"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
Hero to Zero and Sunil R,
It's hard to find a lawyer to take a federal OWCP case because the FECA law does
not allow them to do it on a contingency basis like state industrial or private
sector does. This means you have to pay them out of your own packet as you go
along unless you're lucky enough to find a lawyer that will wait until
settlement and take a chance that OWCP will allow their charges. Because I was
active and not lucky I've been dealing with them since 1998 non-stop on multiple
injuries and my latest which is ongoing has been the most frustrating of them
all. I've helped over a dozen other employees with their cases over the years so
I do know the rules.
NFFE is working on a survey of recent problems with OWCP both the dept. Of Labor
and the new FS part in Albuquerque. Hopefully they will be able to take the
results and get some of the problems fixed.
Sunil R, if you find any lawyers around North Idaho that will take them, let me
know. I'll send a lot of business their way. That's where I'm at.
Re: Discovery and PLI (Professional Liability Insurance)
The recent 9th Circuit ruling regarding "Discretionary Function" underscores the
importance that all employees must be conscientious in all of their statements.
Whether statements are made immediately after an incident, during the accident
investigation, or at a later point in time, they can one day be made public
either through discovery in federal court, or under the FOIA or Privacy Act -
and can potentially be used against you.
While the agency will usually withhold information that was developed through
the deliberative process of agency assessments and evaluation under FOIA or the
Privacy Act, the same does not hold true for discovery disclosures made during
the prosecution or defense of a civil proceeding. And in a criminal
investigation, almost everything is fair game unless the statements were
compelled—which brings me to another important message:
No fire fighter should be giving a voluntary statement in an investigation
without the advice of an attorney—understanding your Rights and Responsibilities
The very first thing you should do if you find out that you are the subject of
any type of investigation is to take the matter very seriously, and consider
obtaining the services of an attorney to represent you during the investigation.
If you have a professional liability policy, you can invoke coverage under the
policy as soon as you are informed that you are the subject of an investigation.
Invoking coverage means the policy will pay for the services of an attorney up
to $200,000. If you do not currently have the insurance, you should seriously
consider getting it before you become the subject of an investigation. Remember
it's insurance, and like your home and auto policies, you need to have the
coverage in place prior to the incident.
The next thing you should do, and this is particularly important for OIG
investigations, is to find out whether the investigation is criminal or
administrative. In asking whether the investigation is criminal or
administrative, you should ascertain whether your testimony for the
investigation will be compelled or voluntary. If your testimony is compelled,
then you have “use immunity” for your testimony, meaning that anything you say
during the investigation cannot be used against you in a criminal matter.
Most OIGs and federal agencies with a good internal management investigation
unit/office will inform you of the type of investigation and read you the
appropriate warnings at the beginning of the interview. These warnings may be
referred to as Garrity, Kalkines, administrative, or compelled warnings.
Regardless of the name associated with the warnings, you should simply ask
whether you are required as a condition of your federal employment to answer the
investigator’s questions, and if you refuse to answer the investigator’s
questions, could you face disciplinary action up to and including removal from
federal service. If the answer to this question is yes, then the interview is
compelled and you have “use immunity” for your testimony, which means that
anything you say cannot be used against you in a criminal matter. If the answer
to the question is no (i.e., you are not required to answer the questions), then
the interview is voluntary, and you should decline to be interviewed until you
have time to consult an attorney, because consenting to a voluntary interview is
a waiver of your Constitutional right to remain silent, something that should
never be done without the advice of an attorney.
It is imperative that the federal employee and federal agency conducting the
investigation understand and respect these constitutional principles. Most
federal agencies, and particularly those that have a specific office for
employee investigations understand these principles and have a process in place
that ensures that the concepts are understood by the federal employee and
adhered to by the investigator(s) conducting the investigations.
 See Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967); Gardner v.
Broderick, 392 U.S. 273 (1968); Kalkines v. United States, 473 F.2d
1391,1393 (Ct. Cl. 1973).
Tony Vergnetti founded FEDS shortly after representing several wildland
firefighters – some of which have provided testimonials for us – you can read
open letter to firefighters here on our website. Also, there are specific
pages on our website that deal only with federal wildland firefighter exposures
including the most common allegation of wrongdoing resulting in the
investigation of federal wildland firefighters.
You can contact us directly at 866.955.FEDS with any other questions. We can
also be reached by emailing
Account Manager, FEDS
Thanks Brenda. Ab.
There are those that lead, and those that lead by example
When I think of you, I think of some one that not only talks the talk-but walks
Thank you for your service, thank you for your leadership and thank you for the
support that you have given
me over the years here at SOPS
Very simply put-I think that you are the
epitome of leadership with dignity
Congrats on your retirement and wishing you nothing but the best for you and
yours in the future
Southern Calif Geographical
Law Firm who handles on the job injuries?
Hero to Zero,
Where are you, and is this a claim against a state or federal agency? Did the
injury occur where you live or
are based, or was it elsewhere? A few years ago I did some poking around, and
found that where I live and
work (Northern Idaho) there were few people taking federal workers comp cases.
Please post to "They Said". Thanks.
Firefighter Matt Smith
BBQ, Live Music by “The Kicks”, Raffle, Saturday February 12th 4:00 pm
Carpinteria Women’s Club, 1059 Vallecito Rd, Carpinteria, CA
Matt Smith, a twenty-eight-year-old resident of Carpinteria and current
Paramedic-Firefighter from the Escondido Fire Department in San Diego, was
involved in a serious vehicle accident on June 7th 2010 in Baja Mexico. Rushed
to the hospital after a grueling wait, Matt underwent major surgery to repair a
ruptured bowel. During that operation the doctors discovered an unrelated
cancerous tumor in his lung. Three months later, Matt was rushed to the hospital
with chest pain where doctors discovered a dangerous accumulation of fluid
around his heart. After close reviews of his condition, it was determined that
the cancerous growth could potentially spread. On the 22nd of November Matt
underwent a serious surgery in Boston to remove the tumor. He was only the
seventh patient to undergo this complicated surgery performed by a group of
world-renowned medical specialists.
Firefighter, surfer, pro-mountain biker, and all-around athlete, Matt is one
of the kindest and strongest people that I have had the pleasure to know. Yet he
has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Fortunately he has loving friends and
family by his side. One of these people, his wife Jenn, is currently pregnant
with their first child.
As one might imagine, Matt has accumulated some serious bills due to these
medical misfortunes. Please donate to the Matt Smith Fundraiser and help this
Firefighter and expectant father to get through these exceptionally difficult
times. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Personal Donations can be made by going to:
Coordinator and contact information:
Nick Koepenick USFS LPF Rincon Station cell 805 886-0009 Nkoepenick @ nospam
aol.com (take out the spaces, etc)
Is there anyone out in the Federal Wildland Fire world that would know a Law
Firm who handles on the job injuries? Any information is appreciated.
Hero to Zero
Yeah, I would need to disagree as well. I have much respect for Gordon, been
to a few of his presentations and that it was a good one-liner. However, I
disagree on this one. Picked off more than a few good ones at job fairs over the
years. Many of them still working and promoting today. You are right that job
fairs do bring in all kinds of people. However, I also believe job fairs have a
multi-purpose benefit for our occupation and our agency. One other thing you are
correct about is for the applicant to get out to fire stations. The #1 most
common recommendation you hear at a job fair is to strongly encourage the
applicant to visit fire stations and shake many hands.
To: Fire away folks, thanks for the update.
Our forum, your forum, should remain proactive. We cannot wait until the bad
deed is done and many applicants are hurt by a violation of EEO law. Everyone
needs to raise awareness now (not afterwards) of the forthcoming hiring events
on that National Forest. I know that many within the WO, RO and Union have been
notified of her comments regarding the upcoming temp hiring season. We must
remember she has the right to select all temp employees, however she does not
have the right to violate EEO laws. The Independent, the New Press, the Record
and the Herald should be notified. Local reporters should do what they do best,
Based on her recent comments, she knows people are watching and has even backed
off a little from what she said in December.
Let someone know that EEO violations will not be tolerated.
FRA Surrounded by six Counties
FFT2 first, manager second ,
Excellent response, I am pleased you have had success in hiring from job fairs.
More power to you. I believe Gordon Graham made a strong point about the types
of efforts we engage in to recruit people for a high risk occupation.
My feelings, and you are free to disagree with them, are potential firefighters
need to come to us, not us to them. They need to see the stations, experience
the long winding roads we drive, see the condition of the station and the
barracks ( if you have them ), swat the flies and most importantly realize how
far away they are from their comfort zones and that their cell phones will most
likely not work. That will be part of their education about whether to accept a
job and what life is like in the woods. You can't possibly recreate or
articulate that in a suburban mall or college campus.
The anointed ones are convinced that 1: anyone from anywhere can do this job and
2: there is a large population of people who dont realize they should be
firefighters. I disagree with them as I have seen many come and go in this
field, it is truly not for everyone. I feel the Forest Service firefighter
recruitment effort would be better addressed with an aggressive media campaign
nationally and all you have to do is recall the Army or the Marine Corps
recruitment ads on TV to know where I am going with this. If you know our public
affairs shop, they do not have the ability to do this. This is the weak link,
not the lack of effort on our part. To really be a recruiter requires
commitment, training and experience, that is why the military sets apart those
positions and holds them in high regard. Our public affairs folks very rarely
come from the fire ranks and are rarely the "face of the Firefighters" that
would have the biggest impact on the potential employee.
I agree that leaders should speak directly with potential employees. When I was
a captain, I would have a potential employee come out to the station for a
meeting to get a face to a name, heck we even took them for a run or a hike. My
job was to hire the best people for the job ( AKA Merit ) without
discrimination. You cant do that from reading an application.
Good luck in your efforts, one suggestion is when you do your job fair you
should request all employees be dressed out in a class A uniform, that'll get
Care to provide some retention statistics from job fair hires?
More on PLI
FEDS is not the only company to provide PLI. However...
It is the only PLI company the FWFSA endorses
It is the only PLI company that provides an additional discount for FWFSA
Now some might say FEDS offers that additional discount for our endorsement. Not
so. Tony Vergnetti and his staff at
FEDS have been in the trenches with federal wildland firefighters through
ThirtyMile, Cramer, Esperanza and perhaps
the Station Fire. Tony is extremely accessible even to those that may not
necessarily have coverage through FEDS but
have a question or two.
Tony's intimate knowledge of the process as it relates to federal wildland
firefighters and his commitment to them has
simply resonated with me and many members of the FWFSA. I cannot offer any
comments about Wright & Co., good
or bad. All I can say is that if I were a federal wildland firefighter
considering PLI, FEDS would be my only choice.
In response to Stings post:
We have hired from job fairs on my unit. Most of the jobs have been in
prevention and STEP firefighters but they have all been very quality employees,
so far. Our belief is job fairs give supervisors/managers an opportunity to
speak directly to potential employees and describe the working conditions as
well as expectations. Candidates can then be evaluated in person rather then
just off of AVUE profile or other application. We believe job fairs are a
valuable tool for the entry level jobs. Putting a "face with a name" for
supervisors and potential employees is a key to successful hiring in my opinion.
We are also then able to establish a mechanism for help when the potential
employee begins the various application processes (online or other). We live in
a technological age were we are sometimes unable to make that personal contact
and the more the government allows us to bridge that cyber disconnect the better
we can ensure successful hiring.
FFT2 first, manager second
PLI for non-feds and PLI for feds, and former feds:
Yep, MJ, that's so, there
are other PLI companies if you're a non-fed firefighter or a fed firefighter.
But FEDS is the best for federal PLI, and PLI for former federal
firefighters, in my opinion. The best defense lawyers for federal litigation
broke away from Wright and Co back when they moved to raise their annual price
while at the same time offering less coverage -- capping coverage on civil
cases. The lawyers at FEDS defended in Cramer, 30-Mile, advised on
Esperanza and others I'm not privy to. They have excellent experience.
The folks at FEDS have a passion for our fed wildland firefighters. The
federal system is currently their niche.
comparison data on costs and coverage
If you need non-federal PLI, of course, check the others. You need PLI. You
need to be protected. Otherwise, I highly recommend going with FEDS or switching
That's my opinion... Do as you will.
Re: Professional Liability Insurance (PLI):
Chief Dietrich’s note reminded me, do you or anyone know of a good, solid source
for PLI for non-federal wildland folks?
I’ve checked with FEDS, and they’ve told me a couple times they were working on,
but do not yet have such a product,
and I haven’t found anyone who does.
I don't know of any. Some CAL FIRE firefighters have asked the same thing.
Re: Professional Liability Insurance (PLI):
With regard to Mike Dietrichs
posting on the exposure of fire management personnel to an increased array of
The post of 1/26 on the recent 9th Circuit ruling regarding "Discretionary
Function" plays into what he is saying. A
fundamental protection of government personnel engaged in fire fighting or other
federal emergency operations and
making decisions "in the moment" has now become subject to meeting additional
legal tests. This ruling has got the
attention of those who handle claims for the FS. This could, at some point,
change the way the government reacts to
lawsuits especially civil matters.
In addition, his point about the various levels of investigations that go on
is also relevant. For example, FS WO OSOH
Investigation information is used to learn from mistakes and correct them. This
is a worthy effort, but the position of the
agency not to share that information with others such as DOJ is going to come to
a head some day. Several DOJ attorneys
who have worked on matters involving fire fighting civil lawsuit have stated if
the request for "Discovery" came in for that
information the agency would have to produce it. How that information would be
used with respect to what Mike is alluding
to is noteworthy. So, do not bet the position of the agency to hold back this
type of information will win out. It would be
interesting to get some insight from the FEDS staff or other legal sources on
the implications of this recent ruling.
Professional Liability Insurance (PLI):
Are You Prepared for Wildfire Season? Not if you are still without PLI! It
takes about as much time to enroll as it does to read this testimonial from
Michael J. Dietrich – Retired Forest Fire Management Officer, USFS:
During the last 10 years of my career, I have observed or witnessed
numerous investigations or reviews on serious accidents or fatalities. We
have all watched well meaning actions with sometimes tragic results in the
world of firefighting. While these events are truly tragic and
life-changing, the liability and legal aftermath is even more life changing;
and with potential criminal, civil or career implications.
The need for PLI is real. Within the last 3 years, I have witnessed many
firefighters and managers finding themselves involved in various serious
accident or fatality investigations. What is most disturbing is that the
majority of the folks involved with these "unplanned, never happen to me
events", do not have PLI! The reasons are highly varied and usually center
around the concept it will never happen to me or the cost is too high.
Unfortunately, I have personally witnessed the stress and anxiety
experienced by friends, co-workers and other firefighters who find
themselves thrust into this arena without PLI.
Fact: If you are involved with Forest Service serious accident or
fatality, a 2009 Chief's Memo has declared that the Forest Service Law
Enforcement and Investigations (LE&I) branch is in charge of the
investigation. So, a serious accident or fatality undergoes scrutiny for
potential negligence or misconduct, before any other investigation occurs.
An unwitting or innocent statement made at that initial time, could actually
turn into a violation of your Fifth Amendment Rights.
Fact: A fatality will automatically result in numerous
investigations: Forest Service LE&I, FS Serious Accident Investigation Team,
OSHA (Fed), and Office of Inspector General (OIG). All are theoretically
independent investigations. It gets even more complicated if the event
involves multiple agencies -- federal or state.
Fact: The Federal Government has the option of whether or not it
will defend you. The Department of Justice (DoJ) may or may not defend you,
despite claims of being "within the scope of your duties". And, in some
cases, DoJ cannot represent you because it is conducting a parallel
investigation possibly against you.
Fact: Most employees do not understand "Kalkines Warnings" or "Garrity
Warnings". If these terms mean nothing to you, then they need to! The
criminal investigators certainly know what they mean. The accident
investigators may or may not understand them, or possibly misrepresent their
Rule 1 of self protection: DO NOT PRACTICE LAW WITHOUT A LICENSE.
FEDS has amassed a tremendous skill set in terms of today's litigious world,
specifically with regard to wildland firefighting.
PLI is cost effective! With or without reimbursement for 50% of the cost, it
is truly a Best Buy. Depending on how you file taxes, it may also be
considered tax deductible as well. It is less than 5 to 10 hours of
You can enroll now at
fedsprotection.com . FEDS is also looking to make Professional Liability
Insurance information available to all Federal Wildland Firefighters. Please
call 866.955.FEDS or email
feds@ fedsprotection.com to get brochures, enrollment forms, reimbursement
forms, etc. for your friends and coworkers. Coverage is $270 per year, $135 if
you’re eligible for agency reimbursement.
Ab note: Just because you did nothing wrong in an accident does not
mean you won't have legal problems and great expense connected with it. Once the
legal process starts you don't have to be innocent, all you have to do is mis-remember
or mis-speak or be human and you can be found guilty of something. Mike's right
about protecting yourselves now. The time to lawyer up is not when the S*** hits
the fan and you're deer in the headlights, but now, when it's inexpensive to get
the excellent professional liability insurance (PLI) from FEDS. Don't put it
Every time I hear that term I laugh. A few years ago at the Region 5 Chief
Officers Workshop in Reno, Risk Management Expert Gordon Graham asked the group
( paraphrasing here) " Dont tell me you have job fairs?" the crowd was stunned
when he replied something similar to "the only people who go to job fairs are
the unemployable who sleep late because job fairs are usually held in the
afternoon". The room erupted in laughter. If someone remembers his exact quote
please bring it.
Anyone here ever landed a firefighting job as the result of a job fair?
I finally found the "official" answer from the FSH 6109.12 Chapter 60:
63.2 - Promotions and Details.
1. Temporary Not To Exceed (NTE) One Year. Employees holding
temporary appointments of less than one year may not be promoted
noncompetitively, reassigned, or transferred to another position. They
may be detailed to another position which is temporary in nature.
So, at least according to this, temp can be detailed as long as it is to
another temp position and it is not
a promotional detail.
R9 Engine Captain
Thanks, Captain. Ab.
Press Release on new cost-cutting legislation:
Brady Introduces CUTS Act to Shrink Washington Spending by more than $150
List of Spending Cuts (small pdf file)
Spending Cuts (very large 12,824 K pdf download)
Here's an important, if very general section, relating to Fire. Who knows
how far the consolidation would go or how
fire would be separated from other agency functions:
Consolidate Federal Fire Management Programs, Reduce Funding by 10%
This amendment would consolidate federal fire management program and
reduce overall federal
funding for these efforts by 10 percent, as called for in the President's
Fiscal Commission report.
According to the Commission, "There are numerous firefighting programs
within the Department of
the Interior (001) and the USDA Forest Service (FS). Since FY2001, funding
for these activities has
nearly doubled according to the Congressional Research Service. Despite this
increase in funding,
three of the past four years have seen a record amount of federal acreage
burned. Within 001 and
USDA there are almost identical accounts for how funds are intended to be
spent - the only
difference is that these funds are spent on lands managed by different
federal agencies. There are
even duplicative research accounts on wildfire research. Specifically, both
agencies have the
following accounts: Preparedness, Fire suppression operations, Hazardous
fuels reduction, Burned
area rehabilitation, and Joint fire science. In FY2010, $975 million was
appropriated for 001
firefighting activities and $2.592 billion for FS wildfire activities. Total
funding between the two was
$3.567 billion in FY2010, not including emergency appropriations. Since
1999, GAO has repeatedly
found that these activities should be more cohesive and cost-effective. In
2009, GAO noted that
Forest Service and Interior agencies had not defined firefighting
cost-containment goals or developed
a strategy to achieve such goals, despite GAO recommendations in 2007 to do
so. Instead, costs
have continued to rise."
There is another part further down that big pdf file that proposes to
eliminate the NPS Challenge Cost Share Grants for
Eliminate Challenge Cost Share Grants at National Park Service
This amendment would eliminate the Challenge Cost Share Grants at the
National Park Service., as
proposed in the President's Budget.
The Department of the Interior's (DOl's) Challenge Cost Share (CCS)
programs for the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS)
fund land conservation and recreation projects on Federal and non-Federal
lands that are matched by
partners. Bureaus are responsible for determining whether non-Federal
contributions meet or exceed
Federal funding for each project. The President has recommended eliminating
this program, because
"DOl has not demonstrated effective program management or oversight of
particularly in-kind services. A recent DOl Inspector General report found
accomplishments through the leveraging of bureau funding anticipated with
the CCS Program cannot
be accurately measured or maximized. This is the result of the bureaus'
failure to verify partner
contributions, effectively plan CCS projects, and accurately communicate
Program availability and
results."" Several other federal programs exist that already provide funding
for similar ventures,
including the FWS's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program which works with
private individuals and
groups on recreational and conservation land projects. The NPS matches
private donations to fund
projects in parks through the National Park Service's Park Partnership
Project grants program as
There is overlap among the land management agencies. Redundancy costs money.
This could get very political.
Ok let's fire up a hot one!!!
So a certain unnamed forest just concluded their annual CPT meeting where the
hot topic seemed to be that a certain
unnamed forest supervisor will be the final say so on who (temps) get hired this
now here is where I think it gets real interesting..... the
explanation given was that under direction from the WA office
our "diversity" numbers do not reflect the demographic numbers of the location
of said unnamed southern California
Now after dutifully doing an annual no-fear act training in aglern, one would
come to the simple conclusion that giving
preference to an applicant because they might boost your "diversity" numbers and
save you a nasty phone call from
the "chief" is COMPLETELY ILLEGAL!!!!
Now with that being said, guess we will see what the outcome of this round of
Fire away folks
RE: Detail for a temp
Sorry, details can't be filled by temps. They are for permanent employees only.
Good luck with the job hunting!
What follows are two posts from the hotlist that relate to fire behavior in
newly bark-beetle killed tree environment vs environment in which trees have
been dead a while. Ab.
Pine beetles exhausting food source?
