there is no Overtime, or Hazard Pay.
  • Proposed for all of Region 5, to use the Los Angeles Pay Rate plus 10% but limiting it to GS-5 thru GS-8. TABLE
  • By not including the GS-9's and if you were on a forest that was LOCALITY PAY AREA OF REST OF U.S, the GS-8 captain will be in the LA Pay rate and make more and hour before the 10% than his/her boss. Is someone trying to create inequality here?

I think the R-5 BOD should oppose this for the fact that it is not an across-the-board pay rate for all of fire in Region 5. That should include the temporary GS-embryo to Director of Fire and Aviation, Joe Millar. If you are in a Primary or Secondary fire position, you should be getting the special Pay rate. Anything less is unacceptable.

Maybe I am from the mold of not accepting halfa$$ work, but I would not settle for this if I had a vote.

There are other options out there, and I am saddened that they did not bring a group of firefighters together for their opinion. How about using the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) 2010 General Schedule Locality Pay Tables (www.opm.gov/oca/10tables/indexLEO.asp) What, we can use their retirement system, but not their pay?

Thinking Outside the Box

Entire post with tables interspersed with excellent discussion points from "Thinking Outside the Box". Ab.

8/28For the person asking if someone with a Felony can be a Hotshot or jumper,

The short answer is YES.

It depends on how long ago, the crime itself, etc. usually after 3 years from being free from parole or probation you can be considered for a job. But, arson, etc.... some things would disqualify you... it depends.


8/28Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring:

"Randy Moore (R5 RF) held a conference call this morning with all R5 forest sups regarding this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire. He is looking at cancelling this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire due to the lack of diversity applicants. He has a request out for all forests to provide documentation of their outreach attempts. "

1. EVERY round of hiring gets requests from CR of documentation of Outreach attempts, this is not new.

2. Outreach documentation does not require keeping names, how would this even help them tell if there will be diverse candidates? All the documentation requires is statements like "We did 5 high school visits" to talk about the Apprentice program, and then list the schools...no names, racial info, etc. is asked for usually, I have never been asked for anything other than, "what did you do to outreach these jobs?"

3. How will Randy know in time to cancel, if they dont know the candidates until the SMEs get there and start going thru apps? They wont. This isnt going to happen that way.

3. This is RUMOR again. Like the Forest Supervisors and Rangers that were going to be watching over the SMEs last round (never happened).... dont believe everything you hear.

The Region needs more apprentices, the SMEs are all set to go to Sac soon to rate apps. Nothing has changed , it's just time to document efforts to reach every group with the outreach. Remember, The USFS still has court-ordered requirements to try to reach everyone. Not a decree, but still has to show we tried to let all groups know the jobs are there.


8/28Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring:


I don't doubt what your saying. I heard similar information myself.

Here is my take: Randy Moore doesn't have the guts to cancel Apprentice Hire. Perm hiring doesn't even close until Sept 27th. What did they add a GS-13 Fortune Teller to the staff over on the island?

Not too worried about someone who is known for his flamboyant speeches, smoothing over a room for a few hours with his jib jab and then coming into a conference call and making threats. The LA Times would have a field day with this and the last thing Sec Vilsack needs is to be singled out again, now for reverse discrimination after this abhorrent treatment of a USDA employee last month. Cancel hiring because of lack of diversity? Yeah right, bring it on.

What everyone needs to have some say on that is way more important than R-5 conference call jib jab, is the following:

  1. The mid-term elections coming this November. All I will say is vote. Vote for the people who supported you and your profession since 2006. If we lose Reps in Congress who support you, then we could be looking at furloughs, government shut downs and maybe even RIFs.
  2. Second thing to worry about is fiscal year 11 and your Forest supervisor. Don't allow these Forest fiefdoms to chip away at R-5 Firefighting Capability by shutting down engines, crews and FPTs over the winter and moving employees to other work locations. Report these actions in our forum as soon as you can confirm it.

Any Firefighter who supports reducing resources so they (statistically speaking) have a chance to go to more fires is no different than the stuff found between your toes after a 16 hour shift.

Firefighters support Firefighters first, last and always. Divided we lose, united we will stand strong - CFMTTF


8/28Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring:

"Randy Moore (R5 RF) held a conference call this morning with all R5 forest sups regarding this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire. He is looking at canceling this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire due to the lack of diversity applicants. He has a request out for all forests to provide documentation of their outreach attempts.

As we all know, you are not required to check that box which identifies your ethnic background. I think there must be a law suit around the corner for lack of some group representation. What next??????????


Isn't it about time we stop paying the piper for the poor black child, the under funded Mexican immigrant, the ones who can't read, write nor understand the English language? I don't expect the US Government to understand all this, hell, they MADE the problem.

Outreach? Spread the word, we're looking for the best of the best...to be firefighters. Oh, you don't make the muster, but yet complain because your particular race wasn't included? Maybe it's because you just plain weren't good enough! Communication in LCES!!! I'm not entrusting my life to anyone who doesn't understand a simple command on the fire ground, much less an MA at the station!

Wake up! This organization as we know it is rapidly self destructing, only to please the poor bas***s who couldn't find the hydrant end of a hose if it was embedded into their skull. I don't have anything against those of foreign blood or different skin color, but let's be real about this. ONLY THOSE QUALIFIED SHALL BE ADMITTED TO TRAINING. Back in my day, women were the scourge of the training class. One is now an Admin Chief for CalFire! Changes come and go, but let's be honest here...not everyone, regardless of skin color, racial identity, ethnic background, is cut out for this line of work.

I'll make no excuses for my thought process, other than if you've ever told someone to grab a Pulaski and the guy grabs the guy next to him (he's Polish)....well, enough said!


8/27Proposed Salary incentive for GS 5-9:


What you heard is correct. However consider this. Pulling GS-9's into the equation may be the pill that kills this. Recruitment and retention at the 9 level is not an issue. That will skew the numbers and be detrimental to the current retention pay in R5.

This could be another way to avoid the portal-portal issue too by offering a 10% raise. With the current economic condition of the federal gov. I highly doubt that this will ever fly. I, like many would like to see this go through but make it a true 10% raise, not one that goes toward your base pay only.

Noname fire

8/27Outreach, Apprentice and Permanent Fire Hiring:


Randy Moore (R5 RF) held a conference call this morning with all R5 forest sups regarding this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire. He is looking at cancelling this Fall's apprentice and perm fire hire due to the lack of diversity applicants. He has a request out for all forests to provide documentation of their outreach attempts.

As we all know, you are not required to check that box which indentifies your ethnic background. I think there must be a law suit around the corner for lack of some group representation. What next??????????


8/27Proposed Salary incentive for GS 5-9:


This is what I heard:

"FIRE SALARY INCENTIVE FOR GS 5-9 – A formal request has been sent to the ASC Pay Policy Branch asking that the salary incentive for GS 5-9 be made permanent. This request is based on desire to help us reduce our higher than 2% vacancy rate in these grades. The same is NOT being requested for above GS9’s because the vacancy rate in leadership positions is not higher than 2%."

First I heard of 10% on top of LA locality "for all R-5". I don't think that is possible with these type of incentives. I do think it will be a continued 10%, now adding the GS9's and on top of the locality each R-5 employee currently works under. So if approved, no change to what our 5-8's are getting now. But you never know

However, what I find ironic about all of this, including D's conference call and info received above is R-5's written commitment in the retention analysis to improve communications (except below).

Oh well, so much for improving communications. The meeting this information came out of was back in July. If they choose not to have a commitment to communications, then the speculation will continue. Nice job RLT........

Retention (Internal FS Web)

"In addition to increased communication around key issues, the Forest Service will consider specific long-term actions."


8/26FMO removed from position & pack test (WCT) Safenet:

No name -

Well at least I'm glad to hear that they did remove her from the position.
The most disconcerting rumor I've heard lately was regarding a R-6 heli-rappell base manager that cheated on his pack test and remains in his job. In light of all the controversy surrounding rappelling I'm curious as to how this stands in a "Quality Assurance Review". I checked the rumor on the safenet site and it's there.. go to safenet and click on USFS and it's on page two - Work Capacity Test.


8/26Proposed Salary incentive for GS 5-9:

Hey Ab,

Information from a conference call my forest FMO had, indicates that R5 submitted a proposal to OPM for all of R5 fire folks GS5-9 to receive the LA pay scale plus 10% , effective sometime in 2011.

Does anybody have more detailed, or written information on this, and the likelihood of it being accepted?

From what I heard, it would be very close to what I read on your site a while ago- From “Letterman”, I think.



8/25Can someone with a felony become a hotshot or smokejumper?


8/24I just got done sizing and posting some very nice photos of Airtankers and Helicopters taken at Jeffco and sent in by Steve Nelson.

Airtankers 33,
Airtankers 34,
Helicopters 26

Thanks, Steve. Ab.

8/24New USFS Numbering System?

Here's the fed document which describes the new national equipment identification system: Equipment  ID System (pdf)

Also for reference (and not to be confused with the equipment ID), here is the Model Naming Convention. This is a new 3 digit system whereby the model number describes the engine. For example a model 326 is a type 3 engine, 2 wheel drive, with a 600 gallon tank. A model 643 is a type 6 engine, 4x4, with a 300 gallon tank.

Hope this info helps.


8/24New USFS Numbering System?

This may answer some questions:

Model Name Definitions (pdf) explains the numbering for engine models

Equipment id system (pdf) explains the system for unit numbers on individual engines

Both are dated January 2010


8/24New USFS Numbering System?

Is the new three digit number on the USFS engines a new system? I heard something about it referencing the ICS typing.


Signed, “just curious”

8/24I just posted a great new IA photo of the AZ-COF-Schultz Fire from 6/20/10, both as the premier photo on our Home page and as a Wallpaper page photo.

Here's the message that went with it:

I was SITL(t) on the Hardy Fire which we were flying to map as the Shultz Fire (AZ-COF) got going.. This is within the first hour or two of the Shultz fire. Photo compliments of Todd Foster. (0810) Hotlist thread

Many thanks to Todd for sending it in.
I got this message from Debbie M to add to the "You know it's slow when" thread on the hotlist page.

I have one to add to the you know its slow...When the wall paper picture is from August 2009!

Sometimes I wonder at this truly unique firefighting community, even in a s-l-o-w year. Thanks everyone! Ab.

