"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
||Lesson Learned, Close Call:
Here is this little reminder of the need to
"escape the stump of the tree" during felling operations.
This occurred during the R-5 C-feller evaluations on the BDF with Mr. Dent. A
great example of why we have escape routes
and safety zones and the POSITIVE RESULT when they are used
Please share this with all saw users.
file with 3 Pictures text below
This is the aftermath of a Stihl 066 being left at the stump of a falling
operation. The tree was about a 40” dbh pine, it was being felled contour to
the slope. When the tree was committed to the fall it hit an oak tree, which
bent all the way to the ground and then slung this large limb back within
two feet of the stump. The saw was left at the stump for a quick escape; the
limb hit the saw right on the handle bar with enough force to bind it into
the casing. Very good reminder of why we practice escaping the stump as
quick as possible and to find a solid object to get behind.
Ash Pit Safety Advisory (with photo)
Date/Time: May 27, 2011 1200
Event: Firefighters sustain burn injuries from stepping in ash pits.
Purpose: Alert wildland fire community of the hazards associated with ash
pits, how to recognize and mitigate this exposure, and how to provide an
appropriate medical response to burn injuries.
Narrative: In April and May of 2011, three firefighters in the Southwest stepped
onto, what appeared to be solid ground, but turned out to be ash pits. In each
case, the firefighter sustained burn injuries despite proper use of PPE and
quick extraction from the hole. In support of agency and regional Standard
Operating Procedures (SOPs), the burn victims were transported to a regional
burn center for medical care. The resulting evacuations included a variety of
medical transportation including medivac helicopter and/fixed wing aircraft from
the incident to the burn center. In two cases, the individuals were located so
remote that immediate evacuation included transport via mule train to an area
where they were then transferred to medical aviation transportation to the burn
center. In the first case, there was some initial delay in determination which
burn center to transport the patient until confirmation could be made which burn
center was best staffed to handle the patient. However, this was well
communicated between the incident and flight medical personnel and the patients
transferred in a timely and efficient manner.
IC Actions: Thanks to good planning on the part of the Incident Management Team
(IMT), and having incident medics available for evaluation of the patients,
immediate medical attention was provided in all three cases, and transport to
burn centers was quick and efficient. After each incident, the IMT ensured to
communicate this hazard into safety briefings to alert fireline personnel to
what had happened, what to watch for, and what to do if someone is injured. The
fireline medical personnel were invaluable in providing immediate triage and
assist in the medical evacuation decision through communications with the burn
center, IMT, and medivac personnel.
How to Detect Invisible Hot Ash Pits: “Ash Pit Hazards” can be found on the 6
Minutes for Safety web site (wildfirelessons:
Ash Pit Hazards
). It lists environmental factors, including the presence of extensive root
systems, deep duff or peat, landscapes that have once been cultivated or
manipulated by heavy equipment, old dozer piles, sawmills, timber sale yards or
decking areas, and rodent holes filled with combustible debris. In these cases,
all were located in the same very dry riparian area with no sign of stump holes
anywhere nearby. Indicators included white ash on the surface and possible
translucent smoke that dissipates quickly above the ground with little if any
indication of the hazard.
Role of PPE: All three firefighters were wearing standard issue green Nomex
pants and all three
firefighter’s boots met NWCG PPE standards. In one injury, the burn occurred on
the foot, through the leather boot. The other two injuries were located on the
calf above the top of the leather boots. Past incidents show that firefighters
wearing Kevlar pants had fallen into similar pits on other fires but had not
sustained burns, suggesting that Kevlar pants may provide greater protection
against these types of burn injuries.
Burn Injury SOP: Interagency firefighter burn injury protocols are outlined in
the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation (Red Book), Chapter 7,
pages 7-21 and 7-22 (Red
Because a physician referral is necessary for admission to a burn center and
delays in referrals to burn centers have occurred in the past, the burn injury
SOPs call for a firefighter’s representative or medical personnel to facilitate
the medical referral to a burn center and ensure timely care. When transporting
the injured firefighter to a local medical facility, if the treating physician
does not believe the victim should go to a burn center, it is the agency
designee’s responsibility to coordinate with the attending physician to ensure
that a firefighter whose injuries might meet any of the burn injury criteria
listed in the firefighter burn injury protocol is immediately referred to the
nearest burn center. In all three of these cases, the firefighters were treated
and released from the burn center, and it was determined that immediate
evacuation to the burn center was the most appropriate action to take in the
best interest of the employee’s health and safety and not risk infection had
they not been transported to a burn center.
The chance of full recovery from a burn injury is much higher if immediately
transported to a burn center or the local physician attending the injured
firefighter at a local medical facility provides a referral to a burn center in
a timely manner. Local and assigned incident managers must know where the
closest burn center is. In preparation for fire season, visit local medical
clinics to discuss treatment and transfer of burn patients to minimize delays
caused by staff unfamiliar with DOI and USDA burn injury protocols. Here is a
list of possible burn care facilities:
Other Possible Influences: Underground ash pits not visible from the surface are
created by the combustion of organic matter buried under a layer of mineral
soil. Steam from the ash pits can significantly increased the severity of these
burns. The presence of emergency medical personnel and medivac transportation,
contributed to successful evacuation and treatment in all three cases. Morning
safety briefings on these hazards did occur on these incidents, but firefighters
still fell into them, mainly due to the fact that these pits were not easily
It is also possible that one or more of the injured parties delayed notification
of their injury to a supervisor until which time the burn became worse. This
resulted in not only delaying their medical care but also resulted in
alternative modes of transportation having to be considered since it was dark
and aircraft could no longer be considered. It is critical that any burn injury
be communicated immediately to the incident leadership and medical personnel, as
not to waste precious time. Ash pits are not just a hazard in the Southwest Area
and fire managers and firefighters across the country need to be aware of their
As the April 2011 Regional Forester’s Letter of Intent so clearly articulates,
“It’s crucial that we not expose our incident responders to unnecessary risk and
to always put them in the safest conditions possible. “ We encourage the
continued and diligent use of the risk decision framework when making critical
decisions and applaud your efforts in keeping our personnel healthy and safe.
For more information on this Safety Advisory, please contact Bequi Livingston,
USFS R3 Fire Operations Health and Safety Specialist at blivingston@ nospam
||Making the rounds
Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) 11-CA-FKU 005669 Greenwood Incident
Model 34 fire engine
Attached is a Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) referencing radiant
heat damage sustained to a CAL FIRE Model 34 fire engine during fire suppression
operations. Please provide wide distribution of the document for the purposes of
discussion and Tailgate Safety session.
||Making the rounds
Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) 11-CA-TGU 003628 Round Incident
Attached is a Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) referencing a vehicle
accident in the CAL FIRE Tehama-Glenn Unit that resulted in the tragic loss of a
CAL FIRE employee. Please provide wide distribution of the document for the
purposes of discussion and Tailgate Safety session. Also, please keep the family
and members of the Tehama-Glenn Unit in your thoughts during this very difficult
||Making the rounds:
Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) 10-CA-RRU 114198 Repair 3130 Vehicle
Attached is a Preliminary Summary Report (Blue Sheet) referencing a vehicle
accident involving a repair vehicle in the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit that resulted
in minor injuries. Please provide wide distribution of the document via the
normal chain-of-command process for the purposes of discussion and Tailgate
Battalion Chief - Department Safety Officer
The best advice I can offer re: starting a new fire contracting crew is to
(1) contact your Region Contract Officer and
custom-build your business from ground up according to his/her specifications -
in the long run, it'll save you a lot of
wasted effort, time and money; and (2) contact the NWSA at firstname.lastname@example.org (website
at www.nwsa.us ) regarding
training and qualifications requirements.
All contract resources interested in working for Feds are absolutely required
to, at minimum, be qualified at NWCG
310-1 standards, meaning "red" cards, time-in-grade, etc. Only your Regional CO
can make any required judgment
calls regarding converting CalFire quals or local gov't rank/experience to NWCG,
And my personal advice regarding your title? In order to be taken seriously by
the Feds you'll come in contact with in
your work and on incidents, forget about rank-titles such as "Chief"; just go
with the appropriate NWCG position titles.
For example, in my LG days, I was entitled to all sorts of seaweed to wrap
around my hat; once I left LG and
semi-retired to a private contract job, I was just another single-resource boss.
Once "the competition" (agency FFs
and overhead) had spent a few minutes visiting or working with us, I never once
experienced any difficulty with them
taking me seriously.
Best of luck with your new career, and your business venture.
||1991 Lead Plane accident
Here is a link to a USFS summary report that
includes the June 21, 1991 lead plane accident in New Mexico.
It is on pages 104
US Forest Service Fatal Aviation Accident History (4,017K pdf File)
||1991 Lead Plane accident
to 1996 (pdf)
I know I have a more indepth report, however the computer it's stored on burned
out the power supply and I can't do
anything with it until next week.
Also: Page 19, it appears that nothing in particular was found during this
investigation, but at least it narrates the series
of events that took place .
Flight Safety Digest apr99 (pdf)
I failed to let folks know in my last couple of posts that in October 2006, the
California State Fireman's Association
(CSFA) passed a resolution, # 10-06 that
amended Article III of their By-Laws to extend membership benefits to all
federal & seasonal firefighters. As I understand it you are not required to be a
firefighter in California or a resident of
Our Board had invited and met with CSFA representatives during our Dec. '05
conference about how to make such
benefits accessible to our members.
Unfortunately, it simply wasn't a sound fiscal idea for the FWFSA to pay for CSFA
membership for all of our members.
That being said, the CSFA and its benefits are available to all of our members
pursuant to the graciousness of their
leadership and the amendment of their
By-Laws. I would encourage you visit their website,
www.csfa.net for further
Frankly, I'd love to be able to partner with the CSFA and at some point if our
membership and revenue rise to the point
that we can in fact pay for our
member's membership with CSFA without impacting our priority of
advocacy, then I'm all for it.
||To Anyone Who Can Answer:
I am starting up a Contract Crew in the Denver Metro Area. I was a firefighter
with CDF through the 90's and moved to Colorado in 2000. I need some help on a
couple of issue that have come up.
First, what title (if any) should I go by for identification purposes? I have
been told that since we are a fire service organization that I should use Chief.
Others have said Supervisor or Founder. I do not have certification for an
actual "Chief" level but I do have the leadership and Admin qualifications. I
have already told a friend of mine who is on the crew that no matter what title
I have he would be my boss on the fireline (he is certified at Crew Boss) until
I gained the certification for the same or higher level.
I ask because people now days are title conscious and fr some reason Founder or
Supervisor is not sufficient for some.
Also, how do I verify someones certification if they are not providing a Red
Card or their Red Card my be suspect? I obviously would not put them on my crew
until I was provided with verified proof of certifications but I need to know if
there is another avenue that I can take to independently verify a persons
Thirdly, and last, could someone please assist me in equipment. I am looking for
the best and highest quality equipment to outfit the hand and engine crews with.
I need to know what the best/comfortable fireline packs are now as well as the
best radios to use. I know of the BK Radios but is there a smaller/lighter radio
out there now that is just as good if not better than BK? BK radios are a bit on
the expensive side.
Oh, sorry, one last question. Does anyone know of a good but inexpensive web
designer who may have experience with business or Fire Dept web sites? My site
is a train wreck but I did it on my own with no assistance.
I truly appreciate any assistance anybody can give me.
Phil Roncarati: Founder
FRONT RANGE FIRE CREW
||I'm tying up lose ends on several Always Remember pages and I have a major
Does anyone know any details about Henry Kim who was a lead plane
pilot who died on the Ziplock Fire NM in 1991?
... Prescott AZ Memorial outside the dispatch office is named for Henry Kim,
a lead plane pilot, who was killed on the
Ziplock fire on the Cibola NF outside of Grants, NM 6/21/91. The memorial is in
Prescott because the building was
named after him.
There is no no NTSB record I can find. On some very old incidents that's not
surprising but I'd expect there to be one on
a 1991 accident, not all that old.
AAP has his
name and that he flew a Beech BE-58P Baron.
Thanks for any help...
Thanks for the "pick-me-up" although ironically the person I mentioned in my
post who asked whether the FWFSA provided additional benefits like the NRA
actually left me a voice message today saying he and his wife decided to
terminate his FWFSA membership.
Wish I could be like most "advocates" of huge organizations that let this kind
of stuff roll off their shoulders and don't bat an eye when they lose members. I
take losses very personally despite the fact that our success is dependent on
far more than just my efforts. In large organizations, losses are barely
noticed. And while the loss of a $20.00 per month member won't break the FWFSA
bank, it weighs very heavily on me. I have tried to subscribe to the reality
that you can't please everyone.
I'm sure there are folks out there that hope the FWFSA will falter and fail in
its efforts. However how can one fail if you keep working at something. I go
back to my now famous billboard in Salt Lake City with a picture of Abe Lincoln
and next to it the text "failed, failed, failed...persisted".
Any organization's strength is its members and their commitment to support the
effort for the long haul. I admit that frustration rears its ugly head when a
member of a year and a half quits while there are so many who have retired
without seeing our goals and objectives achieved yet dutifully and proudly paid
dues for years and years...some since our beginning in 1991.
Still others who have yet to reach retirement who have also graciously supported
us for years and years and continue to do so.
That will be one of the major themes of our membership conference in December.
For our younger members to recognize the effort and sacrifice of so many current
& retired FWFSA members to get this organization off the ground and who made the
commitment to ensure it's viability.
As I've said before, there are no guarantees or promises in
politics...especially in this line of work OTHER THAN our commitment to working
everyday towards achieving our member's goals. Maybe all this sounds sappy to
some. Again, I couldn't be an advocate of an organization where I didn't know
each member's name and where I didn't make myself available to anyone anytime.
FWFSA members are a special group of folks within a very special community.
Hopefully when folks make the decision to join they recognize there is no
overnight success and make a commitment to not only allow us to harness their
voices but exercise their voices to create a more rewarding career for
themselves and other federal wildland firefighters. There is no pixie dust to
sprinkle on Congress to make everything better, no magic wand for me to
orchestrate how Congress, the Administration and the Agencies address your
issues. Just the promise to keep plugging away and not give up.
If I thought for a nano-second either I or the FWFSA as an organization was
ineffective on the Hill, wasn't getting its message through to folks, I'd
suggest to the Board and its members to fold up shop. But whether its an email
from a staffer on the Hill, or a phone call from a congressman or the passage or
introduction of a bill or a phone call from high level FAM folks at the FS and
DOI who keep encouraging us to keep pounding away, there is still optimism that
we will achieve the goals our members seek.
So anyway ms thanks again. By the way I received some great information with
respect to Line Officers, particularly that outlined in FS Manual 1200 and have
incorporated it into our draft.
I recently indicated here on TheySaid that I suspected the introduction of the
bill would be fairly soon. Apparently the new staff person I am working with in
the office of the Congressman considering introducing the bill wanted to share
the draft with several other organizations.
I was a bit bewildered with the staff wanting to run the bill by:
International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
National Volunteer Council
International Code Council
but the group excluded NFFE and the International Association of Wildland Fire.
I have submitted our draft to both of those organizations for their review &
feedback. I think it important for as many folks as possible to understand the
issues facing our federal wildland firefighters as well as understand how the
agencies manage their fire programs and how our bill will work to create a more
efficient and cost-effective federal wildfire response.
Of course the IAFF was on the list too. Hopefully since an IAFF State
Association affiliate testified in favor of our Republican authored stand-alone
PTP bill in 2005 and that the PSOB issue, if fixed through our legislation or
other means would benefit all their members and that the buy-back of temp time
provision was actually crafted by an IAFF/FWFSA member, they won't find too much
to complain about.
||Discovery Channel question about fatality rates:
There are a number of
Historical Comparisons and Analyses here at the Lessons Learned Center:
If you're looking for entrapment/fatalities Jim Cook's briefing paper from
2004 summarizes 1933-2003
and reports the averages over different years and
lists policy and incidents that relate to those averages.
Trends in wildland fire entrapment fatalities (217 K pdf)
has several summary reports using pie chart of fatalities by category and other good
info.Also available at the Lessons Learned Center there are NWCG safety grams from
2000 to 2006 that
summarize by year and one that summarizes from 1987-1996.
safety grams in the documents archives. We've been using these and other sources
to compile the Always Remember database.
NWCG Safety Gram 2007:
07FinalSafetyGram 12-31-07 (pdf)
NWCG Safety Gram 2008:
08FinalSafetyGram 12-31-08 (pdf)
NWCG Safety Gram 2009:
NWCG Safety Gram 2010:
Now that I look, you can also find the most recent Safety Grams 1987-2010 here at the NWCG Risk
safety gram archive
||Casey, regarding your most recent post, I just want to say thank you. All
FWFSA members are very proud of you
and all your hard work.
Regarding your post earlier this week, how are things going with the response on
your request to collect information
on Line Officer work requirements and job description(s)? Every Line Officers
official "position description" is
available in AVUE. If you haven't already received them, I can go in and get
them for you. Anything thing else you
need? Let us know...
||To FWFSA members and all interested folks;
Today I received a call from a member who inquired about additional benefits
provided by the FWFSA to its members such as life insurance supplements, health
benefits supplements etc. He referred to the National Rifle Association (NRA) as
an organization that provides such benefits to their members. Suffice it to say
if we had the membership the NRA has I'd guarantee you we'd be providing all
sorts of benefits. But that is the point. Additional benefits cost money and in
order to provide such to its members, any organization needs sufficient revenue.
The FWFSA currently does not provide such additional benefits to its members.
The organization, created in 1991 has always been a political/legislative entity
who goal & objectives is to effect positive change for its members on the issues
they deem important, through the legislative process.
The organization is very modest in size. In fact the recurring theme we hear on
Capitol Hill is that we appear larger than we actually are based upon the
irrefutable data & information we provide Congress on any given issue and the
impact we have made in recent years. We have strived to keep our membership dues
reasonable and have not had an increase in 8 years.
Sure, we could look into such benefits if enough members and potential members
asked but with our current size, we would have to increase dues to provide such
benefits. Some would argue that we'd get more members if we offered such
benefits. That may be true but the initial outlay in capital to have access to
such benefits would represent a huge risk to our current revenues and
significantly impact our political/legislative efforts at a very critical time.
The point is the vast majority of our members are federal employees who already
have access to such benefits. The "additional" benefit we do offer is specific
to the needs of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters... a discounted
premium for PLI through FEDS.
We are honored to have many members who are seasonal firefighters. Some 13/13s
others 18/8s. Sadly, the federal government, mores specifically the federal land
management agencies who employ these folks who also happen to risk their lives
protecting our Nation's natural resources and its citizens and their real &
personal property from the ravages of wildfires, don't believe these employees
should be entitled to such benefits. As a result, such remedies are included in
When these members are in a lay off status, they are not obligated to remit
dues. if we were to provide such "peripheral" benefits we would have to insist
that dues be paid whether they were in a pay status or not. That can be much to
ask of a GS-3 just starting out.
