September, 2010

Home of the Wildland Firefighter
SUBJECT (Previous Archive: Aug-10)

Return to Archives Page

9/30 Heliflies?

You know it's going to get interesting when Dragonflies start complaining of helicopter juice on the eyeballs!



HAWHAWHAW. That looks like it was during the Sheep Fire. I put it on the Helicopters 29 photo page. Ab.

9/30 re: boot issue

Here are a couple of interesting items:

Before the NWCG reorganization, the Safety & Health Working Team proposed that wildland fire boots be required to meet the NFPA 1977 standard by Jan. 1, 2012. nwcg.gov minutes 05-09

Since reorganizing, the Risk Management Committee nwcg.gov min apr2010  has apparently abandoned that idea in defending the agencies against OSHA, going so far as to suggest that boots are not really PPE at all.

"RMC reps will discuss this issue with their agency to get their opinion about the boot being specialized. If nothing is specialized about the boot, why is it
called PPE? Can the boots be called field attire?" nwcg.gov action log

Field attire??? This is clearly a case of firefighter safety being secondary to managing the risk that boots might become an agency budget item.

My fire department reimburses our volunteers up to $150 for NFPA wildland boot purchase or repair every 3 years.

vfd cap'n
9/29 concerning fire boots,

I did a lot of research about that topic a few years ago. There are numerous places in various publications where boots used by wildland firefighters are classified as PPE. There is also a clear requirement in the Federal Code for the employer to provide required PPE. When I documented this and ran it up the flag pole at my employing agency with the suggestion of an annual boot allowance. The response I received from the W.O. was "Do you know how much this would cost?" (I still have that research if anyone is interested.)

The lesson learned is that certain, not all, agencies would rather shrug the costs of certain PPE off to the employee than follow
Federal law.

9/29 The 9/11 Health Care for Emergency Workers Bill passed the House of Representatives today. The vote was 268 voting yes, with 160 House members voting NO.

As mentioned earlier in this forum, It’s Your Turn to vote on November 2, 2010.

Ground zero zadroga
Zadroga-911 Health & Compensation Act


We need to put politics aside.
Many of our firefighting brothers and sisters are ill after helping with 9/11 recovery. Voting YES was the RIGHT THING to DO. DUTY ~ RESPECT ~ INTEGRITY! Let's see it pass in the Senate! Ab.

9/29 sent in by Hickman

USFA Releases Annual Report on Firefighter Fatalities 2009 in the United States

Emmitsburg, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) today released the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2009 (download, PDF, 2.7 Mb). The report continues a series of annual studies by the USFA of onduty firefighter fatalities. The USFA is the single public agency source of information for all onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States each year.

Ninety onduty firefighters from 33 states lost their lives as the result of incidents that occurred in 2009. Pennsylvania experienced the highest number of fatalities (8). In addition to Pennsylvania, only New York (7), North Carolina (6), Louisiana (5), and Texas (5), respectively, had five or more firefighter fatalities. This compares favorably to 2008's firefighter losses where 9 states experienced 5 or more onduty fatalities. The total number of fatalities in 2009 was one of the lowest totals in more than 30 years of record.

"Over the past ten years alone, the trend shows a 14 percent reduction in onduty firefighter fatalities but we must continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home,” Acting United States Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines said.

The unique and specific objective of Firefighter Fatalities in the United States is to identify all onduty firefighter fatalities that occurred in the United States and its protectorates during the calendar year and to present in summary narrative form the circumstances surrounding each occurrence.

An overview of the 90 firefighters that died while on duty in 2009:

· The total break down included 47 volunteer, 36 career, and 7 wildland agency firefighters.

· There were 6 firefighter fatality incidents where 2 or more firefighters were killed, claiming a total of 13 firefighters' lives.

· 16 firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires, compared to 26 such fatalities in 2008.

· Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 57 firefighters.

· 30 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.

· 15 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 13 emergency incidents in 2009. This compares to 24 responding/returning fatalities in 2008.

· 10 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.

· 14 firefighters died after the conclusion of their onduty activity.

· Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death with 39 firefighter deaths.

For 33 years, USFA has tracked the number of firefighter fatalities and conducted an annual analysis. Through the collection of information on the causes of firefighter deaths, the USFA is able to focus on specific problems and direct efforts toward finding solutions to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities in the future. This information is also used by many organizations to measure the effectiveness of their current efforts directed toward firefighter health and safety.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which worked closely with USFA on this report, also maintains a list of firefighters who die in the line-of-duty and are honored during the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend held each October in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Visit www.FireHero.org  for more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and their assistance to the families of the firefighters lost in 2009 and beyond.

Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted on the USFA's website

9/29 Boots:


The Forest Service recruitment announcement only says 8" leather lugsoled boots are required for employment. No mention of NFPA standards. This has been a long standing contentious issue for decades. I am not sure the NWGC can force the fed to adopt those NFPA standards or not.

My guess, is until they do, the OSHA rule will prevail. I am sure the FS & other Feds will not go willingly down the path of providing boots. Years back, we use to get a Check for uniform. I used that to offset some of my boot cost. That went away when LYON became the provider.


9/29 DP--

If you were not deemed "qualified" by the AVUE folks, you would have received a message stating exactly that. The message you received for the "G" app sounds to me as if you were qualified, but were not at the top of the list. I agree with Centrifugal Pump--give the AVUE folks a call and ask them why you didn't make the referral list. They can probably help you a lot for future apps. There will be another Fire Hire soon, and you'll be that much farther ahead.

As stated, 1 year as a GS-6 is the minimum required for the GS-7...there may have been people who applied to the same location(s) with 5 or 10 years of experience, and they would have been put on the list above you. It took me several years as a GS-6 to move up to that elusive GS-7. Don't give up...you'll get there!

Good luck!

Experienced AVUE user
9/29 Re: R5 Fall Fire Hire


I understand you may be a little concerned with your app, my suggestion "humbuly of course" if you have only 378 days at your current position you must realize you are very new to your position. I would not be contacting a Union Rep at this time, relax most people spend years as a GS 6. Learn that position well before taking the next bump, no matter how good you may think you are at that job no supervisor will want to hear you requesting a Union rep over this. I will bet that at the time the list was pulled you did not have time and grade, if so that may have not been clearly stated. Make sure you put quality effort into the app and the KSAs, trust me people do read these. Also please make sure you are trained and experienced for this next step not just qualified.... There is a difference.

Best of luck with the Demo

App Reader

9/29 Re: R5 Fall Fire Hire


It sounds like you're incredibly close to the minimum amount of time in grade, 1 year, for a GS-7 merit eligibility. Your AVUE application may not have accurately reflected that you did meet that requirement. I experienced a similar issue a recent spring fire hire, I had just hit one year of time in grade but my dates did not really show a definitive one year. I spoke with a very nice woman who worked at AVUE, and she was able to pull up my application and give me specific details as to why I was qualified but not referred to a selecting official. My recommendation would be to start there. I believe the number is on the AVUE contacts list. Hope this helps, and good luck on your DEMO application!

- Centrifugal Pump
9/29 Question about 1948 Jeep CJ-2A Fire engine

I am attempting to restore a 1948 Jeep CJ-2A Fire engine used for wild fires. This is stretched body, with small water tank and the ability to siphon water from ponds and streams. Do you have any photos or info.


9/29 There is a big difference in Logger boots and Wildland fire boots.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Fireline Handbook includes the following bullet statements:

All PPE must meet or exceed NFPA 1977 Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Firefighters (current edition).
Wear 8-inch laced all-leather boots with slip and melt-resistant soles and heels.

Logger boots do not meet the NFPA 1977 Standard.

NFPA 1977: Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting, wildland firefighting footwear must comply with at least 11 performance standards: Heat resistance, Cut resistance, Puncture resistance, Abrasion resistance, Conductive heat resistance, Slip resistance, Attachment strength, Flame resistance, Sewing thread heat resistance, Label legibility and durability.


9/29 wildland fire boots


As I read the OSHA rule, the employer is not required to pay for wildland fire boots. I think the difference is that structural firefighting boots classify as "specialty safety-toe protective footwear" - while wildland boots meet the employer exemption for logger boots or sturdy work shoes, that are "tools of the trade" routinely taken from job to job and worn away from the worksite.

vfd cap'n

9/29 Fire boots?

Has any Forest Service employee out there had their fire boots provided to them as required PPE? Does any one know or heard of the OSHA decision memo that came out that requires the employer to pay for fire boots. OSHA Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment; Final Rule



9/28 Region 5 Fall Fire Hire

I have a couple of issues to ask "They Said". First of all I applied for a GS-07 FEO job. I got a return receipt from Avue saying "Based on your self-certification of your response to the questionnaire, you were found to be eligible for the position and your name was referred to the selecting official" for the Demo job "DP" which is for non-gov. employees. I applied for both Merit "G" and Demo. I'm currently a gov. employee and have exactly 378 days of GS-06 time. The problem I have is why would I get a return for Demo and not Merit? According to Avue for my Merit app was "Referral List Issued- Not Referred to Selecting Official."? Can anyone help me out understand what the heck just happened. Do I need to call Avue, ASC-HCM, or my Union Rep? Any help will greatly be appreciated.


California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee CAREER EXPO

Here's a link to CFFJAC  Firefighter Career Expo. There are two locations in the Northern Region for the Career Expo: Livermore on October 9th and Sacramento on October 23rd. Also, a southern location in Orange this Saturday, October 2nd. Save the date & come. Visit CAL FIRE's Job Fair Booth. Participate in the "Learn how to take and pass the CPAT" activity. Upcoming candidates will have an opportunity to practice...


Invaluable to have CPAT tips and practice. I put it on the Classifieds Page. Ab.

9/28 Fall Fire Season in California, North and South:

I have enjoyed the creative and funny comments on the “You know it is a slow fire season when” thread as much as anyone, but at the same time I find it concerning. Now the talk is all about the So. Cal. Potential. It has been a slow season and many of us haven’t had the hard running challenging fire experience this year we usually have at this point. Yes fuel conditions in the south are ready to support sustained extreme fire behavior and with the rapidly building La Nina it is likely these conditions will be around longer than usual.

If we go to work each day with the mind set “it is a slow season” or “we may go south” are we prepared to respond to the IA that is running hard? With the exception of the North West corner of the state, Nor Cal conditions are also ready to support sustained extreme fire behavior. October 20, 1991 Oakland Hills, 1,500 Acres, 3,345 structures destroyed, 25 dead, October 3, 1995 Mt. Vision Fire PRNS, 12,000 Acres, 40+ Homes, October 10, 1999 Jones Fire SHU, 26,000 acres, 954 structures destroyed and one Firefighter Death. Historically major fires have occurred on the coastal range through Thanksgiving.

Until we have enough precipitation to sprout some green grass and raise down and dead fuel moistures enough to where off shore wind events don’t dry the fuel bed to critical levels we need to be thinking about the fire potential in our IA zones. The slow fire season, cooler fall weather and looking to Southern Cal for any activity may allow compliancy to settle in on the fire potential in our own back yard.

Please stay heads up, keep situational awareness high and be safe it’s not over yet!

North Bay FC
9/28 This probably is a reference to the California Fire Safe Regulations under California Public Resources Code Section 4290. It sets the standards for vehicle turn-a-rounds on roads and driveways for new development in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) of California. I've attached a link to the CAL FIRE Website with a more detailed explanation.

fire.ca.gov: fireplan guide (2.6 MB download)

9/27 Re Looking for a NFFE representative:

Hi Ab.

This is a reply for "ms" who was looking for a NFFE representative. Contact Ron Thatcher. Look him up in the FS enterprise directory or call him at the Kootenai NF (R1) 406-293-6211. If Ron is not the IFPM rep., then he would know who is assigned.

Tight lines and straight arrows to you all...

Sign me,

(retired and refreshed FMO)

9/27 I'm voting also. Where I live, we have absentee ballots required as it's too small of a community for a poll booth. This is great, as my spouse & I sit at the table to discuss issues and if we agree, I get to mark the ballot of BOTH! In hot blooded issues. I then get to go to the workplace and say I voted Twice!! Leads to lots of fun... if I am in the majority.

Right now it's hot, and we may spend a lot of time over the Ca ballot! HEE HEE!


9/27 Info on the wildland firefighter that was critically injured when he came in contact with the high power line on the Bodega Fire. Hotlist: CA-LNU-Bodega Ab.
9/27 Re Looking for a NFFE representative:


Thanks for the attachment.

It doesn't address my question. I am looking for the name of the representative from NFFE who is part of the national IFPM FS-FPM committee? This would be the same person who would be in the room the next time the Forest Service wants to change something or discuss implementation. The same person who would like to hear feedback on what's working and what's not working on the ground. The same person I trust will listen to the voices of the Firefighters.

The Forest Service is changing IFPM and FS-FPM almost quarterly. Just looking at the number of footnotes in the document alone tells the story.

Again, I want the name and the email address of the person that is assigned at the national level to be involved in IFPM FS-FPM discussions. If the Forest Service is not allowing NFFE Representation at those meetings, then I want the name and email address of the NFFE Representative who will review future proposed changes in the IFPM FS-FPM program.


