September, 2011

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9/30 Fire Hire Timeline:

Here you go Nail Biter! Good luck!

  • Apprentice Subject Matter Expert Review - October 11-16, 2011
  • PERM GS-6-9 & WG-10 Subject Matter Expert Review - October 17-28, 2011
  • Recommendations/Selections (Apprentice and PERM) - October 31-November 10, 2011


9/30 got this:

NTSB announces public aircraft forum
September 30, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a two-day forum on safety issues related to the oversight of public aircraft operations on November 30 and December 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

The event, entitled "Public Aircraft Oversight Forum: Ensuring Safety for Critical Missions," will be chaired by NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman and all five Board members will participate.

Public aircraft are operated by a federal, state, or local government for the purpose of fulfilling governmental functions such as national defense, intelligence missions, firefighting, search and rescue, law enforcement, aeronautical research, or biological or resource management. Government organizations conducting public aircraft operations supervise their own flight and maintenance operations without oversight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"Our accident investigations have demonstrated the risks of inadequate safety oversight and identified persistent confusion as to the role of the FAA when it comes to public use aircraft," said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "During the forum, we will gather information on the roles and responsibilities of the entities engaged in public aircraft operations and hear about methods for ensuring effective safety oversight."

Recent NTSB investigations of accidents involving public aircraft include:

  • the August 5, 2008, accident near Weaverville, California, involving a helicopter operated by the U.S. Forest Service on a firefighter transport mission
  • the September 27, 2008, accident in District Heights, Maryland, involving a helicopter operated by the Maryland State Police as a medical evacuation flight
  • the June 9, 2009, accident near Santa Fe, New Mexico, involving a helicopter operated by the New Mexico State Police on a search and rescue mission

Panelists participating in the forum will represent federal, state, and local government entities, aviation industry trade associations, and civil operators contracting with government entities. A detailed agenda and list of participants will be released closer to the date of the event.

The forum will be held in the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center, located at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. The public can view the forum in person or by webcast at www.ntsb.gov.

NTSB Media Contact: Bridget Serchak

9/30 Re Lt. Eddy Harris request for equipment:


So who will the equipment belong to once Lt. Eddy Harris receives it?

I would like to help but just can’t justify sending it to an individual.


9/30 Fire Hire

Just wondering if anyone has any timelines for this round of FireHire? Are the SMEs up there rating right now? Anyone know if there are expected offer dates?

Bitin' Nails

9/30 Unimog

Is that a mount for a snowplow on the front of the Unimog? My Model 60 4x4 in the middle 70's (BDF Engine 143) was also the district's winter plow and had a plow mount in front of the radiator. When asked what it was during fire season, we said that it was for the deer rack. It really made people think.


9/30 Another couple of photos from RM...

Salt fire, we passed thru Salmon ID on Tues Aug 30, 2011 and this was the header to the south.

Thanks, I put them on the  Fire 46 photo page. Ab.

9/30 Photos:

Hi Ab!

Here are a few more Wallow fire pics. These were taken as we were evacuating the Springerville/Eagar area, the morning of 6/7. Feel free to post these also…

The first two are from the highway to Show Low, and the third is a view of the plume from the Vernon area. I hope to never witness this again!!

Thanks for all you do!


Thanks, Kathy. I put them on the Fire 46 photo page. Readers, these were follow-up to the two photos of bull elk near the helibase that I posted on Helicopters 29. The Wallow fire exceeded 500,000 if I remember correctly. Is it the largest in recorded history, say not counting the Fires of 1910?
Inciweb Ab.

9/30 Wildland Urban Interface Refresher PowerPoint available for download


Available for download is my 2011 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC-Indianapolis) PowerPoint: “Wildland Urban Interface Fire Suppression, Strategies and Tactics Refresher.” The facilitated presentation (2-3 hours) is based on the revised WUI section of the 2010 IRPG.

Thanks to Rowdy Muir, Pam Leschak and Vicki Christiansen of the U.S. Forest Service and Chief Bob Roper of Ventura Fire for their assistance.

The presentation can be accessed at my Linkedin profile and downloaded via SlideShare. Thanks for your invaluable forum.

Edward A. Wright

9/30 I found the picture of the USFS Unimog that Wolfgang Jendsch was asking about on 9/22. If anyone knows any of the unimog's specs for his book, please contact him atinfo@feuerwehrpresse.de.

I posted photos of CALFIRE airtankers at Porterville and one copter on Airtankers 36 and Helicopters 29 photo pages. Thanks Karl. Ab.
9/29 Recent work on Always Remember:

To the memory of Denis Lee Cullins, a CDF Copter 102 Helitack crew member from Kneeland (near my home) who was entrapped
and died on the Lauder Fire near Willits CA in 1987. Link to his Always Remember page

I've added many entries:

1987 Western lightning-caused firesiege:  LODDs in 1987 from other areas of the US still need more research.

Thanks to those who provided bits and pieces to allow us to search.

  • Thanks to Renee McCormick and John Miller and others that have provided info for names on the FS Heroes web page. If any of you others would like to have your name entered as a contributor on an Always Remember incident page, please let me know. Renee and John, I'll be sending you documentation on several airtanker entries.
  • Thanks to NWCG for their brief accident and fatality records by year without names (pdf file). Every little bit helps minimize our hours involved in research.
  • Thanks to Tom Stein-Janney for tapping his and his father Tom Stein's historical airtanker archives for photos; thanks also to Tom for offering suggestions on the Tanker 135 / C-119 "Flying Boxcar" incident on the Shasta-T in 1987.

Los Angeles County wildland deaths going back to 1929. Thanks to Larry Tucker and the firefighters that provided LAC information to him. In some cases information is minimal and in one incident the name of the fallen crewman from LAC Crew 16-2 has not yet been uncovered, probably because it was an inmate crew. If anyone can discover his name, we'd like to include it. He was a wildland firefighter responding to a wildland incident.

CALFIRE and the California Firefighters Memorial researchers: Thanks to contributors for more info that lets us research using better search terms on some hard to find incidents. Hey you, you know who you are, I appreciate it!

Some norcal 1974, 1976 and 1984 fallen: Many thanks to Chris Anderson who grew up in the Santa Rosa area and as a kid collected old Press Democrat articles about air tanker pilots who flew for Sis-Q Flying Service, contracted to CDF. He provided clippings and dates to help finally resolve a number of 1974 and 1976 airtanker questions. (One case, Dick Miller, not published yet, is still unresolved). The history of firefighting from the air is interesting. (In news photos we even come across old, grainy pics of young firefighters known here from the early theysaid days as anonymous. <grin>)

We're still sorting through the messages and comments for incidents to add or correct. Thanks for those. It helps if you include your email address so we can contact you for further clarification. Since all messages are moderated, we can remove contact info before publishing.

Thanks all!

Please remember to donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Check the following for your name. If it's not there, make a donation...
Lifetime list  |  2011 Members List  |  Gold Members
The Foundation is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 non-profit -- Federal Tax ID #: 93-1266991.
It is also a Combined Federal Campaign agency #12544.

The Foundation is our firefighter families' safety net. A bit of 52 Club cash from each of us helps the whole.


9/28 Once the Air Tanker issue is resolved, The Independent will move on to how the fuels program is managed on the Los Padres. For the past two years, all Fuels employees have worked for the the Natural Resources Staff, not the Forest Fire Chief. Lots coming out soon on the management of this integral fire program.

On a positive note, although you may not find bipartisanship on DC, you can find it on the Central Coast. Thanks to Rep Capps (D), Senator Feinstein (D) and Rep Gallegly (R) for your support to the local Firefighters and to the communities at risk.

So Cal Ridges
9/26 Jordan Reyes Memorial Service

I along with hundreds of others went to the Jordan Reyes Memorial Service in Sonora, CA yesterday. There was a very strong multiple agency presence, where hundreds of firefighters, friends and family attended a very fitting and moving tribute and celebration of Jordan's life. Jordan's Mother, Father, Step Dad, Brother, life-long friends, and colleagues spoke fondly and eloquently of Jordan's life, spirit and contribution to the community. He was a good man, and an incredibly talented young firefighter, who made his family and colleagues proud to have known him. In his short time here, he was a graduate of Columbia College's fire program, a member of the Tuolumne FD, Groveland FD and most recently on the Stanislaus NF E12 in Long Barn.

To Jordan's family and to Caitlin, the love of his life, we are truly grieving with you.

Kevin C. Battalion Chief, San Jose FD (ret.) Columbia College FD Alumni '81.

9/26 Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Subject: El Cariso hotshots 1966

I have made some more changes and additions to the El Cariso Hot Shots web site.
As mentioned previously, I added "Events - October 8, 2011" to the Menu and have grouped the four photos from the CWFM web site into a table for easier viewing*. I also added a link to the flier with information about the October 8, 2011 final dedication, and added a link to a Google active map. Also under the Menu item "Latest News" I posted a short obituary of Frank Keesling, who passed away last August 2011.

When I visited California last October 2010, I was confused as to the memorials and monuments concerning the El Cariso Hot Shots 1966 and the Loop Fire, so I have added a New Menu item: "In Memory" which lists the three El Cariso Hot Shot memorials: "The Rock" at the Little T Station, El Cariso Park, and the California Wildland Firefighters Memorial. I plan to add additional photos* to the California Wildland Firefighters Memorial after the dedication as I requested that Jerry Smith take some close up photos of the monument so I can post the inscriptions either in narrative or photo format. If you see any errors of any kind, please let me know.

I do not plan to make any more additions or changes until after the October 8 event. Thank you.

David S. Westley

9/25 If you're looking for some pictures of the Forest Mog, I found some on tawd.com (Texoma All Wheel Drive), pretty cool site! Wish we had more of those Engines around!
9/23 If Wolfgang has a picture of a Forest Service Unimog identified as Engine11, that rig was on the Stanislaus, and unfortunately the best source of information on it was Tommy Lane who unfortunately is not here to tell everyone about the particulars. So I suggest he start with the Stanislaus, perhaps Jerry McGowan can either answer the questions or point him in the right direction.


employee search

9/24 I just updated my web site (El Cariso hotshots 1966) to include the updated version of the California Wildland Firefighters Memorial flier (.pdf file) just to the right of the photo of the memorial. Also, I added a link to a Google Map. This is in the Menu under Events - October 8, 2011.

Memorial Re-dedication is on October 8, 2011.

The California Wildland Firefighters Memorial web site (www.cwfm.info) now has the updated flier and the Google Map link.

David Westley

Hear, hear... In memory of those who fell on the Decker Fire, 1959 and our other fallen firefighters. Ab..

9/23 Celebration of Jordan Reyes' Life

The Celebration of Jordan Reyes' Life will take place

Monday, Sept. 26th, at 2 pm
at the Sierra Bible Church
at 15171 Tuolumne Road (roughly across the street from Standard Park with the ball fields).

Following the service, a time for fellowship and food will take place outside the Church, with Tri-tip and chicken as the main course choices. If you would like to contribute to defray expenses for the family, you may do so by making out your donation to the Groveland Firefighters’ Association, P.O. Box 350, Groveland, 95321, or there'll be an opportunity to "Fill the Boot" following the service.

Jordan was a firefighter on the Stanislaus National Forest. He passed away in a vehicle accident traveling home from work.


Thanks for the service info. I heard Jordan was an organ donor.  Good news in the midst of tragedy. Folks, send in a small check or something to help out even if you can't be there. Ab.

9/23 For the past 10 years, every R-5 Regional Forester, including Randy Moore has given the following written direction to his Forest Supervisors.
  • The Region is expected to meet its share of the national commitment to Fire Fighting Production Capability (FFPC). Region-wide, our share is 35% of the national commitment. Each R-5 Forest will plan on meeting FFPC as outlined in this direction in order for the Region to meet its programmed obligation.
  • The Regional Forester supports maintaining existing firefighting capacity and continuing to fill vacant fire positions. Fill positions according to the Standard Fire and Fuels Management Module Organization.
  • Congressional and WO direction requires the Region to maintain the Firefighter Production Capability identified in the National Program Direction. Regions are expected to operate within their allocated preparedness funding levels.
  • Fill all (firefighter) positions according to the Standard Fire and Fuels Management Module Organization.

Mr. Moore is about to make a decision for fiscal year 2012. He can choose to maintain the firefighting strength we have seen for the past decade, or he can begin reductions. This decision is coming soon. Let’s make sure he makes the right decision.

Ask your Congressional Representatives in both the House and Senate to call or write Mr. Moore and ask him what decision is he going to make.

Firefighters United

9/22 Ab,

We wanted to share these two thank you emails we received this week from two injured firefighters who have received help.