Perhaps the solution would be for all those federal wildland firefighters out
there who are aware of our efforts on their behalf to step up and join the
organization so that we can not only be more aggressive politically but could
also start providing such additional benefits.
In any segment of society there will be those who refuse to "pay to play" or
refuse to "pay the freight" and ride the coat tails of others and allow others
to pay the dues but when the goals and objectives are achieved, will certainly
not hesitate to take advantage of them. Such is life.
It should be a constant reminder to all of those who annotate code 21, prefix 11
on their time cards as to who eliminated the overtime pay cap for federal
wildland firefighters. If there were not dues paying members of the FWFSA that
would not have happened. Nor would the most comprehensive legislation ever
crafted on behalf of federal wildland firefighters be introduced last session.
Nor would the House of Representatives have passed the federal Wildland
Firefighter Classification Act in 2006.
The point is, this business takes money. We have had decent success on a
shoestring budget. If we are to enter into the business of providing additional
benefits to our members we either need our current members to become more
proactive in recruiting new members so as to increase revenue or we simply
increase dues and run the risk of alienating and losing more folks in these
rough economic times.
We're always open to new ways of doing business but as long as we're trying to
accomplish things for folks who are traditionally found at the bottom of the
federal pay scale and are now being abused by the Administration and Congress
through pay freezes as the easy targets for fixing our Nation's fiscal ills, I
think we need to be cost effective.
If anyone has any thoughts or comments, please feel free to contact me at
Executive Director, Governmental Affairs
||For Allison, from the Dude Fire entrapment and burnover:
The crewmembers ran down the dozer line at about 7 mph, consistent with Ted
Putnam's experience and Brian Sharkey's "Fitness and Work Capacity". The rate of
fire spread was between 11.1 and 12.7 mph South from Fuller Creek. Putnam
determined a possible rate of spread of 18 mph at the deployment site based on
time to run distances. Patricia Andrews calculated a predicted maximum spread
rate of 5.2 mph with the crown model at only 40 mph maximum sustained windspeed.
Her report also recognized that the fire flashed across the canyon at a greater
rate than this. A 60 mph wind would put the predicted spread rate above 9 mph
which is the top of the chart. TV 12 video shows an 11+ mph spread rate between
the deployment site fire location at 1423 and the road into the subdivision at
1425. Rate of spread Southwest toward Brody Creek and the Control Road was about
11.1 mph. Rate of spread Southeast was about 9.2 mph and about 7.7 to 9.2 mph
East to the road into the subdivision.
Rate of spread to the intersection of Walk Moore and the Control Road was
about 8.3 mph. This appears to have given the crews some extra time to get onto
the trucks and leave as the fire crossed the Control Road at Fuller and the
subdivision road above the Control Road. Rate of spread was less up-canyon
toward the Northeast. Spread rate to the Perryville work-site was about 4.34
mph. Spread rate further Northeast would be timed later by Gleason at less than
1 mph. That area did have faster spread rates later in the sequence of events.
Spread rates varied widely even within small areas, so these are averages from
point to point.
Thanks for the pertinent details. Ab. Always Remember:
I don't know how this relates to Allison's question on mph of fire
spread, but from Calif. Fire Siege of 2003 --
After Action Report, information therein suggests that the Cedar Fire, at the
height of its burning (between
0200-0300) was 3 acres per second.
Also, I remember accounts of strike team's stories that when they were in SoCal
chasing fires driven by Santa
Ana winds, they couldn't catch the wind driven fire, even though they were doing
Thanks for your reply and info. I found similar language as well. However all I
seem to find is language pertaining to
contract dozer/operators. I was hoping to find something specific to agency
owned and operated dozers. I believe
the Fish and Wildlife have some, but unsure if any other agency does?
||Alison, here are a few sources. Together they should give you all you need
Fatalities 1910 to 1996 (pdf)
wlf Always Remember Home page
Fatalities 1990 to 1998
||Alison, follow the link below, they break it down by type of fire and
wildland is there. As far as how fast can a fire travel,
that all depends on
slope, time of year relating to live and dead fuel moisture's, and wind. If all
line up fire can travel faster
than 14 mph. We have many programs that can model
that. One is called BEHAVE + that is available on the web if you
use your search
engine to find it, there is also a learners guide that you can download and if
you have a computer whiz they
can learn the program very easily. Good luck.
Fatality Safety 2007 - 2011
||Attached is a link to a pdf that may be of assistance.
Fatalities 1910 to 1996 (pdf)
I've seen fire move a lot faster than 14 mph!
I'm having a hard time finding statistics for fatalities in the
U.S. (and/or around the world) in wildfires. There are plenty of
stats on every kind of structure fire and even for firefighters in the
wilderness, but none for wildfire deaths, in general. Do
you have statistics on that, and, if not, do you know where I could find them?
And to follow up, how fast can a fire travel? I keep reading the same number
"up to 14.29 mph" but I don't know whether
or not to believe it. I know it depends on so many factors, but is there an
average speed of a wildland fire?
We're in a time crunch editing a program for the Discovery Channel about
wildland fire survival!
Thanks so much you for your time,
||Hi AB and Jackass,
I enjoyed your report on the CDF (AKA CAL-Fire) adventures in fire apparatus
follies, particularly in what you had to say about the Model 2000.
I remember the model 2000 on fires in the Butte Ranger Unit. Everyone who
operated it could not stand the thing, but like the fire team they were they did
what they had to do and worked with what they had.
I remember this vehicle distinctly while working in Butte County, and when it
was assigned to CDF Station 36 at Jarbo Gap. I remember the pump failing on a
fire multiple times, once when it went off-road up a hill it started deploying
its 2-1/2" supply load after hitting a bump.
The thing was a piece of crap, but they had to try to get an operational life
out of it. So they stuck it in Butte Ranger Unit at the Jarb Gap Amador Station,
a station that was staffed during the winter with one engineer or captain.
But in the need to maintain truth in this matter, you are incorrect about how
the vehicle rolled on that Christmas Day, and I'd like to clear that matter up.
On that Christmas Day back in the mid-1990s Station 36 engine 2177 (The Model
2000) and Butte County Fire Dept. Squad 37 were toned out for a Medical Aid,
burns to the face from an exploding oven, on Hoffman Road in the Concow area of
Butte County (Northern California). Engine 2177 responded with a single CDF Fire
Captain on-board, Squad 37 followed a few minutes later. Engine 2177 (Model
2000) was a slow responding vehicle and had to travel up a sharp hill on Concow
Road (commonly referred to as 'Killer Hill') then the road leveled out and rose
again for a short distance to the top. A few minutes into the call we suddenly
heard "Oroville (dispatch center) Engine 2177, Emergency Traffic! Emergency
Traffic! The Engine has rolled off of Concow Road from Killer Hill! I'm OK! Have
the Squad continue to the call! Start the Battalion Chief."
I was in Squad 37 when it happened, just a minute behind her on the road. We
came up on the scene and saw Engine 2177 had rolled off the shoulder of the road
and landed on an oak tree, sitting square and stable. The Fire Captain said she
was alright and to continue to the call. I continued to the call and treated a
man who suffered a flashburn to the face, but refused treatment and transport to
the hospital. I returned to the scene of the accident with Engine 2177 to help
recover the vehicle.
The facts that came out were the fire captain was traveling slowly up the hill
(about 15 MPH) and was steering with her knee, while she was putting her rubber
medical gloves on. She let the vehicle drift off the pavement and it hit a soft
spot on the road, where she stopped the vehicle. The shoulder gave way and
Engine 2177 did a slow-motion rollover, where it rolled once, cushioned by heavy
Manzanita brush, where it landed on the trunk of an oak tree. When we got to the
scene other members of Volunteer Company 37, along with a CDF Fire Captain who
heard the call and lived locally, and Battalion Chief 2116. The fire captain of
Engine 2177 was not injured, did not request medical transport or treatment, but
did ask for a Union Representative right away. We spent two hours picking up all
the hose and equipment, cleaning up the area and getting the engine hauled up
onto the road.
In the end, the Fire Captain on Engine 2177 was found to be in error, and became
a member of the 10% Club for several years. That club is where as disciplinary
action for an avoidable accident the employee had 5% or 10% of their salary
deducted to repair the damage done to the vehicle. There was no false blame made
on the Fire Captain. I know because a few days after the incident I asked her,
to her face, what happened, and that is what she told me. Her 'disciplinary
action' was confirmed by another fire captain I knew. That Fire Captain was to
blame for the rollover, and it could have happened to any of us in the same or
other vehicle doing the same thing of drifting off the road and stopping on that
soft shoulder. Shortly after that she transferred to another CDF Ranger Unit as
a Handcrew Captain. We all wanted to give her the 'Firefighter of the Year'
award for finding a way to get rid of that horrible engine.
Engine 2177 (Model 2000) was transported to Butte Ranger Unit HQ in Oroville,
then loaded on a CDF Transport and moved to the Davis Facility, where it was
parted out rather than be repaired, and finally sold for scrap on early 2000.
But that wasn't the end of the bad engine designs. A year or so later began the
next 'great experiment', a wildland fire engine built on a Type 1 Spartan Cab
and Chassis. The concept was an Interface Engine that could function as a
Structural Fire engine and Wildland Fire engine. It was called the Model 19 and
its designation was Engine 2180 and was staffed at the HQ station of Station 63
in Oroville. The thing had another hydrostatic pump that was difficult to
manage, and a chassis that was so heavy that every time it went off-road (or
off-pavement) it got stuck in the dirt and had to be pulled or towed out. Its
knick-name was "Battestar Galactica" because it was so huge and awkward and a
mess to handle on the road.
The Model 10s, Model 12s, the Model 2000, and 'Battlestar Galactica' all had the
same common denominator: They were approved by a bunch of CDF fire chiefs who
thought "Hey, this is a great idea! Lets do this! The crews would love this!".
Shortly after the four 'Battlestar Galactica' Spartan Chassis Model 19s did
their run, someone up-on-high had the epiphany of "Why don't we have the
Engineers and Captains design what they want for Structural and Wildland fire
engines so we don't make this mistake again?" Thus ended the Chiefs will design
the fire engines problem.
All four of those engines had the same defect, people who had not ridden on fire
engines in a decade or more got sucked into 'this is the newest, neatest thing
since sliced bread, and you should buy it' syndrome. Thankfully, though at the
cost to the taxpayer, this practice has ended.
In the Forest Service, a line officer is the decision maker at
each unit and staff or staff officers provide the information
necessary for a decision. In the FS, that is the District Ranger, Forest
Supervisor, Regional Forester, and FS Chief.
A classic example would be a wildlife biologist who leads a team to write
environmental documentation and make
recommendations, but the line officer would choose the final alternative and
sign it. I recall working on at least one
forest where all correspondence had to go out with a line signature.
As the scope of the agency has changed, more and more authority has been placed
out at the staff level. An emphasis
on "collaboration" also led to having line snaggled by staff with their own
agendas or incompetency. In the bad
a line officer would make a decision and know a career might be on the line
-- so there was follow through. And then
there's the budget which is a decision maker in itself. I won't go there.
Still Out There as an AD
Below is language found in the Forest Service R2 regional heavy equipment
contracts. Not sure if the same applies to agency dozers.
In addition to [basic safety equipment/PPE], dozers shall have:
1. Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) meeting ISO 3471, ISO 8082, or SAE J
1040 is required on all machines. A manufacturer's nameplate certifying the
operator enclosure or alternative documentation that the cab meets these
provisions is required. Modification of factory ROPS/FOPS (Cutting/Welding)
and any aftermarket ROPS/FOPS requires certification to ISO 3471, ISO 8082,
or SAE J 1040.
2. Operator Protection. Shall meet all applicable Federal and State (the
State where equipment is registered) logging safety standards (per OSHA, 29
CFR 1910.266) and must have operator protection, such as a Forestry cab
package with wire mesh or safety glazing that provides equivalent
protection. Stand-alone safety glass does not provide equivalent protection
to wire mesh, however it may be used as part of the window glazing system.
Polycarbonate windows are not "glass" and may be acceptable as a stand-alone
window guard. Any machine cab meeting ISO 8084 or SAE 1084 fulfills this
requirement. The protective canopy shall be constructed to protect the
operator from injury due to falling trees, limbs, saplings or branches which
might enter the compartment side areas and from snapping winch lines or
other objects. The rear portion of the cab shall be fully enclosed with open
mesh material with openings of such size as to reject the entrance of an
object larger than 2 inches in diameter. The covering shall be affixed to
the structural members so that ample clearance will be provided between the
screen and the back of the operator and shall provide maximum rearward
visibility. Open mesh shall be extended forward as far as possible from the
rear corners of the cab sides to provide the maximum protection against
obstacles, branches, etc., entering the cab area. Deflectors, which may be
part of the cab, shall be installed in front of the operator area to deflect
whipping saplings and branches. Deflectors shall be located so as not to
impede visibility and access to the cab.
Does anyone know of any specific agency guidelines, policies, or
requirements for dozer operations, specifically
in relation to operating with open or enclosed cabs?
||Texas Fires, 2011
Pics from the IA on the Edwards Fire
which later merged with the Batch and became the Dicken's County Complex.
compliments of Ryan.
Nice! I added them to
Fire 46 and
Handcrews 28 photo pages. Ab.
||Family Day at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation & what is the correct
definition of a Line Officer?
First & foremost a tremendous thanks once again to Vicki, Burk, Melissa and all
the staff at the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation in
Boise for providing families & friends of those lost in this business an
opportunity to share their grief and feelings with so many others
who care about them.
Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the entire weekend but thanks again also
to the FWFSA members who attended, including
those that are part of the Interagency Honor Guard. As always I encourage folks
in this community to visit the Foundation, support
it and most importantly, attend Family Day so the survivors of those lost know
the compassion we all share for them.
Additionally, does anyone know if there is an "official" description of a Line
Officer? Although we have made it clear in our current
legislative draft that "Line Officers" under the current organizational
structure manage the FIRE programs as well as the appropriated
dollars that a make up the preparedness, suppression and fuels reduction
budgets, we want to properly define what a Line Officer is.
Yes, I know many of you have "your own" unofficial definitions but please
remember this needs to be placed in legislation for all to
see. You can email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for your help and thanks again to the Foundation and all who support it.
Mike Rushworth's page has been added to
Remember. Mike was only 18 when he died in 1961, nearly 50 years ago.
If anyone has further documentation, reports, news articles, incident details
or photos, please share them. The letter from Walt Disney to Mike's parents is
touching. Thanks to the Dalton Hotshots for researching and honoring your
brother. Thanks to the researchers at the Forest Service Heroes for your
research as well. Ab.
||Today was the dedication of the memorial honoring Dalton Hotshot Mike
Rushworth's life and service.
In October of 1961, a Dalton Hotshot, Mike
Rushworth was gravely injured on a fire in Sierra Madre. Mike died that
December, having never recovered from his injuries.
Mike Rushworth's Memorial
Thanks, Scott, for the good research and good work you all did on this.
My comment about "derailing" was meant specifically at some of the 'in your
face' comments made about line officers and
senior staff officers by yourself and some others recently.
It doesn't help to foster a learning organization by slamming people directly or
indirectly, and actually alienates line officers
who are actively supporting, or neutral in supporting the fire program behind
There are lots of us actually getting positive things done and building
partnerships "in the shadows".
Sent from my Droid
||CDF Model 10, Model 12 and Vision 2000 engines:
There it is. I said it and
I have all the documents, and they are mad on the 15th floor.
Maybe I'll get sent to bed without supper?
a CDF BC
CDF's MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FOLLY
THE ERA OF SQUANDERING MONEY AND LIVES
In 1973 I was called by the Operations Chief advising me to get a Model 4
engine at Napa ready for survey. We had a new "Pilot Model" fire engine being
delivered as we spoke. As the new engine drove in the driveway I looked and
couldn't believe my eyes. Here was driving in was an L-1600 4 X 4 International
four door cab fire engine. Ahh! Crew cab at last! The last one's CDF had were
the '37 REO's, '39 Jimmies and the 41 Ford COEs.
Finally we are going to put our valued firefighters in a place of safety!
We spent the next two days really going over this new rig. Of course like
anything else we will need specific training. Right???
Well that never happened. The only thing we were told was that the IH V-8 304
engines lack of power would be made up by the torque conversion made possible by
a four speed MT- 640 Allison automatic transmission. Being accustomed to the MT
series Allisons our personnel had some questions.
- Why no retarder?
- Why is the Watrous CP-2 pump intake bushed down from 3" to 2"?
- Why is the discharge bushed down from 2 ½ "to 1 ¾"?
- What is that funny looking winch on the front bumper about and how do we
operate it safely?
- Alley lights at last but they don't work.
- A remote controlled spot light on the radiator cowl in really neat. How
does it work?
- Those questions along with why is a Watrous CP-2 pump that requires 72
hp to drive it being powered by a 45 HP Ford V-4 water cooled industrial
engine?? GOOD QUESTION!
No one knew in our shop or in Davis either so I called Mike Balldoch the west
coast Watrous representative. His response to my questions was, "What! Are you
sure? I'll be there the day after tomorrow." He did arrive as promised. All he
could tell me was, "Wow.! How did this happen?"
Oh, did I mention we were now a part of a Fire Engine "Color Evaluation?" This
one was lime green.
I'm at a loss for words. The pump manufacturer has hired a professional
photographer to take pictures of the rube goldberg pump lash up. In the meantime
we are told to "Put it in service." We did. In Napa about ½ of our responses are
for structure fires and the first fire this engine responded to we found out
about the limitations of the pump. It couldn't deliver more than 124 GPM from
the booster tank. All of the plumbing was so severely restricted that we found
5/8 " supply to the booster reel. 1 ¼" supply to the preconnected 1 ½ " lines
and there was no 2 ½' outlets on the discharge side of the pump. For our fire
protection and fire fighting needs this engine wouldn't work out at all.
I notified my Operations Chief and he did come down that afternoon. He asked
us to talk to the Napa Fire Department to see if we could use their Pump Rating
Test Pit. Permission was granted and we went down to the pit. The engine did
have the three 3" X 8 ft Hard Suction lines. When coupling them to the engine I
noted that the 3" male inlet was a bell reduced 3" down to 2" suction inlet
We had no Pump Test gauge inlets or Tach drive connections and also no relief
valve. We primed the pump and started the suction side test. The water
immediately reverse flowed back into the Test Pit chamber. So, fail step one.
Then we sent out for a foot valve from a local Well Drilling Supply store and
connected that device in to the suction hose inlet ahead of the strainer. Now it
held water so we could begin to time the period the water prime would hold
before a loss. One thing after another had to be overcome. To be brief, when we
completed the spurt portion of the test (that is where you can measure the
maximum amount of water being discharged it was determined we had reached 142
GPM. NOT BAD for a 350 GPM Class A Booster Pump!