9/26 In response to the request by MS regarding the NFFE rep.

Please post so all affected by IFPM can read. FS IFPM final Implementation Plan


Noname Fire

9/26 Does anyone know who the NFEE Union Rep is to the National IFPM FS-FPM Committee. We might need to open a dialog with that person.

9/26 RIF,

I appreciate your attempt at being factual and avoiding another political debate. Do you really believe the course our country is on is good for federal job security? As a FERS employee, the only way to reap the benefits of a secure retirement at a younger age is with a strong, growing economy and a fiscally sound government. A federal employee or any employee and business needs the ability to invest in the future, knowing that over time their investments will grow, allowing the individual or business to prosper. I also encourage everyone to vote in November.

Optimistic for Change
9/26 This past week many were anxious to read the new Pledge to America. Some were hoping to read fiscal support for our nation's Firefighters and Emergency Responders. It was unfortunate that support was missing in this new Pledge. Some excerpts of the Pledge do reveal a potential federal strategy:

John Boehner, in an interview following the release of the House Republicans' "Pledge to America," said he would not rule out a (Federal) government shutdown, but he would look to avoid it should his party take control of Congress in the fall.

Pledge to America – “Impose a Net Federal Hiring Freeze of Non-Security Employees.”

Pledge to America - “With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels” – The Bank Bailout was signed by President Bush in October 2008. Pre-bailout levels would be returning to Fiscal Year 2008 spending levels.

Firefighters – VOTE on November 2, 2010



I'm voting. Ab.

9/26 Meaning of phrase "turn back standards"

A Poster,

See, you're right. I can't even get the term correct. It is Turn Back Standards.


9/26 Re: Helitack FF performing Lady GAGA's "Poker Face" video.

from the hotlist thread:

They did not get fired, the lead singer took a new job as a Medic for the local ambulance and the back-up dancer, who by the way never had any music to dance to- he just danced, joined the coast guard. The video was very fun to film. It was a good time.


So can we expect another video coming out with boats or ambulances in it? Ab.

9/26 GaGa Helitack folks:

I did not see a problem with the video.  no N numbers nor agency identifiers. Just perhaps a tad too much time on their hands!


9/26 GaGa Helitack folks:

The Gaga Helitack folks... most returned to work this season; one did not out of their own choice; one other, was not rehired. His not being rehired was due to other circumstances.

Can't really judge a person or crew always by one video or the reasons they made it, whether their overall work performance and conduct was good or lacking that is.


9/26 GaGa Helitack folks:

I, not being an extroverted type have seen this Utube video

How does the at sound for a 50 something forester? REALLY somebody in the CA and I do not mean the State of... land management agencies have really GOT TO GET a LIFE.

Surely WE ALL KNOW the issues of social media.... there are really some small minds who " have to use adverse actions" as some sort of weeding out process. Did these folks violate National Security?

The worry is the supervisors and HR folks who abuse policy.

If these folks were doing this on company time.. MAY BE a different story. But firing or loss of contract? If these factors are true.. maybe a little creative safety retraining in and around the aviation environment about social  media could be creatively administered.

We ALL know about the land management views of safety and social media.

"Bout time supervisors AND HR types really come to grips with their big bad selves.

Sign ME

A Forester / Pilot/ Aircraft Mechanic / ADX ... in support of a little fun both during and after duty days

Meaning of phrase involving standards

Happy Cow,

Do you mean "turn back standards"?

a poster...

9/25 Re "GA Ga" Helitackers and pilot:

Could anyone tell me if there is any truth to the rumor that the temporary helitack crewmembers and helicopter pilot who did the ultra funny, and mega creative music video, " to the lyrics and music of "Poker face", by Lady GA. GA," last year, were either fired or ask not to return to duty the next fire season? If so.... maybe we could post their names, hiring info or resumes, I sure would like to hire someone that clever and artistic, with such an above average sense of humor, crew esprit de corps, cohesiveness and hard work!. For a few days I had dreams that the 206 could have catapulted to 17 in the FS morale study.. I personally couldn't stop laughing!

On the other side, if true, that nasty little person with their dirty little agenda, who would waste time carrying out an adverse action against the fellas, should be downgraded to a GS: 4 and put on the "morale improvement committee" in Washington, this act alone would bring my morale back up to where it belongs!

Great Job "GA Ga" Helitackers and pilot, lets get you working again!

Reality check

9/25 Eucalyptus trees fuel smoky, 89-acre fire near Bodega
One firefighter injured by power line

Fire roared across dry fields near Bodega, filling the sky with smoke as far away as Santa Rosa on Saturday. .

Published: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 2:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 2:09 p.m.
( page 1 of 3 )

Fed by tall stands of eucalyptus trees and dried grass, fire tore through 89 acres near Bodega, destroying one structure and threatening residential buildings.

The blaze, which started at 12:34 p.m. Saturday, sent up plumes of smoke that spread across Sonoma County skies and brought an acrid smell that stretched from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa.

The fire drew a full-scale response from firefighters that included multiple engines, water tenders and bulldozers, along with helicopter and airplane drops of red fire retardant and water.

One firefighter, a volunteer with the Bodega department, was injured when he came into contact with a power line, according to early reports. A Cal Fire spokeswoman said the firefighter was flown to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. His condition is not known.

(etc plus photo at the link above)

fair use disclaimer

Hope he's OK. Ab.

9/25 From PA Fire Warden

1 firefighter killed in Ross County, Ohio (wdtn.com)

Updated: Saturday, 25 Sep 2010, 12:51 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 25 Sep 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say one firefighter was killed and another was injured while battling a brush fire in south-central Ohio.

According to the McArthur Fire Department in Vinton County, 26-year-old Ryan Seitz died Thursday evening when a cap on a pressurized water tank flew off and struck him.

Local media report that Seitz was a volunteer firefighter and had been working alongside firefighters from about a dozen other agencies to extinguish the fire in neighboring Ross County.

The McArthur Fire Department says another of its firefighters was injured in the incident. A spokeswoman for Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe tells The Columbus Dispatch that that firefighter was treated and released.

The fire threatened the village of Londonderry, briefly causing about 20 homes to be evacuated.

The causes of the fire and the explosion are under investigation.

fair use disclaimer

9/25 Firefighter from Puerto Rico interested in a fire career in the US:

Hi my name is Efrain S from Puerto Rico and I'm interested in a career as a wildland firefigther. I have DOD certs, FF1, 2, airport ff, hazmat OP, Pumper and Crash. but I don't know if the Forest Service takes these certs. I've been in various live fires in Iraq and here in Puerto Rico with the National Guard.

I'm sending you this email to see if you can give me some direction. Like your website.

Thanks for your time


Readers? Ab.

9/25 Meaning of phrase involving standards

Does anyone know what "turn around standards" are? I've heard this term but don't know what it means.

Happy California Cow

9/24 Randy Beck's Service:

This past Saturday I attended the memorial service for my friend Randy Beck. I've known Randy for about 20yrs. If anyone could exemplify the spirit of the US Forest Service, Randy would be that person. When I first started work on the Plumas, I had the privilege of working with Randy when he was still in Prevention. During a District Fire meeting , I asked Randy what he wanted from myself and the Helitack crew on initial attack fires and he said, "keep your pilot from ****ing up the point of origin. Enough said.

I remember during lightning busts on the district our FMO would use Randy as our District Dispatcher for multiple lightning fires. Old knowledge is sound knowledge. I watched young dispatch recorders spin in circles during massive barrages of radio traffic and Randy provided a calming effect that kept things sane and running smoothly. I'd check in during fuel stops and he'd ask, "How many did you catch?" I would let him know what we did and what needed to be checked later.

A few years later I was told by my FMO (old school terminology) that Randy's son Clayton would be working for me on the Helitack crew. I met with Clayton and was told in no uncertain terms that he was deathly afraid of flying. Well, I hadn't had one fail yet and Clayton wouldn't be my first. When he found out he would not only be flying but rappelling out of a helicopter, I thought he would faint right there. He turned out to be one of the most proficient rappellers that went through our training program and ended up staying with the crew for several more years.

One of Randy's most favorite pastimes was playing poker. I was fortunate enough to be included in the group that was gathered weekly in the Fall-Winter months to join in on an array of poker games that most individuals had never heard of. How Laurie put up with this rag tag bunch still baffles me. During most games one thing I remember distinctly is Randy's reply to anyone's call or timid bet … "and a Quarter". After playing a few weeks and having good luck or not so good luck, we'd run across each other at work and Randy's greeting was always the same, " Hey Lucky" and my reply was always, "Hey Easy Money".

Every now and then in a person's life, they run across an individual that they just know is a person that is special… a person of integrity, a person you can trust, a person with dedication to the job…. a person you can call a friend…. That person is Randy Beck. ……

I'll miss you,

NZ SUPT. (ret.)

9/23 First line supervision in the FS: Set up for failure

BG, What memo? Can you post a copy of the memo or let us know where to get it?


9/23 Station Fire

Release No. 1016
Contact: Press Office
(202) 205-1134

Transcripts of dispatch recordings shed additional light on the initial attack of the Station Fire in California

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2010 -- The USDA Forest Service has released transcripts of recorded telephone conversations made during the course of the arson-caused Station Fire.

The recordings indicate fire managers and dispatchers persistently strategized the best ways to provide firefighting assets as rapidly as possible in the midst of multiple ongoing wildfires on the Angeles National Forest and across Southern California. Forest Service employees discovered the recordings in July.

“I am disappointed we did not discover the existence of these recordings earlier,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Our search for all records has been extremely wide-ranging, but we were not aware of the existence of these recordings on multiple phone line systems when we did our initial review of the fire. When we found them, we initiated the process of transcription through a private contractor.”

Two of these recordings shed additional light on the initial attack: One between the incident commander (IC) of the initial attack and a dispatcher, and another between two dispatchers. Although the latter includes some ill-considered attempts at humor, the recordings demonstrate the dispatchers’ resolve to meet the IC’s request for additional firefighting resources, including airtankers and helicopters, made shortly after midnight following the long evening of initial attack.

The recordings indicate the IC understood the gravity of the fire situation. In one conversation shortly after midnight following initial attack (PDF), the IC reiterated his request to the dispatcher for morning airtankers as soon as possible. Although in one comment the IC acknowledged doubt that aircraft would be available by 0700, he persisted in his request for aircraft to arrive at 0700. The dispatcher repeated the 0700 request to the IC and went to work to meet it. Fire managers, including ICs and dispatchers, understand that requirements for pilot briefings and work-rest parameters govern the actual time aircraft are deployed. The IC was aware a number of pilots, including airtanker pilots, had flown initial attack the prior evening and would be unable to fly that morning if they had been unable to get their required crew rest.

“It would be a mistake to focus on side comments or unfortunate jokes made by highly-skilled wildfire professionals in the early morning hours of a multiple fire situation,” said Tidwell. “These experienced dispatchers were clearly brainstorming many options to get every possible asset to the Station Fire as soon as possible. The way they carried out their jobs tells me they were focused on the seriousness of the situation, and that is what matters in an unfolding, large scale emergency. As for these attempts at humor, they are inappropriate and unacceptable.”

“These recordings tell me our firefighters engaged this fire aggressively,” said Angeles National Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. “Placed in the context of a new, fast-changing emergency, these candid conversations were focused on one thing: getting the right assets to the fire as soon as possible.”

“The Forest Service deeply regrets the tragic loss of life of two Los Angeles County firefighters and the loss of homes during the Station Fire. The Forest Service’s highest priority on every wildland fire is the protection of human life,” Tidwell said.

Last month, the USDA’s office of the Inspector General launched an investigation into the nature of these recordings, why they were not reviewed earlier and why they were not made available as to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request from a media outlet. That investigation is ongoing.

Additionally, the Secretary of the USDA suggested that Congress ask the Government Accountability Office to review the actions of the agency in the initial attack on the Station Fire. Recently, the GAO has agreed to this investigation. “We welcome this review as it will supplement the IG’s work and will lead to continuous improvement in USFS firefighting efforts,” said Chief Tidwell.

“We have learned some valuable lessons from this catastrophic, tragic fire and will continue to do so,” Chief Tidwell continued. “And we are a better fire fighting organization today than we were last year. While no operation is perfect, I am convinced that the men and women of the Forest Service did their jobs the best they could and I look forward to the results of these investigations.”

The Forest Service has already implemented several changes as a result of lessons learned from the Station Fire, including improved record-keeping of asset requests, clear instructions for requests for non-Forest Service assets and a plan for greater clearance for at-risk structures.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

9/23 First line supervision in the FS: Set up for failure


Have you first line supervisors read the latest idiotic thing the FS has come up with?? Let me explain. Now, per the latest memo, When rating my people, (the people who can go around my back to complain without even giving me a hint, then I get hammered because I "should have known")...these same employees get their rating from me but I can't tell them how they did until I go discuss it with my supervisor who has never seen these people perform their job, and "discuss" the employee. So if I have a crappy employee, I have no power to do what the agency expects me to do but I apparently have the responsibility.