Some other observations from dealing with the beetle infestations:
During the red phase, after a fire has burned through (crown fire), we tend to
see a lot of the tops of trees breaking off, usually about the top 1/3 of the
trees. From what we can decipher, it is the heat generated by the fire, in
combination with red needles loading up in forks/crooks of the trees, creating
fuel pockets in the crooks, that burn longer than the passing flame front, thus
weakening an already potentially weak spot of the tree.....This snapp off
usually was occurring after 3 days or more after the fire front passed...
During the post red phase/before the full on grey phase (4 to 10 year period),
because of the loss of the live trees, the water table on the sites has risen.
The increased moisture close to the surface, has increased the ground level
relative humidity, speeding up the decay process. We observed a lot of trees
rotting off in the lower third of the tree and breaking when a wind came
along...This usally occurred from the root collar up to about 6 feet in
Just some other safety considerations to keep in mind while fighting fire in the
Mountain Pine Beetle affected stands.
The infestations have changed fire behaviour, as well as "Danger Tree"
identification and management.
Stay safe, if there are any questions out there feel free to post or PM....
Mike...FBAN/Danger Tree Co-Coordinator
Pine beetles exhausting food source?
Take this for what it is worth fellow fire fighters:
Here in British Columbia, Canada we have been dealing with the wrath of the
beetle for close to 20 years and here is a summary of what we have found....
Red and Dead trees.... Usually fast, rapid, spotting fires.... Do not need to be
wind driven, all the wind they need to stand up and run is being done by
convection. We look at the rates of spread and intensities as being a cured
grass type, but rather than being 3 tons per hectare, its more like 40.... Lots
of heat, easy spotting ignition, no direct attack.... The threshold for
potential is the Fine Fuel Moisture Code (Canadian Fire Behaviour Prediction
system) which is close to being equivalent to your 1 hour fuels (I
Couple years later, things are fairly quiet, with the intensities and rates of
The grey and dead stands....10 to 15 years post infestation (us now)...We are
getting vigorous surface fires, due to the amount of dead logs on the ground,
however the intensities are pre-heating the loose bark/small branches and
igniting them, with convection they are going up in the column (size of a
baseball cap) and being dropped close to a mile away from the main
fire.....Second issue...Salvage logging has occurred, which removed as much
salvageable wood as possible, however the remaining debris depth is considerably
more than the residue left from a green tree harvesting area (red trees are more
brittle and break during the felling/skidding process)....The blocks that were
harvested in the last 5 years or so have a cured slash load component that
promotes significant spotting....The blocks over about 10 years old, with
regrowth of herbs/forbs/deciduous were not as receptive to ignition, and when
they did, there was low rates of spread and most of the time the spots burned
This is all observations that I have made during my 28 year career of fire
fighting in the forest service. I realize this is not a technical paper quoting
literature and showing graphs etc, just my observations. Take them for what you
think they are worth and use it to ensure that you stay safe..
I can attempt to load some of my video footage onto Youtube for others to view,
so that they can make their own conclusions. Myself and a fellow Fire Behaviour
Specialist have created a Powerpoint for our firefighters, showing how the Red
and grey burn similar but differently...
these two posts are from
this hotlist thread
There's a job fair coming to Northern California.
Could you please post this for us?
It's also posted on-line;
Nice flyer. Ab.
Nordo is partially correct. The 1039 rule is meant to protect the employee from
being worked like perm without getting the benefits.
However, once you are terminated, you are free to get another 1039 position
elsewhere. The 1039 rule applies to the same job on
the same unit. For example, earlier in my career I worked summer in R5 and
winters in R8. I usually used or came close to using up
my 1039 out west and then worked another few months in the south. As long as you
are changing jobs and/or location you can work
pretty much year round.
Unless rules/laws have changed on this matter, you should have no problem
working one temp job and then getting another one
As far as a detail, once your 1039 is over, you are terminated and pulling a
90-120 day detail is not an option. You would have to
compete for a new position. Details for 1039s are not something I have come
across. Typically, when you are hired in a 1039
position, it is due to seasonal need and you normally would not be available to
get out of that position for 90 days. I am not saying it
is not allowed or doesn't happen, I've just never heard of it. I do know that as
a 1039, you are not eligible for a promotional detail.
Now, after saying all this, understand that personnel rules change on an almost
hourly basis, so despite what somebody "knows"
it is always a good idea to contact ASC or your agency's personnel people to
find what is current and correct.
R9 Engine Captain
Misery Whip and Old Fire Guy,
As I step out the door after 33 years (starting as a GS-2),
I am struck by the fact that much in the land management agencies has
changed over the years.
Much of it has changed by political design and much has changed -well just
because we have all changed
since the old days.
During my career I have worked for the administrations of 6 Presidents, 3
Chiefs, 4 Directors, 4 District Rangers,
5 District Managers, 6 FMOs and 2 Wives.
The number of available federal firefighters dropped starting in 1980
because that was the policy
of the Reagan Administration. "Government is the Problem", was the
justification as I recall Reagan explaining it.
Of course if you look at the level of defense spending you will notice that
the overall level of government spending didn't
decrease- it was increased as it was shifted into defense. With the fall
of the Soviet Union and the increasing incidence of
large wildfires, one of Clinton's first uses of the so called "Peace
Dividend" was the National Fire Plan in 2000.
It breathed new life into the wildland fire profession just as it was about
to "die on the vine". 911 came, defense
spending increased, the housing bubble popped, the economy collapsed and
here we are.
As I look back on my years working for "The Government", I am amazed that
we were as successful as we were
in managing fire and fuels when so many folks on all sides worked so hard
to sabotage the efforts of "The Government".
A lack of leadership? -Perhaps. Politicization of the mission- Yes
definitely. (It comes with the job).
However -in spite of all the BS I can honestly say that I would do it all
again. Fire Management is an honorable
profession accomplished by dedicated people of all political stripes-
working together toward a defined goal.
My message to the pups would be -look out for one another. Take care of
each other -both on the fireline
and in the arena of public opinion. Open a history book and learn from
the lions of their age- Teddy Roosevelt and
Gifford Pinchot. The answer can be found in a rededication to the notion
that the Public Lands and Forests belong to all of us;
so that the idea of "The greatest good for the greatest number of people in
the long run." may live on.
Dr Brokeknees, Phd.
PS -Fishtales- Thank's for the picture of Tom Fogata- I do miss that guy.
Dr Brokeknees, Phd., haw haw haw! I hope you continue to write in here. If not,
I'll miss your poetry/prose and your insights, delivered in such an individual ,
unique, and artistically sophisticated way. Damn, you're good! and never the
same moniker -- ever -- so one of the :"deep cover contributors.
Funnin' aside, thanks for your insights and wisdom, for your humor and
irreverence. Carry on. Don't be a stranger. I think I need to go raise a toast.
Temp for Life:
RE - 1039 work.
Temp for Life:
As a temporary seasonal employee you are essentially "fired" at the end of
your season. Your season can not last longer than 1039 hours. After that you are
a free man/woman. The government doesn't have to hire you back, you don't have
to go back. You may work whereever you want. As far as a detail when you are
working - yes, you could do that pending supervisor approval. As far as a detail
when you are not working - as long as you don't exceed the 1039 hours total for
the year you could, but if you already worked 1039, then tried to work some more
some where else - I don't think it would be legal for the federal government to
do that to you with out providing you a permanent appointment. Believe it or not
the 1039 rule is there to protect the employee from working more than 6 months
for an agency and not getting benefits.
Good luck - Nordo
Good Afternoon, to all of our friends in the wildland fire community
Just a quick note to let you all know the Arizona Wildfire and Incident
Management is still taking applications for the 2011 Academy.
Please visit our website at
There are a bunch of training opportunities that are posted on the hotlist
wildlandfire.com training, wildland fire conferences and activities calendar.
Attached is a ruling by the 9th Court of Appeals on the Bullock Incident
regarding a backfire and the
Government's defense using Discretionary Function. Note the ruling.... another
issue that will complicate
things for fire
Glad I'm retired after 34 years.
Bullock Fire Appeal (161 K rtf file)
The Bullock started on the Coronado NF, AZ in May, 2002.
Attend the 2011 WUI Conference
The WUI conference is a 5 day event where experts in the wildland community
discuss the latest in mitigation, suppression and policy. This international
event attracts attendees from around the globe to share their experiences and
strategies. Be a part of this year’s conference, register today at
New This Year! The IAFC has added a sand table exercise to the Wildland Urban
Interface Conference. The Northern Nevada Fire Chiefs Association is offering
the opportunity for conference attendees to participate in a Type 2 complexity
sand table exercise at the Nevada Training Center. NWCG certified instructors
will conduct 3 simultaneous scenarios that will feature local, state, and
federal agency involvement in a Type 2 level, multi-jurisdictional incident.
The exercise is targeted at students who initiated NWCG task books during the
pre-conference courses or individuals who have already initiated task books.
This is an opportunity to demonstrate competencies and have tasks signed off by
qualified instructors. The following 8 positions will be included in each of the
3 exercises: IC, Operations Section Chief, Air Operations Officer, Safety
Officer, and 4 Division Group Supervisors.
What Attendees Have to Say
If you’re involved in the wildland-urban interface you need to attend the 2011
WUI conference, but don’t take our word for it. Hear what past attendees have to
say about the conference:
Find out for yourself why this is the number one conference for those who work
in wildland fire, register today at
- “Good location and diverse content.”
- “I love the fact that I can go to a conference and get the following in
one place: certified courses, networking and quality vendors. Keep up the
great work, I will come again!”
- “The classes are excellent and I have taken them for 3 years.”
- “You try to get international experts and that's good. I like knowing
about the rest of the world. Especially enjoy the So. Calif. case studies.
My area of main interest is WUI firefighting.”
It's also on the calendar. Ab.
What a great post Keith. I too would like to get an update on Hartley, Yazzie
and Rowley. Three icons from the Mt Baldy Ranger
District (The Ranger District name has since been changed... unfortunately).
I look forward to your book and more posts from you in the VERY near future.
Thank you for sharing.
From the Presidents State of the Union speech tonight......... Next few months
could get a little interesting........
As long as I am not required to wear the NPS Ranger hat, I am all in, lets roll,
bring it on........
POTUS: We shouldn't just give our people a government that's more affordable.
We should give them a government that's more competent and efficient. We cannot
win the future with a government of the past.
We live and do business in the information age, but the last major
reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV.
There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least
five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite
example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh
water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater.
And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked.
Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and
getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records
with a click of the mouse. We're selling acres of federal office space that
hasn't been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more.
But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will
develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government
in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will
submit that proposal to Congress for a vote - and we will push to get it passed.
I was a Dalton Hotshot (1966 and 1969) and good friend of Paul's since high
school. I was the "Green Monster" that Withrow mentions on your website. And
(somewhat ashamedly) also removed the bolts which attached the deerhead to the
Buckhorn bar. I last climbed with Paul around 2001 in Southern California with
his brother, Phil and nephew -- John Gleason. In the last stages of his illness,
the day before he took that step around to the other side, Paul and I said our
goodbyes on the phone while I was in North Carolina.
One of my few regrets in life is that I have no photos of my summers -- cutting
hotline (I was lead brush hook) or with the crew, or the oil painting of the
Bighorn I painted (which I believe hung in the old office). Anyway, if you know
of how I might acquire some vintage photos of the '66 or '69 season, or if you
could say "Hi" to any of the old crew...Hartley, Yazzie, Rowley or anyone else
that may still be around and remember the Sunday morning "sermons" of a Mohawk
cut redheaded fellow (me), I would appreciate it. Paul and I had many memorable
experiences together. Glad to see that he is getting the recognition he
I continue to climb with Phil, and I'm organizing my memoirs, and would like to
someday publish a book about my life as an artist, rock climber, and of my years
living on a Sioux reservation in Minnesota. So...Thanks for listening
Sounds like good memories. Maybe someone will make contact and keep you in
IMT Succession Options
going around; seems the Incident Management Organizational Succession
Planning Team (IMOSPT) is
looking for feedback.
Analysis of Organizational Models for the Future (1.25 M, very large pdf
Thanks your continued support for the Grand Canyon Helicopter Training
Academy! Could you please let folks know that applications for Helicopter
Managers and Crewmembers are being accepted until Feb. 15, 2011. If
anyone would like more information, please visit our website or call me
directly. Thank you again!
NPS.gov: helicopter program
Eric C. Graff
Detailed Assistant Helicopter Manager
Grand Canyon Flight Crew
Another AD work question.
Thanks for your help with my last question regarding
AD work, I have another question.
If I am a temp worker with a 1039 can I be picked up on a 90 day or 120 day
my 1039 is active or expired? I am awaiting an appointment with my base but in
I am being limited to the amount of pay-periods I can work.
Thanks for your response. It does indeed make me question my own
assumptions. Like others, I believe my "knowledge" is based upon personal
experience. I learned long ago that such limited perspective can lead me to
I confess to being somewhat confused when one references the number of crews
sponsored by federal and state agencies of the past, and tries to compare that
number to the number of federal crews, state crews, and contract crews of today.
I think your statement regarding the total number of firefighters available
today vs 30 years ago is probably a good measure.
I am mostly concerned about the FS internal capability for firefighting. Perhaps
someone has access to the numbers, but I would like to know:
- How many organized type 1 and type 2 crews were there in 1981?
- How many are there today?
- How many type 2 FS crews made up of militia were there in the 80's, and
how many are there today?
- What was the number of "primary firefighter" with career appointments
did we have 30 years ago, and how many today.
And while this is fun to ponder, it still leaves begging the big question of
how the FS can best manage its resources.....keeping fire as an integral program
(with current organization) or creating a "stovepipe" organization, or creating
a separate agency. I can envision no scenario wherein the FS can succeed in its
land management mission with fire removed to a separate agency.
This too is largely a moot question because I do not believe Congress will give
any thought to creating more government agencies.....at least for the next
several years of economic challenges.
I do agree with OOFG that the agency has certainly changed over the past 30
years. I believe every generation of career long employees shares that
experience. Perhaps it is a good thing in that it weans us old-timers away
without remorse. "It's not the same as when I joined up" has been and will be
I'm not as old as OOFG it appears. I got on my first fire as a "firefighter" in
1972, and my last as "OSC" in 2006. I was lucky to spend my entire career at the
forest level, performing the full spectrum of duties timber, range, recreation,
wildlife, lands, minerals etc.....nearly every aspect of managing a forest, and
especially fire. I spent some time as a Ranger, and the last dozen years
overseeing the fire program. During micro-moments I had assignments as "Acting
Forest Supervisor" and "Acting Regional Director of Fire&Aviation".
One thing that has been mentioned is the need for strong fire leadership (some
say that is hard to find). I agree that a strong leader is imperative, it is no
job for the meek, but neither is it a job for the belligerent.
My experience with Rangers and Forest Supervisors was always positive. Not that
we always agreed, but that we always were able to communicate without rancor. I
found line officers willing to listen to well presented arguments.....and
surprisingly the line officers with the least "experience" seemed the most
receptive. I was lucky to enjoy the confidence of Rangers, my own Forest
Supervisors, and even some Rangers and Supervisors from other forests who would
occasionally call to exchange perspectives.
I'm going to resume spending more of my time reading They Said, and less
contributing. I do appreciate your's and other "senior" members leadership in
helping contributors re-focus on keeping the discussion about the "what" and not
Old Fire Guy
I found this photo while sorting through a pile of post-career
debris on a snowy Montana day. It was my first IA fire response
flight as a rookie member of the LPF Arroyo Grande Flight
Crew on Sunday, June 29, 1980. This photo was the
result of the attempted landing on the Ojai district below
Topa Topa bluffs. Nobody was injured in this Bell-212 wreck.
We hiked 2 miles out to the trailhead and toasted to our
luck later that night. Nobody quit that day and several of
us continued on with our fire careers. You might recognize
some fire leaders...
Ted Mathiesen, Tom Fogata, Willie Jewel, Cyrl Johnson, Joe
Kevin Cardwell, Ken Doss, Tracy Helms, Mike Teague
Mike Higgenbotham, Tony Escobar, Gary Olsen
I know of several that have left the planet since then.
Peace be with: Tom Fogata, Tracy Helms, Mike Teague, and
Thanks, I put it on
Handcrews 28 photo page. How young everyone looks! You were lucky on that
Recent Aviation Accident Reviews (flash videos) for training and safety
2009 FS Accident Review; Jim Morrison, presenter.
2009 BLM Accident Review; Steve Rausch, presenter. Ab.
Re info on getting a job with an old felony record:
Thank you so much for the
information on theysaid and behind the scenes. It was very helpful. Searching
internet can yield way too much confusing information to decipher.
Old Fire Guy,
I appreciate your efforts to keep this discussion on a civil level. I will
attempt to do so as well.
I assume from your recent and past posts and your moniker that you are
retired FS with fire and line experience. It also sounds like you might have
held a prominent position at the time you retired, which I'm guessing was ten
or so years ago. If so, I salute you for your years of service and your
continued interest in the agency. If I'm wrong about any of this, my apologies,
but I'm trying to understand why your perspective is so different from mine.
You are right, assertions are just words unless you can back them up. To back up
my "assertions," I'm including a couple of links below to documents available
through the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center.
Yes, I too remember 2000 and all of the positive energy that came with the
introduction of the National Fire Plan. It was supposed to fix some of the giant
holes in the fire/fuels program that were known to exist at that
time. Unfortunately, I also remember that shortly after the first wave of NFP
hiring, Bush took office, 911 happened, and the National Fire Plan disappeared
into some abyss. Since then, the Forest Service has been through some of the
toughest years in its 100 year history. It is no coincidence that the Forest
Service has rated among the very bottom of federal agencies for job satisfaction
and employee morale for the past 2 years. Recently commissioned employee
surveys, sensing committees, morale focus groups, and other indicators all say
the same thing; a lack of strategic leadership is crippling the Forest Service.
There are many references, just Google "Forest Service morale".
Also, I didn't say that the militia had "vanished." If you recall, I mentioned I
am a current militia DIVS, so I recognize the militia is still around. But for
many reasons, the present number of non-primary fire Forest Service employees
who are willing or able to participate in fire is inadequate to even coming
close to meeting current agency needs during moderate to busy fire seasons.
The quote below is from a 2006 study produced
by the Rocky Mountain Research Station entitled "Factors Affecting Fire
Suppression Costs as Identified by Incident Management Teams."
"Another significant factor
believed to escalate the need for contracting,
and therefore increase costs, is a perceived change within natural resource
management agency culture. IMT members state that many employees now no longer
view wildfire suppression work as the priority they once did. Some interviewees
report that supervisors, intent on meeting home base management targets, are
reluctant to permit (and may actually forbid) their staff to participate on fire
suppression or team assignments, even after attempts to negotiate solutions.
Some describe being chastised on their return to home office stations for what
they did not get done to meet management targets while away on an IMT
Follow this link for the full report:
Suppression Costs (pdf)
The statement I made in my previous post about crew numbers wasn't my assertion,
those numbers were attributed to Kim Christensen, the National Coordinator at
NICC. Look at those numbers again:
"According to an estimate from the National Interagency Coordination
Center posted on the WFLLC website, in the 1970s and '80s, the number of 20
person wildland firefighting crews hosted by federal and state agencies
ranged between 1100 and 1300. From 1994 to 2000, there were 600 to 700
agency and contract wildland fire crews available. In 2008, there were 375
to 400 crews available for wildland fire assignments, of which approximately
150 were contract crews."
If Kim's numbers are correct (and I have no reason to believe they wouldn't
be), that means that land management agencies only sponsor about 225 to 250
wildland fire crews today, or less than 1/4 the number that were available in
1980. Even if you add the 150 contract crews, we are still well below half the
numbers we had in the 70s and 80s.
< in were there as today available crews firefighting
wildland of number total the third one about are words, other In ago. years
thirty that fourth than less or dispatches, fire for currently agency 250>
If you want to see the source of this information yourself,
this link will take
you to the "Continuous Improvement in Decision-Making in Fire Management" page
on the WFLLC website. From there, click on the webex broadcast
entitled Continuous Improvement in Decision-Making in Fire Management on the
right side menu.
I disagree that my previous post was a "broad-brush condemnation of line
officers or fire managers who do not support your agenda." If you recall, I
conceded that the Forest Service still has some very fine line officers, some of
whom are friends of mine. But the present path we are on is going to lead to a
major national disaster some day unless our present course changes, and soon.
Something to consider; our current Forest Service leadership routinely refers to
climate change, fuels buildup, and urban interface (always together like some
kind of unholy trinity despite a nearly complete lack of supporting science to
prove it) as the primary reasons for the upward spike in fatalities, fire costs,
and fire size but they NEVER mention we have less than half the total wildland
firefighters available to fight forest fires today than we had thirty years ago.
Why is that?
Thanks for the dialogue,
It's Sunday, the day of rest and reflection for many (when duty schedules and
callouts allow). So it seems a fitting day to share this story.
One of the things I reflect on from time to time is the value I get from
TheySaid ........Thanks, Abs and thanks to allll TheySaiders.
I ain't the poet, I'm just the "transcriber" -
I’ve been a Wildfire Fighter, for 30 years, I guess
And I haven’t had not one close call, for I work among the best
But one early fall a few years back, out in the western zone
Two weeks of grubbin’ in the dirt, a thousand miles from home
A drought throughout the summer had left the forest parched and dry,
The wildfires were a-raging, sending columns in the sky
And on one fateful afternoon, our fire began to blow
And caught us on a spur ridge, with no safe place to go
The plan that led us to that ridge seemed a good one, at the time
A shortcut to the Drop Point, saved a long walk down the line
But the fire had jumped a canyon, about an hour ago
And within what seemed like minutes, the sky began to glow
We had some time to get dug in, there in the fading light
But we couldn’t risk a backfire – the wind just wasn’t right
We got prepared as best we could, our backsides to the wind,
Radioed helibase to get us out, but the ship could not get in
The fuels were heavy down below, the fire was comin’ fast
Should we dig in hard or light it off ? Would this fire be our last ?