It was all downhill from there. The engine was reassigned to the Brooks FFS in
Yolo County. Again, due to the crew cab it was welcomed but after about three
weeks of repeated breakdowns or failures of components our shop found out fast
this going to be a high maintenance engine. The engine in the bottom photo is
that apparatus. It is a one of a kind (Budd wheels, Air brakes, Locking
differential) and it was going on tour of the Ranger Unit. It was the infamous
Model 10. This engine is associated with more CDF employee deaths and major
injuries than any other single engine type in the fleet ever in our history.
For those who have friends or acquaintances ask them to relate some incidents
they had with this apparatus.
I have the copies of the repair orders and pay documents. The production cost
was $34,720. (that isn't even close because the Hydraulic Front Winch and the
Remote Spot Light nor the emergency warning package was included in those
The total costs to keep this engine in service for 14 years and one month
were $104,000. of taxpayers money. The chassis was too light It blew the right
front axle if you tried to back it up in four wheel drive. Under stress the rear
differential would fail and blow out. This chassis had seventeen right front
axles replaced and four rear differentials also. Once the correct RA-39 rear-end
was installed the failures to that specific component stopped.
The department told us this was designed by "The finest engineers in state
service." WHAT??? Who are they and where are they at?
I had some very close friends that worked at the Davis facility. We had lunch
one day and I was told in no uncertain terms that they had almost nothing to do
with this Pilot Model engine except to install the emergency lighting package,
the Hydraulic front winch and the Alley lights. The entire design was done at
the CDF Headquarters by the Fire Protection Section. Who is a qualified Engineer
in that Section I asked. I was told to keep my mouth shut; or else.
Then we find out 20 more similar apparatus are being built in a Welding Shop in
Southern California. BUT… due to new Federal DOT Regulations (those never
mattered before; why now?) the next issue would have Vacuum hydraulic anti-lock
brakes and California spoke wheels. The same pump set up would be maintained.
The new Models would heave amore powerful V-8 392 and had 46 more horsepower. We
needed torque, not horsepower.
The entire run of the Model 10 engines was over 40 units and the cost history is
one that is tragic. The maintenance costs far exceeded the acquisition costs.
The ration was 1 to 12 with 1 being the representative digit for the acquisition
Names are not important now but I will tell you that the City of Beverly Hills
FD had a department apparatus committee designed all purpose rig the called the
BHRSS. That stood for Booster, Hose, Rescue, Salvage Squad. If this CDF engine
were to have an acronym for what is was it would have been TURD. That would
stand for Truck Undergoing Repairs Definitely.
The top photo is the successor to the Model 10. It is known as the
model 12. Again, it appeared from unknown sources on the 15th floor of the
Resources building no doubt drawn up on a napkin in the Cafeteria in the 13rth
floor. Same apparatus but no four wheel drive. The same restricted pump plumbing
and this time we got a chance to see another "New Component". The now famous "Hyro-static
pump drive." The motto for our top level management when it relates to fire
apparatus is "Buy, try and Modify." No matter how much it costs it WILL Work!
For all of the 13 years of its projected life span. If it wasn't for some very
adaptive and sharp field personnel at the FF, FAE and FC-A level this too would
have been another disaster, First, because of the new Hydro-stat drive system
three things were accomplished.
- 26% of the frontal cooling area was occluded.
- The drive system took 14% of the available engine horsepower to drive so
now the increase in horsepower by a larger engine was negated. Bear in mind
that only two Model 12's had a Hydro-stat drive.
- The Remote control spot light was missing. Now a additional red light in
the center of the grill appeared. The alley lights were not present either.
Walking around in the dark for 40 years had taught us nothing about crew
safety. They had headlamps didn't they? Use them instead. The issues of
storage space had not been addressed. The engines in this series had about ½
of the compartment space needed to store the assigned Vehicle Compliment on
the AE-101 Card.
Now take note, until this time the 101 Card required a daily driver check-off
on the back of the card. That was to certify the presence of all of the Vehicle
Compliment items. It now disappeared because there were two incidents where
engines did not have compliment items due to Supply Center shortages which were
budget induced. There was an attempt to initiate a Corrective Action and the
employees involved had wrote up and filed an ME-14 noting this shortage and
passed it through channels. Once that Card was introduced, the Corrective Action
evaporated. We can't have that happening can we? Especially if some one is in
the gun sights. Right??
The Model 12 did not have the employee death or injury history the Model 10
had but it did surpass it in numbers of engine burned over in firefighting
activities. When they'd pass by me on a Transport going over to Davis I'd feel
some relief. Another apparatus designed by incompetents who were blaming their
Mobile Equipment staff for the short comings. I have to admire the Davis staff
for their demeanor. Here they were getting beat up verbally by me and whole
corps of dedicated firefighter CDF stalwarts and they just kept doing their job
and trying to find enough crutches for us to keep these POS going for their
"Life span." We bought them to last for 13 years right? No matter what it cost
they will run for 13 years come hell or high water.
30 of Model 12's were produced. Again we saw astronomical repair history
figures. They bought these engines cheap and to last fopr 13 years. Right? Well
they WILL be repaired and they will run for 13 years. The Guru's from the Puzzle
Palace have spoken. Genuflect, kiss their ring and get about doing your job.
To me, money is money out of the taxpayers' pocket. When are they (the
public) ever going to figure the shuck out?
The engine you see in the middle photo was designed by a Committee formed when
CDF conducted a work shop in Ft. Bragg, Ca. in 2000. They called it the "Vision
2000" conference and hence the engine name. This is another example of
apparatus being built with now formal plans or calculations of the fire body
design. There were no weight distribution indicators nor was there any attempt
to comply with what Cal Chief's had then adopted (and CDF and voted for ) full
compliance with the National Fire Protection Association Pamphlet 1901. CDF has
and a seat on the NFPA 1901 Advisory Committee since 1972. Rarely do they attend
or participate. It is my observation that when they (Cal Fire does get active it
is motivated by their attempts to change or eliminate certain provisions of that
document. They were the motivators for the change to lower the ICS Type 2 engine
pump capacity and crew staffing sizes to meet what Cal Fire wanted to do. Both
attempts were successful. But the entire ICS system in the Ground Resources
Section has been weakened by these efforts. We aren't partners with other fire
service agencies. It looks like Cal Fire wants to be the one calling the shots.
Currently our relationships with outside agencies has degraded to the point that
once we were looked up to and now we are sneered at.
The Vision 2000 engine had a Hydro-state drive 500 GPM pump and a separate crew
enclosure. It was constructed in a 27.500 GVW chassis and did actually weigh in
with the full crew seated and fully loaded with equipment an liquids at 30,755
lbs. A bit overloaded but when one thinks they may be exempt, why worry?
The rig was so heavy it sat on the overload springs constantly. The fatigue
factors with the spring steels was noticeable in daily driving. The wheels/tires
package was inadequate for the load it carried. Again this showed daily in
handling. I drove this truck for a 200 mile trip from Kelseyville to Fresno one
evening. It was a part of a STE (Type 3) LNU was ending down to a fire there.
This rig yawed constantly to the right. A driver had to be constantly aware to
this. If there was a pavement separation in the track the right front wheel was
travelling it would actually try on its own to make a turn. The handing
characteristic was dangerous. I reported this when we arrived at out assignment.
The following day it was taken to a very experienced front end aligner. I drove
in to speak to the technician performing the work. He told me the whole chassis
was too light for the job it was doing. Those facts were reported but this
engine still was allowed to soldier on. 13 years, right? We had eight more to
go. Their engine was involved in a right yaw induced pull to the right and went
down over a bank injuring an FAE from Jarbo Gap and was then charged with
incompetence and another Corrective Action was initiated. Local 2881 began an
aggressive defense and introduced several documents to support the claims of a
"Dangerous vehicle" as we contended. We did prevail but not until we discovered
the Department agents were tampering with this wrecked chassis and replacing
faulty components. This was being performed at Davis. I again went out to lunch
with the Davis staff and was able to determine that again "orders from on High"
had been issued. They were just doing what they were told to do and complying
with an order. Again, some very commendable demeanor by that group of
professionals. Kudos to them for taking it on the chin and not being the
I could relate to you story after story about just how our top level pours our
budget money through a sieve and never gives it a second thought. Wait until I
tell you about the Model 19 fiasco and also the old three axle Medium (now light
) transport purchase errors that couldn't be fixed. STAY TUNED.
IT ISN'T FUNNY BUT GETTING YOUR LAUGHER TUNED UP MAY HELP TO BLUNT THE PAIN
OF MISMANAGEMENT and why our agency can't ever seem to get it right.
I see us as a mismanaged and used group of dedicated employees carrying a
sick Jack Ass on our back to get the animal to a Vet. The only problem is, no
Vet wants any part of the sick Jack Ass.
According to the history I have: Dean Lundberg was the founding supe of
Bitterroot Crew in 1963. John Maupin is listed as running the crew in
Thanks, Tom. I corrected the page. Ab.
||Got a note about John Maupin to add to the
"IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project page.
Ab's for your fire manager page: John Maupin retired Forest Fire Chief
(Plumas) and Type I Incident Commander (Region 5)
was on the Bitterroot IR/IHC crew. I am not 100% positive but I do believe
that John started the crew. Debbie
Thanks, Debbie. Does anyone know who started the Bitterroot IR/IHC crew?
Was it John? Ab.
||Forest Service All Risk Activities
Thank you for your reply. I think you did a good job of outlining where the
We are not trying to figure out how to land a rocket on Venus. We are not trying
to obtain intel and details with COP on how to invade Bulgaria. We do not need
dozens of SMEs with multiple opinions drafting multiple versions and
interpretations of all risk activities. We do not need 50 official letters and
multiple guides on this subject. We do not need Leaders Intent, we need Leader
Do not blame theysaid for its ability to communicate just because the agency is
unable to step up with “one voice" on this subject. Instead of threatening
derailment, thank the forum and its members for its ability to find and push for
solutions (see 2008 accomplishments). As only a member with no formal or
informal affiliation with this site, I can say without impeachment that one of
theysaid’s founding principles was the agencies inability to promote internal
communication, exchange ideas and to effectively disseminate information. If you
are worried about derailment because of how the organization is lead, then I say
reorganize. If derailment is possible because of legislator involvement, I say
then put our mission to a vote. However to hope that 10,000 Firefighters sit on
the sidelines watching our leaders fumble through this issue is no longer an
This is not that complex, sorry, but it is not. This is an up or down agency
decision on 3 to 5 all risk activities that are then documented in one reference
location and move on. I can live with the decision, just looking for someone to
This is not about taking all risk responsibility or usurping local authority. It
is about doing the right thing. Doing the right thing both in the world of fire
service cooperation and in the real world of a head on collision with CPR in
Thanks again for your thoughts and one day may we all agree that applying
militaristic references and techniques to this topic and other aspects of our
profession occur with limitations. This is not a military operation seeking a
COP and answers about where are the weapons of mass destruction. This is about
one leader with one decision to make and one manual to update.
I SUPPORT THE FIREFIGHTER SPRING!
||Canadian fires from the hotlist:
Canada - Bigger, hotter, faster...
||making the rounds:
2011 DOI Administratively Determined (AD) Pay Plan (1,229 K pdf)
||Hi Ab and All,
I was one of the union lobbyists for temp hiring reform and I'm a firefighter on
my 9th season and I wanted to echo what Mark Davis and Mellie posted. We
received strong interest and support for the proposal from both the Forest
Service and from Congress but we need to keep the politicians focused and the
best way to do that is to contact them. If you agree with the proposal and want
to see it happen then click the link and tell congress. We perform a vital role
in the forests and rangelands in many of their home states and it doesn't go
unnoticed when you remind them how much it would help to provide incentive for
quality temp employees to return and bring their expertise with them. Have a
safe summer, be careful with the MRE shakes and please remember to "go" in the
-Morgan Thomsen, local 1753. Formerly ID-BOF. Now in ID-SCF
Well said. The fact is when the public sees an engine, buggie, sup.
rig, or just a striped chief officer vehicle, they do not pay attention to the
color of the vehicle, they see fire on the side and they know we are public
servants and we can provide assistance, the day we stop providing assistance is
the day our Forest Supervisor gets a call and our local Congressman/Senator gets
a call and the voice on the other side of the line is the public demanding an
explanation why we just stood there doing nothing while a loved one suffers. Who
are they going to fault for that. I see a reprimand for the crew that did not
act. We need support from above. Just saying.
||Re NFFE Forest Service Council Post:
The pdf download -- Temporary
Employment Reform: Building a Path to Permanence -- available at the NFFE link
is well worth reading, as is their legislative proposal. They lay out through
- What you can do and
- The "talking points" you can share with your congressional
representatives and senators. You can even find out their contact
info if you don't know who they are.
There's power in numbers. OUR NUMBERS!
A BIT MORE...
In the case of wildland firefighters, the logical bigger-picture change, in my
opinion, would also include a wildland firefighter series
with clearly defined career advancement built in. Creation of a wildland
firefighter series was suggested by the TriDat study
following the Storm King fatalities in 1994 as one important way of changing
firefighter culture. Series 462, 455 and "Biology
series" 401 just doesn't cut it for the long term succession of a professional,
knowledgeable wildland firefighting workforce.
This shift to wildland firefighter series was suggested by firefighters on
the ground long before I became involved with wildland
firefighters and has been repeatedly suggested. Just look back in the archives.
Kent Swartzlander, a FWFSA founding member,
Six Rivers NF FMO, Type 2 IC, and now retired, suggested creating a wildland
firefighter series to congress on the floor of the
House of Representatives back in 1999.
Thanks to Casey Judd for continuing to advance the FWFSA educational efforts
with Congress! Don't know what we'd do
without you, Casey!
Community, I didn't mean to hijack the NFFE thread. Please go to their
website and let your voice be heard (on your own dime
and time). We're all on the same page with this issue of building a path to
permanence (except maybe for the very few that would
like to remain seasonal only- Ab, feel free to send their replies to me...).
Some change takes time and some change is about timing. Cultures
change in spite of the forces that might keep them as they were.The time is right. Firefighter Spring! I am contacting my
congressional reps to support this step toward Building a Path to
||Conflicts / changing policy
I wish communicating and changing policy was as easy as posting on a forum. It's
not. It's also easy to derail things if you don't
have the COP that is being shared "behind the scenes".
While I agree the issues get wide viewing and exposure on "They Said", the vast
majority of volunteer "staff work" and policy
changes go on behind the scenes... both on the record and off the record.
There are folks working on these issues... both officially.... and as SMEs....
under a "common operating picture" (COP) and
Sent from my Droid
||All Risk Conflicting Federal Direction
Its important to remember that this forum and one of our members brought this
issue forward a few months ago. Those
who edit the Redbook annually are reminded to avoid your shot-gun type style
edits without doing your staff work.
Your lack of staff work has caused a Regional Forester to respond to your
misguided and conflicting direction. Our
region has told us we follow our manual, not the incorrect direction within the
2011 Redbook. Apparently the WO
is also drafting new all-risk direction. Take your time WO. Let's get it right.
Thanks to this forum for allowing us to "begin" to correct a wrong. Every
member's post on this subject last winter
was read, they were outed, we were right.
We will respond to all-risk incidents within our Forest boundary if requested to
do so. If a Forest visitor needs medical
assistance and we're requested, we will respond. If a vehicle is on a fire, we
will respond. If your house is on fire, we
will respond. That's what we do, deal with it!
||NFFE Forest Service Council Submits Legislative Proposal to Congress for
Temporary Employment Reform
The week of May 9, 2011 a delegation of a dozen Council representatives met
with scores of Congressional representatives to present a specific legislative
proposal for a “path to permanence.” If enacted, it would:
- Grant competitive standing to long-term temporary seasonal employees so
they can compete for career jobs like any other federal employee.
- Provide for conversion to career status of long-term temporary seasonal
employees if their job is converted to a career-status position.
for more information, including a copy of the legislative proposal and how you
can help move this thing forward.
5,000 of the 10-15,000 temps hired by the Forest Service each year are
firefighters. We encourage anyone interested in getting a measure of justice for
their brothers and sisters who give so much of themselves without health care,
pension, any kind of job security, etc. to check this out and do what you can.
We generated a lot of momentum last week, but if Congressional reps don't hear
from their constituents momentum is lost all too rapidly.
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
Just to answer the question by a couple of people and yes all of my available
personnel are available nationally in ROSS.
Also to MJ what you have out for your forest is just sad also. Just one overhead
person out this month isn't that good.
The Six Rivers from Northern Cal has a 20-person crew in NM right now,
and a Dozer that has been in TX for 2 months.
Also, A Captain just got back from an assignment in TX as STAM and TFLD.
So, there ARE some NZ folks getting out....How are you statused in ROSS?
I am on a Norcal forest and we have 4 fire/fuels folks left on forest. We
have had most of our folks out since early may.
Is everyone available in ROSS?
||Random Fire and Emergency Preparedness Communications from the Ab account:
2011 Redbook conflict on Responding to Non-Wildfire Incidents and SCBA
FS letter on what direction to follow (55 K doc)
Work Capacity Testing (WCT) Implementation Guide Revision
FS letter about that (62 K doc)
CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response
Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse
Can anyone explain why there is such a lack of assignments
being passed down to Northern Cal. Seems every other
place in the nation is sending people out but nothing is going on here. Hell
maybe its just our forest but it doesn't seem
right. How are the rest of the forests in North Zone doing with assignments?
Right now we don't have a single engine
or overhead out.
||Making the rounds:
SAFETY ADVISORY: Implementation of New SAFENET Field
Please see the attached information regarding the SAFENET Field Card and
share widely. Copy and place the
forms in areas where employee can find them. IMTs please put on bulletin boards.
The Risk Management Committee is working on revising the Safenet system. This
is a move to make filing a
Safenet easy for those who don't have computer access.
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the new form and distribute
SAFENET Field Card (pdf)
SAFENET Field Card Memo May 2011 (pdf)
Regional Fire Operations Safety Officer, R5
||There is a list of MOU Providers in each Region, so I would suggest that
they contact the Regional office (Contracting)
and check that list. Some are up on the websites as listed below.
Region 6 -
Region 1 -
Northern Rockies training providers
National Wildfire Suppression
Type 1 Teams and
Area Command Teams pages are updated with all the information that is
currently available online. If any team member has better info on IC/DPIC,
please send it in so we can have the most updated info. Any broken links, please
let me know.
There are permanent links to those pages on our
||Just a word of caution for anyone wanting to work with a contractor and
looking for training. Most reputable contractors will
provide the training required for those folks that work for them using a
Recognized MOU Provider to do that.