8/24Donations to wildlandfire.com?

Just thot of this....not sure why it didn't occur to me earlier....

I've been a fan for 7 or 8 years....started when I was still working and now - almost 4 years into retirement there is
hardly a day goes by that I don't check out 'They Said' or your hotlist forum. Even though I don't post often...

Maybe I have missed it but where do you get your operating $$s from?? You obviously run a large, active, site. Very
professionally, too. (with the help of several moderators, obviously.)

Anyway....is there some group or foundation I can send a few $$s as a contribution? I'd be pleased to do so!

You do a great job.....THANKS!

Regards - Jimbo

Jimbo, thanks for the question. Let me talk about this with my partner SteveM (Original Ab). Wildlandfire.com is moving to a larger server and revamping the website to meet www3 dynamic web standards. One of the issues is that the website is so large and historically rich that it will be time consuming to "rewrite it" to the new standards... but we don't want to lose anything. We have great volunteers for the hotlist and that's in a www3 format, but some things cost $$ and time to go back and update. Ab.

8/24Shannon from Eagle Gear asked us to let our audience know that they are currently having a huge 10% off sale. Their website shows the reduced pricing on almost every product (GSA items not included). Check 'em out: Eagle Gear SteveM (Original Ab)
8/24new photos from Doug Campbell of SNF E-53 crew

Doug and E-53 crew in the Sierras & SNF E-53: I bet the crew would enjoy seeing this on They Said. This might have been my last class. Engine 53 Crew at Granite Creek after Doug gave them a set of CPS books and a short introduction. Edith, Campbell's dog was in attendance also. The crew was checking out the initial attack zone and roads. Photos compliments of Doug Campbell who was on his annual family campout in the Sierras. (0810)

Thanks, Doug! I put them on the Engines 27 photo page. Ab.

8/24Changing of the guard pictures - engines:

Fortuna Fire station on the Six Rivers NF has recieved a new type 3 model 326 BME engine...with the new engine
numbering as well to meet national standards. Really nice engine.

Lead 51

It is a nice engine. Sure miss our old pump...

Thanks, Lead 51! I put them on the Engines 27 and Engines 28 photo pages. Ab.

8/24Photo from TW: SHF E-334. I put it on the Engines 28 photo page. Ab.
8/23Station Fire and Camp 16:

45 minutes from now! The unofficial LAC web site mentions a special report on Camp 16 and the burn over to be shown on LA's CBS channel 2 at 11 tonite and again on LA's channel 9 at noon tomorrow.

My dish gets channel 2 and it shows news at 11 and I do not get channel 9. Just thought I'd pass it along.


8/23Day off OT:

Ok so here's the story. We get called on our day off for a fire. I receive the call at 6 pm and need to be at the station asap! Normally the Supt. says he starts his time when he gets the call as well as the captains because they are calling the crew. This normally takes about 10 minutes to complete! We would then start the crew at 8 pm when they all arrive. Is this correct and is there any documentation on this?

I would like anything to clear this up!

Signed, Enjoying my days off this summer

8/23Murder of bus driver in '99 and perhaps '87?

viejo posted "There was a contract bus driver murdered in the Anderson Fire Camp during the '87 siege. I don't think the killer was ever apprehended."

It was 1999 and the driver's name was Richard Blood. I had been working the fires out of the Big Bar Complex at the time and, being prior law enforcement, I followed the case as it played out. As I understand it, the person "apparently responsible" became "past tense" during a non-fire related incident at about the same time that the forensic evidence landed in his lap. There are some posts in They Said and Family Said if you search the wlf site. We shouldn't forget people like Richard Blood. On the other hand, as information of these tragedies resurfaces we must remember that the actions of one apparent bad apple should not reflect upon their crew or agency as a whole.

As always... "Stay safe!" "Kicks"

Hi Kicks,
For clarity's sake we pulled the news archive out of the wlf.com files and it's here:
Mellie is still researching the apparently unreported separate 1987 incident. Ab.

8/23C-119 crash in '87

Delta Fire was before the siege of ’87 I agree-it was near the old Delta Point LO looking above the Sacramento River Canyon on I-5. 1985 sounds right. There used to be a sign on the freeway for motorists to see about the cause of the fire. The sign disappeared after the freeway was realigned in a major project.

The C-119 Tanker 135 (Hawkins and Powers) crashed in Castle Crags area in September 1987. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was later September about the third week. I took some photos of it a day or two before the crash of it at Chico as it was transitioning through to the north. I believe the aircraft broke up in mid air either making a drop run or just prior to it. This was a problem for the C-119’s and I believe this crash did end their use as airtankers.

“Another CDF BC”

8/23C-119 crash in '87

dc is probably right. I'm old and my memory is not infallible. As I recall a wing broke off during a drop run on a fire on the Sacramento River Canyon.


8/23C-119 crash in '87


The C-119-J was lost because it exceeded its allowable airspeed while in a dive and the twin tail booms separated from the fuselage. They were resembling it in a hanger in Redding late that fall, and the accident did coincide with "the siege".


8/22C-119 crash in '87

Viejo, you said,

There was a contract bus driver murdered in the Anderson Fire Camp during the '87 siege. I don't think the killer was ever apprehended.

The contract bus driver was killed in Anderson during the 99' fires. There may have been one killed in '87 as well but that would be a pretty big coincidence.


8/22C-119 crash in '87


gotta disagree with your info about the C-119 crash.

The Delta Fire was in 1985 near Lamoine, and the C-119 crashed in 1987. It was on an IA order for a fire in, or near, Castle Crags State Park (just south and west of Mt. Shasta). Can't recall if it broke up in the air, or what the cause was. But, it resulted in the permanent grounding of the 119's as air tankers.


8/22Great educational discussion:
8/22FMO removed from supervision

Strive for 205,

Yes, how correct you are that the <former FMO> will possibly get her promotion. She got the job by filing a hardship, which didn't surprise anyone (compulsive lying gets her places). She knew this was her only way of getting the job because she didn't have the qualifications for the position, but I cannot tell you why that decision was made to put her in that particular position for there were other fire jobs on the forest such as Fuels. I have other information, but will leave it at that. Manipulation is what she does best for she shows no remorse, no lessons learned, and I would bet the farm she will file another hardship to keep from kicking the can down the road. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

No Name

8/21Sounds like a problem IA Fire in socal near the CNF boundary: CA-MVU-ElMonte


8/21Stagged off nomex pants, HOTSHORTS:

Before Nomex and before pre shrunk cotton you always bought pants to shrink to fit. City guys and farmers would roll them up and make cuffs, but that didn't work on the woods or for firefighting. The cuffs would get full of sawdust or worse, hot ashes, so most of the guys bucked their pants off above the ankles. The stagged off pants did not hang up as much and were more comfortable.


8/21Klamath HOTSHORTS

Pictures don't lie!

HotSHORTS photo

You don't know me......! :)

Indeed, we have never met in person. HAW HAW Ab.

8/21From Mellie:

info about fire in Russia near Chernobyl

Mellie, This is from NPR. A visiting researcher at HSU has some interesting research. BOB

npr.org (4 min audio report)

8/21The C-119 that crashed in '87 happened earlier in the year on the Delta Fire in the Sacramento River Canyon about 10 miles North of Shasta Lake. It was not part of the lightning series.

There was a contract bus driver murdered in the Anderson Fire Camp during the '87 siege. I don't think the killer was ever apprehended.


HOTLIST reference thread

8/21FMO removed from supervision:

Come on No Name, you know she will get her disciplinary promotion and all will be good lol. I would just like to know who did her reference checks and why was she hired in the first place? This is the problem with the agency and has been for a long time. We need to quit hiring to fill quotas and start hiring on real experience. I think the person/persons who hired this FMO are just as much at fault in these situations and they should be disciplined also.

Strive for 205

The people that put her there have retired... Ab.

8/20Fatalities in '87: Possible bus driver murder and C-119 crash:

From the HOTLIST Discussion Thread Siege of '87:

Fire Geek, ... not to hijack the thread... but a bit of info...

Several wildland firefighter deaths from norcal in my records for 1987 firesiege:

Donald H Gormley, CA. National Guard was killed in that accident (date unknown).
I have Bruce F Visser who was struck and killed by a motorcycle, 9-1-87.

some other unknowns
Klamath NF, CA, Unknown BIA Died of heart attack. 10-1-87 Freddie Pahnemah
Shasta Trinity NF, CA, Unknown Contractor killed when his dozer rolled over him on the fire. 6-28-87 Gary Hischier
CA -CDF S-2 pilot Donn Johnson killed in tanker crash (unknown which fire or complex if any) 10-7-87
Shasta Trinity NF, - CA, Pilot and crew of C-119 killed, plane broke apart on retardant run: Bill Berg, Stephen Harrell, Charles Peterson (unknown date)
Six Rivers NF, CA, Unknown CCC killed when snag struck his vehicle. 9-5-87 Sir Isaac Lindsay

There are 23 official NWCG recorded wildland firefighter deaths across the US that year.

But beyond those, I heard there was a (contract?) driver of a crew rumored to have been murdered. Maybe not in firecamp per se so no record and perhaps officially not on the fire?

I need to get with the retired AFMO of Lower Trinity and pick his brain. Bet he'd remember all the scuttlebutt over a brew.

In those days when firefighters died, if they were not fed employees we've lost track of them. No blame, just the way things were then with firefighters coming from across the US to the West or vice versa. In addition, many deaths or some deaths were not reported up the chain to NWCG and/or to the USFA.


Updated Always Links in prior post.  Thanks for everyone's help. Ab.

8/20FMO removed from supervision

There have been some recent developments (can't say what region) in which an FMO was just removed from her position and supervisory duties after a very short time. Even though this person is still in the system, this is a huge step in the right direction in dealing with dissonance and a complete disregard for others' wellbeing. In addition, to falsify fire experiences, to not accept responsibility and to claim victim status for being removed raises some red flags. The problem with that is everyone in fire knows everyone and can find out the truth in a hurry.

The question is where will the person end up next? The earlier posts on "Just Culture" reports on how to find empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness in our lives. People are very forgiving and understanding by displaying altruistic behaviors to others. But tolerance and empathy should not be the reward in this situation, because who can relate to that? There were obvious reasons this person was removed, but not everyone knows that and I can understand the protection of privacy, but to be removed for issues regarding supervision (not the first time either), we owe it to firefighters on the line to let them know that who they are working for is capable, willing and responsible for taking care of their wellbeing.