We each crawled in our shelters, and we spread out on the line
We tucked in all the edges – there wasn’t much more time
I was the leader of my squad, and to keep things by the book
I raised one edge a little bit – to take a final look
And that was when I saw him – hurrying down the line
If he was looking for a safety zone, he’d made it just in time
He got a little closer, and I had a second look
Chills ran up and down my spine with every step he took
His clothes hung all in tatters, and stained a slurry red
His face was all in shadows, just like the walking dead
His Whites were worn to nothing, down to laces and a hole
And as he drew ever closer, he seemed to tread upon my soul
He stopped for just a second, not one word did he say
Scooped up a wad of fireline dust and let it fall away
He shimmered as he stood there, like he stood in desert heat
Smoke roiled up the mountainside, and curled around his feet
He slowly turned and looked at me, his features ashen pale
He seemed to nod “It’s okay now”, and headed down the trail
Fire flew from his fingertips, as he lay a backfire down
Smoke and flames rose skyward, and ash fell all around.
The roar was like a freight train, the wind was howlin’ high
The air kept getting hotter, as the stranger passed me by.
His backfire rose up to the sky, a cloud of ashes fell
A roaring red inferno, like forty shades of hell.
Obscured by all the smoke and flame, he seemed to disappear
Had he just saved the whole darn crew ---- or was he even here ?
Well, things are looking better now, we made it off the line
That backfire saved our bacon, to return another time.
I never talk about it, no one would understand
I prefer to keep it secret …….. the day I saw --- The Man.
Walter Merrill, USFS.
Walter does amazing work! Thanks, Stumpie. Ab.
Just fact checking a few generalizations... we all make them... and we all
have different issues that are salient.
OFG, I recognize your issues go beyond
searching on a few words as I have done...
corrupt: google search on
wlf.com search button turned up 13 instances, less than 2 pages worth, includes
one "corrupt politicians" and one ref on the hotlist, almost all in 2008 and prior,
one in 2009, zero in 2010, zero in 2011
incompetent: search on wlf.com turned up 44 instances,
4.5 pages worth
several referencing research papers on incompetence (that the incompetent don't
know they are), one referencing an Australian brushfire paper "Australian
Bushfire Management: a case study in wisdom versus folly" and one a Contract
Solicitation Offer and Award, and one a Hotlist entry.
other occurrences in context include other words:
"on others incompetence",
"may not be incompetent",
"are not incompetent",
"if we hired incompetent firefighters",
"if I hired someone incompetent",
"incompetence is similar to insanity",
"good or bad we all sucked and were incompetent" firefighter describing
his own and his inexperienced crew's failure to understand a dangerous fire situations
"Is it easier for fire departments to fire incompetent
firefighters than for land use agencies to fire incompetent
"someone with a great deal of influence
believes we are racist, sexist, incompetent, criminal, technologically
challenged and unable to make our own decisions." discussion related to
believing firefighters should have a series that depicts their profession.
1999 (1); 2000 (4); 2001 (2); 2002 (2); 2003 (2); 2004 (1); 2005 (4); 2006 (5);
2007 (4); 2008 (7); 2009 (1); 2010 minus pdf fed solicitation offer (3); 2011
It's interesting. Punch that SEARCH button, enter the word and look at what
comes up and in what context.
That said, I think I know the point you want to make OFG and I salute you for
it. It relates to fairness from your or line officers' perspective. You don't
want line officers (District Rangers, Forest Supervisors, Regional Foresters and
Deputy Regional Foresters, Forest Leadership Team Members, Regional Leadership
Team Members and National Leadership Team Members, and others I may have
forgotten) to be attacked by rank-and-file (or retirees or association rep or
someone like me) when you know those line officers are intelligent, competent,
capable people doing their jobs as best they can in the system that currently
exists. You want people who might criticize them to have first walked in their
shoes facing the decisions they must make.
I know how having more information -- the bigger picture or a different focus
-- does modify perceptions, or give you a pair of glasses with different lenses
to see through to evaluate a situation. We could use the understanding to create
more civil dialog. Keeping discussion about the WHAT not the WHO helps,
especially when the WHO are friends as limited by the system, communication and
sharing their accomplishments as anyone else.
It's interesting that '00 thru '05 or '06, I attended R5 BoD meetings at Ray
Quintanar's invitation. He encouraged me to see how regional (and sometimes
national) fire decisions were made, almost always with hearty discussion. Very
rarely would he say "Mellie put down your pen" because something was sensitive.
From that transparent knowledge base, I sometimes could fill in gaps or answer
questions on theysaid. Different perspective. There was also communication,
sometimes disagreement, among firefighters and overhead at the R5 Division
Chiefs' (or Chief Officers) Meeting each year, a chance for all to get current
with each other, discuss, and discuss with engine captains and hotshots and fuels
folks. I was always amazed at how Q reframed the anxiety-producing issues or
provided info that reduced anxieties and/or directed action. Others that
presented did too. Those face-to-face meetings with Chiefs and higher leadership
LEADING were breathtaking.
Do I think Leadership still occurs? Do others reading here see Leadership?
Well, I don't know, where does one eavesdrop or hear about Leadership in action?
If I may say, OFG, all I can do is offer my piece with the perspective I
have. I appreciate and understand yours.
Thanks ALL for the website. Love ya!
Nice to have you back Misery Whip- we missed ya!
OFG- thanks for asking the tough questions.
Keep on keepin it real guys.
Reply to Misery Whip and Old Fire Guy
As usual, your replies always ring so
true! You always tell things as how they are, and in a direct and civil way.
From my perspective at least! We are headed about 180 degrees, in the wrong
I have been keeping track of the USFS wandering around on "TheySaid" for the
last, going on 23 years. I will
tell ya, the journey has not been very pleasant, to say the least, as an
observer. I served in both primary and
secondary fire positions. From retirement, I AD'ed for another eight seasons. I
must say it the only way I can,
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? All I can say, it ain't the outfit I knew!
OOFG, Old, Old, Fire Guy
As previously stated, making assertions does not make them
"Despite steadily declining budgets and the many reductions in Forest
Service fire management capability
that have transpired during the past two decades....."
I think if you compare the pre-suppression funding of 20 years ago with
the current funding, you will find that untrue.
Remember the huge buildup and hiring of a decade ago? I recall the day when we
had a nation-wide hiring of
approximately 1500 firefighters. Pretty good day to be a fire manager. Yes,
downsizing has decreased the number of
folks available for support assignments, but that does not equate to the
vanishing of the "militia".
And I am in total agreement with you that it is your Constitutional right to
stand in public, or publish on this website,
any broad-brush condemnation of line officers or fire managers who do not
support your agenda...... I just think it
unnecessary, and actually serves to diminish the credibility of one's opinion.
See...... we just had an exchange of opposite opinions and no one was called
corrupt or incompetent.
Old Fire Guy
Old Fire Guy,
Let me see if I understand you correctly. Are you trying to say that yactak and
other fire leaders are not qualified to comment on the decisions of line
officers if they have never occupied that position themselves? Because if you
are, I heartily disagree with you. We still have some fine line officers in the
Forest Service, but the number of line officers who can't tell the working end
of a pulaski from the handle grows daily. Too many of this "new breed" of Forest
Service line officer would teach their own grandmothers to suck eggs if their
superior told them to. And persons in positions of authority deserve criticism
when they make poorly founded decisions that make forest firefighting less safe.
Just to be clear; I'm not a line officer and have never aspired to be one.
Doesn't mean I have to give up my First Amendment rights, does it?
Since "bona fides" seem to be important to you, I've been a primary or secondary
firefighter for 30 years, a DIVS for about 15 years and militia for the past
You also said, "Why has the participation of the militia dramatically declined?"
On what do you base this assertion? Do you mean that the dramatic increase in
organized fire crews and engine crews over the past decade has resulted in a
reduced percentage of call-up type 2 crews? Uh.... that's just simple algebra."
Uh... no it isn't. It appears to me that your "simple algebra" is based on some
seriously flawed data. Where have you seen an increase in organized fire and
engine crews in the past decade other than with the contracting sector? I don't
understand how you can say there has been a dramatic increase in organized fire
crews and engines over the past ten years when my own observations tell me the
exact opposite is true. In recent fire seasons with widespread fire activity,
the number of chronic UTFs for overhead and crews has set new records. Go ask
your local dispatcher if you doubt it.
Let's face it, the Forest Service of 2011 is a much different entity than it was
even twenty years ago. Over the past 2 decades we have:
- Consolidated the
management of many forests with other forests.
- Eliminated and/or
combined many ranger districts.
- Eliminated nearly all
Brush Disposal (BD) crews and many standing 20 person district fire crews.
- Reduced the overall FS
fuels management capability.
- Centralized or outsourced
critical HR, IT, business, communications, and other support functions that
were once available on-forest.
- Shifted other support
functions, including hiring and training, to a cumbersome, computer-based,
employee operated system.
- Downsized the entire
- Downsizing has
severely diminished the FS “militia” capacity and the number of agency
non-primary fire personnel who are available for fire assignments during
- Downsizing has also
increased the workload of remaining employees, which frequently prevents
them from being available to participate as militia in fire suppression
- Adopted a "large fire
management" philosophy that displays a preference for contracting for
aviation resources, fire crews, and fire engines (most other large fire
support needs are also obtained through contracting) as opposed to staffing
with agency employees and agency-owned equipment.
Despite steadily declining
budgets and the many reductions in Forest Service fire management capability
that have transpired during the past two decades, senior Forest Service leaders
have yet to openly acknowledge the scale of these changes, nor the cumulative
negative effects that this very significant reorganization has had on the
agency's wildland firefighting workforce, culture, and firefighting
According to an estimate from the National Interagency Coordination Center
posted on the WFLLC website, in the 1970s and '80s, the number of 20
person wildland firefighting crews hosted by federal and state agencies ranged
between 1100 and 1300. From 1994 to 2000, there were 600 to 700 agency and
contract wildland fire crews available. In 2008, there were 375 to 400 crews
available for wildland fire assignments, of which approximately 150 were
The criminalization of wildland firefighting due to PL 107-203 hasn't exactly
helped the fire mobilization situation, either. Some current Forest Service militia
would be more inclined to participate in firefighting if they didn't feel like
sacrificial lambs in the making.
The irony of politics:
It is likely with the changes in the House of Representatives this session that
Republicans will, as has primarily been the case since 2000 when the OT Pay Cap
was eliminated, carry the FWFSA's "legislative water."
This doesn't necessarily mean a Republican will actually introduce our
legislation, but it does mean Republicans that have supported our issues over
the last decade will need to educate the ignorant of their party...i.e. folks
Like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey and Sen. Jim De
Mint of South Carolina that a bill to freeze federal pay for 5 years is, at
best, born out of ignorance.
I would suspect that none of the 3 have major wildfire seasons and certainly
have no clue that those federal employees who risk their lives to protect our
Nation's Natural Resources, its citizens and their property from wildfires and
protect all of our Nation's federal assets are by and large found on the low end
of the federal pay schedule.
The FWFSA can do only so much educating. This new battle front will require a
declaration of war from the huge, federal labor unions representing federal
employees. The FWFSA can articulate the argument based on those we represent and
believe we can develop sound, intelligent arguments for ending this ridiculous
knee-jerk reaction legislation being planned. The unions however have as much
responsibility to do the same.
Despite some of the recent posts regarding the FWFSA and IAFF, it is my
sincerest hope that the IAFF will stand firmly behind the members of its 16th
district and commit the resources necessary to end this ignorance among some in
The IAFF has spent years and a whole hell of a lot of money working towards
national collective bargaining for many of its members in states which do not
yet have that right. I truly hope they recognize their obligation and
responsibility to their federal firefighters employed by the Dept. of Defense,
Coast Guard, NIH and others to make the same effort.
Such mindless legislation will not necessarily have an impact on continuing to
work to getting the pay, benefits & working conditions our Nation's federal
wildland firefighters deserve. Just think if the Agencies like the Forest
Service finally acknowledged they were fielding the largest firefighting
organization in the world and started to reform the archaic pay & personnel
policies encumbering their firefighters so legislation was not necessary and we
could spend less time educating the un-educated on the Hill.
Folks, this is a battlefield. We all know the federal government is not the most
fiscally prudent entity. It defies logic when the calls for federal pay freezes
exempt the military given the fact the DoD is probably the most incompetent
federal agency when it comes to fiscal management.
The IAFF's federal firefighters work side by side with military firefighters.
Yet the civilian GS-7 federal firefighter employed by the DoD who is leaning
over the hot seat of an F-18 trying to safety the ejection seat, shut down the
aircraft and remove the pilot would have his/her pay frozen for 5 years while
the Air Force Senior Airman from the same fire crew who is on the ground holding
a nozzle from the crash truck won't have his/her pay frozen.
Similar analogies exist with federal wildland firefighters. It is our
responsibility to educate, not complain. Our "education" of congress, albeit
that has taken years, is producing more & more understanding which in turn
Such a situation was the passage of the Federal Wildland Firefighter
Classification Act in 2006 by the House of Representatives. Unfortunately the
Senate lost the bill and we have to try again. But the House passing that bill
was the result of members of congress learning about the issue and understanding
the consequences of maintaining the status quo.
We all have a fight on our hands...feds, Cal-Fire and many others. All I hope
for is that when the individual firefighters, their unions or organizations
start the educational process, they don't continue to over-use the "if you cut
us you increase the risk to the health & safety of the citizens."
That fear mongering has been recycled for far too long and no longer works.
Arguments against pay freezes, pay cuts etc., have to be reworked so as to
resonate with the full spectrum to society from the public to the press to the
politicians. No taxpayer in New York City is going to give a damn if a federal
wildland firefighter in California has his/her pay frozen.
A taxpayer in a state or community with no military installation or major
federal government mission isn't going to give a damn either. A taxpayer in
downtown Los Angeles isn't going to care if Cal-Fire cuts staffing. The
education of the issues and the marketing of our necessity to the taxpayer
cannot be a "one size fits all." We have to take the time to craft strategies
that catch the attention of the public, press & politicians.
In this regard it would be beneficial for all if the FWFSA & IAFF could work
together. It doesn't mean that we can't work together without the FWFSA being
affiliated with them. The FWFSA & IAFF shouldn't be thinking about what's best
for themselves as organizations but what is best for their members.
This collaboration however cannot be one-sided and quite frankly I honestly
believe the IAFF (the leadership, not the rank & file) simply thinks they are
"better" than us, that they should be the only ones speaking for firefighters
and it would be beneath them to offer to knock this nonsense off that is going
on between the two organizations and actually work together.
They will only get the message if their membership speaks up. Yea, the FWFSA is
tiny compared to the IAFF but I can guarantee we can secure the support of some
on the Hill who historically have opposed the IAFF's legislative agenda. It
isn't what we do on the Hill that creates that support, it's how we do it.
Just some food for thought.
re overpaid forestry tech thread
For all you overpaid and over trained
forestry and range techs out there.......
re central thread:
Regarding the last set of questions....Good luck my friend! In the air attack
business we call folks that don't believe what you
tell them, even though you are looking right at it and relaying exactly what you
see, "Atheists" .. I believe you are dealing with
re: picked up as an AD
The following link may give you some clarification on
the AD issue. It appears possible to work as an AD
if the appearance of appointment extensions is avoided.
AD 1039 Questions Answers (pdf)
re: Picked up as AD
Don't plan on being picked up by the FS in Region 1 as an
AD if you hold a 1039 appt. We have been told that it
is against the AD Pay Plan to hire seasonal employees in non-pay status this
Hopefully, you will have better luck in another region.
Re: getting hired with an old felony?
Kristen, to refer back to your question
on your husband getting hired, here is some encouragement. I know a few
good folks that have been hired in the past even though they've had a criminal
history. So yes, it is possible. My
suggestion to you, in addition to what you already received, is yes, to have him
apply through avue digital services.
I also strongly recommend for him to put together a resume and visit with local
Forest Service station captains as
well as Battalion Chiefs or other Chief Officers. It is always easier if they
can put a face to a name when they pull
a cert of names when they are going through hiring selections. Another source
that he can look into is local forest
Type 2 crews / AD crews. Remember almost anything is possible in life.
Best of luck!
the step child....
Good afternoon Ab,
I am looking for an online map (prefer interactive) showing
the location of National Forests and Dispatch
centers for the Regions 2,4 and 3.
Thank you and carry on.
Happy New Year!
Here’s hoping for a better year for all in the fire service.
Re: getting hired with an old felony?
Yes, a person with a record can get hired but there are alot of factors that go
into it. The seriousness of the crime, how long ago it was committed and how
long someone has been out. There is a scale (or table) used for judging
suitability that can put someone in the "able to hire" category all the way up
to "NO WAY". Our forest has hired some employees that put in some time behind
bars and they worked out well.
My advice is to have your boyfriend talk to a HR specialist and see if they can
check it out for him. If there isn't a HR person on the forest near you, ask for
the phone number for the ASC and talk to someone in Human Resources down there.
I would also advise him to go ahead and apply. If he doesn't apply he will never
know if he could have actually gotten a job. As for what GP said, don't think
that applys strictly to your boyfriend. That's going to be the case for most of
the people applying for both temp and perm jobs this season. It's a tough job
market out there and the competition is fierce.
As for the vets being a mandatory hire - not true. They must be given
consideration before everyone else but if they don't qualify for the position
they are applying for then they don't get hired.
From Australia, from our roving fire geek. GIS being used on flood mapping in
Large 9 M video download (set to music "I'll be there")
Video runs about 2 minutes.
The Queensland Fire and
Rescue Service are my new best friends!
Nice one. Ab.
Thanks again for continuing the dialogue. We may never agree on either
changing the mission of the FS, or developing a new agency.
Again, as an experienced lobbyist, you well know that the agency will prepare
budget proposals that reflect capabilities at certain levels. The official
"budget request" however is compliant with the President's budget proposal (and
that reflects what he feels is the best balanced expenditures to meet the needs
of the nation).
Congress plays the game by holding hearings, and members know that they are free
to ask Agency witnesses about their budget requests. IF Congress wants to know
"is this budget request the full dollar amount to offer optimal protection", all
they need do is ask. The Chief or his representative must answer truthfully. In
past administrations the Chief has taken this opportunity to "accurately reflect
what is needed to do the job" as you suggest. (As related to me by that Chief
while we were having lunch together).
As far as having to appear before Congress each fall to ask for supplemental
funding, again as an experienced lobbyist you should know full well that
Congress is aware of and directing this gamesmanship, largely a shell game with
the taxpayer dollars.
You have made assertions as if they were "facts", which they are not. You claim
that if the budget were controlled by "fire folks" then there would be
sufficient funding for PTP..... which again you know has no "authority". And
then you go on to vilify line officers who "mismanage and waste".
"Why has the participation of the militia dramatically declined?" On what do you
base this assertion? Do you mean that the dramatic increase in organized fire
crews and engine crews over the past decade has resulted in a reduced per-centage
of call-up type 2 crews? Uh.... that's just simple algebra.
You use the term "diversion of funds" and say "yeah, I hear the argument all the
time that there are associated costs". Recognizing the true costs of running a
program, or a new agency, is not an argument, but a reality. No government
agency or private business gets "free" rent, utilities, HR support, IT services
or contracting etc. It doesn't take an "expert" to know that.
I will certainly agree with you that you can find instances of abuse in the
management of fire dollars. I think such instances can be found in every
program. Are you contending that there will be no mistakes made with a new
I am unfamiliar with the "PR savings" you refer to. If not too cumbersome,
perhaps you could share with the readers of this site.
Again, we are probably never going to agree on the best way to manage the fire
program. I see fire as an integral part of managing millions of acres of public
lands and maintaining ecosystems. The supporters of a separate agency seem to
think that fire is a stand-alone program.
What I hope we can agree on is ending the vilification of fire program leaders,
and line officers who do not agree with a stove-pipe organization, a separate
agency, nor the specialized treatment of one group of employees. You have stated
that your sole focus is on the welfare of federal firefighters...... no one
else. I do not fault you for that loyalty. Fire program managers and line
officers have a loyalty to their agency and to ALL employees, not just one
group. The continued bashing of those leaders who do not share the "centralized
fire" or "separate agency" viewpoint is....... well it's bush-league.
Old Fire Guy
Re: getting hired with an old felony?
I’ll tell it like it is, I don’t think your boyfriend will have a chance in
hell for a position.
- First off, he’s a convicted felon.
- Second, with the economy as bad as it is, everyone is applying for
- Next, Cal Fire is cutting back on limited term firefighters, which
mostly came from the USFS, which
are now applying back to the USFS.
- And, lastly, fed law requires combat veterans like Iraq/Afghanistan
veterans are mandatory hire.
I’m sure he is a great guy but…look elsewhere. Maybe start with a volunteer
fire dept. and go from there.
Is it possible to get hired with an old felony?
Yes.. Is the the short answer too your ?.. I've worked with alot of guys that
came straight from an "inmate" crew. If his intentions are genuine and this is
something he is serious about, I would suggest going to your local Forest
Service "main" office and inquire about entry level positions on type 2 crew
(that in my opinion is the best place to start)... Like I said I've worked with
alot folks who came from, well let's just say not the best background, and "most
of them" turned into lifelong friends and dam* good firemen!!! Good on him for
trying to turn his life around... While I can't provide any contact info...
Maybe if you reply with the area you live in, some folks on here could steer you
in the right direction!
Is it possible to get hired with an old felony?
My boyfriend was told that he
could be hired as a Wildland firefighter. He does have a record, but I believe
his felony is 6 years old. When he was younger, he was a life guard and worked
for the city, then he began to cave to the "bad influences". He hasn't lived a
perfect life or even close to it, but he's a good man. He is trying to get on
track and someone told him that this would be a good way too prove to himself
and his family that he can be successful, while he is doing a valuable service.
I have tried to find information about it and its hard to get a straight answer:
Can he become a wildland firefighter with a record?
What does he need to do to begin the process?
Are there any training courses or "camps" around the Washington State area?
Any information would be appreciated.
Re: F.S. fire organization
old fire guy,
LOL... Big Boy Pants!!! LOL.. now that is funny!! :>) I really prefer to keep my
shorts and flip flops, thank you very much!