The training provided to JW was NOT AN
NWSA Certified Instructor. NWSA certifies its instructors at the same standards
as the agencies. We certify by class and if they are a lead or unit, and a lead
must be present at all training. We also adhere to
the currency standards currently set by NWCG although we feel that it eliminates
a lot of valuable folks from the training arena.
We hold MOUs in Region 1, Region 6 and Region 3 currently and are exploring
other regions although our training is currently
accepted in most regions. NWSA, also at our own expense, sends independent
monitors out to randomly review training
being done by our certified instructors. When a provider has an MOU they must
have a recognized training program and
NWSA does and has had since they early 90’s. We are not the only MOU provider
but that is a key question for anyone
looking for training.
National Wildfire Suppression
||Is there a list of approved training vendors operating with MOUs?
How is a newbie like me to know if my $200 + for training is well spent?
In my opinion if you're looking to get wildland fire training by
anyone other than the feds, the first thing to ask the trainer, the
college or university or any other kind of training group -- whether a good
rural fire department or a good organization of
private sector wildland firefighting companies -- is this:
Do you have a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the region?
There are NWCG standards and processes for training and for instructors. It's
my understanding the MOU makes it more likely
your training will be accepted in other regions as well as within your own.
Region 4 (EGB/WGB: NV/ID/UT) does not require MOUs.
R6 (PNW: WA/OR) and R2 (Rocky Mountain) do require MOUs of trainers. I don't
know about R3 (AZ/NM/W TX)
or Texas which has its own system.
Anyone -- Kent, Debbie, anyone from eastern regions -- want to chime in to
advance our understanding on this? Please let's
stick to facts only.
||Making the rounds:
Subject: Interagency Dispatch Optimization Pilot
I wanted to insure that all Region 5 employees are aware that an Interagency
Dispatch Optimization Pilot Project (IDOPP) has been chartered nationally to
evaluate and optimize dispatch operations in California and the Southwest
Geographic area. These pilot projects will include federal, state, tribal, and
local government stakeholders. Attached is a letter signed by the eight
executives sponsoring this project in California, including Regional Forester,
The goal of the IDOPP is to achieve an efficient, cohesive, and cost-effective
interagency dispatch capability to meet the business needs of the agencies while
fully supporting field-going personnel; and to develop a template for more rapid
assessment of similar improvements over the remainder of the nationwide dispatch
system. Talking points that describe the project in more detail follow. The
safety of our employees and the public is paramount to all involved. Leaders
from each of the agencies involved are committed to supporting this project.
Please take a look a the attached all employee letter and project talking
points. I also invite you check out the information on the
IDOPP website at
for more detailed information. The California sub-team leader is Susie Stingley-Russell
and she can be contacted for additional information (using the FS lookup).
The mission of the California Emergency Communication Centers is to perform a
vital primary communication link providing for public and employee safety. The
purpose of this effort is to optimize these operations into the future.
Jeanne Wade Evans, Deputy Regional Forester R5
Talking points document (77 K doc)
Letter (321 K pdf)
||re: unethical and unsafe firefighter training
I have contacted the owner of Grizzly Mountain Wildland Fire Camp in Eagle,
Idaho about the safety and ethical issues raised in JW's post on 5/16 and about
the copyrighted material used without permission from the Colorado Firecamp
website. I also forwarded the concerns to our Rocky Mountain Region training
contacts, requesting the matter be sent on to Region 4.
Grizzly Mountain, aka. Silver Key Fire, continues to instruct National Wildfire
Coordinating Group classes without having an MOU or formal agency agreement, as
required by agency policy and a standard clause in wildland fire contracts:
"CONTRACTOR will ensure that all training received by employees meets the
course content and instructor standards listed in PMS 907 (Course
Coordinator Guide) and PMS 901-1 (Field Managers’ Course Guide). Instructors
used by Contractors for fire training must be recognized through a
Geographic Area Coordinating Group Memorandum of Understanding or other
formal agency agreement."
It is unethical for Grizzly Mountain to teach S-130/190 Basic Firefighter and
other classes, knowing full well that they fail to meet NWCG standards,
particularly in the unprofessional manner as described by JW. They are not doing
any favors for the prospective firefighters or the agencies/contractors who
might hire them.
Kent Maxwell, training coordinator
||WO letter clarifying the transportation of personnel on Type I helicopters,
in support LE & I and wildland fire missions:
FS helicopter transport letter
||Rock House Fire, west TX:
Hey folks, just leaving Midland TX this morning
and came across this article about some of the perceptions local folks
here had about the management of the Rock House Fire...a pretty interesting
Robb in R8
Kudos to you, you just passed the first test and congratulations on
getting a job it is slim pickens these days. Take the fire school over again you
will learn a lot more than you would have by just watching some videos and
taking some tests. As far as the contractor goes, I do not recommend you post
their name but I would recommend you call the Contracting Officer for the
Dispatch Area you are in and inform them of their instruction methods (they
sound very unconventional) and let them deal with them (ask around when you
start someone will know). Good luck, be safe and pay attention to the 10 (Fire
orders) and 18 (Watch out situations), remember the 10 must be followed and the
13 can be mitigated, the other 5 are in non compliance of the 10, it will be you
job to figure out which 5.
||These are pictures of the blow up on 18 April 11 at the Pk complex in Palo
Pinto county Texas.
Pic 9 was at the start of the run taken from the BRA Hdqtrs at Observation
Pic 4 was taken under the plume from the YMCA camp as it approached the
houses on Gaines bend.
Thanks, I put them on
Fire 45 photo page along with a photo of the Tire Fire that burned in NM
about the same time. Ab.
||Helicopter use for passenger transport (document,
Date: May 11, 2011
Subject: Type 1 Helicopter Use for Crew or Passenger Transport Clarification
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Regional Fire Directors, Regional
This letter updates direction in the July 29, 2009, "Type 1 Helicopter Use for
Crew Transport" letter. Refer to the Type I (Heavy) Helicopter definition in
Section C, Definitions of Call When Needed (CWN) or Exclusive Use Helicopter
Contracts. Effective this letter, the following policy will be in effect.
No Forest Service (FS) personnel, including Helicopter Managers, will be
transported in any contracted Type 1 helicopters. This restriction does not
- FS Helicopter Inspector Pilots only in the performance of their pilot
evaluation or carding duties.
- Military (National Guard or Active Duty) Type 1/ heavy helicopters used
to transport firefighters during fire incidents or in support of FS Law
Enforcement and Investigations (LEI) operations.
- Cooperator Type 1/ heavy helicopters used by LEI during law enforcement
In 2009, the FS conducted an "Independent Risk Assessment for Personnel
Transport in Type 1 Helicopters." The assessment identified 25 hazards and 35
mitigations to reduce risk exposure. More information discovered through
investigation of recent Type 1 helicopter accidents raises new concerns over the
level of risk we assume in transporting any agency personnel in Type 1
Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) has addressed approximately 22 of the 35
mitigations as of the date of this memo. We are working to complete the
Please contact Art Hinaman, Assistant Director Aviation, at awhinaman@ nospam
fs.fed.us or (202) 205-1505 with any questions.
/s/ T.C. Harbour
Director, Fire and Aviation Management
||This being my first year fighting fire I feel really fortunate to have been
picked up by an agency engine crew. It took a lot of effort to even get an
interview little lone be one of a very few people hired out of 800 +
applications. Knowing the likely hood of getting hired was slim to none I took
it upon myself to have a back up plan which included applying with a number of
private contractors. Most of these companies would not even accept an
application unless you had S-130/S-190 done and a pack test.
I found a local "fire camp" training center and paid the $175 to take the
class. This training center happened to also be run by the owner of a
contracting company. I showed up for my first day of training to no one at the
site. He got there after I repeatedly called him and we started the class with
just me as a participant because he had not filled the class and had forgotten
to take it off the web site. My first day of "class" consisted of me watching
video's in a room alone and him basically telling me what to write in my book. I
feel fortunate that I had downloaded most of the course material prior to going
to "training" and knew most of what he was "teaching".
The first day ended after 3 hours and I was sent home to watch the human
factors video and to take the FEMA class on-line. The second day consisted of
another 2 hours of video and "tests" followed by my "field day" which included
me unrolling a 1 inch hose and rolling it back up, looking at a handful of tools
and fittings and then swinging a pulaski 5 or six times. With this training the
proprietor of this "training" program felt I was qualified to work on one of his
engines and was properly trained in basic wildland fire fighting. For another
$200 dollars I could take the FFT1 training ad be given a task book. He also
suggested that I take wildland chainsaws and portable pumps class, each of which
was another $100 to $200. For a total of about $600 I could be qualified to run
one of his engines even though I had never stepped foot on a fire. All the
trainings listed (except the FFT1) are standard for a first year firefighter at
our field office, and no one would think of putting him in charge of a crew. As
you may have guessed the agency that hired me is having me retake S-130/S-190.
The next issue that I ran into was that the contractors in this area were hiring
100 plus people to fill 4 engines. Sitting on call for 4 months hoping that you
are one of those 20 people called to work sounds pretty crappy to me. The few
companies that were big enough to put a guy to work full time with other
forestry services besides wildfire suppression were mostly out of state and they
were big enough to require training at the same time and place as the agencies.
The bottom line for me is that it scares me to think that this specific
contractor was willing to put me in harms way just to get paid. That means he is
willing to put everyone on his crew and whatever incident they are at in harms
way. I know there are some good contracting crews, I have some pretty good
friends that work for a couple out of state. Unfortunately there are companies
engaging in practices like those described above that have no business or place
on a fire in my opinion and they make the rest look really bad.
There's a new forest fire research foundation
(international) -- the Pau Costa Foundation -- that has the goal of "carrying
out fire ecology research, creating knowledge, tools and techniques for
operational wildfire management and conveying those through training and other
means of knowledge transfer."
This organization's supervisory board includes well known fire people and
educators from Catalonia Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Canada, Germany Sweden
and the USA (Doug Campbell and Tim Murphy).
Their website is new and growing in information daily. Have a look:
The Pau Costa
Foundation (the English version, also with Catalonian and Spanish language options).
Browse through the Vision, Mission and Scope of the project.
Pau Costa, was a fire analyst at GRAF (translated means
"Forest Actions Support Group"), who tragically died with four other
Horta de Sant Joan Fire on 24 July 24, 2009. Pau was a strong
advocate for such a platform advocating international training and scientific
exchange, based on his extensive experiences in fighting and
||Canada - Thousands flee as northern Alberta town burns
||Fed only orders:
I have been out of town, but I think this thread started
as "Why fed only?" , and became a pay comparison between fed
and contractors. It is possible that some other reason exists. I remember the
Needles fire in Washington several years ago.
A well known contract crew had a bad apple who as a joke "pooped" in the shower
(one floor with multiple stalls) His
actions got him, his crew, AND THE OTHER CREW FROM THAT COMPANY demobbed. So
sometimes you can
be 'punished' by someone elses bad actions. There are a lot of good contract
crews around, but until the person in Texas
explains themselves we won't know why they aren't accepting them.
What's unfortunate is that the bad stuff makes an impression, gets
remembered and comes to represent a whole group. True of whatever group member
does the bad thing... fed, state. local, contractor, male, female, or whatever
||Dear Just the facts & others;
I'd debated weighing in on the resource cost issues but am very happy with the
information in "Just the Facts" post.
There are a number of dynamics that he/she alluded to that have unfortunately
created this disparity in compensation over many years. Not the least of which
is the failure of the federal land management agencies to 1) treat their
firefighters as firefighters and 2) manage their fire programs like fire
programs and recognize they field the largest firefighting force in the world.
"Just the facts" referenced apples & oranges as well as the fact that he/she
works a 24 hr shift like most paid firefighters in the country. Federal
firefighters are usually 8 hr, 40 hr a week employees. Once they go on
assignments the Agencies haven't figured a way to properly compensate such 40
hr/wk employees for the time spent on an assignment.
Further, the Agencies have created this monster of inequity by failing to
address the non-federal resource costs associated with a relatively small
geographic area (CA). Since they have failed miserably to take care of their own
federal wildland firefighters with respect to pay, benefits & working
conditions, the agencies have lost many FFs in these areas forcing the agencies
to increase their reliance on non-federal resources.
It is unfortunate, but a fact, that the resource costs of local government
agencies in CA impact all taxpayers across the country and create problems for
private contractors and cooperators from other local governments & states as the
agencies are now trying to reduce such non-federal costs and are targeting all
non-federal resource costs rather than the exorbitant ones.
That being said, there is no animosity about the local government resource costs
from CA because they were negotiated properly and fairly. However as many of you
have seen in the field, as a result of catering to the increased number of
non-federal resources, a cottage industry has emerged in fire camps providing
all sorts of amenities that quite frankly, federal wildland firefighters really
could care less about. These additional amenities increase the costs of
suppression to the taxpayer.
I think the bottom line is that until the federal wildland agencies start
managing their fire programs as such, and recognize & treat their firefighters
for who their are and what they do, we will continue to see these disparities on
Fed Watcher II
||Just a note of clarification on the contractors – Agency debate.
I just wanted to throw up some important details when talking about contractors,
They are different types of “contractors” , those that are contracted through
the agencies to assist with fire suppression efforts, and are ordered at the
agency discretion, then there are “contracted resources” that are contracted by
insurance companies to provide structure protection. NWSA does not at this time
represent the later of the two. None of our resources receive any backfill,
portal to portal, or any other types of benefits from the agencies. Again, we
clearly understand the chain of command and that our place on that totem pole is
to be used to supplement agency resources. I guess some of the frustration that
you may see from the private sector is that when there is a fire in their local
region and all Agency resources from that region have been utilized, that they
skip over the contracted resources to bring in outside agency personnel. We
understand the budget games of trying to supplement regional budgets with fire
dollars, and the thought process for that. However, we are just asking to be
included in the mix, and there have been numerous reports over the years that
debate costs, however, most of them agree that given days of service and other
factors there is an optimal mix of resources that can make fire suppression more
cost effective. Most of these reports have been commissioned by the agencies
themselves, and all have varying different answers on costs, and how to compare
agency and contracted services. It might also be important to remember that
there is a Professional Private Fire Service because the agencies encouraged
that over the past 20 years, and continually tell us that they need us in the
mix. And the picture of contractors just being “money hungry for profit
companies” is just not true for the majority of the companies in the business,
many of them are run by retired or ex agency personnel who love “fire” like most
of you, and bottom line we all want to make enough money to feed our families,
pay our bills and retire comfortably. The dreams are the same…..
Then you have Cooperators (which are not contractors) who are folks like fire
departments, BIA crews ect. These agreements Cooperative Agreements set the
terms for the payment they receive. You can find most of these agreements on the
Regional Incident Business Management Working Team sites for the USFS.
It is not an us vs you, it is a we are here to help, we meet the same standards
as you do, and we ask for the same respect that you would expect to receive. No
more no less.
NWSA does watch the fire scene and like in Texas we understand the budget issues
there, we did considerable research in determining why “Fed Only Resource”
orders were being issued, which included calls to congressional folks, the Texas
Governor Federal State Liaisons’ office and the list went on and on, and found
out like most of you know that the majority of the fires are on state ground in
Texas, that Texas has no contingency state fire budget and that they would have
to pay for contracted services per the Prompt Payment Act within 30 days which
they cannot afford to do, but they can hold the Agency bill for a longer period
of time. We also understand the woes of the economy everywhere not just in
Texas, and that since the Major Disaster FEMA Request was denied they would not
have the money to hire anyone by agency.
I believe that in this continual fight about contractor vs agency we are missing
the true mission that we each share, and that is the protect life, property and
our environment. We are on the same side, just may have differing views on how
to get there. And as always a respectful discussion works better than stone
throwing any day.
I am more than happy to visit with anyone that has questions about the
Professional Private Fire Services, and what we can bring to the table.
NWSA Executive Director
Thanks for everyone who added mature and professional
input on the cost discussion. I enjoyed reading the info and different views and
learned some things too. It's evident that there may never be a clear and final
answer to the question, as even the studies don't appear to have all of the
facts. It very well could be apple to oranges. Then, when you mix in the
long-time cultural and financial beliefs (accurate or not) of the various
agencies... well, you see my point.
I would however, like to clarify some common misunderstandings about
resources from career fire departments in CO.
We are actually called State Cooperators, not contractors. We are not-for-profit
providers. We charge an hourly rate for our engines that factors in insurance,
wear-n-tear, damage, loose equipment wear/damage, vehicle depreciation etc. and
the incident pays for the fuel. We don't charge for mileage. Our engines are in
tiptop shape, and reliable. As career cooperators, we follow federal incident
business management standards and mobilization guidelines. If injured on an
assignment, we're covered under our agency's workman's comp insurance.
Our people meet NWCG qualification standards and make all effort to eliminate
the occasional Battalion Chief, who thinks he should automatically be qual'ed as
a STEN (just because of the brass on his collar).
We work 24 hr shifts, about 10 days/month. If I'm on an assignment during one
of my normal shift days, I earn zero extra dollars. It's as if I was on-duty at
my station. Backfill is hired to keep my fire station open while I'm gone. While
on assignments, I'm paid overtime for hours on my CTR (up to 16) during my
normal duty days off. These costs exist because the tax payers in my city
shouldn't subsidize the cost of fighting interagency fires or deal with a closed
fire station for 14-days.
More cooperators are realizing the fulfillment of responding to fire
assignments, but most of the motivation has come from our state and federal
partners. When PL levels reach 4 and 5, we're needed. When structures are at
risk, we're needed. When CO has their typical shoulder season wildfires and
there are no federal resources available, we're needed. Tell me a DIVS doesn't
feel better knowing he's got a few Cooperators in his division who are highly
skilled paramedics? or are trained in structure firefighting? It's a good
A handful of us are former federal or state seasonal firefighters in our
early life but chose to go career due to other factors. Make no mistake, we
still have a passion for fire (wildland and structure). We enjoy both worlds. We
know and use ICS every day on our jobs and are exposed to and handle every kind
of emergency that's non-law enforcement related. I agree with JSC that as a
general rule, Federal resources train consistently and specialize in wildland
firefighting and I'll add, are very good at it. That's one of the aspects I like
when I go on assignments; working with these professionals, gaining a few
nuggets of knowledge and getting the job done. Career firefighters also train
consistently (all year around) and have measurable results. One major
difference, is that we work together for 30 years. We can't be compared to hand
crews because we're not. But, if the question is value for the dollar for engine
crews (and sometimes Overhead), I respectfully disagree with JSC.
Based on what I've read here and previous knowledge, I'll agree that
specifically career fire department cooperators are probably not less expensive
than federal resources. That said, there are too many factors involved to come
up with an apple to apple comparison. I'll keep researching this with financial
people in both agencies and see if I can't come up with general tendencies. Like
I said in my first thread, it would be good to know generally where we fall so
as to make clear that recent decisions not to mobilize us based on cost is
justified. I'm OK with not being mobilized based on other factors such as there
being plenty of federal resources still available or agency bias. That's normal.
