"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
Nothing personal, but the evil fire managers are not your enemy.
The information on budgets is REAL and folks living in reality are presenting
the accurate facts and trying to
represent their fire programs.. NOT "gloom and doom" as you state. In reality,
the majority of your fire
managers are just presenting/communicating the current "common operating
Somehow your entire post seems to be directed at "fire managers", when it might
be more appropriately
directed at line officers and agency officials.
Additionally, in one statement you chastise fire managers for "telling an
organization about pending doom
and gloom", and then contradict yourself by talking about fighting "reductions
for firefighting resources and
saving your job from being abolished".
||Forest Service Fire Managers have no choice but to train the firefighting
workforce for the next level. Without the next level training comes no next
level qualifications and the results of that is, no applicants. It's the
agencies' IFPM system we are working under. They must either change those rules
or stop dropping the "no training, no travel dollars" card. Since qualification
requirements are assigned to each organizational position, having someone say
you cannot attend next level training or build next level qualifications is
equal to telling you that you cannot apply to next level job. By selectively
picking who gets the next level training is a potential VIOLATION of the Merit
Promotion procedures. NFFE must stay involved. NFFE must get more involved in
Fire Managers MUST stop fooling themselves and others by telling an organization
about pending doom and gloom.
The President's 2012 budget asked for decreases in overall Forest Service
spending with increases in Forest Service Firefighter preparedness. That budget
is DOA in the halls of Congress, however it's a signal of support. Wildland
Firefighters have strong supporters in both the House and Senate.
We (Wildland Firefighters) are a few months, if not weeks away from a large
scale re-education campaign on wildland firefighting preparedness with our
elected officials in advance of the FY2012 budget discussions and decisions.
This campaign, must be professional and sustained. This campaigns focus is not
PTP, not salary freezes, not retention pay. This campaign is about maintaining a
budget that will stop a serious threat of reductions for federal firefighting
resources and saving your job from being abolished. Get your keyboards ready!
I can tell you of one group of people who are counting on you. That group of
people are the mid and upper level managers of federal wildland firefighting
agencies. They can't do it with testimony alone. They need Wildland Firefighters
to be actively involved in this debate. After 2008, these managers know better
than anyone the energy we can bring to the table.
Firefighters from all agencies need to stay together.
||Well ab I am about to commit career suicide (feel free to post my name).
Let's start with fed spending. The chiefs and others are planning to visit the
forest for a visit with the "workers" to hear "what our concerns are", (read the
morale report for the FS it is 203 or 206 can't remember) and they're leasing a
jet to come here, while I am told not to send people to training unless
absolutely necessary, so I guess that means if it is not required don't go (no
upward mobility training). Well we have plenty of commercial jet ports within
1.5 hours and most chiefs can drive here in 34 hours. That's all.
Fire hire. I know many people who have applied and added their IQCS master
records to their apps and had excellent references and were not selected (meet
IFPM and FS-FPM) but passed over for less qualified employees, (some problem
employees and those received a promotion). I have gone through fire hire in the
past (I cannot say what happens there due to confidentiality reasons) but I know
how the system works. Don't pee on everyone's head and tell them it's raining.
Texas it's a big state big enough for all of the region's feds. I have sent
people there so I can say that the system worked. That being said, I had
equipment and overhead available so my only guess is NICC is not shopping those
positions in my GACC or my GACC is not shopping them to my ICC. My resources had
a long assignment and made a difference (good job) the Texans appreciated it, so
I thank you.
In conclusion I have been told to complain up, so let me set the record
straight, this is not a complaint it is just the facts, that's all. I have also
been told if you go on they said state your name, so I am.
||Firefighter injuries on Bull Fire in Arizona - Sonora
Informal reports are
that two helitack crew members were injured in a burn over.
Here is the Coronado NF press release:
FIREFIGHTERS INJURED ON BULL FIRE
Two Individuals Suffer Non-life Threatening Injuries
TUCSON, AZ (April 29, 2011) – Two firefighters were injured today on the Bull
Fire, burning approximately five miles west of Nogales, Arizona on the Nogales
Ranger District, Coronado National Forest. The individuals have been transported
to medical facilities with non-life threatening injuries.
The names of the individuals will not be released until their families are
notified. The extents of the injuries are not known at this time.
The Bull Fire is approximately 3,750 acres in size, located on both sides of
the border with the International Republic of Mexico. The majority of the fire
is in Mexico. Approximately 250 to 300 acres are burning in Arizona. A number of
resources are working on fire suppression efforts.
||Jeff Bardwell, captain on the DC3 and Sherpa planes, has passed:
Announcement from the Regional Forester, R1.
We are sad to inform you that pilot Jeff Bardwell passed away. He was
diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January.
Jeff flew fires for Bemedji Aviation in Minnesota prior to landing his dream job
with the Forest Service in May 2007. Jeff was Captain on the
DC3 and Sherpa smokejumper planes. He flew many R1 folks to meetings and
assignments in the King Air. He will be missed by many friends he has made in
fire and forest service family.
Leslie, Jane, Paul, and Tom.
Living in NorCal I too have observed similar fire effects. One
source for more information on fire effects on veg
is FEIS, the link here.
I find that bay trees usually grow in more wet conditions, riparian areas,
etc. I believe this in combination with the
fact that bay trees exude a chemical that prevents other veg from growing in the
vicinity, which results in less
available fuel to burn may contribute to this observation.
When I get calls from both my station anytime and R5 Fire
Hire this last week they showed as "restricted".
I hope that is not the case with your computer routing system because it is with
my AT&T cell phone.
Best of luck!
||Arrest made in thefts from Woodland-area Washington fire trucks
A Castle Rock man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing fuel cards and
thousands of dollars worth of
equipment from some Woodland-area fire trucks.
The Daily News of Longview reported Timothy Steven Moss, 30, was seen on
surveillance cameras using
one of the stolen gas cards to fill up a red Toyota truck at the Commercial
Fueling Network station in Woodland. In all, $1,500 worth of fuel was stolen, along with $16,300 worth of
firefighting and medical gear.
The victim was Cowlitz County Fire District 1, which had to remove three of its
vehicles from service temporarily
because they lacked adequate gear.
The burglary was reported April 11 at a volunteer fire station along Woodland
in thefts of woodland area fire trucks/
I have a question for our fire fighters. We are working on
some drought and fire resistant shrubberies. One
that comes to mind is Bay Laurel. When I was on a shot crew it seemed the whole
hill side would be slicked
off but for some reason it never really burned the Bay Laurel. I'm sure if the
fire is intense enough the Bay
would burn. What have you all seen when you're out on the lines? Is my
||CAL Fire in TX?
Why not CAL Fire in TX? Well, I suspect it may have something to do with
Portal to Portal. Nobody but the California taxpayer can
afford the expense
I find that hard to believe due to all of the local government folks that
belong to FED Teams and go out of
state all the time. I can guarantee you that an overhead position or strike
team from CAL FIRE is much
cheaper. And the misconception that they must be put in hotels plays a part
also. It may be time to get
past all this and tap into a very large resource.
||Re: Lookout hiring
If you seriously want a Federal job it would be best to
have those applications in by late December or early January.
First consideration dates often fall into that time period. As far as government
phone numbers, I was picked up by
the BLM this year (first season) and when I was called by my FOS and Engine
Captain for interviews those first calls
were from an "unavailable" phone number.
||Fulton Hotshots Sporting Clay Shoot
I returned from a fund raiser that Ron Bollier and the Fulton Hotshots put
on… Burk has always traveled to this event; this year (the third year of this
event), I went with Burk because Ron said it was in honor of the Mother of
Wildland Firefighters... boy did he get a surprise!
I am going to ramble here for a bit while I try to express myself.
At 9:00 pm Friday night when we pulled into this big field there were campers,
trailers, motor homes, and tents of all sizes, campfire burning, kids chasing
dogs and playing, laughing, and lots of storytelling. I couldn't believe what I
was seeing... it kind of felt like the good old days.
The next morning started off with a big breakfast. Ron introduced me to crowd
(which I think he now regrets). Ron had tears in his eyes as he talked about the
Foundation and his wife Lana talked, and tears came to her eyes. One of the crew
members came up and gave me a big beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was so touched
I started to cry. I sometimes tend to throw in a little humor to pull myself
back together. I shared a story about Ron doing something in someone’s boots
years ago in fire camp… it made everyone laugh…. Although that was not Ron, I
really believe it was probably Kleinman or LaRue or someone like that.
There were over 300 firefighters from across the State of California who
attended the Clay Shoot. Steaks were cooked; homemade foods served…. an auction
was held and raffle of big prizes and little prizes. Money raised, and all done
That night as we sat around the campfire, I thought I would fall off my chair
from laughing so hard. It restored me somehow. I could not believe how much I
needed to laugh. I don’t think I've enjoyed myself that much in 15 years! The
Tuesday before we left Boise, with the losses and injuries going on in Texas,
the calls started coming in at 7:13 am and ended at 8:30 pm…74 calls in all that
day... none from my grandkids. I share this out of humility that this community
trusts us and has a constant source of help to go to. Oh and how tired I was….
When I awoke this morning, I was reflecting on the past weekend at the Clay
Shoot. That event was not about me being honored… It was really about the
wildland firefighters and how they care for one another... I thought how long it
had been since I have been in a community of firefighters….. Sometimes my job
has kind of isolated me from being with you all, from really being among people
on the ground. I believe many of our leaders have experienced that same thing;
not realizing how their jobs keep them isolated from the people they are hired
to serve and lead.
I remembered on one of my first fire camps in the 80’s, Big John Russell was
the IC. He set up a casino made out of card board boxes in one of the tents. I
was blown away… he said to me "always remember if you're not having fun, go
home." I also remember that first summer knowing that there were people who
would give up their life trying to protect mine. No one ever said that to me I
just knew it.
I see some post on this site, complaining about how stuff is going sideways,
even with some of the leadership. Yes lots of things have changed, but there is
one thing that has not changed and that is the heart and commitment of the
firefighter on the ground and in the air. There is a bond that cannot be broken
inside our firefighters. There is something so strong that words do not do it
justice, it can only be felt. If any of you are trying to understand what that
feeling is, try spending some time with wildland firefighters in their world.
Yesterday I met with Cheryl Molius and Karyn Wood who are office-chick leaders
that have stayed connected to those they were hired to serve. They gave me a
check from Neal Hitchcock’s retirement party. As I was opening the envelope they
told me the story of Alice Forbes cutting off Neal’s ponytail. Then the auction
started, and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation received a substantial check
from Neal's hair. Neal you will be missed.
I share some of this good stuff to really reflect on why most of us do what we
Ron thanks for putting some magic back into my memory bank, and to Neil for your
hair-raising event, and to ALL of you who help in so many ways.
A grateful mother,
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Nice Vicki! Thanks. Love ya! Ab.
||CA Aircraft deployments
making the rounds:
Cal Fire Aircraft deployments delayed
Previous message had the wrong dates for Hollister and Fresno. Here is the new
deployment dates for aircraft.
All fixed wing aircraft will be deployed 14 days later than last year, due to
See file attached.
Yes, the government buildings often have blocked or weird numbers.
Typically it has to do with the facility the office is located in.
USFS does not typically block numbers but local or state governments
do (I know at our office all outgoing calls look like just the areacode). Hopefully that's not it and you were just avoiding
telemarketers. Maybe call the HR number and verify?
I applied for the lookout position via AvueCentral back in
March time frame and have not received any calls yet.
I imagine all such hiring has already been finalized.
Does anyone know what sorts of things (other than preference points
and previous experience as a lookout) might help me to land a position
Also, all of my phone calls are funneled through my computer which
automatically defaults blocked and restricted number calls to a "dump"
disconnect. I noticed an unusual number of such calls in the past 3
weeks . . . USFS selecting officials wouldn't be using blocked/
restricted numbers, would they?
please sign me as anonymous
||Insuring FS employee safety in Post Mountain Area, Shasta Trinity NF,
message from Sharon Heywood, forest supervisor:
(60 K doc)
map 1 &
map 2 of geographical relationships between Hayfork, Post Mt community, Hwys,
3, 36, 101 and I-5: red boundaries = nearby lightning fires that burned in 2008.
Not the map accompanying the letter.)
"part of wildland fire response area S-8 within T30N R12W, south of the
31N34 and 30N36 roads, west of Highway 3 and north of Highway 36 including
that part of the NW corner of T29N R30W north of Highway 36 in the Post
||Facilitated Learning Analysis on Off Highway Vehicle Use. ATVs and UTVs
This is a Facilitated Learning Analysis of a non-fatal injury accident during
FLA Region 6, OHV Safety Concerns, April 2011.pdf (174 K pdf)
||From various sources:
Trend analysis of USDA/DOI wildland firefighter fatalities, 1990-2010:
Wildland ff fatalities trend analysis excerpt
(292 K pdf)
Wildland firefighter fatalities 1990-2010, powerpoint presentation:
Wildland ff fatalities historic trends
(822 K ppt)
||So Cal Responder (post from 03/30),
Not only did the Forest Service take away "smart phones" from the engine
stations, they also took them away from the
majority of fire Chief Officers unless they were Forest FMOs or Deputy FFMOs.
Sure looks like a step BACKWARD as I no longer have real time access to weather
(winds, raws, lightning data, etc),
emergency alerts, or the ability to do simple work tasks from the field (approve
Sent from my Droid
||Why not CAL Fire in TX?
Well, I suspect it may have something to do with
Portal to Portal. Nobody but the California taxpayer can
afford the expense
The FMAG eligibility thresholds you "quote“ vary by state and regional area. The
$1.5m you reference is the CA
cumulative (aggregate) level, and not representative of most areas.
The FMAG program USED to be a valuable federal disaster assistance program for
places like TX, AL, MS, etc...
until the rules were changed from "disaster response" (Stafford Act) to being
the primary source of funding for
wildfire suppression for "some" state agencies.
We miss you on the wildland side. Our loss of expertise.
Glad you're still involved in EM.
||Ah- I aspire to be a mitigation geek... and I'm well on my way these days.