I am blown away, Duypree, is the union really ok with the supervisor NOT being the rating person?? How does the employee really know how they are performing?

WHO CAME UP WITH THIS and in the middle of a rating period, not valid?

1st line supervisors, when are we going to get our union/representation???


9/22 Station Fire Hearing Rescheduled

The hearing previously scheduled for August 10th has been rescheduled to October 12th in Pasadena. The hearing, being convened by Congressman Adam Schiff will include oral testimony from Forest Service officials, LA County Fire officials, homeowners, retired Forest Service firefighters, the IAFF & the FWFSA.

Recently out of concern for the amount of time it would take to hear from so many witnesses, some witnesses scheduled to be heard on August 10th were removed from the panel(s) to be heard from on October 12th. One of those was FWFSA Business Manager Casey Judd. That didn't sit too well with some and after additional consultation with Congressman Schiff's office, Casey is back on one of the panels.

Additionally, FWFSA member Will Spyrison and retired member and former ANF Fire Chief Don Feser have been invited to testify.

Not surprisingly, politics has infused itself into the hearings. Two republican members of Congress who were originally scheduled to participate in the August 10th hearing will not be participating in the October 12th hearing.

The hearing will be held at the Richard H Chambers US Court of Appeals Building, Courtroom # 3 at 125 S Grand Ave., Pasadena from 9:00am-11:00am. All ANF firefighters not on duty are encouraged to attend as are any federal wildland firefighters
9/21 Making the rounds:

Here is an excellent nontraditional accident investigation from the Lessons Learned Center. Chino Valley Case Study

This can be turned into about a two hour training session on a variety of topics. You could present the videos, and use the report as a study guide with Q&As.


9/20 Ab,

Our coworker was seriously injured on Sept. 8 fighting a wildfire in western Kentucky. Kentucky Division of Forestry Forest Ranger Technician Don Lam suffered serious injuries and was knocked unconscious by a burning snag and suffered second degree burns, as well as a broken hip and upper femur. Don regained consciousness, but we now understand that he has taken a turn for the worse and is now unconscious. Don’s family and coworkers are very concerned about him and ask that the wildland fire community keep him in your thoughts.

Forest Ranger Injured While Fighting Wildfire

SG, we'll keep him and his family and coworkers in our thoughts and prayers. Ab.

9/19 Just found this site.

Very cool site for us.. wildland firefighters... Would like to enter some photos. Louisiana, Dry Creek fire... DeRidder

Mike D. Engine Captain

Thanks Mike. I put them on the Fire 45 photo page. Wow, great flames. Pines burn hot and fast. Northeast of Lake Charles LA. Ab.

9/19 Fire photos 2003:

These photos are all from along the San Bernardino Range. I took them from about 10,000 ft on the morning of Oct. 26 2003.

Keith Eyler

Thanks Keith! What a blast from the past -- 2003 firestorm! I put them on the Fire 45 photo page. Fly Safe! Ab.

9/19 Photos from the Mendocino NF and Ranger Unit:

Hunter Fire on Mendocino NF on 07-29-06. Seen from Anthony Pk. with Hull Mtn. & Bald Mtn. on horizon.

A 1978 Bell 212 of Rogers Helicopters Inc. from Fresno at Mendocino Ranger Unit HQ on Aug. 20, 2009. It also served at Kneeland.

The Nature Conservancy's Southern Rockies Fire Use Module from Pueblo, CO. A 2008 GMC C5500 4x4, helitack style. Headed south on Hwy. 101 after leaving the Panther Fire on Klamath NF. (An F-450 is in the background.) Taken 09/26/08.

Jeff McD

Thanks, Jeff. I put them on Fire 45, Helicopters 29 and Equipment 18 photo pages, respectively. Ab.

9/19 Dry Creek Complex 09 Hanford Dozers putting in disc line. Photo compliments of Zimm.

Thanks Zimm. I put it on Equipment 18 photo page. Very nice. Ab.

9/19 Hey Ab,

Here are a couple of shots from the Post Fire near Frazier Park, Ca.

Mike Meadows

Thanks Mike, Dramatic photos. I added them to the Airtankers 35 photo page. Ab.

9/19 Putnam: "minority opinion" report on the South Canyon investigation


Dr. Putnam's research and writing has certainly continued to have a "larger impact on safety", for those of us willing to seek out his advice. He certainly has had an impact on me and my crew. After I began digging I was amazed how much incredible information is out there from Dr. Putnam and others. As a result I've collected quite a library of electronic documents and written texts on human factors, safety, and many other topics. Take a look at Dr. Putnam's article "Fire Safety: Up In Smoke?". In the introduction he states,

"In this article I outline six areas in which firefighter safety has improved little, despite clear lessons like South Canyon."

I hope you see this, at least in part, as the "minority report" you were hoping for.

Captain 64

9/19 I have updated a number of items on the "IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project in light of new appointments and new information on crews and individuals. Ab.
9/19 Wall of Flame Book Review:

A good perspective from the front line, but limited in the other large wild fires/fire fighting operations in Southern California during October 2003 (outside of front country of the San Bernardino/San Gabriel mountains).

I was the Incident Meteorologist on the Grand Prix fire from the morning of October 22 through November 4, 2003, I disagree with the stated strength of the Santa Ana winds early Friday morning, October 24, 2003 and that they were forecast 12 hours too late. The actual weather forecasts, warnings, and observed weather are archived and available for review.


9/19 Area Ignition Book Review:

While some may like this book, I found it tedious, repetitive and without much insight. The descriptions of the fire behavior are totally lacking any scientific basis. Comparing fire behavior to surfing did not do it for me. He describes LCES without mentioning Paul Gleason. The photographs included in the body of the text are simply awful, blurry and pixilated beyond usefulness. And he constantly refers to the accident as an "overrun" which I found annoying and without explanation. I believe the accepted term is a "burnover".It also could have done with a good editor, but maybe with an editor there would be even less of this thin pamphlet. 1 Saw. FC180

9/18 R5: Dedication ceremony for fallen firefighter

On Sept. 21, a new fire science building will be dedicated at Mission Valley Occupational Program (MVROP) school in Fremont, Calif., to honor Tom “TJ” Marovich. Tom was fatally injured in July 2009 while performing a routine rappel proficiency skill training at the Backbone Helibase in Willow Creek. He was a second year apprentice at the Modoc National Forest and was working with the Chester Helitack Crew from the Lassen National Forest. An engine from the Eldorado National Forest will be on site. Following the tragic accident, MVROP set out to find an appropriate way to commemorate TJ’s passion for public service and to help his legacy continue to inspire future students.

9/18 Re: report on fire service respiratory diseases

The report on fire service respiratory diseases is certainly interesting and has enough doctors signed on to start a hospital. Still, I can't help but wonder if what we face in the wildland community is far different. The structure guys have been using SCBA for years, heavily enforced for anyone doing interior attack or working above a fire. I can't help but think that smoke exposure on or near a wildfire coupled with often sleeping in that same smoke day in and night out has its unique set of concerns. Add to that the accumulating tiredness of a hard season and the body is left without a lot of its defenses.

Still Out There as an AD

9/17 Emt_mb

“Anyone ever adapted and taught L180 or L280 to structural firefighters?”

Every semester the Firefighter 1 Academy students obtain L-180 training as part of the wildland block within the course. Additionally, my Advanced Wildland Academy students receive L-280. The name of the course would imply that all of the students are from a wildland agency/background, but that is not always the case. Some students are from local government, structural/EMS departments with limited wildland experience (we run a short L-180 review block to get everyone refreshed, just before the start of the L-280 course).

The L-180 block in the basic academy is taught by CalFire employees. The L-280 course in the Advanced Academy is taught by a cadre group including NPS, USFS Hotshots/HT Crews, Smoke Jumpers and local government personnel (the Lead instructor is an NPS sup.). It has an arduous 5.5 to 7.5 mile loop integrated into the course which gives the cadre members a chance to “preview” potential seasonal employees.

The system works great and the students give the course top marks every time we run it.

Feel free to give me a call if you have questions.



9/17 Passing of Firefighter/Paramedic Jim Owen: OCFA

It is with great sadness that I announce the sudden passing of Firefighter/Paramedic Jim Owen. FF/PM Owen collapsed during TAG at the RFOTC. The crews on scene immediately rendered care and Jim was transported to Western Medical Center – Santa Ana where he was pronounced dead at approximately 12:30 pm.

Jim was 56 years old and is survived by his wife, Sharon, and three sons, Jim Jr., Daniel, and Kevin. He has been with the OCFA since 1980 and spent the majority of his career at Fire Station 4. Jim will be sorely missed by his friends and family.

firefighter training ocfa


9/16 A link to a local media obituary for Randy:
9/16 Funeral services for Randy Beck:


Funeral services for Randy will be at 1:00 at the East Lawn Cemetery in Quincy (behind Coast Gas)
and memorial services are at 2:00 at the Mormon Church on Bucks Lake Rd.

Randy's family would like anyone wanting to do a donation in lieu of flowers to
the following groups: Make the donation in "Memory of Randy Beck"

Plumas County Museum
500 Jackson Street
Quincy, Ca. 95971

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Road
Boise, Id. 83705
Or donate online wffoundation.org

Quincy Volunteer Fire Department
505 Lawrence Street
Quincy, Ca. 95971

Jim - Pathfinder

9/16 To COMT,

You mention DPH radios and problems “don't buy the DPH, been having too many problems with them.” but I am obviously in the dark. My agency is using DPH radios and other than the usual damage, we haven't had system wide problems with them. (We don't use them in digital mode as that would compromise firefighter safety.) Could you elaborate on what the problems are?

Steve LCES

9/16 COMT

You are so "right on the money". Digital is a wonderful thing for some agencies but is useless for others. Without getting into all of the FCC hype associated with this, here's something else to think about. While many agencies have made the move to digital, the City of Boise Idaho (Fire Department) tested the 700 Mhz digital system and it failed miserably. BFD has requested a waiver from the FCC mandated changeover to digital:
Boise fire says no to 700 mhz

Now, is this just a City problem? Just how much USFS / BLM / NPS territory sits on the Canadian border? Again, this is something that was not thought out too well by the FCC. Take a minute to read some of the input here:
Radio Resource Magazine: Only Online

Bottom line should read, "If it ain't broke...DON'T FIX IT". However, considering the source of all this, one should expect things like this. The IAFC has taken issue with the problem and as of yet, I haven't heard of a suitable fix.
www.iafc.org (pdf)

As the comm world changes, there are things that will pop up and grab your attention very quickly, at the very moment you least expect them or need them. We can't blame this one on Sun Spots! On a parting note, think of the urban interface agencies you work with. The 700 Mhz digital systems has the potential to be a dangerous liability on fireground. Will the associated agencies still have the old VHF at their disposal if needed? Will I be able to warn Strike Team XX of a wind shift if I my agency YY is analog and they are digital? Is this going to be another nightmare - like the re-banding of the 800 Mhz trunking systems? Just how are we supposed to work together when we can't even communicate on a common system?

Semaphore hand signals come to mind...but that's a joke not suitable for this forum.

9/16 Sent in by Hickman:

USFA and the International Association of Fire Fighters Release Study on Fire Service Respiratory Diseases
USFA Media Contact:
(301) 447-1853

September 15, 2010

Emmitsburg, MD ” The United States Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), announces the release of Respiratory Diseases and the Fire Service, a report discussing the findings of a long-term study intended to examine and improve the occupational health of firefighters.

"USFA is committed to enhancing the occupational health and safety of America's fire service," said Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines. "The purpose of this initiative is to provide information to the fire service on the mitigation of the long-term effects of occupational respiratory exposure."

Respiratory diseases remain a significant health issue for firefighters and other emergency responders," said IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger. "Respiratory effects due to firefighter occupational exposure are a concern affecting the fire service throughout the United States."

The goal of this project was to research the long-term effects and post-exposure mitigation of occupational respiratory exposure to firefighters and develop a report based on this research. This effort involved renowned experts in the field of pulmonary medicine. The study will assist in recognizing and quantifying the impact of respiratory exposure, and the development of mitigation strategies and programs for firefighters, their families, and fire departments.

Respiratory Diseases and the Fire Service is available from the IAFF website (PDF, 6.1 Mb).

Further information on USFA's firefighter health and safety projects may be found on the USFA website

9/16 An article extolling the use of Analog VHF radio on the fireline.

Analog VHF radio (non-trunked) has decades of use and development and has proven itself time and time again. Digital radio has it's place where secrecy and information protection are needed. But for Fire, it's a waste of money and potentially dangerous.

At this time there is no timeline for the Forest Service to go Digital. The FS should not go Digital until all their Cooperators are also ready for the change. Was just talking with someone who's Department had recently installed P25 equipment, but still can't share their systems. They had coordinated with their Neighbors on the same equipment, but the programming differences needed for each area prevented radios from working in a different system. So they got out their old Reliable Analog King GPHs and went to work (don't buy the DPH, been having too many problems with them.)

9/16 Anyone ever adapted and taught L180 or L280 to structural firefighters?

Looking for some ideas.

Ab: please forward to me as appropriate.