Thanks again all for the insightful comments.
Just the Facts
You're right, I didn't take the time to check out the rosters on IMTs. I just
figured that when a regional director gives figures
at a regional leadership
team meeting when the issue is fire IMT succession planning, they should be near
As for the earnings of the AD, I did see documentation of his earnings for the
first year. Now I realize this is probably an
exception, but it is reality of
what can be earned. In fairness, he is good friends with the people in dispatch
and historically is
the first to go out and the last to come back at the end of
the season, often before agency resources.
Like I said, these are just my experiences. I'm sure others have had different
ones. I know before I stopped going on fires
two years ago it was real hard to
get agency Safety Officers when I ordered them. I went on a team assignment to
two of the three line safety officers that arrived with me were ADs.
I ordered two while I was there and they were both ADs.
I ordered more for the
next fire I was on in Montana and three out of four were ADs and not that it is
a major problem, they
were all in their late 60s. As the team safety it puts an
additional burden of making sure I don't put them in a situation that is
than they can handle. It takes time to learn their capacities.
Again these are my experiences and if you choose to not believe part or all of
them then so be it. I don't feel like I have to justify
to anyone what I know to
||Safety Angel and JSC,
I must take issue for the inaccuracies in your
posts. JSC wrote on 5/12 that two years ago a GAO study concluded that contract
fire resources resources were not as cost effective when compared to Federal
resources. Do you have the number of that study? I have looked for it but to no
avail. Safety Angel posted on 5/13 that Geoffrey Donovan's 2005 and 2007 studies
found that agency crews are cheaper than contract crews. If you read the the
entire study, you will also read Mr. Donovan's statement that he realizes that
his data does NOT reflect the true cost of Federal crews, because he wasn't able
to gain access to much of the indirect cost information related to the Federal
While I wasn't able to find the study JSC vaguely referenced, I have read the
USDA OIG Audit Report 08001-2-At (March, 2010). This audit found that the Forest
Service is currently incapable of making a direct cost comparison between
contracted fire crews and Federal crews because the Forest Service does not
capture the costs at a level of detail necessary to make the comparison. In
addition, the OIG directed the Forest Service to come up with a complete cost
accounting so such a comparison can be made, and rejected the use of the Donovan
studies because of the lack of complete data regarding the true costs of Federal
High quality contracted private sector resources are a very good value to the
taxpayer. They are only paid when they work and when they are working, they are
paid only the contracted rate. There are no hidden costs--everything has to be
included in that hourly rate or the contractor will go out of business. There
are no hazard pay charges, overtime charges, portal to portal charges,
"administrative charges" or backfill costs associated with private sector
contracted resources. In addition, contract crews are required to receive
performance reviews for every assignment. These reviews are forwarded to the
Contracting Officers and negative reviews can result in the immediate loss of
Unless you two have information the Forest Service chose not to reveal to the
OIG, it seems that there isn't much of a basis for the ongoing assertion that
Federal resources are more cost effective than private sector contract
||Rita and everybody else:
Yes the new website does allow folks to see what jobs are outreached, or I
should say have been outreached AND are
still being outreached. You need to pay attention to the dates on the left hand
side of the outreach and especially the column
titled "Ref. List Pull" There are a lot of outreaches listed that are expired
and have already been filled. The other down side
is that you can't actually get the outreach with job description, duty location
info, etc. (unless there is something I am missing).
It is a good start though.
||I'll be leaving Tuscaloosa shortly to drive up to Kentucky for some
invisible earthquake mapping.
We were very much appreciated by the City of Tuscaloosa GIS folks. During the
daily afternoon EOC staff meeting, the Mayor
asked everyone what was the most
rewarding moment of the past 16 days for them. A lot of responses were like, "It
was an honor
to be among such highly dedicated, knowledgeable, hard-working
individuals; my life has been changed forever", or some such
nonsense, and then
everyone would sing Kumbaya . When it was Jeff Moltz's (GIS Manager) turn he
simply said that he was,
"most happy when the EOC staff finally realized the
importance of geospatial technologies in managing this disaster." And on that
note I couldn't think of a better time to get out of Dodge and let the great
people of Tuscaloosa begin to rebuild their lives.
attached video depicts one of the Pelham Fire Dept. damage assessment teams
training each other in how to use the
Geocove ARM360 ArcGIS Mobile program on a
small rugged General Dynamics UMPC. When I first saw the Victoria Police
officers do it in Australia I knew we did good. So what can I say except, "It
was an honor to be among such highly dedicated,
individuals; my life has been changed forever!"
(They picked out the soundtrack... there is a CA/FL version of it here:
Tuscaloosa Tornado 4 min)
Hi again, I just wanted to thank you for your advice and input
on the s-290 questions and concerns I had. I just
registered on your site, and plan to visit it frequently. I'm planning on
posting this question on theysaid when my
registration goes through, but wanted to run it by you too, I'm looking to see
if there are any winter Rx crews
"near" Colorado in the off-season. Just looking to work on my qualifications/
experience but also be close enough
to where I can drive back to spend time with the son and wife every once in a
Thanks again for being there for the wildland community.
You're welcome from us and the community. Ab.
||Safety Angel ruined a good post and lost all credibility right at the end.
Team rosters are readily available at FS web sites. So, someone
says 50-60% of R-1 teams are ADs and that is taken as gospel when it takes all
of two minutes to find out that is total BS!
So how much of the rest of the post is inaccurate? Because one person says they
made 80 grand one year and more the next does not
mean all ADs are making that kind of money. In fact unless I saw the W-2 I would
be tempted to call BS on those figures too. I am an
AD, heck, maybe for the sake of a good story or to impress someone I could say I
made over a 100 grand, that does not make it true.
While reading the post I figured this person has got it together and has checked
things out, but alas, in the end the facts reared their ugly
head, turning me into a non believer. Now I have to wonder just how accurate is
the rest of the information that was presented?
Further clarification on team websites: Those two online
Type 1 team rosters that support your point are from seasons 2009 and 2010.
Some Type 2 teams don't have websites, or their websites don't have team
rosters, or their team rosters don't have agency (or AD) status listed, so we
really don't know.
Type 1 Teams
Teams don't have the funding to update their stats online until they go out on a
fire, if then. Last year was slow, no updates. Some teams still don't have
computer personnel/funding (?) to run a website. Anyone have newer info on the
teams on our Teams pages? I have
been working on the teams websites these last 2 weeks off and on. Ab.
This last week proved to be the start of redemption for the Modoc NF
fire program. And next week will even further that. A regional review team made
a surprise visit and was overwhelmed by the entire fire management during group
interviews that re-affirmed the East Zone DFMO and Ranger have and continue to
threaten, harass, bully and spread fear of reprisal for speaking out against
them and their illegal administrative and personnel actions. These two have
destroyed careers of both temps and perms along with a hotshot crew, cut morale
to nothing, and to boot, they have an extremely low recruitment and retention
percentage along with costing the agency over $25,000 in settlements. Employees
are receiving emails of schedule interviews with a team of investigators for
this coming week. It's time for us to move forward without being lead by a
Ranger that has less than four years in the agency and a DFMO that has fewer
quals then most captains. The Forest Supt. has experience in grants/agreements
and aquatics not being a line officer. The RO has been very secretive and
somewhat in denial that they have a Forest Supervisor that has condoned such
actions of a line officer. The Forest Supervisor has been in denial until this
week. Just wait until next week when she will be forced by the WO/RO to address
her lack of awareness and those that promoted the abuse. It's Friday the 13th
and appropriately so for the Forest Supt, Ranger and DFMO. The Forest Supervisor
has scheduled an all fire meeting Monday A.M. in hopes of rolling out a plan to
address this. Here’s our plan, be a true line officer and follow agency policy
which prohibits threats, bullying, harassment, reprisal and above all an unsafe
Signed "Can't wait for the report"
||Thanks for the specific info on AD rates and what people earn, Safety Angel.
||New Job Search Tool for Forest Service -
The Forest Service has a new website that lists positions for all occupations
that are currently being Outreached or recruited for Forest Service wide. It is
similar to the Louts Notes Outreach site. This should make it easier to search
for real openings in the Forest Service. Click on the "Job Title" for a real
person's name and phone number for more information.
Here's the site:
PS: AB- It's OK to post my name and contact info, as I am a Wildland Firefighter
Recruiter for Forest Service entry level jobs in Region 5 (California) and would
love to assist your readers.
R-5 Civil Rights Staff
Fire Recruitment Liaison Specialist
Virtual Location: Eldorado National Forest
Voice: (530) 621-5288
Cell: (707) 334-1394
Fax: (530) 642-5135
e-mail: ryates@ nospam fs.fed.us (take out spaces and nospam)
Thanks, Rita. Ab.
||Contracting and ADs:
The BLM employees that work on our forest get the same "Base 8 savings" that the
FS does so your post confuses me?
I read Theysaid every day and learn a lot from the different views, but after
seeing all of the posts about contractor and ADs I feel the need to share my
experiences. Maybe they will have some facts that help others.
First there have been many studies that compare the costs so there are facts
out there. Geoffrey Donovan did one in 2005 and another in 2007 that found that
agency crews are cheaper than contract crews.
Here are my experiences:
- 1998 In Michigan 3 out of 4 engines were contract. The order went to a
reservation in Oklahoma, but the engines and the engine bosses were from
Oregon. $1500 per day per engine..
- 1998 In Texas 50 % of the engines were contract or co operators. $1500
per day per engine. I had a GS 3 temp. a GS 4 temp and I was a GS 5 perm.
- 2000 On our district in N. Idaho. We had a type 2 contract crew along
with three agency crews. The cost was $130,000 for ten days for the contract
crew. More than the cost of two of our agency crews according to the finance
person that brought it to our attention. The crew was from Oregon.
- 2003 Cooney Ridge Fire. I was an OPS2 trainee and inherited over 850
people besides the other resources ( I was a GS 5 ). Our instructions were
to demob out of area resources first. I was approached by an irate water
tender owner that questioned why we were demobbing him and keeping all of
the out of area ones. When we checked the 5 that we were keeping had
contracts with addresses in the area. When we looked at the trucks they all
had Oregon plates. There was also a type 6 engine that's contract was for an
address actually on the fireline and it was from Oregon.
- 2003 Cramer Fire. Three of the four crews were contract crews from
Oregon. The quality of these crews came into play major, but that's another
The Biscuit Fire. Before they even tallied up the final costs there was a
report that came out that said the cost to date was over $150 million and
that $91 million had went to contractors.
- 2003 through 2006 we sponsored two contract crews ( Oregon ) on our
forest. I don't know what we paid them, but they did well enough that the
owner bought a house on the lake for his crews to standby at. Very expensive
- 2006 While on a fire in Montana the OPS2 requested two agency crews. The
Forest FMO who was also the IC overruled him and name requested the two
contract crews that they were sponsoring leaving the employees on our forest
sitting at home.
- 2006 The IMT that I was on took over a fire from another team. They had
contract sawyer teams. One team was getting $150 an hour the other was
getting $175 an hour.
- 2011 A forest that has said they won't be able to hire back any temps in
2012 because the budget is going to be so bad just awarded a contract to
sponsor two contract crews for the next three years. The guarantee is
$160,000 for two months during their fire season. This is just standby pay,
if they fight fire they go to their hourly rate.
A while back Mellie said ADs aren't in it for the money. While that may be
true, they do make a lot of money. A FMO retired from our forest a few years
back and he showed me where he made $80,000 on top of his retirement the first
year he retired. He told me the next year that he made even more. I was on a
call a couple of weeks back where the a FAM director said that 50% to 60% of the
positions on Northern Rockies IMTs are filled with ADs. I thought the rule was
that an AD can't fill an order without an agency trainee.
I've also been told that the agency is looking at figuring staffing level
differently in the future. In the past they only looked at FS personnel. Then it
changed to FS and state cooperators. Now they are thinking about counting FS,
state, cooperators, volunteer fire dept., and contractors.
Sounds like the death spiral for the agency in some regions.
||Date : 05/12/2011
Subject: SAFETY ADVISORY : Rhabdomyolysis Epidemiological Study Results and
May 10, 2011
Rhabdomyolysis Epidemiological Study Results and Recommendations
In December of 2010, the NWCG Risk Management Committee (RMC) requested a study,
called an EPI-AID, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since this type of study involves risk factors unique to a work environment, the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provided technical
The CDC and NIOSH completed their case study and below is a summary of their
conclusions and recommendations.
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of
muscle contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. These releases can cause
multiple symptoms and if left undiagnosed, can lead to kidney and muscle damage,
and in rare cases results can be fatal.
The CDC Study concludes that the 10 cases of rhabdomyolysis they studied among
wildland firefighters occurred during or close to either physical training or
actual fire response activities involving high levels of physical exertion,
often carrying heavy packs. Despite carrying the prescribed water supplies,
dehydration played a significant role in over half the cases. Lack of
acclimatization, use of medications or dietary supplements such as creatine, as
well as caffeine intake, and other health conditions such as upper respiratory
tract infections and flu-like illnesses also were likely contributing factors.
The 10 firefighters varied in age, type of wildland firefighter unit, assignment
geography, symptoms, and outcomes. In half of the cases symptoms started on the
first day of training, a new crew assignment, or the first day after completion
of a fire response. The time between symptom onset and reporting of symptoms to
supervisors varied from 30 minutes to 2 days. The time between symptom onset and
arrival to a medical facility varied from 1 hour to 6 days. Five firefighters
experienced disability for at least 3 months following discharge, and three of
these have permanent disability.
In some cases, firefighters’ personal ethic to “tough it out” led to delays in
reporting symptoms to supervisors. Lack of knowledge about rhabdomyolysis
contributed to delays in reporting and diagnosis of symptoms, which led to
delays in medical treatment. In a third of the cases, there were delays in
diagnosis or missed diagnosis of the condition by health care providers.
Based upon medical literature research and this study, the following are some
key recommendations provided by CDC and NIOSH (the full case study report can be
viewed on the RMC website at:
- Provide the wildland fire community and health care providers with
educations materials as created by the CDC and NIOSH (attached).
- Instruct those with signs or symptoms of rhabdomyolysis (or those
accompanying the ill patient) to remind their healthcare provider that they
are at risk of this condition due to the nature of their work and to ask for
a blood test that identifies Creatine Kinase (CK) level.
- Build flexibility into physical training programs for significant
changes in weather. When ambient temperatures are much warmer than normal
for the geographic area that firefighters are accustomed to working in,
supervisors should increase the frequency of scheduled hydration breaks, and
decrease weight of packs and gear carried in early part of training season.
- Consider redesigning physical training program schedules to maximize
physical conditioning safely. This may include redesigning of training
schedule to allow a gradual increase of physical exertion rather than having
the period of maximal physical exertion fall on the first few days of
training. Also, use longer duration, submaximal exercise routines instead of
repetitive exhaustive exercise routines. (FireFit offers a well rounded
wildland firefighter fitness program:
- Ensure new and returning firefighters are in good health and have
completed off season conditioning prior to engaging in rapid strenuous
The RMC’s focus is on prevention and rapid medical response. We encourage
these recommendations be implemented at the field level and the provided
education materials are widely distributed and posted in common areas and
provided to healthcare providers when firefighters seek medical care for
heat/overexertion related medical conditions. Other longer term recommendations
are being vetted through the RMC for consideration.
In addition to your agency-required illness and injury reporting system, please
report any cases of rhabdomyolysis through the SAFENET system
so that these events can be tracked and we can improve trend tracking and
mitigations. The ISUITE Injury/Illness module should also be utilized during
large incidents so that incident related injuries and illnesses can be better
If you have questions or comments, please contact your agencies RMC
(Embedded image moved to file: pic09090.jpg)
Michelle G. Ryerson
(See attached file:
rhabdo2) (1050 K pdf)
(See attached file:
rhabdo1) (1106 K pdf)
RMC=Risk Management Committee
||Paynes Bay Fire, Manteo NC
SAFETY BULLETIN :
Paynes Bay Fire Accident 24-Hour Report (192 K pdf)
United States Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alligator River NWR
PRELIMINARY (24-HOUR) REPORT
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE
LOCATION: Paynes Bay Fire, Manteo NC
DATE OF OCCURRENCE: May 6, 2011
TIME OF OCCURRENCE: Approximately 1525 EST
ACTIVITY: Wildfire Suppression
On May 6, 2011, at approximately 1525, an incident involving a Fish and Wildlife
Service dual tired pick-up truck, Marsh Master, and Marsh Master Trailer
occurred. Significant damage to the truck was observed. No personnel injuries
At approximately 1525, 2 FWS firefighters (2-FF’s), traveled South on US-264
to retrieve a Marsh Master and bring it to the next operational assignment. The
fire on the west side of the road was not a threat to road traffic; however,
numerous spot fires between the road and canal had ignited multiple guard rail
posts. The 2-FF’s notified the Engine Boss of the FWS engine about the guard
rails. The 2-FF’s proceeded to their assignment of moving the Marsh Master.
The FWS Engine Boss began extinguishing the guard rail posts and soon noticed a
wind shift and change in fire behavior, at which time he relocated to a safe
area to the north. At approximately 1605, the 2-FF’s were heading north on
US-264 with the pick-up truck and Marsh Master when the FWS Engine Boss
attempted to stop the 2-FF’s via radio communication with no success. When radio
contact was made the 2-FF’s were too far down the road to stop.
Heavy smoke, narrow shoulders, and guard rails made it impossible to turn
around with the equipment trailer. The 2-FF’s were in a situation where the
safest decision was to continue traveling north.
The fire, responding to a wind shift and influences from the hot fire on the
east side of the road, began leaning over the road. The 2-FF’s pushed through
and the truck sustained damage when various materials, including but not limited
to drip torches and torch fuel, caught fire. The Marsh Master sustained damage
from debris. The 2-FF’s cleared the fire and the vehicle fires were extinguished
once it was safe to stop.
No injuries were reported. There was extensive paint and plastic damage to
the truck. The plexi glass window in the Marsh Master was damaged.
A review team has been established and will issue a 72-hour report followed
by a final report. This is in accordance with the 2011 Standards for Fire and
Fire Aviation Operations Handbook.
PREPARED BY: Vince Carver, Regional Fire Ecologist and Kelley Van Druten,
District 1 Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator
I am sending two images for your logos page.
I put them on
Logos 19 and
Logos 20 pages. Thanks. Ab.
