"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
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...
Wind event in SoCal is underway...
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Hope all survived Thanksgiving…
Wildland Firefighting Aircraft Lacking
Potentially interesting fire weather in SoCal come end of the week:
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
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.
Patience-Involvement-Activism! - Casey Judd, 10/7/2011
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
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.
Good Day and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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
- Reflective stripping,
- Emergency lighting and warning system packages.
- Electrical system Master Switching and Overload Protection and
- 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.
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
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
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
- less expensive.
- better designed and better available space utilization and
- 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
- General Services Agency and
- 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.
Could you elaborate on the model 34 issues at all? What
Our dept. is in the process of buying a CDF spec HME.
Any help is greatly appreciated...
The Top 10 Mysteries of our time.
Life Away from Earth
The Lost City of Atlantis
John Fitzgerald Kennedy's Assassination
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?
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.
So Cal RIdges
I miss chattin' with ya. Best wishes for a safe & Happy Holiday. Same to
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.
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?
Safety Alert - Green Sheet 11-CA-BDU
Vehicle Accident Fenner Canyon 3
California Southern Region
CAL FIRE Safety Alert
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.
Important information for firefighters who attend community colleges in
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).
- Firefighters frequently drop courses mid-semester based on an active
fall fire season, or an early hiring rotation in the spring.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- What does it mean for firefighters in the California Community
- 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).
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Thanks, Ron. Ab.
Smokey Bear is in the 85th Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade on the “Hats Off
to Heritage” Float.
macys thanksgiving day parade
Director, Public Affairs & Communications
Pacific Southwest Region, R-5
U.S. Forest Service
Interesting article on fires in Arizona being caused by illegal border
Linked to illegal border crossings says study
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
Watershed & Forest Health
District of the Year
Partnership of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Excellence in Leadership
RF's Special Accomplishment
|Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest & Watershed Group
Ryan Nupen and Tina Hopkins
Kern River Ranger District
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
Trinidad “Trini” Juarez
The National Christmas Tree
Los Padres NF
San Bernardino NF
San Bernardino NF
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.
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)
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 email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or
RSVP. Hope to see ya'll there.
Wind driven fire burning homes on outskirts of Reno NV.
Hotlist IA Questions & Discussion
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.
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
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
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?
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).
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
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
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.
Best Places to Work in Federal Government 2011 Survey Results
From: FS-Chief of the Forest Service
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 17:05
To: ALL FS
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.
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!
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
I will let you post this since my computer skills are limited.
$17 million Zaca Fire costs repaid
Thanks, Old LPF. Ab.
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
"Jeopardy!" is the #2 series in syndication.
Director, Public Affairs & Communications
Pacific Southwest Region, R-5
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.
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
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.
THANK YOU ALL WHO PARTICIPATED.
Flash in Florida
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
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.
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.
Ken is still kicking! Ab.
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
TCU staff have done an exceptional job during this difficult time.
Please keep them in your thoughts.
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
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:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:13 AM
To: Jordan Griska
Subject: The Grumman Greenhouse: Real INFO
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...
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
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
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:
Aerial Fire Recon:|
Kinda wondered if someone was looking into this...
Aerial Robot System Can Save Firefighter Lives, Study Suggests
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”
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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...
Mellie and all...|
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
Two options to change the markings on the plane:
Sent from my iPad
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
I was notified about this today and I'm not pleased.
Grumman Greenhouse | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Museum and
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
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.
Turns my stomach, too. Ab.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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,
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.|
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).
Some old air tanker nostalgia. It is a mix of 1958, '59 and '60.|
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
at the bottom of the Hotlist.
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
To each of you thanks for participating so far and there will be further
updates on progress…
Those who want the attached documents, let me know and I'll email
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
Thanks, we'll add it to the page. Ab.
Minnesota - Pagami fire - 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.
Good job getting the info out on the National Grievance.
Link posted in the NFFE post below. Ab.
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.
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?|
Vale BLM has two vacancies in the Fire organization being advertised on USA
Asst. Dispatch Center Manager GS-455-08/09
USA Jobs.gov/ Get Job / View Details 302319100
Fire Management Officer (Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist)
USA Jobs.gov/ Get Job / ViewDetail 302099600
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
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
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:
FS Chief 110719 Hiring Pause (pdf)
CareerAdvancement - FSC 110725 Final signatures (pdf)
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
So Cal Wind Event:
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
We do appreciate hearing from you in this forum.
"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.
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.
Hotlist memories from Smokey309 for a start. Please feel free to add
any other stories or comments.