9/15 Randy Beck Has Passed Away:

I was very sorry to hear today that Randy Beck, retired Plumas National Forest Battalion Chief passed away on Tuesday afternoon. I'm unsure of the details, but understand there will be services on Saturday at 1100 in Quincy, CA.

I had the pleasure of working with Randy on the PNF for quite a few years. I've never met a more calm, patient, and friendly person. Thanks for everything Randy!

SteveM (Original Ab)

9/15 Some very nice AT and Helicopter photos (with numbers showing) compliments of Steve Nelson, some from Jeffco CO air base and taken in the past; also recent photos from the Fourmile Command Center at Boulder CO.

I put them on the AirTankers 33, AirTankers 34, Helicopters 28 and Helicopters 29 photo pages.

Also added Big Hill Helibase: ENF Copter 516 and N1073W at Big Hill Helibase Photo compliments of Scott W. (0910) to Helicopters 29.


9/14 To: Randy Moore – Regional Forester, Region-5

To: Jeanne Wade Evans – Deputy Regional Forester for State and Private Forestry, Region-5

To: Joe Millar – Director of Fire and Aviation Management, Region-5

CC: Dan Duefrene – Regional Vice President NFFE, Region-5

An increasing volume of rumors continue to filter throughout Region-5 on the pay proposal drafted by R-5 FAM. It has been known since July that something has been finalized and sent to the WO to begin the approval process.

In your 2008 retention plan, you said: We pledge to; "In addition to increased communication around key issues, the Forest Service will consider specific long-term actions."

Thanks for working on the long term actions (needs). It is now time for a little communication on this key issue. Your official notification to your Firefighters regarding this important development is appreciated.

9/14 Sept. 27th FireHire Deadline

Hi Ab – I hope you're doing well! I've attached the official R5 FireHire Letter pdf file (with the deadline date highlighted and tagged) to help clear up the confusion on the application deadline.  Also, I've typed up a bunch of tips for applicants. I'd appreciate it if you were willing to post it for me!

Federal Application Do's and Don'ts:

With hiring season upon us, we want to share some insight into the world of federal application development. Here is a quick list of Do's and Don'ts for you to consider as you develop your Forest Service applications:

  • DO use the Position Description of your target position as a baseline for the type of experience to include in your work experience blocks.
  • Don't copy the Position Description word-for-word – it annoys the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs – the folks who review the applications) and tells them that you can't be bothered to come up with your own stuff.

    DO organize your experience and information in a logical order – make it easy for the SMEs to quickly read through your application and find the information they need.
  • DO NOT copy your buddy's resume or application. Definitely, plagiarizing a professionally written resume (or any other document), even if your buddy says it's okay, is illegal. Copying someone else's content is not smart anyway – it'll only prove that you can do the same thing as the other guy who copied your buddy's application…
  • Do be thorough – give the SMEs enough information to determine if you're qualified for the position.
  • Don't presume that just because you say that you work on a certain module type, that the SMEs will assume you have certain skill sets or experience. For example, they can't assume that you know how to run a pump just because you've worked on an engine – you have to state that you have experience running a pump…
  • Do tell them not only what you do in your position, but also what you're good at!
  • Don't approach applications or resumes with the attitude of, “I just do my job.” Applications are not the place to be modest about your accomplishments. Tell them about the special projects you've tackled, your delegated duties, and the special skills that you have to offer.
  • Do put your application in for any and all locations and positions for which you are interested. They will be immediately backfilling vacated positions during FireHire. This means that as they fill a new position with a current employee, that employee's original position will open up and they will immediately try to fill it.
  • Don't assume that you are entitled to a position just because it seems to you to be a logical progression (or because your supervisor has implied that it's yours). You must apply for the position, demonstrate that you are qualified by having a thorough application, and conduct the proper networking.

Best of luck to all applicants!

The staff at Wildland Fire Careers
Wildland Fire Careers

9'/14 Confused about Fire Hire?

If you filter through all the Agency stuff, this paragraph is in that memo about the new quals coming:

Referral list requests issued on or before September 30, 2010 (from the current OCR announcements) will be good for 60 days from issuance. There will be no referral list extension requests approved after the 60 days from issuance. Selections will be made based on criteria in those announcements. Managers should be filling these vacancies strategically so candidates will be in compliance as near to the October 1, 2010, compliance deadline as possible. Any selectee from an old OCR who does not meet the IFPM requirements will be subject to the extension process identified in the implementation plan which will be distributed in the near future.

So, baiscally, if the Certs are pulled before Oct. 1st, (which they should be), the OLD quals apply, and if they are pulled AFTER Oct. 1st, the new quals apply. So, the whole round might go thru under the old quals. Get your apps in NOW!!!

9/14 October Fire Hire Question:

Had a question on this upcoming Fire Hire. The question is based on the timeline of the end date for applications (Sept. 26th) and the implementation of IFPM (Oct. 1st). Does anyone know what criteria Fire Hire will use during the selection phase? The concern in the field is that Fire Hire might use IFPM criteria because of the Oct. 1st date, yet the applicants did need to meet it by the application end date. I know the answer should be obvious that we DO NOT use IFPM until the next round of Fire Hire, but stranger things have happened.

Any insight would be useful and help with reducing the confusion in the field.


9/14 re: chainsaw safety

In answer to Jon's question about structural firefighters running a chainsaw on a roof vs. using a chainsaw on a wildland fire. The difference is the OSHA 1910.266 Logging Operations Standard (attached .pdf file) that applies to all federal and private firefighters, and most western U.S. local and state firefighters. OSHA does not specify any particular curriculum, although S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws generally will meet the OSHA training requirement with the addition of discussion of employer work practices and specific Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or other risk assessment/mitigation.

As for the FS chainsaw safety reminders, I believe the 1910.266 training requirement applies to swampers the same as sawyers/fallers:

(3) Content. At a minimum, training shall consist of the following elements:

(i) Safe performance of assigned work tasks;

(ii) Safe use, operation and maintenance of tools, machines and vehicles the employee uses or operates, including emphasis on understanding and following the manufacturer's operating and maintenance instructions, warnings and precautions;

(iii) Recognition of safety and health hazards associated with the employee's specific work tasks, including the use of measures and work practices to prevent or control those hazards;

(iv) Recognition, prevention and control of other safety and health hazards in the logging industry;

(v) Procedures, practices and requirements of the employer's work site; and

(vi) The requirements of this standard.

A swamper may not have a chainsaw in their hands, but they still need to be trained on the hazards of working close to one.

vfd cap'n

logging ops 1910 (52 K pdf file)

Thanks vfd cap'n. Ab.

9/14 Making the rounds:

24-hour report CA-MMU-Lake Corine Down Power Lines

Attached is a Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) referencing a CAL FIRE engine that encountered power lines during suppression action on the Lake Corine Fire. Please provide wide distribution of this document via the normal chain-of-command process for the purposes of discussion and Tailgate Safety session.

Walt Holloway, Deputy Chief
Cooperative Fire Protection
Safety and Research & Development

Near Miss – Downed Power Lines
September 06, 2010
Lake Corine Fire
CA Southern Region


The following information is a preliminary summary of a near miss - downed power line incident involving a CAL FIRE engine on a wildland fire. No CAL FIRE employees received injuries.


On September 6, 2010, at approximately 1524 hours, E-4264 was assigned to Division M on the Lake Corine Fire. E-4264 was given direction to assist in fire suppression efforts at the anchor point and the firefighters were to continue to support the existing hoselay. The operator was made aware of a power pole that was burning about 50 feet behind E-4264. Since E-4264 was not committed to the hoselay, the operator decided it was safer to apply water to extinguish the pole from the opposite side. The operator was aware of the overhead power lines that stretched above the roadway and proceeded to back E-4264 to gain the advantage for fire control. While repositioning E-4264, the power lines fell onto engine. The operator stopped E-4264 and noticed that the power lines appeared to be in contact with the spotlight on the passenger side. The Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief could see the downed power lines and advised all assigned units and personnel of the life hazard/downed power lines. All assigned resources acknowledged the life hazard/downed power lines and positive confirmation was completed using a check back. The ECC was also notified. The downed power line area was identified and flagged off and the operator stayed inside the cab of E-4264 until PG&E arrived to remove the power lines from E-4264 and secure them. No personnel or equipment were damaged.


  • Maintain situational awareness at all times
  • Identify all life hazards
  • Isolate and flag hazardous areas per department policy
  • Post lookouts and deny entry into life hazard areas
  • Confine firefighting actions to non-life hazard area
  • Review fire suppression challenges involving electrical equipment and powerlines
  • Review policy on mobile equipment movement (i.e. Backing)
9/14 Putnam: "minority opinion" report on the South Canyon investigation

Ted Putnam was asked and encouraged to submit a "minority opinion" report on the South Canyon investigation, and he never did. I always thought that odd, because he could (IMO) have made a larger impact on safety and gained more widespread attention to human factors, had he written and submitted it. But everyone's got their reasons for what they do or don't do at some point in life ...


9/14 I added a bunch of updated (for 2010) and new info to the "IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project spreadsheet. Thanks everyone. Thanks especially to Tony D from AK. Ab.
9/13 Re signature thread, Romero Fire:


Not sure about the Romero Canyon fire report, but as far as the South Canyon Report.. Ted Putnam did not sign it because he disagreed with the final findings and felt that the agency was covering up the human factors side of the investigation among other things. It was the beginning of the end of Ted's career.

See the 2006 BLM Refresher for some fantastic clips of Dr. Ted Putnam speaking on mindfulness and human Factors.


9/13 Re Romero Fire:


I have a PowerPoint of the Romero fire fatalities I made for teaching CPS.

Here's a short version of the Lessons Learned on the Romero Fire. (3,646 K powerpoint file)

Doug Campbell

Thanks, Doug. Ab.

9/13 Ab

During the school year I run a firefighter training program for high school age students. In this program they also receive a chainsaw safety and operator course based on the S-212 guidelines. One of the areas I focus a large amount of time on is the working relationship between the sawyer and the swamper. In my class I teach that the area in front of the sawyer is the ( and this is a little over the top, but affective ) “Death Zone” and nobody can enter this area without making eye contact with the sawyer. So when the swamper needs to clear out cut brush he/she must approach from behind the sawyer then place his/her hand on the shoulder of the sawyer on the side to be cleared. The sawyer must turn the saw to the opposite side away from the swamper and make eye contact with their swamper before the swamper can reach forward of the sawyer to clear any cut brush. The hand on the shoulder also acts as a safety for the swamper ( keeps the sawyer from turning in that direction ). It may seem a little much and some may feel it could slow down production but I'd rather have a little slower line production than an injured crewman.

9/13 Re signature thread, Romero Fire:


I also have a copy of the Romero Fire Investigation Report, dated October 7th, 1971. My copy was received by mail way before the internet existed, it is missing Moore's signature also. It appears the internet copy is exactly what I have. Not sure if this helps you.


9/13 Re signature thread, Romero Fire:


A question for the more “seasoned “readers.

I am trying to answer a student's question. My copy of the Romero Fire Investigation Report, dated October 7th, 1971 is not signed/approved by W.R. Moore, Assistant Regional Forester (the signatures are on the cover page). The copy at the Lessons Learned site is identical.

Is this missing signature similar to Ted Putnam's missing signature on the SC report, or is it just a function of the copy that floats around the Internet? Does anyone have a copy that is signed by W.R. Moore? If he did in fact refused to sign the report, any thoughts as to why that occurred?

Thanks, FOBS73

It could be a draft copy? Ab.

9/13 Chainsaw Safety:

I was wondering if I could get some suggestions from you or guidance in regards to saw safety. I just read the new post on saw safety that you put up and it's right on. The department that I work for is pretty much made up of pavement pounders with a few that have “real” saw experience. Where we run into problems is they think that they can run a saw on the roof so they know how to run a saw on wildland fires. This scares the crap out of me. do you where I can find the s 212 requirements or what is allowed for the average engine firefighter can do if anything with a saw on wildland fires. Any info that you could provide would be great.

Thank you


9/13 Making the rounds:

Chainsaw Safety:

Hello Chiefs.
I will mention this tomorrow on the conference call. We have an opportunity to break a trend, but I need your help to do it.
We are experiencing an alarming trend this season with chainsaw teams.
We have at least 4 injuries involving swampers being cut by sawyers. I am attaching one FLA that was completed earlier this year for review with your crews. This FLA is the basis of the trend we are seeing. We have a few more FLAs still in the process of completion. I will forward them when they are complete.

I would like to ask you to have a discussion with the crews you supervise and have them each take a tactical pause and discuss their procedures for working together. I am looking to the sawyers and swampers to help us understand how we can break this trend before we suffer a serious accident. I want them to help us solve this problem.

One accident listed poor communications as the cause of the cut occurring, one of the sawyers said they didn't see the swamper reach for the brush.
On the attached FLA there are safety precaution listed to use when working with a sawyer (also in red below).
Pete Duncan, North Zone Chainsaw Coordinator recently sent out a similar message for saw teams to discuss.
If your saw teams come up with any new ideas how to break this trend, please forward them on up for us to share with the rest of the region.