Email from William McMaster;
I wanted to write you this letter to express my deepest gratitude to Burk Minor and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. In 2004 I was involved in a vehicle rollover with the Bitterroot Hotshots where I suffered injuries to my spinal cord. Since then I have had a number of reoccurrences while working because of the degenerative nature of my injury. I have had to endure the effects of my injury for 7 years with no hope of being able to live without pain and my frustrations over recieving care. I believed my only option for care was to trudge thru the endless workers comp swamp of benevolence. In Jul 2011, I suffered a severe re-injury to my spine that required surgery. I have been unable to work since and was forced to go on disability. I was getting nowhere with the Workers Comp process. My claims examiner wouldn’t return my calls; the recommendation and approval for surgery sent to the Dept. of Labor was unanswered for almost 2 months. I had given up hope that I would ever be able to get the care I needed to recover and be able to work again. I had accepted that I was going to have to just live with the constant pain and numbness in my extremities. One week ago to the day I visited with you, and you listened to me and told me that the WFF would go to bat for me and help to get results and resolution on the matter. You called me twice that day. The first call was for additional info. The second was to let me know that the WFF was able to push my case thru the red tape and my surgery and rehabilitation was now approved. My surgery went well and I am now recovering and beginning physical therapy this week. The pain and numbness are gone, my mobility has already improved, and I feel like a tremendous weight of anxiety and stress has been washed away. I feel tremendous relief. I have so much gratitude for the support and compassion you showed me. The doctor believes I will be able to return to my job in just a few weeks and I again want to say thank you for all that you and the WFF has done for me. You guys Rock!!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Sincerely--William John McMaster

Email from a California Firefighter;
Hello and Thank You WFF. Your generosity and show of caring and concern is much more than I am used to. I received a check and want to tell you how much we appreciated it. We paid a PGE bill that was 2 months behind and got a credit card back on track. This helped out soo much. We are still looking into other avenues of assistance in our area, but are shocked at how we recieved help from so far, so quick. Thank you again so much. In the past, when we were better off, we have participated in "fill the boot" drives, food drives, donations, and volunteered (usually durring holiday season). We enjoy helping local charities and supporting who we can, when we can. Be assured tho, that the next donations we are able to make, will be coming YOUR way. I truly am gratefull for what your organization does, and I thank you for helping the families more in need first. I felt shocked, relieved, grateful, and guilty, all at once, but I never would have asked anyone for help if I didnt have a way to fix it myself first. We wont forget this and will do what we can to "pay it forward"... an over-used term, under-used in practice. - Gratefully, California Firefighter

Thank you, 52 Club members for making it possible for us to help - Your support does make a difference!

Melissa Brandt
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

You folks DO ROCK!
52 club, let's help out so the WFF can continue to help out! Ab.

9/22 Ab:

Not sure if there is a place for this type of a request but since he asked I will try. Many members may have met Wolfgang at one time or another since he has traveled throughout several regions and R-5 extensively to document wildland firefighting in the United States. He spent numerous shifts with different agencies and departments throughout the US and a significant amount of time with the USFS. Here is his request...

"May I ask you for help again? During my time in Bakersfield I took a photo of an USFS Fire Engine. I will publish the picture in my next book, but I need more informations about that truck. I only can see that it was an Unimog U 2150, E 11. The number plate is A260213 (picture see attached). Do you think there is a chance to get more informations about it?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Greetings from Germany,

Wolfgang Jendsch

I am having a hard time thinking that the photo was really taken in Bakersfield, but stranger things have happened. Maybe this will get people's minds off of the grind for a day or two...



9/22 Tech Tip on electronic weather meters

Tech Tip on electronic weather meters from the San Dimas Technology and Development Center:

Note: Another excellent article on the same subject by Gary L. White, How Accurate is Your KestrelŪ?, was published in Fire Management Today earlier this year (Volume 71, No. 1, 2011). This Tech Tip has been in the works and was just recently published.

Thank you

Dave Haston, SDTDC

Thanks, Dave. Ab.

Possible government shutdown, effect on firefighters??: Hotlist thread
9/22 re peakviewsoftware toolkit:

I currently use it on an iPod, and I used the older versions on a Palm device. Not a fan of “all electronics” data storage (I still keep a stack of Nomograms in the truck), but this is one of those must have applications. Super easy and quick to use in the field. For crews in the field that want trend data and immediate information, you can’t go wrong. As with all programs there may be problems, but you will find the owner of the company receptive to any information from field users. For 6 dollars give it a try.


9/21 Hiring committee makeup:

To everyone involved with hiring in the FS... A question for you all.

Is it normal or in sync with federal hiring policy to have a husband and wife (both FS district employees and one of them in fire) on the same hiring committee? The committee is made up of three people, so the husband-wife team make up 2/3rds of the team, an overwhelming majority. We will be hiring three new people in our fire shop and the rest of us peons aren't feeling good about the situation, but we aren't sure if we have a valid complaint.

Any suggestions on where we could look for the official policy? I honestly didn't think that in this age this sort of thing was still done. All we know is that this doesn't feel right at all.

Want to do it right the first time

9/21 Has anyone used this on the iPad or iPod?


Is it worth it and how many people are using iPads in the field?

Sent from my iPad

9/21 It is my understanding that the forest service is developing the ICS forms for use with google docs. This would allow multi-users to enter information into the forms at the same time therefore stopping duplication of work, keeping information consistent and keeping the forms current. If there is any truth to this rumor will it be possible for the fire service to get a copy of the program for use a the local level?

Thank you
Deputy Chief Miles Haskell
South Portland Fire Department
South Portland, Maine
9/21 Hello everyone,

I am a career firefighter for a paid municipal fire department in Texas, on my days off I volunteer for my home town F.D in Merkel. I am sure many of you have traveled through the TFS ICP in Merkel while on detail in Texas. My paid department has decided to get into the wild land game through TIFMAS and has been deploying to the fires across this great state. I have personally been on two of the deployments and have made some very good friends within the wild land community from all over the U.S. Here is my dilemma, we are deploying without any wild land equipment at all and I have been told by my Chiefs that they will not spend any money on this program. We are deploying with structural PPE with no tools or resources. I know budgets are tight and things are expensive but we are being sent to help and cannot do an effective job without the right equipment. So my plea to all of you out there is for help in obtaining the needed equipment for the guys. I want to start a supply cache which will not become property of my paid department, I do not want them to be able to do as they see fit with the equipment. I donated radios from the Merkel VFD for the team. If by chance you have anything you could spare I would be so grateful for your help. I will pay for shipping out of my pocket if needed. Please do not hesitate to call with questions.

Thank you for your help!
Lt. Eddy Harris

If anyone has anything to share or an idea for getting funding for this kind of a project, I'll pass your message or contact info on to Lt Eddy Harris. Fighting fire without appropriate PPE or equipment is an important safety issue. Ab.

9/21 Yactac,

Good to hear from you and your insight. You make a lot of sense and right now the government we are seeing doesn’t even understand those words or the importance of them. Common sense is something we are born with. Right now I almost feel like the top level managers making the decisions are among those who lack good old common sense. I’m still at a loss as to why dedicated, well trained professionals are being pushed aside while the claims of lack of funds are being made BUT SOMEHOW money is found to pay a contractor. It is all taxpayer funds and it all comes from the same pocket. I as a taxpayer am feeling just as violated as those whom we share our feelings with here. All of you share with me the same issues. We have families, good friends, brothers and sisters in a common profession and I don’t care what the motives are we are all finding out what it is to get hosed. I’m not talking progressive hose lays either. I don’t care what you specialty is (in the military they call it MOS) but all of us have a big stake in what is happening and what will come in the future by the actions being initiated now by current top level US Forest Service leaders. The longer this goes on the more it becomes apparent to me that somewhere, someone is potentially going to make a lot of money. And it won’t be any of us. Sadly the nation is losing precious resources, and while those are renewable, many will never return to a healthy mature state in our lifetime. What a national loss! Right is might. Let’s not lose sight of that fact. Maybe it is time to discuss with the state and local governments about them looking at providing the protection needed until Congress can get its act together and get this entire fiasco corrected?

9/20 Succession Planning Team

I would agree with Dirt. Mention the benefits of PTP, however also I recommend you document as an alternative the benefits of a guaranteed 16 hours daily for mobilizations. This would just about eliminate much of the extra curricular activities.

Also remember this survey is for non-fire employees as well. Share and remind them to take the survey.

Other items I would like you to consider offering in support of Firefighters and non-firefighters:
  1. Integrate FWFSA Leadership into you Succession Planning Team.
  2. Fire assignments should be part of every position description and performance elements. Employees should be required to receive a performance rating on every fire assignment. These ratings would be considered when doing the annual performance rating.
  3. Forests should have a target for the number of employees on IMTs.
  4. Expand NIMO to include an entire team. Options to do this include collateral duties or full time assigned positions.
  5. Build NIMO "development" teams to pull from. We are losing some solid leadership from our regional teams to NIMO.
  6. Line Officers should be rated on the number of militia employees involved in incident management.
  7. Recognize that not all employees are a good fit for incident management/support activities, however this should be very few positions.
  8. Require CWCG to implement a target number for the number of feds on fed teams. We need to step up and support our teams. Local Government has been saving our bacon for the past 20 years. Now is the time to require a high level fed participation on these fed teams.

Make sure everyone on your National Forest takes this survey. This includes employees with redcards and those without redcards, who might be interested in jumping in if some changes were made.

So Cal Ridgeline

9/20 Message with the FLA

Attached you will find the Motor Fire FLA. Please share widely for the purpose of accident prevention and learning. Thanks to those who participated in this review.

CA-SNF Motor Fire Incident FLA (881 K pdf)

9/20 Succession Planning Team

I would recommend the following: one of the questions lists several options that the surveyor would rate on importance in regards to what would make you take more fire assignments (ie., pay incentives, peer recognition, time-off awards, etc...) it also has an option box that you can fill in. Everyone should put down portal to portal pay. We know it will probably fall on deaf ears but it would be interesting to see it on the posted survey results and could possibly be used as documentation for FWFSA if enough folks do it.

Just an idea!!

From post on 9/19:
The survey is at: surveymonkey.com/s/VP6LQR3

9/20 Justwondering,

I do believe some clarification is needed here regarding what Forest Service "air attack" platforms are and are not at WJF and in South Ops. The ANF gave up the regional monies that funded AA-01 as an exclusive use ATGS platform in 2005 or 6. The money went to the Tahoe National forest to fund AA-17, which along with the Sequoia NF AA-13 and the Shasta-Trinity NF, was a "MEL" Forest Aviation Officer / ATGS position. All three were established in 2001. There was no extra "money" to fund exclusive use platforms for these three identified positions, so the Tahoe utilized agency aircraft (asm) for a few years, the Shasta T utilized the first FireWatch Cobra for a few years and the Sequoia NF successfully implemented a Regional plan devised, approved and back by the Regional Aviation Officer and the Regional and National Contracting folks bringing a CWN platform on a move up and cover order for each fire season.

The Tahoe FMO successfully lobbied to get the exclusive use monies to fund an exclusive use contract (AA-17) at Grass Valley when the ANF Fire Management decided that they really did not care if they had a full time federal air attack position or not. The Shasta-T eventually lost the FireWatch Cobra back to the Region due to personality, funding and operational usage differences. The Shasta-T has no exclusive use air attack platform now, but utilizes CWN aircraft when funding and severity allow... As for the Sequoia AA-13, that REGIONAL program succeeded from 2001 through 2010, with the approval of numerous regional and national contracting officers. AA-13 was the high time Federal AA platform in the region yearly and was responsible for training more air attack officers (FS and Cal Fire) than the other 7 Forest Service exclusive use platforms combined. The underlying reason it was discontinued was due to personality differences' and lack of understanding within the agency as to why and how it was established, as well as behind the scene lobbying by jealous contractors.

Back to WJF... You are correct.. when the ANF gave up the exclusive use contract for AA-01, the region promised that AA-509 the FireWatch Cobra would be based at WJF. Fine and dandy except that the FireWatch Cobra spent most of 2006 (first year it was at WJF) and 2007 off forest as it was a Regional resource available Nationally and not a Forest controlled resource. The Region decided to move the FireWatch Cobra to Boise for the season in 2010 leaving WJF uncovered. This was done by the Region without consulting the Fire Management on the ANF.

As for Bravo 5, that platform is a BLM ASM that has National Lead duties and is controlled by the National office and Not the ANF or the Region. The last two seasons I will bet that Bravo 5 has not spent more than 20 days on duty at WJF...

So when the ANF exclusive use monies for AA-01 were given up by the ANF fire management, South Ops lost one of it's four Federal exclusive use AA platforms (BDF AA-12, LPF AA-07, SNF AA-15 and the one that went to the Tahoe.. ANF AA-01. This, as well as the ill thought out discontinuing of the SQF AA-13 program by Regional Fire Management resulted in a net loss of TWO exclusive use federal AA platform in South Ops and a gain of one exclusive use platform in North Ops.

So South Ops really has only 3 Forest Service exclusive use platforms in South Ops left.. AA-12, AA-15 and AA-07. So lets talk about AA-07.. when the LPF in its infinite wisdom moved the tanker base (a whole nuther subject with collusion, malice, illegalities and lack of management oversight) they essentially left a huge gap in aerial firefighting coverage to some of the most expensive real estate in Southern California... the Santa Barbara / Montecito Front and the Ojai area. Remember that AA-01 (which used to be the closest available resource to the Southern and Eastern portions of Ventura County and LPF) was "given up" by the ANF a few years before AA-07 was moved from Santa Barbara NORTH to Santa Maria... within 60 miles of Cal Fires AA-340 at Paso Robles.