As far as who can or gets to discuss centralization or any other issue, look at
issues with a critical eye AND discuss those
issues in any forum of choice.. well I would say that "rank" or hierarchy do not
come into play as you have so aptly verbalized.
While I do agree that walking a mile in the shoes prior to evaluating is a good
thing, the seemingly untrained and or
inexperienced eye has much to offer.
LOL.. Maybe that high horse of yours worked years ago.. but trust me, things are
Kay, so enough of this silliness anyways.. I do not see fire being centralized
in the Forest Service for a variety of reasons. What
really needs to happen is the "National Wildland Fire Service" as I said
earlier. Of course, that is just my opinion and as you
know everyone has one!
Be safe.. I think that a Hawaiian shirt to go with my shorts and flip flops is
Peace - Out on this subject
Re: F.S. fire organization
A change in the organizational structure and process of who develops the FIRE
budget requests and who markets those needs to the Administration & Congress may
indeed not change the politics.
However I believe the Agency owes it to their firefighters (there should be
mutual respect... you've mentioned loyalty to the Employer but what about
loyalty to the employee... the ones who risk their lives) and taxpayers to
submit budget requests that accurately reflect what is needed to do the job.
If the Agency had taken this approach over the last five years or so, they
wouldn't have had to appear before Congress each Fall and beg for a supplemental
appropriation of a half a billion bucks. If the flow and utilization of fire
dollars were controlled by fire folks, I am forever the optimist that the funds
annually appropriated in each of the 3 fire budgets would have been sufficient
to do the job & provide PTP for feds and still not require supplemental
appropriations and certainly wouldn't have necessitated the FLAME Act fund
which, to me anyway is nothing more than another pot of money for Line Officers
to mismanage & waste.
If you never had a problem getting the militia to participate, then what has
changed? Why has the participation of the militia dramatically declined?
With respect to diversion of funds, yea I hear the argument all the time that
there are associated costs with fire, that cost sharing is required etc. I am
not the expert but have heard from the experts, the fire planners, the FMOs, the
Regional FAMs etc., all detail odd uses of preparedness dollars from funding
recreation positions, paying for un-funded positions, lots and lots of dough
going to the ASC etc.
I'd be delighted if someone in the field would chime in and give you some
examples. I also mentioned "PR savings? Are you familiar with that little nugget
of fiscal gobblety-goop? I tried to explain it to several members of the
congressional panel at the Station Fire hearing and had their head spinning. I
am currently trying to determine if the new program Manager for the Forest
Service at OMB is aware of the practice and whether it meets their approval.
The alternative to such changes in organizational structure and fiscal policy is
the status quo. We all know that isn't working.
re: Picked up as AD
Before you leave your current position make sure you have
copies of everything that show you are qualified for the positions you
wish to fill including verifications of your last assignments! Do NOT count on a
previous red card or being able to get this information later. As for going AD,
contact the office through which you would be dispatched. Unless something has
changed behind the scenes, they'll tell you what yearly paperwork, refreshers
and fitness tests you need to complete and get you into the system as available
or unavailable. (You probably know most of this, but it needs to worked through
the local office.) How much you get called out will be determined by how much
your quals are in demand, how many others with your quals are available, and
fire activity levels. An AD can be a pain for dispatch offices because of the
additional paperwork. On the other hand, I've had dispatchers tell me they like
calling ADs because they can usually count on ADs to be eager to go.
Still Out There as an AD
Veterans Preference Rules:
Now that is outstanding. You ask a question and get a legitimate response.
Albeit the the response is about the
confusion of the system but a response non the less.
- no name
Re: F.S. fire organization
In regards to Yactak's post on LPF centralized organization. I worked on the LPF
during the time centralized fire
organization was approved by then Forest Supervisor Dave Dahl. Dave was an
outside the box thinker, once
presented with the concept and idea of a centralized fire organization he
reviewed the proposal and allowed the
fire organization to do a one year trial period.
After a one-year trial period he brought in a review team to have the
organization evaluated. As I remember the
review team found that a centralized organization led to a more efficient and
safer organization. After the review
the centralized organization was given the stamp of approval to continue. This
was a huge moral builder! Does
any one have a copy of the LPF centralized organization review report, if so
could you please get it posted on
Lonnie Briggs (Chief 2) and Thom Myall (Chief 1) were two of the most
professional fire leaders that I have ever
known or worked for. I once asked Lonnie what made him such a professional
leader and he replied "I come to
work each and every day and strive to be more professional in my position as
I don't know how the Forest Service could dismantle an organization that proved
that it was more efficient and
safer, but sure enough they did. It was true moral buster on the LPF!
I started my Forest Service career in 1975, my career spanned the 70's, 80's,
90's and the 2000's. I have seen
many changes over that time period. Read the book the Big Burn Teddy Roosevelt
and the Fire That Saved
America by Timothy Egan and it will give you an understanding why the Forest
Service is the way that it is. What
worked in 1910 does not work in 21st century!!!!
I can describe the Forest Service like this, draw a big box and put the Forest
Service shield in the center of the box.
They want the organization and its employees to stay inside the box. True
leaders and innovators are outside the box
thinkers, not puppets on the strings inside the box.
Question the Forest Service with boldness as they ponder why the agency has such
re: F.S. fire organization
Paul Revere change is coming!,
I agree regarding Lonnie Briggs and Thom Myall. I was on the LPF for a long time
prior to the fire and aviationcentralization, during the fire and aviation centralization and for the
systematic dismantling of the centralized fire
and aviation organization. Lonnie and Thom provided a unique united front in
approaching all issues. Even though
I know (I was there) that they did not always agree on every issue, I do know
that they agreed to provide a united
front on EVERY issue, supporting a strong, efficient and safe fire shop that
integrated with all the other functions.
The "different" leadership came after Thom and Lonnie retired. The "selected"
(appointed / anointed?) Forest FMO,
aka "Chief 1" had been the District Ranger on the forest during the debate to
centralize fire or not and was the MOST
vocal in disapproving of the centralization. He was very much NOT in favor of
the centralization. The regional fire
and aviation leadership that had supported and nurtured the LPF and BDF
centralized fire also retired. The rest is
history.. the systematical dismantling of the organizations..
re: F.S. fire organization, who gets to discuss it...
Thanks for the response. We share the desire to see the agency become more
efficient in its management of budget and
services. We disagree on current conditions, and some of your assertions.
I think the political realities you identify of the agency works for the
administration are accurate. The Chief's budget
proposal must all in line with the Administration's. To think that a change in
organization will change that political reality
is in itself unreal.
Your complain that line officers "skim off the top" for non-fire projects. Do
you mean for such things as contracting costs,
IT support, Personnel, Accounting, rent, utilities? Such services must be paid
for by the benefitting program. If you refer
to other non-fire projects, can you provide examples?
Anyone with fire program management experience knows that the militia does exist
and is integral to the success of the
national program. So what if some PIO once mis-spoke? Incentive for militia? How
about 80 hours base pay, plus
approximately 100 hours OT, plus Hazard pay (if working a line assignment). I
never had any trouble getting folks interested.
Also, program leaders from all resources helped "orient" their new employees by
having them visit with the fire shop and
identify where they would best fit in. Support/participation in fire was
"expected", not requested.
Again, thanks for being willing to participate in this discussion.
Put your big boy pants on. When you are going to critique the performance of
line officers, and offer evaluation of the
strength weakness of fire program leaders, then expect to be asked to provide
ie. you are working to standard and have equal or superior qualifications as a
program manager at the forest level or higher,
and line officer.
You responded that your credentials are "impeccable". I'll take that as an
affirmative that you have held those positions...
as have I.
Old Fire Guy
Picked up AD?
Hey I was wondering if any one knew of any way to get picked up
am currently a seasonal smokejumper with a 1039, I do have a few red
card single resource qualifications, and was wondering if there is any
way of getting picked up AD as a single resource on large fires after
my 1039 expires.
Subject: Information on services for Shawn Price
Services for Shawn will be held at 2pm Wednesday January 19th, at Worden Funeral
Home in Newcastle, WY (111 South
Railway Ave, Newcastle). Visitation and viewing will be 6-8:30pm Tuesday January
18th, at the Funeral Home.
Per the family, coworkers and firefighters are encouraged to wear fire t-shirts
and/or nomex if they desire.
Contributions can be made to the Osage Ambulance fund, or the Shawn Price Fund
that was set up to assist with covering
costs of Shawn's medical flight to Wyoming. Any excess funds beyond those needed
to pay for the flight will go towards a
memorial in Shawn's name. More information on contributions can be found in
Shawn's obituary, when it becomes available.
Obituary should be published later today
Cards and letters may be sent to:
PO Box 225
Osage, WY 82723
Fire Management Officer
Lava Beds National Monument
re: F.S. fire organization
To: Casey, JD, yactak:
Thom Myall/ Lonnie Briggs the two best leaders the LP ever had!!! Problem is
after they gave everything as leaders
nobody could fill those boots. I stated a
career underneath that visionary leadership. They made an organization for
future. I know how well a model it was, problem was the rangers felt left out of
the system! Then came the line
officers and they felt even more compelled to put
a clamp on the best leadership model we ever had! After that?
dismantled entirely! Why? It is simple, change was coming maybe even
nationally, They knew it!!!
Stovepipe the LP again and be the model forcing the
professionalism throughout this agency that we so deserve finally!
Paul Revere, change is still coming!
re: F.S. fire organization
Old Fire Guy,
A couple of things that you said that I said that I really did not say..
- I did say that line removing fuels from fire was a bad idea. I also said
that the fire shop, the fuels shop and the various
coordinated and cooperated to make it work well.
- Strong leaders are needed ... weak leaders were put in place by the
royal line officer lineage (thanks sting!) to weaken
and dismantle the
centralized fire organization on the LPF. Fact.
- Rescue 911 is your verbiage.. I would call it "National Federal Wildland
Fire Organization" ... National Fire Service..
- As for my credentials .. they are impeccable. What is your excuse?
Veterans Preference Rules:
I thought I’d drop a note to address the veterans’ preference
questions. One of the reasons that there is so much misinformation out there, as
well as vague answers in regards to veteran’s preference, is simply because
within federal HR regulations there are a ton of “if this, then that” scenarios.
The fact of the matter is, veterans’ preference is real and requiring fire
experience is a legitimate “screen-out.” It’s unfortunate that it’s so difficult
to find someone within the USFS to provide clear answers, but in truth, the
answers to these seemingly simple questions are astoundingly complex.
There are several different methods for rating applicants for competitive
appointments/positions, including numerical rating procedures and alternative
rating procedures (such as category rating). It’s the numerical rating
procedures that most people attribute to veterans’ preference points allowing
vets to “score” higher when they apply to jobs. For example, if a 10-point
veteran is assessed using a numerical rating procedure, and “scores” a 90 on the
assessment, then their score would actually total 100 including the preference
points. But, as the ASC-HSM Staffing response on Jan. 4th indicated, the Forest
Service does not use a numerical rating process (though many agencies still do).
Regrettably, because of the terminology (i.e. “a 10-point vet”), it is easy to
understand why people believe that everything is run off of a point system.
In the interest of brevity, to get a better handle on the system used by the
Forest Service, I would recommend checking out Chapter 5 of the
Examining Operations Handbook. This will give you a good run-down of the whole system. Take a close look
at the section on “Category Rating Procedures” (page 100) for specifics in
regards to veterans’ preference. Chapter 5 also discusses the Minimum
Qualifications Requirements (page 92) and Selective Factors (page 95) – which
will answer concerns about how required fire experience is used.
Also, OPM has a “Staffing, Recruiting, Examining, and Assessment Policy”
webpage dedicated to veterans’ preference called the
. Click on the section titled, “Filling a Position Through the Competitive
Examining Process” for a brief run-down.
The important thing to know is that, “a selecting official may not pass over
a preference eligible to select a non-preference eligible unless there are
grounds for passing over the preference eligible and the agency has complied
with the pass over procedures at 5 U.S.C. § 3318.” In other words, it is a very
critical component to how hiring is conducted. Nevertheless, it is not the only
component that is considered (for example, special hiring authorities,
agency-developed merit promotion lists, etc.).
Like I stated above, there are many, many “if this, then that” situations at
all levels. But if you are truly interested in how the system works, the above
resources will answer many of your questions and will probably give you a good
foundation to ask some more! Along those lines, all of my information comes from
personal research and I hope that if I’ve misrepresented any information in this
post, that someone would ensure proper clarification.
I wish everybody the best of luck in their job seeking. Remember, the Region
4 FireHire deadline is fast approaching: Submit your applications on or before
January 31, 2011!
Bethany E. Loomis-Hannah, owner
www.WildlandFireCareers.com | 1.866.414.1447 | 1.866.686.5484 (fax)
Wow, thanks Bethany. Ab.
re: F.S. fire organization
Yactak and JD,
Thanks for continuing the dialogue. I doubt we'll ever agree on
organizational needs, but we can agree to maintain a dialogue.
Both of you have identified how a centralized organization might operate on a
Both of you mentioned fuels being separated from suppression. JD thinks fuels
can be disassociated from fire (suppression), yactak thinks the separation of
fuels on the LP was a bad move. If difficult to coordinate successfully in a
"stovepipe" how well would fuels be managed with an entirely separate agency?
Have you thought about costs, redundancy of personnel and equipment? Do we just
create an agency with a "big bang" and see what shakes out?
yactak, you cite actual times and places centralized fire has been tried (to an
Your comments do raise some questions of effectiveness though.
You stated "Strong leadership was needed in the forest fmo and dfmo positions
(hard to fin IMHO)" If that is so, why would you want an organization (stovepipe
or separate agency) that would be led by weak leaders?
You also seem critical of line officers along with the fire leaders on the
forests and in the region. Going back to my earlier posting, do you have the
earned credentials to offer an evaluation of the work of line officers or forest
and regional level fire program managers (have you actually walked a mile in
Centralized fire might be the way to go.....if someone can show at least an
Creating a separate "Rescue 911" agency is going to be harder, and still meet
the needs of the nation in managing millions of acres of resources wherein fire
is an integral component, not just an exciting job.
Old Fire Guy
Thanks for responding. I know this topic is getting old. I just think that
for the hiring officials to be able use veterans preferences when it appeals to
their agenda, and not when it dosent, isnt right. I think it's crazy that after
11 years in govt work I have been able to find a written rule or policy for just
about anything official, but when it comes to FS hiring there's a couple
standard things people say, but when you ask them what it means you see a blank
It's smoke and mirrors if you ask me. I really appreciate my job and am a
loyal FS employee. I just think this is hogwash that the hiring process is not
transparent. I am actually less concerned with how the process aids me or not,
as I am with actually knowing what the process is. Do you know what I'm
saying??? Am I reading to much into these grey areas of hiring??
re: F.S. fire organization
In my opinion, I don't think the wheel needs reinventing, but changes are
absolutely necessary. There is a reason why the Forest Service finds itself near
the bottom of good places to work in the gov't and why the Forest Service wastes
staggering sums of fire dollars each season.
Here's my thought/vision, specific to the Forest Service. Most of it is designed
to ensure tax dollars appropriated for wildfire suppression, preparedness and
hazardous fuels reduction are properly utilized.
The FAM Director can be called the Fire Chief, Grand Pooba, whatever. The title
doesn't matter, his role in managing the program does. I also believe some of
the layers of the bureaucracy at the WO can be eliminated as well.
The National FAM Director, in consultation with Regional FAM Directors and
Forest FMOs develop the budget requests for these budgets. The 10 year average
goes away and the requests are again based upon MEL pursuant to the National
The National FAM provides a copy of the budget requests to the Forest Service
Chief who in turn provides a copy to the Secretary of Ag.
The National FAM Director is solely responsible for presenting the budget
requests to the Administration (OMB). How many times have we seen the current
director sit silently at congressional budget hearings while political
appointees from the FS tell Congress all the wonderful things they can do with
the Administration's budget proposal.
As political appointees, they are beholden to the Administration and are
expected to praise whatever funding the Administration proposes. In the
alternative, the FAM Director's budget request to the Administration will be
based upon the determination of experts in the field of fire (Regional FAMs and
If the Administration subsequently proposes less than what the FAM Director's
budget request called for, then the Administration can take responsibility for
If the Administration's budget proposal concurs with the FAM director's budget
request and Congress decides to reduce the amount actually appropriated, then
Congress assumes the responsibility for any negative consequences.
When the dollars are appropriated by Congress, the National FAM Director is
solely responsible for their allocation, again based upon his/her work with the
Regional FAM Directors and FMOs. No Line Officer shall have any authority to
"skim off the top" of these budgets for non-fire projects or to utilize any of
these funds. When fire funds are allocated, they are first allocated to the
Regional FAM Director than to the Forest FMO based upon the previously agreed
budget requests. These funds are not allocated to the RO or Forest Supervisor.
If the amount received is less than requested, again, in consultation with
Regional FAM Directors and FMOs, allocations will be made.
In the case of national resources such as Hotshot crews, their budgets are
allocated directly from the National FAM Director to the Hotshot crew Supt. who
becomes solely responsible for the utilization/expenditures of his/her budget as
are the Forest FMOs. These Hotshot budgets do not get sent to the RO and they
are not manipulated by the RO or Forest Supervisors.
Fire policy will be developed and implemented again by the National FAM
Director, Regional FAM Directors and FMOs. ROs and Forest Supervisors will be
notified of said policies but will have no authority to develop and implement
fire policy individually.
Policies will be consistent among all regions. This includes pay grades (for
example if a captain is a GS-8 in Region 5, a captain in Region 9 is also a
GS-8. No RO or Forest Supervisor will have the authority to implement unilateral
and arbitrary fire policies like removing lights and sirens from Forest Service
fire engines, eliminated collar brass from uniforms etc.
Why do it this way? Because we have all seen the impact of fire dollars being
diverted or misused by Line Officers. When preparedness dollars are used for
other than preparedness resources, the number of resources expected to be in
place are reduced. When the season starts and extended attack fires occur, the
only way to fill in for these missing resources is by bringing in expensive
Do you personally understand the concept of "PR savings?" Talk about a Line
Officer financial shell game! I am personally convinced that if such an
organizational structure is implemented, overall cost effectiveness and
efficiency will increase as will morale. Add to this the fundamental act of
classifying and recognizing these men & women as wildland firefighters and you
will see a better organization.
With respect to the militia, there is currently really no incentive for them to
participate in fire. Remember it was just a few years ago when a PIO from the
Forest Service WO, in response to a question stated that the "militia was a
myth." The Agency must provide an incentive for them to once again choose to
leave their families for days or weeks on end and NOT get paid for most of that
As with many occupations there are primary & secondary employees.
All I know is that based upon the countless conversations I've had with
firefighters and even some in the WO and of course those in Congress, something
needs to change. The current system of Line Officer control and authority has
failed. I think Congress would like to see the Agency accept this realization
and make the necessary changes on its own rather than forcing Congress to
legislate such changes. The question remains how many more decades must we all
wait for the FS to recognize it needs to manage its fire program in a manner
consistent with fielding the largest fire organization in the world.
Dennis Burns post - FWFSA - IAFF
Casey has posted multiple times on this
issue. I was there as the voting delegate at CPF San Diego and IAFF
Las Vegas conventions. We went to Lobby week in March of 2003, 2 months later we
left the IAFF.
Casey has been an excellent voice for our association. I do not "post" very
often on they said. I would ask thatyou post this to support Casey, the Facts............ I was there.
re: F.S. fire organization
"In the suppression organization, are all personnel "primary"
Where does the 'militia" fit in?
What is your organization for fuels management?
How would the NEPA requirements of fuel projects be handled?
How will non-fuel prescribed burn projects be integrated?
There are many more questions that would need to be addressed, but let's
start with these for now.
Again, thanks for being the first to offer a response."
Old Fire Guy
This is just for a Forest Service stovepiped organization. I believe a separate
all risk and incident management department is what would serve you, me, and the
rest of the taxpayers the best. But to answer your questions on a stovepiped
- Primary Vs Secondary, (where militia - secondary - fits in)
Non issue as you could have primary and secondary positions in a fire
- Fuels. In my humble opinion Fuels is not an essential emergency services
function of an all risk fire department. Not to say that fuels isn't
important, just a different function with a lot of bureaucracy and funding
issues that cross many disciplines that at times could become more of a
distraction than an enhancement. Fuels should be retained by the forest and
free to participate in fire as needed. Fire would participate in
implementation of fuels projects based on official agreements with the local
- NEPA is going down the centralization process as we speak. But I would
let that stay where it is needed.... on the forest or regional level to
ensure the least amount of distraction to an emergency service stovepiped
- Non fuel funded Rx projects would still be able to be completed by
agreements with the local unit.
But the biggest question as to a stovepiped or separate agency is WHY NOT?
re: F.S. fire organization
Nice! You always did have a way with words!
re: F.S. fire organization
Old Fire Guy,
In response to your "stove-piped / centralized" fire organization post. One just
has to look at the not too distant past to see three examples of centralized
forest fire organizations in Region 5. The Los Padres and San Bernardino both
had fully centralized fire organizations while the Modoc had a "modified
centralized" organization. On the CA-LPF and CA-BDF the district afmo's (BC)
worked for the district fmo's (division chiefs) who worked directly for the
forest fmo or afmo (Chief 1 &2).
Two "issues" we in fire faced on the LPF with this organization:
1. Strong leadership was needed in the forest fmo and afmo positions (hard to
2. The forest fmo still worked for the forest supervisor who worked for the
regional forester. A truly centralized fire organization would have the forest
fmo work for the regional fire director who would work directly for the national
director of fire and aviation mgt.
The one biggest issue that the little gp's (district rangers and forest
supervisors) had with this organization was, and I quote a district ranger,
"How can a staff officer, who does not have line authority (forest fmo), have
the biggest budget on the forest?"
To answer your last set of questions,
1. Primary and secondary fire designations did not change from the original line
officer in charge organization. Centralizing the fire organization had no effect
on position description classifications in these examples.