Things to keep in mind regarding FMAG- this is not to reimburse for
federal fires... the money is intended for state and locals that have
been tapped beyond their capacity and who need help. I do not handle
ordering of equipment but I have never heard anyone order unnecessary
resources intentionally to game the system- I mean they still have to
pay 25%. The government employees I work with and have worked with do
their best to protect live, property, resources and try and provide
for safety first as well as serve/protect the citizens. The federal
land management agencies with responsibilities towards FRA (federal
response areas?) are tapped to cover federal lands and FEMA is to help
state/local- to try and prevent cross contamination of federal dollars
As for the SacBee article (man I miss that newspaper) I could only
find this blog entry...
I routinely deal with FEMA criteria in my life... I can state that
many things are not known down the line through all levels as to how
to comply with FEMA grants and what/how things are eligible. What is
eligible in one program (EMPG, PDM, FMA, FMAG, IA, PA, SBA, etc) is
not in another. As someone who has to use FEMA websites routinely- not
always the easiest place to find things.
FSR52011- thanks for catching the numbers- not my state so I didn't
realize the numbers were so high. I work on the pre-disaster
mitigation side so I'm not as familiar with FMAG other then knowing
what it generally is for and when some are declared. I defer to the
others in the forum that may work closer with it ;-) Now if you want
to start talking BCA (benefit-cost analysis) software I'm your gal :-P
Stay safe out there you all and if anyone knows Google APIs ping me
cause I'm working on some fun mapping stuff these days,
||Air Attacks called to duty in Texas
One of our R-5 Air Attacks in Abilene
Tx. Ready for action! BC12
Haw Haw, I put it on
||The first issue of “Two More Chains”, The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned
Center’s new publication for wildland firefighters, hits the streets today.
The electronic link to this Spring 2011 publication is attached below.
Two More Chains Spring 2011.pdf
||Why not CAL Fire in TX?
Just wondering why CAL FIRE is not assisting in
Texas. Have they been asked or offered assistance? If not why? Plenty of type 3
engines, dozers and hand crews would surely be a welcome site. Plus Type 1
Command Teams and hundreds of Overhead. Just wondering. Anybody have the answer.
||GIS Girl spoke of FMAGS...in my opinion the next "Fleecing of America."
I'm fascinated at the rhetoric about needing to reduce federal government
spending; people wanting a less intrusive federal government; a smaller
government etc., except when their bucket is directly underneath the federal
The Government is too large and spends too much money. Yet when the next natural
disaster comes along the federal government can't seem to spend enough and can't
seem to be big enough.
FMAGs are already abused. Agencies deliberately order unnecessary resources just
to reach the threshold of spending (about $1.5 million) to be eligible to file
for a grant. Grant writers for some agencies even respond during the initial
response to a fire. It has become quite the lucrative gravy train.
These agencies can obtain reimbursement from the federal government for 75% of
eligible costs even though no federal lands are involved and even though no
federal resources are used to battle the emergency. It is the typical
double-standard: We want the government to reduce spending...unless its coming
I defer to the recent Sacramento Bee article about FMAG cost-overruns to the
state of California between 2007-2009 totaling $80 million for ineligible
reimbursements...and that's just one audit. Hey, that'd be more than enough to
pay for portal to portal compensation...
FED WATCHER II
||In reference to the DC-10's based at the Southern California Logistics
CALFIRE has a "exclusive Use" contract with 10 Tanker
Carrier for the next 3-5 years, Start dates are right
around first part of July till the about the end of October. It can be brought
on earlier and extended as needed.
Contract is for only one of the two tankers. CALFIRE has made sure many federal
Lead/Bravo's were trained
up to lead the 10's. So as of now any agency that wants to pay for the 10's can
order one or both of them up
during their un-contracted time. But their must be a qualified Lead/Bravo
attached to the order.
Hope that clears up the "mud".
||Actually, TFS has more than 50 FMAGs approved this calendar year so far.
The reason the "numbers" dont match is that many fires were combined into
complexes, while others are
simply missing from the list. (note gaps in the "disaster number"). The summary
is rarely accurate unless
you verify line item by line item.
Sent from my Droid
Texas has has over 20 Federal Fire Management Declarations in the
calendar year 2011 including 15 in April alone. This FEMA declaration
type allows the federal government to assist with up to 75% of
eligible costs for fighting the fire.
Not all Federal programs are activated for every disaster. The
determination of which programs are activated is based on the needs
found during damage assessment and any subsequent information that may
be discovered. While Texas has not had an Individual Assistance (IA)
or Public Assistance (PA) or Small Business Administration (SBA)
declaration they are getting federal money to help fight the fires.
Just to be clear there are specific criteria that need to be met to
get an IA, PA or SBA declaration. IA is the best known and some of the
criteria include things like 100 UNINSURED primary residences being
destroyed, PA is things like losses of public infrastructure, and SBA
is 25 properties or a certain number of businesses. There are
additional factors that can be included such as deaths, exceeding
capabilities of the locals, and hitting a certain $ cost for the
Info on FMAG from some PIO talking points:
The Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP) is authorized
under Section 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and
Emergency Act, 42 U.S.C. 5187, as amended by the Disaster Mitigation
Act of 2000.
Eligible costs include:
Costs for equipment and supplies (less insurance proceeds);
Costs for emergency work (evacuations and sheltering, police
barricading and traffic control, arson investigation);
Costs for State emergency operations center (when used as a Unified
Costs for the pre-positioning of Federal, out-of State, and
international resources for up to 21 days;
Cost of personal comfort and safety items for firefighter health and safety;
Costs for field camps and meals in lieu of per diem;
Costs for mobilization and demobilization costs;
Costs for the temporary repair of damage cause by firefighting activities;
Costs for the mitigation, management, and control of declared fires
burning on co-mingled Federal land, when such costs are not
reimbursable by another Federal agency.
75 percent Federal cost share to be applied to all fire management
So while the state may not have been eligible for a declaration to
help individual owners or businesses or public works departments just
yet they have been getting federal funding to help fight the fires.
Mitigation nerd details are now invading my life,
Shall we call you Mitigation Geek? Ab.
||Fulton Hotshots Sporting Clay Shoot - report and help for TX FF Matt Clark:
I just got off the phone with Vicki. She is in Bakersfield at the clay shoot
fundraiser put together by Ron Bollier and the Fulton Hotshots. There are more
than 300 people at the event and she and Burk are really enjoying the community
feel. Per Vicki "Ron throws one hell of a party!"
Vicki also spoke with the family of burned Texas firefighter, Matt Clark. The
Foundation is helping the family while he undergoes treatment. His mom said
she's from a town of 1,200 and "you'all have done more for us than anyone ever
could." She is very grateful for the help the wildland community is extending to
her son and her family.
Thanks to all of you for your fundraising efforts, for becoming members of the
52 Club, and for supporting this Foundation so we all can help.
2010 Combined Federal Campaign #12544
Thanks Vicki, Burk and Melissa. Ab.
||Making the rounds:
Date: 04/22/2011 03:36 PM
Subject: OPM Denial of Special Salary Rate for Wildland Firefighters in
We received notification yesterday from ASC, that the Office of Personnel
Management (OPM) did not approve the agency request to establish new title
5 special salary rates of pay for wildland firefighters in California. The
denial references the December 22, 2010 legislation signed by President
Obama that prohibits statutory pay adjustments for most Federal civilian
employees and the President's attendant memorandum which stated that
agencies should forgo similar increases to pay schedules and rates that are
set by administrative discretion.
This decision does not affect the California firefighter 10 percent group
retention incentive that was approved by the Department earlier this year
and remains in effect through February 25, 2012.
Jeanne Wade Evans
Deputy Regional Forester
State & Private Forestry
Pacific Southwest Region
||Heads up / Drug Cartels in the NF:
This may be a good reminder for those
dealing with incidents in the National Forest areas, but not excusive. This
war has definitely invaded our soil and those in the field need to be aware of
it. I'm sure that there has been a bit
of training and advisory memorandums floating around for awhile, but as the 2011
season get's under way....
thought I'd bring it up.
Signed: One who's tanker has had bullet holes found in the wings before!
Expert Sylvia Longmire: Mexican Drug Cartels Infesting US, Even Our National
In September, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) even
posted signs along Interstate 8 in Arizona,
more than 100 miles north of the border, warning travelers the area was unsafe
because of drug and
illegal-immigrant smugglers. The signs were posted along a 60-mile stretch of
Interstate 8 between Casa
Grande and Gila Bend, the major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix
with San Diego.
Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose jurisdiction includes the posted
area, said Mexican drug gangs
“literally do control parts of Arizona,” noting that gang members are armed with
radios, optics and night-vision
goggles “as good as anything law enforcement has.
Mexican Drug Gang Expands into US
If it’s not safe for travelers, it’s not safe for firefighters. Worrisome with
all of the fires down there every year.
||PLI and more...
Hey, all fed firefighters,
FEDS has a new policy benefit. If you're a FEDS Professional Liability
Insurance policy holder, you're eligible for a Federal Employee Benefit Analysis
prepared by Risser Financial Services. Risser looks at your financial situation
to explain, analyze and coordinate your federal benefits with your personal
savings, investments and life insurance.
FEDS benefit information.
||Beautiful but scary!
FT Davis Fire from McDonalds Observatory (first
Just received this from Data Transfer Solutions, LLC. They have been working
with TFS and others on enhancing
the GIS product on the wildfires.
Hotlist Condolences Thread for
Hotlist Condolences Thread for
It's unfortunate that the federal system is so slow to dispatch
qualified firefighters to Texas,
we need to come up with a more unified dispatch system for the US, us California
Oregon guys would love to go help out and put their fires out!
||We have plenty of out of state resources 35 states in TX
This was posted
in SoOps this morning; Current deployed resources to Texas:
- 17 T/3 Engines,
- 4 T/2 IA Crews ,
- 6 Dozers,
- 13 Overhead and
- Approx 235 Total personnel
A number are from norcal. Those posting from the wet northwest might want to
do a bit of research
instead of relying on this Texan.
Our system is different. We do things more homegrown most of the time. We
appreciate the help
when the Southern Plains Wildfire Storms hit. In spite of the abundance of
national conspiracy theories
some might like to spout, what we're doing has nothing to do with national
politics. We're just dealin'
with the wildfire weather and fires we're dealt. "Gotta know when to hold, know
when to fold em,
know when to walk away, know when to run..."
I believe we in R6 (Deschutes) sent a Dozer, transport and two operators, to Texas...believe
it took them parts of 4 days...Hope they are safe and good to go...Texas is
Rough and Dangerous, as my 64 days in '98 can attest to...In the East, six
poisonous snakes, gators, mostly flat, dangerously, outlflankingly Fast fires
near lots of houses in the middle of Texas, lots of different regional
differences with associated Vegt. West Texas, terrible driving distances with
alarming heat! I feel for Texas, their fires never seem to end. They need
everything, wish all you Cal Forces could help. I'd love to go but knee is not
ready for Prime Time. I remember a time as a dozerboss that we didn't have
enough speed to even do any good...Take care Ron & Tina & good luck. Ron is the
friggin' best combo firedozer operator dozer boss of all time (not in Cal.)...I
fear for He & Tina, Texas is relentless, but they have a ton of knowledge to
draw on...Heat & humidity in East Tex. almost put me down (and out)...did go
down, along with three Vollies on a 5 acre! Went to hospital w/ IV's...a major
pleading routine w/IC kept me there for the next two 21's...Egads. I miss the
heat index of 120+ and 4 fires per day per dozer...Ah, youth. fleetingly, gone
I have spoken with people on the ground in Texas and dispatch centers in
multiple regions, they all say the only
contract engines in Texas are those
hired by insurance companies and a few homeowners. At this time ALL
AGENCY ONLY. Also if Contract engines out of Region 6 where being dispatched
Well I would be one of the first :/
Also I have heard that until
the President declares an emergency in Texas, that the numbers of firefighters
firefighting equipment down there will be somewhat limited...Remember Texas
is BROKE and does not have a
large fire budget. They are also one of the largest
claimants for FEMA aid. Could also mention that the Texas
Governor is not on the
best liked list of the administration.
Waiting for fire :)
Don’t hold your breath over contract resources deploying to Texas.
It’s a FEMA operation.
Watercooler talk is that even Fed resources will receive few orders other than
some overhead. I know the R-8 Blue Team is in Texas, and that’s all I’ve heard.
Maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture here, but heavy FEMA involvement usually
means there will be political interest from the highest levels in D.C. (Think BP
oil spill recovery) Is it any wonder, then, that SoCal fire crews—the most
expensive public fire suppression resources in the world—are deploying to Texas?
California state finances are almost on a COD basis with vendors and employees.
My tea leaves tell me that anything short of an historic fire season in R-5 will
have California E plates (as well as those from other cash-strapped, politically
connected states) roaming far and wide to, as we can say, “bring home the
federal bacon.” Under this scenario, contractors—whether Oregon “cooperators” or
not--are lower than whale excrement.
It’s a rich thought, though, visualizing high-and-tight, portal-to-portal union
brothers in Type Three engines from SoCal working side-by-side volunteers doing running attack from their front bumper safari seats on an old
Duce-and-a-Half dressed in tee-shirts and blue jeans.
Oh, Texas motels and shuttle bus companies do well under this scenario as well.
Heartfelt condolences to the families of those in Texas who have fallen or who
have singed feathers. God Bless Vickie Minor and hew crew at Wildland
An Old Northern Rockies Fire Mule…
Message from Vicki at the WFF:
Elias Jaquez passed away at 0415 this morning
with family and supporters around him.
The people that are part of the firefighting effort in Texas -- and also
supporting their injured
brothers/sisters -- are tired but strong, and so good to be vigilant at the
the night for Elias and his family.
Thanks for helping on this community's behalf, WFF.
Donation Info and see post below for more info on how to help.
Saw this article on the hotlist Shift Brief this morning:
Seems like Texas
Forest Service could face large bureaucratic hurdles when the fires monsoon
(Texas) Bill would streamline fire fights
Another article there that talks about Fort Worth that has withheld its
firefighters without MOUs in place.
Afraid of liabilities and unforeseen expenses.