I hope this paints the picture. As far as Cal Fire Air Attacks "covering" the national forests in South Ops... bad plan.. they have their own constituents and dirt to cover. The more the Forest Service relies on the State and BLM, the more the Forest Service will continue to lose the ability to accomplish it's mission of fire management... WAIT, WAIT.. maybe that is not a bad thing!!.................

9/20 Outreach Notices (original question on 9/9)

Hi Thomas. Yes as part of the new Mater Agreement, the Forest Service is required to post all outreaches on the "Forest Service Internet". I believe they are referencing the Forest Service "internal" Internet. The requirements to do so can be found on page 47 and 48 at the link:

Documents Master Agreement  (pdf)

To date, I do not believe that all regions are in compliance with the new Master Agreement.

The Forest Service needs to pull all these scattered outreach locations sites together into one location, and let us know where that is.

Maybe one of our Union Officials can provide additional information on this.

9/20 "Justwondering"

A little history lesson for those wondering about ATGS platforms in So Cal, First off, Airattack 13 on the SQF was a Regional sponsored platform, not a Forest, the SQF just hosted it, which by the way was the highest flying time platform in the Nation, as well as training more ATGS from FS, BLM, CDF, and local Gov in 10 years of service then any other during that time period.

Bravo 5 is not an assigned ATGS for Southern Cal, or any other Forest in R-5, it is a National ASM platform that can be sent and often is any where in the country, the ANF and many other Forest use this "FREE" asset as there own many times a year and count on them being there. I am surprised BLM has allowed this to go on for so long, especially since they are treated like red headed step children at FOX.

The Cobra program is not and will never be a viable ATGS program for many reasons in R-5, one of which is the short duration needed to remain on scene, it works well in a pinch but not as a primary platform. Its main and most suitable purpose is for human aided technology.

You did forget to mention Kern Co, (AA-490), which was put back in service three years ago and is a much needed asset.

The bottom line, is we have had, and continue to have, a shortage of ATGS platforms and personnel for what is actually required and needed to do this job efficiently.

"We Are Only as Safe as We can AFFORD"
9/20 To answer Justwondering,

Yes, Cobra – 509 is there at Fox and it can be used as a platform, but is not the primary mission, and if it is there it is used as a mapping/infra imaging along with running as a helco. It does have a two hour limitation per flight and distance. As far as Bravo 5, where is it now? TEXAS, where it has been and other places as a NATIONAL resource, not a dedicated platform to the area. Now were back down to 0. Yes, again there is AA-07 in Santa Maria, which in turn is in its own controversy over past contracting and other issues, hopefully that will be resolved and still in place. And, again your right thee is another platform at Fresno, AA-15 is available, but not efficient for a I/A platform to the L A Basin, and there is available Air Attacks in South Ops who can staff CWN platforms when it arises, and that’s if there available and not out doing other assignments or waiting to get check rides by BLM/CDF.

So, now if we are in the heat of fire season in south zone and , now we have a gaggle of project fires along with on going I/A, everything is tied up, where and what is the response time on incoming aircraft coming from, where’s the relief platform coming from and how long.

Yes, there are a number of Cal Fire Platforms that can step up and fill in the gaps, and that’s the breakdown. We continue to just make things work, continue to let things go, lets just give up all the platforms and let Cal-Fire run with it. This also is related to the comment Mr. Antonovich made about the Angeles, “maybe L. A. County fire should run and staff fires on the Angeles, maybe we should fold on that too. We as a agency are spineless and no one really stands up an makes a stand, we come back with every excuse in the world to; rebuttal, to conform, to not make waves, or try to make a difference. There are still a few that sound out, flaunt the issues at hand and really give a Dam.

So, back to the issue, and what your saying in rebuttal is the Los Angeles Basin, South Ops does not need another Air Attack Platform whether at Fox or Porterville the response time to the basin and reflecting to past fire history, is what? I’m sure to public would rebuttal differently, these are the people who pay our salaries, were the funding come from that gives us extra MEL build-up, that lets us staff air resources to protect the natural resources, Life and Property.

Still Confused…
9/20 Clarification of length of assignment for NMAC.

NMAC - Length of Assignment Clarification 2011 (135 k pdf)

9/20 Still Confused,

Some clarification may be necessary on some of your statements. There is 1 Air Attack Platform at Fox, sometimes 2. AA-509, the cobra is there, and has been there for several years. And Bravo-5, the BLM ASM, is assigned there as well. And don’t forget Air Attack A-07, based at Santa Maria, is covered during fire season.

But there is only one more is the South Ops area, that being Air Attack-15 at Fresno. There is no longer an Air Attack Platform on the SQF. That aircraft was sponsored by the forest, and not a regional Air Attack. Air Attack-13 went away 2 years ago.

And don’t forget, if those Air Attacks listed get sent to a fire assignment, the forest and/or South Ops can always order an Air Attack Platform to cover while that aircraft is committed. Therefore there is coverage in the South and Sierra. Maybe not enough as we would like, but that leaves 5 Air Attacks for 7 forests, a large BLM area, several Nat Parks, and a few national monuments. And on top of all that, we can’t forget the 7 Air Attacks within South Ops, plus 1 training Air Attack that CALFIRE has available. And the good thing with those is they don’t leave the state often.


9/20 Hello Ab,

I would like to respond to the post dated 9/16 regarding changes to Avue and USAJobs.

The changes that USAJobs will be undergoing in October, including their scheduled “transition” and down-time, have no bearing on your Avue account or US Forest Service applications. Avue and USAJobs are two separate systems.

Avue will not be shutting down for any period of time and there is no danger of Avue losing application information. Additionally, applicant information is not being “transferred” to a new system within Avue. The enhancements that you’re currently seeing in the Avue application process have been in place for months, though the Forest Service is only now moving to the new process. This just happens to coincide with USAJob’s “transition.”

If you ever have any questions about your Avue account, or about the new application process, please click on the “Avue Dojo” link at the top of the screen on AvueCentral.com. This will connect you to the Avue Help Desk via live chat/instant messaging.

Again, Avue is not shutting down for any period of time and there is no risk of your Avue applicant information being “lost” during a transition. As always, you will be able to search and apply for jobs on Avue regardless of the changes and status of USAJobs.

Thank you,
HR Consultant
Avue Technologies Corporation

Many thanks for the help. Ab.

9/20 Regarding the sign off on the red card:

Great to hear that he was signed off, he is more than qualified like I said in my questions about aircraft, that does clarify one of my items in question, BUT, does not change the FACT that the Los Angeles Basin NEEDS another platform, to cover I/A, or the need to be a relief on the Four southern California Forests, and surrounding areas with-in the basin. It, also does not change the corruption and miss management in our Forests today, it's a shame that most of our management who are in place today have forgotten where they came from and no longer stand by there values that they worked under in the past. We are no longer are a Land Management Agency, we are controlled by politics, out-side organizations, budget, and power trip leadership/management that are literally tearing down the Region 5 Fire and Aviation Program by; poor management sills, bringing in outside people/management and supervisors to reconstruct the fire program. When something happens and it falls back onto the forest supervisors lap, instead of addressing the problem and dealing with it, the agency tends to just move them on or promote them to become another forest's problem. 28 years in the fire service, and it has got worse every year, we do not learn a thing from the pass, we just continue to generate and manifest the problems.

Still Confused!

9/20 El Cariso Hot Shots 1966 Web Site Update with Information about October 8 Dedication

Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 12:14 am Central Time

I have added a page on my web site with information and photos about the California Wildland Firefighters Memorial final dedication planned for Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 10 a.m. at the memorial site. I could not get the photos where I wanted them but was afraid if I messed with them anymore, something would lock up....and that is a mess when it does that....have to call the Web Service and have them do a bunch of stuff and sometimes is hours and days before fixed or I hear back. Just wanted to get the information out there.

Go to El Cariso hotshots 1966

When the home page comes up and you see the Menu, Click on the Events - October 8, 2011.


This is an important survey for firefighters and support personnel. It goes back to the 2008 OIG Audit on how best can we ensure a strong firefighting organization and militia.

Date: September 8, 2011
Subject: Firefighter Workforce and Succession Planning Survey
To: All FS Employees


One of the core missions of the Forest Service is supporting wildland firefighting. For that reason we must maintain an adequate, well-trained, and diverse firefighting workforce. Forest Service employees have always been essential to the Wildland Fire Community. As we adjust to changes in the workplace, and as experienced employees retire, we must understand the factors that influence the development of a firefighting workforce. Through the audit process, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has asked the Forest Service to ensure that we are prepared for the timely replacement of firefighting personnel.

As part of this effort, the Firefighter Workforce Succession Planning Team will survey Forest Service employees, at all levels, about your involvement in the wildland firefighting effort. Specifically, the team is looking to hear about your level of participation and if there are circumstances that make it difficult for you to participate. The team is also looking for comments/suggestions on how the Agency can encourage more participation.

By answering this survey you will help us make some important decisions for the future. Although the survey is voluntary, I strongly encourage each of you to respond—it is very important to get a comprehensive response to develop realistic solutions for succession planning.

You may be assured of complete confidentiality; names and e-mail addresses will never be associated with the responses to the electronic questionnaire. The results of the survey will be made available on the Fire and Aviation Management web page ( fs.fed.us/fire/fam ) by November 30, 2011.

Thank you in advance for your assistance. The survey is at: surveymonkey.com

/s/ Thomas L. Tidwell

9/19 Ab's this just came in. It was sent to every employee in Region-5. The first class complaint resulted in a consent decree and lasted over a decade, maybe two.


Greetings R5 Employees.

My name is Elaine Vercruysse. I am the Class Agent for a Class Complaint based on gender discrimination in Region 5. Enclosed is a memo from our Regional Forester Randy Moore addressing the information gathering that my representative and I will be undertaking in the coming weeks. We are interested in speaking with individuals who would like to discuss work environment conditions relating to the issues of the Class Complaint. We will respect and keep confidentiality. Feel free to contact me at evercruysse@ nospam fs.fed.us or the phone number listed below; or my representative, Lesa Donnelly at lesa@ nospam snowcrest.net or 530-77snip.

Your participation is voluntary and will help make significant changes to Region 5's policies and practices. We are striving for respect, dignity and equal opportunity for all employees. If you are interested in assisting in this effort please contact us.

Elaine Vercruysse
Logging Systems Planner, Mt. Hough Ranger District

Date: September 19, 2011
Subject: Ongoing EEO Litigation
To: Forest Supervisors and District Rangers

Region 5 managers should be aware that there is a new class complaint based on sex before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In connection with this matter, Ms. Lesa Donnelly or other representatives of the class may be contacting R5 employees to discuss employees’ employment experiences. They must be allowed to initiate contact with employees, and employees may not be prevented from talking to them.

I am instructing you to abide by the following guidance:

  • Managers must avoid any negative comments or any actions that could be construed as intimidating employees from having such conversations or making employees fear reprisals for such conversations.
  • Employee cooperation/discussion with Ms. Donnelly or other class representatives is entirely voluntary – in other words, employees may choose to talk to them, or they may choose to decline to talk to them, at their own discretion, without interference by any official.
  • Bargaining unit employees, should they choose to do so, may also request that a union representative be present during such discussions.
  • R5 employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of official time for these conversations, if they choose to engage in these discussions while on duty.
  • Just as a reminder of the official time rules:
    o “Reasonable” is defined as whatever amount of time is appropriate to allow a complete presentation of the relevant information. Reasonable time for a meeting or discussion should generally not exceed a few hours.
    o Employees must request official time in advance from their immediate supervisors. Such requests need not be in writing.
    o The employee and the Agency should arrive at a mutual understanding as to the amount of official time to be used prior to the use of such time.
    o Any denial of official time requires that a written statement of the reasons for denial be provided to the employee.
  • With regard to official time requests in connection with this situation only:
    o While supervisors have an Agency interest in ensuring that the work is accomplished, they should be as flexible as possible in granting such requests. Supervisors should not deny any such requests without first contacting the Forest Supervisor, who in turn will coordinate with Ron Ketter, Deputy Regional Forester, who must approve any denial.

/s/ Daniel J. Jiron (for)
Regional Forester

cc: Stephen Deep, Ricky Balolong, Jacques Meadows, Dan Duefrene

9/19 The San Bernardino FFMO did take the BDF ATGS to the Red Card Committee, three weeks ago. He was signed off.

Facts straight.
9/19 I don't do this often...or at all, but I wanted to personally and publicly thank "Cautiously optimistic" for submitting his application to join the FWFSA.

He raised a question to AB about membership for seasonals i.e. 13/13s, 18/8s etc.

We are proud to say that while the vast majority of our members are PFT federal wildland firefighters from all five federal land management agencies, we have a number of seasonals, family members and others. In fact the increased number of Cal-Fire members who have joined this past year has been humbling.

It bothers me that we can't provide tangible benefits to those who are not federal wildland firefighters. However, organizations like ours rely on those who want to see us achieve our goals for federal wildland firefighters just as much as those who will realize such tangible benefits.