We have all worked for someone that was difficult, but in my opinion, this person shouldn't even be issued a red card.

No Name

Just Culture in a high reliability organization does not mean perpetuation of an unsafe system or lack of accountability. People who are not fit to be leaders should be removed and should not be allowed to occupy positions for which they are not fit. Some comments on Just Culture: Organizational Learning 072009  (pdf)
Unfortunately, those who are not fit often are clueless that they fall short of the standard required, as SteveM (Original Ab) pointed out in 2005: Competence. Ab.

8/19From TM:

Subject: Appointment of CWCG IC & Deputy IC for CA-IMT #5

To: CWCG Board and CWCG IC's & Deputy ICs
From: Kim Zagaris, CWCG Chair
Date: August 19, 2010
Subject: Appointment of CWCG IC & Deputy IC for CA-IMT #5

On August 11, 2010 the CWCG Board of Directors held a conference call to review the CWCG Operations Committee's recommendations options for the for the replacement of Mike Dietrich as IC on CA-IMT #5 and options for Deputy IC's impacts. We would again thank Chief Mike Dietrich for outstanding leadership and service over the past 30 years and accept our best wishes for your new assignment.

It was recommended and approved by the CWCG Board of Directors that CA-IMT #5 Deputy IC Jim Giachino appointed as the IC and Carlton Joseph appointed as the CA-IMT #5 Deputy IC Trainee.

Congratulations and thanks Jim and Carlton for their ongoing support and leadership in stepping up into their assignments. We also like to thank the CWCG Operations Committee for their work and support.

Kim Zagaris
CWCG Chair

Good news. Ab.

8/19Just a minute of humor for your hotlist radio transmission section:

This week the Klamath Hotshots were ordered through dispatch and addition of only one tiny letter added so much hilarity to overworked fire personnel. The Klamath Hot SHORTS were ordered! Now I know this wouldn’t be according to safety gear, but would these be Jethro-type shorts or like Reno 911 shorts?

sent by Just another fire wife


8/19"Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety:"

My boss isnt saying to not pay attention to the weather, he wants us to listen to it every morning and afternoon, and print it out and read it to the troops. same with the sit report. His gripe is that it is clogging up our info boards, making them less effective... and I read those pages in the Red Book someone recommended, nothing about posting things on a board there.

I need a reg or policy about what should or shouldnt be posted on an information board at a station, not a discussion about safety awareness.

We are in the Panther/Dutch Creek/ etc. fatality country, and take our safety very seriously. I just need to find some way to Justify the expense of printing out a daily sit report, and putting it up....thats all, nothing more serious...


8/19FS Hardhat color/markings:


Down here in Region 5 on my Forest we set it up like this:

Captain: Red Hat no stripes
FEO: Captain on duty, Yellow Hat Red Stripe under Engine #
Captain OFF duty: Red Hat White Stripe under Engine #
AFEO: Yellow Hat Red Stripe under Engine #
All FFs: Plain ol' Yellow Hat

Hope this helps.....


8/19FS Hardhat color/markings:

Anonymous and all,

I am up here in region four, and the way we are configured as of now is a

  • Captain 7/8 (red),
  • FEO 7 (red/white),
  • Senior FF 5 (which basically acts as AFEO on our mod, yellow/red), and
  • 4 seasonals 3 or 4 (yellow).

Recently the type 4 mods received funding to add a GS 6 AFEO, taking place this fall, which means we lose one seasonal but at least close a gap in the career ladder and have even more dedicated leadership and quals on the truck.

Thanks to all for the info, it really clears things up! Cheers!


8/19re: helmet colors -

It should be known that airtanker pilots have the ability to promote anyone to a Captain... we paint everything red! LOL


HAW HAW, nice one! Ab.

8/19Historical demobe from Iraq

As our last combat brigade has left Iraq and are on its way home, please let's take a moment to honor the fallen, pledge support for our injured and to hold those troops remaining there as advisers in our thoughts and prayers.

I look forward to the day when all our servicemen and women can return home. No doubt some will become excellent wildland firefighters.


8/19R5 Standard Helmet Color:


You are close to being correct the color of helmets used by engine crews in the Forest Service in R5. Here is the breakdown of the standard.

1. Captain – All Red
2. Engineer – Red with White Stripe
3. AFEO – Yellow with Red Stripe
4. Senior FF, Apprentices, Temporary FF – Yellow

The debate that continues is, when does the AFEO receive their red stripe? Is it when they are promoted to the position or is it when they become Engine Boss qualified?

An R5’er

8/19FS Helmet color/markings:

Hog - In reply top your question on helmet color/striping schemes:

When I was an R5'er we used pretty much they helmet scheme you described except that the AFEO had the yellow helmet/red strip. The SR FF and all other FF just had straight yellow. We used that scheme for our wildland and our turn out gear. I have been out of R5 for about 5 years, so not sure if that has changed, but the 3 forests I was on in my R5 career all used that scheme.

R9 Engine Captain

8/19 U.S. Forest Ranger Attacked At Station Near Azusa - cbs2.com
8/19FS Helmet color/markings:


Most of the engines I've seen in R5 do not differentiate Red helmets if the FEO is Engine Boss qualified. I haven't really seen Senior firefighters with a Red Stripe. AFEO yellow helmet red stripe. My opinion which ain't worth much is it all becomes meaningless if two bodies get out of the engine and have red helmets. 7 day staffing means your engineer will be engine boss 2 days a week and driving 3 days a week. Some AFEO's may be engine boss qualified. What region are you and do they have a bunch of new jobs?


8/19FS Helmet color/markings:


Current standards for FS engine hard hats:
Capt: Red hard hat
FEO: Red hard hat (no stripe)
AFEO: Yellow hard hat, red stripe
Lead-5 and seasonals: yellow hard hats

- nozzlehog42

8/19FS Helmet color/markings:

So here's the question:

(Type 4, seven person engine module)

Captain: Red hard hat
FEO: Red hat w/stripe under designator
Senior FF: Yellow hat w/red stripe under designator
Seasonals: Yellow hard hat

We are gearing up to add the new GS6 AFEO and are having a hard time finding info on what the FS standard is for an AFEO's lid. Any help from the R5er's out there? Thanks! HOG

HOG, in R5 here is how its broken down:

captain : red hardhat
engineer : red hardhat
afeo: yellow hardhat (red stripes when that person is a qualified engine boss otherwise only yellow)
senior FF: yellow
seasonals : yellow

hope that helps

8/19FS Helmet color/markings:

>From what I remember,
AFEO - Yellow Hard Hat has red stripe
Senior F.F. - Just Yellow helmet/no stripe
The rest are correct.


8/18This was sent to me be a Canadian co-worker. The Canucks have a unique fire danger warning system.

Fire Geek

HAW HAW HAW on the photo! Ab.

8/18RE: B-K LAA0207 speaker-microphone

-another pulaski motor, ref your 7/27 post

Assuming a new speaker-microphone (LAA0209, current production model) corrects the problem, the connection to the 2.5 mm plug is probably intermittent. The entire accessory connector, at the end of the coiled cord, is possibly still available as a separate part. You may also be able to purchase the coil cord/accessory connector as a complete assembly. If so, there is an aftermarket vendor who can rebuild the unit.


8/18FS Helmet color/markings:

So here's the question:
(Type 4, seven person engine module)

Captain: Red hard hat
FEO: Red hat w/stripe under designator
Senior FF: Yellow hat w/red stripe under designator
Seasonals: Yellow hard hat

We are gearing up to add the new GS6 AFEO and are having a hard time finding info on what the FS standard is for an AFEO's lid. Any help from the R5er's out there? Thanks!


8/18From another region, making the rounds... comments about OIG, the FS and the 401 series (posted 8/16)...

Well here we go again

OIG recently accepted the FS response to the "Forest Service's Firefighting Succession Planning Process" OIG Audit. Recommendation 19 dealt with the GS-401 series.

What does this mean? We should expect a letter from the Chief which reinstitutes the use of the 401. ETA and any stipulations unknown.

Immediately discontinue the use of the GS-401 series to reclassify staff for the six IFPM and four FS-FPM fire management positions.

In its follow-up memorandum, dated July 14,2010, to the final report, the FS has determined that it will continue use of the GS-401 job series for these six IFPM and four FS-FPM fire management positions when appropriate. FS has spent considerable time working on the issue of qualification standards for fire management personnel. After much deliberation, work with our interagency wildland fire partners, and discussions with the Office of Personnel Management, the Chief has decided to continue the implementation of the IFPM and FS-FPM Standards. This action ensures that the FS is in alignment with its partners in the Department of Interior wildland fire agencies and with OPM Classification guidelines. As such, FS does not concur with this Recommendation to completely discontinue use of the GS-401 job series for these six IFPM and four FS-FPM fire management positions because there are instances, due to the complexity of the duties of the position, where GS-40 1 is the appropriately classified series. In other instances, GS-462 is the appropriately classified series. In fact, forestry technicians in this series will remain the majority of our workforce.

full pdf file: FS Firefighting Succession Planning (167 K pdf file)

8/17Re assignment out of R5:

To: Oh well I'm better now

Its funny that you mention that because a bunch of us NorCalers just got back from a southern Oregon fire assignment. It wasn't amazing or noteworthy but we did cross the border. Maybe they were desperate??


8/16According to the Tidwell traffic which previous memo was referred to. Which IFPM positions are in and Which ones are out? Need to Know over here in Interior.


Bushman 82

8/16From NWCG:

SAFETY BULLETIN : 24-Hour Report - Daven Place Fire (14 K pdf file)
(Burnover on Aug 15; Franklin Co Fire District #2, South of Kahlotus, WA)

WA-FEKN-Davin Place Fire


Please post.

Letter from OIG to Tom Tidwell and Recommendations and Summary of Management Decision regarding 401 Series.

FS Firefighting Succession Planning (167 K pdf file)

Noname Fire

8/16Dear GP:

The FWFSA's oral & written testimony regarding the Station Fire is not going to address individual actions, tactics, strategies employed etc.