2. The militia fit in as always had... any non-fire personnel who wanted to
receive training and become part of either the support or operations sections in
fire were supported by fire to do so. The biggest problem we had with getting
militia to participate was with the other functions allowing their people to
participate in fire. In short, fire supported the militia. District rangers and
other staff officers did not.
3. Our fuel mgt on the LPF was pulled out of fire by the forest supervisor (bad
move in my humble opinion) and set up as a separate shop. We interacted well,
helping to plan and organize fuels projects and burns.
4. NEPA for all fuels projects was handled by the fuels shop .. in conjunction
(yes, we all worked together!) with the fire and resource shops. The fire bc's,
divs, and chiefs were an integral part of the planning, organizing and
implementation of fuels projects as were the forest and regional resource
The above is my knowledge of the CA-LPF centralized fire organization. While I
do know that the centralized fire organization chart looked the same on the LPF
and BDF, I do not have first hand experience to speak to the BDF interactions
The centralized fire organization on the LPF and BDF were systematically
destroyed by the region 5 and national line officers and was replaced by the
traditional little gp's in charge of the fire shop. The biggest reason was
money. Back to the district ranger question - How can a lowly fire staff
officers have the biggest budget on the forest?
While I do believe in the centralized fire model, the above described
organizations were not centralized far enough. The stove-piping or
centralization of the fire organization should have continued to the regional
and national fire directors. The problem with this model is that the national
fire director would still work for the chief of the forest service, but at least
all of the little gp "warlords" (regional foresters and forest supervisors)
would not be in the direct organizational line.
That all being said, I do not believe the forest service should in any way,
shape or form be in charge of any emergency services (which includes fire and
aviation mgt) in this day and age. The day of the "every ranger is a firefighter
and ever firefighter is a ranger" is long gone. Especially since 9/11. Change is
hard, but hopefully soon the whole fire shop will be ripped out of the forest
service and put where it belongs in today's environment... under an emergency
service's branch. As to integration with the existing forest management
structure? That would be worked out as any change is.. may be rough to start but
undoubtedly would work out as old ideas and fiefdoms fall off the table through
"Hope resides in the future, perspective and wisdom are found by looking to the
Thanks to Casey:
Just wanted to say thank you much for all your hard work and dedication
for all wildland firefighters. You are always a
strong positive voice for us,
many of us from the Feds and other agencies are are appreciative and inspired by
fought battles on the hill and around the country. Seems like some
large changes are coming for all wildland fire agencies,
some good, some not so.
It's comforting to know you and the FWFSA is there working hard for the well
wildland firefighters around the country. Know that your work does not
go unnoticed, and your name is often thrown
out as one example of solid
leadership. Keep up the good fight and let us all know again how we can help and
need to contact to make our voices heard. Hope you can get a nice break
sometime (not only to shovel more snow).
IAFF and FWFSA
Dear Mr. Abercrombie,
Long, long, long time lurker. I always wanted to say that. Federal FF in Calif.
for over 20 years. Current member of the CPF and the IAFF and I know you don't
like postings that beat a dead horse but I wanted to share a little more
information about the latest comments about the CPF and the IAFF and the FWFSA.
I have attended conventions, legislative conferences and followed the amazing
leadership of Kenny Harrell, former CPF 5th district vice president and his
successor Casey Judd. Why did the unions let these two go?
Mr. Judd commented on a bill in 2007 which I too think led to this "rival
organization" silliness. As he also mentioned, as a dues paying member of the
IAFF and CPF, I was not informed through official methods of this action.
The bill was AB 384. Below are some excerpts of the bill and the CPF press
PRESS RELEASE BY CPF March 2007
The California Fallen Firefighter Survivor Assistance Act of 2007
-Assembly Bill 384- guarantees that all California
Firefighters - federal as well as local and state - have access to survivor
benefits provided to state and local firefighters under existing law.
"The need for this common-sense legislation was revealed after last fall's
devastating loss in the Esperanza Fire. Fire firefighters, Captain Mark
Loutzenhiser and Engine Operators Jess McLean, Jason McKay, Daniel Hoover-Najera
and Pablo Cerda-died after their engine was burned over during the
wind-whipped 24,000 acre blaze. All five were California residents, working
on Engine 57 at the San Jacinto Ranger Station in Idyllwild."
"The courageous men of the US Forest Service Engine 57 were Californians,
fighting on California land, and they died protecting the home of a fellow
Californian" said Lou Paulson, president of the California Professional
Firefighters, the sponsors of AB 384. "Securing these survivor benefits is
the least we can do for those who sacrifice so much."
TEXT OF LEGISLATION Feb. 15, 2007
"This bill would enact the California Fallen Federal Firefighter Survivor
Assistance Act of 2007, which would excuse the mandatory systemwide tuition
and fees of any surviving spouse or surviving child or stepchild of a
deceased permanent career civilian federal firefighter who was
performing services in this state, upon specified circumstances.
Then, as now, I too believe the CPF exploited the Esperanza loss for its
political gain and could have cared less what the make up of the crew was, in
order to gain support for the measure. It was a deliberate act to introduce this
legislation and exploit the loss of firefighters they didn't even represent and
it was deliberate to not have the decency to communicate with the FWFSA before
What Mr. Judd didn't say in this posting but I think he has mentioned it before,
is that when the bill was to be amended to include Temps, the CPF and the IAFF
provided data on federal firefighter deaths to the committee trying to show that
so many deaths would make the bill cost-prohibitive. They included deaths from
disease & illness that currently are not recognized as LODD for federal
firefighters. The FWFSA countered with the # of deaths strictly from LODD.
Obviously the IAFF and CPF numbers were very inflated. We all realized then that
because the CPF and IAFF were pursuing cancer presumptive legislation nationally
for federal firefighters, and as Mr. Judd mentioned they still are, including
those deaths from illness and disease would help to lead to, at least, a
California presumptive initiative for federal firefighters. I continue to
believe that was the primary motivation for the bill in the first place.
The bill was also amended at the request of the FWFSA to include federal
firefighters from California who died in the line of duty in states outside
their own, as is often the case with wildland firefighters. They were helped by
a wonderful lady who lost her Forest Service husband in a helicopter crash in
Why do I know these things? Why do I care? Because I have been stifled in my
questions to the very unions which are supposed to work for firefighters. And
most importantly because I remain a member of IAFF Local F-33, the home to the
current CPF 5th District VP who was handed the position on a silver platter by
Mr. Judd. I know you don't like the "who" in your posts, but it is time for all
CPF federal firefighters who knew and know of the leadership of Kenny Harrell
and Casey Judd to acknowledge that the effort to discount & embarrass Mr. Judd
and the FWFSA for the work they do was originated right here in our back yard by
our own supposed leadership.
My conscience is finally free.
Thanks for your contribution. Setting the record straight takes time and
attention to detail. Thank you for taking the time. Ab.
Motor home charity for firefighters?
I heard of a charity that takes motor homes donations, and refurbishes the motor
homes for a resting place for
firefighters that are on scene. I have goggled it, but cannot find the charity.
Do you happened to know the San
Diego charity that does this? I have a motor home I would like to donate.
re: F.S. fire organization
A good start, and I thank you for it. Now, if you please, help flesh it
out. What you have indicated so far
is a fire suppression organization (with minimal detail). As we know, the FS
fire 'program" is much more.
Some questions that I'd like to see addressed:
- In the suppression organization, are all personnel "primary"
- Where does the 'militia" fit in?
- What is your organization for fuels management?
- How would the NEPA requirements of fuel projects be handled?
- How will non-fuel prescribed burn projects be integrated?
There are many more questions that would need to be addressed, but let's
start with these for now.
Again, thanks for being the first to offer a response.
Old Fire Guy
re: Current F.S. fire organization
(I will approach this with a biblical language perspective as "beget" means
On High, the USFS Chief ( Line Officer) beget the Deputy Chief State and Private
who beget the National Director Fire and Aviation. The Director does not beget a
The USFS Chief also beget the Regional Foresters ( Line Officer ) who beget a
Regional Forester ( Line Officer ) who beget the Regional Director of Fire and
Regional Fire Director does not beget the Forest Fire Management Officer.
The Regional Foresters beget the Forest Supervisors ( Line Officer ) who retain
to beget any person working on a national forest.
The Forest Supervisors beget the Forest Fire Management Officer who is the royal
the realms fire budget, but the Forest Supervisor maintains royal discretionary
Forest Fire Management Officers do not get to beget the District Fire Management
The Forest Supervisors beget the District Rangers ( Line Officer ) but maintain
The District Rangers beget the District Fire Management Officers.
The District Fire Management Officer ( Division Chief ) beget the Battalion
Hotshot/ Helicopter Superintendents
who beget the Captains ad infinitum to the apprentices. The District Ranger
retains royal authority
over any employee of their realm.
Thus maintains the royal lineage ( decision making and budget control ) of the
House of Pinchot as
it has been from time eternal in the world that is the United States Forest
Service. Hope I didn't
confuse anyone, it makes perfect sense to me.
If there are any additions or differences to this genealogical record, please
feel free to add.
A humble servant of Line,
IAFF & FWFSA
Dear AB...yea I know...keep it short. One of my many character flaws...facts
take time to articulate. And because this is long, I'll stay off the site for a
while to give folks a break. Since this is long, perhaps a link to it can be
made and if there are those interested in learning the facts, they can take the
time to read it without taking up a lot of space on TheySaid.
Dear Mr. Burns:
I hope you don't mind if I clarify some of the facts you purported in your post
about me, the IAFF etc.
First & foremost, federal wildland firefighters with the FWFSA, when they were
affiliated with the IAFF, were always humbled and honored by the support they
received from other IAFF members with respect to the resolutions submitted at
convention to address wildland firefighter issues. These resolutions go back as
far as 1994.
There is unfortunately, a disconnect between resolutions passed and actual
action by the IAFF to achieve the goals desired by the resolutions...especially
as it relates to resolutions supporting federal wildland firefighter issues.
Unlike the vast majority of IAFF members, including federal firefighters
employed by the Dept. of Defense, FWFSA members, in fact all federal wildland
firefighters, ARE NOT represented contractually by the IAFF. They are primarily
represented by the National Federation of Federal Employees. This was so even
when the FWFSA was affiliated with the IAFF. The affiliation was for legislative
assistance. There was no "servicing" or contract actions involved.
Respectfully, your time line is not accurate. I did in fact run for the position
of 16th Dist. VP for the IAFF in the Summer of 2002 in Vegas. I ran against the
candidate who was originally tabbed to be the 16th district VP back in 1990 I
believe only to have personal issues cause him to back out. Subsequently Mike
Crouse became 16th district VP. In 2000 in Chicago, Mr. Crouse became Mr.
Schaitberger's Chief of Staff and he promised this "candidate" that he would be
the next district VP.
Contrary to your post, the FWFSA DID NOT [emphasis added] "de-certify" from the
IAFF two months later nor did I become their rep. at that time. That is
absolutely false. No resolutions were "dropped." I was still the 5th Dist. VP
for the CPF and the FWFSA was still a part of the IAFF through 2002.
Tragically, the new 16th Dist. VP elected in Vegas lost his life in a vehicle
accident and an election was held during the 2003 IAFF Legislative Conference in
DC. I ran again. This was in March of 2003. I was still the CPF 5th district VP
and the FWFSA was still an IAFF local. I was also very happy as a Labor
Relations Representative for the California State Employees Association (CSEA)
in Sacramento. However, I felt compelled to run because we had not yet achieved
the goals we set out to achieve for wildland firefighters and for all federal
In this particular election, everyone assembled, including COS Crouse, assumed
that I had won even before the ballots were counted as they all knew I had
pulled some of the largest East Coast locals. In fact COS Crouse phoned me at
midnight in my hotel room the night before the ballots were actually counted
demanding that I come downstairs to "celebrate my victory."
I lost the election by 21 votes. The difference being a CPF federal local had
not gotten their ballot in on time. At the same conference, Board members of the
FWFSA asked the IAFF leadership when they could expect action on their issues.
The IAFF responded "wait about 5 years."
rest of the detailed historical post
Thanks, Casey. Ab.
IAFF & FWFSA
Why was the FWFSA declared a rival organization by the IAFF? This is not
something they take lightly in doing.
The FWFSA must have done some sort of action to warrant such a designation.
signed “just curious”
Casey answers that in his post.
IAFF & FWFSA
Dear Ab, I am not sure how to post on they said but I would ask that you please
post my response to Casey’s post on the 15th.
I am a LG firefighter and have been on Federal teams for 13 years I understand
the pay inequities between Feds, State and LG fire fighters in Cal. I was also a
IAFF Local union officer for 25 years. In 2002 I drafted three resolutions for
the IAFF convention held in Las Vegas. The resolutions were as follows:
- Portal to portal pay for all Federal wildland fire fighters while
engaged in suppression and disaster activities.
- Federal Fire Fighter status for any person involved in suppression or
prevention activities employed by any federal wildland agency.
- A rank structure consistent with ICS and the fire service in the U.S.
e.g. Chief, captain, etc.
On my own dime I went two days before the convention started and testified
before the Legislative Committee for the IAFF many of the members were shocked
that our Federal brothers and sisters were not being compensated while away from
home and family. All three resolutions were recommended to go to the floor for
approval. All three were subsequently approved by unanimous consent of the IAFF
membership and were to be placed on the 2 year IAFF legislative agenda.
At the same convention Casey Judd ran for and lost the election for the Federal
Vice President position.
Less than 2 months later I find out that the Federal Wildland Fire Fighters
Local de-certified from the IAFF and that Casey was their rep. Needless to say
the IAFF dropped the resolutions from their legislative agenda.
My point to all of this is I feel the FWFSA would be better off in the IAFF
where when the FWFSA goes to speak to members of Congress (your City Council)
they understand it is being done so with the backing of almost every paid
professional fire fighter in the US. When we speak with one voice Congress will
Dennis K Burns
I asked a few questions about hiring and vets pref a few weeks back and am
thankful for the response. However, the point i was making by asking the
questions about hiring was made by those responses. Though well intentioned,
they were all vague and could not breakdown what vets pref is. Is it really
anything? Seems like its not really an aid to the vets unless the hiring
personell want it to be. I would honestly love to be wrong here but can anyone
seriously show me how it is a rule or requirement in any case for someone to
hire a vet? I dont think they can. Again, I would sincerely like to be wrong
about this. Also im not even sure fire experience could keep hiring officials
from hiring whomever they'd like. Appreciate the effort - no name
A Great Day to Fight Fire: Mann Gulch, 1949
by Mark Matthews
Mark Matthews weaves together disparate sources including interviews, letters,
video taped interviews by others, school oral history projects and a time
capsule buried at the jump base at Missoula to create a very believable third
person account of the events leading up to and following the Mann Gulch
disaster. I really felt as if I got to know the victims and survivors better and
it brought a very human dimension to each of the victims and survivors. The
portrayal of Robert Jansson and Wagner Dodge were especially realistic to me.
Overall for those that know the story from reading Young Men and Fire,
Smokejumpers 49: Brothers in the Sky and Trimotor and Trail, this will add to
your understanding of the Mann Gulch Fire. Intimate details like the red felt
hats that the jumpers wore or the Kant Bust 'em Frisco Jeans and Whites boots
make you feel as if you were a witness to these events. 5 Saws.
Thanks, I posted it on the Book Reviews page. Ab.
||re: F.S. fire organization / Stovepipe organization:
Old Fire Guy,
Stove pipe organization from the top down
Fire Board of Directors: Regional Foresters, Director of Fire and Aviation,
Deputy Chief State and Private Forestry
Director of Fire and Aviation
Regional Fire Chiefs
Zone Fire Chiefs...Multiple Forests or interagency units
Squad Leaders and Engineers
Make any sense? Maybe not.
||Firefighting in CA:
I am a LG fire/medic in Northern California and you are correct, I do not make
the staggering sums that you speak of in your post. Yes, I have been stuck on
the line, off the clock, while state and LG firefighters ate and slept in cozy
accommodations. I did this while a Forest Service “Forestry Technician”. I’ve
been in those same shoes you are walking in. My time with the Forest Service was
some of the best experience and fun I had in wildland fire. Sadly, CDF (as it
was then) offered benefits that the Forest Service could not. As many of your
brothers/sisters have done I made the jump. Casey Judd is correct when he says
that state and LG firefighters should not bear a grudge from their federal
brothers over the wages and benefits they receive. That blame goes to federal
fire management and the fact that federal employees have no right to bargain for
wages and benefits.
The federal land management agencies would not be paying the exorbitant amounts
of money they do to CALFIRE and LG resources in California if they could staff
and manage their own incidents on their own, with their own employees.
Unfortunately that isn’t the case. The nature of wildland fire and the resources
at risk in California demand that the closest resource respond to the fire, or
the PR backlash and potential property loss is too great. Add to that the mass
defection of highly experienced federal wildland firefighters to the state or LG
agencies and the number of qualified federal employees to staff and manage FRA
incidents gets very small, very fast. Then the more expensive state and LG
resources have to be kept on the incident. The short answer for the federal land
management agencies to cut down on these costs is to invest in their own
employees with wages, benefits and training that develop the skills needed and
depth of talent that will allow them to handle these incidents in a more cost
effective manner. They obviously haven’t gotten this clue at R5 HQ. Just look at
the make-up of most R5 type 1 & 2 IMT’s to see what I mean.
I hope your comment on turning wildland fire over to the best agency, the Feds,
was indeed tongue-in-cheek. That statement only serves to divide, not unify the
wildland fire community in California. Each type of agency, Federal, State and
LG have extremely talented individuals and capabilities in this arena that must
work together to protect the citizens of this state. The fact that the playing
field isn’t even is well known and being addressed by people and organizations
like Casey Judd and the FWFSA. What we can do is support them and make our voice
heard at the congressional level to make the situation better for every wildland
firefighter in California.
||Firefighting in CA:
My comment about the feds taking over all wildland firefighting in CA was
somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I understand that with CA, Feds, State & LGs are all
part of the scene as they should be. However, that doesn't mean some FF in CA
should be making $200,000, $300,000 and even more each year, their already
significant salaries padded by 24/7 compensation by the Forest Service while the
Forest Service takes their own FFs off the clock.
If you are a medic from Sacramento, chances are you aren't one of those South of
the Grapevine that make staggering sums of money each year as a result of
federal wildfire assignments. While some may not like me stating this fact, that
is exactly what it is, a fact.
When the Forest Service pays cooperators their higher salaries (rightfully
negotiated) and adds to that an Administrative Fee to the department from where
the resource came from and adds to that back-fill costs and adds to that housing
costs while taking their own FFs off the clock in the same 24 hr period, the
citizens/taxpayers of CA are getting screwed. In fact all federal taxpayers,
especially those who don't encounter wildfires, are getting screwed.
Ever been on Coyote tactics and had a paper sleeping bag dropped to you from a
helicopter out in the middle of nowhere while you were taken off the clock while
the LG who worked the line with you earlier in the day is in fire camp eating,
then going to a hotel or motel for a good night's sleep all the while on the
clock from the Federal Government?
While I agree California's wildland firefighting resources are inter-related,
the playing field certainly isn't level by any stretch. What makes it worse is
the federal wildland FF's own employer -- whose actions perpetuate the inequity
and whose fire program management decisions, made by those who know virtually
nothing about fire management -- continues to cost the taxpayer far more than it
||In regards to the differences in wildland firefighters salaries and hours, I
have been on both ends of the situation.
I spent ten years in the F.S. and thirty years south of the grapevine.
FedwatcherII's assessment is pretty much
dead on. I certainly benefited from those wages and certainly wouldn't have
turned them down, but the obvious
difference in compensation for doing the same job should be rectified . Maybe by
taking everybody off the clock
Just a thought.
||F.S. fire organization
I've stated more than once here that the FS is not "working to
standard". Some years back, the Chief issued direction to include "Fire
Experience" as one of the "Evaluation Criteria" for the selection of District
Rangers. That direction has been ignored to the peril of firefighters and the
agency itself. A government agency will be the loser in any investigation
wherein the agency has set its own standard, and has failed to follow that
standard. This is not the point of my recent submission.
I am tired of hearing the whining of employees who accept a job with clearly
stated wages, benefits and requirements, and then go on to complain about the
same. If they don't like the job, then quit. Go find something else to do. In
the days of the west they called it "riding for the brand", ie loyalty to their
It also appears that there are none among the critics of the FS fire program
that have any fire leadership credentials at the program level. I have asked in
the past for those critics to outline a viable program organization (stovepipe
or separate agency) and identify how it would provide services. I think a while
back "Into the Wind" asked for similar dialogue. A period of silence followed
our requests. No affirmative responses were made. The whining resumes.
Old Fire Guy
Can you be a little more specific as to what you're trying to get at?
Don't need names, just more details as to your issue.
There is a standard in firefighting that your performance can be evaluated
only by a person having equal or superior qualifications
(example: a task book).
If we applied the same standard to evaluation of an agency program, and
performance of program managers or line officers, then
we would see a marked
reduction in the broad-brush accusations of incompetence currently being slung
about on this website.
Instead, we continue to hear criticism from those who have yet to document any
qualifications as program managers, fire leadership
or line officer experience.
This is properly referred to as "running one's mouth".
So....if one lacks earned credentials, how do they gain a position of "voice"?
- One could approach people who have accepted employment knowing full well
the compensation, benefits, and
requirements of their position.
- Offer arguments to these people that, although their agency has held to
its side of the contract, the employee is being
- Convince them that they are "special" and should enjoy an "elite" status
among their co-workers.
- Identify yourself or group as their agent for change; change that will
bring them special recognition, benefits, and pay.
- Ask them to join your group in its efforts, and especially to send
If one cannot achieve success as a fire program leader, then one can become a
professional at "running one's mouth".