With respect to seasonals:

Our current policy is that there is no obligation for folks to pay dues when they go into a non-pay status as a result of lay-off, injury, illness etc. We make it clear that what we need from our seasonal members more than anything else is to hear from them when they expect to go into a non-pay status and when they expect to get picked up the following season. This information makes budgeting a bit easier.

That said, most of our seasonals continue to pay dues manually (by check) since most, if not all are receiving unemployment and recognize that even when they are in a non-pay status, our work must continue.

As a reminder to those FWFSA who are seasonals: although you may be in a non-pay status when our conference takes place in early December, that will have no impact on your ability to attend the conference. I know who you are :) REMEMBER: registration deadline is November 1st. I know you're all busy but registering early will help to make planning the logistics a bit easier.


9/19 Aircraft:

Thinking out Load, and asking the question, WHY?

With all the controversy over aircraft contracts with Aero Union reducing our tanker fleet by 1/3 by our Leaders in the Washington Office, and the Santa Maria Base saga with hidden and illegal contracting, along with a Forest Supervisor (Peggy) that does not have a clue making just dumb decisions to save a buck or two at the cost of Safety and just sound fire business, and Fire Management in her right pocket (totally forgetting where he has come from through the ranks (not sure why?) , and along with the fact that South Ops has only one Air Attack platform on the San Bernardino which is still running with a trainee cause the new Fire Management Officer hesitates to let the Red Card committee to sign off as he is well qualified. And lets back up a little to the Station Fire Saga, (not to bring up old news) but the controversy oversight was Air Craft use or the lack of and All the reviews, Government Inquires, and Senate Sub Committees that poked and prodded and are still nudging at WHO, WHY, HOW.

How can fire management on the ANGELES turn down a Agency owned Air Attack Platform from that was offered to them from Region 4 and partial funding to go along with it. Instead it goes to Alaska, Does Tom Harbor and the Fire and Aviation management in Region 5 look at the fact that the Los Angeles Basin needs another Air Attack Platform in place at Fox field where it was originally when Kenny Duvall was in place. No, management on the Angeles, quotes “I don’t want my Aviation Officer Flying, He needs to stay on Forest to do His Job” dealing with two Helicopters, one at Chilao and the other at Fox field. How can management stand by, and let these decisions be made, or better yet how can the Tax payers stand by and let these decisions be made? One platform in the South Zone Area, and two in central and six gaggled up in North Zone, with fire history and all the controversy over aircraft use and the lack of in the L A BASIN, one would think that if the opportunity arises to receive an Air Platform to strengthen our response times and air program in South Zone. One would take advantage of a deal based upon fire history. I may be ranting and raving, without full understanding, and if someone has a better view on reality, please clarify my understanding.


Casey Said;

"Despite all those resources, there are still a stunning number of wildland firefighters across the country that know nothing about us or even the Wildland Firefighter Foundation."

I always have had the idea to somehow use the Ad Council to create an awareness campaign for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.  Anyone know anyone who can or is willing to help?

Let Ab know and they can put you in contact with me.



9/18 Dear Cautiously optimistic:

I wholeheartedly agree with you that when you have federal employee unions and the representatives at the local level are responsible for representing a variety of unique occupations, often times there is a disconnect between the experience and expertise the local representative or steward needs to represent a particular occupation.

NFFE isn't alone in this situation. Some federal firefighters employed by the DoD are represented by the American Federation of Federal Employees (AFGE) and the number of actual local representatives who are firefighters is sorely lacking.

I guess my point of identifying several folks from NFFE was to acknowledge my appreciation that some in its leadership have in recent years taken the time to become more familiar with firefighter issues. Mr. Davis, Mr,. Duefrene and others have chosen to reach out to us and work with us at the FWFSA on a number of issues. Mr. Davis has been a key player in the firefighter liability issue post-Thirty-Mile issue. Mr. Duran & now Mr. Lopez have kept the heat on Peggy Hernandez on the LP. So while there are definitely areas where it would be helpful to have more NFFE representatives at the local level be wildland firefighters, it is also incumbent upon folks like you to consider running for elected union positions or to communicate with NFFE leadership at the local & regional levels to develop a plan to educate said representatives on firefighter issues.

I guess another point to my post is that our Nation's federal wildland firefighters are far better off with a collective, cooperative effort between NFFE and the FWFSA. NFFE is far larger than the FWFSA and while many in Congress have come to rely on our experience & expertise and what our firefighters in the field have to say, they also recognize the role NFFE plays.

As you likely know, there are things the union can do under Title 5 USC that we cannot. On the other hand, since the FWFSA is not encumbered by Title 5, there are things we can do that the union can't. Putting those strategies together simply makes sense.

The union is usually associated with workplace employee actions, grievances etc. I'll be honest with you. Some of us at the FWFSA have substantial local firefighter union experience and often get requests for help from our members who have an employment issue. There have been times where we have offered some help but ONLY after consulting with the union. As an example, there is an issue on a Northern California forest which is currently being grieved. However the FWFSA has also gotten involved in the matter in the periphery, not to impede the grievance procedure and the rights of the union but to enhance the possibility of a positive resolution for our firefighters involved.

As a local firefighter union president, I too worked for the DoD. I also worked for those I was arguing cases against. At some point the members of a local union have the right & responsibility to decide whether those representatives are acting in the employees best interests. I had the luxury of being both a local union president and subsequently a chief officer so I sat on both sides of the table during my career. You have to not only rely on your representatives but in the case of non-fire NFFE Reps dealing with firefighter issues, the firefighters have to do their part to ensure their Reps understand the issues. Remember, unlike attorneys, these folks are not making huge sums of money.

Candidly, I never ran into an Agency attorney I didn't beat in a grievance or arbitration case. A lot of that has to do with knowing the intangibles of the case and the issues, not just knowing the law. So it would be my suggestion to elevate your efforts to ensure your union Reps are not only clear on the law but clear on the unique issues facing firefighters.

I have to do the same thing with the union. I have, for several years, been persistently pursuing a more public, aggressive endorsement by NFFE of our legislation. Part of that process is to develop a good personal & professional relationship with its leadership. That's why the FWFSA has invited Mr. Davis to our membership conference in December. It is important that our members understand the role NFFE can play in achieving our goals and objectives as it is important for NFFE to clearly understand our efforts to secure their support for our legislative goals and objectives. While I think we are there with respect to the relationship, I still have work to do to get that endorsement. We need bargaining unit members who are also FWFSA members or who support what we are trying to do for firefighters to communicate with Mr. Davis and others at NFFE to seek their endorsement of our legislation.

Finally, local reps should be holding meetings and getting information out and seeking information on the issues that their bargaining unit members are facing. Of course the FWFSA has the same problems in getting the word out. We rely heavily on our members to "spread the word." AB and those at wildlandfire.com are gracious enough to put up with some of my posts getting information out and of course we have our web site which we plan on revamping this coming year.

Despite all those resources, there are still a stunning number of wildland firefighters across the country that know nothing about us or even the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Obviously increased revenue through increased membership would allow us to be more pro-active in getting the word out. However we are competing with a lousy economy and represent an investment that doesn't always see daily, tangible results.


9/17 Mr. Judd,

I've been through the grievance experience with the FS. With all absolute respect to the NFFE Union Reps, it was a disaster. After my crew discussed what had just happened, we came to these conclusions:

1. How could we get fair representation when the People fighting and working their A$$ off for us, Also work for the people we're grieving against?? That one stuck out...

2. NFFE Reps were Timber folks, Rec, and I think a Ologist of some sort. Not an attorney.

3. We showed up to the Arbitration. My crew wore collared, ironed shirts. My Union Reps, showed up in Flannels and cowboy boots with a NICE orange STIHL hat. It was quite a statement.

4. The FS, showed up with 3 Professional Attorneys from Albuquerque. I probably don't need to go any further on this.

5. The Attorneys ate our lunch.. It was like taking a Row Boat to the Battle of Midway.

After this debacle we also came to this conclusion: Those 3 union people tried their hardest. The passion they showed for our situation was unbelievable. They truly cared about FS employees.

The rest of my crew has since left the FS for Cal-Fire.. One of the reasons I stayed is because of the passion those Reps. showed. We were outgunned, the resources and experience in law were not available.

Perhaps a " Blanket " letter to our politicians is the best solution now. I honestly don't feel like the word or availability of the NFFE in the FS, broadcast enough. Most of my crew have no idea what it is or its function. If the Reps could hold local meetings get the word out about what's going on and the vision. I would not be surprised if membership increased 10 fold.

Thank-you again for ALL of your help and support.

Cautiously Optimistic.

9/17 Tanker Base discussion etc.

To Norm, Letterman and so many others who share my passion, commitment, affection, respect and admiration for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters, it is gratifying to see a renewed effort to stoke the fires (no pun intended) of advocacy, change and simply doing the right thing.

There are no shortage of hurdles for those of us working to effective positive change and to try [emphasis added] to educate those in Washington who have even more power to effect positive change. The fact that the issues the FWFSA, NFFE and others believe so strongly in have been around for so long is not because of our lack of effort but a result of the sheer enormity of moving an immovable object and dealing with the most partisan, divisive Congress I have dealt with in 17 years.

There is absolutely no alternative to continuing the fight. That said, as I've said so many times before, the greater the voice, the greater the effect. Those of you who believe as we do that your careers as federal wildland firefighters can be a more rewarding and prosperous one cannot simply rely on a handful of individuals to fight the fight. You have got to participate and make your voice heard.

Whether its firefighters off the LP mobilizing to let Sen.s Feinstein & Boxer as well as members of the House representing areas around the LP know your support as voting constituents that you believe permanently re-opening the Santa Maria reload base is the right thing to do; whether its firefighters off the Cleveland NF and firefighters from the other federal land management agencies around San Diego demanding answers from Rep. Bob Filner as to whether he plans on fulfilling his legislative commitment to you or, as he prepares to run for San Diego Mayor, plans on abandoning our Nation's federal wildland firefighters at the height of the fire season or whether it's a similar issue ANYWHERE across this Nation (these issues are not exclusive to Region 5 of the Forest Service), firefighters must exercise their voices.

Whether you pay dues to NFFE and or the FWFSA, we can only do so much. We can harness those voices and direct them to the right folks and can fight the fight as best we can while all of you are risking your lives during the season. However unless more voices directly take the fight to the elected officials, the ignorance of those in Congress will persist and make the fight longer & harder.

I remain very grateful that under the leadership of Mark Davis, newly elected president of NFFE's Forest Service Council, NFFE's R5 Regional Vice President Dan Duefrene, Ron Angel, Joe Duran and Jim Lopez off the LP and so many others from NFFE, the Union has demonstrably elevated its efforts on behalf of FS firefighters. That being said, representation of the voices of DOI firefighters must be significantly increased.

So many work behind the scenes to address these issues which is why the frustration can be so great when it seems that the Agencies and Congress appear to not give a damn about agency firefighters or those issues. And while I know FWFSA members must get frustrated at the slow pace of change and some even terminate their membership because of it, progress is being made.

Look at the last 10 years. The elimination of the OT pay cap in 2000; stand-alone portal to portal legislation in 2004 & 2006; the passage by the House of Representatives of the Federal Wildland Firefighter Classification Act in 2006 (only to be lost on the Senate side the last day of the session); $25 million for firefighter retention (although the way in which the money was used by the FS was not ideal nor was the fact that DOI firefighters were left out of the mix and the initial exclusion of certain grades in the retention bonus was wrong) in 2008 and the introduction of the most comprehensive legislation ever introduced on behalf of federal wildland firefighters in 2009.

Granted, legislation, while being introduced, has not all been passed and signed into law. However I would hope that the fact that such legislation has been introduced at all should be considered a significant accomplishment and the impetus and motivation for more folks to join the Union & the FWFSA and speak up. It hopefully sends a message to federal wildland firefighters across the country that not only do WE give a damn about them, we remain committed to achieving these goals.

This work, as I've said before is time consuming and expensive. I do not know what the Union's dues structure is but the modest dues structure of the FWFSA has not changed in 8 years. We want our members and all federal wildland firefighters to consider membership in such organizations as an investment in their future. We are all keenly aware of the economic downturn, federal employee pay freezes and the plethora of anti-federal employee proposals in Congress. We simply can't do this work for free. However just paying dues and expecting us to sprinkle pixie dust over the heads of Congress and Agency leadership, is not enough given the utter incompetence being demonstrated in Washington. We need your help. We need your family's help. We need your friend's help.

I have always been somewhat opposed to posting "form letters" which folks can copy and send to their elected officials. I firmly believe that you can tell your story and convey your emotions as a voting constituent far better than any form letter can. However it may be the time to start orchestrating such letters to help folks gain some confidence in their ability to educate their elected officials.

I know one of my many character flaws is my inability to stop yaking & yaking (as I'm doing now) about this stuff. But all of you who work as federal wildland firefighters deserve so much more than you're getting now. We, and hopefully I can speak for NFFE too, just need a little help.

Neither the Union (NFFE) or the FWFSA have the revenue to try to "buy" Congress and it has been clear over the past couple of years that even the labor organizations that spend millions on political contributions have not only not made progress, but they have taken some significant hits.