Our testimony is hopefully going to illustrate & convey that elements of the Station Fire that have caused concerns with some, are a symptom and a consequence of a much bigger problem i.e. the overall management of the Fire program and its funding by the Agency.

Although I have spoken with many folks who were on the Fire, it is not my place to second guess anyone making a decision on a fire ground...especially one as dynamic as a wildland fire. I spent my time as a firefighter and chief officer and obviously there can be a number of actions different folks would take to achieve the same end result.

In this particular case, it is my hope that we can deflect criticisms away from our firefighters who do the best they can in very dangerous situations and focus on the inherent flaws of the largest fire department in the world being managed by those with nary a lick of wildfire experience or expertise and who, in the opinion of many firefighters, misuse fire dollars appropriated by Congress.

The Station Fire is simply a consequence of the archaic manner in which the program is managed...especially in R5. Congress now has more than enough information/data to mandate reforms that will increase the cost-effectiveness & efficiency of the FS fire program. The reality however is that politics play an even larger role.

Those in Congress that attempted to take action and hold the FS accountable for costs, retention etc., when a Republican Administration was in place, are now reluctant to acknowledge that the same problems exist under a Democratic Administration. Rather they would prefer to allow the Agency time to ID its problems and solve them without congressional mandates.

I've tried to articulate to a number of offices in DC that the ball is in their court and if the status quo remains, it will be their responsibility, not the Agency's. To that end, I will be meeting with Ag Secretary Vilsack next Saturday in California in an effort to bend a few ears.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
8/16Now that the fitness standards have reverted back to the "old way," does anyone know of any reinstatements of federal employees who were initially ruled ineligible by CHS during their so-called "baseline" (read: rule out) physical?

I know of several folks who were not hired, reassigned to non-primary fire, or pushed out, I mean asked to retire.

Thanks for the info,
8/15To All,

On the 31st anniversary of the "Spanish Ranch Fire", I would encourage / recommend the followers of this site to go to the "Fire Book" section and consider reading Area Ignition: The True Story of The Spanish Ranch Fire by Joseph N. Valencia. The book covers the human / crew cohesion issues that certainly have played a role in many wild fire tragedies.

Retired CDF'er
8/15Some flurry of fire responses on the BDF...



8/15Just curious and I know the response I am going to get but isn't it silly that you have a fire in Southern Oregon and some of the closest crews are from Northern Cal and they aren't being dispatched there. Now I know the rub that some people have on R5 and some of them rightfully so but isn't resource protection the goal of our job. And yes everyone I am aware of R5 not letting resources out of the Region when areas were burning and no it wasn't right but when are we ever going to get over this pi$$ing contest. It just doesn't make sense to have crews that are 10 hours away get dispatched when there are crews within a couple hours of the fire.

Sorry for venting and I know there isn't a darn thing we on the ground can do its a Bighead problem.

Oh well I'm better now.

Bighead= local ff slang for upper management. I should add it to the list... Ab.

8/15Remembering CDF Fire Captain Ed Marty and Firefighters Steve Manley, Ron Lorant and Scott Cox -- Spanish Ranch Fire:

August 15th marks the 31st year since the 1979 Spanish Ranch fire. This 900 acre fire occurred in San Luis Obispo County in a remote area near State Highway 166. On this day CDF Fire Captain Ed Marty, Firefighters Steve Manley and Ron Lorant were overrun during a blowup and tragically lost their lives. Firefighter Scott Cox was burned severely and died 6 months later from his injuries.

Two other burnovers occurred during this fire. CDF HFEO Rich Corning was overrun high up on a ridge as he had just completed pushing a deployment zone for his dozer, he escaped injury. Santa Barbara County Dozer Operator John Faezelle was overrun on the lower end of the fire and suffered minor burns.

Corning discovered the site where Marty and his crew fell. Faezelle found Cox coming out of the fire area severely burned and despite his injuries, assisted in getting him to a spot where he could be helicoptered for treatment.

Many lives were affected by this event. Family members and fire personnel have had to cope with this loss since that tragic day.

A memorial is located at CALFIRE Station 20 in Nipomo, Ca. "Our loss never forgotten"



On a side note, there were a lot of FWFSA members assigned to the Station when Team 5 (Dietrich) IMT was brought in. We did our very best and took that monster head on. We had containment in 14 days. Please keep that in mind when, as our association, you respond with written testimony. We’re not all incompetent.

8/13Ab & All:

According to congressman Adam Schiff's staff as of this afternoon, the Station Fire hearings have not yet been rescheduled.

Once confirmation is made I'll make sure the information gets out. In the meantime the FWFSA will finalize its written testimony this weekend and provide it to Schiff's office by next Monday. Since oral testimony is usually limited to about 5 minutes, the written testimony, also a part of the official record, will likely follow my SOPs... long & detailed :)

Casey Judd
Business Manager

Hopefully they informed everyone else too...

8/13We all need some humor forwarded by RW.

Handcrews 24 photo page with photos of bears

The first photo of the bear warning sign is making the rounds again. Last time in 2008. Still funny. I like the bear at the table, too. Ab.

8/13 U.S. Response to Fires in Russia

Office of the Spokesman Department of State USA
Washington, DC
August 13, 2010

The U.S. Government has worked with the Government of Russia (GoR) to outline a comprehensive U.S. response to the severe, ongoing forest fires in the Russian Federation. The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Defense are working to provide the following technical equipment and humanitarian relief:

U.S. Government Response:
  • The U.S. is shipping technical equipment valued at $2.5 million to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Russian Federal Forestry Agency Airborne Forest Protection Service including personal protective equipment, fire-protective clothing, large water storage tanks, hand tools for firefighters, and other general purpose fire-fighting tools. Total overall U.S. support for this effort is estimated to be valued at $4.5 million.
  • Two C-130 aircraft from U.S. EUCOM and a charter flight from California are scheduled to arrive in Moscow after 6:00 p.m. local time on Friday, August 13
  • Two additional C-130 flights are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, August 14.
  • A second charter aircraft is expected to arrive in Moscow on or before Tuesday, August 17.
  • On August 12th, the U.S. Government and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) signed a grant for $50,000 to support the relief operations of the Russian Red Cross in Russia. Relief items include blankets, bedding, and food parcels for approximately 1600 victims.
  • State of California Response: The State of California is coordinating with USAID/OFDA to deliver fire resistant clothing, which was identified as a key need by the Federal Forestry Agency Aerial Fire Service.
Public Donation Information:

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is posting regular updates on the fires and has a link to a live webcam so the public can see the atmospheric conditions first hand. USAID/OFDA has also activated the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) to coordinate donations from individuals and organizations. russia live webcam link

For other places around the world: www.cidi.org Ab.

8/13Remembering Quin, Michael, Monica, Lilly

Tipping back a few Stone IPA's for the Krassel ship 5EV today on the five year anniversary of the crash.

Long live the memories of Quin, Michael, Monica, Lilly.


Ab added link later - in their memories...

8/13Also remembering Ernie,

Hey Chogi

Many many a nite at the White Spot with Ernie, let the beer and white port flow. He is forever in my thoughts. Ahh the good old days of Shelton , when we were all there.


8/13Remembering Ernie Johnson:

Hoisting a cold one for Ernie at the virtue White Spot.


8/13Does anyone know where the Station Fire Congressional hearings will be held and are they open to the public?


8/13re R6 Rollover:


The roll-over you're referencing happened on the Wenatchee-Okanogan NF. It involved a crew-cab vehicle engaged in a very slow roll to its side. The accident seemed to be caused by a slippery native road-bed. No injuries were reported. This event happened on a fire incident and the crew responsible was an off-forest fire crew.


8/13Hi All...

Let us all welcome our new addition to to ENF. Congrats Captain 54. Remember that both of your daughters have a endless supply of "Older Brothers" to watch out for them. God Bless You, the Misses and your little Angels...

Driver 54
8/13The Congressional Panel to investigate the Station Fire has been rescheduled for August 26-27.

Forest Service Reps will not be able to discuss the following:
  • the possibility of criminal inquiries,
  • events other than those of August 26-27, 2009,
  • fatalities,
  • pending civil litigation,
  • pending independent investigations and
  • speculation regarding attribution of fault or liability

Only members of Congress will be able to ask questions.

That means the "The Forest Service Fire Organization" and questions about a potential reorganization of "The Forest Service Fire Organization" should be on the table.


8/13Remembering Ernie Johnson

Five years ago today we lost an American Hero. I can't believe that it has already been five years. Ernie passed away while serving as an Airspace Coordinator
on a fire assignment in Idaho. He was retired from the Olympic National Forest and enjoying life with his family as a Grandpa but he always had time to help out in fire when there was a need. Ernie was one of those people who made a difference in this world from where he lived. He had no need to go to work at the SO, RO or Washington DC. Instead, the world came to him. He was a natural born leader with the kind of wisdom you wished people had today. He was an inventor and he had a way of looking at things differently/ The loss is immeasurable. I see the pictures of his grandkids as they grow up and wish Ernie was still around.

Ernie Johnson was a legend, a leader, creative and innovative, funny and mischievous, loyal and strong, a storyteller and a listener.

In remembrance of a great man - I am suggesting the following:

1) Hug your family fiercely and tell them they make a difference in your life.
2) Smile at a friend at work and let them know you are working on things together.
3) Look at something at work from a different perspective and give it a try.
4) Invent something - be creative when you are seeking a solution
5) Tell stories to the youngsters on the crew or at the office that give them something to think about\
6) Love your life and make a difference from your corner of the world.

Do any of the above and think - "This one is for you Ernie"........

Ernie's friend...........

8/13If you have Dial-up it will probably take forever to load, but click on it, go out for supper, come back and look at these amazing pictures of Russian wildfires:

Continuing Russian Wildfires


Thanks, Hickman. Here's the Hotlist thread on Russian fires. One recent email from MG had a link to a video and transcribed interview from Mark Thiessen who routinely does photo essays on wildland fires and who did the 2005 National Geographic photos / article on Russian Smokejumpers. Ab.

8/13Hey Ab.

As the keeper of knowledge I'm hoping you can help. I'm looking for the document, not sure if it was a tech tip or what, regarding the use of banjo style canteens to carry drinking water on the engine. If I remember right it came out in 2005 but I can't seem to be able to find it.



