November, 2011

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11/30 from Kibby:

Ab, Thought this might be of interest. Kibby

Wildland Iron 44 Chopper Crash Families Attend NTSB Forum

Representatives of four southwest Oregon families who lost loved ones in the 2008 crash of a firefighting helicopter will attend a National Transportation Safety Board forum that begins today in Washington, D.C. Although they won't be allowed to testify, they will meet with the NTSB director and have been allowed...


11/30 Wind event in SoCal is underway...


11/30 Firefighter Series

From Casey's post:

"was literally lost by staff and not acted upon"

Lost by staff some 5 years ago? You need to replace any associated number that has "Years" with decades.


11/30 Firefighter Series

Hi Casey.

Here are some excerpts from the power point that has a creation date of September, 2011. I am sure you will be receiving it soon. This power point was used for the conference call lead by Mr. Waterbury and HR in late September or early October. It seems like they removed the recording of the conference call. But everything else remains. Forest Service Firefighters need to be reading this information.

Short-term (5-10 yrs): Based on recommendations received from OIG and OPM, the FS has concluded the GS-0301 Miscellaneous Administration and Program series most accurately describes the primary duties of fire program managers

Long-term: Create a unique occupational series for FS wildland firefighters that recognizes the blend of wildfire and emergency management duties. The FS currently employs approximately 10,000 wildland firefighters primarily using the GS-0462 and GS-0401 occupational series

And then later on in the power point it repeats:

The short-term solution (5-10 yrs) of transitioning into the GS-0301 series will be evaluated to ensure it is meeting workforce planning goals.

The long-term solution of creating a unique occupational series for FS wildland firefighters will continue to be pursued.

So maybe I am wrong and the implementation of the Wildland Firefighter Series will be 10-13 years, not 5-10, I don't know, I guess I was trying to be optimistic.

Keep fighting Mr. Judd. We are with you. If we don't get a change to the implementation of the January 2013 sequestration federal budget, we are going to all need each other. Those are some bleak numbers. If everyone thought 2008 election was important, you better think real hard about who you want to control the House and the White House in 2012. We are going to need every vote to stop massive reductions by individuals who think that whole departments of the federal government should be eliminated.

Signed, Sierra Sam - One of the millions of 99%ers.

Patience-Involvement-Activism! - Casey Judd, 10/7/2011

11/29 Firefighter Series

Dear Sierra Sam:

I was not able to open up the web page linked to your post so was curious as to where you got the "5-10 years" time frame for a firefighter series.

As we have explained on TheySaid as well as to the Forest Service, DOI and NFFE, the FWFSA has already done the "heavy lifting with respect to a series... 5 years ago.

Not only did the US House of Representatives pass legislation in 2006 that mandated OPM create such a series, the bill was passed "as amended." The "Amendments" happened to come from OPM itself and were OK'd by me personally on the day of passage by the House in which both Democrats and Republicans addressed the fact of how deserving you all are of proper classification. The passage by the House followed a scoring by the Congressional Budget Office which concluded there was no "cost" to the legislation and their would be no impact on the budget.

Unfortunately, on the way to the Senate floor the very next day, the bill (apparently like many others) was literally lost by staff and not acted upon. Had it been passed by the Senate, I dare say you'd all be "wildland firefighters" by now.

I've read & heard comments that such a series would take time. Candidly, I kind of scoff at that. If the Union, the agencies and the FWFSA walked into OPM tomorrow, given the history of OPM's own amendments to the bill in 2006, I couldn't fathom it taking 5-10 years. To me, that time table is indicative of no one truly wanting to undertake the task which could be accomplished administratively. The lack of effort has caused us to continue to pursue the legislative route.

If Chief Tidwell and the Union are in agreement that a wildland firefighter series is a goal, then we should build upon the work already done by the FWFSA and not re-invent the wheel and simply get to work. We're ready, willing and able to assist in any way at any time.

Casey Judd

11/29 Hope all survived Thanksgiving…


NTSB Oversight Wildland Firefighting Aircraft Lacking
11/28 Potentially interesting fire weather in SoCal come end of the week:

HOTLIST thread

11/25 Firefighter Series

At the internal Forest Service website is a growing list of information on the transition way from the 401 and 462 series to the 301 series and eventually to a Wildland Firefighter series (5-10 years).


This site is an important one to monitor for updates. Currently at the site you will find a conference call Q and A discussion with FAM, HR and Union Officials, formal letters, FAQs, agreement on the recent BUE decisions and a process to submit ideas and suggestions.

It should also be noted about how we got to this point. The simple answer is this started and will end with your voices, your comments, your interviews with the OIG Auditors in 2008, our wlf.com forum and our association.

A wildland fire series has always been a continuous discussion item in our forum and we will all make sure this continues until a true Wildland Firefighter Series is completed.

Nice work all.

Sierra Sam

Patience-Involvement-Activism! - Casey Judd, 10/7/2011

11/25 A couple of things on the Hotlist:

Hotlist -plane crash: Information on who died in the private plane crash that Tim posted about yesterday morning.

Hotlist -Inaja: 55th Anniversary of the Inaja Fatality Fire

11/24 Normbc9

Thanks for your holiday reply- hopefully Ab can get us connected. I did not intend to stir up any interagency issues. But in these economic times- a little bad news can be REALLY bad news. If we can clear up anything pre-delivery I know several folks who will sleep better at night.

I hope everyone's had a great Turkey Day. Stay warm- stay safe.




11/24 W,

After we began this discourse I was receiving calls from retired Cal Fire Mobile Equipment folks. No one is angry but just wanted to remind me to tell you that with the exception of the CDF Models (16, 16, 24 and 25), engines fully comply with the NFPA 1901 nor the 1906 latest versions. All lack compliance with
  1. Reflective stripping,
  2. Emergency lighting and warning system packages.
  3. Electrical system Master Switching and Overload Protection and finally,
  4. the on-board chassis manufacturers computer system is paralleled rather than integrated with the (Navistar )
    Diamond Point computer.

The RFI problems created by this are horrendous. The actual specification does provide an answer to all of this, but at
the insistence of those overseeing compliance, it is bypassed. Right now they are using a Unitrol Slide Bar siren head which doubles as the Emergency Warning System controller also. The specification calls for a Code 3 siren. Regardless of what it is or how big the pump capacity is, Cal Fire classifies every engine in its fleet as a Type 3 engine.

I could go on and on. They do have a really talented Mobile Equipment staff but are all stuck in the mandates of a huge  unworkable bureaucratic mess.


11/24 Ponderosa Aviation Accident

Just wanted to let you know, if you haven’t received any news yet, this is all that I know at the moment, not a lot of  information, so maybe not appropriate to post on the site as of yet. (Ab note: Recovery is being reported on CNN)

Yesterday at approximately 1840 hours a Rockwell AC 69 crashed into the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction. The aircraft, carrying 3 adults and 3 children left Falcon Field in Mesa (AZ) for a reported return trip to Safford (AZ). The current local news is reporting that there are no survivors.

Ponderosa Aviation has contracts with DOI and USFS to provide air attack platforms during the fire season. I believe they may still be running with a AT 402 SEAT as well.

Having worked in Safford and Southeast AZ both as a firefighter and paramedic many years ago, I’m just hoping that I don’t know any of the folks.


Hotlist with links to news articles

11/23 W,

There are three builders. Placer Fire (now bankrupt) Rosenbauer and HME.

In my analysis of the issue I first thought it was builder related but now that I have had some help from some old time Fire Apparatus Maintenance pro’s I’m rethinking that opinion. I sincerely believe that the specification sent out by the state tells a builder how to build rather than asking for an engine design to accomplish a certain task. I have lots of photos but I’m not computer savvy enough to post them here. Ask AB to put you in contact with me by P/M and I’ll give you an eyeful.