Our strategies to educate Congress must take into consideration the taxpayer as every member of Congress has taxpayers as constituents, whether or not they have federal wildland firefighters, federal lands, etc. We have worked hard to get away from "give us more money" and shift to an approach that offers a more effective and efficient delivery of the federal wildfire program that will ultimately lead to significant savings for taxpayers. I'm confident of our strategy but since the overall priority of an politician is re-election, they need to hear from their voters.

Please consider getting more active. Don't just "lurk" on TheySaid or complain about what the FWFSA or the Union is or isn't doing. Become part of the solution. To FWFSA members and those considering membership, that means registering for our conference in December to ensure your voice is heard as we not only celebrate our past and 20 year history and recognize those that led they way, but also plan for the future and make sure we are on the path our members determine is the right path.

I've got the best job in the world although I'm sure its led to my open heart surgery and a stress level that defies logic. We just need a little help.

With great respect and sincerity to all of you,

Casey Judd
Executive Director, Governmental Affairs
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Hear, Hear. Ab.

9/17 Cautiously Optimistic,

I think we all hear you. Now I’m seeing some truly dedicated USFS career employees who are saying, “I sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve been kept out of the loop long enough!” The main stream employee is the one who performs the physical labor and works hard to do a very good job. I hope the many who fall into that category will now stand up and be counted. When the chips are down and the media picks up on issues they deem reportable the usual reply officially seems to point to you for not doing enough. That simply isn’t true and neither is a bunch of the other malarkey being fed to the media. The decision to call seasoned well trained and experienced wild land firefighters “Forestry Technicians” is a ploy to deny you certain guaranteed rights by the US Labor Code if and when an injury occurs. If shorting the employees of what I see as a right is being conducted, all of you should first unite and second get a great spokesperson and take your case to those who daily finance this entire charade. That is the taxpayers. They too are being bilked and I am speaking out for them in this forum. Think about your years of service and dedication to the people who really pay the bills (any money used sources from the taxpayers) and ask them to join in asking for an entire change in the top level managers who have an agenda up their sleeve that they are playing with daily and forgetting to let you, their team in on the game plan. Demand transparency too. To date there has been little if any. The good of the public and the intent of USFS founder Pinchot are being decimated now.

9/17 Is it the same all over?


And while the fires burn in texas, the severities and fire go on in other states, the dollars congress is spending on their forestry technicians to mow the grass, pick up sticks and pine cones, and sweep cob webs gets used wisely by management. Per the Region," well, you all are not national employees, you are agency employees and the agency can use you however they want".

Fire is only important when it is time to do a Rx burn or there is a fire on agency lands. Then things are all ok and the monthly highlights make the managers look good to those living in the black hole.

Is it the same all over? Does the coordination center call for resources and management tells them that "no resources are available here"? Do other districts call for help only to get told resources are not allowed to go on severities? Are any of you "forestry technicians with firefighter retirement" only allowed to go on two details per year?

How lucky are we to get that firefighter retirement and only be "firefighters" 10% of the time and "forestry technicians" 90% of the time? Cant wait to retire!

Fire? what's that? That's what you see on the national news; its where you arent going because the grass needs to be cut and the office mopped for the visitors this weekend.


Keeping one foot on the swept, mopped floor.

9/17 Tanker Base and other dismantling of the Fire Organization

In my few tears here, I have seen several issues take momentum against the Tyrant in Goleta and her Puppet in charge of Fire. Unfortunately, they manage to slip through the cracks. Hopefully with several Chiefs from the local communities becoming more involved, and help from some local politicians, this wont have the same results as past issues.

Tidwell stated that the FS is committed to staffing Fire Resources. Every year we are threatened with unstaffing engines, due to budget constraints.? Every year Fire School is on the chopping block. If it were not for certain Chiefs providing the paperwork and explaining what an in-valuable tool it is, that too would be GONE.

The Tanker Base is just 1 of the many problems here.. I hope the folks that are carrying this fight dont just stop with the Base. Look for our Fuels Budget, Training Budget.etc. Keep her so busy that she cant Hire all of our Apprentices. (AGAIN).

Best of Luck. You have the support of EVERY Forestry Tech. on the LP.

Cautiously Optimistic..

9/16 Tanker Base and other dismantling of the Fire Organization


Keep it up! Nervous folks are taking note of what you are revealing. And in my opinion you have made some very valid points.

The names you have mentioned specifically are all part of a great dismantling effort. Truth is word that is a stranger to them also. Right will prevail if everyone will remember what they were taught when young. Eventually when enough dedicated USFS professionals retired or active have had enough and come forward this whole bunch can be sent along with Tidwell and Vilsack into retirement in disgrace. The US Forest Service of today is so far outside the vision of the founders (Pinchot, et al) that it wouldn’t even be recognizable to them if they were living today. While times change, visions do not. I urge all of you who know and revere this once fine organization to stand up and make your presence known. Silence when there are wrong things taking place isn’t golden. Now is the time to be heard. The sooner we address this serious issue head on, the sooner those involved in the negativity will be gone and so will the threat to you and your careers. Only the brave and hearty will be noticed.


9/16 Tanker Base and other dismantling of the Fire Organization

The Santa Maria Air Tanker Base issue is just heating up. This is only the beginning. Additional details about what is going on regarding this issue will be out soon. These details may include a few twists and a of couple surprises. Those in the path of this storm should find some cover.

In these tough times, we must fight to maintain our firefighting strength and not bow to the bureaucrat trying to take it away.

I hope those in powerful positions within the Forest Service understand that we will not allow the dismantling of our firefighting strength in any region, including R-5. If you cannot maintain the funding needed to preserve our firefighting strength through your testimony and budget requests to Congress, we will do so with our keyboards.

Moore, Harbour and Tidwell, don't allow District Rangers, Forest Supervisors and rogue Forest Fire Chiefs the option to propose dismantling the fire organization in a 155 different ways on 155 different National Forests. Bring order to the madness. Stand up and fight for those who are the backbone of the Forest Service.

We are watching and we have proven we know how to fight back. We shall not, ever again just stand up and take it. Checkmate, your move.


9/16 Seems that AVUE and USAJobs are undergoing changes and there is a danger that your application information might get lost.

And There I Was
Information about the USAJobs changes concerning searching and applying for positions and other helpful information.

USA Jobs Featured Article

Enclosed is a message that employees in Region 6 received from their Human Resource Team. The ASC HR team confirmed the following dates with me and I wanted to share this with the staff since it potentially affects all employees.

All Employees: You are strongly encouraged to download your Avue application information and attachments to an external back-up system in case the applications do not transfer well to the new system. This would need to be completed prior to October 1.

Managers: Selections need to be completed for all open referral lists by 9/27. This document states September 29, however, I will need your selection information by the 27th so I can take your selections forward to the Personnel Board on 9/29.

My staff will continue to create outreach notices and 52's for positions approved to fill so that we are prepared to move forward with Vacancy Announcements when Avue and USAJobs reopens on October 12.
9/16 GS-301 job series "Occupational Series Change - for key FS Fire & Aviation positions.

Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management will be hosting eMeetings on Tuesday, September 20 to discuss the upcoming transition into the GS-301 job series "Occupational Series Change - for key FS Fire & Aviation positions.

The Occupational Series Change emeeting will discuss both short-term and long-term transition strategies for implementation of a wildland firefighter job series for fire management positions, The Information posted in the "what's New" section of the FS FAM website provides good background, history, status and the driving forces behind this effort.

For more information on the transition to the GS-301 series PRIOR to the eMeetings - go to the main Forest Service FAM website at: www.fs.fed.us/fire/  and click on "What's New" (right side of the page). This information is also available at ifpm index under the "What's New" section as well.

Note that there is an email contact address in the "What's New" presentations for feedback, questions, and comments. Please check it out!

The e-meetings are scheduled for:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
10:00am - 11:00am (MDT)

The eMeeting will focus on communication with FS Line officers, managers of FAM employees and Regional Fire Directors
URL: www.mymeetings.com
To access the audio portion of the call: 888-282-9570 Passcode: 5278405

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
1:00pm - 2:00pm (MDT)

This eMeeting will focus on affected FS employees transitioning to the GS-301 series - FMOs, GACCs, Smokejumper Base Managers
URL: www.mymeetings.com
To access the audio portion of the call: 888-972-6893 Passcode: 5278405

We hope those interested will participate in either the visual or audio parts of the e-meetings.

Mike Apicello / PAO: FS FAM
Risk Management, Human Performance and Development

9/16 Interesting Chief Tidwell stated “over 16,000 Firefighters, (10,500 Forest Service)”
I thought he employed Forestry Technicians.

North Bay FC
9/16 USFS Firefighter in major injury accident

Jordan works on the Stanislaus NF out of the Long Barn Station. He is in a tough way so keep him, his family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Major Injury Accident


9/16 Ab,

I know personally two of the FAA Air Frame Inspection team that has now completed the Air Worthiness inspection of all P-3’s that had been under a contract with the USFS nationally. They both tell me there is no question in their minds that these aircraft are still safe and “Very airworthy” in the mission for which they were adapted. I also have asked two more USN Air Safety Team members if they could look at just one for the sake of the public and the public interest. They are now seeking permission from the Command they serve in. With this information in hand in the interest of the public who pays the bills I’m now very skeptical about what is going on in the top level management of the USFS WO. I encourage my USFS brothers and sisters to not let this decision go unchallenged. There is something highly irregular about this entire topic.

9/15 Western Region effort for the Cohesive Strategy:

First thank you for the great feedback and content suggestions to the Western Region effort to develop the Cohesive Strategy. We are providing both an update to our progress and two additional suggestion that came from many of you as how we can proceed and in some cases without any additional money or a strategy. You can go to the following web link: west cohesive fire - updates which has all our updates and the two additional documents for continued success.

We are finalizing the western region assessment and will soon be merging with the SE and NE regions.

Again, thank you for the participation and continued involvement, we will have updates every couple weeks to keep you posted on progress…

Joe Stutler

You're welcome, Joe. Ab.

9/15 Casey and All,

I believe one study that the FS would use to create a current aviation plan is the National Air Tanker Base Study (NATS) that was completed in 1996 (before my time). There was discussion of this study more on the Air Tanker Pilots Board in the early- to mid-2000s than on theysaid. There was also comment on this at some of the regional chiefs and BOD meetings. I haven't been able to find a copy of that study on wlf.com or on the web, but if I recall correctly, it drove tanker base closures in those days.

Another study that was discussed in the early 2000s was the Aerial Delivered Firefighter Study (ADFF)... from San Dimas by Carl Dammon. Smart man, former SJ, now retired, I think. (FS web lookup is down right now or I'd check.) That one was about smoke jumper efficiency and maybe efficiency of bases. That study dropped off the radar. It was on the FS Web but is gone now as far as I can tell. Only thing left is Enclosure 1: Standard Fire and Fuels Module

Another study based on the NATS I and II: Aviation Management Efficiency Assessment from 2007 is more up-to-date. (1,3750 K. 252 page pdf)

And another on airtanker bases done in 2009 for Region 5 (CA): Air Tanker Base Efficiency Analysis (ABEA) (3,886 K 11 page pdf)

I think this process of trying to address the aviation resources has been underway for quite some time. I hear the DOD would love to get the MAFFs flying full time. If true, that would give this issue a very heavy political charge...


9/15 Santa Barbara County Fire Chiefs demand the Santa Maria Air Tanker Base return to a full time operation.

fire chiefs warpath

Local Leaders Want Air Tanker Base Ramped Up

9/15 MN-SUF-Pagami Creek Shelter Deployment in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Deployment on the Pagami.

Here's the email excerpt from Logan Lee the Acting Regional Forester for R9.

"I wanted to share some news with on behalf of Chuck, Gene and myself.

The Superior National Forest has a 85,000 acre fire named Pagami Creek in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). Monday afternoon six Wilderness Rangers deployed fire shelters when Pagami made an unexpected run and grew from 5,000 to 60,000 acres. The Rangers were serving on two-person Public Safety Teams responsible for ensuring that recreationists were not in an area closed by the Forest Supervisor because of the fire risk. There were no injuries and no members of the public involved.

Pagami continues to grow and the Forest is transitioning from a Type II Incident Management Team to a Type I Team tomorrow. The fire is now burning both inside and outside BWCA.

In consultation with the Supervisor, we have initiated a Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) and the FLA Team is on their way to Ely.

We appreciate the actions and professionalism of the Wilderness Rangers, Superior NF employees and the Incident Management Teams. In a tough situation training and experience led to a good outcome. Suppression efforts continue, as will our learning from this event.

We wanted you all to know what was happening - remember to keep safety in front of your decision making. Thanks!"

Logan Lee

Keep your heads up out there

Also posted on the Hotlist MN-SUF-Pagami Creek Fire thread: Hotlist

9/14 Dear AB;

The following was sent to key staffers in Washington today by the FWFSA.

Good Morning to all:

On June 14th of this year, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell appeared before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee offering yet another Forest Service promise of an "aviation plan" by "the end of this summer." As many of you know, the Forest Service aviation plan has been promised to Congress for years. As firefighters, we continue to be bewildered as to the current promised delivery time period (at the end of summer) given the historic fire season we are experiencing across the Nation.