I don't remember it and I'm on the road, so don't have my usual fast search capabilities. It preceded the Hotlist alerts subforum. It's not in the 2005 docs file on the wlf.com server. Anyone familiar with that one? Ab.

8/12For PJ re reinstatement,

Hope this helps. I was reinstated about a year ago. I work on the FAM side as a FEO on a Type 3 Fire Engine. If you left the agency under good terms and have kept your qualifications current, reinstatement is and should be very easy. From the time of my request to my start date took about 3 weeks. I was told that my reinstatement eligibility (not right) is and was indefinite. As long as there is an opening, you are qualified and you can complete any and all of the paperwork, you shouldn't have a problem. My sick leave and step increases were reinstated automatically. All you need to do is start your benefits and health insurance again.

Good luck and welcome back! I am very happy with my decision and the process to reinstate wasn't difficult as long as you follow times frames and fill out your paperwork in a timely manner.

Welcome Back!!!

Driver 54

8/12 Book review:

Bill Teie has done it again! Leadership for the Wildland Fire Officer is a study mixed with on-the-ground experience that covers the full range of leadership challenges Wildland Fire Officers face day to day and when on fire assignment, be it single resource IA or Extended Overhead assignment with the emphasis on being safe and effective. This is a real world book that did not allow “Political Correctness” to creep into the content, nor shy away from topics or issues that have the potential to rub some the wrong way.

With the issues the Wildland Fire community faces from the massive retirement of experience, public expectations and severe budget constraints likely to get worse not better in the near future, our next generation of leaders will need to develop at a faster pace than ever. This book contains much of the cognitive knowledge one needs to build a solid foundation as they develop into a leader at any level. The team Chief Teie assembled to develop this book has produced a quality product. Leadership For the Wildland Fire Officer is a good read that you will enjoy reading, not a dry hard to stay with subject matter book.

North Bay FC

8/12Regarding reinstatement eligibility-

Career status is gained after 3 years in career conditional appointments (which includes permanent and other positions such as the SCEP program) Career status never goes away once you gain it - it's a lifetime ability to apply for merit jobs. Can't say I've found anyone who knows how to pick people up without applying for an open position.

Career conditional status is granted after (I think) 90 days in a career conditional position. Career conditional status expires after 3 years though can be extended by federal employment of other classifications.

How to tell what status you have/had... check your last SF-50 of your permanent type of position. If you enter into a term/seasonal/other type of position remember to KEEP that SF-50 for the perm position! It's in a box (around 20?) and I think perm is 1, career conditional is 2 and if you've got other numbers there, well it's term, 1039, seasonal, etc.

Hope that helps :-)

Thanks. Ab.

8/12Re: DOI employee search link

Dear Ab-

This is in reply to AL on They Said

New DOI Employee Search Link

Please feel free to call if you have any questions or concerns.

Shannon H

Many thanks, Shannon. I updated the employee link on the Links page under federal. Thanks AL for the heads up on the broken link. Ab.

8/12 Rehire Rights for PJ

If you held a career position rehire eligibility does not expire it is indefinite. Not sure if a person is still career-conditional status if it expires or not. I quit and was eligible for rehire rights after 10 years and was rehired under that authority. However, any leave that is on the books goes away after 10 years. I lost six years worth of sick leave because I wasn't re-hired within the 10 year period. Missed it by about six months.

Here is a link to the CFR from law.justia.com that talks about rehire time limits section D talks about the time limits.

Diana VC

Thanks much Diana. Ab.


I have heard indirectly that there was a crew rig or fire rig of some sort that was flipped over on a fire in R6, has there been any news about it? Was anyone hurt? Anyone know anything about it?

Let's be careful out there folks, nothing is too urgent to risk safety and equipment damage.


There was a WT that rolled over in R5 (CA-BDF-Morton) several days ago. News article posted after family had been contacted said minor injuries. Hotlist for photo and article. Anyone have info of an accident in Washington or Oregon? Ab.

8/12You know it's a slow season when...



I am trying to find out how long rehire eligibilities are good for after you have left the USFS. I have heard 2 years, I have heard 3 years, I have heard 120 days... I would like to know if this is going to aid me in getting back on a green truck, do you know of anybody on this site that may be able to help me?

If so I'm all ears. Thanks for your time.



8/11Re: Passing of Andi Koonce

It was a shock to hear of the passing of Andi Koonce! I had the pleasure of working with her on fuels projects while working in Region 9. Andi always had a ready smile and something to say. When you were around her there was never a dull moment! She lived a full life and will not be forgotten...

8/11Hiya Ab...

Here are a few air tanker shots from the Station Fire last year, and a couple of the DC-10 at the Crown Fire last month.


Thanks Mike, nice. I put them on the Airtankers 33 photo page. Thanks also to Neptune Aviation for hosting the Airtanker photo pages. Ab.


We just got our new model 326 Fire engine on the Shasta-Trinity N.F, out of Big Bar.


Thanks, ES, I posted it on the Engines 27 photo page. Thanks to National Firefighter Corp for hosting the Engines photo pages. Ab.

8/10Vote for Vicki Minor of our WFF:


As a reminder, here is a chance for firefighters to actually vote for themselves. In about a week the decision for the Mother Teresa Caring Award will be made. Vicki Minor from the WFF is in competition for this award. We all know that when the WFF wins all firefighters win. Winning this award has the potential of bringing significant advocacy, potential funding, and attention to the WFF. This will help the WFF as they strive to serve all wildland firefighters in their time of need.

We would like everyone to take a moment and go to the website www.caring.org and on the left hand side click on Vote Here! 2010 Caring Award Nominees and then vote for Vicki Minor which will be a vote for the WFF and for all wildland firefighters. This vote will also show how united wildland firefighters can be when it comes to speaking up for themselves through the WFF.

Guy Pence, Public Relations
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

8/10Andi Koonce has passed:

You probably received this too, but another pioneer fire researcher is gone. The flyer described at the end was not attached.


Andi Koonce

Passing of a Founder of the International Association of Wildland Fire

We are sorry to note the passing of Andi Koonce on July 24, 2010 after a long illness. Andi was very instrumental in the early formation of the International Association of Wildland Fire, first by conceiving of a professional organization, and later by serving as one of the very first members of our Board of Directors starting in 1990. She helped to formulate the idea of a high quality, refereed scientific journal to help establish fire science as an international recognized discipline. And with the help of others, her energy soon resulted in the funding and development of what we now know as the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Andi graduated in 1969 from Los Alamos High School, in Los Alamos, N.M. She went on to earn a B.S. in Political Science at Arizona State University in 1973, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 1981. Her areas of graduate study included forest science, forest ecology and forest pathology with Dr. Lew Roth (OSU) and Dr. Robert Martin (FS) advising her on her graduate research which examined the interaction between fire and dwarf mistletoe in ponderosa pine. Upon graduation, Andi went to teach at the National School of Forest Sciences in Honduras and directed a tree improvement program in tropical pines. When the Honduran school closed she returned to the United States and joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point to teach forestry courses. While there in 1984, she established the Fire Science Center which supported research and extension activities related to prescribed fire in the Midwestern. In 1988 she left academia and joined Forest Service Research as Project Leader of the Prescribed Fire Research Unit at the Forest Fire Laboratory in Riverside, Calif. This was a trail-blazing move for Andi as she became one of the first female US Forest Service project leaders in fire research.

In addition to her research, Andi was always a strong supporter of efforts to improve and increase the roles of women in fire research. When the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station eliminated several lines of research due to funding reductions in 1996, Andi joined the Fire and Aviation Management Staff in the Forest Service's National Office. She provided expertise in fire planning and fuels in this capacity for several years before moving to Milwaukee, Wis. to work as a fire staff specialist in the Forest Service's Eastern Regional Office. In this capacity she was able to provide technical expertise to the national forests in support of prescribed burning and fuels management in this 20-state area. After several years in Milwaukee, she returned to California where she was initially a Forest Pathologist on the San Bernardino National Forest, and later oversaw the Forest Health Protection Program for the four national forests in Southern California. Andi always maintained her interest in tropical forestry and her last research project involved fire damage in Caribbean pine plantations in Nicaragua.

Andi will be missed by many and the IAWF offers our condolences to her family and co-workers.

From Mary Beth Najera, Forest Resource Officer, San Bernardino National Forest; “As Andi would say, "Gentle Associates" please join us in gathering together to celebrate the life of Andi Koonce. The attached flyer has all the information needed for cards, contributions and directions if you are able to attend. Please help in passing this on to folks that knew Andi. Thank you for your help.”

Chuck Bushey, President
International Association of Wildland Fire

Condolences. Ab.


There used to be a lookup for DOI employees (BLM, NPS, etc) on the links page. It doesn't work now. Anybody know the new link?



Please post. Current and future apprentices will like this.

Noname Fire

Apprentice Standards (17 K doc file)
R3 FireHire Outreach 2010 (435 K doc file)


Does anyone know the origination of this term?

Fuels Guy

8/9Going to join the Dietrich bandwagon:

I had the honor of truly getting to know Mike as the Esperanza tragedy unfolded. One of the most important elements of the structure of the FWFSA is that as an employee association, our membership isn't limited to a particular segment of the workforce.

As a result we have the incredible honor of serving not only entry-level firefighters but those who have occupied the lofty heights as Mike did with the Forest Service. In fact the FWFSA has members who occupy all fire positions in all five federal land management agencies from GS-3 to GS-14.

We are honored to have others as well...dispatchers, prevention personnel and, dare I say, Cal-Fire employees and even a handful of contractors who support what we are doing for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters.

The benefit of such a diverse membership, inclusive of Mike and other FMOs is the wealth of information & data from the field which we have shared with Congress in an effort to educate its members on the issues our federal wildland firefighters face as well as the consequences of maintaining the status quo with respect to the management of federal land management agency fire programs and the vast sum of dollars appropriated to those programs.

Mike's genuine affection for his firefighters on the BDF, his desire to see the Forest Service fire program progress, not regress and his efforts behind the scenes in caring for all federal wildland firefighters by providing significant assistance to the FWFSA, Congress and others who continue to battle with the liability issue should send a clear message to the Agency that his retirement as well as those of so many of the Forest Service fire "brain trust," especially in California will continue to have dire consequences on the fire program until Congress is brave enough to mandate serious reforms to the way these programs are managed.