I just wanted to thank you for all your help. Because of
your website I was able to grab my Certs and join a
hotshot crew here in AZ. Being from MI your website was and still is a very
useful networking tool. Just got
off a 14 day assignment from the Felix fire and Mayhill fire in S. New Mexico
and I loved it. It wouldn't have
been possible without this website. Thanks again.
||Texas suppression costs,
It's hard to argue a point with such vague facts... Just, how about a link or
post or something to that effect on how much your dept charges to send put a
fully stracked type 3,4 or 6 module?? as far as hidden costs... Well there are
none my friend the Feds pay what they pay... Health benefits would be paid
regardless of weather you are on a fire or not... Mileage for equipment.. Well
I'm sure there is a cost to your dept for that as well... As far as being 22%
higher I would lime to see that information and what you are basing your numbers
on... All Fed geographic areas are not the same by any means in pay scale.. And
to pay backfill your essentially paying for two trucks when the fire receives
only one and also I would assume you are paying some amount of overtime to the
people staffing that engine... So throw the numbers out.. Let compare oranges to
apples... I will post the number from my fiscal year report when I return from
Texas at the end of the month..
Still waiting for the IA
Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser
The Stump People invite you to an evening of Fun, Food, Friends and Family
at Route 66 Classic Grill 18730 Soledad Cyn Rd. Santa Clarita
from 4 - 9 pm
Bring your hearty appetite!
Tell your server that you are supporting the WFF and we will receive 15%
of the evenings profits. All proceeds will go to the WFF.
We will also have a raffle for WFF, Disney Fire Dept.
and Smokey Bear Goodies! Raffle Tickets are $1.00 each
||Just the Facts,
I believe it was two years ago that a GAO study concluded
that contract fire resources were not cost effective when compared to Federal
resources. Fireline production rates were a factor. Implying Fed resources are
more expensive by wanting apparatus costs, benefits, etc is a misguided approach
at trying to poke holes in ordering procedures. Everybody wants to get in the
game but the fact is Federal wildland fire resources are the most experienced at
wildland fire suppression and they come with thorough, measurable and consistent
training in wildland fire safety. Fed resources train and work together
While it's easy to try to put the dollars first, there are many other important
factors to consider when trying to compare apples to oranges.
||Resources to TX- costs:
I guess that means that the DOI is the overall
winner of the cheapest resource competition. You see, unlike the USFS (and our
municipal brethren), the DOI does not charge base pay to the incident. Nor do
they charge for back-fill. So, for the first 8 hours per day/40 hours per week,
the employee's pay is coming out of the "budget" for that agency. That's right;
the agency actually budgeted for that position, and does not attempt to pay for
an engine company, based on the hard work of a hotshot crew.
Pretty good deal, if you ask me. If for instance, a BLM range tech. only works 8
hours, but gets H pay.... The incident only pays 25% (H pay).... If they only
work 8 hours and don't happen to be on an uncontrolled fire... The incident pays
nothing. The GAO was supposed to change that shell game with the USFS, but
apparently it didn't take.
So, BLM, FWS, BIA, etc. are cheaper than everyone, including all of the USFS
folk that are "on board" with being a cheaper resource! Let us stop the whining!
It's May 12 for crying out loud!
But I will say this for the benefit of the "contractors" out there.... Could
have sworn that ALL of the helicopters, ALL air attack aircraft, and ALL
airtankers are "contracted".... Pretty interesting, no?
Be that as it may, If you all think that coordinators and resource unit leaders
are on the ball with all of this..... Think again.
||Resources to TX- costs:
Excellent point! When I look at my hourly salary
rate and compare it to the rate that FS uses to plan for actual costs,
the planning rate is 22% higher. That does not include the referenced equipment
costs, training, etc. It includes only
known costs (benefits). Now some of the Federal resources being used are
seasonal and/or part time, which means
they don't get the same benefits as the permanent full time person and would be
||Resources to TX- costs:
Like I said, I'm looking for some some informed
input on the actual costs between these two types of resources. We as CO
cooperators also get 12 hours and 38 per diem. We're not in CA, where career
departments are paid portal to portal and stay in hotels.
The only difference between us and federal resources is the backfill and of
course the hourly salary. But with that said, It would be good to hear how that
compares to the true and complete costs of federal resources. I'm talking about
indirect rates, benefits, apparatus costs, hazard pay (which we also aren't
entitled to), and any other differential pay. There may well be more costs that
are buried deep in the federal system that I'm not aware of.
This is probably not the forum to gain this type of information, as it's not
likely that finance-savvy, billing folks are reading these threads. My intent
was not to inflame anybody or any agency so, be nice Staged. Financial facts are
what I'm looking for. When the final bills are totaled up and submitted for
reimbursement, how do federal resources and cooperator resources from career
departments compare? Lord knows there are lots of beliefs out there, but lets
just look at the numbers.
Just the Facts
I find it outstanding that there are fully qualified dozer crews outside of R5
(mine included) that are not being called up.
We are being rained on at the moment, and our "leadership" refuses to let us go
anywhere off forest, let alone out-of-state.
I realize that NorthOps dozers are having the same problem... What do we need to
do in order to shift the thinking of
A very frustrated FedCatSkinner
Screen capture today of large TX fires google map:
Most fires are in mop up except for Schwartz and Iron Mountain.
Here's how the response system works with Regional Fire Coordinators and mobile
response to IA:
TFS website, go there to read it all
||Unable to Fill:
Get your facts straight before posting and causing an uproar...
I see two t-6 orders not filled... As far as contractor not acceptable, it also
said that on our resource order.. (as I am here,
staging might I add) but if you saw the side note, it also said AD or
contractor fill must contact the coordination center...
with fire season just starting and almost non-existent in most other regions,
there are plenty of fed resources available one
would think... and on a side note as far as local gov depts being cheaper than
the Feds.. Get your heads out of the clouds...
We are getting 12 hour days with 38 dollars for per diem... not 24 hours with
Those would be FACTS...
Staging and waiting for an IA
Again, today on the Southern area and the Western Great Basin GACCs' Unable
to Fill (May 10, 11, 2011) lists are
engine and dozer orders- "Fed only, Contractors Unacceptable". Texas large
fires. What gives?
To the Dad looking for boots.
You should go to the Supply Cache in Fort Collins. They have a great
selection and the staff will custom fit you
on the spot to make sure you get what you need. And no, I do not work for them
or get a kickback, I have just
had great luck with them in the past.
Try JAX in Fort Collins,
||Resources to TX- costs:
There is definitely perception by requesting
agencies, that resources from career departments are more expensive than federal
due to the backfill. It's common knowledge, that this is why they have not been
asked to respond to TX. It's also why a certain northern colorado forest
recently wanted IA resources for an interface fire, but excluded career
This isn't the first time, however, that this "cost saving" method has been used
in TX. During the Texas Winter Fires of '08, my engine and I were requested only
to be demobed the next day when they realized that they had ordered a career
According to our state's lead finance/reimbursement person, career departments
are no more expensive than federal. The only difference is that the costs for
career departments are upfront and visible whereas federal costs are buried
within their financial abyss. This is an interesting claim that I would like to
dig into more thoroughly. Not wanting to take sides, I would like to hear more
about this from other well-informed people on the matter. If indeed career
departments are more expensive (or possibly less), it would be good to know. I
get the whole cost containment effort and don't blame requesting agencies for
trying to control fire at a lower cost, providing that values at risk aren't
Just the Facts
My son starts his first job on an engine crew for the Forest Service later
this month and is having trouble finding boots
for his extra large feet. Any ideas for stores with large inventories in the
Denver, Cheyenne, Rapid City would be
much appreciated. We could order online but would like to make sure he gets a
good fit. Thanks.
||re: Tweeting for resources
This is an example of what Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center is doing on their
Twitter account at
On May 8th they posted: "need FOBS, PSC2, DIVS, TFLD and SOF for Tunner incident
if available call PIDC"
Apparently this doesn't fit the definition of the officially frowned-upon
"fishing" for personnel who aren't ROSS-ed up. It may
constitute solicitation for pimping of fire resources, which is the oldest
profession in professional wildland firefighting.
||re: poker face video
The funniest thing I have seen in a long time! Great
When my kids ask me why I work for the Forest Service, I tell them ....... its
fun. Bottom line, federal wild land firefighters
are not paid as much as other agency fire fighters .......... so we get to have
fun. That makes up for smaller pay check. Life
is too darn short to not have a good time. We can still be hard working, safe
fire fighters ........... just let us have some
fun when we can!
What do you mean by "setting up Twitter feeds to work around the .....priority
dispatch lists" ?
Can you enlighten us non-Twitter folks how that would work?
Another thing I've been told works in favor of "fed. only" requests is that
payment from the requesting agency can be
delayed for about a year when using federal resources. Imagine that?
Decision-making in wildland fire might possibly
be subject to influence from budgetary shell games.
||re: "Fed. only" request for TX
I also thought it was due to
backfill costs. However, I noticed yesterday that there are now specifications
"Federal Only, Contractor Not Acceptable".
||re: "Fed. only" request for TX
The story I heard was that concern for backfill costs for career fire
departments is what prompted the "fed. only"
requests for the Texas fires.
I also hear they're setting up Twitter feeds to work around the all the
best-value, most-efficient, closest-resource,
flavor-of-the-month priority dispatch lists.
ps, I needlessly packed my red bag for Texas, but someone must've red-flagged my
volunteer backfill costs.
haw haw haw!
$1.9 Million that won't be used for payroll or
other FS needs.
Lack of common sense and the need for Tort Reform. Stuff like this just makes
living more expensive for the rest of us.
They maybe should have sued the State Fish and Game as the FS does not have any
authority over the animals.
Awarded Family of Boy Killed by Bear
And There I Was
||"Fed only" requested for TX
The requesting/hosting agency determines restrictions such as “Fed Only”. I
don’t believe (I could be wrong) there are any
fires on Fed property in Texas, so Texas is paying the bills, and they get to
specify the resources ordered. There may be laws
or other issues with contracting with out-of-state vendors.
||"Fed only" requested for TX
You talk about best value, well the government fleet is the best value. Also
there are private engines down there
right now but they are local and not many from out of area.
||R3 CO problem
There are those of us that are wondering where the oversight is for all
involved. For me, personally, it is great frustration with a CO (R3) that is
unable to fulfill their duties in a timely manor! We, too, have guys unable to
work, however with us it is due to the the R3 CO not getting their job done. I
have spoken with one of the IMTs and was told that they would have work for us
if we had a contract.... Well, the solicitation closed in VIPR 3 months ago
and all we get from the R3 CO are excuses!!! I know that having a contract
awarded does not guarantee work, however when the work is there, we deserve the
contracts to be processed in a timely manor! As a contractor our livelihood is
based on past performance reviews. Why can't we issue reviews for agency people?
Beginning to be ticked!
||"Fed only" requested for TX
I'm wondering why all/most of the orders out of the Southwest and Southern
regions for engines and water tenders are marked " Fed. Only, contractors are
not acceptable" on the Unable to Fill lists. In the past, alot of the fires
there have been assisted by the contract suppression companies but we are now
looked-upon as the ugly step child. Last year, at a yearly conference, in Reno,
both Shane LaValley and Niel Hitchcock said that this ( Fed.s Only) would not
happen anymore, especially since the advent of "Best Value" contracts. What
happened? Is this a move by the Feds. to eliminate the Contract community and
keep it all "Green"?
This is not a benefit to the tax payer and is against Congressional Intent.
Millions have been spent by the Contractors over the past few months to train-up
crews, equip them and their vehicles, only to be shut-out. Is this an unofficial
Blackballing? Who ultimately makes the decision to us the Contractors- does it
come from the Teams, the Regions or the Washington office or all the above? Last
week there were orders for Potable Water Tenders, "Fed. Only"- do the Feds even
own/operate Potable Water trucks?
Additionally, the list for the Contract Type 2 I.A. crews is out- there are
about 42 crews total on this list- what happens now to the many companies/ crews
not awarded agreements. I suppose they are now going out of business, as I don't
think there is any other way to sign them up in advance of the Season. Hundreds
of people, trained equipped and ready, could be put to work now (as is the
Presidential intent) but are sitting at home collecting unemployment (if they
are lucky enough to still get some) or doing what they can, trying to fend-off
the banks from taking their homes or cars.
The Regional contract officers need to help their contractors get to work,
VIPR is in place - use it (it is guesstimated that the VIPR system has cost the
Taxpayers over $100 Million to implement!). To not use the contract suppression
companies is a dis-service to the Taxpayer. Where is the NWSA in all this- they
don't seem to be helping their members get to work but they sure are good at
taking our dues.
This is an appeal to The Powers That Be- put people to work now!
Ab, thanks for this Forum and all that you do for all the Wildland Fire
||Making the rounds...
Living Memorial Re-Dedication May 11, 2011 1000 AM Northern California Service
Center (12 K pdf)
A rededication on the 30th anniversary.
If anyone has photos of these 4 men, we can add them to the
Remember page. Any other memories of them in good times would be a nice contribution. Ab.
Good afternoon all,
What can one do when a CO keeps promising that the contracts will be awarded "by
the end of the week" for 7 weeks now?
It extremely discouraging to know that we are loosing $$$ due to fires within
the Region and we are all sitting on very expensive
equipment that can not be used due to the fact the the CO does not have the
awards done yet!!!!!
What can one do?
GOOD MORNING and have a GREAT FIRST DAY to those seasonals and
their supes experiencing the first day of the season. Ab.
Would appreciate if you would see fit to post this on your website. Thanks very
much in advance. Greatly appreciated.
Canada’s major wildland fire disasters of the past, 1825-1938 (2,251
Thanks Marty. Interesting. Ab.
Does anyone else wondering with all the current increase activity in the SW, SA,
and now RM why the national PL level is still at 1? There are currently 4 T-1
and 4 T-2 teams committed nationally. As far as I know, most the the shot crews
are committed, all of the airtankers that are on are committed, and I've seen
plenty of orders for overhead, engines, fixed/rotor wing, and crews utf'ed in my
GACC. If those in power at the NICC follow their own mobe guide, (as they are
more than happy to quote you when it suits their purpose), shouldn't we be at PL
2 or 3?
From the National Mobilization Guide, Chapter 20:
Preparedness Level 2
Description: Several Geographic Areas are experiencing high to extreme fire
danger. Wildland fire activity is increasing, and large fires are occurring in
one (1) or more Geographic Areas. Minimal mobilization of resources from other
Geographic Areas is occurring. There is moderate commitment of National
Resources with the potential to mobilize additional resources from other
Preparedness Level 3
Description: Two (2) or more Geographic Areas are experiencing wildland or
prescribed fire activities requiring a major commitment of National Resources.
Additional resources are being ordered and mobilized through NICC. Type 1 and 2
IMTs are committed in two (2) or more. Geographic Areas and crew commitment
nationally is at 50%.
Oh, I forgot, "do as I say, not as I do".
||Station Fire Pics/ Social Media:
Contract County Guy, I wasn't talking
about Big Tajunga Canyon. I know photos and video were (eventually) shared
on that. This was earlier and could have been laid to rest faster if there
hadn't been distrust over so many things.
How do we back off from that?
||To: Looking for Answers
I received this from F&AM McClellan, CA in answer to my question as to why we
couldn't get into VIPR...
I extended this solicitation to Monday the 9th of May due to issues with
the VIPR system. If you continue to have
problems please call Marilyn at 916-640-1024.
Paulette J. Gordon
Supervisory Incident Contracting Officer
R5 Fire & Aviation Management
Its Sunday afternoon and we haven't been able to get into it since last
Thursday. We'll try again Monday.
||Station Fire Pics/ Social Media:
The video clips and photos of extreme fire behavior in Big Tujunga Canyon on the
Station Fire you
referred to HAVE been shared. Look in the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
website and you
will find them. They have also been shared with the OIG in their investigation
and have been
presented in the lawsuits against a number of agencies in their defense.
Contract County Guy
So the logical conclusion is that if those videos had
not been taken it would have been more difficult to provide info in those
particular lawsuits. Ab.
||Happy Mothers Day to the moms out
Couldn't do it without you! We wouldn't be around without you!
the Abs and Mods
||Electric Fire: Firefighter Safety Around Power Lines
In working on the
Always Remember project I've found some LODDs that are due to firefighters
coming in contact with downed power lines or stepping in an energized space
caused by downed lines. The Southern Plains where we're having lots of fires
this season have many power lines. So do all the western states.
I found this fine informative You Tube video this morning. I added it to the
Always Remember page for Elias Jaquez to raise situational awareness of this
kind of fireground risk. My condolences to his family.
Electric Fire: Firefighter Safety Around Power Lines
A training video produced by the Salt River Project (SRP) to discuss the
dangers of wildland firefighting near power lines.
- How the power grid works.
- How far away? Lines within 5 miles, notify dispatch to call the utility
rep, establish point of contact for cooperation in reducing risk.
- Differences in risk between light and dark smoke indicating carbon
content. Smoke and ash can cause electrical faults, darker smoke is worse.
- Staging how close? Never in the electrical transmission corridor under
or near lines.
- Work distance? 1.5 times height of poles, LCES never too close.
- Water and Retardant? Avoid use of retardant or solid stream water
applications around or on power lines. Treat all downed power lines as
- Burning wooden pole at top or bottom? What to do...
- Electrical hazard greatest from downed power line: Step potential and
Touch potential and what to do to minimize risk of electrical shock.
- Aid a fallen comrade?
- Inside your truck? Directions for emergency exit only if absolutely
- Good summary
Very informative 18 min video. Be safe out there.
||Contract announcements question:
Does anyone know why that when I attempt
to look up contacts on...vipr agreements agnum
that it gives me an error that the contract number is not in the database? These
contracts where added to the DPL this week. Perhaps
the site has not been updated...
If so, how long does it take to be updated? I have never seen this kind of
Looking for answers
||Re: Firefighter Photography, Videography
The meat and potatoes of Director
Harbour's letter are summed up in two sentences:
"Forest Service (FS) policy allows firefighters or other employees to
post information, photos, or videos about work-related
activities on personal social media accounts or websites outside of work
hours or otherwise not on government time".
"For these reasons, we discourage firefighters from taking photographs and
videos during operations and posting information
on personal social media accounts".
An attempt to articulate Foundational Doctrine and Leader's Intent?
How about the photos and videos that show the Agency as positive and
Sent from my Droid
||Golf Tournament Honoring Fallen Firefighter Thomas D. Marovich, Jr ("T.J.")
Attention all you duffers!
The Fremont, CA Fire Department will be hosting their 4th annual Golf Tournament
on Monday, May 23 rd at the Sunol Valley Golf Course off Interstate 680 at the
Andrade Road exit in Fremont. There will a diner afterward and a raffle for
various items of value will be held.
A portion of funds received will go to the Thomas D. Marovich Jr. Firefighter
Memorial Fund benefiting the excellent Fire Explorer Program at the Fremont Fire
Department. Tom started his firefighting career with the Explorers.
Thomas Jr. was a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service who died from a fall
from a helicopter on July 21, 2009. He was 20 years old. Tom had been a
certified rappeller. He had been one of many who had been battling the Backbone
Fire in the Six Rivers National Forest near the town of Willow Creek, in
* * * For information on attending, please contact Battalion Chief Rick
Dickinson at 510-453-3816.