This email is simply to ascertain whether any of you have been apprised as to any updates as to whether the plan will in fact be delivered as promised (given the fact the official end of summer is 8 days away) given the fires raging across the Western U.S.

As many of our FWFSA members continue to risk their lives across the West and the Santa Ana winds have yet to even arrive in California, it certainly would be a boost to an already demoralized workforce, most of which are found at or near the bottom of the federal pay scale who are enduring a pay freeze and a plethora of anti-federal employee proposals, to get some answers from the Hill with respect to the aviation plan.

Further, it has been increasingly frustrating that despite repeated efforts, we can't seem to get any [emphasis added] feedback on our legislative proposal all of you are aware of that would lead to a more effective & efficient federal wildfire response and save taxpayers perhaps $100 million each season in suppression costs.

Representatives from the FWFSA have never traveled to Washington demanding a commitment to cosponsor such a bill. Rather we have simply asked for feedback and an opportunity to address any questions or concerns raised by your bosses. We've received little to nothing from either the House or Senate. I think our Nation's federal wildland firefighters deserve more, especially from those representatives from western states, many of them under siege from wildfires who should have a keener understanding of what these men & women are going through.

In March we visited many House & Senate offices with our revised draft of last session's HR 4488. Since then we have worked even harder to fine-tune the proposal. I think at the very least, if the overriding theme in Washington is to reduce spending and ensure our federal government agencies and their programs are spending taxpayer's dollars wisely, efficiently & effectively, our firefighters deserve some respect & dignity by hearing what those in a position to effect positive change have to say about the efforts of those firefighters to create a more effective & efficient fire program.

This has been the most divisive session of Congress I have dealt with in 17 years of traveling to the Hill. We are trying to do our part but can't do anything without a little communication from those on the Hill, some of whom we have worked with for years. We know we have built upon our credibility with many offices in recent years since what we pass along to you comes from those in the field, the cream of the crop of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters.

We also recognize that Congress would likely prefer the federal agencies fix their problems without congressional legislative mandates. However, regardless of what party is in the majority in the House or Senate or who is in the White House, nothing has changed. We need help.

Our folks continue to risk their lives. The fire season is Top Story news each night on the networks while each day it seems we read more and more about waste & fraud. To hear that the Commission on Wartime Contracting estimates $60 billion, or roughly $12 million a day is being wasted -- due to, among other things, lax oversight on the war effort while our firefighters can't seem to get the time of day on a proposal that would actually save taxpayers money -- is discouraging.

Texas, the Pacific Northwest and now California are under siege from wildfires. I'm sure no resident faced with a wall of 100' flames cares about the costs associated with such suppression efforts. And while we acknowledge and respect the fact that a variety of firefighters including volunteer, local government, state as well as federal firefighters are battling these blazes, there remains an inherent responsibility for all in Congress to ensure that given the current fiscal crisis in this country, funds utilized to suppress such wildfires are spent efficiently & effectively. This is clearly not the case.

The current requirement by the Administration to cut federal agency budgets by 5% does absolutely nothing to ensure that the pervasive fiscal mismanagement in most federal agencies will be eliminated. Neither will the arbitrary $1.3 trillion associated with the debt ceiling debate. Federal managers will no doubt find ways to inoculate their fiscal mismanagement from such cuts and the adverse consequences will be felt by those federal employees at or near the bottom of the federal pay scale and many Americans who rely on programs and services.

No one in Washington has suggested that before offering up arbitrary amounts for cuts that make great sound bites, the priority should be for Congress to reevaluate their oversight of federal agency fiscal management to ensure the dollars Congress already appropriates to these agencies is being spent as intended. Perhaps if such an oversight effort was reinvigorated, the need for such ambitious "slash & burn," "meat cleaver" cuts would not be needed.

I'm sorry for the venting. It is certainly obvious I'm no high-priced, high-powered K St. lobbyist. Maybe passion will only get us so far. It is hard to compete with the organizations that spend millions to get their issues before your bosses and who have hundreds of thousands of members all forking out dough to enhance the ability of getting their issues heard.

Each & every day I hear from our folks in the field and I am helpless to tell them anything other than it appears no one in Washington gives a damn about them. Sometimes it gets tiring spinning one's wheels. However the only option we have is persistence and we don't plan on going anywhere soon. That being said, our Nation's federal wildland firefighters and our Nation's taxpayers deserve to have someone, anyone in Washington give a darn about them without making it part of a partisan, political, rhetorical effort.

Attached is our most recent draft of our legislative proposal which may take 5-7 minutes to read.


Casey Judd
Executive Director, Governmental Affairs
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

9/14 This was a blog from the Sacramento Bee in response to the Texas wildfires article.

"I spent 30 yrs. as a Deputy Sheriff; as far as I'm concerned, there isn't enough money minted for me to become a firefighter!!! Talk about dedication..........."



9/14 Ab,

A contractor plane returning from dropping supplies and firefighters at the Salt fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest crashed on Tuesday, September 13. Onboard was Jerry Reding, pilot, and his brother-in-law, Jamie Sexton, a 38 year-old married father of an 11-year old boy. The men are part of a family of wildland fire contractors in Idaho, operating Flame Catchers, Idaho Heat Seekers, and Blaze Runners. Here is a link to coverage in The Idaho Statesman search launched after small plane

Vicki Minor has been at the Salt Fire in Salmon since last Thursday. She was with members of the family when news came from fire officials that the bodies of Jamie and Jerry had been found. The Foundation will be with the family through this tragedy.
Melissa Brandt
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Thanks to Vicki and Melissa.. Our thoughts and prayers for all.
Folks, please toss some $$ in the boot at the WFF. They're our safety net. Ab.

9/14 California Wildland Firefighter Memorial Final Dedication

October 8, 2011


9/13 Safety Alert Hyperthermia

Safety Alert Hyperthermia 9/13/11 (113 K pdf)

9/13 Lightning hits near 3 firefighters on the CA-LPF-Frazier Fire.

Check the hotlist... HOTLIST

Appears the three firefighters will be OK.
Please, folks, do not post info or questions on the Hotlist until we know the families have been notified. It's only common courtesy. Think of what your families would want if  YOU were the one hurt.
Feel free to contact a Mod or send Ab mail and we'll let you know what we know and/or we'll find out more. Ab.

9/13 Texas Drought and Fires continue

California type fires come to Texas! This is old information, over 1500 homes destroyed as of early this week. The pics tell the story.

wildfire destroys nearly 1500 homes 


9/13 Good article with well-done news video on the CA-Kern County complexes:


9/13 Ab,

The attached article on lightning and lightning safety (676 K pdf) was sent out by Dep. Chief Steve Prziborowski from Santa Clara FD, as part of the Nor Cal Training Officers weekly/daily bulletin. It was written by John Gookin, from NOLS, and provides a comprehensive “everything you need to know” review related to lightning risk and safety.

Considering the current activity in the western part of the country, it is a valuable read.

Thanks, FOBS73

Many thanks, FOBS73. Excellent article, especially now. It was also posted on the Lessons Learned/ Safety Zone part of the Hotlist in June, 2011. Ab.

9/13 It appears Inciweb just went down...


Yes, it did. Maybe they're updating something. OK, just came back up... with a lot of updates. Great way to share information. Ab.

9/12 Arkansas shelter deployment and injury:

Date: September 12, 2011
Subject: Preliminary (24 hour) Briefing
To: Regional Forester

Incident - Fire Shelter Deployment
Location - Ouachita NF, Jessieville-Winona-Fourche Ranger District (JWF)
Project - Prescribed Burning
Date/Time (approximate) of incident - 9/11/11, approximately 1400
Number of Employees Injured –One
Number of Fatalities-None
Property Damage- None

Around 1400 on Sunday, September 11, a Forest Service employee deployed his shelter while working on a prescribed burn on the Jessieville Winona Fourche Ranger District on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. The employee suffered 2nd degree burns on 2% of his body (face and hands) and is currently at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital burn unit in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The prescribed burn was completed later the same day.

A facilitative learning analysis will be conducted to provide an opportunity for all of us to learn from this event.

/s/ Richard L. Rosemier (for)
Forest Supervisor

Our best wishes for his recovery. Ab.

9/12 from Saturday in Texas, photos of the  engine before and after at the article link:

Texas Firefighter injured, fire truck destroyed in Rio Hondo blaze
September 10, 2011 5:53 PM
By ISAAC GARCIA/Valley Morning Star

Rio Hondo firefighters battled a brush fire this afternoon that burned several acres and destroyed a brush truck and sent one firefighter to the hospital.

The fire was on Bishop Road near the intersection of State Highway 345, also known as Sam Houston Boulevard, Cameron County Emergency Coordinator Humberto Barrera said.

A caliche driveway is the only thing that separated the flames from coming near two homes.

Fortunately the blaze, which burned 15 acres, was blocked by an irrigation road on one side and Bishop Road on the other side.

According to the Rio Hondo Fire Department, the brush truck got stuck when the flames engulfed it as firefighters battled the blaze.

The smoke could be seen from as far as San Benito.

Barrera said the San Benito Fire department assisted in putting out the fire.

fair use disclaimer

(caliche is a white chalklike - calcium carbonate - "hardpan" dirt common to parts of Texas, the ultimate in mineral soil... You could dig down to it unless it's on the top, but probably not through it...)

9/12 What's happening in Texas? Got this from one of our folks battling the ongoing TX wildfires

SACC Texas Wildfire Briefing Paper (from today)

9/12 Ab,

For those in the Boise area, we have been given 41 free tickets for the
Albertson's Boise Open PGA Tour at
HillcrestCountry Club,
Sept 12-18.

If you are interested in a ticket, stop by the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation office,
2049 Airport Way.

Thank you to Albertson's for donating these tickets!
Melissa Brandt
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

9/11 One of the kern fires reversed direction and is making a run toward structures at Stallion Springs, evacuations underway.

From the hotlist...

Got a message from NV that it's getting hammered with lightning and power outages...



9/11 If you have the information, would you mind posting a link to the presentations from Harbour and Mark Rounsaville. Perhaps Misery Whip can help; his/her comments hold intrigue - and for many of us - seeing this body of work would take the mystery out of the commentary. Readers might like a little more insight; could be helpful. Thanks!

As usual, Kudos to Weick and to Pupilidy - HRO work continues, and HPI documents are well done.

As a sidebar, it's quite an interesting fire weather pattern on Pacific coast: very high fire danger yet little east wind. Not very often the Olympic NF burns as it has been doing. Fires on the peninsula are rather cyclic, but when the Oly fires up its usually a good indicator the Region is at risk. Not to forget some of the historic fires in the area were late summer events. Note that NICC is at PL-4 though - first time in a while!

Keep up the informative news!

Fork in the trail

You can go to the LLC and search for the others. I don't have them or have time. Ab.

9/11 From Strider

So Cal Lightning Fires, map of hotspots

Hotlist on SoCal Lightning fires, Kern Co area

9/11 Remembering 9/11/2011:

What were you doing on 9/11/2001? Feel free to chime n on the Hotlist thread or send your memories to the Ab email account and I'll post them.


9/10 Ab, here are some photos of the CA-KRN-Black Fire, which is part of the Keene Complex.

Thanks, Rick, I put them on the Engines 28 photo page. The column pic is cooking. Ab.

9/10 ManWomanWild

Hey Ab,

I just wanted to see what everyone thought about last night's episode of ManWomanWild. (Discovery Channel)

They made an episode dealing with surviving a forest fire. The credits thank Louisiana's Forestry for technical help, but I wondered how much input on content they had.

Highlights of the episode included repeated advice to roll in water so your clothing would be fire resistant. Also they stopped to sleep overnight in a fire that had just been spotting all around them. And finally they stopped to build a mud hut to shelter in.

I don't want to come across judgmental, arrogant or rude, but I thought some of the advice was suspect. I would be happy if anyone else watches the episode and chimes in. Am I out-of-line or was it a bad show?


My niece was laughing in the other room and called me to watch briefly. Pretty funny... not even a haw haw, though. Ab.

9/10 Lightning Explorer:


Lots of lightning in socal. Ab.

9/10 Does anyone know what happened on the Mother Lode Fire on the Mt. Hood NF?

Apparently, and this is third-hand, there was a scramble by all involved to get away from moving fire and a helispot that was either burned over or threatened to be. I haven't seen a safecom filed yet, but it might be too early. Also heard that a FLA team is involved. For someone with a kid on either that fire or the Dollar Fire, this concerned parent would like some current information. I went to the Inciweb site, but it hasn't changed for those fires in the last 12 hours.