No one is perfect and there are certainly those who have & may continue to question Mike's tactics and strategies on any given incident as they question the decisions of others who command the fire line. However, the Forest Service in particular has, and will continue to experience the loss of true leaders in the fire program... many leaving before they are required to.

We all know the consequences of that exodus and now we are witnessing the feeding frenzy and the politicizing that often follows certain well politicized incidents. We can only hope the attention such incidents garner will finally lead to true reforms in fire program management.

I personally wish Mike the best and thank him for his leadership, guidance, counsel and support of the FWFSA.

8/9Dietrich :

It was always good to work with you. I worked with you on a number of meetings, knew you in the IMT world, and saw you around the fire world. You have the respect of all the people I respect in the fire service and you treated me well every time I encountered you. Thank you for your service and good luck in your new adventures.

You have been one of the pillars in the ICS world.

Take care,
Victoria Smith
ex-BLM Fire GIS & current Colorado Division of Emergency Management
8/9Best wishes for Mike Dietrich


After having had the pleasure of working with you on Team 1, teaching with you for the last seven years or so andfollowing you and Team 5 around buttoning up your incidents, I can say that you truly leave some big boots to fill. You led with competence, intelligence, common sense, compassion and above all, respect and integrity. You and your teams have had some of the hardest assignments anyone could face including Esperanza and the Station Fire. The experience you have from dealing with those and other important incidents make you impossible to replace in my opinion. I hope current and future ICs keep you on speed dial and have taken notes well. Wish you well in your next adventure.


P.S. I also wonder who is stepping up to fill in behind Mike and the other senior ICs who have left or will soon leave. Many boots will need to be filled.

8/9re: "most fatalities on southwest aspect in afternoon" claim


FC180 brings up a good point. As part of organizing for high reliability, firefighters should be reluctant to accept simplified interpretations.

While the Northern California Fire Behavior Forecast is uncredited, clearly the author from predictive services has been influenced by the work of Doug Campbell, with references to alignment, slope/time relationship, and fire signature.

It is difficult to substantiate the southwest/afternoon claim because of missing reports and because of how some available reports are written. The 2008 Panther Fire report is heavy on human factors analysis and somewhat light on fire behavior. From the report narrative and fire progression maps, it's hard to say how much of the crown fire resulted from the inversion lifting and how much of the fire run resulted from the West facing aspect of the unburned-half of the unnamed drainage below the saddle at 15:30.

The other 2 Northern California fatality fires that we plotted to Google Earth are the 1953 Rattlesnake Fire (22:00 on the spot fire) and 1987 Lauder Fire (10:00 on an East facing aspect.) I believe the 2004 Tuolumne Fire (13:45 on a west aspect) on the Stanislaus NF was technically a South Ops fire, but I'd call it both Northern California and a slope/time fire.

So, depending on how you count it, either 2 out of 3, or 3 out of 4 Northern California justify the less-simplified statement that precedes the southwest aspect claim:

"Also, always be aware of the aspect that you and your resources are on during various times of the day; critical slope/time relationships are the East aspects during the morning, flat ground &/or ridge tops around noon, and South to West aspects during the afternoon."

Still, my guess is that if the analysis were expanded to the 15 Southern California burnover fatality fires we have in Google Earth (admittedly incomplete, but which includes the 4 SoCal fires FC180 cited) at least half the fire fatalities (if not half the fatal fires) could be attributed to southwest aspect in the afternoon.

vfd cap'n

8/8 R5 Centralized Fire Hire for Apprentices:

Ab, please post:

Apprentice-hire.doc (70 K doc file)

8/8 Ab, from the APA Guide '08:


Just Culture is a human performance management system that recognizes that regardless of how highly trained or well intended, humans will inevitably make mistakes; and, even the most conscientious professionals will drift from full compliance with rules and protocols. Thus accountability for risk management is directed upward to the cultural and organizational levels where system design and values should be managed.

In a fully developed just culture, management accepts responsibility to design and implement safe operating systems and the responsibility to manage employee reliability. The ethic recognizes that managing safe systems and safe performance is a dynamic and continual process fundamentally dependent on the organization sustaining a reporting and learning culture. See also, the reference articles in the Appendix and especially, justculture.org.


8/8 Flag

Hey Ab and All,

Thanks for all the great offers of a home for the Flag. Sgt. Gabriel Gamez is sending me the flag and I am going to hand deliver it to the San Bernardino. I spoke to Chief 2 of the San Bernardino over the phone and he said they would make sure it was placed for all to see. Thank you for all you do man.


Glad the networking paid off. Please tell Sgt Gamez thanks. Ab.

8/8 Mike Dietrich,

I too wish you well Mike in your future endeavor. You my friend are true to heart, a leader in all respects. You should have been the boss on CIIMT1, but that was not to be so we just had to live with the few times we saw you on incident pass-overs or incidents on your home unit. Your humor during hard times was hard to match, only Deputy Dick cold come close to. We'll miss you pal!

Jim - the computer guy

8/8 Mike,

Thanks for your years of service, professionalism and commitment to the troops.

It was a pleasure and honor working for you and with you.

Safety first and always Chief.

BDF Captain 19 Jody Smith and Family
8/8 ustwondering,

Thanks for the feedback regarding sending firefighters to Russia. Figured it was something of that nature and knew someone in this forum would have the straight skinny regarding the situation. Owe you a beer.

Passport and Redbag
8/8 From the Northern California Fire Behavior Advisory (which is un-credited)

"most fire fatalities have been on Southwest aspects during the afternoon"

I'm not sure this can be substantiated. For Example, Esperanza was a north aspect, Decker was an East Aspect, Mack II was on a North Aspect, Bailiff was on a North Aspect, granted those are all Riverside County, CA but I don't think that statement is accurate.

8/7 Ab ,

For They Said, I wish Mike Dietrich well as he retires from being an IC. He is truly a very professional, competent fire officer and nice person. The uniformed fire service will miss Chief Dietrich as he spends his time educating ICS to megavolts...

Mike was so good for so many people. I watched his caring work with the bug kill and drought problems in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains of the BDF San Jacinto RD. Former Forest Fire Chief Mike Dietrich always set uniform color aside has he worked through the challenges but reaching great successes with grant funding for the impacted areas.

I watched Mike run fires always knowing he would do the right thing for the right reasons. This was particularly true on October 26, 2006 near Cabazon, CA. I was standing about 60' from Mike, Norm Walker (another Jedi) and Dan Felix (another good guy) as the word came off the mountain of the death of the 5 valiant USFS firefighters. Through it all, Mike was the stand up guy leading us all on as bad as that day proved to be.

I hope everyone realizes they won't really know how much they miss Mike Dietrich until they don't see him smiling, talking in his German dialect and helping someone else, certainly not himself. Mike is not about 'I, ME, or MY.' Instead Mike's leadership style is, 'WE, OUR and US.' Yep, those last words are Mike Dietrich. I wish Mike well with SCE . Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

**Leadership**Competence**Integrity**Safety**Customer Service**

John R. Hawkins, Unit & Fire Chief
CAL FIRE & Riverside County Fire Department
8/7 For passport and red bag:

Taken from one of the discussion sites on the ongoing fires in Russia on this site.

There are no agreements in place for assistance to Russia as there are currently for Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada. If the Russians request assistance, it would go through the U.S. State Department who would the pass the request on to OFDA. Generally these requests are for equipment and supplies, not for personnel. The Russians have requested tools and PPE. 2 representatives from DART will travel to Russia to help them with long term planning.

The decision was made not to send personnel as the language barrier was a huge safety concern

8/7 Mike Dietrich

So sorry to see you go, been on fires that your have commanded and have appreciated the many hours of hard work you and your team have put in. Again, Thank you for your service and best of luck to you.

Nor Cal Fed
8/7 Russian Wildfires:


Upon returning from a ridiculously overstaffed fire assignment I caught up on the news to see that the Russians are in dire need of trained firefighters and equipment. Do we know if the U.S. is doing anything to help out? If not, I am sure that one of the readers here has the "juice" to get a phone call returned from the beltway. Imagine the great publicity for wildland firefighting with news video of a C5A unloading Americans in nomex coming to help out brother firefighters.

And yep, I will put my money where my mouth is.

Have passport and redbag.

8/6 Here is the Letter of Resignation sent to CWCG regarding my resignation as the IC of CIIMT5. It is essential to get the facts and quiet the rumors.

I sent this to the Chair of CWCG following the IMT Guidelines and expectations. I contacted my Command and General Staff prior to sending this letter so they would not be taken by surprise. After the letter, I sent a note to my IMT with a personal explanation of my decision. This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make because of the relationships developed through the best of times and the worst of times. I have been on about 10 different IMTs since 1987 and the relationships that are developed are truly priceless.

CWCG will give full consideration to my recommendation in a very professional manner. I truly believe they will make a decision that maintains the capacity to respond to emergency situations.

As the letter states, it truly has been a rewarding experience to be part of the Fire Service over the years. This opportunity for me is one that follows the philosophy of "make a difference". The integration of ICS, and incident management, in a corporate environment is truly in line with the National Response Framework and emergency management in a much larger context.

Respectfully submitted

Mike Dietrich

Thanks for your service, Mike. Ab.

8/6 Apparently most Forest Service/CALFIRE shared ECCs and some stand alone Fed ECCs do have telephone lines that are recorded. Obviously this is in response to the multitude of investigations from the Station Fire.

I truly wonder if Forest Service Line Officers are purposely trying to sabotage fire managements credibility with our cooperators and the American public.

The Forest Service fire program needs immediate intervention that leads to a reorganization.

Good Grief

File Code: 1390
Date: August 4, 2010
Subject: Use of Telephone Recording Equipment in Dispatch Centers
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy Chiefs and WO Directors


A formal Office of General Council (OGC) opinion will be forthcoming regarding the recording of telephone calls in our Dispatch Coordination Centers on Forest Service owned or leased telephone lines. Recording of phone calls without all party’s prior knowledge and consent is outside of Department of Agriculture regulations and policy.

Recording of radio traffic is appropriate and encouraged.

The recording of phone calls must be shut down immediately and the data collected with those recording devices secured. Exceptions to this direction are limited to 911 telephone lines and emergency contact telephone lines for the public reporting emergencies when appropriate prior warnings are provided (ref FSM 6642.27). We require a positive response from you, by August 10, 2010, that action has been taken to shut down the recording devices on our phone lines, as described above.