I have been following the fire activity in Texas for the past several weeks-
watching here, the News and the
Internet. Are there any contract engines working
in Texas? The rumor mill has it that there are several
contract engine companies
there from Region 6 but closer regions' contract engines are sitting at home,
ready to go. A friend in North Ops says that in R6 contract engines are
considered " Agency" while the
other regions don't consider their contract
engines as Agency- is this true? How come all the regions don't
Best Value engines as " Agency" resources?
Everybody in Texas; Stay Safe, Pay Attention and don't get in a jam!
Thanks for the help,
Scott Anderson Art Auction/Fundraiser
As many of you know, Scott has been
re-diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was hospitalized in Boise for ten
weeks starting January 2011 for chemotherapy and other medical treatment. Scott
will require another bone marrow transplant at the Seattle Cancer Center the end
of April 2011. Many of the medical expenses in addition to transportation, and
relocation expenses are not covered under his insurance.
Many folks have asked "What can I do to help?" So we brainstormed with Scott and
talked him into the idea of putting together some kind of fundraiser. Scott
wanted to participate in this effort and decided to use his artwork and other
items he owned for a silent auction. So that is what we are doing. For those
that live out of town and cannot attend,
the flyer has the information on how to donate to the National Transplant
Assistance Fund in Scott 's name. Those donations will go to the family to help
with these types of medical expenses. Here is the link to NTAF:
NTAFund.org and enter Scott
Anderson to the "find the patient" box on the home page. Please share this with
The firefighters are gathering.
The Cactus FD firefighters, the mayor, the Lubbock Honor Guard, friends and
all to pay their respects to Elias Jaquez and his family as he passes on.
There are those to help the family and to accompany him home.
The doctors at the burn unit have said it won't be long now.
Anyone who would like to, please join us in a moment of silence.
I just had a phone call from Vicki at the WFF:
Some updates on help for
families of the fallen and injured TX firefighters:
Firefighter critically burned on the Cactus area Panhandle fire:
According to his daughter, Elias Jaquez, the injured volunteer
firefighter from Cactus TX, is still in critical condition in the burn unit in
Lubbock. His wife is with him and will need to be for some time. His two
youngest daughters are home (3 hours away) with relatives. His wife's meals and
lodging have been provided for 2 weeks by Swift Meat Company, Elias' employer.
Our WFF is going to help with the next 2 weeks. Financial worries can be
overwhelming at such a time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Elias and his
family, friends and co-workers.
You can help pass the boot in support of this firefighter's family by sending
tax-deductable donation to the WFF online and earmarking it in the comment
box "for the firefighter injured on the Panhandle/Cactus fire". Or if you send
in a check, add a note there. If anyone knows the name of that fire, please let
us know. Thanks.
LODD of the firefighter from the Eastland Fire Department on the Eastland
County fire. (Can anyone confirm that this was the East Sidywnicks Fire. It's
important that the WFF have the fire name on which a firefighter is injured or
killed for their bookkeeping records.):
There's a funeral for Greg Simmons tomorrow in Olden TX. If anyone has
the details of that service, please let us know. The WFF has sent money to help
that family on the behalf of our wildland firefighting community. Our thoughts
and prayers are with the family and Greg's friends and coworkers.
3 other firefighters injured on the Eastland County fire have been treated
Matt Clark, the
Eastland FD firefighter that tried to help Greg is recovering in the burn
unit at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Everyone Vicki has talked with in Texas is surprised that there is a
WFFoundation supported by wildland firefighters' donations and fundraisers that
provides help to wildland firefighters and their families when they are injured
I am extremely grateful for this community.
R5 resources to TX, why only SOPS?
I also question North Ops Decision to hold
resources. I am on the "Imaginery line" of North and South and we were asked to
make sure we have at minimum 2 fully staffed engines ready to roll about 3 weeks
ago. The only answer I have to this is that North Ops is again not doing the job
they are required to be doing. Although I am not sure of this specifically I can
tell you this, many times we are out on strike team assignments in North Zone
and North Ops has consistently requested South Ops Engines to be pulled up when
we have plenty of resources sitting doing nothing. I myself and growing tired of
North Ops decisions and wish something would change. If anybody else has any
insight to this matter please fill me in as I just do not get it!
Also pertaining to appropriate footwear, check out "Boots
on the Fireground: An Analysis of Interagency
Wildland Firefighter Boot Standards" by Tim Lynch from Missoula Technology &
This comprehensive analysis provides some excellent documentation regarding the
La Sportiva type of
footwear as well as other footwear standards.
I added the link. Boots are also discussed on the
I remember some things on a good day...working with retiree
legend Steve Renaud (pronounced Reno) as his falling boss, he mentioned he
thought he was 1st smokejumper in a commercial for chevy trucks.. I'd never seen
it so it must be really old (so is Steve).. if true it would make good trivia
fodder...another one: the 1st two-womaner fire (as jumpers) Kelly Esterbrook and
?; The story as I remember it: sitting in the bar @ Redmond after a long
Dispatch afternoon & evening, those two were celebrating the momentous occasion
@ the hotel bar, I guess Kelly would have to respond sorry for the name, the
year was probably '87 or '88...the other part, tho personal, is that I almost
got in a fight w/Tony Laughton...any way we are friends now! Hilarious...neither
one of us are fighters, Tony is still jumping and I'm still dozerbossing at
62... that also is hilarious.
R5 resources to TX, why only SOPS?
Was wondering if anybody on the forum could provide a little insight as to why
all the resources assigned to Texas fires from R5 are all from South Ops, 20
Type 3's actually as of today (4/18) and not one is from A North Ops Forest.
Much of the northern half of the state has received near record breaking amounts
of precipitation which is still falling. I'm not looking for the generic answers
such as closest resource or staffed modules because that is clearly not the case
as shown in the wild cad. Forests managed by South Ops which are no more than a
hour away have multiple resources in Texas when forests just over the imaginary
line sit idle. This also holds true to single resource assignments none are from
North Ops, with air travel Texas is by no means to far. As for staffed modules
since the introduction of all 26/0s there is plenty of people available. Just
trying to put rhyme to reason if there is any.
As far as I know, there is no official approval or disapproval of the Scarpa,
Sportiva, or any other boot. The only official document (at least at the
national level, individual regions or forests may be different) is what it says
in the redbook which states: "Personnel assigned to wildland fires must wear a
minimum of 8-inch high, lace type exterior leather work boots with Vibram-type,
melt resistant soles. The 8-inch height requirement is measured from the bottom
of the heel to the top of the boot." "All boots that meet the footwear standard
as described above are authorized for firefighting."
There is no requirement to wear NFPA certified boots. If the USFS or DOI
required NFPA certified boots, then they would be required, per OSHA, to provide
those boots as they would be considered specialized PPE. It is my assumption
that the cost of doing that is the primary reason that the federal wildland fire
organizations have not required NFPA boots, and why there is so much confusion
as to what is allowed or not on the fireline. Bottom line is that as long as the
boots you wear meet the above standard, then you can wear them on the line,
regardless of brand, build, model, or style. If your Sportivas or Scarpas meet
that standard (some do and some don't, depending on the boot size) than you can
use them, and that is not just my opinion, that has been fought and won many
times over. If your region or forest is requiring a more specific boots style or
brand, than I can almost guarantee that they are pushing the limits of what is
considered "specialized PPE" by OSHA. If you ever want to know for sure, you can
request a clarification from OSHA and you will get an official answer. I have a
letter from OSHA pertaining the boot requirement that is a little but fuzzy to
me and open to some interpretation. I am planning on writing a much more
specific request in the future, but I am more than happy to post it to They Said
or email a copy to anyone who is interested in reading it.
There has been much controversy regarding the use of La Sportiva and Scarpa type
footwear. Can anyone
share with me the most recent official decision regarding the use of this
footwear on the fireline. I would really
like an official letter stating if it's okay or not. I'm not looking for
opinions, I'm looking for an official
memorandum. can anyone help?
From my understanding, the DC-10's are Call-When-Needed (CWN) for both the state
and the federal government. I don't believe they are strictly a state or federal
resource. I don't think the
state still has its exclusive use contract anymore for the DC-10's
While both DC-10's are indeed considered a Federal Resource, I know that 1 for
sure is a
CalFire contract aircraft until 2013.
Are the Two DC-10's a CALFIRE or Federal resource?
I just saw an article out of the Texas Governor's Office saying that they
where calling in a Federal DC10
to assist them in firefighting.
governor.state.tx.us/ news/ press-release
Fire Shelter history:
George is the fire shelter?
Teepee Fire Shelter 11/29/63 from Life Magazine
Thanks, B. I added links to it to the other historical pages. Ab.
Fire Shelter history:
Here's one link that details the
History of the Development of the Fire Shelter sent in by Dick Mangan some
years ago. As I recall there was discussion on the
IMWTK (Inquiring Minds Want To Know) topic on fire
shelter development. There are links to photos. Are those conical ones the kind
I am trying to get in touch with Tom Andrate (sp?), I think he was last
located at El Cahone? Historical research.
rbbrower@ nospam juno.com
IMT Succession Planning
It has taken quite a time to read through the
verbiage, analysis, and alternative dealing with Incident Management Teams and
There are two good things to say about the study": 1) Sue Husari is an excellent
participant on this project and deserves many kudos for trying to bring some
reality to a project that has a well-defined non-endstate. 2) The study is very
pretty and there are no mis-spellings.
It is nice to see a survey system built into the project. A survey is a token
effort to allow for input gathered with the goal of discarding it.
There is a pre-drawn conclusion built into this project. NIMO is the answer.
One does not read very deep into the project to come to this conclusion. The
NIMO concept was an ill-formed concept to begin with. It has become a pension
program for future retirees, with the only difference being they are receiving
income while garnishing more retirement income. They have been allowed to
influence current policy under the guise of being NIMO.
The next step is CIMOs. California Incident Management Organizations. (Just
It is time to STOP NIMO now. There are 4 teams of 7 people at an
approximate cost of $12 million coming from the Emergency Fire Account. (GS 13's
and 12's at a Cost to Government of about $170,000 per year). Factor in the
travel factor to come up with the balance of the costs. It is interesting to
note that this program had a Sunset Clause at the time it was formed. The
document states there is consideration for up to 20 NIMOs. The real questions
are who will be expected to do the work and who would listen to them.
The overarching principle is to "put the fire out and go home safely". The
principle of closest resources is essential to success. Relationships and
partnerships with state and local governments are critical. Tribal relationships
There is no connection to the endstate of qualified Incident Management Teams
and the current personnel process. One of the options is to "require
participation on incident management teams as a condition of employment". This
is an enchanting concept. Let's put into perspective. USDI required drug testing
as part of being a primary firefighter. USDA- FS said it would be an un-due
hardship to the agency to require drug testing. So, are there any wagers on UDSA
requiring anything as a condition of employment?
The is one key component missing in all the rhetoric. There is not one
mention of Liability -- professional or personal -- in all of this. This
is the first priority in any type of program with implied Liability. The fact
is, that there is no protection for federal fire employees moving into incident
management positions - period. The track record is perfect. 100% of the Serious
Accident Investigation since the Thirty Mile Fire have had a criminal
investigation. Thirty Mile, Cramer, Experanza, Dutch Creek are to name a few. In
fact, FS policy states that a serious accident investigation is the
responsibility of Law Enforcement and is an automatic Criminal Investigation.
Drug testing is coming soon. Ab.
SAVE THE DATE
The FWFSA is humbled and proud to be celebrating our 20th anniversary this
year. In the grand scheme of legislative timelines, this is a very short period
of time. However so many have played an integral role in the creation and
development of the FWFSA over the years.
We will be hosting a Membership Conference, tentatively scheduled for between
December 1-3, 2011 not only to conduct Association business but to honor those
who saw the foresight to create this organization and lead us to where we are
today. The vast majority of those folks have long retired or recently retired so
we will make a concerted effort to invite them to participate. It is incredibly
important that our younger members recognize the effort so many have made to
hand off to us an organization that has earned its credibility within the
wildland firefighting community, Capitol Hill and the press.
Within the next week or so, active members will be receiving additional
information on the Conference. We know many have grown weary of Reno so we are
looking at alternative sites as well however our priority is to be
If you have left the FWFSA in the last year for whatever reason or have
contemplated joining for some time, now is the time to recommit to sharing your
voice with others in 29 states in order to get your issues before those at the
highest levels of government who can effect positive change for all federal
During these tough economic times, even $.71 cents a day may seem too much to
pay for an effort that cannot guarantee success. Each day we see on TV or read
in the paper how divisive Congress is. Some may think that since we have worked
for years and years on these issues without total, complete success on each
issue, what's the point in participating.
The answer is easy. Quitting is not an option. Over the last 10 years the
FWFSA's credibility has grown substantially. It has resulted in invitations to
testify before Congressional committees; it resulted in the passage by the House
of Representatives of classification legislation (sadly lost by the Senate); it
resulted in the elimination of the OT pay cap so when you use transaction code
21 & prefix 11 you know who is responsible and last year it resulted in the most
comprehensive piece of legislation ever introduced on behalf of our Nation's
federal wildland firefighters.
All I might add on a shoe-string budget. I challenge anyone to join a nationwide
organization for $10 a pay day that gets your issues before the power-brokers in
Washington. Our dues have not increased in 7 years. We don't spend millions on
political contributions like many larger organizations who also continue to have
difficulty navigating Congress.
What we don't have in financial clout we make up for with passion, affection,
respect and admiration for all of you and that is what drives us. Our
persistence on Capitol Hill will pay off. There are many issues being worked
"behind the scenes" while we also pursue legislative remedies. In fact recently
one Senate staffer, when meeting with representatives from the GAO who are
putting together their Station Fire report said he summoned his "inner Casey" to
explain to the GAO that the Agency organizational structure is what needs to be
Despite our credibility and some relative success, there are no guarantees in
this business other than to keep fighting until you all finally realize the many
benefits you have deserved for so long. We hope our active members who read
TheySaid will consider planning to attend the conference. We hope those prior
members who have left and those who have considered joining will also step up
and lend their voice to our efforts. We all owe it to those who, in 1991,
challenged themselves to make things better for all federal wildland
Executive Director, Governmental Affairs
Re Rh and fire behavior:
I-phone ff and others--
I wonder why the humidity level and disengagement of direct attack tactics are
not found within the 10 standard ff. orders.