Old Fire Guy
In all fairness, we also have yet to see earned fire
credentials among most line officers as well, or maybe that's one of your
points? Just wonderin'... Ab.
||Re: do they still exist:
I have an 1.5 hr DVD copy of that Gleason presentation PM me and I will get you a copy if you like.
||Dear North Bay FC:
In an ideal world, all firefighters, regardless of agency would be on a level
playing field. The fact is they aren't. Federal wildland firefighters are
employed by federal land management agencies (particularly the Forest Service)
which continues to ignore the fact it fields the largest fire organization in
the world and continues to refuse to manage it as such and recognize its
employees as wildland firefighters.
It would be a similar situation if your city or county FD were managed by your
City or County Parks & Recreation Dist. It wouldn't work.
Most, if not all LG firefighters in California as well as Cal-Fire employees
have the right to negotiate pay & benefits. All federal employees do not. No one
is criticizing the collective bargaining process or the lucrative packages many
firefighters in California have negotiated over the years.
The missions of these firefighter groups...LG, State & Fed are different. Let's
be realists. Many of us on this site have been in the fire business for decades
and know that the vast majority of responses for LG & State firefighting
resources in CA are medical aids and non-fire calls. We all know that medical
aids and medical transports have been "the" key money making venture for many
fire departments in the state.
Remember a time when fire departments didn't have paramedics or ambulances. That
service was provided by a number of private ambulance services. The fire service
learned that this was a way to make money and now you can't become a firefighter
in CA without being a paramedic.
Both State & LG firefighters had to realize that while the living might be good
with their contracts in good economic times, communities would have to start
looking at all expenses when economic downturns occurred. Just look at the
example of the City of Vallejo who was bankrupt or nearly bankrupt as a result
of public safety costs.
Of course when any community starts to look at public safety as a place to cut,
the rapid response is that any cuts to public safety would automatically result
in significant increases in the risks to the Public's health & safety. Most
often, the fear works.
The federal fire programs ARE NOT under-funded. There is ample money
appropriated for the preparedness, suppression and hazardous fuels reduction
budgets to accomplish all goals AND properly compensate federal wildland
firefighters with portal to portal pay and other benefits enjoyed by many other
The problem again lies in the fact that those tasked with managing the federal
land management agency fire programs, particularly for the Forest Service, have
nary a lick of wildfire experience or expertise and certainly little to no
experience on how to manage such a large, 21st century fire organization. As a
result, much of these dollars are misused and diverted to pay for non-fire
projects. We have worked hard to demonstrate to OMB and members of Congress how
the mismanagement of these fire dollars are needlessly costing the American
taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars in suppression costs each season.
Your comment about mission retreat is the exact opposite of the concern of
Forest Service management...mission creep. The Forest Service firefighters, due
to the dynamics in California, often perform all-risk duties much to the chagrin
of the Forest Service leadership. In fact in recent years the Forest Service
leadership has done a lousy job of hiding its objective in CA and other parts of
the west of "reigning in fire."
Silly, idiotic decisions by Line Officers (those who manage the fire program but
collectively have little experience or expertise in fire) such as making
firefighters remove collar brass up in the Pacific North West; removing lights &
sirens from Forest Service engines in the Pacific Southwest and the absolute
nutty, anti-fire policies of the Forest Supervisor on the Los Padres National
Forest and the fact that the Forest Service continues to refuse to pursue proper
classification of their firefighters as such (they are currently classified by
the Office of Personnel Management as Forestry Technicians or Range Technicians,
clearly demonstrates that the playing field is anything but level.
Finally, the fact remains that the Forest Service and other land management
agencies, compensate Cal-Fire firefighters and most, if not all LG firefighters
in California 24/7 while on an assignment. This includes time in fire camp.
There would be no issue with this if the Forest Service also compensated their
own firefighters in a similar manner. They don't. The federal firefighters are
taken "off the clock" for a significant period of time within any 24 hour period
of time that the LG & Cal-Fire firefighters are being paid full 24/7 plus OT.
That is not a level playing field. There should be no animosity towards Cal-Fire
and LG folks about this because they have rightfully negotiated their pay &
benefits. The animosity is towards the federal government which continues these
abuses of their own firefighters.
There are many, many Cal-Fire & LG folks that our feds work with closely and who
share a common bond and respect and support the Feds efforts to improve things
for themselves. Sadly, since they don't have the right to negotiate pay &
benefits, the only way to change current policies for Feds is through the
legislative process i.e. Congress, which is stunningly frustrating & time
While the rank & file of many LG & Cal-Fire firefighters may be supportive of
our efforts, the leadership of those firefighters, the CPF & IAFF are not. The
IAFF condemned and threatened the Congressman who introduced our wildland
firefighter legislation last year and cut him off from FIREPAC contributions
because he had the "audacity" to introduce such a bill without consulting with
the IAFF...this despite the fact the IAFF does not represent ANY federal
wildland firefighter in any capacity.
Both the IAFF & CPF have declared the FWFSA a rival organization. Oddly, neither
the CPF or IAFF has demonstrated any professional courtesy in explaining why
they took such action...not only to the FWFSA but to the vast majority of their
own rank & file who are only learning of the action through the FWFSA.
It would be great if LG & Cal-Fire folks went to their union leadership and
asked "what tha..." It would be great if the IAFF & CPF would stop bullying
those that don't belong to their organization (federal wildland firefighters are
contractually represented by the National Federation of Federal Employees). The
FWFSA continues to support the legislative goals & objectives of the IAFF and is
often asked by congressional folks what we think of an IAFF initiative. Maybe if
the IAFF/CPF put as much effort into working with the Feds and the FWFSA as they
do bullying us, everyone might make some progress on Capitol Hill.
I suspect the IAFF could use the FWFSA's relationships with many Western
Republicans to once & for all achieve their long-standing # 1 legislative
priority of National Collective Bargaining & their federal firefighter cancer
presumptive legislation...both issues that have stagnated in Congress for nearly
We'd love to work with those organizations. Many of us gave the IAFF & CPF our
hearts & souls & money over many years and to be bullied and treated like 2nd
class citizens by their leadership is sad indeed. Conversely we remain humbled
and honored by the number of Cal-Fire firefighters who have joined the FWFSA to
support our efforts. Maybe the leadership of the IAFF & CPF should take notice
and finally listen to their dues paying members.
I must take exception to your statement that California should, “Turn over the
business of wildland firefighting to the best in the business, the FEDS.” Not
because I wish to engage in any debate of who provides a better or more
efficient service. That argument is pointless and only drags all of us down.
Rather than make blanket statements about which agency is supposedly better, why
not just recognize that we all (local, state, federal) have a serious challenge
in California with wildland fire protection. Shifting the burden or cost around
doesn’t address the core reasons why wildfire is such a problem in this state
nor does it reward any agency for being better than another. What is helpful to
this conversation is the recognition that all of California’s firefighting
resources are inter-related and dependant on one another.
||Shawn Price, passed away January 14, 2011
It's with much sadness that I share the news of Shawn's passing, last
evening, while surrounded by his family. He fought a very brave fight,
right up until the end, with the strength and courage of a true hero, a
Firefighter; we should all be very proud to have known him, worked with
him, and shared a portion of his bright and proud life.
We will share more information regarding services as soon as we know
more, and will include the family's address for cards and letters.
Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts during this difficult time.
I would personally like to thank all of you for the support you have
provided Shawn, his family, his friends, and his coworkers. It's truly a
blessing to be witness to such generosity and outpouring of support.
Fire Management Officer
Lava Beds National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument
Sad news, Syndy. Ab.
||Lessons Learned Center changes
The video was Paul Gleason talking about the cerro grande fire, to a s-490
That was a good, educational video. Moreover, it was great top see Paul in
||Exploding reactive metal in car on fire
I don't know which reactive metal it was but reactive metals have been used
since before WWII in vehicles like airplanes (Ricky Nelson's vintage DC-3 burned
up, killing him and others) and cars (engines, engine blocks, frames). The
advantage for their use is that reactive metals are lighter weight. However,
once they get burning it's hard to put them out, as water causes the fire to
explode. My family/friends found this out the hard way.
A number of years ago a volkswagen bus caught fire at our wilderness place.
About 4 of us ran back and forth to the creek dipping water with 3 buckets. We
were doing OK until one bucket toss caused the fire to explode. A piece of
"something" smaller than a pencil eraser hit the top of someone's heavy White
boot. We sloshed water on it but it kept on burning. Finally we immersed the
guy's foot in the bucket (consistent and aggressive application
of water). It went out. Needless to say the person had a nasty deep burn
on the top of his foot about the cross-section of a pencil eraser.
I did some research at the time (pre internet) and discovered some car and
plane parts are made of lightweight magnesium (or magnesium alloy which often
contains aluminum, another reactive metal). Magnesium or Mg/Al alloy was the
ingredient in the VW. Large parts made of Mg are less reactive than small shaved
or powdered pieces (old flash bulbs, fire works). Magnesium, once it's produced,
is covered by a thin layer of oxide that masks its reactivity. Get it hot
enough, though, even if a large car or vintage airplane part and it is highly
Once on fire, it's hard to put out. Adding water explosively produces
hydrogen gas and magnesium oxide. Hydrogen gas fuels the fire.
Magnesium use in cars (web abstract)
LAC HAZMAT article (pdf file)
NTSB report on DC-3 (no official mention of Mg though)
||Budgets and fire resources
Reply to Fire Watcher II
I not sure your post encourages debate but rather tit for tat arguments between
Federal, State and Local Firefighters. Can’t everyone see the similarities
between all three levels? It is Firefighter! Local Government agencies are under
the budget axes every bit as much as Cal Fire. Federal Fire programs are already
grossly underfunded, and it is a certainty that the next FY Federal budget won’t
be a continuation of current spending levels. Unfortunately the pay freeze is
only the first step. Mission retreat, responding only to wildfires is a recipe
for disaster for the Federal Fire Program, and is has already arrived in some
areas such as Whisky Town Unit of the NPS. All three levels, Federal, State and
Local are in the same budget boat and need to focus on the importance of the
mission we fill, how to do it cost effectively. Should budget reductions at the
level California is proposing occur it will certainly raise the risk to
firefighters and I for one don’t care from what agency a firefighter is from, I
want all of us safe. If there was ever a time to let go of who we work for and
look at all of us as trying to provide an adequate level of service and make a
decent living while doing it, now is the time.
North Bay FC
||Lessons Learned Center changes
"Do They Still Exist?"
I don't know. Do you know what the page was about?
The FS web has changed a lot in the last year. I thought the DOJ had made the
Lessons Learned Center
take down a number of Serious Accident Investigation Reports and FLAs, my
bookmarks didn't work, but
I finally found most of them. A lot of historical documents are gone from
individual forest websites.
If you knew what to search on you could probably find the info.
||FS Outreach database:
I don't know if this was already posted but the outreach database has been put
on the WWW so us laid-off folks
can check it out, which is awesome for me since I'd have to drive an hour in the
snow otherwise. I got a letter with
some other links as well that I attached if it is useful to anyone. I tested the
outreach link and it works and is
As I understand it, part of this is directly due to the new bargaining
agreement, so... props to the union.
-another pulaski motor
hrm.gdcii.com/ outreach/ Default.aspx
I couldn't open the attachments. The link is good, though. Ab.
||Budgets and fire resources
Dear AB & Mr. Wood:
I've snagged my husband's computer to write this. I am Casey Judd's wife. I know
he has responded to Mr. Wood but
I wanted to add something else.
Mr. Wood, Casey makes less than every FWFSA member. He receives no retirement or
benefits from the FWFSA for
what he does. In fact one of the reasons we moved to Idaho from Sacramento
California was so that he could afford to
keep doing this work on behalf of the FWFSA's members.
Some think he is some high-priced lobbyist. I wish. I have watched him over the
years, I have listened to him over the
years and his passion is contagious. I've read much of what he has written and
do not believe for a moment that he is
targeting private firefighters.
You need to understand that the 10, 25 & 35% figures are for total non-federal
fire suppression resource costs. This
doesn't mean each and every contractor, or state firefighter or local government
firefighter is going to see a 35% reduction.
I read recently where he stated that the way those resources could be reduced
was already happening in California where
the feds are telling the cooperators, I think that's the word, that their crews
would be on assignment or in camps maybe
1-2 days from now on instead of 3-5 getting paid 24/7.
Although I am biased, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.
||Budgets and fire resources
Dear Mr. Wood:
To you and others, I apologize for the length of this but it is imperative that
you have the facts, and not assume or infer our intentions with respect to our
The FWFSA is not a union although we have worked with the National Federation of
Federal Employees (NFFE) which represents most federal wildland firefighters
contractually under Title 5 of the USC on a number of issues.
Federal employees have typically been an easy target for politicians to go after
when the fiscal ills of the country, developed by actions from both parties over
many, many years, come into play. This is a result of the fact that federal
employees do not enjoy the rights many firefighters across the country have to
negotiate pay & benefits.
My post was not one of "alignment" but of concurrence with the Unions that
represent federal employees. It is my opinion that the federal employee pay
freeze, as it relates to "holding down federal spending" is akin to amputating
one's finger because you have a hang nail. No one in Congress wants to address
their lack of fiscal oversight of many of these federal agencies. Additionally,
our point to the Administration & Congress has been that those federal employees
who risk their lives protecting our Nation's natural resources, its citizens &
their property, as well as all federal assets from high-tech fighter aircraft to
nuclear facilities, are often found at the bottom of the federal employee pay
Further, I did not say it was "OK for private sector resources to be cut back
another 35%." Non-federal resources include far more than just the private
sector and I have been the first to suggest to the private sector that they in
fact are NOT the primary cause of skyrocketing suppression costs. I'm sure you
know, as well as I where the exorbitant costs are with respect to non-federal
In 2004 & 2006 we had a stand alone portal to portal bill introduced. It did not
include any offsets...mechanisms for paying for it. Given the obvious, the
non-federal resources, especially in California have become over-relied upon as
a result of the federal land management agencies unwillingness to take care of &
thus retain their own infrastructure pursuant to the National Fire Plan. There
are non-federal resources in California making stunning sums each busy fire
season... at the expense of our own federal wildland firefighters. And yes, I'll
be the first to stand up and say, federal tax dollars ought to go to the feds
You want to see our language and efforts to appease the private sector but you
are failing to realize that the FWFSA doesn't represent you. We represent
federal wildland firefighters. Are you suggesting that we do everything we can
for the private sector while it is the federal wildland firefighters who "pay
the freight" for our efforts through their dues?
Each group of resources that respond to wildfires, whether they be local
government, state, federal or private, have the right to petition Congress on
issues that affect them. We have clearly demonstrated to Congress that the
archaic pay & personnel policies still encumbering our firefighters have led to
needless increases in suppression costs.
Let's also talk brass tacks. You have every right to make a living. However, it
is our firm belief that the federal wildfire response, paid for with taxpayer
money, should not be a "for profit" business. Yet in the last decade or so, the
federal wildfire landscape has become a financial feeding frenzy for everyone
except federal wildland firefighters. You are in business to make a profit.
Bottom line. There is nothing wrong with that. But let's not be naive as to why
there has been a proliferation of private contract companies over the last
Let's knock off the Chicken Little rhetoric of "your bill is going to put us all
out of business; you're taking food out of the mouths of our children" etc.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We have always insisted to those in
Congress that our intent is not to eliminate non-federal resources from the
wildfire landscape. There is a place, and a need for all. But we cannot come out
in legislative language and say "in order to pay for PTP for feds, the land
management agencies have to only reduce the costs of local government
non-federal resources in California."
It is not up to us to decide how to reduce such non-federal costs. I can assure
you though that any effort to reduce costs... already going on in California,
has far less focus on the private sector than the cooperative agreements with
local government resources. The feds know who the good contractors are and I
cannot envision ANY impact to their use if our legislation is passed utilizing
the existing language.
As I suggested to Debbie Miley of the NWSA recently, the private sector's
"fight" isn't with the FWFSA. I suggested to her that she secure transcripts of
the recent congressional hearing in Pasadena that dealt with the Station Fire.
Not to deliberately inflame passions, but the IAFF representative"s only
objective at the hearing was to call on Congress to eliminate private resources
from the wildfire scene. Playing to the audience of homeowners who lost their
homes, the IAFF rep suggested to Congress that the residents deserved more than
untrained, unprofessional private firefighters on the scene and suggested
private resources be eliminated entirely. That Mr. Wood, is your fight.
Our alternative language for paying for PTP would be to ID any PTP costs to be
paid from the FLAME Act funding. If Congress wants to continue wasting hundreds
of millions of tax dollars each season on suppression while properly
compensating our folks on the incident, than so be it. Currently, since FLAME
Act monies have only been "authorized" and not "appropriated", staff in DC are
researching whether such language meets the requirements of the new rules.
With all due respect sir, if you want respect from the FWFSA... start paying
dues. Otherwise we have no loyalty to you. Our loyalty is to the men & woman who
serve this country and our goals & objectives are decided upon by those dues
paying members... as with any organization.
We have no problem working with the private sector but why should we be the ones
to offer alternative language to exclude your segment from any cost reductions?
It would seem to me that it would be your responsibility to offer alternative
language that would be acceptable to Congress.
Finally, I have never ever said that money is not all that important to federal
wildland firefighters. I have said that the draw to the business is not based
upon the desire to get rich. That being said, everyone has a right to make a
living & raise a family. I see you are in Reno. Try being a GS-4 on any of the
Southern California forests and try to make a living, let alone raise a family.
We don"t see a plethora of private firms based in Southern California. Rather
that belongs to the Pacific Northwest. Why?
Bottom line: Until the federal land management agencies (the Employer)
compensate their own firefighters in a similar manner as they do many
non-federal resources on the same incident for the same work, we will continue
to be outspoken as to where the waste is and how the failure of the Employer to
take care of their own has led to the skyrocketing, out-of-control cost of
suppression. Perhaps you ought to take a look at the food service contracts that
have surfaced in recent years. Do you think the "cottage industry" of services
found at any fire camp has developed to service federal wildland firefighters?
Please feel free to contact me any time at
||Exploding metal in car on fire
Just wanted to pass this info along to as many FF as possible.
L.A. Fire Captain Knocked Unconscious by Blast
(Ab note: Not a direct link. The article with photos currently can be found
if you click on through to page 2.)
In the comment section one person reported that some pieces
of metal blew out of the vehicle (almost hit firefighters)
and continued to burn on the ground. They were eventually put out with
consistent and aggressive application of water.
LA Fire Department Blue Sheet Firefighter Injury, Vehicle Fire (72 hr
report) (62 K pdf file)
||Lessons Learned Center changes?
I am looking for a video that you posted a link to (hover over this link to see it;
doesn't work now).
Is there any way to recover this discussion?
sign me, Do they still exist?
You might check YouTube. The LLC has a
number of videos posted there. Ab.
||from the Hotlist:
CalFire Cuts and Issues:
Cal-Fire budget proposal:
Ok, time for some debate.
1) all of you feds that went to Cal-Fire...time to come home. The grass isn"t
always greener,,er, uh, bluer.
2) I"ve been in the fire business 20+ years and I always thought 4-0 staffing
was for firefighter safety, not predicated on how many fires there are or how
big they get.
3) If SRA is reclassified and ends up returning responsibility to Local
Governments, than local governments can do what they do best...take advantage of
the federal government through FMAGs. I can see the FMAG applications going
through the roof.
4) Turn over the business of wildland firefighting to the best in the business,
the FEDS. Heck they just got hit with a 2 year pay freeze so there likely isn"t
too much sympathy from that side of the house for what is going on with
Cal-Fire. That way, at least the lower-paid federal firefighters (at least in
CA) will be earning the nearly billion dollars a year that their boss, the
federal government, pays to local government & State fire resources while taking
their own federal firefighters off the clock on the same assignment.
ok, that should be enough to start a brisk debate.
||Budgets and fire resources
In earlier posts you said that the FWFSA is not a Union; but now you are
aligning with the Unions to denounce the Federal pay freeze? Please comment
further. Also , your recent post said it is OK for the Private Sector resources
to be cut-back another 35 percent. How about you? Are you gonna take a 35% pay
cut? You have stated that you might be willing to change language in the 4488
Bill to be less offensive to private resources; let"s see it!
I think with the whole Nation is dealing with the current economic slump;
everyone is dealing with having less money to spend while prices of everything
goes up. Why should Federal firefighters not have to feel this pinch also? I
thought (from reading your earlier posts) that money was not all that important
to Fed. firefighters- that they are dedicated to helping the public Good, so
what if Federal don"t get a raise this year? Most of the American working class
isn"t getting a raise this year and most of the Contract companies have been
forced to take (by the Contracting Officers capping daily equipment rates) rates
that are lower than ten years ago! Several thousand contracted people- thinning
crews, firefighters- are sitting home unemployed this Winter and maybe next
Spring because the Fed.s have almost completely stopped all thinning and fuels
work in the National Forests.
Contracted Federal Resources are made-up of normal, average people with
families to feed, just like the State and Fed. full-timers. Perhaps in these
troubled times it would behoove groups like yours to show some compassion and
understanding for your fellow firefighters- many privately employed folks are
losing homes and businesses. It is a shame that the USFS can"t see beyond all
this in-fighting and get some real work done around communities at risk from
wildfire- this would be a prime time to employ thousands of folks, save the
forests, get economies going again in the hundreds of small towns across the
West that have been devastated economically by the lack of any real action
happening in our National Forests or from the timber industry.
Firefighters need to come together to support all of us- the IAWF needs to
tone-down the negative anti-contractor Dribble and so does the FWFSA. Perhaps,
if your outfit showed us more respect, we could be willing to lend a hand to
some of the FWFSA causes.
Rock Wood, Operation's Chief for Wood's Fire & Emergency Services, Reno, NV.
||Some discussion on the hotlist:
Pay and Benefits for Federal Employees
||Hi to all:
The FWFSA has joined the major federal employee labor unions in denouncing the
Administration & Congress' action of freezing federal employee pay. All too
often, federal employees are an easy target to go after to fix the fiscal ills
of the country. Sadly, those who make these knee-jerk decisions have little
understanding that those federal employees who risk their lives to protect our
Nation's natural resources, its citizens and their property from wildfires as
well as protecting all federal assets from high-tech fighter aircraft to nuclear
facilities, are found on the bottom of the federal pay scale.