Please send your responses to Patti Hirami at phirami@fs.fed.us.

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

8/6 Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety, aka Common Sense:


Tell your boss to call me anytime, I will be more then happy to tell him/her where to find these and many more common sense policies that obviously need to be read on your unit, but for starters try pages 7, 8, 9 in chapter 1 of the 2010 Red Book titled "Federal Fire Program Policy and Guidance Overview", its a great read for all of those who are sipping the cool aid.

Joel A. Lane
(c) 559-310-0774

8/6 Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety:

Here are the rules you are looking for:

"Fight Fire Aggressively but Provide for Safety First"

"Keep Informed on Fire Weather Conditions and Forecasts".

Hopefully the person looking to remove the material that helps you to live by these rules will remember.


8/6 Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety:


I overlooked the obvious.
Fire Order # 1: Keep informed on fire wx conditions & forecast.
If that does not get the boss's attention he/she should get an F- in safety


8/6 Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety:


IMO your boss needs to receive an "F" in Safety. Not sure where your boss is coming from but if he/she has any knowledge from history, (South Canyon comes to mind) people died from lack of knowledge of  the weather forecast and warnings.

6 minutes and Fire Weather forecast are in the Public Domain.. free to disseminate.

Does your morning report dispatch read it over the air? Very weird opinion from your boss.


8/6 Looking for regulation or rule to post daily Weather and 6 Minutes for Safety:


My boss wants me to find a rule or regulation that either authorizes or requires us to post the daily Weather and/or Six Minutes for Safety-Sit report at USFS stations. We have been doing this for years, putting up both every morning for those that do not print out their own to read, such as modules, but if I cant find a rule or reg saying it's ok or at least recommended, he wants them down off the bulletin board.

Any help out there? A chapter or directive from the FSH or FSM or even the Red Book would help....


8/6 Apprentice Hiring - Deadline August 16

This is a reminder to your temporary employees who may be interested in applying to the Apprentice Program - Applications are due August 16.

Each Forest will be making selections - some as few as 1 with others as many as 25. Applicants are encouraged to apply to any forests they may be interested in. Applicants can identify up to 9 forests.


8/6 Flag


If for some reason Sgt. Gabriel L. Gamez flag can not be flown at the San Bernardino NF... We would proudly fly that flag at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation...

Vicki Minor
Executive Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

8/6 Flag

Put him in touch with us, we will honor the request.

John Miller
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
US Forest Service / San Bernardino National Forest

8/6 Dispatch tapes

Ab and all,

I don't know about clerical error on failure to include the dispatch tape, the ANF people might not have known about the dispatch recording.

At CAL FIRE we field 911 calls and respond so everything is recorded to protect the employees.

With the FS some dispatch shops are stand alone like the Mendocino NF (i think?), some are shared with us like the Modoc, the LP, etc, and I think some have an answering service or some emergency arrangement after hours that records calls. I bet lots of FS employees don't know about CAL FIRE recordings because its different place to place. If the system is on a phone system CAL FIRE owns, it's recorded.

Could be as simple as the current ANF employees and the investigators didnt know about that.


8/6 CIIMT 5 IC and CWCG?

I learned last week of Mike Dietrich’s resignation as Incident Commander of CA Team 5. I believe he has agreed to stay on the team until the end of their rotation this month. Does anyone from the team or anyone else have any info on what CWCG plans to do to fill the position? Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think there is anyone inside or outside the region that is qualified to take the reigns. That leaves the team and the region in a bad spot.


There is someone very qualified who has been recommended to CWCG; at CWCG Kim Zagaris (Cal EMA) is chair. Ab.

8/6 Fire Photographer:

It may have been Karen Watenmaker or Kari Greer, both are/were NIFC


8/5 Looking for photos / fire photographer...

Hi AB !
I need help.

in 2002 I was one of the first responders to the Winter/Silver fires later to become Toolbox Complex

a lady had taken Pictures early on, sometime later I called her and she said someone stole her computer and it would be awhile before she could get the pixs back up..

Now for the life of me I cannot find Her or the Picx she once had.....I desperately need the Pic she took of me Standing on the Back of my engine.

I have A Fu manchu and am wild looking standing there, radio in hand. looking tough...lol....

it is important because I am now the Director of a Fire Training academy in Thailand and need it for Bragging rights.

can you help ?......Ill pay for any pics of me that can be found.....in all 38 fires in regions 5 and 6....from 2001 to 2006. BUT mainly that pic from Toolbox and the one of me holding off the fire at that secret bird of prey site at Dinosaur Monument... dam* near toasted my ass.... for three birds...lol.

I asked for a little more info and got this back:

my request is only to find the Photographer who was there from day one...
I was one of the first on scene when it was still less then 150 acres.
I went all out for four days before relief arrived ... about the time Winter/silver got its Toolbox Complex
rating I was made temp Strike Team Leader in Division B then ... just as the fire crowned over we had
Div A and C link up to B in the center to split the fire along the ridge line ... I was set up in the center on Higher Ground.
as Weather/Radio/Safety and had three radios running....A and C and HQ ... it was a Moment in my life that was just another day...
nothing special or significant that day ... But what I didnt Know was it was soon to be my greatest...
and Now ... I regret taking that moment for granted....

some say life is made up of moments....
and yet when we try to share them so few have the capacity to believe
there are such selfless and Brave Men filled with the Courage of Heros
that a Picture is needed to validate the Claim......I Fight for whats right.
and to me what is right is not to battle a war but to end it with utter defeat.
thus....Why I fought Wildland Fires.

all I ask is point me somewhere...the Photographer was a Lady.
the computer she had the pics up on was stolen she said.
she said she had back ups but needed to get a new computer
I dont Know her name BUT the Pics were available thru NIFC and NWCG
then the Patriot act thingy.....and shazam ..zippo Bupkiss.

Thanks AB.


Hey, anyone recognize the female fire photographer or know how to access them through NIFC? If so please share and maybe we can help Greendragon out. Ab.

8/5 Storm King records:


I hope that they have better luck getting the dispatch reports than we did. We asked for the FOIA and received all the reports and depositions on July 6, 1994 the fire blew up in the afternoon between 3:30 to 4:30 the dispatch report that we received for that day only had blow up on it nothing before or after. I know that there had to be supplies ordered or something besides blow up. Would be nice to actually see what happened that day in dispatch.


Ken and Kathy Brinkley

8/5 Hey Ab and All,

My guess is that the Station Fire IC could see the morning fire behavior scenario in his head- if he was using CPS for fire behavior prediction. Sunrise would throw sun/heat on a steep east-facing slope, heating fuel and bringing slope and solar preheat into alignment- causing the fire to grow rapidly beyond control. My guess is that someone using CPS could see the writing on the wall at midnight or whenever they had a chance to think things thru. Seems like there was a window of opportunity to knock down the fire- a critical "time tag" tactic to halt spread caused by sun and slope- or maybe buy a little time or hook it.

Dispatchers get resources as fast as they can within the constraints they are given. If they haven't been ff, they don't know about fire behavior- or about CPS. They wouldn't know about the importance of time tagging an action. If the person or org providing the resource constraints doesn't know about time tagging a tactic, the resources used in the tactic could be too late to help.

If dispatchers were told to use aircraft from the nearby Morris Fire to keep costs down, it could easily have taken until 0930 hrs to get them there, well after the window of opportunity. Pilots needed to be rested, could of timed out on the previous Morris fire day meaning they couldn't be up at O-dark-30 to be ready to go at first light and still adhere to work/rest guidelines. If they're good to go on work/rest well before dawn, they still need to be briefed, walk around the plane with their checklist, load up, take a last pee,etc. Takes time. Starting early gets them there at first light. Otherwise, why it takes so long is standard stuff.

Extra pilots standing by, ordering extra aircraft from Calfire- all cost BIG bucks. What are FS managers to do if unable to deviate from cost containment in a critical moment? How do they recognize the moment? How do dispatchers? Maybe they all should be taught to recognize the term time tag tactic. It could signal the imperative to get the resources even if its costly. In hindsight bigger bucks were spent on the fire that got a LOT bigger.

How do we do it better next time?


Let's wait for the investigation and hearings. Anyone interested take a look at the Fuel Flammability Card N, S, E, W-facing slopes and when the fuel's most flammable (morning, around noon, afternoon) and language on Doug's website. Ab.

8/5 Federal inspector general launches probe of Station fire

The Obama administration also invites Congress to order a broad inquiry after it is learned that dispatch recordings from the early hours of the blaze were withheld from a Forest Service review team.

By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
August 4, 2010

A federal inspector general has launched an investigation and the Obama administration has invited Congress to order a broad inquiry into last summer's disastrous Station fire after learning that dispatch recordings had been withheld from a U.S. Forest Service review team. (ETC at link)

making the rounds: OIG and GAO are now involved. Stay tuned.

8/5 Flag:

Hi Ab,

I met an individual by the name of Sgt. Gabriel L. Gamez who is a helicopter fueler in the U.S. Army National Guard. This gentlemen has done two tours in Iraq and on the 10th of August is going back for his third, so we got to discussing job hazards of firefighting and being in Iraq, really no comparison, hands down the men and women who protect us abroad are way more badass on a whole different level!

But trying not to get side tracked, he then mentioned he had an American flag flown over Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom on a rescue mission over a war-zone for the fallen firefighters on San Bernardino Engine 57.

If you're thinking what I was thinking, you're probably like: Holy SH@#$%^T! This guy is dodging IEDs and mortar rounds and random gun fire and still has time to think of U.S. Forest Service Fallen Firefighters!

I've always just been a Lurker as they call it on "they said" so I would like to have this gentlemen recognized on wildlandfire.com "they said" that would be awesome.

Also long story short when he got back to the States, he tried to get the flag delivered to the San Bernardino to honor the Esperanza fallen, but I guess it never happened due to he couldn't get ahold of the right people. That's where I come in, he is mailing the flag and documentation to me and I am going to hand deliver it to San Bernardino for him.

I've never posted anything on your website and don't really know how to post anything but if you could make something happen for this guy I would greatly appreciate it. You can leave me out of it entirely I just want a little thank you for him from the Firefighters.