Patient in CO

9/10 Abs & All,

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has several new documents from the 2011 HRO Conference posted. By a wide margin, the most elegant and meaningful of these is a piece by Dr. Karl Weick on High Reliability Organizing. Here's the link:

Weick Keynote Speech HRO 2011

Ivan Pupulidy's presentation is worth reading too. Here's the link:

Pupulidy Risk HPI (pdf)

Gary Provensal's and David Christensen's HRO abstracts also have some good stuff. Harbour's 2 abstracts are of negligible value. He's still pushing the "overwhelming mass" misconception; apparently he still hasn't figured out that there is no second place trophy for firefighters if the fire goes over the hill when you fail to engage firefighting resources in a timely fashion. And the "science based" approach to risk management is just weird; what is the alternative, a religion based approach? Harbour's musings on just culture ring pretty hollow too.

I recommend you skip Marc Rounsaville's gibberish on social technology altogether. He seems to fancy himself as an authority on HRO and risk management, but I suspect he is not a true expert in either of those disciplines.

Misery Whip
9/9 Caleb Hamm's family, Jamie in TX and Caleb the SAR dog in training:

Thank you so much for having Theysaid which today gave me the gift of meeting Caleb Hamm's family including his father, mother, brother, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and girlfriend; and introducing them to Caleb the SAR dog. It was a very special moment where Caleb the dog shared so much of the love he has for people, instantly gravitating to Caleb's mother and girlfriend, always looping back to them after sharing the love. I hope to be able to share some pictures soon of the meeting

I was not fortunate enough to meet Caleb Hamm, but his family are definitely some of the warmest and most genuine folks I have had the pleasure to have met

Tomorrow there is a full protocol memorial being held in Austin for the three firefighters who passed fighting wildfires in Texas this year, to which Caleb and I have been invited.

I am currently on assignment in the Plans Section on the Bastrop Complex just 30 miles from my home, and pulling 12+ hour shifts everyday, but I have to thank Plans Chiefs Terry Pierce and David Brownlie on the Southern Area Red Team for allowing me the time away to meet the family tonight and attend the memorial tomorrow.


Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Ab.

9/9 The sun has set, the 10th Anniversary Patriot's Day Weekend for 9/11 is underway.

Please contribute to the Hotlist thread, look at pictures, read back over old posts, or otherwise honor the fallen in your own way.

Always Remember!


9/9 Need website that lists all Outreaches for job opportunities in the USFS


My name is Thomas and I am a Firefighter up in the Lassen National Forest. Recently I lost my "man purse" with a lot of my information. So in short I was wondering if you happen to know a website that lists Outreaches for job opportunities for the United Sates Forest Service. I knew a great site that I heard about at my last union meeting that not only had R5 outreaches but outreaches for all the regions on one site. I hope you can help me with this; no one on my forest seems to know what I am talking about :] He!! maybe you won't either.

Sincerely: Thomas

9/9 Making the rounds:

USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

Statement from US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on Aircraft Support for Texas, Other Wildfires Throughout the Country

The Forest Service is working hard right now with our federal, state and local partners to combat fires in Texas, California and several other states. I want to assure the public that the Forest Service has ample aircraft strategically placed around the country to support on-the-ground teams combating this year’s wildfires. Our current available airplane fleet includes:

  • 17 Large Air Tankers which have a capacity of delivering an average of over 2000 gals. of water or retardant per trip.
  • 1 DC-10 Very Large Airtanker with a capacity of 12,000 gals.
  • 8 military aircraft specially outfitted to fight fires with an average capacity of 3000 gals.
  • 3 CL- 215 scooper aircraft which can deliver an average of 1300 gals. of water per trip.
  • More than 100 wildland fire response helicopters, including exclusive use contracts for:
  • 2 dozen Type-1 heavy helicopters
  • Over 40 Type-2 medium helicopters on national contracts
  • Over 50 Type-3 light helicopters on local or regional contracts
  • Additional helicopters are available through call-when-needed contracts

All of these assets support the more than 16,000 federal firefighters (10,500 are Forest Service), and 1000 Forest Service firefighting engines. The Forest Service takes the safety of our employees and contractors seriously and we insist on maintaining stringent airworthiness standards that were developed after two airtankers crashed in 2002, resulting in the loss of both crews. The Forest Service does not take shortcuts on safety.

also here on the news page right now

9/8 Nice story about California assistance to Texas.

texas wildfires california

9/8 Inside the Firestorm, Black Saturday, Australia, February 7, 2009:

youtube.com (1 hr 50 min, gripping)

Without a doubt, the best wildfire documentary ever made; it has earned several awards. ABC has assembled actual footage recoded of the destruction of Kinglake, Marysville and the fatality areas I mapped on Pine Ridge Rd. After last weekend's re-visit, this video is so meaningful. When I was there two years ago, we didn't have time to slow down because so much was at stake with anxious relatives waiting to hear if we discovered the remains of their loved ones.

I met the two fire captains from the CFA station in Marysville along with several other residents. It's a lot different from being there after the fires blew through when the place had been evacuated and locked down as a crime scene (the fire that burned Marysville was arson). This documentary does an outstanding job of describing the human experience of living through that hellacious event on Black Saturday.


9/8 From the NOPS News and Notes this morning 0655 hrs:

"The GACC has received 220 lightning strikes so for on the Lassen, Plumas, Shasta and Tahoe forests and units with some fires being reported."
9/7 California- Redding Weather and East into NV: Lightning possible tonight

Hotlist thread norcal: NORCAL HOTLIST 1 and NORCAL HOTLIST 2

Hotlist thread Nevada: NEVADA HOTLIST

Lightning tracking site in case it happens: thunderstorm.vaisala.com or strikestarus.com
and other favorite lightning tracking sites

9/7 Elk on AZ-Wallow Fire 1 & 2: My husband and I were driving around right after they allowed residents back into Alpine, AZ. I thought this was kinda cool. There were 10 bull elk in the meadow that morning. Taken 6/25 around 6 a.m. thereabouts. Photos compliments of  Kathy S.

Thanks, very nice, I added them to the Helicopters 29 photo page. Ab.

9/7 Here is a fire behavior advisory that came out of the Salt fire. About 1/2way down is a link to a way impressive crown fire video.
Definitely worth your time to watch and share.

Central Idaho: Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory (1 page, 372 K pdf)

Subject: Changes in Lodgepole Pine Flammability due to Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation

Read the whole thing and look at the photos, but here's a small excerpt with a link to a must-see youtube video:

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public: Expect transition from surface fires to crown fires to be very rapid and crown fires to exhibit extreme flame lengths of up to 5 times the canopy height. Anticipate fires to exhibit crown fire rates of spread in excess of 80 ch/hr.

see: youtube.com (2.45 min)

Mitigation Measures: Ensure firefighters have solid LCES established, are continually updated, and are clearly known to everyone in the vicinity. Ensure that safety zones separation distances and size are adequate for 200-300 foot flame lengths. As soon as crowning fire activity is observed advise firefighters to disengage and move to Safety Zones without hesitation.

9/7 72 hr report (Green Sheet from CalFire - Jamieson Incident)

Some of you may have heard of the accident with a CAL FIRE transport (2642) on Highway 12 (Jamieson Canyon) that resulted in a civilian fatality. I am passing along this information because there had been a number of rumors circulating regarding this collision and CAL FIRE's responsibility. T2642 was returning to Siskiyou County after a cover assignment in LNU. Initial CHP CAD reports indicated that there may have been a blow out on the transport causing the accident. Physical evidence at the scene and now follow up investigations from the SO and CHP reveal that in fact the individual in the passenger vehicle appeared to have committed suicide by steering directly into the path of the transport (see attached article).

We are very lucky that there was only one fatality. We had a total of 8 other victims that were transported with minor to moderate injuries. Our HFEO, while shaken up, had no injuries.



Monday’s traffic death on Jamieson Canyon (8/31/11) ruled suicide.

The 53-year-old Napa man killed in Monday’s spectacular pile-up on Highway 12/Jamieson Canyon Road committed suicide by intentionally driving his small car into a CalFire big rig, the Napa County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

“Thomas Robinson’s death is being ruled a suicide,” Napa County Sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said Wednesday.

This stunning determination was based on notes found in Robinson’s residence, witness accounts of his driving just before the collision and the results of Wednesday’s autopsy, Stuart said.

The sheriff’s office would not elaborate on the evidence that resulted in the suicide ruling.
The cause of death, she said, was “multiple force traumatic injuries.”

Robinson was the sole occupant in a 1997 Ford Escort, westbound on Jamieson Canyon Road, at 10:40 a.m. Monday when he reportedly crossed the double-yellow lines, colliding head-on with an eastbound CalFire rig pulling a bulldozer, according to the California Highway Patrol.

This caused a chain reaction involving two other vehicles, with eight people going to local hospitals with minor and moderate injuries, the CHP said.
Robinson, whose car was crushed by the big rig, was declared dead at the scene.

The four-vehicle collision closed this vital highway link between Napa and Solano counties for more than 10 hours, prompting thousands of vehicles to detour to other roadways while the CHP’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team investigated the crash.

A CHP officer said Wednesday the crash remains under investigation.

After Robinson’s Ford Escort collided with the big rig, it was knocked back into the westbound lane where it collided with a 2000 Toyota Sienna van with seven people on board, the CHP said.

Then, a 2005 Toyota Prius, which, like the van, was traveling behind Robinson’s car, crashed into a guardrail, injuring the driver, the CHP said. The driver of the 2000 Mack big rig, which was returning to CalFire’s Siskiyou Unit, was not injured, authorities said.

Transport 1
Transport 2
Transport 3

fair use disclaimer

9/7 Hotshot crews hiring students?


I'm hoping I'm sending this to the right place, I'm trying to post something on the theysaid 'wall.' I was curious if anyone knew of any Hotshot Crews that hire on college students? I have a season's experience on a Hotshot Crew and am in school studying fire science. Due to the school schedule my availability would be from the second week of May until the first of September. I recently spoke to a friend of mine who works Patrol in SoCal and said crews have been hiring on students for that time period. He mentioned something about working as a step? I did some research and it looks as if this is has been or is a common practice. If anyone knows of crews doing this, I'd appreciate the info. I'll go anywhere.



9/7 Abs,

Several Hot-listers showed Civilian's opinions by mailing some Public Meeting information, specifically around Mt. Hood and their Fire's threat to Portland's Bull Run Watershed. Here @ Sisters/Camp Sherman, the "Shadow" probably had some similarities. We had an escaped IA in the Wilderness, it got bigger and more complex. last night there was a Public Meeting, the fire gets bigger and other alternatives are considered. Today's East Wind event may be trouble for both fires. We have the good fortune to have a NIMO Team, and as you will see (if the picture comes through) the very best hotshot team in the NorthWest...here they are, way to go crew....


That's tongue firmly in cheek on the "NIMO Team" photo location. Check the Equipment 2 photo page and its Photo Description page if you want to know where the historical photo was taken and when. Ab.

9/6 Blue/ Green Sheet Templates:


To answer the question, yes a standard template is used. The "Recommendation" for Immediate Action is exactly that - a recommendation. More than anything, it is a reminder to take care of business, such as wearing your seatbelt, so if something like a suicidal driver gets in your way, you are more likely to walk away from the impact.


9/6 Texas Burning:

Abs --

Not much posted here about Texas lately, nor on the daily IMSR from NICC, and even the Southern Area GACC daily report has stopped reporting that a Type 2 IMT is running an extensive statewide operation, but as many fire folks know, Texas is in historic drought and fire occurrence conditions. Lots and lots of wildland fire resources from across the country have been assisting the Texas Forest Service statewide since last fall -- they have their Lone Star Incident Management Team (Type 2) in a quasi-permanent configuration in beautiful downtown Merkel (near Abilene) providing statewide assistance to first responders (local departments) -- their daily statewide IAP cover always includes a duration reminder -- today is "Day 294".

And Tropical Storm Lee didn’t do our brothers and sisters in Texas any favors -- all wind, no rain. TICC is the Texas Interagency Coordination Center -- here's a blurb from their daily report yesterday (Monday 9/5), so the info is from the day before (Sunday 9/4):

"Yesterday (Sunday 9/4) Texas Forest Service responded to 63 new fires for 32,936 acres, including 22 new large fires. In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 179 fires for 74,186 acres.

Strong winds and low relative humidity from Tropical Storm Lee caused numerous wildfires to spread rapidly yesterday. Additional National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams, as well as a heavy airtanker from South Dakota were mobilized Sunday to assist with the large number of fires. Weather conditions are expected to reach critical levels again today.

Texas Forest Service has dozens of aircraft ready to respond this morning, including four heavy airtankers, 15 single-engine airtankers, 12 helicopters, and 13 aerial supervision aircraft. A Type 1 incident management team has been requested to assist with the Bastrop County Complex."

Even many of the non-local resources are feeling the "grind", and the local TFS folks have got to be wondering if there will ever be any light at the end of this tunnel, or if this (statewide preparedness level 5) is the "new normal."

Thoughts and prayers to everyone out on the fireground and also the many who are supporting this ultramarathon effort……


9/5 Abs & T Fielden...