Despite the freeze, the FWFSA has been in negotiations with members of Congress
as to who will take the lead on our wildland firefighter legislation this
session. Because of the rules changes recently made with respect to legislation,
its introduction and application, we will be looking at whether we need to
adjust some of our language to meet the new rules. That being said, we already
have folks on both sides of the aisle willing to take the lead on the full,
comprehensive bill that was introduced last session, or a version that might be
a bit more practical given the rules changes. More meetings and conference calls
with congressional members & staff will take place over the next 6-8 weeks.
More information will be available of the FWFSA web site once we are closer to
determining what will work this session.
One of the primary changes is that PAYGO is back in place. In other words, if
legislation is going to cost money, the bill must explain how it is to be paid
for. Last session's bill called for a systematic reduction of non-federal
suppression resource costs over a 3 year pilot program from 10% to 25% to 35% in
the final year.
This raised concerns from the private sector (contract firefighting groups) who
felt that such reductions would have a significant impact on their industry. We
communicated with these groups to try and allay their fears and we are
considering language that may be less objectionable to them.
That being said, I can say without reservation that the pay freeze for federal
wildland firefighters has likely eliminated any empathy there was for concerns
from any other segment of the wildland firefighting scenario about our language.
Quite candidly, if the feds are going to take a hit, then that hit ought to be
shared by all who make a living from wildland firefighting paid for with federal
I suspect the Forest Service in R5 will take steps on its own to start reducing
the length of time non-federal resources are on assignments, in camps etc. Not
only to reduce suppression costs but to make every effort for Line Officers to
be able to realize their "PR" savings. A bizarre accounting practice that is an
issue for an entirely different day.
The freeze will not impact our legislation in the least and in fact it will
fortify our resolve to continue to educate those on Capitol Hill about the
consequences of the freeze, especially as it relates to the delivery of the
federal wildfire response, and how the freeze will likely have the exact
opposite of its intent and actually lead to increased suppression costs.
||Customer Service and Professionalism
It is the responsibility of all of us
when the public stops or calls in with a question, info assistance, job
information or just to talk that we are there to help them.
Date: January 12, 2011
Subject: Customer Service and Professionalism
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors
As I have traveled around the Region meeting and talking with many of our
employees, I continue to be impressed with their professionalism, dedication and
hard-work, and am proud of the passion and love of the land they bring to their
I have had many conversations with members of the public who have been
complimentary of the work we do. They understand the complexities of managing 20
million acres in a state with 37 million people, and the 53 Congressional
districts and a nearly year-round fire season, which is impressive. This Region
has managed some remarkable achievements and I ask that you encourage your
employees to take time to think about these successes and be proud of their
As Forest Service employees, we make daily decisions about what is best for
the land – decisions that more often than not have an impact on the public. I
want us to continuously look at how we can do things better and be more
responsive to our customers as we make those decisions. As busy as we are, I
think we sometimes need to step back and remind ourselves that “Caring for the
Land and Serving People” is not just the Forest Service’s mission, but words to
live by as we move forward in 2011.
We have always prided ourselves on our relationships with our various publics,
whether they are forest visitors, Tribal members, partners or local and county
governments. As Forest Service employees, we understand that National Forest
System lands belong to all Americans. We need to follow all applicable rules,
regulations and policies, while at the same time being responsive and sensitive
to the public at all times.
It is my expectation that you will engage your staffs in a cascading dialogue,
similar to the discussions we have had on Safety with our staffs, reminding them
of this unique responsibility we have.
Our first Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot reminded his employees decades
ago to listen, be clear, and, above all, be respectful when working with the
public. This still holds true today. Please encourage your employees to live up
to our reputation as being responsive, caring customer service professionals and
remind ourselves that we are stewards of the public’s land.
/s/ Randy Moore
||I've posted some historic Dalton HS photos from the mid-80s on
Handcrews 28, compliments of Bernie. Read the photo descriptions for crew
You can browse through more of his growing Dalton HS
collection here on flickr:
Thanks, Bernie. You all look so young. Ab.
||CalFire Budget Proposal
Governor Brown’s budget proposal is bold and makes a serious effort at
addressing the fiscal crisis California faces. Everyone will be forced to take a
hard look at funding and try to make the argument that the reductions in a
particular department warrants additional reductions in another Department, so
the debate is finally based, all be it very late, on the fact that the well is
dry and there is no more money.
The budget proposes major changes in the mission for CalFire. Re-classification
of SRA to eliminate the higher density developed areas stating that the
development was under local control is a legitimate argument. The other major
proposal is to eliminate the 4-0 staffing paid out of the E-Fund and return to
2003 staffing levels. This reduction is based on the statistic that the
percentage of fires contained under 10 acres hasn’t been reduced with the
additional staffing and this argument also has legitimacy. The reclassification
of the SRA has provisions to return control and some funding to the local level,
County or District. The enticement of additional funding may help this proposal
Hopefully this debate will deal with the effectiveness, safety and cost of the
fires that go extended, type 1 and mega. While these proposals will certainly
save money in the cost of IA availability, the next question that must be
answered is what it will do to the ability to deal with the 10% of fires that go
above 10 acres.
- Who would pay for fires in these areas?
- Is there is a single fire district that could fund a small portion of a
type 1 incident or a serial arsonist that causes a dozen extended attack
fires in one season?
- What is going to happen to the all-risk readiness while fighting fires
in these areas?
- Will these “high density” areas be large enough to suffer a type 1
incident totally within the local jurisdiction?
- If so, who will be in command and control?
- Will Local entities be forced to rely on mutual aid, and agencies
sending mutual aid have to roll the dice that the incident will become
declared a “disaster” to receive any reimbursement?
Assistance for hire through the multi party agreement is about the most
expensive way to get resources to a fire, and it is likely that you will see a
major increase of assistance for hire if the proposal goes through without some
changes. This could also open the door to a major increase in contractors at
large incidents. While it is true that the development was under local control
when approved, the wildfire protection was provided by the State, right or wrong
when these developments were approved.
While it is probably true that 4-0 staffing hasn’t had a significant effect in
changing the number of fires contained less than 10 acres that is only one
measurement of engine company effectiveness. The Blue Ribbon report from the
2003 So-Cal fires recognized the huge advantage when working structure
protection that 4-0 staffing allows the engine to work two lines at possibly two
structures without leaving someone alone. When resources are spread thin, 4-0
staffing greatly extends the effectiveness of the engines allowing containment &
control quicker. The total elimination of 4-0 staffing may not save any money
even in the short run, but is hard to quantify what 4-0 staffing saves in any
Once again the question is the definable cost of IA resources at the ready
verses the unpredictable cost of incidents that go larger and longer, not to
mention the additional damage inflicted by the fire. What is the cost to local
municipalities to take on this responsibility and what will the impacts be on
their current mission while working these fires they will now be responsible
for? While there are cost saving measures such as increased use of staffing
patterns that have a better chance of saving dollars at the end of the day, it
is likely that a hard factual study of these issue and others will show that
these across the board reductions will not save the State or economy any money
over a cycle of slow and busy fire seasons.
North Bay FC
||To All Who Served On the Station Fire
No Name --
Not practicing law but looking for clarification.
What you're saying about the GAO (congressional) "review" (another
investigation) of the Station Fire is that if you participate, you may be
endangering your 5th Amendment rights against self incrimination. Anything you
say can later come back to bite you in a criminal or civil case. In fact, if you
remember what happened one way at one time and another way another time like
Ellreese did, you can be convicted of lying --at the very least.
Further, you are saying that the rules have changed recently for state and
local cooperators: NO Indemnification Clauses. You're giving a heads up
that our interagency firefighting brothers and sisters now face the same risks
and attacks by prosecutors that fed firefighters have faced since Cramer and
30-mile. That state and local firefighters now also can be criminally charged
and go bankrupt fighting the charges (--hmmmm, to me that sounds like "guilty
until you pay thru the nose to prove your innocence").
- The Type 3 IC on Cramer had to cop a guilty plea bargain because he did
not have the professional liability insurance or the personal financial
resources to fight for and explain his innocence.
- The Type 3 IC on 30-mile remembered one thing (probably filling in holes
in his memory due to the stressful circumstances) and later was contradicted
by others and found guilty of lying. His only failing was to try to do the
job the FS at the time said he was qualified to do.
Now County, City and State firefighters in addition to Fed
firefighters on the Station Fire IF THEY TALK are all at risk of
- going to jail for human decisions made in a stressful and complex
- having to pony up big legal defense bucks if they don't have
professional liability insurance, or
- LATER being liable to be charged criminally and found to be "liars" or
"criminals" if they fill in memory holes or mis-remember (due perceptual
biases, or to failure under stress to get perceptions and short term
memories into long term memory storage).
Please correct me if I'm wrong or let's clarify if we need to. We need a Just
Culture for all wildland firefighters. We don't need more wildland firefighters
doing their jobs in high risk fire environments and high reliability
organizations being threatened with jail for being human.
Please, if you do not have Professional Liability Insurance, get it. It's a
small investment for the advice and defense you will get.
I believe there's a 5 year statute of limitations. So No name, what you're
proposing is "no talking without your lawyer" for 5 years...
||To All Who Served On the Station Fire
GAO ( the Congressional investigatory part of Congress) has launched its
"review" of the Station Fire. The distinction of a "review" vs an "
"investigation" is one of semantics. They both have the same consequences. A
statement made in the "review" can turn into a "statement of fact" in some type
of later to be determined "investigation" sometime into the future. The track
record is not good. The 30 Mile debacle is the ultimate evidence of good
intentions gone bad.
The Station Fire is still a criminal instigation! GAO is not part of it.
--Federal Personnel still employed-- Lawyer up. If you have
Personal/Professional Liability Insurance, file your claim now.
--Federal Retirees You do not have to talk to anyone Lawyer up
--Local Government -- Lawyer up -- Your City/County Attorneys do not have a
clue as to the significance of this. Have them look at the Local Government
Agreements and have them notice the Indemnification Clauses no longer exist.
These clauses went away when the Standard Format for local agreements was
implemented. Summarizing this event, Local Government is screwed.
And, last, a reminder that is best not to practice law without a license!
Seek Counsel, ask the tough questions.
I am saddened and sorry to hear of the passing of Steve Blest. What a great guy.
As an airtanker pilot, I worked many fires in R3 with Steve as Air Attack. He
was always so level headed and
focused on the bigger picture of herding the fire where we wanted it to go.
Steve was always very professional,
but with a great sense of humor and he made all of us guys in the air look good
on the job.
I offer my sincere condolences to his family.
||Services for Steve Blest
We will have a memorial service for our dad this
Friday, January 14, 2011
Daniels Family Funeral Home
7601 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
We also ask that anyone wanting to make a donation can direct it to the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation in our dad's name.
Thank you all for your support during this difficult time.
The family of Steve Blest
So Steve has passed on. Our loss. I hope many will be able to attend. (First
post from Steve's family) Ab.
||Lookin for Hotshot Info and Updates
So after a long transition - and a very slow fire season - the
california hotshotcrews.org site is on its way to becoming just a little more
functional. It has been a slow and/or learning process...still learning
I thought Id send out an outreach to all the TheySaid-ers out there:
The Vista Grande Hotshots are looking for old Crew Pics. They are currently
working to put together a timeline via Crew Pictures - mainly the older years -
if anyone has any info, please eMail me at the California Hotshot Crews website.
Hopefully, everyone has seen the
blog/site. Some of the OG fellas are working to put together a reunion too,
but for now they are looking to piece together as much history and pictures as
they can. Again, if anyone has info eMail myself or the OG guys at their
I still need updates, history, pictures, and contacts to a lot of the Cali Crews
too. So take a look and see where you can help me patch the holes.
Californiahotshots@ nospam gmail.com
Nice job. Good luck with patching those holes, hotshots. Hey, OG fellas,
your site lights up my whole office at night. Wowsers, power of billions of
fireflies but a bit greener! I added your link to the
to Fire Manager History page. Glad you're all capturing that history. Ab.
||Shawn Price Family
Today, in my mail I got a hand written note from Betty
Price on behalf of the Shawn Price Family, thanking me
for the care, concern and generosity for Shawn.
I was so touched that during such a hard time, she would take the time to thank
me. It was my pleasure, and it
only took a few minutes to write out a check and pop in the mail box the next
time I left the house. I would have
sent more, but honestly, money is pretty tight this winter. We didn't get very
much OT this past season, and if the
retention bonus are to get cut, it will be even tighter- but I wanted to give
something to a fellow fire family that
was more in need than we are.
Thanks for the thanks, Betty, ...it is also much appreciated.
Shawn Price, Captain 74 at Lava Beds National Monument, was diagnosed with
advanced pancreatic cancer in late October 2010. The cost of his special medical
flight home to his family was very costly. You can help them out. Ab.
Donations can be made to:
First State Bank of Newcastle, Wyoming
Shawn Price Fund (Steve Price)
PO Box 910
Newcastle, WY 82701
Acct # 17999, Routing # 102301 775, Phone: 1-307-746-4411 or 1-888-788-2892
If you'd like to send a card or letter to Shawn and his family, the mailing
Shawn Price c/o Betty Price
PO Box 225
Osage, WY 82723
||I have been offered 2 jobs. one with the Navajo hotshots (BIA) in AZ and one
with the Golden Eagle hotshots
(BIA) in CA. I have tried doing a little research on both, but am still
undecided. Any suggestions?
I'd be happy to copy, paste and pass on any suggestions. Ab.
||CalFire Cuts and Issues
Well the bomb dropped for some CalFire
Firefighters that won't have jobs this year if Gov. Brown has his way. He
proposes cutting the forth firefighter from all engine companies in State
stations. He also wants to trim back SRA (State Responsibility Area) to be
reassigned to LRA ( Local Responsibility Area ) thus cutting CalFire's budget
millions of dollars. As a department that has first responders in SRA, It is
required to assist local government in EMS where ever it has a closest unit.
This will change under Gov. Brown's budget. Will the public go along with this?
Will this become a setback that could effect the initial response to wildland
threats? What's your thoughts on this?
||Thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost their lives today in Tucson,
Arizona. We pray for Representative
Gifford's fast recovery, we pray for her family and the families and friends of
all the victims of today's senseless
Thanks to all the First Responders and health care professionals for doing what
Appreciate if you could pass this along to your readership. Thanks.
The International Association of Wildland Fire is accepting nominations for its
Wildland Fire Safety Award to be presented
at IAWF’s 11th Wildland Fire Safety Summit® in Missoula, Montana, April 4-8,
For furthermore information, go to:
International Association of Wildland Fire
||Status of injured KY FF Don Lam:
Got this from GA Peach: It's making the rounds in R8 and beyond. This message
from Hannah was sent on Jan 5th.
Update on Don Lam, KY Division of Forestry firefighter injured back in
Back in September, a friend of mine was injured while fighting fire in
Livingston County, Kentucky. His condition has been steadily improving in
the last few months and he had even began to eat on his own and was in good
enough condition that his doctor's had released him to go home.
Regretfully, since just before Christmas his condition has deteriorated to
the point where they had to airlift him back to the Evansville, Indiana
hospital where he was taken just after the accident. Within the last few
days, his family has been faced with the difficult decision of taking him
home to make him comfortable in the care of Hospice. He should be arriving
at home later today. The prognosis is not good and his family was told that
he may not make it through the next couple of weeks.
Please lift his family and his work family up in prayer. This has been a
very difficult time for all of them. I was also told that there was a
burning ban in place when Don was injured and the responsible party is
scheduled to be in court next week. Several of Don's co-workers were served
with subpoenas and will be testifying in the case.
The message below contains an address if you would like to send a card.
Thanks in advance for your prayers,
This is the account for donations:
First Southern National Bank
P.O. Box 379
Princeton, KY 42445
Attn: Friends of Don Lam Account
If you want to send a card to his family, please email Ab for the address.
(I don't want to post it here without permission.) I'm keeping Don and his
family in my thoughts and prayers. Ab.
||Steve Blest, good memories
Just wanted to share this on Steve Blest. We started our careers together on
the Silver City Hotshots in 1980. Our Superintendent was George Grijalva and
Steve was referred to as the "old man" on that first day. Alot of the folks on
the crews acquired nicknames as they did stupid things. We spent many times on
buses heading to fire camp and Steve always had info on places we were going to.
He had a degree in Russian history and one day I asked him "Why did you get a
degree in Russian history?" His only reply was that he had to major in something
so it might as well been that. We parted ways in 1982 when I went on to work for
the Heber Hotshots (now the Black Mesa Hotshots). I am from Silver City so I
would go visit Steve when I went home to see my folks and family. I remember the
power hikes we did above Ft. Bayard and the little "scams" we had going.
There were many things I learned from Steve and many things we shared
together. One thing Steve always did no matter where we were in the country was
to buy a newspaper and get updated on national and whatever events were going on
locally. We were in Virginia once and he told me "This is where those Virginia
hams come from" I decided to try some when they took us to one of those buffets
the south is famous for and that was the saltiest piece of meat I ever bit into.
We would lose track of one another and then I would hear his voice over the
radio as he flew over the fire I was on or as he flew over our forest. I could
get on the radio and say a certain term in Spanish and he knew who said it and
of course it ended up with us having a beer and catching up at the end of the
day. I always thought when I retired I would go to his house and we could laugh
at all the old times and the people we dealt with but I have a few years to go
and now I realize that its not going to happen.
I remember his kids growing up and there are so many other stories I cannot
share. Elaine, Judy and Brian, you know how great your Dad is and so do I. I
spent time with him from coast to coast and there are not many of us from the
1980 crew left still working for the government. The memories I have of your
father were some of the best of my life. I probably could type more but my tears
are clouding up my view of the screen.
||WY Forestry Division logo needed, from mid-1950's
I have viewed your Wildlandfire Logo pages and they are fantastic!
I wonder if you could help me find a Wyoming Forestry Division logo from the
mid-1950's? I am restoring a
1957 GMC Suburban 4x4 that was retired years ago from the WFD and I have
spent countless hours searching
to find the door logo image. I found and then lost the image a couple years ago
using Google, and cannot find it
again. I sent a request to the WYD and they replied that they don't have the
time to look! Any leads would be
||Scott "Hoss" Morgan CA-LPF-ORD has officially retired
Could you please spread the word that Scott "Hoss" Morgan CA-LPF-ORD has
officially retired!!!! He has been my Captain/Mentor/Friend for the last three
years...I am trying to put together a video of memories for him and really need
some help...I believe Hoss started his career sometime around 78-79 on the Ojai
Hotshot's then went on to be a member of the Rose Valley Flight Crew later to be
re-org'd into the Casitas Helitack module that was one of the first to implement
the "Firestop" program (i believe that's what it was called) that used a T-1
ship to deliver a hand crew to fires (Sundowner Fire Crew, AD fire crew on the
Ojai was the guinee pigs i believe) and also served as a FPT and then ending his
career as CPT 55...building up the Wheeler Gorge Fire Station (where i am
currently the AFEO) from scratch during the MEL build up!! What i'm hoping the
WLF community can give me is.....anyone who had the pleasure/honor of working
with Hoss on any of these modules PLEASEEEEEE email me a video of yourself
talking about a memory of Hoss that i can include in the video i am making
(pictures would be a major bonus too!!)...ie funny stories, a certain memory you
may have, or just a farewell statement...If you do not have the means to send an
actual video, an E-mail with your thoughts or well wishes will suffice and i
will print them all out and present them to him with the video...This
extraordinary man has spent over 30 years of his life dedicated to the USFS and
ALL on the same district!!!...i know you're out there!! Please help me wish Hoss
a final farewell into retirement and on to the life we all dream about!!!!
crew8lospadres@ nospam hotmail.com (Please remove the nospam and spaces.)
Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing the stories!!!
If your creations are too large for a hotmail account, contact me, send 'em
here and I'll figure out how to get them to Scotty. Good luck with that. Scotty.
||Ab, does anyone know how this KY firefighter is doing? Recovering, I hope.
Don Lam, Forest Ranger Technician for the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF),
is currently in serious condition at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville after
being airlifted following the accident. Preliminary investigations report that
Lam was struck from a rolling log—a burning snag approximately 10 ft in length
that broke loose and rolled off a bluff. The impact has left Lam unconscious and
with serious injuries including second degree burns
||Re: Drug Testing
A high creatine level (as one would see with high water consumption) does not
pop up as positive on the drug
testing. It reports the findings as creatine levels higher than normal and are
usually given the green light to pass
the person. It's only if a test pops positive for something else that matters
are elevated higher.
A belated that-you for the box of Christmas toffee from Idaho Candy
Co. for families of fallen firefighters.
I finally ate my last piece even though I rationed it, hid it and finally just
splurged. And thought of Matt,
with every bite, who I know wouldn't have let me take so long to eat it!!
Sarah (Matt Taylor's mom)
Readers, Matt was a Prineville hotshot who died of a brain tumor in 2004.
This community worked with his family and Lance Honda Prineville Supe, raised
money and even held a belt buckle auction, in which Dan Fiorito (Union HS
Supe) and Yactac drove the price way up. Every Christmas Matt's mom Sarah gets
something special from us with logistics coordinated by the WFF. (Many thanks,
Always Remember! Many families of our fallen firefighters receive some
treat at Christmas to be reminded they are not alone, that others remember their
fallen sons and daughters, too. Christmas is a hard time to be without loved
ones. If you haven't supported the
please contribute. Ab.
When I was in college and playing college sports, the NCAA was just starting to
initiate a random drug testing criteria for athletes. Our athletic trainer got
all of the players together at the beginning of the year to talk to us about it.
She advised avoiding several major retailers of nutrient supplementer because
they had a tendency to be contaminated during the manufacturing process with
chemicals that would create a positive drug test. I am not sure the FS is
looking for steroids but its a thought to keep in mind.