The attached FLA can be used as a discussion aid. JHAs should also be reviewed by your saw teams.

Kent S provided this protocol from his years on a Hotshot crew. Thanks Kent!

SOP - do not touch any brush being cut by the sawyer less than 3' high, and for brush higher than that - maintain 3' clearance between the saw bar and your hands at all times. This provided for an appropriate margin of safety. If the brush is less than 3' tall the sawyer should cut - then the swamper would pick up and discard.

This is the message Pete D forwarded. This was in response to a sawyer cutting a swamper during a felling operation.

Help us break this trend. You all know what Gordon would say! "If it is predictable, it is preventable!"

The very fact that the swamper was with-in the 2 1/2 tree lengths distance of the tree concerns me. Unless it is documented in the JHA as necessary for training, the sawyer is responsible for maintaining control of the cutting area, and no one should be with-in 2 1/2 times the height of the tree being felled.

  • The fact the swamper was "placing a wedge" concerns me even more - felling a tree is a one person job. If a sawyer can't place or pound their own wedges or watch for overhead hazards by themselves, they should not be cutting the tree.
  • Forest and District coordinators - Please take the time to contact all of your modules and discuss how swampers are being utilized and the need for proper spacing and communication. This is the sixth saw injury in less than a month, a number of them have involved the swamper being cut.
  • Also take the time to discuss the practice of carrying chainsaws on the shoulder without the bar being covered. This practice has led to a number of cuts and needs to stop. Anytime the saw is carried on the shoulder it must be completely covered. A glove or upturned collar is not acceptable.

There is still a good few months of fire season left - lets get thru it without any more chainsaw incidents


9/13 Re: Thread on Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"

Some clarification:

It was pointed out to me that my reference to the CPF 5th district VP being from San Diego could have been inferred that he was a member of the San Diego City Fire Department. That is not the case.

The 5th district VP for the CPF represents all federal firefighters in California affiliated with the Union. As such he is a member of San Diego Federal Firefighters Local F-33. I apologize for any confusion.


9/12 Ab's, here's to making sure this announcement is distributed widely.

The following is effective October 1, 2010. Seems like KSAs are going away.

File Code: 6130
Date: September 10, 2010
Route To:
Subject: IFPM Positions and Announcements
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director and Deputy Chiefs

The purpose of this notice is to update you on the status of new national open continuous recruitment (OCR) announcements for permanent and temporary positions covered by the Interagency Fire Program Management (IFPM) implementation.

As you are aware, IFPM requirements for 13 fire positions are effective on October 1, 2010. On that date, positions covered by IFPM will have qualifications imposed as selective placement factors for purposes of consideration. In other words, in order to be qualified, an applicant must meet all the requirements for the IFPM position, i.e. basic OPM requirements for the positions, one year of specialized experience at the next lower grade, NWCG Incident Management Qualifications, and additional required training. Such positions are also covered by time in grade provisions as outlined in 5 CFR 300. For additional information regarding IFPM, please refer to: www.fs.fed.us/fire/management/ifpm/index.phpl.

New OCR's have been created that include these requirements in the vacancy announcements and associated questionnaires. The current OCR's will be closed on September 30, 2010, and the new OCR's will open on October 1, 2010. Attached is a list of the current OCR's that will close and the new OCR's that will open. All applicants who have applied or are in the process of applying for one of the listed OCR's will be receive an Avue email to apply under the new vacancy announcement numbers. Any future single announcements for permanent and temporary IFPM positions opened on or after October 1, 2010 will be modified to include the IFPM requirements. Under President Obama's Hiring Reform initiative, one major component is to shorten the hiring process to make applying for a federal job easier for applicants. Consequently, the new questionnaires will not contain narrative response requirements to the knowledge, skills, and ability criteria. For more information on Hiring Reform, go to hiring reform.

Referral list requests issued on or before September 30, 2010 (from the current OCR announcements) will be good for 60 days from issuance. There will be no referral list extension requests approved after the 60 days from issuance. Selections will be made based on criteria in those announcements. Managers should be filling these vacancies strategically so candidates will be in compliance as near to the October 1, 2010, compliance deadline as possible. Any selectee from an old OCR who does not meet the IFPM requirements will be subject to the extension process identified in the implementation plan which will be distributed in the near future.

For permanent positions, referral lists from the new OCR's will not be issued for 28 days after opening. Supervisors and managers can submit requests for referral lists; however none will be issued until October 29 or shortly thereafter.

Please ensure this letter is promptly given wide distribution within the Forest Service fire community. If you have specific questions regarding filling a position, please contact your Human Resources Specialist for general advice and the ASC-HRM case manager if you have submitted an action to request a referral list or created an action in the national 52 Tracker.

If you have any specific questions regarding IFPM or FS-FPM requirements, please contact your Regional IFPM Lead. (See: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/management/ifpm/contacts.phpl.)

/s/ Ronald J. Banegas (for)
Director, Human Resources Management

New OCRs for Temporary Jobs
Position          Series/Grade   Current OCR Announcement #   New OCR Announcement #:
IA Dispatcher     GS-462-05      TEMP-OCR-462-5-FFDISP        OCRT-462-5-FFDISP-DT
IHC Senior FFTR   GS-462-05      TEMP-OCR-462-5-HOTSHOT       OCRT-462-5-HOTSHOT-DT
Heli Senior FFTR  GS-462-05      TEMP-OCR-462-5-HLTK          OCRT-462-5-HELITACK-DT
Engine SrFFTR     GS-462-05      TEMP-OCR-462-5-ENGINE        OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT
Hand Senior FFTR  GS-462-05      TEMP-OCR-462-5-HANDCREW      OCRT-462-5-HANDCREW-DT
New OCRs for Permanent jobs.
Position          Series/Grade   Current OCR Announcement #   New OCR Announcement #:
Forest FMO        GS-401-12/13   PERM-OCR-401-12/13-FMO       OCRP-401-FFMO(H)-12/13
Forest FMO        GS-462-12      PERM-OCR-462-12-FMO          OCRP-462-FFMO(H)-10/11
Forest FMO        GS-462-10/11   PERM-OCR-462-10/11-FMO       OCRP-462-FFMO(M)-10/11
Forest FMO        GS-462-08/09   PERM-OCR-462-8/9-FMO         OCRP-462-FFMO(L)-8/9
Forest Fuels Spec GS-462-10/11   PERM-OCR-462-10/11-FUEL      OCRP-462-FFUEL(H)-10/11
Forest Fuels Spec GS-462-08/09   PERM-OCR-462-8/9-FUEL        OCRP-462-FFUEL(M)-8/9
Forest Fuels Spec GS-462-06/07   OCRP-FUEL-462-6/7            OCRP-462-FFUEL(L)-6/7
Disp Center Mgr   GS-462-10/11   ADS07-FSJOB-R3SFT-1011       OCRP-462-IADISP(H)-10/11
Asst Center Mgr   GS-462-08/09   PERM-OCR-462-8/9-IADISP      OCRP-462-IADISP-8/9
IA Dispatcher 	  GS-462-07      PERM-OCR-462-4567-IADISP     OCRP-462-IADISP-5/6/7
IA Dispatcher 	  GS-462-06
IA Dispatcher 	  GS-462-05
IHC Supt          GS-462-09      OCRP-IHCSUPT-462-9           OCRP-462-IHCSUPT-9
IHC Senior FFTR   GS-462-05      OCRP-IHCSRFF-462-4/5         OCRP-462-IHCSRFF-4/5
IHC Senior FFTR   GS-462-04      
Helitack Supv     GS-462-09      OCRP-HLTKMGR-462-9           OCRP-462-HLTKMGR-9
Heli Senior FFTR  GS-462-05      OCRP-HLTKSRFF-462-4/5        OCRP-462-HLTKSRFF-4/5
Heli Senior FFTR  GS-462-04
Engine EMLS       GS-462-07/08   OCRP-SFEO-462-7/8            OCRP-462-SFEO(H)-7/8
Engine SEOP       GS-462-06/07   OCRP-SFEO-462-6/7            OCRP-462-SFEO(M)-6/7
Engine FEO        GS-462-07      OCRP-FEO-462-7               OCRP-462-FEO(H)-7
Engine AFEO       GS-462-06      OCRP-AFEO-462-6              OCRP-462-AFEO-6
Engine SrFFTR     GS-462-05      OCRP-ENGSRFF-462-4/5         OCRP-462-ENGSRFF-4/5
Engine SrFFTR     GS-462-04
Hand Sqd Ldr      GS-462-06      OCRP-HANDCREW-462-6          OCRP-462-HANDCREW-6
Hand Senior FFTR  GS-462-05      OCRP-HANDCREW-462-4/5        OCRP-462-HANDCREW-4/5
Hand Senior FFTR  GS-462-04
KSA= Knowledge, Skills and Abilities, all of which are prerequisites for fire and indicate an applicant may be capable of doing a job without endangering him/herself and co-workers. Ab.
9/12 Re: Thread on Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"

To All:

Although yesterday I contemplated submitting a post about the IAFF issue, I spent the day not only celebrating my wedding anniversary, but watching the myriad of programs on the History channel about 9/11.

Reliving that horror, watching NYC firefighters march to their deaths, knowing how many federal firefighters were involved in the incident both in NY and at the Pentagon, put the IAFF issue in perspective.

No one is more disappointed than me in the situation. Like many others with the FWFSA, I gave my heart & soul to the IAFF & CPF (and lots of my money) for many years. I didn't want to just be a member, I wanted to be a leader. I was the CPF 5th District VP from 1998-2003 and nearly shocked the IAFF by nearly being elected to a spot on its Executive Board in 2003.

The FWFSA has done everything possible to extract some kind of explanation from the IAFF & CPF. For the most part we have been summarily ignored. We finally received confirmation from IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger that it was in fact the CPF which advanced the application to the IAFF to have the FWFSA declared a rival organization. We can only surmise that the action was in response to our efforts to address the CPF's exploitation of the BDF E-57 crew in their efforts to pass a state bill in 2007...AB 384.

Despite repeated letters to CPF President Lou Paulsen seeking a clarification or explanation, we have received absolutely nothing. I personally learned that earlier this year, a number of our members who are also IAFF/CPF members with Local 2881 (Cal-Fire) were going to bring up the matter at the IAFF's convention ironically recently held in San Diego. While I personally appreciate the consideration of doing such a thing, knowing the hierarchy of both the CPF & IAFF as I do, it would have done little to fix the matter.

With respect to SD area firefighters being "ashamed," perhaps not all should be ashamed. However the current CPF 5th District VP (from San Diego) who was handed the position by me on the proverbial silver platter when I resigned, should be because there is no doubt he was an instigator of this mess.

The San Diego City firefighters have not always been with the CPF. When I was on the CPF Board I can't count how many Executive Board meetings there were about the San Diego local; how to get them on Board with the CPF etc.

In my personal opinion, the CPF Board, over the last 7 years has become very mean-spirited. For many years when I was associated with the CPF and a member of its Board, I respected the current CPF President. When I spoke to him in the Spring of 2007 about AB 384 and the Esperanza crew, I was shocked at his demeanor. I guess things change when some get into a position of power.

Anyone interested in learning the facts about this unfortunate situation can contact me any time and I will provide the facts.

We are proud of the working & personal relationships our federal wildland firefighters have with many Cal-Fire and local government firefighters throughout California. I know that many of those non-federal firefighters are keenly aware of the issues facing federal wildland firefighters and we sincerely appreciate that support. One of the key issues however revolves around "seasonal & Temp" firefighters.

As you all know the federal land management agencies have traditionally relied upon large numbers of such employees during the fire season. There is no dispute that the IAFF & CPF are not too interested in seasonal, temps, volunteers etc. In our opinion, those firefighters, who also risk their lives deserve similar pay & benefits to those they cut line with and who they share the fire camps with.

One final thought:

As referenced in a previous post, the IAFF's # 1 legislative priority is National Collective Bargaining. While they pursue such rights for their local government firefighter members across the country, they have never bothered to work with other federal unions and work towards extending the same basic rights of negotiating pay & benefits to federal employees.

Naturally such a movement would be a monumental battle. However I cannot fathom a union supporting rights for one segment of their dues paying members while ignoring any attempt to pursue those rights for ALL of their members...inclusive of federal firefighters.

In my humble opinion, federal firefighters affiliated with the IAFF have always been a "pimple of the IAFF's rear end." The smallest IAFF "district" which ironically has historically cost the IAFF more money than some of it's larger Districts.

The IAFF's federal firefighter issue (usually one a decade) continues to be a cancer presumptive bill. It is a "no-brainer" of a bill and the FWFSA has also worked hard to offer our support of it to those offices on Capitol Hill we work with. Yet it too has languished for years and years. I cannot understand why the leadership of the federal members of the IAFF tolerate this "second-class" treatment by the IAFF. But, thankfully that is no longer my fight. I am in a much better place.

I truly wish the FWFSA and the IAFF could work collectively. When we were affiliated with the IAFF we secured an awful lot of Republican support for issues that traditionally Republicans would ignore because the issues were supported by a large labor union. The IAFF needs Republican support to secure its objectives but continues to fail to truly work with both sides of the aisle as the FWFSA does. I am convinced the FWFSA could bring traditionally opposing members of Congress to support IAFF issues. Likely not. I guess it's easier to try and bully us and squash us than work with us.