The Sunol Valley Golf Club's web address is sunolvalley.com.
For those who can not attend but would like to make a donation, send a check to
the Thomas D. Marovich Firefighter Memorial Fund care of Fremont Bank, 39150
Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94538. Donations are tax deductible and should you
desire a receipt, contact me, Thomas D. Marovich Sr., at tmaro10497@ nospam
aol.com. (take out the nospam and spaces)
s /Thomas D. Marovich, Sr.
||Wildland firefighter legislation nearing re-introduction:
Hi to all:
We are in final discussions with offices in Washington to determine who will be
introducing the bill.
The FWFSA has worked tremendously hard over the last 6 months to update and
revise the most comprehensive legislation ever introduced on behalf of our
Nation's federal wildland firefighters. Last year, HR 4488 was introduced midway
through the congressional session. This gave us only a half a session to work
the bill during a session in which the priority for most members of Congress
seemed to be "self-preservation."
Additionally, concerns about some of the language were raised by private
contract groups inferring that some it would lead to many private outfits going
out of business and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) raised
concerns over several provisions despite the facts that:
1) they don't represent ANY federal wildland firefighters employed by the
federal land management agencies in ANY capacity and
2) several of the provisions would have in fact benefited their federal
firefighter members employed by the Dept. of Defense, Coast Guard etc.
As a result the FWFSA has crafted what we believe to be a cleaner, less
controversial bill which has sufficiently addressed some of those concerns.
Additionally a new provision has been included since we learned of a potential
serious flaw in the administration of the Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB)
program administered by the Dept. of Justice.
I will readily admit that some are concerned, even among FWFSA members that the
perceived "anti-federal employee" sentiment in Washington doesn't bode well for
Sadly both the Administration and some in Congress continue to believe that the
most expedient and easy way to demonstrate to the American public that they are
taking the federal budget debacle seriously is to place the burden of fixing our
Nation's fiscal ills on the backs of federal employees... despite the fact that
the reason we are in this fiscal mess in the first place is the result of
actions taken by both parties over decades while in control of the
Administration & Congress.
That being said, it is our responsibility to educate the uneducated on Capitol
Hill that their knee-jerk, meat-cleaver approach to the budget issues,
especially as it relates to our little corner of the world, i.e. the delivery to
the American taxpayer of an efficient & cost-effective federal wildfire
response, will have the opposite effect as that intended.
It is our responsibility to let these folks know that those federal employees
who are asked to risk their lives to protect our Nation's natural resources, its
citizens and their real & personal property from the ravages of wildfires are
those generally found at the bottom of the federal pay scale. It is our
responsibility to paint a very clear picture about how FIRE money is managed by
the agencies and how the overall management of the FIRE programs is archaic and
costing taxpayers far more than it needs to.
Since 2006 specifically, the FWFSA has had to delve into the budgetary minutia
of the FIRE programs to counter the annual Agency testimony before Congress that
all is well. Through our testimony and that of NFFE over the last 5 years or so,
more and more in Congress are beginning to understand that in order to provide
America's taxpayers with that efficient, cost-effective wildfire response,
significant changes must be made.
That said, there is no doubt politics play a key role in progress towards that
end. I'm not going to get into the details of partisan politics as it relates to
getting the Agencies to make the needed changes, but it is one of the more
frustrating hurdles we deal with every day. Fortunately, long-term, well
established relationships on Capitol Hill allow us to get past that nonsense
once in a while. Unfortunately it is also what takes things so damn long to get
accomplished on the Hill.
The actions of the Administration and Congress with respect to pay freezes,
proposed hiring freezes etc., are precisely why we have to remain aggressive in
our efforts to seek change. If we roll over and succumb to the ignorance of
elected officials, then we do ourselves and the entire federal wildland
firefighting community a disservice.
In recent months, the "line in the sand" between labor organizations and those
on the opposite side of the issue has become clearer and the actions of each
side are doing nothing other than to cause the other side to dig their heels in
deeper. Rather than screaming and yelling, I think our approach of education and
providing facts as to the consequences of certain actions by Congress and the
Administration will not only continue to pay dividends with respect to our
credibility in Washington, but will ultimately lead to the accomplishment of our
This is not an easy task. Many organizations with far more members and much
greater revenue are having even less success than we are. What we don't have
financially we make up for with greater persistence, tenacity and just plain
hard work. Now is not the time to quit. We're in this for the long haul. Are
Executive Director, Governmental Affairs
WGB News and Notes, for a Safety Alert generated by SW GACC re: US-MX border
"5/6/11;1000; SWC: The Southwest Geographic Area has issued a Safety Alert for
US - Mexico Border Fire Operations."
or see the Hotlist Safety Alert
||The WLF Staff posted the bare bones Always Remember pages of the two S-2
1979: Gayle Eaton).
If anyone has news archives of those incidents or any other info about the
pilots, please contact the admin at A/R.
Thanks for the info, Droid sender and for your ongoing research....
||Pics: Fire behavior on the Station Fire:
KP, what you're describing has
already been happening. I know a number of firefighters that had pics and
short cellphone clips of the extreme fire behavior on the Station fire that did
not come forward to share them.
I think they would of helped.
Comes down to distrust. For me seems Ive had lots of that since 30mile and
Cramer. Legacy of the legal
attack on Ellreese especially.
It's hard to be gut level happy or satisfied in your dangerous job when
At least Harbour drew a line in the sand. Often things surprise and I feel
||Re: Firefighter Photography, Videography
Let's look at some of the
"movies" and "pictures" that have been captured with cell phones (personal or
otherwise) and cameras (personal or otherwise) over the last few years, that
have been instrumental to training, and investigation. A few years ago, a dude
on a fireline, pulled out his personal camera and shot a video of one of the
first DC-10 drops... It was "cool" and a novelty, at that point. Little did he
know that he had the best evidence of an aircraft accident. Or, let's go back to
1994 on Storm King mountain. And a set of photos that were taken that showed
investigators a time-line (literally in feet and seconds) of the very last
moments of that incident. Tom Harbour, I imagine, has walked the halls of the
training center in Sacramento. The majority or those photos having been shot not
by a "official' photographer, but by Forestry Technicians. Is this what we want
to discourage, based on a Lady Gaga video shot on days off? Because the
principles were wearing govt issue clothing? Really? Have we seen anything "on"
the fireline of unprofessional behavior? I haven't. I haven't.
Clark Hammond mentioned what he thought was a dip-site manager $%#&* off. My
sources tell me that the world is a big place, and not everyone is "on the
clock" all the time. Whatever lake that was is not a secret, and maybe the folks
that made the video did it to coincide with practice flights????. Youtube has
scores of Lady Gaga videos shot by Marines, and Soldiers in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Were they being unprofessional, or were they goofing around, whilst
they had nothing else going on? Clark also mentioned that, "if this was one of
my temps, they would be gone". Temps? Just the temps, Clark?
So, The Govt. as a whole (who was mere hours away from furlough) can seem to be
unprofessional (not seem)... as we employees hang on the cusp. But a video is
released (no different from any other video shot by Marines wearing Govt issued
clothing and sitting in Govt aircraft and while ...etc.....being more than a
year after it was released...) is seen as such. Nope. It's not the video that is
unprofessional. It is the reaction to it.
Consequences? Well it is frankly SA and FLA and any other cool acronym you can
think of. Because if we are going to expect the PIOs to do it..... It's not
gonna get done. Maybe at Clark's helibase. But not on the fire. Heck... maybe
the first time they ask if anyone has a picture of an accident, and someone
steps forward, with the best evidence.... and suffers disciplinary action for
taking pictures or video..... Well then, I guess we will never have a free
exchange. So beit.
I have to agree with you. I will give you my take.
I have been on a couple of fires and worked with a team or two and sometimes
they were from out of region and
at other times we were all fish out of water or just dialed in. I will not
My first time in the So. East on RX I thought we were killing everything (boy I
felt dumb afterward) but low and
behold, they know how to burn. Green was popping up every where two days later.
Teams are Teams (there is no I, although they tell me there is a me in team), I
have worked with teams from all
over the US, some are good and and some are going through changes. Being a fed
change is constant and it
goes smooth when positions are filled when they are mindful in back filling and
are not so smooth when they have
an agenda to fill. Just saying.
So in part if someone feels something the team does is a true safety concern go
to line safety, SOF2, and file a
safe-net or safe-come and refuse risk with the IRPG guidelines and propose a
better way to do it. That's All.
||RE: Helitack video
I under stand the whole thing with the video and photos on the fire line.
There is a time to play and a time to work. Is it
up to our PR folks to get the fire information out to the public? I don’t have
an issue with folks taken pictures but there
is a time and place for taking them pics. As for the video that is posted on
this site from the CWN crew recently, I look
at the video and some of it looks like there is an individual that is assigned
as a dip site manager that is #$%*&^* off
rather than doing their job! I am a base manager and I can tell you this if this
was one of my temps, they would be gone.
I have seen these in the past and there is no place for this. We strive to be
professionals and all aspects of the job we do.
Helitack right now is in the spot light as the budget is going down, what do
think the fire managers think when they see
this kinda of crap on they said. Just my two cents.
||re Red Team,
I tried not responding to the post but couldn’t … I worked with the Southern
Area Red Team in 2002 on a large
fire in the PNW… I can offer up nothing but admiration for their collective fire
fighting skills, interagency cooperation
and their attention to the delegation of authority to be fiscally responsible.
Briefings were brief and the IC provided
leadership each morning when he would speak to the priorities in safety…
workforce management and Incident goals.
He didn’t leave these important messages to be carried only by the Plans Section
or buried in the IAP... He made it
personal. At night, before putting the plan to bed he asked if the team, Agency
Reps and others supported the plan.
I understand teams can go through dramatic changes in leadership over the years
but I find it hard to believe a team
with so much pride and depth of experience could fall as far as the allegations
posted. I don’t know the poser or poster
of the comments about the Red Team so I will leave my comments stand as is.
||Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
You got it right. I am not saying I agree with the way they interpret policy,
after all I have had HR tell me "this is the way
something must be done", then the next day they say "no we do it this way" and
lets not even touch the Red Book vs
policy, just saying.
I agree if it is my camera and my digital chip, it's mine. Anymore though the
folks can dump all their photos into a
computer or I-phone or whatever the flavor of the day is they can keep them. So
if they are doing a true FLA and not
a head hunt, it is easy enough to dump the data and turn over the chip so we all
can learn (get a receipt and fill out a
reimbursement form, those chips are not free).
On the other hand if it is a Head Hunt (you will know) make sure your PLI is
paid up and turn the film/chip over to
you lawyer, if it is your camera and equipment, if it is fed equipment you are
obliged to turn it over to the investigator,
||Ya know Tom Harbour has to have watched that video in private and BUSTED a
Hey, Tom, fill us in!
||Photography on the fireline
I haven's posted for years, but I still read
to keep plugged in. I do have a thought about the photo/ video issue:
Anyone who has seen the helitac crew dancing to Lady Gaga's Pokerface video on
Youtube, has to agree that
making the video had to be considered a distraction, and not show us in our most
serious or "professional" light.
Let me qualify that I loved the video. It was very cool.
But I don't have to answer for the management and cost of that fire. Someone
could see it and ask why these
guys had so much time to record this video, and ask whether or not they were
paying attention to their job. I
am not wanting so single these guys out, but it was a popular video that many of
you might have seen.
I notice that large agencies seem to react to individual situations with blanket
policies, in other words someone
might have been making a video instead of doing their job, and instead of
correcting the employees in that one
instance, we see a broad letter, or policy. Sometimes the problem is so
widespread that this is the only solution.
But I wouldn't throw away my camera yet.
Just make sure that if you are taking pics or videos that you are not neglecting
your duties, or your safety. And
follow the letter's suggestion and have those tailgate briefings.
Flash in Florida
Hotlist on that video
Video link... YouTube added a commercial. Haw Haw! People should do some
more of those on their own dime and time. Priceless! Ab.
||Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
Photography Policy is Departmental Regulation 1480-001 and NOT 3300-001.
The policy relates to "official" photography that is approved/authorized to be
official USDA programs.
Mr. Harbour's quote is out of context. DR 1480-001 "provides standards and
guidance for the
acquisition, preparation, distribution, and storage of photographs about
Also, in DR 4070-735-001 (Employee Responsibilities and Conduct), the words
image, nor photography are found anywhere in the regulation.
So exactly where does it violate policy to take a photo?
On 5/7/2011, Joseph Duprey, AKA (Killer), will leave his last
assignment as an Air Tactical Group Supervisor
as a U.S. Forest Service employee. He will leave the great State of Texas, and
once home, killer will hang up his
wings with the U.S.F.S. and like many others before him, start a new career with
a different Wildland Firefighting
I would like to personally thank you Killer, for the excellent example you have
shown me throughout my career
in Leadership, Integrity and your willingness to support me, and countless ton's
of others, anytime you were ever
asked with no questions, compensated or not.
You are the epitome of an Air Attack and Instructor with skills and far reaching
talent in the Region Five Aviation
Program that I personally do not think I will see again in my life time. The
positive ripple effects of those you have
mentored both on the ground and in the air, will resonate for decades.
While your reasons for leaving are valid, the loss felt by the Agency you are
leaving will literally affect hundreds.
I wish you and your family the best, and tell Pop's I say hi.
Your Friend, (With Objectives)
Joel A Lane
||1976 S-2 airtanker crash
I could find no NTSB records for an S-2 airtanker
crash in 1976 also in their paper archives. I am now searching
I did however find two others (1978 and 1979).
08/20/1978: N448DF, Grumman S-2A, Fatal (1) - Laytonville, CA. Flight purpose:
Fire control. (James Lippitt)
09/10/1979: N405DF, Grumman S-2A, Fatal (1) - Ramona, CA. Flight purpose: Fire
control. (Gayle Eaton).
The only place I find mention of the '76 crash is on the AAP Memorial page. It
is not listed at nifc.gov Sarety Reports either.
Sent from my Droid
||Photos on government time:
Taking photos was not in my job description. They didn't buy the camera, film
I remember the Haystack burnover on the Gila, (1987), they wanted everybody's
film and promised they would process it
for them. Nobody got anything back. I never gave them my film!
I have a right to document my life, I do it with a camera instead of pencil and
||RE: photos and cameras
So what are we to do with the dash cam (and backup
cam) on a couple of our trucks? We installed them for both historical
and liability issues. Liability issue stemmed from a couple years back we where
on an incident drafting at a river when a local
showed up with press in tow....The local was being, well let's just say a thorn
in the side, until I pointed to and referred to
our dash cam....
Also another thought... Where would we get the photos for the Wildland
Firefighter Calendar???? hummmmmmmm.
Personally I take several photos during the shift (if can be done safely) with
the time/date and GPS enabled. It documents where and when. I also wear a wireless mic to the dash cam, so I can go back for
information on briefings.
ready for the next fire...and I will bring my camera
||Photos and such?
Sorry.....don't miss it.
||Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
I am so glad
I got to work in the FS when this cr*p didn't come up. Photo's were encouraged
back in the "golden"
days, not discouraged. My photo's adorned barracks, dispatch and field offices.
I used them extensively in training
slide shows ( way before PowerPoint). Oh well, so much for the photo page.
Oh, and I did not consider them fed property; maybe if they had bought the
camera, film & developer they might
have a case. I had lots of $$$ into those shots an only wish many had not gotten
||Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
has changed the situation. We can snap more and share more with one button push
I saw the video that fs patrol guy posted on youtube after he was sent (probly
unintentional) into harms way on the
station fire. He got burned over, no doubt. Then there were questions if he lit
that part of the fire... gimme a break...
or maybe tptb just had to consider that... His short cell phone video put that
to rest. Then he had to take it off youtube
-not surprising. Wished i'd saved a copy... scary... he was lucky he survived.
tapping fingers not on govt time or dime
||Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
I don't think he's trying to scare you. He is offering you the facts. However
addressing this topic in your SOGs this
year might be a good idea. When ever you read the words "Fire supervisors have
the responsibility", it's time to
So Cal Captain Camera
Date: May 2, 2011
Subject: Firefighter Photography, Videography, and Use of Social Media
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy
Chiefs and WO Directors
Recently, we have heard from many in the field that firefighters’ use of
personal cell phones and cameras to shoot photographs and videotape on the job
has become a significant distraction, and thereby jeopardizes firefighter
safety. We also are aware of field concerns that some information, photographs,
and videotape that firefighters posted on personal social media accounts and
websites reflect poorly on individuals, crews, the Agency, and the interagency
wildland firefighting community.
Firefighters’ lives often depend on their ability to be keenly aware of their
surroundings and intensely focused on the tasks they are performing. Activities
that distract from firefighters’ situational awareness and precision in their
work threaten the safety not only of those directly involved but also of all
others around them. No structure or natural resource is worth the life of a
firefighter, neither is a souvenir photograph or video. Fire supervisors have
the responsibility and discretion for safe practices for their employees.
Discussion about this topic during fire refresher or tailgate sessions may be
beneficial. The firefighting community and its partners have a close bond; we
are asking each person to use this close-knit relationship to be mindful of
risks and safety for all involved.
Nothing is more important than properly applying doctrine while managing
risk. Our goal is to become the preeminent wildland fire risk managers. We
achieve that by making conscious and deliberate decisions about what risks are
reasonable and necessary and what risks may jeopardize the safety or tarnish the
professionalism we strive to meet. We cannot achieve that vision by shooting
photos and videos without weighing the potential consequences of our actions.
Forest Service (FS) policy allows firefighters or other employees to post
information, photos, or videos about work-related activities on personal social
media accounts or websites outside of work hours or otherwise not on government
time. However, firefighters should be mindful that posting work-related
information or activities on their personal social media accounts or websites
reflects on the professionalism of their crew, the FS, and the wildland
In addition to posing threats to safety, firefighters who shoot photographs
and video with their personal cell phones and cameras while on the job may be
violating the USDA Photography Policy (Departmental Regulation 3300-001), which
states that “No photographic work will be undertaken that is not essential for
official use or necessary in furthering the official business of the USDA.” All
employees must be aware of the USDA Regulation on Employee Responsibilities and
Conduct (Departmental Regulation 4070-735-001), and that violations of the
regulation may result in disciplinary action.
In addition, photographs, videos, and other information taken by firefighters
could cause complications in the event that the FS becomes involved in any
litigation regarding a particular fire. Any information could be considered
evidence in the lawsuits, and other litigants may have a right to seek that
information from a personal computer or camera.