If the humidity level is a reliable predictor of fire behavior why is it not
tied to tactical choice such as when the humidity reaches 10%, disengage from
The equilibrium moisture content theory assumes that the fuel will change
moisture content and eventually equalize with the humidity. There are time lags
for this process to work. 1 hour, 10 hr. 100 hr. and 1,000 hr fuels are listed
as the lag time.
It is well established that the sun heats the earth and the fuel upon it, the
solid objects heated by radiation then heat the air in contact with the solid
The air being heated by conduction, contact with the solid objects on the earth,
then changes temperature. The humidity follows and trends downward as the air
heats up. The Fire Weather Handbook #360 Page 21to Pg. 27 explains the
The cause of humidity change is therefore the temperature of the earths change
in temperature. Therefore logic would require one to view humidity as not a
direct cause of fire behavior changes. Humidity is not a direct cause of fuel
moisture change but a reaction to air temperature change.
Field observations of woody fuels drying and steaming in the sun and not in the
shade should clue one to think that it is not the humidity doing the drying, its
the sun heating and drying the wood. Would one expect the same level of spotting
and fire behavior intensity over the sunlit and shaded environments ahead of a
I am always interested in other points of view but to make them believable one
needs to cite where the information originates as well as be specific about uses
of the information in tactical situations. In my opinion, fire behavior changes
in ROS and Flame length are more connected to variations of fuel moisture on the
land caused by solar radiation differences on aspects and time, ( Countryman
1966, The Fire Environment.)
Atmospheric conditions, air temperature and RH are useful in predicting fire
danger. As the air temperature rises and humidity lowers the fire danger
increases. There are still variations in ROS and FL on a wildland fire that are
not explained by the level of fire danger.
Also Curious -about points of view and how they came to be.
Fire Shelter history:
I was on the El Cariso Hot Shots in the summers of 1963, 64, 65, and part of 66.
I returned to school about a month before the Loop Fire. In the summer of 1964,
on the Cozy Dell Fire, we deployed our fire shelters. I have the idea that this
was one of the first instances of fire shelter deployment in a real fire
situation, at least by the USFS, and I'm trying to find out all that I can about
that event. Searching the web, Google returned I f this fragment of a statement:
"We had fire shelters at del Rosa in 1964. They were conical shaped, like an
inverted ... believe it was the Cozy Dell fire, I saw the El Cariso deploy ..."
This was linked to the "They Said It" Archives for January 2003.
Scrolling down through the postings for January 2003, I haven't been able to
locate that statement, and I'm keenly interested in knowing what more there is
to it. I was startled to learn that someone observed us deploy our shelters, as
we were working at night and were in what I recall was a pretty remote area. Is
there any way to search the Archives by key word(s)?
Thanks very much.
Julian "George" Lee
El Carison 63, 64, 65, 66 (part)
I got a call from Vicki Minor at the WFF who is still in the process of getting
TX firefighter families to contact the WFF.
She was very touched and choked up.
She said that she'd spoken with nurses at the various TX burn centers who
were all so touched by the WFF (our WFF's) help. Safety nets matter, and much
more so in a crisis. TX and OK fires are burning fast and furious in the
Southern Plains, up to 600 miles apart. All of those who have been injured
during this last week's firestorm are volunteer firefighters. They are not
wealthy, far from it, but they are giving and support their communities and
perhaps many are not so well insured.
Their nurses across the state (Lubbock, Dallas, Eastland) were dumbfounded
that we, as a firefighting community, have the money (and willingness) to
support these volunteer firefighter families in need and that we support all
wildland firefighters regardless of whether they're volunteer, agency or
Vicki especially wanted to thank all that are doing fundraisers for the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation for their good work. By doing what you do, you
FUNDRAISERS,, the WFF can do what it does to help our brothers and sisters and
their families when the unthinkable happens. She says at times like this what
she/the Foundation does makes the effort all worth it.
I'll add that anyone reading here that wants to add some bucks to the support
effort, it's easy and tax deductable:
Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Thanks, Vicki, Burk, Melissa! I admire you selfless people so very much!
Firefighters that are going to TX, please be very careful. If you are
inexperienced with fast moving grass firestorms, go to the Texas Forest Service
Website and watch some of the videos like "Attack from the Black".
TX google earth interactive
screen capture for today. Link to the google earth tmz is on the
TFS resources page. Click on the google earth map. Ab.
So, has it been decided who will rappel and who won't? Is there a list of rappel
What are some of the final decisions for the program? Like, are they
required to leave the
base in rappel configuration? Or can they set up at the fire if it's needed?
Just want to know what to expect.
Rh measurement, etc:
I have a couple comments about the current discussion.
RE Gary Whites article in Fire Management Today
The key phrase in this article is: " a properly calibrated kestrel". How do you
know if your kestrel is properly calibrated? Have you ever tried to calibrate
one? It is difficult, time consuming and messy. And how many of us have the
lusury of sending ours back to the factory periodically? Not me.
I agree the Humidity is not the be all and end all of fire behavior prediction.
But it is a component of the model. And for those of you that are not Rothermel
fire behavior model fans, remember George Box said: "All models are wrong, some
are useful", I believe the Rothermel fire model is very useful. Models have a
key function, not giving us the "answer" but helping us understand. A good
discussion of models and their usefulness can be found in this discussion of
models and complex systems on this (yesterday) mornings NPR Weekend Edition
The model allows us to make small changes and to understand what their effects
are, and thus help us to understand this very complex business of wildland fire
Little Joe -
Check with whomever in your agency administers ROSS to see if they have
unique rules, but in general, ROSS will list all the quals you possess, although
you can opt to hide any that you don't want to get assignments for - like if
you're an ICT3 you may no longer wish to get called as a FFT2, so you can hide
it but remain qualified. But whatever's on your card is there, and you're either
unavailable, or available local, GACC, or national. Once available, you could
conceivably be called for anything you're qualified for. Your agency or dispatch
center may have unique rules, but that's how ROSS itself works.
Making the rounds... Rappel
Consolidated rappel training will be held in John Day,
Date: April 4, 2011
Subject: 2011 Consolidated Helicopter Rappel Training
To: Regional Foresters, Regional Fire Directors, Regional Aviation Officers
On July 11, 2007, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry, required the agency
to “consolidate helicopter rappel training to one location in each Region”
before the 2008 fire season. This requirement is one of several recommendations
identified in the “Feasibility of Conducting a Competitive Sourcing Competition
on Aviation Activities in the US Forest Service” study.
The National Rappel Program has standardized rappel procedures, equipment, and
documentation protocols. Consolidated rappel training is critical to
standardization, planning, operations, and the quality assurance process. In
2011, all re-activating rappel programs must attend consolidated rappel training
in John Day, Oregon.
Expenses that exceed normal costs incurred for rappel training will be tracked
with the intent that those costs will be paid for from cost savings at the WO.
Expenses exceeding normal costs incurred can be:
- Costs for mobilization and demobilization of aircraft and service trucks
to and from training.
- Per Diem or extended standby for helicopter contractors.
- Per Diem for rappel trainers and trainees.
Each region re-activating a rappel program for 2011, shall provide Aaron
Schoolcraft, WO Aviation Management Specialist, a detailed cost analysis two
weeks prior to rappel training. Furthermore, regions must coordinate with Vince
Welbaum, National Helicopter Operations Specialist, on all consolidated rappel
For further assistance, please contact Art Hinaman, Assistant Director,
Aviation, at snip or (202) 205-xxxx or Karyn Wood, Assistant Director,
Operations, at snip or (208) 387-xxxx.
/s/ James E. Hubbard
JAMES E. HUBBARD
Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry
Emmerson TX Fire fighter dies in traffic accident
By Celinda Emison
Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.
8:15 p.m.: The death of a fire fighter
killed while fighting a fire in Eastland County Friday was called a traffic
fatality by the Department of Public Safety Saturday.
7:15 p.m.:The death of Greg Simmons, 51, took a dramatic turn Saturday, when the
preliminary autopsy revealed his death was caused by an accidental blow to the
upper torso, officials reported in a news release
The DPS will be the lead agency and and will investigate this death as a traffic
fatality, DPS officials said.
"Unfortunately this investigation is going to take considerable time to
accomplish," said Sgt. David Foster of the DPS. "Results will be released as
soon as they become available."
I am being told I can only be listed as available under one job
title in ROSS. If I am willing to take an assignment
as an ENGB, DOZB or STEN, does that get in the system, or not?
Firefighters entrapped and burned over in a fire near Eastland TX, one dies.
Eastland is west of Dallas/Fort Worth on Rt 20 and Gorman is 15 mi south of
Gregory M. Simmons (51) was fighting a fire near Eastland. He
appears to have been overcome with smoke, fell into a ditch and was consumed by
Media Article on the hotlist:
Firefighter dies, 50 homes burn in Texas blazes
There were three additional firefighters injured. I have reports on only 2
being hospitalized now. Perhaps one was already released.
One firefighter is in the Eastland Hospital and may be released tomorrow.
A second firefighter is in critical condition and was life flighted to Parkland
Hospital in Dallas.
If anyone knows of a press release with details, where to send donations or
condolences, please let us know.
Video footage of the fire driven by 50 mph winds.
Our thoughts and prayers for these firefighters, their families, friends and
coworkers. The WFF is in touch with the families' liaison to lend support. Ab.
Regarding your comments about the humidity and its uses.
The following documents have made me question your assumptions. You may want to
check these documents out.
Subject: Cause and result
Finding the cause of fire behavior variation requires a study of the following
Document #1. Title.
Solar Radiation and Forest Fuel moisture
By, George M. Byram and George M. Jemison
Journal of Agricultural Research Wasington, D.C. Aubust 15, 1943
The Concept of Fire Environment
By, C.M. Countryman, Research Forester
Fire Control Notes 27 (4) 1966
Writes interesting stuff about the interrelationships of components.
There's an article from late yesterday or early today on the hotlist about P-3s
being stood down.
Texas: Air power dips in wildfire fight
Rh, Fuel Temps and fire behavior / ignition
With reference to Rh changes, both iPhone f/f and klamathman make valid points.
It is not necessarily the RH that changes fire behavior but what it does to time
lag fuels. 1 hour fuels will react to changes in Rh, both up and down, much more
readily that 10 hr, 100 hr or 1,000 hr fuels but the larger fuels will react
over time. Looking at it a little deeper without going too deep, to get a fuel
partial to the ignition point of approximately 450° F, it has to lose the
moisture in the particle. >From high school physics, it takes a lot more energy
evaporate water than it does to raise its temperature. The length of time to get
rid of this moisture is dependent upon how much there is in the particle. Once
the fuel moisture is sufficiently evaporated, the fuel particle heats to the
ignition point and it begins to burn. Having said that though, there are watch
out points depending upon the fuel model, though, that warrant attention. If the
Rh remains at or below 20%, for me, it’s a heads up, and below 10%, fires are
going to be very active and spotting very likely. An example of this is green
grass. The fuel is there but it is not available because there is too much
moisture to sustain combustion. Once it dies though and begins to dry out, it
becomes available and the fuel moisture content changes continuously with
changes in RH.
To me though, the winds are the things to really watch out for. If fuels are
sufficiently dry to burn, both live and dead, wind will have an exponential
impact on fire behavior. Pay attention to the weather and watch what the trends
are. It is just one component of fire behavior, but a very important one.
This is a very simplistic explanation of fire behavior, but maybe it address the
original question. In the mean time, be safe and keep your situational awareness
about you and never forget LCES.
Rh and fire behavior / ignition
iPhone f/f said:
If fuel temp is more closely related to ignition and flame length than Rh,
why not work just a bit harder to
pin down that to be a predictor?
Fuel moisture is monitored in most fire-prone areas. While fuel temperature
rising makes some intuitive sense for fire starts (less energy needed to raise
the fuel to its ignition point) other indicators such as ambient temperature,
RHs, fuel moisture -- particularly in fine fuels -- and atmospheric instability
have all proven themselves over the years to be good indicators for fire starts
and the type of behavior likely after fires get going.
I recall watching a video where someone discussed fuel temperatures on fire
behavior after ignition; seems like that might have been some of Doug Campbell's
work? At any rate, being heads up about what's going on around you is an
important tool. Taking a glove off and snapping up some of the fuel won't make
it into any fancy models, but it can give someone with experience a fair amount
Still Out There as an AD
MAFFs Support to Mexico:
2 MAFFs unit from Colorado Springs will be deployed to Laughlin AFB in
Texas to support the large fires in Mexico. The deal was arranged between
the Mexican Government, US State department, and the DOD. USFS resources
will be used in support of the operation as well as a USFS MAFFs qualified
IMT Succession Planning
***National Wildfire Coordinating Group - Incident Management Organization
Succession Planning - Comment Period Closes, April 30, 2011***
A brief background: The federal wildland fire management community is currently
facing a number of challenges with the current model for maintaining and
developing interagency incident management teams. In March of 2010, the National
Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) established a team
to develop alternatives for organizational configuration and management
oversight for the management of national wildfire incidents. Alternatives /
various models have been developed and the NWCG is currently seeking comment to
the proposed models to be used in the development of a selected future Incident
Management Organization. The comment period closes on April 30, 2011.
Comments are being collected via the feedback link located at:
For more information, review the
information on the NWCG Incident Management Organization Succession Planning
website, located at:
Of note are the following information links:
www.nwcg.gov/imosp/docs/overarching-principles.pdf >>> Overarching
www.nwcg.gov/imosp/docs/models-brief.pdf >>> Organizational Models (short
www.nwcg.gov/imosp/docs/models-expanded.pdf >>> Organizational Models
www.nwcg.gov/general/memos/nwcg-038-2010.html >>> Current Status on Incident
Management Team (IMT) Succession Planning Project (8/13/10 memo.)
You may also be interested in viewing / listening to the recording of the
webinar that was targeted for NPS employees. It is approximately 60-70 minutes
long and is located at:
www.nps.gov/fire/ under Photos, Publications and Media.