Respectfully Submitted,

Casey Judd
Business Manager

9/11 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"

With 30,000 members of the IAFF in California alone, taking a vote on every bill introduced in congress is not practical. IAFF members pay dues and have faith that the leadership of the organization will be advocating for the members best interest. I think what I took particular umbrage to was the comment "members should be ashamed of themselves". Most firefighters; IAFF, federal or otherwise, right, wrong or indifferent, prefer to spend their well deserved time off with friends and family and are not engaged or educated on many of the bills that come before congress. Exactly why we should all appreciate people like Casey Judd and Harold Schaitberger.

I do promise Ab, No Name and others. I will address the issue with MY Local IAFF leadership.

As for federal firefighters...I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to serve along side my federal brothers and sisters!

Eddie Munster

9/11 Remembering 9/11:

Nine years ago today. . . while on an incident that was not going well, we first heard of the attack on the Twin Towers. Everyone rushed from the operational briefing to find a television…to see if the rumor was true. It was worse than true as yet another plane headed into the second “Freedom “tower. Incident Team members stood in transfixed with horror knowing the need for emergency response and unable to fathom how to help.

Word came down that all aircraft would be grounded or liable to being shot down. We stood vigil and watched, unable to help, unable to comprehend.

Our mission on our wildfire had to continue, although we all craved the opportunity to go there and assist. Crews moved to transition with the night shift. The helibase was unusually still as the fleet of aircraft waited on deck. Whispered updates of the events unfolding rippled through the ICP, base camp, the firelines and local community. Color of uniform, level of government, title, agency…all of it forgotten as we silently united in support of the brotherhood of emergency responders in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. They were heroes who saved so many lives, and lost so many of their own.

Some California Incident Management Teams were able to respond. Their efforts and support, their compassion and strength, theirs was a reassuring presence that we could share in to help take care of our own country in the most basic manner of public support.

The burden of America's loss still resonates with us all. On today, the 9th anniversary, whether you are on duty/in-service or on a day off, take a moment o remember the people lost; the families, friends, parents and loved ones left to grieve; the heroes from all walks of life who gave so much.

Although the wounds are not fresh, they are not less real nor forgotten.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to due in service to the American public. Be well today and every day.

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley
Forest Fire Chief, Tahoe National Forest

Incident Commander,
California Interagency Incident Mgmt Team 3

9/11 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization" (from the hotlist thread)

"Saying the members should be ashamed of themselves is a little much IMHO."

OK, I'll agree with you on that one.


9/11 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization" (from the hotlist thread)

I know exactly what "no name" is saying but there are better options to get the S.D. IAFF locals involved. Saying the members should be ashamed of themselves is a little much IMHO.


9/11 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization" (from the hotlist thread)

Casey Judd has had made posts referencing this on TheySaid in the past AJ, I believe for a few years now, this is not a new issue. He has not gone into to detail about what exactly the IAFF has done behind the scenes (he feels those details are best left off of a public forum), but for whatever reason, IAFF has deemed the FWFSA a "rival" organization and worked against them in Washington. Casey has stated before that most IAFF members are not even aware of this- they seem to do things behind closed doors, but never really take any sort of "official" position on it. The letter to Ab is one sided, because the IAFF has never officially addressed what and why it has anything against the FWFSA. I think what "name withheld" is trying to say here, is that IAFF members in the San Diego area, who are represented by this particular elected official, should be asking questions of the association in which they belong to.



Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization" (from the hotlist thread)

"Those local government firefighters from San Diego City, the federal firefighters from San Diego and Cal-Fire firefighters from the San Diego area should all be ashamed of themselves for allowing the leadership of the IAFF to bully a public servant who for so many years has supported their issues.
This is truly a sad, pathetic commentary on the once proud IAFF.
Just my opinion.
Name withheld for obvious reasons."

As one of the original FWFSA member from 1995 and now a IAFF/CPF member and local union officer I can empathize with your concerns. I will do my duty and find out the extent of this. However I don't take lightly your comments towards mentioned firefighter groups from San Diego. I don't think its fair of you to smear them all because they are IAFF members.

I know why the FWFSA pulled out of CPF/IAFF. If I felt I wasn't getting my fair share of face time I would probably do the same but we still need to work together and not stab each other in the back and even if mistakes are made lets try and be productive. Have you written to the IAFF? Have you received a response to said allegations from the IAFF? To me this letter to AB is a one sided story editorial without some of these very relevant questions answered.

Andreas Johansson

Maybe San Diego was only mentioned because that's where the IAFF convention was held? Ab.

9/11 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"

Dear "Eddie"

My how you've grown since you were on TV...

Perhaps I should have made it clearer that yes, those IAFF members we work with each season are keenly aware of the issues we face. The problem is with the leadership of the IAFF & the CPF who want to bully everyone that doesn't walk lock-step behind them.

It sure would be nice if those with Cal-Fire and other agencies that work with us speak up to their leadership and demand that this nonsense stop. However, arrogance at the top of such large organizations rarely give their 'minions" an opportunity to speak up.

The same folks go to the conferences and conventions and the vast majority of members are left to read whatever "spin" the IAFF/CPF put on their web sites, or in their newspapers etc.

Why did it take the IAFF until its convention (ironically in San Diego) to acknowledge that their National Collective Bargaining language was yanked out of a bill that passed. As soon as that action was taken by the Senate I frequently perused the IAFF web site for straight up facts. None showed up. With the convention, the IAFF had to tell their members that once again they failed in their legislative efforts.

We support the IAFF issues, why must its leadership be so "holier than thou" and try to squash our efforts? Because we caught the CPF exploiting the Esperanza tragedy for their own political gain? How childish.


"Morticia", Eddie Munster could be his real name... Let's keep this "about the what not the who"... What happened following Esperanza was, indeed, unfortunate and sad as well. Ab.

9/10 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"

Name withheld stated:

“federal wildland firefighters work side by side with many State & local government firefighters”

“the IAFF does not represent any federal wildland firefighter in any capacity nor does it have any comprehension of the issues facing federal wildland firefighters and federal land management agencies.”

Despite the fact these statements appear to me to be contradictory. How many IAFF members are also members of Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams in Region 5? How many of us are C and G? I think they (we) have a pretty good idea of the issues facing federal wildland firefighters and federal land management agencies. I also KNOW that IAFF members on these teams have been extremely vocal and tireless advocates for federal wildland firefighters. You are right, we do work side by side with federal firefighters!

Eddie Munster

Maybe you non-fed firefighters working on teams need to clarify your support position with the IAFF leadership. They may not know you're part of the fed effort? Ab.

9/10 Re: Union Bullying because the FWFSA deemed "rival organization"


WhileTheySaid is viewed by many in the wildland firefighting community, I am sure it is viewed by other firefighters so I hope this sad tale of Labor Union bullying will resonate with them and perhaps will encourage them to ask their union leadership "what tha..." Further, since federal wildland firefighters work side by side with many State & local government firefighters, hopefully the non-federal firefighters will find a way to support their brothers and sisters in the federal land management agencies.

The FWFSA has worked very hard to develop relationships with members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle. One would think firefighter issues are bipartisan. A good example of that was the previous portal to portal legislation in 2006 introduced by a Republican but which garnered more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican.

When the FWFSA was an affiliated local of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) for legislative assistance, we recognized early on that the IAFF didn't work too well or even attempt to reach out to very many Republicans west of the Mississippi. So the stereotype of "labor Union equals democratic supporters" was, and still is maintained.

Sadly, the IAFF has chosen to now bully a congressional democrat who the IAFF has consistently supported over many years, as has the FWFSA. The IAFF sent a letter to the congressman which the congressman and the FWFSA concurred was a veiled threat to stop contributing to his campaign. WHY? Because the congressman had the audacity to introduce HR 4488, the National Wildfire Infrastructure Improvement and Cost Containment Act on behalf of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters, WITHOUT consulting with the IAFF first!

Never mind the fact that the IAFF does not represent any federal wildland firefighter in any capacity nor does it have any comprehension of the issues facing federal wildland firefighters or how the federal land management agencies manage their fire programs (as evidenced by the IAFF's letter to this congressman). Apparently, according to the IAFF, this congressman should have consulted with them just because they are the big, bad IAFF.

The IAFF has cut off this democratic congressman from financial contributions simply because the congressman introduced this legislation at the request of the FWFSA... a small, tiny organization dwarfed by the IAFF in size and revenue that the IAFF has declared a "rival organization" without explanation to the FWFSA or to the vast majority of its own IAFF members.

This congressman, who has done much for the federal, state & local government firefighters in the San Diego area, is now being bullied because he dared to work with the FWFSA. It remains puzzling that not too many rank & file members of the IAFF know that their Union declared the FWFSA a rival organization and certainly has never explained why. The FWFSA knows why. Now so does the California state Assembly, Senate and various press outlets.

It is sad that the IAFF cannot manage to successfully achieve its own goals and objectives (it's # 1 priority for the last 16 years or so, National Collective Bargaining) as indicated by the fact that the Senate took it out of an appropriations bill several weeks ago despite the IAFF contributing millions of dollars of its members' FIREPAC money to sway political action, yet they want to stick their noses into federal wildland firefighter issues.

The FWFSA has consistently continued to support the IAFF's goals & objectives, especially those that would benefit federal firefighters.

Even more puzzling is the fact that the IAFF's 16th district VP, who represents all of the IAFF's federal firefighter members, previously stated that he felt HR 4488 would be of benefit to federal firefighters.

There is no doubt that many huge labor unions are considerable disconnected from their rank & file members. Those local government firefighters from San Diego City, the federal firefighters from San Diego and Cal-Fire firefighters from the San Diego area should all be ashamed of themselves for allowing the leadership of the IAFF to bully a public servant who for so many years has supported their issues.

This is truly a sad, pathetic commentary on the once proud IAFF.

Just my opinion.

Name withheld for obvious reasons.

That's a sad state of affairs. Ab.

9/10 Readers:
If you fight fire in a state that is not represented on the Links page under state and you have a good fire link to your STATE firefighting organization, please email me with the link. Thanks to the National Fire Fighter Corp for hosting that page.
Thanks, Ab.
9/9 Re: Apprentice experience

R-5 Hotshot, good post.

You said:

I asked both Randy and "the regional HR guy" (his name evades my memory) as to why we are hiring people into permanent FS jobs who have no experience and who are completely unfamiliar with what our job actually entails while we have numerous applicants with several years of seasonal experience who are good at, and enjoy, their jobs who are continually getting passed over for the inexperienced...

Your assessment is absolutely correct. However, this year will be the first year Apprentices will be leveled or rated. The leveling will occur based on experience and reference checks. I don't know if Randy knows this or even if the HR guy knows yet. However it all starts next week. Since this is an entry level position, preference veterans will receive job offers even without any experience. I think we owe them a chance, as I am sure you do as well. All others will need experience to rate higher. Hopefully we will see a change this Apprentice hiring round and we see more applicants with experience and solid reference checks getting selected.

Fuels Guy 2

9/9 Ab -

I don't care who you are this is HILARIOUS!!


Subject: When Firefighters have a slow season
Fw: Firefighter Poker Face Music Video - Video

Nice, HAW HAW, I posted it on the Hotlist. Ab.

9/8 Mitigating Potential Impacts to the Region's Fire Preparedness Budget from 9/1

Mitigating Potential Impacts to the Region's Fire Preparedness Budget doc
Apparently the letter that went out (aka Attachment). Ab.

Follow-up from this morning conference call.

The FAM and PD&B at the WO level had discussed the issues around FFIS when WFPR funds are depleted. FAM was assured that FFIS would continue to support all transactions for the remaining portion of this FY. If you have run into issues with this, sent documentation to Jeff Stone and we will forward to WO PD&B. The issue on the Six Rivers mentioned this morning (utility payment bouncing) has been forwarded. For the remaining portion of this FY only, the need for OT for extended staffing and other like expenses needs to be approved by the GACC and a support code provided when approved. Do not use WFPR for these type of expenses.

Randy and the Deputies -- Jeanne Wade Evans, Dan Jiron, and Gilbert Zepeda met with PD&B John De La Torre today, Their expectation from that meeting are: My comments are in Blue

* Continue with the cost-cutting/avoidance in the letter that went out today and guidance in the program direction. (Attached)
* They want frequent and regular financial monitoring of the WFPR account - This is being done by FAM and PD&B.
* They want credit card use tracked along with the status of commitments (are they dropping; are there new commitments showing up -- this should not happen with us deficit) - The letter states "All financial commitments in WFPR currently in the system need to be reviewed with the expectation that these will all be cancelled except where health and safety concerns exist." Intent on Heath and Safety would only be for immediate need. FAM and PD&B tracking. Your budget personnel need to act on cancelling existing commitments.
* Fire apprentice hiring in September? The consequences of this is being developed for review prior to decision. FAM is preparing briefing paper for Randy and his Deputies.
* Seek opportunities for shifts in costs to other programs. The letter states: "Utilize fire suppression resources to help accomplish the region's fuels and other program targets."