Thanks again,

Readers, anyone able to make this honor happen? Ab.

8/5 NorCal Fire Behavior Forecast for August & September, 2010

Norcal fire behavior forecast 0810  (99 K pdf file)

8/5 Honoring the fallen, participate in WFF Family Day

Ab & All:

With the recognition of the anniversaries of the Mann Gulch Fire and "Iron 44" and the personal remembrances many of you have with these and other tragic incidents, hopefully the recognition of those left behind will be at the forefront of many of you and cause you to continue your support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

While contributing to the Foundation is a worthy cause, so too is participating in the Foundation's annual Family Day each May. Mothers, Fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters and all the loved ones who attend to pay tribute to their fallen loved ones deserve our community's support by attending the Family Day events in Boise and letting those loved ones, especially the kids who have lost a parent, know that they belong to a very special community and have the support of that community.

Just a thought.


8/5 Today also marks the 24th anniversary of the crash of Helicopter 203 in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado.

Lee Steingoetter
Todd Hamilton
Harold Siewers
Jim Daugherty

Vaya con Dios


Memories persist. Thanks, Tim. I dded their Always Remember page. That was in 1986. Spectacular country: You Tube Ab.

8/5 Firefighting Heroes

Ab --

Following along on TheySaid -- and I followed the link to cbs2.com in vfd cap'n-s 8/3 post. I'm not weighing in on the Station Fire controversy(s), but that story page has a Related Link to a Slideshow titled "Firefighting Heroes:

When fire strikes they respond, risking their lives to protect us and our homes. They work long hours in the most hellish of conditions. Sadly, sometimes they do not come home. This risk that they knowingly and willingly accept for all of us makes them truest of heroes. Here we take an up-close look at what it's like to be on the fire lines and pay tribute to our firefighting heroes.

Some good images here - and maybe a pulse check or circle-back to the biggest story -- firefighters from multiple agencies doing what we do.

Press On !


8/5 Accident - fall from truck

Be careful out there wherever you are. Stay heads up.
From Massachusetts:

Weymouth firefighter hurt battling brush fire

By Patriot Ledger staff
Aug 04, 2010, WEYMOUTH —

A Weymouth firefighter was sent to the hospital Wednesday after falling from a fire truck and suffering a head injury. The unnamed firefighter was battling a brush fire on conservation land off Cara Drive in Weymouth when the accident occurred Wednesday morning. He was on top of the truck adding foam to the water, which helps the water seep into the ground where brush fires smolder, Deputy Chief Rick Chase said.

The firefighter, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was getting down from the top of the truck when he slipped, Chase said. The firefighter was taken to South Shore Hospital by Fallon Ambulance Service. The fire department did not release the name of the firefighter Wednesday because attempts to reach his family were still being made. Firefighters had been battling the brush fire for two days.

fair use disclaimer

8/5 Today marks the second anniversary of the aviation tragedy infamously known as "Iron 44" 2008.

Please take a moment to remember our fallen brothers.... May We Never Forget

James Ramage, 63, from Redding
Roark Schwanenberg, 54, from Lostine, Ore
Shawn Blazer, 30 from Medford, Ore.
Scott Charleson, 25 from Phoenix, Ore.
Matthew Hammer, 23, from Grants Pass, Ore.
Edrik Gomez, 19, from Ashland, Ore.
Steven Renno, 21, Cave Junction, Ore
Bryan Rich, 29, from Medford, Ore.
David Steele, 19, from Ashland, Ore.


Iron 44 site in the Trinity Alps Wilderness of Northern CA. Near where I live. Minus a ridge, I could have watched it all. Sad. Ab.

8/5 Ab –

Today is the anniversary of the Mann Gulch Fire, 1949, let’s pause a moment to remember the 13 firefighters who lost their lives on the Helena National Forest, MT.


8/5 Death Toll From Russian Wildfires Raised To 48

Photo of tired firefighting troops


8/5 Questions for the panels of experts -- addressed to line officers -- appearing before congress:

What was the line officers' oversight responsibilities on IA of the Station Fire and what did they do? Line officers (Forest Supervisor, District Ranger (and their staff)) have an obligation to meet the oversight requirements of their line officers' jobs. What are their duties and did they fulfill them? Did any of them go look at the fireground during IA?

(FS 5100 has just been rewritten in the last few years. Is this addressed anywhere?)


8/4 Back from a 5-day family gathering and just posted a lot of lessons on the Hotlist Lessons Learned site. Ab.
8/4 Questions for the panels of experts appearing before congress:

vfd cap'n and ab are both right.

I hope the panels of experts that were scheduled for next week -- now postponed -- discuss how Forest Service Fire Management is managed. I do think that many, far too many cooperators since May 2005 have been trying to figure out what the heck is the Forest Service doing? It’s time for a change.

I hope someone will ask the panel members the following questions:

1. To all panel members: Was the Station Fire an example of Forest Service organizational failure. Did the organization and its current design fail the fire organization and the taxpayer?

2. To a Cooperating Fire Chief on the panel: Would you support having Division Chiefs in your fire organization report to a Biologist or some other non-fire professional within the department who does not have a high level of fire expertise?

3. To a Cooperating Fire Chief on the panel: Do you think the Forest Service would be better off with our Division Chiefs reporting to and directly supervised by a department employee with a high level of fire expertise or by a Biologist or some other non-fire professional within the department?

4. To any Forest Service Official in the Room: Would you support a review of the Forest Service Fire Organization to determine if a centralized organization would improve effectiveness and lower operational costs.

5. To any Forest Service Official in the Room: In retrospect, do you think the letter sent out by a non-fire Line Officer (Randy Moore) to R-5 Fire Leadership instructing them to order Forest Service resources to save the R-5 fire budget was the right thing to do?

6. To any Forest Service Official in the Room: Is it possible that if the Forest Service reorganized the Fire Management organization into a centrally managed organization, it could be more effective and could this reorganization save taxpayer dollars?

Do you have any questions for would like the panel address when the panel convenes?


8/4 Station Fire Hearing postponed:

Oddly, having accomplished little to nothing in the last year and a half, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has called the House back into session next week...the first week of what was to be the summer recess.

As a result the hearing scheduled for Tuesday the 10th in Pasadena has been postponed.

(and some of you wondered why I had open heart surgery!!!)

Casey Judd
Business Manager
8/4 Ab,

In regards to the continuing Station Fire Boondoggle.. Your opinion of the withheld dispatch tapes and information .. an oversight..

My opinion is just another attempted cover up by an agency that has lost its way... Ask Dr. Putnam. The FS has been covering up information since Mann Gulch...


Yeah, but in the "olden days" they figured they could get away with it and often they could. Now'a'days with the internet and almost instant information, anyone covering up would have to be pretty stupid if they figured anything but complete honesty would work. Ab.

8/4 I'm curious as to why the Los Padres ECC has not updated since yesterday, 8/2/2010?
Is it a problem with Los Padres or is it Wildlandfire.com?

Thanks for your response,


We never update the Los Padres ECC. Ab.

8/4 Ab,

Forest Service Probes Withheld Station Fire Calls.
This just keeps getting worse for the agency.

vfd cap'n

Maybe, maybe not. The real question is was it by design or just an oversight? I know from seeing the stacks of material that have to be combed through and duplicated on a FOIA that it's easy to overlook documents and recordings on a very large fire. Could be an honest mistake with all the groups submitting a FOIA and looking for a fault-finding "hook" to rail about. Kind'a like swiss cheese holes leading to failure in complex high reliability organizations, only one mistake needs to be made by a clerk in this politically charged climate for the issue to blow up... All the times it's done thoroughly and impeccably don't counterbalance the mistake... Just my opinion on this one. Ab.

8/3 Save the date for the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference:

Dear Ab:

Just a quick note for the Wildland Firefighter readership.

The 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference will be held in Spokane, WA, October 25-29, 2010 (Spokane Conference 2010). The theme of this year's conference is "Beyond Fire Behavior and Fuels: Learning from the Past to Help Guide Us in the Future".

Hope to see you there.
Marty Alexander
Program Committee Chair
3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference
International Association of Wildland Fire

Thanks, Marty. Ab.

8/3 Anyone know of an upcoming J-158 class (RADO)?


8/3 LODD in Arkansas on the Blackwell Landing Fire: Hotlist

Chris Adams died. Condolences. Ab.

8/2 Who is using GIS out in the field on incidents?

Hey Zimm,

What a great question you ask! This website is chock full of good GIS fire information and many of the best fire mappers in the country contribute to the great discussions we’ve had over the years. This should help get you started:

inquiring minds want to know gis  in the wlf archives
Hotlist thread 12742
Maps Nov09 The Pen And The Paper (pdf)

videos-- capture solutions public safety

Feel free to send me a private message if you have any specific questions. There are many others on here who would also love to help you.

Fire Geek

8/2 Who is using GIS out in the field on incidents?

What are you using, how are you using it, and is it making the job easier. I want to use the Arc GIS (I think it is called Capturex) with the digital maps and a pen that can read the maps and download to the laptop maps and then be sent to whoever wants one as to what is going on out at the scene. Brings real time to what is happening. Plans gets info, Political gets info, Chief gets info, Logistics get info, finance gets info: seems pretty hard to go wrong. My issue is the cost to purchase and then the support to keep advancing it forward to more complexity.


8/1 Hi Ab,

A Canadian airtanker crashed Saturday evening, killing the two flight crew on board. Let us hope for a safe fire season for all wildland firefighters out there.

Here's a link to the story:

2 dead after air tanker crashes in B.C. Interior

Best regards,

Sad news. Our thoughts and prayers for their families and friends. Ab.

Hotlist thread.

8/1 From WB

Water bomber crew confirmed killed British Columbia Wildfires

8/1 From Sammie


VICTORIA, British Columbia — A wildfire in British Columbia has prevented a search and rescue team from
reaching a Canadian waterbombing plane that crashed while fighting the blaze, officials said Sunday.

The plane, which went down Saturday night, was carrying two crew members and their fate was unknown,
officials said.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane drop from the sky and seeing it crash," Dan Moskaluk of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police said Sunday.

The plane was chartered by the provincial government from Conair in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Conair had
a second plane shadowing the one that crashed and was able to pinpoint the location of the site.

The first rescue crew to reach the scene got within 500...... more at the link...

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