Questions? Contact your agency point of contact, their names, e-mail addresses
and phone numbers are located at:
Thank you! Your feedback counts!
Fire Management Officer
Pacific West Region
National Park Service
Rh and fire behavior / ignition
If fuel temp is more closely related to
ignition and flame length than Rh, why not work just a bit harder to
pin down that to be a predictor?
I'm new at this, but trying to get a handle on it.
Sent from my iPhone.
ps, wouldn't it take a longer time frame for rh to
change fuel moisture.
sign me iPhone f/f
Rh and fire behavior / ignition
Hey Curious guy-
Those are some real good questions. My opinion on your questions are;
1. What does changing humidity do to increasing or decreasing fire
behavior? Specifically, humidity change of 10% changes the flame length how
Changing humidity directly affects fire behavior by affecting your fuel
moisture. There are huge variations in in the effects of 10% change in RH
depending on your fuel type (fuel model 12 vs. 3) and size class (1hr. vs. 10hr)
of your fuels. In addition a change from 80% to 90% is not going to affect fire
behavior and flame length as much as a change from 10% to 20% RH. I don't know
of a rule of thumb that would allow you to generalize flame lengths based on RH%
across the board due to how dynamic fuels are and how subtle changes like
arrangement and size can effect fire behavior.
2. What causes of fire starts are hooked to various humidity readings? Is
there a list of causes and the humidity ranges that point to a certain
I don't know of a list per say, but in fire investigation class I heard that
a lit cigarette cannot start a fire in a grass model unless the RH is less than
17%. My numbers are most likely off, but the message is still there. A cigarette
is capable of putting out a certain level of heat. A fuel bed will only ignite
if the fuel moisture is at a certain level which as explained above, is directly
dependant on RH.
ps. if you ever see the RH drop from 11% to 1% don't stick around to measure
the flame lengths.
To Fork in the Trail,
You stated that "I no longer use a sling psychrometer or a Kestrel; but do use a
new learning tool. Its called
a "Facilitated Learning Analysis" "
While, from a fire behavior standpoint, the importance of a precise measurement
by either a Kestrel of a
psychrometer is over-emphasized, the importance of the trends that these tools
indicate is not. A series of
measurements, either accurate or with a consistent error, is going to indicate
what the weather trend is and
what type of change in fire behavior to anticipate. I don't know that an FLA is
going to help you be proactive
in fire-line safety decisions related to fire behavior, where psychrometers and
P-3 Airtankers stood down:
Just received this on my blackberry from the Southwest GACC
National fleet of heavy air tankers reduced from 19 to 11. All P-3 Orions have
been removed indefinitely from the national
fleet due to issues found during aircraft inspection on one of the P-3's last
week. The remaining air tankers are all Neptune
Aviation's P2Vs--9 based out of Missoula & 2 based out of Minden, NV.
Re Injured Cactus TX firefighter:
The good news is, Mr. Jacquez is expected to survive.
Cactus firefighter has 3rd degree burns to 60 of his body
Re Injured Cactus TX firefighter:
Any updated information on Elias Jaquez? Our
prayers are with his family
from R-5 BDF
Gary White’s article in Fire Management Today
Reading the Article "How
accurate is your Kestrel" - in the most recent article of Fire Management Today:
(Volume 71, No 1. 2011) - was very enlightening. Not for the fact that new
technology is available, but moreso for the nuance that repeated use over time
of the traditional fireline tool - the sling psychrometer, outside of the
environmental conditions it was designed for - clearly illustrates to me how
repeated human behavior can result in multiple, inconsistent interpretation that
can produce serious "operator induced errors."
"Curious Guy" asks the question: "What causes of fire starts are hooked to
various humidity readings? Is there a list of causes and the humidity ranges
that point to a certain cause?" - This IS a good question. Unfortunately we
don't often find out the answer to these types of questions unless something
goes wrong, and subsequent prescribed fire reviews are initiated. Past reviews
have indicated that miscalculations of critical fuel and weather conditions do
attribute to unintended consequences. However, and unfortunately, something has
to go wrong in order to extract these high cost lessons.
So my point is: I no longer use a sling psychrometer or a Kestrel; but do use a
new learning tool. Its called a "Facilitated Learning Analysis" and the intent
for using an FLA is simple: promote lessons learned and promote organizational
change to those things we do learn.
In this same issue of FMT - there are some good points raised about risk
management, FLAs, and even important cultural insights emerging practices such
as "Just Culture."
It's funny, in retrospect, how Dr. Ted Putnam's requests (post the 1994 tragic
fire season) to study how Human Factors and Human Behavior influence fireline
'sense-making" which were then "shot down" are in use today for aggressive risk
management and operational fire doctrine. Does the Kestrel article sublimate a
"turning tide" in fireline thinking; is the example of reliance of past
traditional use compared to thinking in the age of technology and information
sharing initiating a revival of human performance studies in fire management
I don't know. But Gary White's article made me think a bit about new and
recurrent fire management principles and their application to issues that cross
generational and cultural ways of thinking. Thanks ABs - good information and
definitely worth sharing!
-Fork in theTrail
Injured Cactus TX firefighter:
There was a burnover in the TX panhandle with one firefighter severely burned.
Please send prayers for Firefighter Elias Jacquez and his family. Donations
to cover medical expenses can
be sent to any Happy State Bank location under his name. (Hotlist
Ab, ( I was able to register as a hotlist member but cannot yet reply so this
forum will have to do)
On the subject of
almost Furloughed: I'm so happy to be able to work again this week, just
recently received my very own Certificate of Appreciation from President
Obama...I'm so darn happy, I think I will have it framed... I know I sound
cynical (yes, it's my nature) & I'm working harder on that... The ethics group
sent out two hilarious E-mails that lessened the feeling that we are all
Dilberts , I hope no one gets fired over it... I would not want that impending
doom of a furlough threat, another BOHICA, to be repeated ever again, but this
acronym, by implication, always repeats... As I contemplate my MCL tear, waiting
to heal, deciding when to PackTest, we militia are all advised (because of
miniscule budgeting) to go out on fires this Summer... Wonder if it will be
another NW, wet year? (Hotlist
thread on PPE)
On Texas Fires: Endured a long, long 64 day tour in East Texas, 1998... Saw
several instances where vollies were very young gals (16-18) in shorts, yep no
PPE sitting up front hosing, doing their running attack thing (vollies, bless 'em
all), and at that time we were averaging 4 fires/day per dozer... Texas is
amazing, so Don't Mess With It! (Hotlist thread on TX
On Fed Optimism: It is so Foreign right now, we are expected to soldier on...
and we will. I think the morale problem took a big hit... there will be a whole
new slew of memos on what to do... cartoonists and comedians will have a field
day... keep your friends close & family closer. I don't want to go out, but as
Mellie says: "baby needs a new pair 'a shoes". (AD thread on
Bouncing around, I found sling psychrometers can get a bubble separating the
You need to check for this!
Gary White’s article in Fire Management Today, I have questions about a
couple of his statements in the article:
1. p. 33: "Because humidity has such a great effect on fire behavior, knowing
the relative humidity and how it is changing over time is a critical piece of
information for any wildland firefighter."
2. p. 35: So why is this of any great importance? For me, as a fire
investigator, I can eliminate or include certain categories of fire causes
within fairly specific RH ranges. That’s important, but it’s not life-
threatening. For suppression and prescribed fire operations, however, accurate
RH information can be critical. Inaccurate information can have potentially
tragic consequences in terms of escaped fires, resource damage, or loss of life
What does changing humidity do to increasing or decreasing fire behavior?
Specifically, humidity change of 10% changes the flame length how much?
What causes of fire starts are hooked to various humidity readings? Is there a
list of causes and the humidity ranges that point to a certain cause?
Re Humidity readings:
Very good article. The sling psychrometers are only good
if you use them correctly. Otherwise you are introducing errors to the data. For
your average firefighter taking the weather observations with the Kestral, or
electronic hygrometer, is the best way to go.
Errors can still be introduced with the electronic hygrometers, but the errors
will be less with a pocket electronic hygrometer. A common error with the
electronic hygrometer is that they are often kept in a shirt/jacket pocket, then
pulled out and turned on, all in under 3 seconds. It’ll take 10-30 seconds for
the electronics to stabilize to the ambient conditions. Fire personnel taking
weather observations with an electronic hygrometer should let it stabilize in
the wind for 30 seconds prior to taking the reading. And they should also shade
the electronic components from the sun, so the sun doesn’t add to the error.
Other than that, the Kestral should give good data.
On the second page the author points out some common “operator errors” with the
sling. Additional common errors are: twirling the sling psychrometer in the
sunlight, and twirling the sling over dark terrain (asphalt, dirt road), and
twirling the sling in a location that is protected from the wind.
The sling psychrometer should be twirled over representative plant/ground cover,
shaded by your body, and in complete view of the on-coming wind.
In my classes I would talk about these issues. But fewer fire personnel are
getting instruction these days from IMETs.
Thanks, that was a fun read. The author did a good job.
Re: Effect of Rh input on flame length in BEHAVE?
That's a good article about
the accuracy of weather instruments.
A good way to get a feeling for the effects RH has on flame length and rate of
spread is to take a look at the flame length and rate of spread graphs in
GTR-153, "Standard Fire behavior Fuel Models: A Comprehensive Set for Use with
Rothermel's Surface Spread Model".
All on one page you will see a picture of the fuel, a description of the fuel by
fuel sizes, and a graph for flame length and one for rate of spread for a range
of fuel moistures and wind speeds. The effects are fuel model dependent. The
more fine fuel present the more sensitive flame length and rate of spread are to
changes in fuel moisture and wind speed.
My conclusion is: given the break points in temperature and relative humidity
used to determine fine dead fuel moisture in the moisture tables and the
limitations of the fire spread model (by a factor of two), a few points
difference in RH even at low readings is not something to lose any sleep over.
Wind should be your major concern.
Don't fall into the trap of fighting fire with book learning. It must be
tempered with a lot of on the ground experience.
Effect of Rh input on flame length in BEHAVE?
Fire Management Today, Volume
71, No. 1 2011 has an
article by Gary L White on accurate RH readings.
In the article he tests the two main humidity instruments for accuracy and
variations. He concludes that the
Kestrel is more accurate than the sling psychrometer and that a variation can be
important in prescribed burning.
My question is, how much variation in flame length and ROS can be contributed to
a variation of humidity
differences using BEHAVE?
Can someone who is fluent in BEHAVE run a couple of inputs of say 10% and 20%
humidity and calculate
the flame lengths for us readers? How about it J.B.?
Thanks to JS for also sending this in... it's a article making the
rounds.. JS added to his email, that it's a quick read. Ab.
Jesusita Fire Burnover Accident Investigation Report
The CALFIRE Report has been issued. Can you post?
DOI Lessons Learned 11-01, Aircraft Rental Agreements
Please give the attached
DOI Lessons Learned 11-01, Aircraft Rental Agreements (133 K pdf),
This DOI Lessons Learned will be posted at a later date on the NBC-AM web site.
US Department of the Interior
National Business Center
Aviation Management Directorate
govt shutdown plans?
Does anyone have any idea who in fed fire was/is
Don't tell me no one
There must have been some that made
the list ~ at least
that thought they were ESSENTIAL,
if no one else.
If we don't know the positions of the
are there any numbers?
50, 100, 1000?
5000? 8000? Shrouded in secrecy or of the mists of
Do the people with the lists
~that no doubt think they're
ESSENTIAL~~ realize that if this comes
it will make us very frustrated not to have
Can we ask congress to make them share a plan with
us or tell us
if they have no plan?
Are they working on a shutdown policy or is it a
Hey union reps can you give them a
poke to clue us all
I agree that a simple response would be a
FLA on how to do a shutdown better
or do it at all.
Maybe they do not know the process of a
not one of the Gollums in the WO in charge of "My Precious"
ab, this is tongue in the cheek of low morale but still
please post it.
sent from my iPhone
Services for Ann Butler will be held
Tuesday, April 12th at 1030 at
the Chapel in Challenge, California
Anne was former Pike County and Pilot Peak lookout.
10th Annual Golf Tournament in remembrance of Ron Thomas, CAL FIRE Pilot
Ron Thomas Memorial Golf Tournament
San Geronimo Valley Course, Marin County
More info here:
Follow up to “No PPE” in Texas.
It’s not so much as the $$ to buy a little PPE for the brush fire volunteers as
blind Gung Ho attitude, “screw you” cowboy culture, tradition and a woeful
ignorance of anything resembling Risk Management and Situation Awareness--not to
mention even an elemental knowledge of S-130/190. Gee, is there a reason we kill
a handful of volunteers every year under conditions right out of the Common
Denominators of Tragedy Fires? Year after year?
Hell, if these departments don’t have brush PPE, let me know who they are and
we’ll round up a few extra nomex shirts and trousers. We might be able to even
find about 15,000 second generation fire shelters and web gear and a couple
thousand LPH radios. I suspect, though, that our back burning sheriff and his
buddies had all the PPE they needed in their trunk.
Through the years, I’ve worked and trained with a variety of agencies ranging
from small all-volunteer departments, state agencies to the Feds. With grants
and support from state forestry agencies and the Fed, departments that can’t
meet basic response and safety standards for wildland response do so as a
choice. Even a few enterprising volunteers with nary a Benjamin can scrounge
enough equipment to make a nice go of it. All it takes is commitment. And there
is no shame in asking for help.
Twice in my career I’ve put an engine crew in harm’s way to save enthusiastic
but clueless volunteer brush crews who were moments away from being overrun.
“Fight Fire Aggressively, but Provide for Safety First.”
If you don’t know how the play the game, either make the commitment to learn…or
go home. Volunteer or career responder, there is no excuse for ignorance in the
No PPE worn by some on TX fires (from the
Texas' largest wildfire continues to rage in Stonewall County, beyond
The aggressive wildfire that started in Stonewall County Wednesday, jumped
the Brazos River and raged through several adjoining counties, is the most
massive range fire in the state... officials estimated Friday afternoon
almost 72,000 acres had burned....
Followup comment from Firefox1:
Check out the entire article, particularly the pictures. PPE?