How about fire bodies falling off while on the highway? To give you one example, Kern County Fire Dept has many Type 3 engines in service doing yeoman service and getting used hard. All of theirs do require maintenance but they aren’t experiencing catastrophic body failures. Another large Fire Apparatus manufacturer actually built a good tough well thought out Type 3 and sent it to the Cal Fire Mobile Equipment HQ for an evaluation. That unit too is one that is

  1. less expensive.
  2. better designed and better available space utilization and
  3. will adequately accommodate the tools and equipment needed daily.

The Cal Fire Models 34 & 35 are now having additional boxes built up to help to securely store just what they are required to carry. In my book that creates a “Final Stage Manufacturer” issue which has some big legal consequences too. This isn’t a Cal Fire issue; it is a Procurement “Low Bid” problem. Cal Fire is charged a percentage for any purchase by

  1. Finance
  2. General Services Agency and
  3. Technology Services.

When it is all said and completed they are paying out over 22% to another state agency for “Services Rendered.” The final say for what they get doesn’t rest with them but rather a Control Agency.


11/23 Normbc9,

Could you elaborate on the model 34 issues at all? What manufacturer?
Our dept. is in the process of buying a CDF spec HME.
Any help is greatly appreciated...


11/23 The Top 10 Mysteries of our time.

Life Away from Earth

The Lost City of Atlantis


Area 51

John Fitzgerald Kennedy's Assassination

Loch Ness

The Origins of the Universe

The Black Dahlia's murder

The Heist, Jump and Disappearance of Dan Cooper

and last but not least……. What happened to Region-5 Firefighter Apprentice Hiring and the 1100 applications?

Congressional anyone?


Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy family and friends and remember that somewhere in Afghanistan a soldier is standing guard on a cold, windy and isolated ridge at 6000'.

If you find yourself in a airport this holiday season, thank them.

www.youtube.com 1

www.youtube.com 2

www.youtube.com 3

So Cal RIdges
11/23 Norm:

I miss chattin' with ya. Best wishes for a safe & Happy Holiday. Same to ALL.

PS. Congratulations to the Apprentice Academy graduating classes. It was truly an honor to attend the event this past
Friday at McClellan where I spent 20 years as a firefighter. Most humbling is the fact that the Academy leadership is
full of FWFSA members. it was also wonderful to meet long time FWFSA members for the first time at a joyous event,
not a funeral or memorial.

Also thanks to those who stopped by in Redding on Saturday for some chit-chat. The FWFSA is more than happy to
help arrange such get-togethers in your area but remember...Casey does not have an OFF button!

Mr. Harbour gave credit where credit was certainly due...to Denny Bungarz, retired FWFSA member who spearheaded
the early days of the Academy and to Rocky Opliger who soon will also enter the realm of retirement after an illustrious

Hopefully some of those young apprentices will come to read TheySaid and will recognize there are groups out there
 working to make their careers more rewarding. Happy Thanksgiving to ALL.


A lot going on over at Cal Fire. I’m now in the middle of it. Literally every fire body on every Cal Fire Models 34 and 35
are badly defective. I’m the 2881 rep. on the Team looking into this situation. So far four that have been corrected (for
now) at a cost on over $30,000. per engine. And those have another eight to ten years to serve yet. What a way to save
the state taxpayers some money?


11/22 Safety Alert - Green Sheet 11-CA-BDU

Vehicle Accident Fenner Canyon 3
California Southern Region

CAL FIRE Safety Alert

11/22 The Groundpig say’s Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! We have all made it this far, so we must be
doing something right !!

Hold your families close and take care of each other.

11/22 Important information for firefighters who attend community colleges in California

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has implemented a number of changes impacting course repeatability that affect almost all seasonal students and many permanent employees. I will try and summarize, but it is going to be lengthy. What follows are my personal thoughts and comments, and do not reflect the official position of any college or state institution in California (legal disclaimer).
  1. Firefighters frequently drop courses mid-semester based on an active fall fire season, or an early hiring rotation in the spring.
  2. Prior to the current regulatory change a student could, in theory, enroll in any single community college course up to seven times (different sections of the education code allowed four transcript withdrawals, two fails and a final attempt to pass the course). After that, a student could still petition the college’s Scholastic Standards Committee for a case-by-case review, and potentially retake the course one more time.
    1. As a side note, prior to this change some colleges did not monitor course withdrawals (“W”) and students could take and drop a course a dozen times with no negative academic impact.
  3. With the current legal change, a student may only attempt/withdraw/complete a course three times (in any sequence) within any college district. Two withdrawals and fail, and you are done.
  4. The few (very few) exemptions that existed in the old code language still exist such as forced military deployments or declared natural disasters. Keep in mind that the natural disaster exemption applies to where you live, not where you work. If your town is evacuated and the college is shut down, the exemption applies. If you are sent on a strike-team, the exemption does not apply.
  5. Here is the real kicker- this legal change is retro-active. Students who already have three withdrawals (or two withdrawals and a fail) for any course will not be allowed to repeat that course within that same college district.
  6. The law is in place, but the Chancellor’s Office has given community colleges until summer secession 2012 for full implementation. For most California community colleges it will require a massive recoding and programming change to the enrollment management systems. Even if the college’s enrollment management system is currently capable of enforcing this change, they will probably wait until next summer to implement the requirement (check with your local college).
  7. One argument is “so what, I will just take my English 1A class on the other side of town” (for cities with multiple colleges). This title-5 regulatory change applies to courses within a college district. Most college districts in California have one college, but some of the larger districts have multiple colleges within that district. The three maximum transcripted attempts would apply to all of the colleges within that district. The college on the “other side of town” may be within the same college district, and you will not be allowed to repeat the course.
  8. The next argument is “so what, I will just take my English class in the next closest county which is outside of “my community college district.” Or, take it online on the other side of the state. Use caution, every college has limits related to the number of courses that can be transferred “into” your current college. There are lots of other issues related to transferring courses that go well beyond the scope of this update. Find out what “catalog rights” apply to you (typically that is the catalog that was in effect the year you started at that specific college). If you have not had a break of greater than two consecutive semesters your catalog rights are properly still in effect (varies between colleges). Specific course transfer limitations will be listed in that course catalog (not the course schedule). Check with a college counselor for specifics and recent changes.
  9. What does it mean for firefighters in the California Community College system?
    1. If you have already taken a coarse three times (in any manner) and those three attempts show up on your transcripts, and you have not yet passed the course, next semester is your last chance to take that class (within that same college district).
    2. In the future, do not enroll in a course unless you are positive you can attend. The drop date for a course (without having a “W” show up on your transcript) is normally between the end of the second and third week of the semester (for a semester based college). Check with your college at the time of enrollment as the drop dates vary between colleges.
    3. If you do enroll, and it is clear early on that you will not be able to complete the course, formally drop prior to the withdrawal date. Do not assume you will be dropped by the college or the instructor. Make sure you formally drop the course and get a hard copy that confirms that date.
    4. If you were not able to drop a course prior to the “W” date, consider staying enrolled. Meet with the instructor and review your options. If you can complete most of the work within the semester, the instructor may be willing to assign an “incomplete” grade and you could finish the missed material in the following semester. Instructors are not obligated to assign incomplete grades, and in some courses, (hard sciences) incomplete grades are not a very conducive grading arrangement.
  10. One final note, and it is confusing. Everything listed above applies to the number of attempts required to pass a course. It does not apply to a different type of repetition related to repeating a course that you have already passed. Some courses (music, arts, and athletics) can be approved at the college for multiple repetitions once a student passes that specific class. While the state is also reviewing that type of repetition, there are currently no changes to repeatability for those courses. What is described above only applies to the initial and repeat attempts to pass a course.