9/8 Re: Apprentice experience

R5 Hotshot -

Hear! Hear! I agree with you , but let me add this -

I believe that "apprentices" should be required to do a minimum of 2 seasons as a Temp. Not only will it give them an opportunity to see what they are getting into, but it will give us a chance to see what they are made of.

Do they have the passion and drive to do this job?

Are they trainable or do they think they are God's gift to our community?

Can they follow simple instructions or are they "high maintenance" types?

Do they come back for their second year willing to learn more or do they have that 2nd year attitude?

Getting answers to these and other questions can help weed out those not fit to be future leaders in our Agency before they become permanent "slot fillers" plugging up advancement for those better qualified and more deserving of their job.

Sign me as -

My Soapbox is Broken

9/8Apprentice experience:

This last winter, in R5, some of the permanent workforce may remember Randy Moore touring the region for a casual meet and greet Q&A session. As a former apprentice I was concerned with how the selection process was taking place.

I asked both Randy and "the regional HR guy" (his name evades my memory) as to why we are hiring people into permanent FS jobs who have no experience and who are completely unfamiliar with what our job actually entails while we have numerous applicants with several years of seasonal experience who are good at, and enjoy, their jobs who are continually getting passed over for the inexperienced who often times quit after a season or two.

The answer I received was, "because the apprenticeship is an entry level position". I followed this by asking if seasonal time is taken into account when determining the selection of apprentices which prompted an answer from "the regional HR guy" stating that seasonal time does not aid your chance in being selected for a permanent job.

It's an opinion of mine that we need to hire the most qualified people for the job, and how are the most qualified the ones who have no experience or training?

I see seasonal experience as a long term interview process allowing us to determine who is qualified to work in these positions. I, as well as many I work with, would like to see experience count for something in the selection process. These are the people we will spend our careers working with, we should make sure we get good ones.

R5 Hotshot

9/7 Looking for contact info for Ken Roberts, author of the historical "A Hotshot's Photo Journal".

Does anyone know how to contact Ken Roberts who was one of the first to have his hotshot photojournal on the web in 1999? He was on a shot crew in AZ. It used to be here: homepages.sover.net/ ~kenandeb/fire/ hotshot.phpl. That server/site disappeared several years ago. It would be nice to have Ken's photo journal as a historical web reference.

Thanks, Ab.

9/7 Exercise your responsibility as citizens: VOTE in the coming election

Today marks the start of the mid-term election season. Every election we vote for different reasons. We vote our values, our beliefs and we vote for those who support our profession. From Firefighter to Firefighter I ask each of you to survey the candidates and vote this coming Nov 2. This is not the year you want to take a seat on the sidelines and watch what happens.


9/6 Looks like NOPS just started posting the CALFIRE IMT rotation. Good deal....

News and Notes


9/6 Ab Note: this is a part of an email that indicates that the R5 Apprentice Hiring should proceed as scheduled.

Subject Fw: Fall Apprentice Fire Hire Go Ahead
Date: 9/3 and went out to R5 DFMOs, FMOs on up

In order to complete our preparation for the Apprentice fire hire, I have attached the prior messages on the items the Forest need to complete. (see Elizabeth W<snip> emails below) Each Forest should plan on sending as a minimum 3 Apprentice SMEs for the week of 09/13-17 starting at 1300 on the 13 at Wildland Fire Training and Conference Center at McClellan. All costs associated with this hiring effort are to be covered using your forest WFPR jobcode. The selection process will start the following week 09/20-24 at 1300 on the 20th at the same location. Each forest should provide a minimum of 1 recommending official with a letter of delegation from the Forest Supervisor. This individual should be a Division Chief or higher.

Prior note in trailer from 9/3:
After a series of discussion, the RF has given the go ahead for the Apprenticeship Fire Hire round. Please continue preparing the Region for a successful round.

9/6The real reason R5 Apprentice hiring round might be moved or postponed:

Lack of WFPR money. SMEs get their travel and any OT made there at Hiring paid by their home Forests. No special Job Code to pay for hiring. Not like Instructors at the Training Centers, or Engine Academies. Those folks get Regional job Codes to pay travel. Some SME folks even give up going to training of their own to use their travel money to go to do hiring, for the good of the Region. It's the end of the FY, and WFPR (Preparedness) money is all gone. That's the real reason, no money to pay for travel, meals, or OT until October, in the new FY. No secret diversity meetings, no evil plot, just a normal, end-of-the-fiscal-year issue.

ALSO, The WFAP wants some time to announce and spread the NEW Apprentice standards that have just been signed. Time to advertize what folks would be applying for.... so, I see it moving to October for $$$ reasons, and a bit more time to advertize the new rules, but not anything more sinister....

9/6 With things being so slow now would be a good time to hear some of those stories you all have.

When I was a naive 16 year old, I got hired as a FF & had to go to the office on my first day. All kinds of forms had to be filled out. There were two good natured "old women" (probably in their 40s) who teased me about what this and that form was.

After about 45 mins of this, one of them said " Ok, now it's time for your physical." I didn't let on I was mortified (but I'm sure they could tell) and stood up and started taking off my shirt. They started cracking up and said, "We're just kidding."

No way would they even try to do that today, but the light atmosphere made for great camaraderie and fun place to work.

Then there was the time the dozer transport was going Code 3 up the old grade to Cajon summit. The speedometer read less than 10 mph and he PASSED a contract dozer transport going even slower!

Or when nobody could be found to drive a truck off a steep hill in Cabazon. The truck had been driven up this treacherous slope to be used as a relay pumper. In the meantime the driver got hurt and was taken to the hospital. After the fire was out they couldn't find anybody who wanted to drive down that hill. Finally they found a driver who said if they put a dozer in front of it he'd do it. And that's how they got it off the mountain.


Good ones. Thanks. For me, the dozer in front of the truck going downhill is is one of those "thinking outside the box" type incidents. I think of the different tip-overs or near tip-overs of large vehicles in remote places or on difficult terrain and I can really appreciate that one. Ab.

9/6 Eagle Fire video, firefighters involved:

A R5 Fire Guy,

I worked with one of the burned FF's in that Eagle Fire video, Pat Nelson. He's a Captain with the Placer Hills Fire District in Meadow Vista, CA now. Amazing first-hand account from him. I'm sure he can lend some real-world expertise to anyone studying these events.


9/5Randy Moore Potential Discriminatory Comments

Hi M.H.L.B.D.C.T,

Well I guess officially from my standpoint it's rumor. I am trying to verify as I was not on the call. But I will tell you things seem to be lining up as though he did. That same day of the original post our Forest Civil Rights Officer sent out an email asking where and when did we outreach for the WFAP announcement. I wondered why she was asking that at the time. Then when I came home and read the post, I knew right then why she was asking for that information. We will get confirmation soon, however, I think it happened.

Here's one you can take to the bank. No way in hell is he going to cancel the Apprentice hiring round. No chance. Especially after the good work of our forum leaders and members for bringing this issue into They Said. In the old days, we would have never known. Its a new world peeps, and if they sneeze in the wrong direction out on the island, we will hear about it here in our forum. If the Region pulls any tricks or plays any games the during selection week, report this immediately in our forum.

Knowledge is Power

As the man says... Carry On... oh and yeah, keep them on their toes...


9/5 Memorial services for Perry Krinitt will be held on Friday, September 17th at 4:00 PM at the Gallatin Gateway Inn, Gallatin Gateway, MT

Kevin Brown
Gallatin NF Rappel Crew

Thanks for the info, Kevin. Ab.

9/5 The Pole Fire was located just below Day Canyon, on the Cajon Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest in late Sept of 1960.This was not that unusual along the west end front country between the Angeles N.F. boundary and Cajon Pass, especially under mild Santa Ana conditions. The fire was caused by a down powerline.

Retired Cajon BC

9/4 Arch,

I find it hard to believe Mr. Moore would make the following statement on a conference call with all R-5 Forest sups regarding this falls apprentice and perm hires. That he is looking at cancelling this Fall's apprentice and perm hire due to lack of diversity applicants. He may have meant diversity as far as the depth of the applicants qualifications and experience, not the shallow and racial or sexist type of diversity that is often times used amongst the ranks of the Forest Service upper management to reach their social engineering goals. . Arch, is there documentation on this conference call or is it just a rumor at this point? I remember when the employees filed and won their case, but the sought after quotas were in writing. As you may know Mr. Moore just sent out a letter regarding the regions EEO and non discriminatory policy, so as you can see I have my doubts that he would make a statement that would take on the appearance of a discriminatory one as you have implied.


I agree with you we must continue to hire the most qualified employees we can get in wildland fire, because unlike our agency claims to be, the wildfire is very discriminatory: it discriminates against the underqualified, the inexperienced and the unfit, only as far as punishment, the fire -- unlike the performance rating or adverse action -- deals out injury or death.

A very famous civil rights leader "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr". said this:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Signed Yours truly


9/4 Firefighter Cancer Support Network's Annual Gala - Deadline Fast Approaching

Please consider joining the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) for their Annual Gala fundraiser, “Fight Cancer with Fire,” on September 19th, 2010 at the historic Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, CA. This year's gala will be another memorable evening hosted by Los Angeles television reporter Rick Chambers with amazing performances by visual artist Michael Isreal and comedienne Paula Poundstone.

All proceeds from the gala will directly benefit FCSN, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide assistance and support to firefighters everywhere battling cancer.

Founded by LACoFD, Firefighter Paramedic Mike Dubron following his personal batter with cancer, FCSN has led the way in support, education, resources and countless means of assisting firefighters and their dealing with cancer. Everyone knows someone, a colleague, friend, or family member who has been affected by cancer. Please support this important event that truly touches us all.

Here's how you can get involved:

Visit FCSN's website, Firefighter Cancer Support

  1. Reserve your seats for the Gala, “Fight Cancer with Fire,” on September 19th. Seats are $125 per person and must be reserved no later than September 10th.
  2. Purchase special raffle tickets to win a 2010 Ford Flex or F150 Truck. Truck raffle tickets cost $100 each. Only 750 tickets will be sold for the Ford F150 Truck. Raffle tickets are also available to win a 2009 Honda CRF 450X Dirt Bike, autographed by Jermey MCGrath. Dirt Bike raffle tickets cost $20 each or 6 tickets for $100. Only 1,500 tickets will be sold for Dirt Bike.
  3. Make an online donation of any amount to FCSN.

If you have questions, please contact:
Stacie Henry
FCSN Gala Dinner Chair
Tel 818-912-1220
Fax: 866-949-3276

9/4Ab...For Jason.

This is during the 2003 Old Fire on the I-215 at the junction of the I-15 and 215 in Devore. It started in mowed and previous burned grass adjacent to the freeway during strong Santa Ana wind conditions. At the same time directly across the valley in the Lytle Creek Drainage, the Grand Prix Fire was blowing up, jumping the I-15 and burning around the Incident Base Camp at Glen Helen Regional Park.


9/4 Hey Ab

That you tube video footage is the Eagle Fire. Dont know how many ole timers from then are still around, but when I learned about it, John Hawkins was my div. Chief on the Butte unit, ( which was 10 years after the fire). He is (last I knew ) the Chief of the Riverside unit. He might have some on the ground knowledge or know some one like our captain, Brent Perry, (now retired) who would have type of info this person is looking for. its a rare event, but saving one is worth it!

A R5 Fire Guy

9/3This video is from the Eagle fire in LMU several years ago.

Firefighters survive fire tornado. youtube


9/3 Ab note: Fed Firefighters, join FEDS and protect yourselves! Look on the newly-designed website and see who endorses FEDS. You may need LEGAL REPRESENTATION or ADVICE when reason says you should not! FEDS is necessary in this litigious age.

Hi Ab and Wildland Firefighting Community,

Our website has been redesigned and now explains – in detail - what it means for firefighters to have work-related, professional exposures. You can now get information regarding

  • what is the administrative and disciplinary exposure, including common allegations of wrongdoing against federal firefighters,
  • who is most at risk for civil suits, and
  • why all firefighters could be vulnerable to a criminal investigation because of a job action.

There are also articles and links specific to the federal firefighting community and the accounts of 3 federal firefighters that needed legal representation for job actions.

Visit fedsprotection.com and get protected before fighting fire again.

Brenda Wilson
FEDS - Federal Employee Defense Services, Inc.

9/3 Forest Service has climbed 3 places from 206 to 203 out of 224 in the Best Places to work bestplacestowork

Personally I was thinking it would be lower, considering how things are going. Radio needs to be removed from the CIO/ISO. The radio budget keeps getting robbed to pay for Network and Computer over-expenditures.

Radio should receive priority funding over computers for the Field Safety of the Public and Employees.

9/3 The Supply Cache is having a 20% off ALL TENTS sale Today through September 17.

Jim Felix and his wife have staunchly supported the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for years with service on the board, special fundraisers and cash donations. The Supply Cache is truly part of our wildland firefighter circle. It's a small fire world! Support our own! Ab.