FLA on the Fed Fire government shutdown procedures
I support "What Tha" idea
requesting an FLA on the shutdown procedures and decision points. A focus on the
communication processes throughout last week needs to occur.
Lead up on this Monday morning.
Practice what you Preach..........
The Passing of Fire Chief Thom Myall
Although I never worked for Thom, I was fortunate to benefit from his good work.
Many reading this can write so much more about Thom, his life, his family and
his legacy. What I can do is tell you what Thom meant to me. To me, Thom Myall
will always be remembered as the Father of Centralized Fire Management.
Two fire leaders back in the early to mid-90’s (you know who you are) started
talking about what a Centralized Fire Management program would look like on the
Los Padres. That idea found itself on the agenda at a Chief Officers meeting,
where Thom liked the idea for many reasons. The idea for reorganization began to
take shape in the coming weeks and months. After many months of design,
discussions, meetings, and feedback, Centralized Fire Management became a
reality on the Los Padres and stayed in place until 2004, four years after
Thom’s retirement. Thom and Lonnie lead this historic organizational change.
Some said it was a work of art to watch Thom move his away around all the
landmines from the Forest Leadership Team on this proposal. He had an
outstanding ability to read people. He could read them like a book. No one could
out flank Thom in his ability to staff out a project.
When Thom would come out for annual drills, someone would always make the
mistake and refer to the new centralized fire organization as “stovepiped.” This
made Thom growl and his reply was always the same. “A Stovepipe organization
doesn’t have any arms that reach out to other staffs, all the hot air goes
straight up, this is Centralized Fire Management where we WILL work closely with
ALL Firefighters, ALL non-Fire Staff Officers and every Line Officer”. If Chief
Myall heard about one of his Chief Officers not working well with other staffs
or Line Officers, it was time for a talk.
Interesting to note, Thom’s journey to the Fire Chief position on the Los Padres
took him through many non-fire positions.
Yes, the Father of
Centralized Fire Management is a Registered Professional Forester and a former
As a matter of fact, instead of hiding from those credentials as Fire Chief,
he was very proud of it. Thom was a qualified Type 1 Plans Section Chief and an
Area Commander Plans.
I found it meaningful that the week Thom passed away was the same week FWFSA
released its 2011 draft legislation. Thom must have enjoyed reading Section 7 of
this draft. Thom’s in a better place now and my guess is that he has a
spreadsheet opened up and is already working the numbers.
In the months and years to come, as many of us work towards the implementation
of Section 7, Thom will be there, helping and watching over us. I know Thom
would challenge all -- especially those opposed to Centralized Fire Management
-- to continue to learn, discuss and understand the benefits of a centralized
Thom was a superior manager and true to his beliefs. Most importantly, Thom
taught us how to support Wildland Firefighters.
Chief, thanks for all you have done for us. Your spirit, energy, beliefs, and
passion will continue.
Retired FS Fuels
Fed Fire Government shutdown procedures
If you could, I need some help. On Wednesday and Thursday, I tried to find out
how the possible Federal government shutdown might affect our local ranger
district — San Jacinto.
From the ranger district through the forest office in San Bernardino through
regional office, no one would discuss it with me. I was referred to DC. When I
called, 4 pm PST, no one answered. I left a sarcastic message about the need to
help west coast papers as well as NYT and WP. I had checked the departmental
website Thursday for information and found none.
On Friday, I had a message from FS DC office to call a USDA number. Before
calling I found the attached information on the USDA site. I called anyways and
was told the person was not talking calls, because there were too many. I had to
send an email.
In the email, I also suggested that if field staff could handle these questions
the workload in DC would be lighter. Eventually I got a response from a well
placed "on background, attributable to “an agency official.” I was assured that
firefighting was critical operation and would be "excepted" from the shutdown.
After posting this information, I was verbally assaulted and told to get the
"straight story". From whom, I ask. No one in the district, the forest or the
state was talking. This criticism came from a local firefighter's spouse.
Eventually I spoke to someone who was totally fearful of saying anything to me.
There were instructed, I inferred, that only firefighters combating a fire were
excepted. All others had to be furloughed. That's doesn't comport with the
message I was given from Washington. I'm not defending Washington, I just want
to know the truth, especially because we could encounter this situation in
September, when fire season is upon us.
If no one will speak on the record, the only information that I have, and I
wrote this official back and called them at their request, and was assured fire
was critical and firefighters would not be furloughed. But if FS HQ officials
were imposing a different order, the public should know what fire support would
Can you help me with obtain some data (written or oral) that supports or refutes
what was told to me, in writing Friday?
J P Crumrine
Idyllwild Town Crier
Hear, Hear. Thanks JP, and thanks for your contributions to Always
DVD on Kelly York Story needed:
Do you know where I can get the Kelly York Story, either by DVD or video, and if
so how much it might cost?
Chuck from BC
Readers, I gave him the contact info for CAL FIRE, State Fire Training and
http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/ training/ pdf/ trainingstaff.pdf link.
Any other ideas if the video is available these days on the web? Any other
Fed Fire Essential or Not and Government Shutdown:
Not sure who makes the final decision, but rest assured, NONE of us in the
U.S.F.S. are deemed essential. We are Forestry
Technicians and emergency services are not in our Mission Statement or P.D.s,
and as far as "OUR" Leadership being accountable,
They must first know what it means.
"Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several
meanings. It is often used synonymously with such
concepts as responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and
other terms associated with the expectation of
account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to
discussions related to problems in the public sector"
Any documentation or directive? Ab.
Kudos to the Eldorado Shots and all involved with the
fundraiser at the winery today. I'm sure they raised a
ton of money and the event in my opinion was AWESOME! Good job Brad, Hump, and
all of you, you put
on a great event, and hopefully "filled the boot," for such a worthy cause. It
was great to see so many folks
away from work and old friends as well...
Sean Cox, Helitack Captain Big Hill
Sounds like it was fun! Ab.
Chief Thomas E. Myall memorial service:
Memorial service for retired Los
Padres Fire Chief Thomas E. Myall is scheduled for
Saturday, April 16, 1pm at
Christ the King Episcopal Church,
5073 Hollister Ave.
Santa Barbara, CA.
Memorial Donations: In Thom's name to The Santa Barbara Cancer Center or
Christ the King Episcopal Church.
Arrangements by Welch-Ryce-Haider 965-5145.
Thanks for sending that Marian, our condolences to friends and family. Ab.
Fed Fire, what's Essential? Call for a FLA, not a bad idea...
It might be good
for the fed fire agency leadership to figure out who is essential and who is
likely to get furloughed if a
government shutdown occurs in the future. I predict that we'll have at least two
more times this year when we'll come
up against a shutdown: once when there needs to be a decision about raising the
debt ceiling and once for passing the
2012 budget. It's less stressful if the troops know up front what's likely so
they can manage expectations and plan ahead.
who determines who is essential?
Does anyone know who in the Forest Service
determines who is considered essential during a potential shutdown?
What criteria are used, who makes the final decision and at what level. In our
case, lower GS ranks were identified
as essential while Supts and BC's were not. In my opinion everyone is essential.
I'm writing my Congress and Senate
reps and I want to give them some insight on how this all went down. I feel they
and the public needs to know that
all assets that would be needed in case of an emergency were not made
available and that our leadership making the
determination needs to be accountable.
Good morning, All,
We at wildlandfire.com would like to announce our new
Always Remember website and invite you to come, browse and contribute. Always
Remember is a work in progress and has been in the making for some years. Over
the 14 years of wildlandfire.com's existence, we've collected lots of data and
information. We've always wanted to create a website to preserve and present it
in an organized, accessible and currently meaningful way. Last October we
finally began creating and are now ready to share what we have accomplished so
We want to acknowledge the dedicated work of JB, and the help of RJM, Doug
Campbell, and others including the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and
individuals that have been moved by loss of friends, coworkers or employees.
Thanks also to Marilynn Flynn for her great collaboration skills and artistry in
creating the home page banner.
The Always Remember website is lessons learned from fire fatalities and fire
related accidents on planet earth & linked with memorials honoring the
fallen. Alternatively you could say it's memorials on planet earth
honoring the fallen & linked to lessons learned and everything about the fallen
involved in the tragic incident. Location on the earth is important. Often
firefighters die far from home but not far from our hearts.
Each incident includes
- who died,
- a brief description of what happened,
- where it happened (lat/lon),
- what contributed to the accident including systemic organizational
patterns and human factors if we know that,
- what was learned, and what was changed, or is changing, or needs to
change and how that affected policy and firefighting culture.
Each incident includes what we know of
- lessons learned reports and documents;
- a staff ride link if a staff ride exists;
- links to news articles; you-tube videos of the memorial services and/or
- info gathered from everywhere on our wlf.com site and on the web (or
linked to web information);
- hotlist records of incidents as they unfolded in real time (if recent
history) or discussion on theysaid;
- hotlist / theysaid condolences (if recent history);
- personal accounts from the past and a comments section for new
submissions if none existed before;
- personal photos of the people, the fire behavior, or the geographic
- the memorial fundraising events for the WFF, including
- the monument, and/or the memorial(s) to the person or incident with
their lat/long; etc.
Please let us know your thoughts and join us in continuing the research.
Steve Myers (Original Ab) and Mellie Coriell (Ab)
Anne Butler has passed away
Just heard this morning that Anne Butler passed
away. She was the Pike County and Pilot Peak lookout, if you remember, for 25
John, please let us know of services and where condolences can be sent.
Bridge continuing resolution has been reached. The larger agreement for the
budget is agreed on and the bridge is to
allow time for it to be written and brought to the legislature by midweek.
Good enough, no shutdown.
Carry on. Ab.
We may yet avoid shutdown. Chuck Todd on MSNBC just said the
Repubs had dropped the Planned Parenthood rider and
wanted one more billion in cuts. Said they were talking over where that might
come from. Keep yer fingers crossed.
He said there may be an announcement within the hour.
To our Federal Brothers and Sisters,
While I empathize with your pending situation with the shut down, all I can
offer is continuing support and our un-waiving belief that what you do, both as
individuals and collectively, matters. It makes a difference in the fabric of
this nation. You make a difference to your state and local counterparts. However
long you are out, you WILL BE MISSED! For those of you fed-up (pun intended) and
call it quits to seek a more stable job environment (how can anything be more
stable than the federal government you say?), be proud of what you’ve
accomplished and what you stand for. The times we are in and the actions our
political leaders take (or don’t take in this case) are not a reflection of how
America views you and your job. From a local’s viewpoint, it IS a reflection of
how politics can completely come off the track and implode.
Are you essential to this nation? You bet your sweet li’l arse you are. But we
allow the wrong people to make that determination. So please hang tough, be
vigilant. This WILL be resolved some how, some way, some day. Yes, there is
occasional State vs. Feds vs. local bashing in these blogs, but you know what?
WE are all firefighters, and don’t ever call yourself anything else! Stand
The new LCES today: Last Call for Essential Services! I’d give this a timely
Ab “Haw, Haw” but I feel more like shedding tears over this.
Best of Luck to each of you!
I know what you mean. Ab.
Today is truly a day for all to vow to take a more active role in learning and
understanding how Government works, and doesn't work; how it affects our lives,
and more importantly how partisan politics from those elected to "serve us" are
now on the verge of creating a huge disservice to those they rely on to get
This is not the first Government shutdown in recent history. I was involved in
one about 15 years ago. That said, I cannot grasp the sad fact that all federal
government agencies do not have an active plan, inclusive of protocols and
procedures, ready to implement when & if that next politically created shutdown
Let's face it folks. This has very little to do with government spending and
everything to do with partisan politics. Our Nation's citizens, especially
federal employees are consistently the easiest, and most expedient target,
certainly didn't create this mess. It has taken years and years of both
Republican & Democratic Administrations and Congress' to create this situation
which should never ever occur in the most powerul Nation on earth.
Blame it on the 2 party political system. As long as there is not a viable, TRUE
independent political force, not beholden to a specific base of campaign
contributors, this crap will continue. If you are a Democrat, you should be
ashamed of your party's leadership. The last session saw a Democratic
Administration, Senate & House yet they did not do their job and pass a budget
for 2011. That shouldn't be acceptable to ANY American, Democrat or Republican.
Enter the Republicans and the Tea Party'ers. Republican leaning citizens should
be ashamed of their Party's leadership for playing partisan political games. We
all know federal government spending needs to be dealt with. It should have been
"dealt' with for years and years. But you don't amputate a finger because you
have a hangnail. Your don't "cut" a flawless rough diamond with a sledgehammer.
The meat cleaver approach, focused largely on the easy target: federal
employees, allows these newly elected members of Congress to say "look, I'm
fixing the government" without taking the time to understand how the federal
government workforce operates.
During my trip to DC last week, I suggested to every office that it is the
federal employees of each agency who traditionally are at the bottom of the
federal pay scale that likely know far better where the waste is in their agency
and how to make effective & efficient changes than Congress does.
All of you need to get more proactive. Members of Congress don't know
much...except how to play games to get re-elected and stay in power. I have had
the honor and pleasure of representing federal firefighters on the Hill for 17
years. With this shutdown looming, all of you need to recognize that your voice
is more important than ever and that it is our duty & responsibility to educate
these folks who allegedly work for us.
Tell them what you think. Each of you has to have the guts to tell the
leadership of the party you lean towards that as a member of that party, you are
ashamed by their actions and inactions and explain how their antics adversely
affect not only you but the safety of all those you work with.
It is time to stop blaming the "other" party and start holding one's own party
accountable. Stop being sucked into your own party's rhetoric.
Sorry to yak & yak. I am embarrassed and ashamed that the leadership of this
country...on both sides of the aisle, continue to give lip service to the
American public claiming how their party is doing what is right for the country
while blasting the other party, yet neither is doing what they were elected to
Get involved. Get educated. get motivated. Make your voice heard...especially to
those who you personally have supported.
Let's hope they can some how do in a few hours what they have been incapable of
doing for the last few years...their job!
Got to love this........
ALL FS EMPLOYEES:
Forest Service Ethics Branch Newsletter SPECIAL EDITION
Good one, thanks. Ab.