If you have questions, please feel free to call. My office hours are 0500-0600, and 0800-0900 Monday through Thursday. After that, you can call anytime (there is no answering machine on that line), or email me at rmarley@shastacollege.edu.


Ron Marley,
Shasta College

Thanks, Ron. Ab.

11/22 Folks,

Smokey Bear is in the 85th Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade on the “Hats Off to Heritage” Float.

macys thanksgiving day parade

Sherry Reckler
Director, Public Affairs & Communications
Pacific Southwest Region, R-5
U.S. Forest Service
11/22 Interesting article on fires in Arizona being caused by illegal border crossings.

Wildfires Linked to illegal border crossings says study


11/21 Here's some great news for people that deserve it!

Region 5 Regional Forester's Honor Awards - FY 2011

FY 2011 Regional Forester's Honor Awards Selections

All Lands
Watershed & Forest Health
Engaging Youth
Safety Leadership
Diversity/Civil Rights
Sustainable Operations
District of the Year
Partnership of the Year
Emergency Response

Rookie of the Year
Excellence in Leadership
Lifetime Achievement
RF's Special Accomplishment
Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest & Watershed Group
Ryan Nupen and Tina Hopkins
Kern River Ranger District
Michelle Reugebrink
Girl Scout “Survivor Series”
Shasta-Trinity NF Green Team
Los Angeles River Ranger District 
Northern Sierra Partnership
Bryan Scott, Dean Hoefler, Garret Boone,
Walter Valdez, Matt Mandel, Geoff Boone
Judi Tapia
Trinidad “Trini” Juarez
Fran Colwell
The National Christmas Tree
Lassen NF
Plumas NF
Sequoia NF
Regional Office
Los Padres NF
Shasta-Trinity NF
Angeles NF
Tahoe NF
San Bernardino NF

Sierra NF
Regional Office
San Bernardino NF
Stanislaus NF

Congrats All.


11/19 Making the rounds...

Subject: 1st batch of 301 NSPDs have been approved for 6c coverage by USDA

Last week we received word that USDA approved the 1st batch of 301 NSPDs for firefighter retirement coverage. A memo has been developed for Chief Tidwell's signature and will be issued in the near future to provide guidance for use of these new 301 NSPDs.

The 301 NSPDs approved for 6c coverage in the 1st batch are:
Forest FMO GS-301-12/13 High Complexity (IFPM)
Forest FMO GS-301-11/12 High Complexity (IFPM)
Forest FMO GS-301-11/12 Moderate Complexity (IFPM)
Forest AFMO GS-301-11/12 High Complexity (FS-FPM)
GACC Center Manager GS-301-12/13
GACC Dept Center Manager GS-301-11/12
SMJ Base Manager GS-301-11/12

The first four positions are IFPM / FS-FPM, and the SPD Crosswalk will be updated and posted on the website in conjunction with the release of the Chief's memo. In the meantime, attached is a DRAFT copy of the updated SPD Crosswalk incorporating the new NSPDs. Pls review, and let me know if something doesn't look right. I only made changes on pages 2 and 3 (Forest FMO and Forest AFMO pages), and those changes are in red font. As no decisions have been made on realigning the grade structures for Forest FMOs, I made no changes to the grades and they are as they were before.

The second batch of FAM positions at the GS-11 level are in the process of being evaluated by HRM Classifiers for conversion to the 301 series, and some of them will require SME assistance to complete this effort. When the 2nd batch of 301 NSPDs are completed, they too will be submitted to USDA for 2ndary firefighter retirement coverage approval, then will be released for field use (sometime in 2012 if I had to guess).

There will be a Fire Director's Meeting in Sacramento the week of Nov 8, and I believe one of the topics of discussion will be if the RFDs feel the need to extend the 301 series down into the GS-9 grade level, or if they want to let our group come up with some recommendations. So we're in standby mode on that for now.

If questions, give me a call. I don't have any big plans until the week of Thanksgiving, so should be available by phone, cell, or email.


11/19 Rickie Lee Fowler...

Old Fire trial moved to March

The capital trial for alleged Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler was rescheduled for March after the defense received thousands of pages of discovery and needs more time to argue motions. The trial, which had been slated for January before Judge Michael Smith, was reset for March 12 at Fowler's appearance Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court. But there are other scheduled court appearances for Fowler... (more at the link)


11/18 FWFSA get together tomorrow in Redding:


Just to remind folks in the Redding area that Casey is going to be in town tomorrow, November 19 and the FWFSA is hosting a pizza get-together at Upper Crust Pizza (2727 Churn Creek Road) starting at 17:00. This is a great chance for members to meet with Casey and get involved with association business and legislative activities. It is also a way for potential members to come get questions answered about the FWFSA first hand from Casey. It is a family friendly event. Contact cjudd@fwfsa.org or slucas@fwfsa.org with questions or RSVP. Hope to see ya'll there.


11/18 Wind driven fire burning homes on outskirts of Reno NV.

Hotlist IA

Hotlist IA Questions & Discussion


11/18 Thanks for posting Dennis’ obituary, just a few things to add.

Dennis was the consummate mentor to many of us on the Los Padres in the mid-70’s. Countless times he was always available for a call (day or night) when we had questions or were unsure of either what we had done or about to do, in my case it was generally what I had already done…

Dennis loved his job, the people he worked with, and his lead by example style gave many of us both inspiration and a role model to follow in our career paths. To all of us, including his family we will miss this fine gentleman.

Thanks…Joe Stutler

11/17 Another old timer gone.

Dennis H. ENSIGN, June 8, 1937 - October 27, 2011

A native Santa Barbaran, Dennis was raised along with his sister, Donna Lee, by his parents G. Herbert Ensign, Montecito Fire Chief, and Ruby Anderson Ensign. Dennis attended Montecito Union, Santa Barbara Jr. High and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1955.

During the summer of 1954, Dennis became a member of the Los Prietos Hot Shots (U.S. Forest Service), fighting fires throughout the State of California. He again worked on the Hot Shot crew the summer of 1955 and fought the devastating Refugio Fire on the Santa Barbara front country. Dennis then attended Santa Barbara Jr. College but decided firefighting was in his blood and left just prior to his finals to rejoin the Forest Service in a career that lasted 32 years.

Dennis eventually met Judy Lillard who, in September 1959 became his bride and together they raised three children: Michael, Marty, and Karen.

Dennis was promoted in the Forest Service to engine foreman at the summit of San Marcos Pass, then transferred to the Los Prietos engine. He was then promoted to Assistant Fire Control Officer for the Santa Barbara Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest.After seven years, Dennis and his family were transferred to the Mi-Wuk District of the Stanislaus National Forest as Fire Control Officer. Four years later, Dennis was transferred back to the Los Padres and the Supervisor's office as Fire Management Officer/Public Information Officer for the entire forest. Dennis retired from the Forest Service in 1988. (The rest of his obituary is on the hotlist thread.)
11/17 Pre-Consent Decree?

Interesting way to identify that. The agency might be awaiting a lawsuit, however ultimately its going to take a judge to establish some type of decree.

Whats different in 2011 than back in 1980 is the age of electronic communications. We, all of us and our forum will be part of the solution with any court action.

Think about that dynamic.

So Cal Ridges
11/17 I'll admit I had to laugh a little when I read "Best Places to Work" letter from the Chief. Looks like more meetings planned  to figure how to treat people in a fair and just manner. If the chief would just take a peek at They Said once in a while, I  think he would find out pretty quickly what some of the biggest workplace concerns are. No sensing group process needed,  just listen to the people on the ground.