As far as DARE!'s post is concerned-
I know there are places and crews that if forced to do a drug test there would
be lots of new hiring, but to assume that that is an across the board statistic
is wrong. There are many places and crews that are straight as an arrow and
thats how it should be. Just because it is more accepted in society doesn't mean
it should be accepted at all in the FS. I don't want a drunk or high firefighter
or policeman showing up to my emergency and I sure as heck don't want to be on
the line with either of those either. It's hard enough trying to keep myself and
my buddies safe without them being unable to comprehend whats going on.
college student firefighter.
||Drug testing on theysaid
I think you all are taking the posts regarding
tampering/verification out of context. People can, and have been,
fired simply for "failing" a drug test because their urine sample has tested
positive for one of the tampering
agents/signals, even when they have not tampered with their drug test.
So....for instance, firefighters drink large amounts of water on a daily basis
because they need to stay hydrated.
It would be quite easy for a lab to assume that you are trying to dilute your
sample and send back a failed
result to your employer. Lots of firefighters take creatine (and other various
powdered substances during fire
season). Taking a creatine supplement on a daily basis could raise creatinine
levels- and so can muscle
metabolism apparently. Retests may clear you....then again they may not if you
are doing these things on a
Labs just test for what they are told to, and send the results back to your
employer. There's lots of supplements
out there, lots of new fads....if the FS does decide to implement random drug
testing, do your research, watch
what you are consuming. You could easily get in trouble even if you have not
done anything wrong.
||This is in response to "DARE!"'s post about random drug testing and use in
I'm not sure how things operate at your duty station, but it must be very
different from what I have experienced in the USFS. I find your post to be
foolish and insulting. All of the modules that I have worked for have had a
strictly enforced drug policy. Random drug testing would not bother me in the
least (personnel with a Class B drivers license already get tested through the
DMV). I know that some people would be weeded out here and there, but the Type 1
community certainly would not be "decimated". Your stereotyping of "young, fit,
looking for adventure, college students, outdoors type" as drug abusers is
A fit, looking for adventure, college graduate, outdoors type, drug free, IHC
||Shawn Price (Captain 74) Fundraising event, taken from the flyer...
Price has worked for the past 6˝ years as an engine captain
at Lava Beds National Monument. He was diagnosed with advanced
pancreatic cancer in October 2010. Since the diagnosis his health
has continued to deteriorate. Shawn’s family arranged for a life
flight for him to get him home in December to be close to family and
friends. His health insurance will not cover the cost of the flight to
Wyoming, as it was not a medical necessity.
Fundraiser and Luncheon to benefit Shawn Price
What: BBQ Lunch: Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Jambalaya, etc.
Bake Sale: Contributions
Where: Tule Lake Fire Engine Bay
Road, Tule Lake
When: 12:00 Wednesday, January 19
Cost: Suggested $5 donation
Please reply to ruth_m_johnson@ nospam fws.gov by 1/14/11 if you plan
on attending. (Please remove the nospam and spaces.)
If anyone would like the flyer that's making the rounds, please let me
know and I'll email it.
Let me add that if you'd like to contribute to help defray costs, you can do
that too. Here's the
Shawn Price Story with addresses I put into html last fall for easy viewing.
Here's an idea. We could all send in our $5 (or more) and have a virtual Shawn
Price luncheon on that day. Ummmm, hot dogs. Ab.
||This seemed an appropriate forum to post some updates on my dad, Steve
I know many out there know him and may be interested in sending your thoughts
and prayers his way. Since Sept 2009 he has been battling advanced lung cancer.
In November 2010, he decided to stop treatment and focus on spending his
remaining time with his family here in Albuquerque. In the past 2 months he's
been able to smile and play with his grandson, Hunter. My sister, brother, and I
have been by our dad's side every day, remembering stories and people together,
and making some new memories. Several close friends have come to visit or sent
notes over the holidays and I know he has really appreciated that. And still
others recently have helped pack and move my dad's belongings back to NM -- we
can't thank you all enough!
We set up an email address for anyone else who would like to contact my dad:
sblest09@ nospam gmail.com (take out the nospam and spaces)
I know many of you will be in Albuquerque next week. I will try to keep you
posted via this website or through some of dad's fire friends who have been in
touch. We will check this email address regularly and will also make information
available of memorial services when it comes to that.
One request our family has is for any fire pictures and poems you might have.
(Ab's bold) We would like to put together a slideshow of dad's life. You
can send them via email, as well.
The family of Steve Blest
(Elaine, Julie, and Brian)
Elaine, I am so sorry to hear this. Our best thoughts and prayers for
Steve and your family.
Readers, for those who don't know, Steve has been the Assistant State Aviation
Manager in the Arizona BLM Organization. He's an ATGS, I believe. Please share
photos or poems with Steve (the sky snake) and his family as they review and
celebrate his life and accomplishments. Ab.
||drug testing, retention and thanks to Casey and Dan:
A few comments on
some good posts out there.
Northright said - Personally I like to have sober people on the line with me -
AMEN Brother or Sister (who ever you are).
To add some comments on Mr. Sutton's briefing paper on what seems to be the
preferred option. This option is administratively unmanageable for a large
organization such as the Forest Service. How do I know this? Two reasons: 1) The
option only expands the complexity of the current random drug testing system
that tests only commercial drivers take. 2) The Chief of Forest Service said in
a 2008 letter that our current drug testing system is not being managed properly
(which continues today) and has potentially hundreds of commercial drivers, that
due to HR processing errors, supv failures or lack of knowledge and other
administrative issues mostly related to the centralized HR at ASC, are not
unknowingly not in the drug testing pool; however they are out there driving
commercially. Solve the problem by testing ALL Forest Service FAM personnel.
Duty, Integrity and Respect = Not being a drug user or alcohol abuser.
To Casey and Dan regarding your update on retention and other comments; Thanks
for all you do. Thousands of us have a high level of appreciation for your
continued efforts, updates and support. In short, we all owe you. That must be a
good feeling. Your continued support for Wildland Firefighters is needed now
more than any other time in the past two decades. You are us, we are one!
Finally to our GS7 Helicopter Squad Bosses. Congratulations on your
non-competitive promotions. If you have not started the process for your upgrade
or have not seen the letter with all the attachments, let someone know. We might
be able to get the complete correspondence for you posted in this forum. Again,
congratulations and much deserved.
||Hiring and points and drug testing:
After reading the messages from MJ
concerning Vets points and drug testing I felt the need to respond.
There are a few inaccuracies.
First vets points are a consideration in FS hiring. In the old days when I first
dealt with it, personnel told
me that they had to use the rule of three which said that if there are three or
more 10 point ( disabled )
vets then one of them have to get the job. I'm being told now by HR that's not
true and all vets are
I believe there are four levels of 10 point vets ranging from disabled , but
receiving no compensation to
a 30% or more disabled vet.
Most non disabled vets are 5 point, but again I think they had to serve while
there was a campaign going
My wife gets the 10 point preference from our disabled son that passed away.
The important message is yes vets. preference is a major consideration in FS
hiring. There are all kinds of
rules and regulations that cover this.
Management says that the FS is the agency of choice for drug users because we
don't test everyone and it
is a major problem. In my 30 + years on the fireline that's not what I've
experienced. The large percentage
of any problems were with contractors, ADs, or other agencies personnel.
As many that grew up during the 60s would say " I studied for years for these
tests so they were no problem".
It makes more sense to have these tests for reasonable suspicion rather than
random. The tests cover a
wider range of drugs including more prescription which are the drugs of choice
nowadays. If we are going
to random lets start with Tom Harbour and work our way down.
The cost of adding these new positions to the pool is estimated between 1.3 to 4
million dollars. This at a
time when the prediction is for a 10% to 15% reduction in the fire budget for
||Hiring and points:
A 5 point Vet preference has nothing to do with disabilities, it is a preference
that you get for being in the Service for a
specific time period or for a campaign badge or expeditionary medal. For example
during the 80's you had to have been
in a war zone to get a campaign badge or expeditionary medal. During Gulf War I
from 91-92 everyone who was in the
service got the 5 point preference no matter where they were at. This changes it
seems with each new President and what
they want to do.
A 10 point vet is someone with a 30% compensable disability coming out of the
For agencies that have a test to qualify like the old civil service test a vet
might get 5 or 10 extra points depending on what
they qualify for. If agencies don't have a test to qualify then the 5 or 10
points just becomes a preference, and that is where
most agencies are nowadays. Hope this helps...
||Hey this is awesome! Getting some answers. So..... What is veterans
preference then? If the points arent really
a part of FS hiring, what advantage is vets pref? Is it a. "option" for mangers
to use at there discretion?
Thanks for the help
||If the USFS ever implemented a serious drug testing program, we couldn't
even put a Trails Crew together. Much less an IHC. The Type 1 community would be
decimated. Heck, not just the fire folks either. What would this mean for the
Recreation and Trails departments or the guy/gal in the next office?
It's everywhere and everyone knows it.
The USFS is just a segment of society, and a society where drug use is becoming
more widely accepted. Then look at our demographic for hiring that we take out
of that society, Young, fit, looking for adventure, college students, outdoors
type. It's mind blowing that we are just now talking about drug testing.
It is my belief that the reason we don't have a drug testing program is because
management knows what havoc it will reek and chooses to look the other way.
This has been and will continue to be the green 900lb smoking gorrilla in the
||Random Drug Testing:
I've been part of the random drug testing pool for ages. Thanks to a Commercial
D.L. What I do not understand is why
the US Government is not a drug free
work-place? Why can we not just make everyone employed for the USDA submit
random drug tests? Are we worried all the cattle inspectors will quit? In the
private sector for pretty much any job these
days you have to submit to a
pre-employment and random drug tests during your tenure. I went about looking up
information for everyone's enjoyment.
#1 Snopes: During the early years people did test positive for Opiates by eating
poppy seed muffins. This prompted a
raise in the level required to test
positive. So that you can eat two poppy seed muffins a day and still not test
#2 What they test for is a second major question that comes up. They usually
test for commonly abused substances.
Pain pills, THC, Opiates, etc.
#3 General information about the laws and regulations and how they actually
#4 How long will I test positive for? Some things as little as 2-4 hours and as
long as 5-6 weeks.
#5 What is creatine checked for? They just use it to see if you screwed with
your urine sample. Low levels of creatine
suggest that you tried to dilute it.
High levels show that it is a good sample and that it is a viable test.
Personally I like to have sober people on the line with me.
Hear, hear. Thanks, Ab.
Lots of questions about the R5 retention bonus, special pay etc., as it relates
to the President & Congress' Grinch-Like Christmas present of a pay freeze.
Dan Duefrene. Regional VP for NFFE was kind enough to call me today and chat
with me to fill me in on what they know so far.
Apparently OPM issued their annual call letters on Special Pay yesterday. This
means that there appears to be no change or impact on special pay by the freeze.
As I understand it, there was still money left from the original $25 million for
FF retention budgeted for 2011. I am hopeful as Dan is that the RO will get some
clear information out to all sooner rather than later.
For those of you on the LP, NFFE is addressing the hiring of temps by the Forest
Supervisor within their rights under the exclusive bargaining contract and the
FWFSA will be addressing the issue with members of Congress who represent areas
surrounding the LP as early as Saturday as I travel to Carmel to meet with Rep.
Sam Farr to discuss his role in our legislation for this session.
Both NFFE and the FWFSA strongly believe that crew cohesion is absolutely
critical and the desire to be diverse notwithstanding, PFT firefighters deserve
to have those who have worked with them previously as temps be at the forefront
of hiring for the season. If the Agency is serious about firefighter safety,
then it has to understand that diversity cannot be the priority if it
compromises crew safety.
More to follow.
||Hiring and points:
The veterans points you are referring to, (5 or 10 point) are not FS terms.
They are designations the
military uses for different levels of service-associated disabilities.
For example, a 10-point vet might be someone who lost both legs in combat.
A 5 point vet might be someone who just lost hearing in one ear. (both just
examples, might not be 100%
The spouse of a veteran killed in combat also gets a point count with the
military, I'm not sure which one.
These points are used by the VA and the military to determine how fit for
a certain job a disabled person
form the military is. They have nothing at all to do with USFS hiring.....
Thanks for all the info, MJ. Ab.
Having been involved with 3 different types of emergencies this past year
(Flood/ Fires/ and Oil Spills) I thought it might
be important to pass along a little medical knowledge/lingo that I gleaned along
the way from these emergencies.
Could be useful to the EMTs and medical staff in our business.
Artery...................... The study of paintings
Bacteria.................... Back door to the cafeteria
Barium..................... What doctors do when patients die
Benign...................... What you be, after you be eight
Caesarean Section.... A neighborhood in Rome
Cat scan................... Searching for Kitty
Cauterize.................. Made eye contact with her
Colic......................... A sheep dog
Coma........................ A punctuation mark
Dilate........................ To live long
Enema....................... Not a friend
Fester........................ Quicker than someone else
Fibula........................ A small lie
Impotent.................... Distinguished, well known
Labour Pain............... Getting hurt at work
Medical Staff............. A Doctor's cane
Morbid....................... A higher offer
Nitrates...................... Cheaper than day rates
Node......................... I knew it
Outpatient.................. A person who has fainted
Pelvis......................... Second cousin to Elvis
Post Operative........... A letter carrier
Recovery Room......... Place to do upholstery
Rectum.......................*** near killed him
Secretion.................... Hiding something
Seizure....................... Roman emperor
Tablet......................... A small table
Terminal Illness........... Getting sick at the airport
Tumor........................ One plus one more
Urine.......................... Opposite of you're out
||Re: Mellie's post about testing positive for THC or poppy seed bagels:
Mellie, The Government's contracted labs to test personnel for drugs have
'threshold testing levels"
established for each drug. For example, a tiny amount of THC would register as a
negative test. As would
a poppy seed bagel. The amount of opiate in each one is too small.
They have done extensive testing about background levels of these drugs to
determine these levels. For
example, for someone to test positive for THC , they would have to either smoke
pot, (more than just
once, too) or be locked in a room with pounds and pounds of burning pot to get
urine threshold levels
that high. "Second-hand smoke" would not trigger a positive test.
Same with poppy seeds. the testing has shown you would have to eat many, many
pounds of pure poppy
seeds, unbaked, to test positive for an opiate. So again, that would be under
the threshold levels.
The only way someone in the USFS tests positive for a drug, is if they have been
using it, period.
There is a lot of info about drug testing in the Federal Gov, and threshold
levels in testing, on the internet.
Re random drug testing. The link to "alwaystestclean" posted earlier is
basically to a site selling products designed
to allow you to pass a drug test despite being a "casual user." I'm not naive,
but I am wondering where under
Duty, Integrity and Respect this would fall. With budgets being slashed,
salaries frozen and modules eliminated,
this is the kind of crap our detractors will exploit. Some things are really
better left out of public forums, IMHO.
Happy New Year, be safe.
JH There's no way we advocate drug use or tampering.
That said, I hope that there can be a discussion about what are standard drug
tests, how they work, what they test, their false-positive rates, etc.
Firefighters should know how some fairly standard drug tests might result in
false positives for wildland firefighters possibly due to physical demands of
training and the job, or smoke conditions, or consumption of current fad power
drinks, or... poppy seed bagels. We don't even know if such things could, in
fact, yield a false positive. Type 1 wildland firefighters that are on the line
for the season do not do a "normal job of work" and they breathe a lot of
body-altering particulates. Tests should be fair. Duty, Integrity and Respect
demand it. Maybe some out there could do some research. Maybe you could find
better online information that could serve this community. I privately requested
that J find online info and that was the quickest. As for detractors, well,
they'll always be out there regardless of what's posted here. Carry on. Ab.
||Re random drug testing for wildland firefighters.
first of all, any tampering is considered a failed drug test.
did a search..... found a couple of things that are useful, and a few of the
could easily apply to FF.
this one has a chart with a brief little list of tampering signals they test
alwaystestclean.com/ home drug test/ instant drug testing.php
did not read all of this one, but it looks like it's got quite a bit of info.
read about the creatinine in this
it says creatinine can build up in your urine after excessive water consumption;
creatinine is a metabolic
byproduct of muscle metabolism, so I would imagine it would be easy for that
balance to get out of whack if
youre physically exerting yourself day after day..... so it seems like a lot of
firefighters could very easily be
accused of tampering just for unusual creatinine levels.
||Re random drug testing for wildland firefighters.
Glad to see there's an
effort to co-create a policy with the union. Tongue in cheek considerations...
On some fires in the frequent "golden cannabis
triangle" of Trinity, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, it will be
firefighter with SCBA that does not test positive for the THC in burning
pot smoke. And if you have the
poppy seed bagels for breakfast in firecamp, you
will fail the opium screen too. And whatever you do, firefighters,
supplement your nutrition and training with anything "power" that can
surprisingly contains something on the
list of things druggies take to mask
their drug use. Please check the ingredients and research carefully.
||In response to the Tim Curry hiring freeze link;
Q9 Does the pay freeze apply to performance awards and bonuses and other types
of payments that are
not part of an employee's base salary?
A9 No, Employees may continue to receive additional payments such as performance
recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives
Sooooo? does this mean there is a chance the retention bonus will continue?
||OPM memo on pay freeze Making the rounds:
Freeze on Pay Adjustments for Federal Civilian
Attached please find the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director’s
Memorandum regarding the
Freeze on Pay Adjustments for Federal Civilian Employees dated December 30,
2010. (923 K pdf file)
Deputy Associate Director
Partnership and Labor Relations
||Rose parade appearance:
Ab, How often is a wildland fire agency depicted
in the Rose Parade?
Info with the photos: The CDF Pipe and Drum band marched in the Rose
Parade on New Year’s Day,
performed at Disneyland and marched down Main Street, performed at Bandfest
at Pasadena City
College, and made a surprise appearance in Santa Monica.
Photos by Brenda M. Nice! Ab.
CAL FIRE Pipe and Drum 1 and
CAL FIRE Pipe and Drum 2
||It's been said that R5 may undergo early seasonal hiring this month and
next. Is there any possibility of Southern California
Forests such as the Angeles, San Bernardino, etc... pulling cert's during this
time frame? any Information would be helpful.
||Making the rounds from Nov 15...:
FS Briefing Paper on Implementing Random Drug Testing (560 K doc file)
Thank you very much for responding. Couple more questions: so
there isnt really a point system?
And whats up with the vets preference? It says that its either 5 or 10 points.
Is that just to appease?
Because you have some folks saying they have to hire a vet and some folks saying
it is just points
that may or may not bring said veteran above the other folks on the list.
||Answers (in italics) to the questions below from ASC-HRM. Thanks
for the answers. Ab.
- Does anybody in Region 5 know if an in-depth document explaining
hiring procedures exists?
No, R5 does not have an in-depth document since
the hiring procedures are standard across the Forest Service.
- When a merit list is up against a demo list which takes
Neither, A manager can make a selection from either list.
- How many different kinds of lists are there?
Non-competitive and Priority lists.
- If a person has a college degree how many "points" is
A college degree is not worth any "points" in the automated
staffing system the Forest Service uses. It can be used to qualify an
applicant depending on the type of position they apply for unless there are
other requirements such as IQCS, 90 days of wildland fire, etc. then the
applicant would have to meet all the basic requirements of the position
before education can be used for qualification purposes.
- Where are these "points" counted anyway, and why cant we
see how many points we have?
You cannot see the points because they are
not used in the automated staffing system the Forest Service uses.
Hiring procedures in R5:
Does anybody in Region 5 know if an in-depth document
explaining hiring procedures exists?
- When a merit list is up against a demo list which takes priority?
- How many different kinds of lists are there?
- If a person has a college degree how many "points" is that worth?
- Where are these "points" counted anyway, and why cant we see how many
points we have?
It seems like a knowledge is power trip to me. It really seems like anytime a
person asks about hiring they
get a spiel about "veterans preference" or lists that they may or may not be on.
Its seems as though the folks
up top could really hire anybody they want and not really have to justify any
actions because nobody knows
how the system really works anyway. I've tried to get an answer from human
resources but that trail went really cold really fast. Any help would be appreciated.
3 fatal SEAT Crashes in 2004 for Mellie
Well, Jeff and I couldn't quite
remember, so I did a little digging..... this came from the archives of Wildfire
This was the third fatal accident (This is the
Valley Complex that they were talking about) involving a Dromader
M-18 airtanker in the past three months.<snip>
The second accident occurred on May 22 when another SEAT collided with
mountainous terrain, killing the pilot, near Borah Peak, Idaho, in adverse
weather conditions. (this was the second one -- I
don't have the pilot's name....and looks like I was wrong on it going to the
FS -- must've been going to BLM). The plane was on a visual flight
rules (VFR) cross-country flight from Dillon, Montana, to Boise, Idaho,
where it was to begin service for the BLM."
So, I guess it did make three total crashes in 2004. Maybe the Air Tanker
Boards would have the pilots name if you are trying to include it. Good luck
with everything. I'll try and check in now and then!
fair use disclaimer
Cache Queen (ret)
Thanks Cache Queen. Don't be a stranger, but do have fun with your kids.
June 22 crash brief from NTSB Ab.
NASA/Cal Fire Partnership
In answer to Irony on the They Said Page:
Yes the sensor in question is the same one in use since its first operational
utilization on the Esperanza Fire in 2006. Yes it was used on ZACA and many
other fires in 2007-2008 and 2009. It is the NASA AMU (Autonomous Modular
Scanner), that has flown on the IKAHANA unmanned aircraft since 2005 for both
environmental and fire use. Now it will be on a manned twin King Air, because
the UAV thing is just not ready for prime time. As for sounding like this is
something new, after working with NASA on this project the last few years I can
say from experience that they really know how to make the star maker machinery
work for them.
Please pass on to those who might be coming to Texas for
wildfire response or who are located in the
southern plains. If the link doesn't work, look up Texas Firestorm on YouTube.
Stay safe out there.
Good info, thanks. Ab.
Happy New Year.
What a great wildland fire community!
Here's to 2011!