With the elbows and invective flying in D.C. it appears we desperately need a
father figure who will sit our representative’s
boy/girl, boy/girl and make them behave…or not come out of their rooms until a
resolution is reached.
With much of the government furloughing in just a few hours, the O’meister goes
on vacation. So much for leading…
To AH, there are plenty of people in America who care. Having worked with hell
holes in Africa some call countries, perhaps
I’m a little more circumspect.
Sign me, “D.C.: Been there. Done that. And cynical.”
There are a couple ways to get your foot in the door, even though you live far
from major National Forests/Parks that have extensive fire programs. I'm from NJ
originally, and lived on the East Coast and yet managed to spend a couple years
out West working for the Forest Service.
First, you've got to get your red-card. I don't know what your Fire Science
degree entailed, but you need certain classes and to pass the physical test to
get Red Carded. There are classes held all over the country. (I took my in
Bloomington, IN, from the Indiana State DNR - great folks.)
One reader mentioned state agencies - certainly explore that avenue. The state
DNRs usually put together Type 2 crews each summer that travel out west for
assignments. Contact them for seasonal or temporary work. It may be that you
have to get a job in a state park, doing something mundane like checking camping
permits, etc. But it can certainly open some doors.
Being from Chicago, you're
relatively close to a couple of states that have extensive DNR fire programs -
WI, IN, MI, MN, IA. Lots of my fellow crew members got their start in DNRs in
Also look at close-by federal land management agencies. NPS, USFS, and Fish and
Wildlife are all throughout the country - even in major cities. They may be
different from what you think of as a park or forest, but getting jobs there can
often springboard you to a job out West. You're lucky in the Illinois actually
hosts a Hotshot crew - the Midewin Hotshots, in Wilmington, IL - which is only
about 50 miles from Chicago.
Finally, at some point you may just need to move out west. Certainly, if you're
going to be doing a lot of fire, you'll be spending lots of time out there.
Spending a handful of months out west during fire season, then coming back
"home" works well if you're in school or have other obligations. But it is
difficult if you want to advance in a fire career.
I am confident that the USDA will treat me more like a cubicle dwelling bovine
statistic recorder than a
non essential Handcrew Captain.
An FLA of the Forest Service reaction to the Govt. shutdown is needed.
Issues to learn from:
What positions should be deemed essential?
What are the Agency responsibilities to HSPD, NIMS and the NRF?
The Forest Service is the Lead Agency for ESF 4 (firefighting) and
11(agriculture & natural resources) and supporting roles to almost all other
Can the Forest Service Line Officers decide to withdraw from those obligations
of Presidential Direction?
If there were a need to activate ESF 4 or ESF 11, what would be the capability
of the F.S. to fulfill these roles?
Check out ROSS on Sat. and see what responders are available. A few Type III
engines and NO ability to staff any IMTs or any of the ICS needed to coordinate
response to a disaster.
The Forest Service has the ability to identify positions that are critical to
public safety and keep them on duty.
(The F.S. decided to only staff a minimum level of wildfire initial attack
resources with a disregard for all other Local Cooperative and National
So is that the expectation of the F.S. Lead in ESF 4 and ESF 11?... send a
couple Type III fire engines?
The idea of being prepared for emergencies is being prepared!
Once responders are Furloughed, they can not be brought back until the budget is
passed, even if there is a disaster.
So be prepared, or bow out of the lead roles!
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ALL OF YOUR BARGAINING UNIT EMPLOYEES
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2011/fed/110331_final-MOU.pdf (88 K pdf)
From Ab via a text reader: Here's the text:
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
Emergency Furlough of Employees Due to Absence of Agency Appropriations
This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is between USDA - Forest Service
(Management) and the National Federation of Federal Employees, Forest
Service Council (Union) hereafter referred to as the "Parties".
This MOU applies only to emergency furlough of bargaining unit employees
due to the absence of Agency appropriations and the shutdown of Agency
operations The Parties stipulate that the signators to this MOA have the
authority to bind their respective party and agree to the following:
1. Local Line Officers shall coordinate with Union representatives in
advance to ensure Union representatives have access to Union files and their
computers to conduct Union representational functions.
2 Except in the case of unforeseen circumstances, employees subject to
being "on call" during the furlough will be identified in advance and noted
by the end of the first furlough day Employees will be called back only to
complete work under functions that are excepted; for example: protection of
life and property and orderly shutdown of the Agency The procedures of
Article 18 of the Master Agreement will apply to employees who are "on call"
during the furlough. Employees "called back" during a furlough will be pajd
in accordance with Article 19 of the Master Agreement when Congress
subsequently enacts appropriations for the Agency Employees who are not
notified that they are "on call" during the furlough will not be accountable
3. All time lines in the Master Agreement, except individual vacancy
announcements, will be extended equal to the number of days of the furlough
unless otherwise required by law or government regulations. The Parties'
intent is that individual vacancy announcements will not close during the
furlough if possible.
4. Local Line Officers will develop procedures for notifying all
employees of the end of the furlough. These procedures are subject to local
negotiations. Upon notification of the end of the furlough. employees will
be expected to return to work on their next regular duty day ; employees who
are unable to return to work upon notification of the end of the furlough
shall notify their immediate supervisor and may request leave in accordance
with Article 20 of the Master Agreement. Employee leave requests approved
prior to the start of the furlough for leave that extends beyond the end
date of the furlough shall be automatically reinstated at the conclusion of
the furlough for the remainder of the original leave period.
5 The Parties agree that furlough notices will include information
regarding unemployment benefits specific to each state, including contact
information. The Union will be given the opportunity to review the content
of the furlough notices prior to release The FAQ will be developed with
Union input and made available to employees prior to the furlough The HRM
contact center and the Forest Service intranet and internet sites will be
used to communicate Forest Service wide general furlough information The
Union, at the appropriate level, will be provided a list of all excepted
bargaining unit employees.
6. The rescheduling of arbitration hearings that are scheduled during a
furlough will be handled in accordance with the Master Agreement, Article
7. If the appropriation law does not specify or prohibit payment of
retroactive pay for furloughed employees and if such payment does not result
in subsequent layoffs or furlough, the agency will grant retroactive
administrative leave equal to the time lost for those employees who suffer
lost salary/wanes due to an emergency furlough caused by a lapse in
appropriations he-intent of the Parties is to compensate employee without
significantly compromising the ability of the Agency to deliver its mission
Therefore, if the Agency believes it cannot comply with this provision, it
shall notify the Union at the national level and the Parties shall negotiate
on alternative provision.
8 Employees and their families who are in government furnished housing (GFH)
at the time of a furlough will be permitted to stay in government housing.
Employees who continue to occupy GFH units while on leave or furlough, with
or without pay, will continue to be charged for housing It is the Parties
intent that in lieu of colleting rental charges from employees during
periods of furlough, the estimated rental obligations during projected
furlough periods will be added to the rental obligation during periods of
9. The Parties agree to continue negotiations on the following deferred
topics and may amend this MOU accordingly:
a) Timing of pay for employees who work during the furlough
b) Processing time for allotments and benefit changes requested as a
c) Mitigating impacts on seasonal employees
Acting Associate Deputy
USDA Forest Service
Chief Interim NFFE-FSC President
NFFE Forest Service Council
re Federal Furlough
Through these trying times we need to bond together. I am
a federal wildland firefighter, with 15 years in. We will be shut down in less
than 24 hrs. I can only hope things out of our hands will work out. I also hope
that our Cal Fire brothers will have better representation
than we do. You also work hard for your money. This is the first time in my
career I feel like no one in the public gives a sh*t. To everyone
on this post take care, and stand together. I believe in my work as a hotshot
for 12 years.
Re: Shut-down contingency
Your Directors may have different priorities in your
Region but the contingency in r2 includes holding onto our engines,
11 HS Crews, aircraft. People committed to fires will be let go when they are
released from assignment. Minimal staffing
in NIFC, all ECC are kind of good to go.
The other thing that is frustrating is that if you have travel planned for
anytime after midnight Friday and a bill is not passed,
you will have to foot the bill. If a fire breaks out and you are on furlough and
you volunteer, you are screwed~!
Re: Shut-down contingency - fire - boots on the ground...
Not surprised that
The DOI has announced their contingency plan for the shut down before the USDA.
Thanks for posting!
But as a FS firefighter (ur Forest Tech) curious what the heck will happen to
us. Anyone in the loop in here on the Forest
I am on a day off and cannot access my lotus notes from home and scheduled to
work saturday morning. Rather not make
the 50 minute commute to find out I got the furlough.
FS is larger firefighting force than NPS to coordinate but NPS has all the
monuments, national parks, etc. Essential? Who knows why NPS did it first...
It's all a "sack of weasels" situation, in my opinion. Ab.
Re: Shut-down contingency - fire
Currently all Directors are gathering lists
from FMOs and creating their own for who they deem essential.
This is direction from the WO and lists will be submitted to the WO today.
Hey Ab -
I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience with the Oregon 550 GPS?
IHCs, Modules, Engines... anyone using
this GPS unit? Do you like it? What are the issues with it?
Re: Shut-down contingency - Interior Agencies
Hot off the wire. Firefighting is excepted for Interior agencies.
DOI Contingency Plan (226 K pdf)
Don’t overlook state land management agencies in your wildland firefighter
job search. States may not pay as well, they can be a way to get your foot in
door and get NWCG sanctioned training, qualifications, and practical experience.
Most state agencies are currently (or may already have) selecting their crew
members for the 2011 season, so don’t dally. Go to each state forestry websites
to see which ones hire firefighters and follow through. And don’t confine
yourself to the western states. Many Northeastern and Southeaster states hire
entry-level forestry personnel as well. There are many, many job-seekers in your
shoes, so my best advice to those frustrated by the trials of getting in the
door: “BE PERSISTENT.” Good luck to you.
The Old Line Scout
For all those with questions regarding the criteria for hiring ADs, I suggest
they read the Interagency
Incident Management Handbook, Chapter 10, section D, page 4 "Circumstances
Required for Hiring".
Neither NICC, NIFC, GACCs, nor local dispatch centers make policy, they simply
follow the rules.
Shut-down, ADs, backfills-NIFC/NICC ??
NIFC and NICC have been strangely quiet
in regards to informing the field on their established practices, policies and
procedures for the 2011 fire season.
We have asked questions through this forum for any established procedures
regarding the prioritization of orders (full
time government, ADs , contractors, supplemental fire department personnel,
Now we see questions asked about backfill policies, and beginning hotshot crew
hires/ongoing AD hires during the
I realize that the questions are often complex, and the OPM guidance documents
(regarding the shut-down) are
subject to interpretation.
However, the time for answers (regarding the shut-down) ends tomorrow (Friday)
NIFC and NICC, where our collective agencies have their fire brain trusts
located, have been, for the most part, silent.
What has been released has the air of "this might be the answer, but don't hold
us to it".
Is it time for some FOIA requests to be sent? Is that really necessary in this
age of easy information dissemination?
We are looking forward to some answers from NIFC and NICC, hopefully before
17:00 on Friday.
So after 3 months of harassment by the unqualified DFMO, District Ranger and
Forest Supervisor, the Modoc Hotshots
were handed their punishment. The following may not be suitable for the weak at
heart; two letters, that's correct just two letters.
No time off, last chance agreements, transfers or terminations. They stood down
an IHC and embarrassed the forest and
region all for two letters. Heck other modules are slapped with letters and are
not stood down. It just goes to show again that
the DFMO and ranger are unqualified and incompetent. I hope the crew and forest
can move forward.
Sad news. I hope they can move forward as well. Ab.
One option may still be the Great Northern Fire Crew in Missoula,
Montana. They MAY still be hiring. I've
attached a brochure with their info and contact information....
I sent it to him. Ab.
Re: No backfill authorized:
Understand that the restriction on backfill was
placed by the benefiting agency, in this case a local county government. It was
put in place in an attempt (misguided, IMO) to reduce costs and based on prior
bad experiences with having to pay what they felt were excessive backfill costs.
I have since been assured that backfill will be covered for all resources after
the state EFF kicked in, which was 0600 on Sunday morning. Interestingly, my
agency sent an engine on Sunday, there was no such notation on the resource
order. We got a call on Monday afternoon from the local dispatch center to
advise us of the restriction. There was a quick and predictable uproar from all
cooperators, and the Colorado State Forest Service quickly resolved the
situation. Not to say it won’t happen again.....
My name is Jake, and landing a job as a Wildland Firefighter is my dream.
Unfortunately I live near Chicago, and wildfire jobs are pretty much
non-existent. I have been trying really hard in the past few months to get a
summer job anywhere out west, but with limited resources and virtually no
connections, I am having a very tough time, to say the least. As of now, I have
been offered but one position as an on-call firefighter in Elko, NV, but since I
dont live in the area and probably wouldnt be able to pay my way to live there
as an on-call employee, it isn't looking too good. I have no idea how early or
late it is in the hiring season, or if any other job offers will come my way-
but I don't want to get my hopes up. SO, my question to you sir, is what would
you suggest I do? I have my AAS in Fire Science from my community college, as
well as my Illinois EMT-B. The way I see it, I either have to move out west so I
am a more eligible candidate, or abandon the prospect of Wildland Firefighting (
for now : [ ) and go ahead with paramedic school and other municipal
firefighting opportunities (which currently are pretty near non-existent as
well). I have about a million and one other questions, but I respect your time
so I tried to keep this to what I need most. Thank you very much for your time.
Jeff and Shane Memorial Fun Run Fundraiser:
Good morning brothers and sisters.
I see there's been a lot of good discussions lately with a lot up in the air and
fire season apparently getting well established.
To change gears for a moment, I wanted to announce that the folks on the
Salmon-Challis National Forest have put
together a really fun event in memory of Jeff Allen and Shane Heath: The first
annual Jeff and Shane memorial fun run
will be held on June 4th at the Indianola Memorial Site. It's a 5k and 10k
walk/run. Entry fee is $23.50 with all
proceeds going to the Wildland Firefighter foundation. There's a killer BBQ
(free to racers, $5 for non) after the event
along with a pint party in Salmon later that afternoon. There will food, drink,
raffles and fun. We're expecting a huge
Allen and Shane Heath Memorial Run 2011
Jeff & Shane Fun Run Flyer (1210 K pdf)
Hope to see you there!