I especially liked the comment on safety and how it relates to the 2 day "safety journey" or safety engagement sessions. 2 days?? On my forest it was about 6-6 1/2 hours (had to minimize OT and there's still that darn travel cap). So, once again,  safety is number one until we have to pay for it. Anybody else out there get the abbreviated safety journey, or was it just this one forest?

R9 Captain
11/16 Just Another Overqualified Firefighter,

Nobody can really answer your questions because nothing really has come out officially.  However, this is what I have been told; the region decided to go with the Calendar Year vs. Fiscal Year for the apprentice hiring.  This means that the current cert for Apprentices has expired.  The rumor is that the the next Apprentice Announcement/Application will be out after Thanksgiving, so everyone will need to reapply and those who did not, now can and selections would be made in January 2012.  In regards to Diversity, this maybe why the region went the route of calendar year and allowing the old cert to expire.  I have heard from several sources that we are currently in a pre-consent decree for Women.  Now not hiring Apprentices this year would also fit into the region's savings plan, so it is highly possible that no apprentice hiring will occur for 2012 (the jury is still out).  It is sad that we have to rely on rumors or get info under the Cone of Silence (Get Smart Rules) and not from our Leadership in regards to the plans for hiring.  I doubt they will come out about any diversity targets as the agency does not do that officially (but un-officially is a different story).

11/16 Overqualified,

You know as much as me and I am one of those "much higher GS levels" you speak of. It's an outraged and I am stunned no one is doing anything about the 1100 applications that were thrown away. When the agency is this silent  about something, then something is up. No communication from NFFE on this either.

Speaking of NFFE, after her announcement that some forests have negotiated boot allowances, I never saw a response from Karen Mora, R2 Vice President when she was asked for example agreements NFFE locals negotiated with forests for a boot allowance. Oh well, maybe that was a type-o.

Someone once said: Patience-Involvement-Activism! It's the only thing people that will make agency leadership wake up. Especially when Mr. and Ms. Congressperson calls asking questions.

11/16 Best Places to Work in Federal Government 2011 Survey Results

From: FS-Chief of the Forest Service
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 17:05
Subject: Best Places to Work in Federal Government 2011 Survey Results

Today we received the latest findings of the annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey and while we improved in some areas we still have a ways to go. We will review the results in more detail and work to make improvements important to employees. We have instituted a number of measures in the past years to improve and are committed to working with you to identify how we can improve in the future.

I encourage all of our employees to click on this link Best Places to Work in Federal Government 2011 Survey Results, take a look at the survey and discuss with your leadership and staff what can be done to address areas of concern. At the national level, I will continue with my sensing group process where we regularly meet to talk about workplace concerns, and I will also continue to focus the National Leadership Council on two priorities that directly relate to the health and well being of the Forest Service community: Safety and Cultural Transformation.

On the Safety front our goal is simple: we want to eliminate workplace accidents. That’s why we’re in the midst of involving every single Forest Service employee in two-day engagement sessions to discuss ways to prevent dangerous situations before they happen. In terms of Cultural Transformation, we know that a diverse workforce that reflects the country’s demographics will foster a better understanding of cultural and social differences in our work places.

I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the hard work that all of you do day in and day out to protect and preserve our nation’s forests and grasslands. Keep up the great work, and let’s collectively put our heads together on how we make sure our work force feels more engaged and appreciated. One strong starting point we have is that the survey shows overwhelmingly that we enjoy our work, and we feel our jobs are important. Let’s use that as a foundation to ensure next year’s survey has us moving up the ladder again.


11/16 R5 Apprenticeship Hiring


I have heard rumors that R5 apprenticeship hiring was paused because a lack of diversity in applicants. Sadly, I will not even touch on the legality of that decision, as all I really want is a permanent job, like so many others I know!

I have asked numerous people with much higher GS levels than me what is going on with the hiring, and no one can give me an answer.

I have heard from multiple people on multiple districts now that hiring will take place in January 2012, but that the applicants from September 2011 will have to re-apply because their previous Avue applications will have expired by then. I have searched for a new outreach or job announcement, and have been unable to find anything, anywhere.

If anyone, anywhere, can tell me ANYTHING it would be much appreciated! Thanks!

All I want is a job! Base it off my qualifications, not the color of my skin, or my gender!


Just Another Overqualified Firefighter Who Dreams Of A Permanent Job

11/15  I will let you post this since my computer skills are limited.


$17 million Zaca Fire costs repaid

Thanks, Old LPF. Ab.

11/15 Forest Service category on Jeopardy tonight:

Pull up a seat and have your family and friends join you tonight for the finale of Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions! where the new US Forest Service category will be launched. Starting November 2 and ending today, former champs have been testing their wits and skills to see who has the smarts to take their game to the next level and win the coveted trophy and title. Join 9 million other viewers in the Jeopardy audience and discover if the best-of-the-best can answer the challenging questions in the new US Forest Service category - or if you and your friends can!

To find out where Jeopardy airs in your area check their website at www.jeopardy.com/  "Jeopardy!" is the #2 series in syndication.

Sherry Reckler
Director, Public Affairs & Communications
Pacific Southwest Region, R-5

11/15 USDA Disclaimer:

Reply to Letterman.

Big Brother. It's his computer/blackberry/etc. He has put your head in the cradle of the cyber guillotine and will pull the lever if you decide to forward sensitive or embarrassing agency information or if you decide to express a conflicting opinion to the agency dogma while using his computer and agency email account.

You have been educated and documented in the annual mandatory gag-learn training of agency computer use. This new legal disclaimer attached to your outgoing email is a warning to the receiving party.

It might be wise to only use your personal devices to communicate on this forum, even on your lunch break. Agency devices can and will be tracked if Big Brother wants to see every key stroke.

Your emails will be used as leverage against you to ensure subordination, compliance, or silence. There is no constitutional right to freedom of speech as a federal employee on a federal email account.

-Retired Curmudgeon-

11/15 Pay Problems Not New

The low pay, lack of pay raises, and low morale in the Forest Service is a huge problem today but it is not a new problem. Note the attached Letter of Resignation written by Forest Supervisor Fred Breen in 1908.

http://foresthistory.org ... Ranger_Life/rangresg.aspx


11/15 Florida's memorial service for fallen firefighters:

On November 3rd I was honored to be allowed to represent my home unit at a memorial service held at the main training center for the state of Florida's Forest Service in Withlacootchee, Florida. Among those honored were all seven of Florida's line-of-duty deaths since the inception of our state's forest fire program. Of course special recognition was given to our two rangers we lost this year. It was an extremely somber, sad, and moving service. We rededicated an existing monument that has been overhauled and expanded. The entire service was handled well with a lot of obvious forethought and sensitive planning. The main speaker was Agricultural commissioner Adam Putnam, whose main theme was the brotherhood of our service, and a commitment to not forget the sacrifices made, and the ongoing service by current rangers. He spent considerable time promising not to forget the fallen or us still serving.

For a selfish moment I almost wanted to react to his statements negatively, regarding our lack of any type of pay increase for 6 years, and the recent pay cuts (by way of new employee contributions to retirement.) It would be easy to be bitter thinking of my families financial struggle. However the day was intended to honor the fallen. So I decided to take the promises to never forget the fallen or the still serving at face value and to think only of my brothers who have given their all.

I wanted to use this post to publicly thank everyone who participated in creating such a lovely, moving memorial.

Flash in Florida

11/14 New disclaimer:

This came into our Forest Service emails. I have seen this statement on other individual emails from employees that added the statement on their own.

Can someone in the forum address what's the reason for a disclaimer like this? Is there a legal reason? Examples would be great. Never really understood the importance of this.