Thank you so much for the really kind words, but i must be honest with you...i'm not really retired yet (could be bought out tho') laughs, rather i have brought upon my very own investigation, which means i'm not allowed to enjoy our new, Big Fire, the Shadow...so i can't tell you more w/o whining,... as i looked at the large Shadow column, yes, i did have some column, er, fire envy. But i was at the time paddling my kayak around little lava lake...my wife was a little scared for what will come...evacs? yep. oh, we 4 were leisurely floating noon to 1600 or so, saw ospreys catching fish (more envy), grebes n mergansers fishing too, cormorants just catching rays, ahh, pleasure, radio off, no pager, no cell...then a coldstone in bend, ahh. maybe floating the metolius,


9/5 Happy Labor Day

TX is burning, PNW has fires.

CA has several too.

East and South are in hurricane flood recovery. Check the hotlist.

If you're lucky enough to be home with your families, watch that barbi. Ab.

9/4 These are from my Grandson who is on one of the crews on the Canyon Fire. Don't know how to put it on the site.

His crew is a KRN crew based in Tehachapi.

It's burned into oak creek and antelope canyon by Mt Park. Heck of a fire.


Many thanks, to you and your grandson, Rick. I put them on the Fire 46 photo page. Ab.

9/4 Ab,

Here are 4 shots of the Hill Fire...DC-10 and an S-2 dropping and the lead bringing them in....

Mike Meadows

Thanks Mike. Very nice. I put them on Airtankers 36 photo page. Ab.

9/4 Ops Geek;

I looked through several archived Blue Sheets and Green Sheets, and they all had that same phrase. I'm not sure who is responsible for putting out the reports, but I think that Ab's comment is probably correct, that a standard template is used. Not that our agency ever assumes that the employee is at fault or anything...

Tool Pusher
9/4 Benner,

Well said, sounds like you had a long career and are now in a well, deserved retirement, you can rest at ease and enjoy your time with the family. The people who you have trained will do you proud and sooner than they know it, they will be saying the same as you.

As for me the holiday weekend kids and grand kids are still at the luck of the draw. Enjoy, relax, and you've earned it my friend. I may or may not know you (for I am bad with names and good with faces) but more than likely we have exchanged a nod or a handshake in the passing. Thank you for your service to the fire community.

t fielden
9/4 Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is enjoying the Labor Day weekend. Has anybody ever heard of Wildland Defense Systems of Red Lodge, Montana? Several companies have been approached by them to help with their wildland fire protection operations but there is not much info about them on the web. Have you worked with them? How did it go? Did you get paid? What/ who are their management team members? Who else (other companies) are currently working with them? Can you recommend them? Have you had many assignments with them? Are they real? Thanks for your time and info-

Pit Bull

I'm happy to pass info if it's not appropriate for this forum. Ab.

9/4 72 hr report (Green Sheet from CalFire)

Is it just me being overly sensitive or when you see the following text in a 72 hour report does it make you think the drivers were doing something wrong?

• Drive defensively and be alert at all times. • Ensure use of seatbelts at all times.

To me, "Immediate corrective action" means something needs to be corrected right away. So, either the drivers were not driving defensively and not wearing their seat belts or the authors of the report in their quest to say something inadvertently "throw the driver under the bus " when they did nothing wrong. What is wrong with the word "unavoidable" if they were wearing their seat belt and were driving defensively. I don't know the details but sure am curious...


I am curious too. I added the link so readers could see the report itself. The authors could have simply been filling in a 72 hr report template and not thinking about the impact of words on creating a Just Culture vs perpetuating a Blaming Culture. Ab.

9/4 Labor Day weekend Firefighters (not on fires) & Abs,

Couldn't help notice the transport accident w/civilian death, along with a separate fire fatality involving an ATV. This is the first LaborDay i can remember enjoying with my Family...I'm not sure what thoughts dominate as i stay at home, watching the bustle of another fairly complex fire happens w/o me...i kinda like it. i can drive by allingham fire camp (shadow lake) after picking up the mail, or say hi to Roger at his camp sherman store, i do like it. yesterday, i saw one of my old fallers, bobby wells, good times at domke lake, tiller plex, apple, oak flat, etc. saw some friends too, travis, michael P, mary gee, colin rabe, but it was nice to go back home the mile n' half, not turn on radio, not being responsible for people. Thanks to Pyro5755, still thinking of calling you, but emotionally cold as ice as i remember a dozer transport of mine that ended in death also (was it link, or booth before b & b?) ending lines are hard so keep in your family closest, keep your crew closer, 'n' yur pocketbook closed.


9/3 CAL FIRE 72 hour Report CA-LNU- Jamieson Incident

Dozer Transport Vehicle Accident (104 K pdf)
Major Damage to Transport and Private Autos with a Civilian Fatality
August 29, 2011

9/3 Subject: FW: U.S. Fire Administration Firefighter Fatality Notification - Jasper, TX

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality:

Name: Anthony Quinten “Tony” Meyers

Rank: Firefighter
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Status: Volunteer
Years of Service: Pending
Date of Incident: 08/28/2011
Time of Incident: 1515hrs
Date of Death: 08/28/2011

Fire Department: Angelina River Volunteer Fire Department
Address: RTE 7 Box 299-4, Jasper, TX 75951
Fire Department Chief: Richard Lackie

Incident Description: While operating at the scene of an outdoor fire, Firefighter Meyers passed away from injuries sustained when, according to state police, he lost control of the ATV he was operating and crashed into the front of a Texas Parks and Wildlife pickup truck at a roadway intersection. According to media reports, Meyers was using the ATV to travel between two separate fires that were burning in order to monitor the progress of each blaze. Local authorities suspect that both fires were intentionally set.

Incident Location: County Roads 39 and 32 in Jasper County, TX.
Funeral Arrangements: Pending
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter Anthony Quinten Meyers at USFA Anthony Quenten Meyers

9/3 Jesusita Fire Burnover Lessons Learned


As a result of the Jesusita Incident which occurred in Santa Barbara County on May 6, 2009, and resulted in multiple firefighter burn injuries, an engine burnover, and additional related near-miss incidents, FIRESCOPE has incorporated a number of recent changes relative to the protection of structures, and the use of firefighter PPE into our WUI document which was released earlier this year (www.firescope.org/ics-guides-and-terms/WUI-SP.pdf).

In our efforts to further protect our firefighters, we have also just compiled and posted to our FIRESCOPE website a 2-page guidance document entitled, “Jesusita Fire Burnover - Lessons Learned”. You may find this document at: Jesusita Lessons Learned (pdf)

To view the after-action report on the “Jesusita Fire Burnover” in its entirety please visit:
Jesusita Review Report  (Full Jesusita Review Report: 4547 K pdf download, CAL FIRE website)

The FIRESCOPE Board of Directors appreciates and commends the work done by the FIRESCOPE Operations Team, and the Task Force this particular project; and respectfully asks that the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid Regional and Operational Coordinators give the above links to both document wide distribution.

Ab's bold.

9/3 72 hour report, Salt Fire Incident - Equipment Loss and Shelter Use

Date: September 1, 2011
Subject: Salt Fire Incident - Equipment Loss and Shelter Use
To: Regional Forester, Intermountain Region


Location: Salmon-Challis National Forest, Salmon-Cobalt Ranger District

Date of Occurrence: August 29, 2011
Time of Occurrence: Approximately 1800 hours
Activity: Wildfire - Type 2 Incident Management Team
Number and type of injuries: None
Property loss: One tractor with trailer (dozer transport)

On August 29, 2011, at approximately 1800 hours, fire activity increased significantly on the east end of the Salt Fire. Ground resources were ordered to disengage and evacuate. During evacuation, one of the predetermined escape routes became engulfed by the fire. Ground resources using that escape route were then ordered back to a parking area and then into a safety zone.

While at the parking area, a transport driver and a dozer operator shared a fire shelter to shield themselves from the intense heat from the advancing fire. Soon after the two took cover using the fire shelter, a line safety officer at the parking area drove up to the two individuals, loaded them in his truck and transported them to the safety zone. No injuries were reported.

A tractor with trailer in the parking area was later destroyed by the fire. In addition, another trailer in the parking area received some damage to the wooden deck.

A Facilitated Learning Analyses Team began their review of the accident today.

9/3 Hiring:

The following message is making the rounds and was sent in in reply to someone's question. Ab.

Subject: EXTENSION to 9/17-PERM GS6-9/WG 10 OCRs for R5 Centralized Fire Hire

The PERM OCR Announcements including all GS-462-6-9 level and WG-5716-10 Engineering Equipment Operator/Fire Dozer Operator fire positions will be closing Nationally on September 23, 2011, as currently stated on the individual announcements, or later. This is a change from the application deadline of September 1, 2011 that was previously announced.

With the extension of the National closing date, R5 WILL BE EXTENDING THE R5 PERM CUTOFF DATE TO SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 for applicants to be considered for the next round of R5 Centralized Permanent Fire Hiring. The Apprentice cutoff date WILL NOT BE EXTENDED and was cutoff on August 8/18.

Please share this information widely. Applicants are encouraged to apply to any position/location of interest, regardless if a current vacancy exists due to immediate back-filling.

Elizabeth Wright
Regional Fire Planner, Fire and Aviation Mgmt., Region 5 FS

9/2 Hiring

So I would really like to know how it is that 78 of the 100 people that got hired during the quota hiring last month and I am still waiting on a job that I interviewed for back in early June. I called the District Ranger and she said that the paperwork made it thru the SO the RO and that the WO changed the selectee but now the electronic paperwork has fallen into the cracks somewhere and ACS is looking for it. So this is how the WO and ASC are helping to improve morale in the work place? First how can you lose an electronic file and who gave the WO the authority to override everyone on selections? This is just amazing.

9/2 Re: CL 215s


The 101 RANCH FIRE in Palo Pinto County was called in to the Texas Forest Service on 8/30. It has grown to 6600 acres and destroyed 39 homes and 9 RV's. 300-400 homes remain threatened. The fire is 60% contained. Three large "scooper" air tanker CL-215's, as pictured on this page, are available to help with the fire suppression effort on 9/2

Thinking this is where they went?

9/2 Re: CL 215s


The CL 215s went to Ramona then back to San Bernardino then off to Texas.


9/2 BU temps/employees can't be forced to earn credit:


That is what is called abuse of power. A reasonable fire manager would allow the employee to maxi flex to save money in these time of increased federal deficit, if that employee was a fiscally responsible tax payer, they would take that option and flex.

However if the training is mandatory you can not force a BU employee to take overtime, comp time, credit time or to flex their tour; it should be at the employees discretion, because the employee has no choice but to take this mandatory class.

Case in point, for employees who are not even under the BU -- AD employees -- they are required take the mandatory RT130 and the WCT at the appropriate level to fight fire or work in camp, are they paid, yes they are, many of these folks are on type one and two teams, some just freelance.

If there is no money for OT or Per Diem, training coordinators may need to rethink how they coordinate these mandatory training classes.

I believe it would make much more sense but to incorporating POSH when we bring on temps and 13/13 and 18/8 before the fire season starts and hold these half day sessions after RT130 or fit it into the module specific training, it would take some well planned coordination, but can be done, each forest start at pay periods depending on geographic location. I will leave it at that.

t fielden

9/1 Fire Hire Frustration:

Can anyone remember a fire hire that has gone as intended? Seems to me that every fire hire is chaos and insanity!, emphasis on the later.

What the .....? So its okay for "THEM" not to honor timelines and deadlines, but if i don't stick to mine..... P.I.P?!

What purpose does this serve? It hasn't been a busy season in R5 so what gives? Does anyone have any insight?

I guess what is disturbing is that "THEY" waited until the day before the close date to say anything (unless we didn't get the message up north). And to boot when they sent direction, my FMO couldn't disseminate the message, and in turn, sent out direction that looked like garbage disposal tailings (common)!

How do we deserve to get the best when we operate in this fashion? Why should people come to work here when they get the jerk around on stuff like this (not to mention the hiring process)?

Here's the deadline, uhh........Nope!

Signed: Engine Monkey!

Engine Monkey (Definition): One who hangs off of Fire Engines of any color shape and size, swinging from grab bar to grab bar.
Engine Monkey (Phrase): Those Engine Monkey's were going bananas this year with no fires to keep them out of trouble!

9/1 Where's the CL-215?

I was wondering if anyone knew were the CL-215 went, I drove down the San Berdo TB and there was a P-2, the jumper bird and Helitanker, but no Scoopers. Have they been reassigned or my luck bad today..



9/1 Ron Angel

So you say BU temps/employees can't be forced to earn credit? Might want to tell that to the managers on the STF who forced some of their employees to attend POSH of forest and were told they must not incur OT or Comp or per diem (yet were also told they could not use maxiflex during fire season).



9/1 Hard to believe it's been 3 years since we lost Gene, Gonzo and Zack. I still miss them.

Always Remember Tanker 9


9/1 Re: Surreal

Kenny Franz speaks French? It is so like him to hide his light under a bushel.

Sunil R

9/1 Surreal

Just a note to say I was flipping channels in a hotel in West Africa last night and there was a show on about Wildland Fire, dubbed in French (of course). Tanker 64 (you know it is old if they were still flying) was dropping retardant and then pretty soon, on comes Kenny Franz talking about spotting and Smokejumpers.

Surreal, is the only way I could describe it! Small world.

Stay safe,

Kibble free
Sent from my iPad

Hope you're having a very interesting time!. Ab.

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