9/3 Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

Eagle fire along the Honey Lake Valley Escarpment of Hwy 395. 3 or 4 Fire Service Personnel were injured in it. My old Captain was on a strike team there. just a thought.

Ab, the video of this incident was recorded by KOLO tv in Reno, NV.


KOLO-TV Mailing Address:
4850 Ampere Drive
Reno, NV. 89502

Phone/Fax Numbers:
Fax: 775-858-8855
Newsroom: 775-858-8880

9/3Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

There was black and white movie of a fire whirl: "The Pole Fire" a FS training movie from late 60's or early 70's.

Perhaps someone has an old copy. Might have one on file with Boise Training.

I have a copy of the raw footage taken by a Reno TV crew of the fire on Hwy 395 in which 4 CDF (pre CALFIRE) FF's were burned. This event was one of the reasons CDF went to double layering.

You can pass on my contact info the the researcher.

John Bennett
Rio Hondo College

9/3 Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

Hey Ab,

I dont have a copy of the footage, but Either the Butte Unit or the LMU unit of Calfire, or Butte College in Chico, Ca, might have footage of the 1988 (89?) Eagle fire along the Honey Lake Valley Escarpment of Hwy 395. 3 or 4 Fire Service Personnel were injured in it. My old Captain was on a strike team there.
just a thought.


a R5 fireguy

9/3Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

I remember viewing a old film aerial clip from a hand held motion picture camera made around the early 60's of a rather large diameter fire whirl on the San Bernardino NF.

This was in the bottom of the Citycreek drainage in the Highland area . This was in the flats at the mouth of the canyon where highway 330 begins to rise into the mountains. Rather impressive footage about 30 to 45 seconds silent footage. Probably 1/4 mile diameter pulling up brush into the column. You might have to ask around on the San Bernardino forest if they have archived this footage.

I worked on the San Bernardino for Smokey Vallesillo in the early 70's. Hope this can help.

Tony Crawford

9/3 Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

Received this morning from one of my contacts

Raw: Dramatic twister of fire
Strong winds and fire helped create this amazing fire whirl on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can see the narrow fire tornado surrounded by a rotating whirl of smoke. This video was shot by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. raw dramatic twister of fire

9/3 State Farm is holding a contest to support the charity of your choice.

"Team up with State Farm® and MLB® to support the charity of your choice and you could win a trip for 2 to the 2010 MLB® World Series® ! "

Unfortunately you can't pick the WFF (sorry Vicki), But you can pick the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.


9/2Electrolyte imbalance.

Last year on the UPF a FF got Medivaced for drinking flavored sports drinks and not enough water. Too much electrolytes and sugar.

They recommend 2 parts water to 1 part sports drink, might need to make it even more diluted with water to be safe.

And There I Was
9/2 UT-DIF-Trail Peak FLA - Lessons Learned

Trail Peak FLA final (1849 K pdf file)

Trail Peak Fire Firefighter Exhaustion/Electrolyte Imbalance – July 25, 2010
Facilitated Learning Analysis

USDA Forest Service
Dixie National Forest
Pine Valley Ranger District
St. George, Utah

9/2Re: Seeking Fire Whirl video

Hi Ab,

I have video of fire whirls from the Day Fire. LPF 2007 I think.

There were close calls when it blew over an engine company and there is a Helitanker that flew by it to show it was bigger than the copter in diameter. Please forward my contact info to Jason.

Thanks, rrd

Thanks, I sent your contact info. Ab.

9/2 Seeking Fire Whirl video

I am a mechanical engineer working in the fire behavior group at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. I was on the 2008 Indians Fire accident investigation team (large fire whirl injured several firefighters), and since then I have been looking into past fire whirl research and anecdotal evidence of fire whirls, especially large ones. There is a lot of work in the area of fire whirl structure, etc. such as velocity distributions. Also physical mechanisms occurring such as vortex stretching and turbulence suppression. But there has been less work done in the area of causes of fire whirls. Some anecdotal evidence in the literature is available with some clues. A few laboratory scale experiments have also been performed aimed at examining causal mechanisms. I have been giving presentations to firefighters summarizing much of this...

Now to the reason I am contacting you... I am putting together a fire whirl training video. I have assembled several good whirl clips and still images (Missionary Ridge, Tyee Fire, a 2000 Bitterroot whirl, Fletcher Fire, Johnson Fire, and others...). I am still looking for more video. So if anyone that views your web site has any that I could use, I'd appreciate it. Mostly I would like video of medium to large whirls. The videos will only be used for firefighter training and research purposes.


Viewers, anyone have anything that could help the research? Ab.

9/2 Joining the Union:

On August 30, GNH posted a comment suggesting folks "join the union."

I hope GNH won't mind if I expound on his comments...or confuse folks...

Occasionally, some that apply for membership to the FWFSA think we are "a" union or "the union." We are not. The federal union that represents federal wildland firefighters included in the collective bargaining unit is the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE).

On a national level, NFFE represents a wide variety of federal employees in many different occupations including those that are classified as Forestry Technicians & Range Technicians. We prefer to refer to them with their rightful designation...wildland firefighters.

As I stated, the Union (NFFE) represents employees in the Bargaining unit. I believe with the case of firefighters this includes those in grades up through GS-8. The Union represents these employees IAW its rights & responsibilities established in Title 5 of the United States Code.

The Union enters into a contract with government agencies. There are certain things which are negotiable while others are not. For instance, most local government & state firefighters can negotiate pay & benefits. Federal employees cannot. Perhaps that should be the next great battle on the horizon.

The FWFSA is an employee association. Since we are not a union, our membership can include those in all fire positions and in all grades from GS-3 through GS-14. We are not confined to the requirements set forth in Title 5 of the USC like the union is. At the same time, since the Union is the recognized representative for said bargaining unit members, the FWFSA cannot "step on the Union's toes" and engage in business that is the exclusive right of the Union.

The bottom line is that the Union is there to represent its bargaining unit members pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (contract). The FWFSA is primarily a political/legislative entity that works to improve pay, benefits and working conditions specifically for federal wildland firefighters.

It has always been our intention to work with NFFE on issues of common interest such as wildland firefighter liability and others. I am confident we have established a good working relationship and rapport with the union.

I hope this explanation hasn't created any further confusion.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
9/2 Perry Krinitt's passing

Additional information to the note from 'R5VetFF'

It's with a sad heart I let you know that Shannon Spies, a squadleader here on the rappel crew lost her husband Perry Krinitt in a helicopter accident on Tuesday. Shannon took a leave of absence this summer to drive fuel truck for the helicopter company that Perry was working for so she could be closer to him. At this time details are sketchy but what I do know is Perry was flying a helicopter under contract to Idaho Fish and Game when it crashed killing him and two F&G employees in the town of Kamiah.

Cards can be sent to
Shannon Spies
540 Business Hub Drive,
Belgrade, MT 59714

or to Perry's mom
Florence Krinit
10 Big Chief Trail,
Bozeman, MT 59718.

I'll get more information out when I get some.

AB, give my email addy to those who need to contact us.


Kevin Brown
Gallatin NF Rappel Crew

Sad news indeed. Ab.

9/2 Ab,

This would interest the Fire Behavior Analysts. I saw a demonstration at South Ops and it's fast!

Tom Patterson


Tecnosylva (Leon, Spain) and DTS (Orlando, FL) have partnered to develop a comprehensive suite of operational wildfire incident management software applications. The partnership blends the established software from Tecnosylva with the premier GIS analysis and web mapping applications from DTS. The product suite is comprised of fiResponse, Wildfire Analyst and the Wildfire COP.

FiResponse is an enterprise wide incident management system that provides capabilities for complete ICS based incident and resource allocation, tracking and reporting. FiResponse has been operational in Europe since 1998 and provides CAD, resource allocation and tracking, AVL and mobile data integration, and comprehensive mapping and reporting capabilities meeting ICS requirements -- all on an ESRI GIS platform.

The enterprise system is supplemented with Wildfire Analyst (WFA), a desktop software application that provides real time analysis of wildfire spread, fire behavior, suppression capabilities and impact analysis during an incident. WFA simulations run in less than a minute providing real time capabilities to adjust simulations with real time observed data and proposed suppression activities.

The incident management software is tied together with an ArcGIS Server based Common Operational Picture geo-web application that facilitates sharing of incident information to relevant user groups as defined by the incident commander. This may include incident teams, other emergency responders, fire managers and the public. The software suite provides seamless integration of data - mobile, desktop, enterprise and web – to provide comprehensive situational awareness to the fire management officer and local cooperating agencies. The software will be reviewed and demonstrated at the IAFC 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference in Spokane, WA from October 25-29, 2010. For more information contact David Buckley at dbuckley@dtsgis.com or visit our web site at wildfireanalyst.com.

9/1 FS Safety message...

Did anyone besides me get the FS Safety Tip of the day popup on IE? That gave me pause, I thought I'd been hacked.
The tip was pushed out from the WO to 27,000 FS employees and slowed the server to a crawl. Woooooops, they
didn't ask the FS computer geeks what unintended consequences might happen. Should ask the professionals before
hitting SEND.

Probably won't do that again.


9/1research article on Tripod fire fuel treatments

This was interesting - although only indirect to fire suppression. Treatments that included thinning and fire were better than thinning alone in providing better resistance to fire intensity and spread.

Study of tripod fire reaffirms the value

Here's a link to the article in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research


9/1 FS Workplace satisfaction rating:

Well the new rankings are out for Fed workplace satisfaction, and the Forest Service is up to 56.3 from last years 53.3. ratings. That's a 5.6% increase. I wonder if the WO is breaking out the champagne. Oh ...that puts the Forest Service at 203 out of 224 on the Best list. Maybe it's a little early for the bubbly.


From Ab: bestplacestowork

9/1 Helicopter crash and Perry Krinitt's passing (name added later)

Hello AB,

I didn't se this on your site...it is the most graphic and horrific account I have ever read in an article regarding an air ops accident. Perhaps because my husband is in the business and I used to be a helicopter crewperson years ago.

When I first read it, I thought, "OK, Fish & Wildlife, we don't know this group .... " But when my husband got home last night from an assignment, he told me....that this pilot flew at our base couple of years ago, and he was close to one of the crewmembers. So.. I must have known him. We share the same office/break room as the pilots.

...this is rippling through the local forest service community today.

I should have known better than to think we didn't know them...it is such a small, small community in Air Ops.

Thinking of the wife and family, Sending our hearts and keeping them in our prayers....

Sign me R5VetFF

3 killed when copter crashes in Idaho downtown

A helicopter chartered by a state wildlife agency plunged into a travel trailer and crashed Tuesday on a downtown street in the small Idaho town of Kamiah, killing two biologists and the pilot.

9/1Alan Zentz's Passing

Emergency responder remembered for commitment to safety

Mr. H. Alan Zentz Obituary

A celebration of Alan's life will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Stauffer Funeral Home Chapel in Frederick (MD). Friends and family will be invited to share special memories during the celebration of Alan's life. Interment will follow at Blue Ridge Cemetery, Thurmont.

He is missed. My condolences to his family.

GA Peach

Thoughts and prayers for family and friends. Ab.

9/1 Next week on Mythbusters...

From MG. Didn't include the AP link but Ab found the a yahoo article and pic below. Please include links, MG. Thanks.

09:50 PDT Irvine, Calif. (AP) --
Forget "Fore!"

"Fire!" was the cry of the day for a golfer whose off-target swing sparked a 12-acre blaze in Southern California. The golfer at the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine landed a shot in the rough Saturday. On his next swing, his club snagged a rock, causing a spark that lit the rough ablaze and eventually attracted 150 firefighters to the scene. Fire officials say the fire burned through the rough, into vegetation next to the course and over two dry, brushy hillsides. No charges were filed against the golfer, whose name was withheld.

Golfer swing sparks 25-acre California blaze

Golfer's swing sparks 25-acre California blaze

You can use a golf club for all kinds of non-golfy purposes -- walking stick, fishing rod, club, to name three. And now we can add to that list -- firestarter.

Over the weekend, a golfer's routine swing in the rough at the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine, Calif., struck a rock. Not so different from the way you play, right? Only this time, the impact caused a spark, and the spark set off a blaze that eventually covered 25 acres, according to the Steven Buck, General Manager of Shady Canyon Golf Course, and required the efforts of 150 Orange County firefighters, writes the Associated Press. (more story at the link including nice PHOTO...)

fair use disclaimer

9/1For those of you in the Midwest, here is an opportunity to get educated on HCN. Ab.

SMOKE SYMPOSIUM! The Fire Smoke Coalition and the Wayne Township Fire Department in Indianapolis, IN are hosting a two-day Smoke Symposium. For a nominal fee of $50.00, firefighters and first responders will receive two days of comprehensive classroom instruction and hands-on training from the experts. For Midwestern departments, this is an excellent training opportunity focused on Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) gas in fire smoke. The Fire Smoke Coalition is a division of the Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition (CPTC), a nonprofit organization, focused on awareness, prevention, protection, detection, diagnosis and treatment of fire smoke exposure:

Copyright © 2014 FWI WildlandFire.com - All Rights Reserved. Your source for Wildland Fire News and Wildfire News and Information.