Intended Audience: All FS
November 14, 2011
Legal USDA Disclaimer Added to All Outgoing Email Messages

Main Point
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adding a legal disclaimer to the email template for all agency employees. The legal disclaimer will be added as a footer to all emails you send from your Forest Service account beginning November 21, 2011.

What You Need to Do
You do not need to do anything. Just be aware that the legal disclaimer will automatically appear as a footer in all emails that you send beginning November 21, 2011. The content of the legal disclaimer is as follows:

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

11/14 FS Job Outreach:

Does anyone have the www link for FS outreaches? I seem to remember there being one, but can't find it.


I kept losing it, too, so I added it to the bottom of the FireJobs page under Federal Agency Links. Ab.

11/14 Ken is still kicking! Ab.
11/14 Blood Drive in Memory of Jordan Reyes:

Ab, wondering if you could pass on this info.
Blood Drive Honoring Local Firefighter


Notification of Injury CAL FIRE

FYI Out of TCU. This message was released to the dept. yesterday. 

"I want to share some initial information about a significant injury to a CAL FIRE employee from the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. ‪CAL FIRE crews assisted the Copperopolis Fire Protection District with a residential structure fire in Copperopolis (Calaveras County) just after 10:30 p.m. last night. While engaged in firefighting activity, a CAL FIRE Captain sustained serious injuries due to a partial structural collapse. The Captain was airlifted to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and is listed in serious condition. Two additional firefighters sustained minor injuries battling the fire. A Serious Accident Review Team (SART) has been initiated and a Blue Sheet will follow as soon as it is developed.  CAL FIRE and CDF Firefighters are supporting the employee, family members and Unit personnel.  I will share additional information on our employee when it becomes available and is coordinated with family members.

TCU staff have done an exceptional job during this difficult time.  Please keep them in your thoughts.

Ken Pimlott
11/13 Chance Zobel Memory Run:

I heard from a participant that there was a great gathering and turnout in honor of Firefighter Chance Zobel who died on a grass fire, hit by a car, in SC last year.

5K run honors fallen Columbia firefighter

GA Peach

11/12 Air Tanker Art?

AB, this response was sent back to a blind copy distribution list in response to concerns raised about the  airtanker art controversy.

“Another CDF BC”

From: caryn kunkle [mailto:mykunkle@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:13 AM
To: Jordan Griska
Subject: The Grumman Greenhouse: Real INFO

Dear Guys,

As a former firefighter (for seven active years) at Roslyn 500, and from a military family, I write to you today as the project manager of the sculpture, Grumman Greenhouse, by artist Jordan Griska. I read some of your letters recently, and I would like to share something you are missing... info!

Firstly, this is a site specific sculpture. What that means is the artist was offered a tight space between two buildings to make a sculpture on an 18 foot platform. This was not a sculpture that existed and was then purchased for the space. This work was built to fit into the existing space, making it necessary to orient the plane in a position that fits between two buildings and also serves as an accessible greenhouse. The nose of the plane naturally lends itself to much more available space than the tail. Jordan Griska (an artist from Philadelphia in his twenties) is well known for re-purposing existing highly recognizable objects into something with a new possiblitiy or purpose. These objects are bent, origami'd, mechanized, or all of the above. Many times Griska completes the repurposed objects with a brightly painted finish to look newly manufactured as his creation. You can see his works at http://www.jordangriska.com/ where the first image that pops up are his repurposed newspaper boxes, or honor boxes. These are mirrored objects, resembling the flotsam seen after natural disasters.

This S2F however, is different. To Griska this plane is not just an object but something much farther beyond, to him it has a personality, a life. A former submarine bomber for the Navy, the S2F then fought fire in California, and then made its way to a run down outdoor storage compund in Alabama where it was shredded apart and stripped of all valuable parts. It was put up for sale on e-bay, with the owner declaring this was it's last chance for sale before being scrapped. Griska was the only bidder. It came up to Philadelphia on two truck trips, the final load arriving the same day that the tornadoes hit that same compound in Alabama the plane had been days before. Despite having missed the tornadoes it was clear this plane needed TLC, when it got here it was mangled, cut up, missing parts, windows burned and melted. Griska and a team of local community members restored the entire plane by hand. They called in military personnel, airplane experts, commercial pilots, and private civilian pilots to come and look at the plane, give advice on what was missing, who had replacement parts, how to make it whole again. Each piece was hand crafted from aluminum, riveted in the same manner, and missing pieces donated from aviation enthusiasts in the neighborhood and far away who heard of the project through the grapevine.

Rather than candy coating it and making it look manufactured, Griska wanted the plane to tell the story of the life it has had. The paint was sanded by hand for hundreds of hours by a team of local volunteer students and artists to save the details the plane had collected during its service. No numbers, decals, or colors were stripped that identified the craft, only the white paint on the body of the plane was removed to expose the aluminum and the dings and patches the plane had collected during its working and resting years.

After months of restoration the plane was put into upright position and converted into a working greenhouse. The nose of the plane and the cargo doors in its belly open to reveal a growing gift to the community. Food grown here is being harvested for low-income families by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It is in no way built to reference a crash. It fits into the allowed space and continues the theme of futuristic retrofitting of objects that Griska is so well known for. Since the plane in this orientation would obviously receive criticism for appearing to be in a crashed position Jordan spent time thinking what this means to his work. Is it significant? Is it a coincidence that matters? "If a plane had been previously crashed on a current civilian property could a civilian use it for another purpose in it's new state?" This is one of the questions the artist asked himself when approaching this site specific work.

Use your imagination, but keep in mind its positive purpose.The plane has been repurposed, revitalized and is working to serve the American people again. Union guys, Firefighters, aviators, military generals and privates, and one ex Joint Cheif of Staff for a President have seen the plane at the studio on its journey back to life. They have all teared up, applauded, or been amazed at the intense work and devotion this artist has given to this airplane. Save your judgment for a real life encounter. The 16th Joint Chief of Staff for the United States Military has dedicated a plaque to this plane. The CDF and the head of the aviation group that raises funds for firefighting aircraft on California are both involved with the research on this plane, and support the project. So does the Navy veterans group that flew those craft in service. This is a great opportunity for pilots of this plane both from the Navy and the CDF to join forces and promote awareness in the public of the great need for of this type of aircraft in firefighting today!

Jordan was deeply disappointed to not receive the logbook with the plane, so the research being done on the plane and the plaque have been extremely important to him from the beginning. It is very exciting to see the public gain an awareness of the role of this craft played in their safety at home and abroad. My longtime friend John Brosnan is a mechanic for a fighter plane in the airforce and I see how he loves 'his' plane. He knows every part. Every sound, every flaw. Even when he is home on leave he knows where "she" is. Over the months as Jordan has spent tens of thousands of dollars, and many hundreds of hours turning this plane from ragged scraps to whole parts by hand, he has fallen in love with the plane. He knows every rivet, every panel, every hinge. And he wants the public to see her history! When servicemen, especially mechanics, see the love and time he has put into the craft they will see that he has far from crashed her, but has put her on a pedestal and returned her to work.

Please join us on November 21st at noon at Lenfest Plaza for the opening ceremony. Details to be posted tomorrow at:



Caryn Kunkle

11/12 Aerial Fire Recon:

Kinda wondered if someone was looking into this...

Aerial Robot System Can Save Firefighter Lives, Study Suggests


11/11 Airtanker Art (NOT)

That is just not in good taste folks. Our aerial firefighters deserve better respect than this, whether it was intentional or not. Repaint it-period.