Hotshot Crews during gov't shutdown?
Wondering what the outlook for oncoming
hotshot crews is during the shutdown? Are crews considered "essential"?
And will all scheduled crew start dates remain or be postponed?
No backfill authorized:
Cooperators should read their resource order carefully before deploying. I heard
of at least one engine de-mobbing
from the Crystal Fire near Ft. Collins.
Apparently, "no backfill authorized" means no backfill authorized.
I wonder if this policy will carry over to not using severity funds to stage
resources at empty stations (backfill) when
federal engines have deployed to out-of-region incidents?
re Fed only:
Hi to all,
It seems that the Feds can tag a position as FED ONLY if it is a federal fire.
When it comes to a fire where the responsibility
is a local or state government, the advisor for the agency will eliminate the
FED ONLY tag.
Most of the state agencies I have assisted have a strict ‘closest resource’
policy and unless the resource is ROSS-tered on
the IMT, they will get someone closer.
I have been told to ‘stay home’ when my IMT got called out because the fed
resource manager wanted to use the local,
uncarded IT tech as a COMT rather than pay for a non-fed. After a major
burn-over event caused by no communications
to the fireline and along travel routes, my IMT began turning down assignments
where the local resource advisor didn’t want
to use IMT members who were not Fed employees.
I have seen interagency dispatch centers cause more problems for themselves by
not adhering to their interagency agreements
when looking for fills. It really gets to be annoying when it happens year after
year because the IADC hosting agency changes
personnel and goes to great length to get the dispatcher to know the local
Forest requirements yet fails to bring the dispatchers
up to speed with the interagency agreements.
I guess what I am saying is it all comes down to education. Educating the
dispatchers, the resource managers, the IMTs and
the ADs. It isn’t anyone persons fault nor is it a nationwide conspiracy. It’s a
lack of education.
We may all be in this together but we aren’t necessarily all together on this.
Firefighting personnel gov't shutdown?
So in the event of a government shutdown, are agency fire and fuels personnel
during this time of year?
re Fed only:
Where will this end?........I hear that the ADs are taking all
the assignments. Not in my world. I am qualified and
current as ASGS, HMGB. HLCO and HEB1. Can the GOV fill the orders FED
ONLY?....not very often without
spending big $$$$ to bring them from who knows where. How about getting back to
the "closest resource concept"? If you are qualified in the position, why
is there bias?
S.R. Sparky, Wow, that was quick! 20 min, must be a record. Glad you survived.
Fire was near Midway, Utah just outside Wasatch Mountain State Park. I think the
report you cite misnames the park.
There is an interesting article about the fire and fatalities on the LDS web
site, as both who were killed were members
of that church:
Members find strength amid forest fire tragedy
Hope this helps.
Utah takes its share and nearly took me. The very first wildland fire I ever
fought in 1981 as a Type IV engine crewman
was on the Uinta National Forest. Our engine had to be abandoned and was burned
over. We bailed out over a ridge
on foot and I live to tell the tale.
1) Does anyone know the story of two firefighters that were burned over and
lost their lives in 1990 on a fire in the
Wasatch Mountains, Waist State Park in Utah?
Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910 - 1996
from the fatality list, 1990,
search on Waist
1990 Waist State Park, UT
Winds increased in speed, fire seen spotting. Entrapment of state crew in
Wasatch Mtn., one shelter deployed.
Dozer operator and deputy sheriff fatally burned. 8-26-90
From the USFA they're the only ones that died that year employed by "State
Lands & Forestry", but there's no summary
info on what happened nor on which is the sheriff and which the dozer operator.
LLC doesn't have any info either.
Ralph M. Broadhead
Blake V. Wright
Thanks for any help.
2) If any of you have links to LODD or Memorial Sites lists for your states,
please send them to Ab for the Always
Remember project. We have Memorial links for CAL Fire, Tennessee, North
Carolina, Wyoming and the USFA
Texas Forest Service:
Their meaning of "contained" and "controlled".
One sentence could be confusing to resources coming from out of their area.
"If you've got it 50 percent surrounded, it’s contained." Maybe she meant it's
A fire can be active when it is contained. If you have containment of a
fire it means you've corralled it with dozer lines, rock features that
cannot burn, a body of water, etc. When it is 100 percent contained, it
means you've got the fire surrounded, but it does not indicate that you have
control of the fire. If you've got it 50 percent surrounded, it’s contained.
After 100 percent containment is achieved, firefighters wait until they do
the appropriate amount of "mop up" inside the containment lines and feel the
fire cannot escape. At that point they will call the fire controlled.
Employee (Fire Lookout) Suffers Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (364 K pdf
Good day Ab.
Some of your readership maybe interested in the attached report.
Wildland Fire Suppression Related Fatalities in Canada, 1941-2010
Martin E. Alexander, PhD, RPF
Thanks, Marty. Ab.
One word for your post, EXCELLENT!!! Thank you for your insight... IADP please
continue to post, love it!!!
A lot of individuals have written at one time or another the subject of ADs.
IF a survey is taken asking HOW many ADs are out there that are actually
RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES - yes there are quite a lot of them - they do bring
fire knowledge to the fire. For many, many years they were Federal Employees
doing fire BUT the one big difference is they did their duty of 20 plus years
and retired. They are not private contractors, or someone hired off the street
but RETIRED Federal Employees getting the same benefits as everyone who is
working and waiting for the time they can retire.
I think GACCs use them IF no Federal Employee is available. They should use
the ADs that are RETIRED and ADs are supposed to be self sufficient. IF NOT then
they should not be allowed to go on a fire.
WHY doesn't everyone out there get off the subject of ADs as there isn't a
fire out there where there isn't a former Fed that's retired and there are ADs .
We do not take the place of someone that is a Federal employee that should be on
the fire, but when GACCs can not find resources, they order ADs up. That happens
frequently. WHEN ALL THE FEDERAL FIRE PEOPLE RETIRED MANY BECAME AN ADs and for
some of YOU that might happen real soon.
A Retired Federal Person
I'd like to make a comment on the
Tree Cutting in
the Snow: Bear Meadows Stop Work FLA.
This is an excellent FLA. It touches a subject that has concerned me for a long
time... how does a low-ranked employee express a safety concern. In this
instance the safety issue was properly addressed and the employee's concern was
vindicated. We need to encourage this attitude and work environment.
Reminds me of a similar situation a long, long, long time ago (back in the days
when the fleet was green and gray). My District Ranger wanted to get a head
start on meeting his tree thinning target. It was decided the timber crew would
go out on snowshoes to thin trees to get started on the target. Well that
lasted about 3 days. In those 3 days we managed to cut the tips off all our
snowshoes! That bought the project to a screeching halt. Visited the area the
following summer and found all the trees we had cut were cut 4 feet off the
It was good thing that we ran out of snowshoes as that was the only reason the
project was stopped.
AK Old Timer
I have come to the conclusion that the majority of folks commenting on the UTF
and or cancel issue has never worked in a dispatch center during an incident. So
I thought I would make a list of reasons for a UTF or cancellation of an order
in hopes to educate and squash this us against them feeling in some of the
comments and stop the second guessing on why an order was UTF’d or cancelled.
There are various reasons for a UTF or a cancellation and things are not always
what they seem. Here are a few (there are many more): Just to reiterate, the UTF
or cancellation comes from the local unit hosting the incident.
- The unit does not want to pay the expense of bringing someone outside of
- The unit could have been trying to get someone locally or within the
GACC only to find out they are not or no longer available
- They are only wanting to use folks within their own unit/or GACC
- They decided they don’t need the position any longer
- Duplicate order (this happens often)
- Maybe they found someone already on the fire that could fill the
position. and decided to just cancel the order
- Over order, the fire realized they didn’t need as many as originally
- Orders were place, then a team came in and they no longer needed some
individual resources previously ordered.
- Maybe someone local became available to fill the position
- Weather forecast calling for rain incident decides not to fill positions
that are outstanding
- They are wanting someone “name request” and that person isn’t available
- Position was created only for someone on the Local Unit or GACC priority
training list (maybe someone meeting IFPM requirements for their job)
- Fire is winding down and so outstanding orders are cancelled
- No one could meet the time and date needed
- Resource is not meeting inclusion//exclusion needs
- The needed time and date has expired
- Order was previously UTF’d multiple times
- Ordering unit has needs beyond the fire, possibly prescribed fire
activity where only project dollars could be used (FS cannot use ADs on
- Incident needs someone self-sufficient, many ADs, cooperators and fire
department personnel are not
- Maybe the order was placed because an AD went around the system calling
the fire and their “contacts” trying to create their own resource order, and
someone found out about it, or the IC found out and squashed.
- EDRC/EDSDs interpret the UTF process a bit differently so there are
instances that instead of using Cancel they use UTF or visa versa.
- And yes, they only want federal resources (for many reasons, but it is
- Maybe, just maybe the unit has had bad experience with AD/Contractors
and just don’t want the headache.
A few days back someone stated that the Forest Service has changed over the
years and that the agency's employees need to accept the change, this is true
the agency has changed, but it is also true that pendulum always swings back the
other way, so the AD community also needs to accept the changes that come which
may not include wide AD use, and maybe just maybe agencies are slowly getting
back to their original roots where all agency personnel participate in wildland
fire activity. Whether you want to believe that or not, its certainly more cost
effective using someone who is already getting paid.
I just want to say Thank You to everyone I have worked with and have had the
pleasure meeting during my 36 years in the fire service.
Someone asked "how do you put 36 years in one word"? THANKFUL!
The grass isn't always greener on the other side, so do what I did: water your
Remember to be safe, they're only bushes and they grow back, you don't.
Jody Smith, RETIRED
Thanks for what you've accomplished, Jody. Best wishes
in retirement. If you have any more good historical family firefighting photos,
please send them in. Ab.
Wildland Firefighting „US-Style“ now also in Europe
Well, I guess
lots of folks will have to go to ROSS now, and update their status from
"World". Or maybe just "Europe".
Wildland Firefighting „US-Style“ now also in Europe
Next they will
have to have "US-STYLE" Hotshots to catch all the fires that their
"US-STYLE" Jumpers can't catch, LOL.
bored in R-6
Thanks for the reference to the National Mobe Guide. Your quote is from an old
copy, though very similar to the current National Mobe Guide. Your quote:
Unless specified "agency only", ADs and private contractors will be
accepted for suppression and severity orders".
The current version:
"Unless specifically excluded, ADs and private contractors will be
accepted for suppression and severity orders."
(makes me wonder if there is going to be a toggle within ROSS to specifically
exclude ADs and contractors, such as a "full time federal employees only").
But this still does not answer my question as to PRIORITIZING that acceptance of
ADs and private contractors, when compared to regular federal employees, federal
Administratively Determined employees, regular state government employees, and
fire department personnel statused as state employees in ROSS.
The National Mobe Guide acknowledges these fire department resources as
Supplemental Fire Department Resources:
"Supplemental Fire Department Resources are overhead tied to a local fire
department by general agreement that are mobilized primarily for response to
incidents/wildland fires outside of their district or mutual aid zone. They
are not a permanent part of the local fire organization and are not required
to attend scheduled training, meetings, etc. of the department staff.
When mobilizing Supplemental Fire Department Resources outside of the fire
district or mutual aid zone the following will apply:
Mobilization will follow established ordering procedures as identified in
National, Geographic, and Local Mobilization Guides. Resources will be
mobilized from the Host Dispatch Zone in which the department is located..."
My questions to NICC are similar to what I asked previously:
Are there additional policies, practices, and/or procedures within the dispatch
system at NICC that prioritize the assignment of personnel based on employment
affiliation (regular federal employee, federal AD employee, regular state
government employee, and "supplemental fire department employee"), when that is
not specified by the ordering agency? Are all those resources considered equally
"acceptable" (provided they are equal in proximity to the incident)?
And what is the interpretation of the prioritization of employees when "Federal
Only" is selected in ROSS? Are AD employees ranked on the same level as regular
government employees as far as prioritization if that is not specified on the
Are there other selections within ROSS that otherwise prioritize available
overhead resources, and if so, how are those prioritizations interpreted (for
example, is "agency only" interpreted as excluding AD employees from the
I really do not have an issue with prioritizing full time federal employees for
assignments on federal lands, and state employees for state lands, or any other
prioritization design. I am just curious about the established procedures, and
if there are established procedures not outlined in the National Mobilization
P.S. The AD Training dollars come out of the Federal Fire Fund (fire dollars),
not preparedness nor fuels reduction/prescribed fire funds.
Re: Texas and not accepting ADs:
I recently saw a resource order come through for Texas that read:
".... Contractors Not Acceptable. Federal Only. AD's acceptable. If
you have a regular state agency employee
who can fill this order, please contact TICC..."
Re: Forest Service in FY 2010 spent $6,257,451.40
That cost is for the thousands and yes I said thousands of AD
firefighters out there. I have no clue what the numbers are, but there has
to be 20-50 OC crews in California alone, and they are all ADs. A FFT2 is
classified as an AD-C at $17.40 an hour. Multiply that by 80 hours and get
$1,392. Each AD/OC crew has at least 25 folks on it so now your up to
$34,800 per crew. If you have 10 crews on a forest its now $348,000. It adds
up fast. So when you throw around 6 Million as a shock value, do the math
first. If you look around Region 5 there is a number of current Chief
Officers, and Superintendents that all have started their careers as an AD.
Its a good program, and I would hate to see it go away.
Re: "Call-When-Needed" fire department employees.
Most of them are Forest Service Retirees, and someone found a loop hole,
good for them. Good luck to the Agencies to
try to close that hole, because it is now the size of the Grand Canyon.
IMHO if you want to get involved, send your comments on how things should be
in the future to the Incident Management Organization Succession Planning task
www.nwcg.gov/ imosp/ index.htm. I sent in my ideas, did you send yours?
Wildland Firefighting „US-Style“ now also in Europe
So how does one apply for such a gig? Jumping in Europe would be a pretty
They must be interested in some American knowledge right?