The FS is the largest U.S. wildland firefighting force. Our international,
federal, state, and local partners expect FS firefighters to be leaders. With
the ability to transmit information and images across the globe instantaneously,
it has never been more important for firefighters to conduct themselves
professionally. It is the responsibility of every firefighter to maintain the
FS’s reputation as the most professional wildland firefighters in the world. For
these reasons, we discourage firefighters from taking photographs and videos
during operations and from posting information on personal social media
/s/ T.C. Harbour
Director, Fire and Aviation Management
I have seen the letter but do not have it on me, but you are correct, if you
take a picture on government time it does
belong to the government (your on the clock), that being said some crews are
required to show a lunch break on the
fire line no matter if they take a break or not and all cameras are equiped with
time function anymore. So if you are
on that "lunch break" and you take your camera out and take some snap shots for
mom I don't see how anyone can
say that would belong to uncle sam. However if you capture a photo of a
critical moment feel free to share it with
the FLA team.
||regarding a letter from Tom Harbor
Just wondering if anybody can clarify or go into more detail about a Letter
that just came out from Tom Harbour with a subject of " Firefighter
photography, videography and use of social media " are they trying to scare
us from taking pictures of fires and other work we do ?
I haven't seen it yet. Ab .
||Does anyone know the details of the deaths of two S2 Airtanker pilots in
1976? They must have been CDF? No records
in the NTSB database that I could find.
Bill Sears - S2
Larry Myers - S2
of info on the
history as airtankers. These must have been some of the first in use by CDF
in the 1970s.
about any more info on
Ed Jinks, 39 yr old airtanker pilot from Vail, Colorado?
Does anyone know... what
Agency he was under contract with? details of whether he was dropping on a fire?
which fire? was he from Vail or just
working out of Vail?... anything?
Tim or Old Sawyer, have any info on this fatality?
was later in the same summer when airtanker pilot
Don Goodman and the groundpounders
Mormon Lake Hotshots
died on the Battlement Creek Fire.
The lessons learned on the Battlement Creek fire are shared in the
Staff Ride. Great job on that!
||One NB resident dies, two are injured
Condolences to the residents and their families. Be safe out there.
Wind shifts can be deadly. Ab.
Controlled burn goes wrong, kills one resident and injures two
KHAS News 5 - Chris Wagner
May 2, 2011 at 7:10 PM CDT
Two men remain in critical condition, one woman dead after a controlled
burn last week blazed out of control.
36 year old Anthony Meguire and 40 year old Robert Seybold are currently in
Saint Elizabeth's Burn Center
after a controlled burn near Trenton got out of control.
46 year old Theresa Schnoor died at the scene.
The State Fire Marshall says shifting winds are to blame for the accident.
killed, two injured in fire
Friday, April 29, 2011
McCook Daily Gazette
TRENTON, Nebraska -- A controlled burn on a rural farm northwest of
Trenton, Nebraska, went horribly wrong
late Thursday afternoon, resulting in
the death of one and severe burn injuries to two others.
Hitchcock County Sheriff D. Bryan Leggott reported this morning that Theresa
L. Borges Schnoor, 46 years old,
of Trenton died at the fire scene eight
miles northwest of Trenton.
Two Trenton men, 40-year-old Robert A. Seybold and 36-year-old Anthony P.
Meguire were critically burned while
assisting with the prescribed burn, and
were transported to Community Hospital of McCook by Trenton ambulance.
were then flown to the Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Burn Center
This morning, both Seybold and Meguire were listed in critical condition.
Leggott said his office and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's office...
(More at link)
fair use disclaimer
||To whom it may concern,
I work for a company called Orion Multimedia and we are interested in doing an
interview with Noah Wendland about
his recent Mule Deer shed find in Colorado Springs. He mentioned in a recent
article that he was a Wildland Firefighter
so I was hoping you might have contact info on him.
Thanks you for your assistance.
Does anyone know Firefighter Noah? He found some
very unusual deer antlers in the Colorado Springs area. Ab.
||I am working to be a helicopter pilot as a career. My goal is to do some
form of fire fighting as a helicopter pilot. What are
your requirements for pilots? I have 25 hours currently and slowly working to be
a CFI to build hours. It would be great if
there was a way for your company to train me and work for you under contract for
so many years. I'm Jason, 30, 150lbs,
above average student. Supervised solo at 21 hours. Helicopter pilot is my
passion and what I was meant to do. Please
contact my be email or phone 321-xxx-xxxx. Thanks
I'd be happy to put people in touch. Ab.
||Dalton Hotshot, Mike Rushworth memorial dedication
In October of 1961, a
Dalton Hotshot, Mike Rushworth was gravely injured on a fire in Sierra Madre.
Mike died that
December, having never recovered from his injuries. This year will the 50th
On Sunday, May 22, 2011, at 10 a.m., the Dalton Hotshots will hold a memorial
dedication honoring Mike Rushworth's
life and service. All are invited to join us in this commemoration.
We are planning to BBQ for lunch so please RSVP if you plan on attending, and
eating. Contact; 2B Kevin Moran
626-335-8600 kfmoran@ nospam fs.fed.us or myself.
Mike Rushworth Memorial Dedication
Sunday, May 22, 10 AM
1645 Big Dalton Cyn Rd.
Flyer (560 K pdf)
||A letter from the Forest Service National Director of Fire and Aviation
Management intended to all his Fire
and Fuels employees. Nice letter Tom. I hope many mid-level managers are open to
your ideas and this letter
sparks similar ideas. The community will keep you posted on how things go.
Date: May 2, 2011
Route To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director,
Deputy Chiefs and WO Directors
Subject: Support of Retention of Parents in Fire Management
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy
Chiefs and WO Directors
In the memo dated September 3, 2008, 5700/5100 Best Practices and Support of
Parents in Fire Management, I addressed the best practices managers could use to
support fire employees with families. Irregular hours, unscheduled extended
shifts, and extended fire assignment periods challenge anyone pursuing a fire
career while managing a family. With these pressures, some parents are leaving
the fire workforce for jobs offering more time with families.
Upon review of a recent employee survey, it is apparent that these issues
remain. I would like to bring to your attention the existing Agency programs
that can help employees:
- Job Sharing, Temporary Leave of Absence, Details.
- Alternative Work Sites when tasks can be completed from home or
somewhere closer to assist with commuting and loss of family time (FSM
6162.2 – Telecommute, FSH 6109.11 Alternative Work Sites).
- Family Friendly Policies FSH 6109.11, Chapter 30 – Family & Medical
- Management flexibilities regarding childcare facilities or children in
the workplace (FSM 6444), development and support of a child friendly work
place with safe places for children.
- Flexible Spending Accounts Dependent Care.
Agencies spend thousands of dollars on employee training. Fire Management can
afford opportunities for parents to find flexible and creative solutions so they
can remain productive while fulfilling parental needs.
We encourage all managers, supervisors, and employees to maximize these options
and continue to support parents as a key part of our fire workforce.
/s/ T.C. Harbour
Director, Fire and Aviation Management
cc: pdl wo spf fam leadership, Jan Everett
||Brett died in June, 2009 when hit by a falling tree.
2nd Annual walk/run to honor fallen BLM firefighter Brett Stearns
By Joshua Gordon
May 2, 2011
When Brett Stearns died nearly two years ago, he left an imprint on his
co-workers, family and friends, Mac Zimmerman said. Zimmerman, who worked with
Stearns at the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig,
said the best way to remember his late friend was to do something Stearns loved
On May 14, Zimmerman, along with many of Stearns’ friends and family, will
host the Second Annual Brett Stearns Memorial Walk/Run at Cedar Mountain.
The event will start at 11 a.m. sharp, regardless of weather, Zimmerman said.
“It is just a group of friends and family enjoying a day together to remember a
close friend,” he said. “Anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy
the day with us.”
Stearns, who was a BLM engine captain, was clearing hazardous trees with
other firefighters in June 2009 at Freeman Reservoir. The captain was killed
when a tree came down on him.
Zimmerman said he grew up with Stearns and knew him well. “He was a great
friend and a great firefighter,” he said. “We want to celebrate the memory of a
The trail that will be used during the memorial event, which has been renamed
Stearns Memorial Trail, is about three miles long.
Stearns used to run the trail often, usually making two loops, Zimmerman
said. To closely resemble Stearns’ runs, a six-mile walk/run will be an option
during the event.
Zimmerman said the terrain is rocky, muddy and changes elevation often, so
participants should be prepared.
“Last year, it snowed and we still went,” he said. “We don’t know how the
weather or conditions will be, but we will go, no matter what.”
Last year, the event included T-shirt sales with proceeds going to a local
scholarship fund. Because of BLM rules and regulations, Zimmerman said event
organizers wouldn’t be able to do the fundraiser again this year.
However, Zimmerman said there would still be a potluck-style picnic after the
“Anyone who wants to bring food or drinks is welcome,” he said. “We are
asking for volunteers to help wherever possible. We just want to have a great
day with friends and family.”
Zimmerman said participants will meet just before 11 a.m. in the parking lot
on BLM Route 2190 off of Moffat County Road 7.
fair use disclaimer
Don't get me wrong, we have been creative and have gotten approval to
teach the upper level classes close to home
or at our local college so our men and women can move up in the organization.
The Apprentice program takes care of our up-and-coming employees for the basics,
but we also have a diverse group
of employees that are outstanding that are cast aside. Of course if Apprentices
screw up they are also left aside.
As a fire manager my training budget for my division is exceeded every year I do
not deny my division the opportunity
to move up. I also try and get the young folks on every RX burn I can, because I
can send them to school every day
but until they go and learn with fire they wont know what they are doing.
||Final 72 hr report
Bull Fire Helitack Entrapment. (9 K pdf)
72 Hour Expanded Report
Bull Fire Entrapment
To: USFS, Region 3, Regional Fire Safety Program
Subject: Expanded (72 Hour) Report
Date: May 2, 2011
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
LOCATION: Nogales Ranger District, Coronado National Forest,
DATE OF OCCURRENCE: April 29, 2011
TIME OF OCCURRENCE: 1106 MST
LOCAL AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR: Jim Upchurch, Forest Supervisor
MISSION: Wildland fire suppression operations
ACTIVITY: Helitack personnel staffing a remote helispot
NUMBER OF INJURIES: 2
NUMBER OF FATALITIES: 0
PROPERTY DAMAGE: Firefighter gear bags and hand tools damaged by fire.
INCIDENT SUMMARY: The Bull fire was initially detected in Mexico on April
26, 2011. The fire eventually crossed the international border from Mexico
into the United States, and onto the Coronado National Forest. During
suppression efforts on April 29, two USDA Forest Service helitack personnel
received non-life threatening burn injuries while staffing a remote helispot
on the National Forest. Both firefighters were transported by helicopter to
the hospital with first and second degree burns. The firefighter with second
degree burns was subsequently moved to and evaluated at a burn center. Both
firefighters were released from the hospital the evening of April 29.
Based on the nature of this incident, the Coronado National Forest will be
utilizing the Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) process to maximize the
learning opportunities and to better manage future incidents.
Newman, USFS Region 3 Regional Forester
Faye Krueger, USFS Region 3 Deputy Regional Forester
Congratulations and many thanks to our military for ridding us of an
ugly tumor of a hideous cancer that has plagued us for years. You are the best
of the best and are our hero's for sure. Now It's time to move on and let the
healing really begin. I remember being on the Starr fire on 9/11, I remember the
anger and sadness and helplessness we all felt that day. But I also felt that we
as a Nation would persevere. May God continue to Bless America!
On a similar note, beware of the R-8 Southern Red team, reportedly they are
terrorizing our hard working firefighters again, as is their MO. Besides their
un professionalism and nastiness to the troops, unsafe tactics, arrogance and
typical pathetic and incompetent firefighting, they are apparently coercing
firefighters into falsifying government documents, or blatantly falsifying them
themselves. Mostly Crew Time Reports, Reportedly they have been red penning CTRs,
stating that the crews should show a break every six hours even if they are
burning out, mopping up, protecting structures or doing some sort of un
relievable fireline duty.
They have also allegedly retroactively denied legitimate hours of work by
stating that the hours worked should be the same as what they show in the
incident action plan. Here's an example: You are finishing up a burnout or
waiting for a briefing from the next shift, or are stuck in traffic, or you have
camp duties to take care of. If you arrive in camp after the 2000 hour mark set
on the IAP, you will not be paid for those hours worked, Or you are filling up
your gas tank or securing supplies, equipment etc. while preparing for the next
shift before the 0700 Briefing time, you will not be compensated for that time.
If you argue... you are threatened to be sent home.
Here's the Deal.... Red team, If you attempt to coerce me into falsifying a
government document, ask me to change one of my subordinate's documents, or
change them yourselves, I will call my attorney and you will be sued for the
amount of money that you have taken from our families and I will also blow the
whistle on you for your illegal activities. I will also have your supervisors
investigated for supporting this nonsense.... Mr. T. W. and gang... Enough is
enough, Your team should be stood down pending a thorough investigation.
This is not only unethical but also highly illegal. It is also very hard on
the morale of the ones who are assisting with this disaster, shame on you!
For those of you who are not familiar with this team, it is the one who used
embarrass the agencies, by giving briefings in overalls, beat up cowboy hats,
suspenders, and point at the operational map with a fishing pole. Your
professionalism once again astounds me I don't care if you all were ordered to
wear the same red cap.
My question to the group is if anyone else agrees with this or have had
similar issues with this "team" and if so how did you deal with it??? Or did I
simply have another nightmare again last night?
Yours Truly: BNAYWGMWOOU
"Be nice and you may get more work out of us"
||SQF OC Program 2011 RT-130
2011 SQF OC Program.
470 Personal, RT-130 Refresher / and Red carded.
3 Initial Attack crews.
14 Type 2 Crews.
2 1039 Temp Crews.
2 Camp Crews.
Biggest change you will notice is they all have same color shirts now.....
I put the photo on the
Handcrews 28 photo page. Ab.
||the most EEO complaints
I'm sure it's R-5, And from what i hear from
hiring group, Qualification and IFPM standards were not the hiring factor.
I invite all to file and request hire documentation.
Hiring was again done by the good old boy way. Let's all just say there is a
standard. But never followed.
||What a fine operation by our military. As the facts come out, it did not go
all as planned but they adapted and overcame.
It will be interesting to see if they got computers or anything else that
illuminates relationships within Al-Qaeda and the larger network. The whole thing
took 40 min. Wonder how much intel they were able to collect...
I learned about 9/11 here early in the morning, I think from Onelick on the east
coast, well much nearer Washington than I am.
As a group we were shocked and cried and shared. The world as we knew it ended.
A lot of the young people celebrating outside the White House and in NY city
tonight were 8 to 12 years old when the towers fell, the Pentagon was hit and
the brave souls on flight 93 took it down. The events and the repeated news
coverage was the stuff of very their and their parents' very real nightmares. I
still hear the PASS alarms going off after the first tower fell and the bodies
falling. Imagine the effect on the children.
The flash-mob celebration tonight is like them banishing the nightmare and/or
vindicating those we lost. The hard lessons we learned from 9/11 and the changes
made in our security and in our psyches can't be undone, but there is a feeling
for me of re-balancing a terrible wrong.
Thanks to this community and for this community. You're a fine bunch of public
servants. I'm proud to know you.
Again, thanks to our military and our leaders. I'm proud to be an American.
||Osama bin Laden is dead.
Tune in to your news outlet for the President's
||Bull Fire injuries:
Abs...any more info on the helitack crewmen who were
injured on the Bull fire a few days ago?
I heard that one was treated and released from a Tucson hospital on the
29th and the other was flown to a Phoenix hospital. That one might have been
released yesterday (4/29). It's the weekend so haven't sought or gotten more
info, but sounds like they're going to be OK. Hope there's a FLA done on the
incident. We can always use lessons learned. Someone please let us know if the
second firefighter has been released. Ab.
||Out of curiosity, does anyone know which region has the most EEO complaints
when you account for
number of FS employees in the region?
EEO=Equal Employment Opportunity
Don't get me wrong, we have been creative and have gotten approval to
teach the upper level classes close to home
or at our local college so our men and women can move up in the organization.
The Apprentice program takes care of our up-and-coming employees for the basics,
but we also have a diverse group
of employees that are outstanding that are cast aside, unless of course they
screw up, that are left aside. That's all.
As a fire manager my training budget for my division is exceeded every year I do
not deny my division the opportunity
to move up. I also try and get the young folks on every RX burn I can, because I
can send them to school every day
but until they go and learn with fire they won't know what they are doing.
||Some good points FSR52011. Allow to me expand a little.
Fire Managers, District Rangers, and Forest Supervisors currently do not have
fire budget deficit risk. For the past decade, this risk has been held by the
Regional Forester, who has directed annually that R5 will have no firefighting
reductions. Without the RF's relief, who knows what R5's fire organization would
look like after Line and fire managers on 17 units with several sub-units all
provided their version or interpretation of a, uhh, budgetary COP talk. As a
fellow non-evil Fire Manager my "our" focus is to embrace the RF's decisions and
focus on all the other risks within our business.
In these troubled times, budgetary awareness is important and a part of
leading the organization. Ensuring we manage federal fire funds appropriately is
important. Managing these funds include implementing our agency's decision to
have IFPM and FS-FPM requirements. Over reaction of limiting travel and training
because of a perceived budget risk -- that currently resides two organizational
levels above a Ranger District -- and failing to implement the Forest Service
Chief's IFPM and FS-FPM direction is unacceptable.
The current national financial situation is real, which is why we must be
active and united as a community to mitigate the effects on FAM of tightening
budgets. This is not a contradiction, it is a fact. Understanding the difference
between denying development training to a Firefighter based solely on a budget
risk that does not exist "locally" vs. as a community working together to ensure
we promote the benefits of a strong wildland firefighting organization is
You said; "more appropriately directed at line officers and agency
officials". OK, Good point. Hard to argue that. However, I do not think Randy
Moore is the person who walks out to the engine bay to deliver the news to the
Firefighter about not going to developmental fire training because of budget.
Randy Moore did his part by taking on and managing the risk on the 4th floor. He
has asked local managers to use good judgment, however ultimately he has taking
Line Officers, using Fire Managers as SMEs have over the past 8 years
approved two programs that require additional training attendance and ICS
development to promote and maintain successful organizational progression. With
that decision and from this day forward, we must remember that the agency has
committed themselves (and so must us all) to;
- supporting the ADDITIONAL costs associated with training an organization
to meet IFPM and FS-FPM requirements.
- the additional travel costs associated with IFPM and FS-FPM requirements
- the additional field training assignment costs associated with IFPM and
The agency has determined the importance of these programs. The additional
costs associated with implementing these programs are acceptable agency
expenditures and must be considered an agency priority.
Thanks for your insights and post, FSR.
||Well here I go again.
I wanted to spark some good conversation and it worked.
Thanks Casey for all the good work, like you I will post my name from now on.
As a Fire manager I do not see gloom and doom, I see opportunity, opportunity to
start bringing the landscape back into
alignment with where we were before the settlement years. But maybe I just wear
rose colored glasses when things get ugly.
Well be safe out there, things are getting ugly (I mean fire behavior wise).