“Another CDF BC”

11/11 Air Tanker Art ...not


Having been involved in the tanker industry for close to 40 years, I've spoken with thousands of people from every continent, and most countries contained therein and CalFire's Air Program has, for many years, been looked to as an agency to be modeled after. Granted, not every living soul knows CalFire, the USFS, or any other fire agency outside their own neighborhood or village, but they watch world news and see what's happening here in the US.

When the Station Fire was burning, it got worldwide coverage, along with ton's of video showing ground crews, tankers In quite a few communications during and after the Station Fire, believe me, they know what a CalFire tanker looks like. To claim that I'm a tad arrogant in my statement is unfounded. As far as me overreacting to this whole mess, maybe I am. Maybe I'm the only one who cares enough to stand up and say something. If that's the case, then this is my cross to bear and I'll carry it with pride.

I appreciate your point of view, but just wanted to let you know that CalFire has a bigger footprint than you may think.

Tom Janney

11/11 Seeking contact information for Joel Burris or his family:

Do you know Joel D. Burris?

In 2007 he and his wife Gretchen were in a car accident She died and Joel sustained head injuries. I am old friend from the 70's I just heard about this; if you have any addresses for him email. street, I have pictures from his navy days I would like to send him.

Thanks, viola

Readers, the Burris' accident near Portland, Oregon was described on theysaid in mid-January 2007. If anyone can provide contact info for Joel or an update, please let us know and we'll pass it on to Viola. The contact that sent in the informational post in 2007 is no longer at that email address. Thanks, Ab.

11/11 Making the rounds in California

To: County Fire Chiefs
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 9:54 PM
Subject: SRA Fee Implementation

Fire Tax Implementation Remains on Hold. Staff presented an update on the status of the fire tax (labeled a "fire prevention fee") approved by the Legislature and governor this year (ABX1 29, Blumenfield). Staff said the Department of Finance is considering loaning funds to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), which then would contract with the BOE to administer the tax. So far, no money has been provided.

Staff said CalFire is developing a list – without assessors' involvement – of property owners who will be billed, and indicated that the BOE would need an annual allocation of $7 million and 64.5 positions to administer the tax on an ongoing basis.

BOE Chairman Jerome Horton said the board needs information from the Brown administration about the permanency of the tax, and expressed concern about the BOE's financial exposure if the agency hires permanent employees to administer the tax without assurance that the state will provide the needed funding.

11/10 Air Tanker Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there is a point where a line is crossed. In my opinion the line was crossed with the TS-2 Tracker hull. Regardless of the type of fixed wing air tanker I see this as something that desecrates the memories of those many brave and fearless air tanker pilots who gave their all. We in this profession are a large close knit family. Any attempts to lessen the feelings we have for each other is really objectionable to me. The memories of our lost pilots is no less dear to me than any other member of this family. I think this was short sighted but not intended to be that way.


11/10 Air Tanker Art

This must be an "educational moment" ... Artists should always do their homework...

An analogy or two, DD, to give you a feel for the emotional impact that TS-2 Tracker hull image evokes...

Suppose we had lost every 7th space shuttle -- with all the horror and PTSD and heartache that accompanied extinguishing the fire and recovering the shuttle crews' remains -- if there were any -- and mourning our fallen astronauts, and what if there were visual memories of those shuttles impacting the earth, associated with charred bodies and body parts -- like, ummmm,  there are visual memories of the terrorists' planes hitting the twin towers on 9/11 and people you knew leaping to their deaths to avoid the flames and their bodies hitting the ground... can you identify with either of those?

Would you consider it "art" to intentionally sculpt a very graphic reproduction of a space shuttle crash and think firefighters and airtanker pilots and spouses and children of our airtanker pilots would consider it art or inspirational or something that was even remotely "worthy of sustaining life and helping a community"? Hunh???? To me, that Tracker hull sculpture of our airtanker is haunting in the worst way. The stuff of recurring nightmares, panic attacks and children's tears for lost fathers. The wannabe artist should at least do his research and come up with something original like his own color scheme.

Hmmmm, Maybe a crew should take him on the next search and recovery: let him see the horrific sights, smell the smells and hear the sounds of everything burning so he can truly appreciate the nightmares his sculpture reawakens in the working men and women of the wildland firefighting world ...

Community, carry on. Ab.

11/10 Air Tanker Art

Food for thought,

If you read the article the thoughts of the artist was to turn an old war plane into something that sustained life and helped the community. Odd choice of expression, in my opinion, sure. To think that this person is disrespecting hard working men and women is a tad bit of overreaction. The mere thought that the "other" 90% of the world even has a clue as to what a CDF..... Color scheme on a plane looks like is a tad bit of arrogance to.. just my 2 cents.. Think before you email people...


11/10 Mellie and all...

After reading all your posts, here are some more thoughts for the diversity issue and they are random:

I had this discussion with one of my temp firefighters about why we could not get women in fire on the crews (when I started as a temp, we had 1-2 women per crew in the early 80's), I am lucky on my district to get 2-3 temps per year that are women; his reply was: "the girls/women he went to high school with and knew do not want to work hard nor do they want to get dirty. If they go to college they want high paying jobs." Some of what we are facing is a cultural issue, I have discussed it with other female friends who came into the fire world at the same time. There is a different value set/cultural attitude than from the 70's and 80's when a lot of the women Mellie mentioned started their careers. I am not sure how to even tackle that issue, and I realize the agency probably does not even grasp that idea. Yes there are some women out there, but there are not enough of them and we have to find them and recruit them. My guess is that most of them are attending forestry colleges or fire academies.

Babies/Kids: That is a tough one, but it can be done, what it really requires is an understanding and flexible boss. I had one of those bosses and made it work and I am very flexible with my employees with kids and time off. The problem I see is that there are plenty of rules that give us all the flexibility to make it work, some supervisors choose to not be flexible and make it work. This applies to all employees, many of our male firefighters --due to wives working outside the home-- need the same flexibility as a women in fire with kids.

Role Models: When the current generation of women retire out who have made it with kids and careers, where is the next generation of role models? I look at the generation gap in fire and it really concerns me, who is going to be the role model of the future. When I first started in fire world, there were more women than there are today, I remember waiting in line for showers (and yes we had showers for both women and men) and now I never wait in line because there are not a lot of women left. It is pretty much the norm to be on a fire and be the only women who is a division sup on the fire, so who is going to mentor the next generation? Most of the group Mellie mentioned plus others of that same generation will probably be retired in the next 10 years, so who are the mentors of the future?

Safety and crew cohesion: Male or female has nothing to do with either of these two topics, crews are no safer because they have one gender over another, in fact Paul Gleason once told me he always tried to hire women on his crew for their endurance, that he needed both strength and endurance to make the crew its best.

I think my biggest concern with all of this is the Tidwell's and regional foresters mandating it to the group that you will do this, instead of talking to the ground (and I don't mean the district rangers) and finding out what the issue is. Somehow, someway we need to educate them about what we are seeing and dealing with, because a lot of our overhead (Joe, Randy, Tidwell) were hired in 70's and 80's when the cultural and value set was different and women wanted to work for the forest service, got forestry degrees, were willing to work hard, fight fire, and get dirty. The values of today's younger generation is very different and if we do not accept that and acknowledge it is out there, we are destined to fail.

Almost an old timer
11/10 Airtanker "Art"

Two options to change the markings on the plane:


Sent from my iPad

11/10 Anyone know what the ramifications of NOT signing a Standard Operating Procedures document could be?

I work on a non- bargaining unit forest in a very small fire shop and the AFMO has drafted a fairly comprehensive SOP document that has been approved by the FMO and the District Ranger. While the majority of the document is great, there is a lengthy section on the Learning Organization and how our shop is one. While I agree that is the type of organization we should earnestly strive to be, I don't agree it should be in an operating procedure document since there are no S.M.A.R.T. procedures associated with this person's philosophy; it's too grey. I think it's a value, a guiding principal and a great goal for the shop to strive for but since it's in the SOP document it will also be utilized to assess performance. This AFMO has already demonstrated significant hostility towards employees that don't perform the way "he wants them to" although they received great performance eval.s on incident and at the home unit.

If the document is approved by the ranger and FMO, is a member of that fire shop obligated to sign lest they face disciplinary action?

sleepwalking through a nightmare

11/10 Airtanker "Art"

I was notified about this today and I'm not pleased.

Grumman Greenhouse | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Museum and School

Photos: Grumman TS-2A(FF) Tracker (G-89) Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net

I urge you to assist me in letting the Academy aware that, while there is no objection with the aircraft being used in the manner in which it is, it is highly disrespectful and in very poor taste to display it in it's former Cal Fire paint and markings. It is obvious that either they are unaware of the LODD histories involved within the Air Attack industry....or they just don't care.

Art, being what it is, is just that, and I understand this. I'm not trying to be a critic here, but I find it very offensive that it is displayed as a crashed air tanker. My only goal here is to generate enough response to get the Cal Fire paint and markings removed. He can paint it pink and purple for all I care, but leaving it the way it is - is a slap in the face to us all.

Tom Janney

Turns my stomach, too. Ab.

11/9 Just got off the phone with New Mexico h.r . If you are 37 and older you are not eligible for full time work, unless you are a vet. You can't buy back temp, seasonal time.


11/9 Making the rounds, from the FS Intranet:

Please take time to view Andy Palmer's story. There are so many lessons learned we can take from this story and not a day goes by that I do not think of Andy and his family and the lives of those affected and the noted difference his story has made, Interagency and beyond.

Please share and make a difference. Take Care.


from the Lessons Learned Center director:

we just released our "Remembering Andy Palmer" video;

www.youtube.com ... WildlandFireLLC

please share as you see fit....


We added it to Andy's Always page under Reports and Lessons Learned. Ab.

11/8 FS Telework Directive:

New Forest Service Telework Directive

If I read correctly, their Goal is 40% of employees at home in the telework program, therefore our office at the district level with 60% of the employees that are in the Fire program. Hence everyone else not in Fire will be working from home. That also might let the Duty officers bring their Vehicles home if their Duty Station is their home?

TOTB (Thinking Outside the Box)

11/7 This link to an article came in from a FS firefighter...

Do we need the US Forest Service?

Not surprising the question has come up again especially with jobs and budgets being what they are.

Discussion thread on the HOTLIST or send comments to Ab and I'll post them here on theysaid and/or there.


11/7 We are looking at purchasing new strobes for the HEQB/DOZB qualified people along with a few of the swampers. Any suggestions out there on which ones you like best?

Thanks in advance,

11/7 In 1956 there was some kind of a vehicle accident or rollover, probably in or near Beegum CA on Rt 36 east of Mad River and west of Red Bluff. I believe the engine or crew carrier was stationed at SHU.

Francis Hacket
Colin Haywood
Harry Rucker
Robert Rutherford

All were CDF and appear to have died in the line of duty. They are listed on the Sacramento firefighters' memorial. What I need to make them an Always page -- at a minimum -- is a date.

Does anyone have any more info on the "Beegum Incident" as I see it's called on Lessons Learned?

I have not been able to find any news article, even from a small-town local paper (like the one used to verify the 1978 FS Engine rollover on Hwy 96).


11/6 Some old air tanker nostalgia. It is a mix of 1958, '59 and '60.

A 17 minute old time fire flick.
http://wildfiretube.com ... vintage-airtankers

Also, here's a photo of  a B-25 drop on evaluation in 1959 at Padua Hills, LA County, CA.


Thanks we added them to the 1960 Mill Canyon B-25 Always Remember page. It's the black-and-white, old airtanker drop pic. You can enlarge it. Ab.

11/6 To: RA re buy back time and to all about how persistence pays off:

RA: The FWFSA has included language in its legislative proposals to allow for buy back of temp time. Unfortunately the atmosphere in Congress these days is not conducive to getting a whole lot done in a short period of time. So... we keep persisting.

That being said, every once in a while something comes across my desk that gives me a ray of hope that some actually "get it" and that our persistence over the years is, and will continue to make a difference.

Below is text from an email I received from a House congressional staff contact this week. I apologize that the text is not in its entirety but there are some off the record comments and as I'm sure with the case of NFFE and other political organizations, the FWFSA's efforts are somewhat like an iceberg- 1/3 visible and 2/3rds done behind the scenes. So, we keep educating, keep moving along and persistence will pay off.

Casey Judd


Thanks for reaching out. Of course I have no problem with XXXX sharing our letter with you. We are trying to get as many signatures on it as possible, so I asked him to circulate it among his colleagues. If you can contact anyone on the hill or have any fire fighters that would be willing to contact their congressman, and ask them to sign onto this letter, that would be huge. I know we have very little time to do this, but if there is anyone you can contact I would appreciate it greatly.

The more and more I have been digging into the FS, I have truly come to realize everything you have been preaching for the past couple years. FS does not have the proper people in their aviation and fire management programs. I have also been discovering that they are using tons of the money we appropriate for fire preparedness and protection is being used for the salary of people that have nothing to do with fighting fires. I mean it just blows me away that FS has seen their budget for firefighting go from roughly $548 million in FY2002 to $1.6 billion in FY 2011, yet we have gone from over 40 air tankers to 11, and we constantly hear complaints from local, county, and state firefighters that FS just continues to try and shift more of the burden onto these local agencies.

11/6 Some interesting threads and issues being discussed on the Hotlist:

Diversity in wildland firefighting
If you have any good comments to add to the discussion, please post them or send them to the Ab account.

NFFE and Forest Service Hiring and the National Grievance: links to all the letters and docs.
Also relevant to the Diversity thread, especially the links to

The most recent study... (Check Appendices A and B)
Civil Rights Leadership Report (1.24 MB pdf)
Letter from Civil Rights

Federal Employment, Pay and Benefits for Firefighters

11/6 Hey Ab,

Here's a cartoon from Chad Carpenter's Tundra that appeared in this morning's paper. I thought it is very relevant to today's economic situation.


Nice one. Ab.

11/5 Fire Apprentice Hiring

Why have the applicants for apprentice not been notified about what is going on with their applications? To help this process run smoothly, the applicants should at least receive an email, or letter stating what is going on with our application.



11/5 Re: Age 37 and boots:

I've been waiting for someone to answer Damien and Sergio on using temp time in fire to bring your age back to 37 for fire hiring. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can only relate my experiences and I've lost my job numerous times to the fire age limits. My understanding is you can only use previous time if you can buy it back and it was in a primary fire position. You can't buy any temp. time accrued since Jan. of 1989 back so it can't used to adjust your age.

My first experience with this was when they decided to make my position permanent since I had run the district crew for over 5 years as a temp and we only had two appointments in fire on our district. When I applied for my job I was told I was 22 months too old. I had 6 years in the Army that I could have bought back and retired at 55 ( the age at the time ) with 24 years, but it wasn't primary fire time so I couldn't use it to get the job. They moved me into a secondary position and someone else got my job. I've been playing the primary secondary every since then (1995) and even though I was an Operations Section Chief on an IMT as a temp GS 5, they couldn't find a way to help me.

I hope the two of you have better luck.

On the boots issue, there are talks going on and have been for a while between NFFE and the FS. I'm sure that Mark and NFFE want to wait until we get to a point where there is something to report other than we are talking about it.

As has been said by many, if you have expertise or just a passion about a subject, then join up and we can put you to work negotiating these subjects.


11/4 Hi All.

I just want to let you know there's a Wildland Urban Interface - March 25-29, 2012, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, NV. It's organized and presented by IAFC. There's a link at the top of the Classifieds page if you need to easily find the info again. It's also listed on the Calendar at the bottom of the Hotlist.


11/4 National Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy

I wanted to provide updates for you. The two attached documents are the proposal and timelines WFEC is proposing to WFLC for the meeting next Wednesday and Thursday in Denver. I’ll be there presenting along  with the other Regions.

Additionally, if you go to forestsandrangelands.gov/ strategy/ wfec.shtml

and click on briefing materials. In the middle of the page for the November 4, 2011 meeting you will see the agenda for next week, and absolutely everything completed so far from all the teams, regions, CSSC, WFEC etc. This should give you a flavor of what will be presented next week and the expectations of the meeting.

To each of you thanks for participating so far and there will be further updates on progress…

joe stutler

Those who want the attached documents, let me know and I'll email them. Ab.

11/4 There's a new forest available on Wildweb.

Wayne National Forest is up and running.

The site is located at WildWeb - WCOH-OIC or you can do a search for Wild Web.


Thanks, we'll add it to the page. Ab.

11/4 Minnesota - Pagami fire - article

Great article.

And this quote is the best:

It is important that we support the managers who have the courage to take the risks necessary to use fire to manage the land rather than second-guessing their decisions.


"no name"

11/4 National Grievance

Ab -

Good job getting the info out on the National Grievance.


Link posted in the NFFE post below. Ab.

11/3 Today the WO lifted the pause, for an unknown reason of course. GS 6-9 fire hire in Sac will go on as normally scheduled this week and into next week. I dont know whats going on with R4 hire that is also going on now or very soon.

Please update who you think needs to know.

11/3 I heard the R3 Firehire required the WO to approve of selections and ASC made the phone calls to selected applicants. Anyone know if this is true and/or if this is how it's going down at McClellan? Anyone getting calls?

"Fingers crossed"
11/3 Jobs

Vale BLM has two vacancies in the Fire organization being advertised on USA jobs.

Asst. Dispatch Center Manager GS-455-08/09 USA Jobs.gov/ Get Job / View Details 302319100
Fire Management Officer (Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist) GS-0401-12/13 USA Jobs.gov/ Get Job / ViewDetail 302099600


11/3 National Grievance

From: FS-NFFE FSC Communications
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2011 10:29 AM
To: FS-pdl wo ops hrm fsc locals; FS-pdl wo ops hrm fsc executive board; FS-pdl wo ops hrm fsc committee chairs
Subject: Letter to BUEs

Please share the attached letter (53 K pdf) with all your BUEs.


Debbie Kaufman, Chair
NFFE FSC Communications Committee

HERE'S the beginning of the attached letter:

Bargaining Unit Employees,
On July 25, 2011, members of the NFFE Forest Service Council (Council) issued their unanimous response to the agency’s initiative “to improve workforce diversity throughout our agency by hiring 100 highly qualified individuals into the Forest Service in the next 30 days.” We expressed concerns that this approach would be counterproductive to a genuine and lasting cultural transformation. We asked how the agency would comply with obligations in Master Agreement Article 16.2, which provide that employees be informed about and given an opportunity to compete for permanent, non-entry positions in the bargaining unit. These provisions exist to ensure that employees’ career advancement opportunities do not take a back seat to other priorities.

The Council reached out to leadership to work toward a solution consistent with Master Agreement provisions; leadership assured us that it was their intent to comply. Ultimately, the original plan was implemented, based on guidance from technical advisors that doing so would not conflict with Article 16.2. Unfortunately, we were not afforded an opportunity to discuss the technical evaluation with those who made it or to examine information needed for us to make an independent judgment.

The Council believes that violations may have occurred. We were faced with the choice of standing aside or of standing up for employees’ rights. We chose the latter course. The Council filed a national grievance on the issue, along with an information request pursuant to 5 USC 7114(b)(1).

This has created an unfortunate and difficult situation. Individuals--through no fault of their own--may have already been placed into positions in violation of Article 16.2. download the pdf and read the rest

Links in the pdf shared letter that don't work from within the document:
From NFFE: agency's initiative: FS Chief 110719 Hiring Pause (pdf)
response: CareerAdvancement - FSC 110725 Final signatures (pdf)
Outreach: hrm.gdcii.com/outreach/Default.aspx

11/2 To Karen Mora, R2 Vice President NFFE Forest Service Council

That's great news Karen. Can you please let us know the name of those Locals/Forests that have negotiated boot agreements so myself and my President can get a hold of them to get a copy of the negotiated agreement?

Thanks Karen! Thanks NFFE!

So Cal Ridges
11/2 Attention Forest Service & DOI firefighters in the San Diego area:

The FWFSA is currently working to secure a meeting with Congressman Issa's District Director in the very near future and we would be honored to have a good number of folks attend with us. Rep. Issa is Chair of the House Oversight & Gov't Reform Committee and has recently offered and supports several anti-federal employee proposals. Ironically he has also co-sponsored legislation sponsored by the FWFSA at my request.

If you are interested, please contact me ASAP. No definitive dates have been considered but the sooner we hear from those interested, the sooner we can try and plug in some dates. This meeting in no way eliminates our efforts to meet with the Congressman personally or to get a commitment from him and the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service & Labor Policy Subcommittee to hold hearings to give federal employees (especially those who risk their lives and are at or near the bottom of the federal pay scale) an opportunity to articulate how such anti-federal employee proposals will affect the delivery of an effective & efficient federal wildfire response and cost taxpayers even more than they are asked to pay now. Please feel free to call at 208-775-4577 or email at cjudd@fwfsa.org.


Casey Judd
11/2 In response Dan’s $100 for Boots, 10/26 post:

Don’t hold your breath for the Forest Service to GRANT $100 for boots. The good news is that some NFFE Locals have already negotiated a boot allowance policy for their respective forests. It’s simply a matter of whether your union Local membership is strong and active. The Master Agreement is full of opportunities for making the work place better, but they are only words on paper unless we USE them.

Firefighters, you could keep waiting for the Agency to hand out checks for boots OR you could join up and step up.

Karen Mora, R2 Vice President
NFFE Forest Service Council

11/2 So Cal Wind Event: HOTLIST
11/1 Thanks Mark. Appreciate your insights. I disagree that every BU position is located at that website, I will track a few positions for you over the coming months and keep you posted and in the spirit of your third paragraph, I will also keep my local posted.

Continuing in the spirit of your third paragraph, educating employees on national, regional and local issues is the gateway to activism (see Theysaid April 1, 2008). Someone once said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others"? Can't find an "I" in that quote. Providing insights and knowledge to employees, increases a level of curiosity, promotes involvement and reduces those on the sidelines.

With that said, what information, if any, can you provide on the current status of the hiring of Firefighter Apprentices within Region-5 and nationally? And no, "I" am not an applicant for the Firefighter Apprentice program.

We do appreciate hearing from you in this forum.

11/1 ea wrote:

"We should show support of travel to all training, forums, meetings and other events at any level no matter were it's at."

And I agree with you 110%, but "We" are not supporting travel for training/meetings at any level, even when its within Region. As far as an event? as long as you have a "P" number or someone else is paying, your free to roam.


11/1 Today is the 45th anniversary of the Loop fire. My best to Gordon King and the other El Cariso survivors, to Doug Campbell and the other friends and coworkers, and to family members. Ab.

Always Remember
Hotlist memories from Smokey309 for a start. Please feel free to add any other stories or comments.

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