"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
Heat illness, symptoms, etc from MTDC
Heat Illness Basics for Wildland Firefighters (2,711 K pdf)
The House passes the Paul Ryan budget which freezes Federal Wildland Firefighter
pay until 2015. If signed into law
this would freeze Federal Wildland
Firefighter pay for a total of 5 years. The Senate and the President reportedly
not support freezing the pay of Federal Wildland Firefighters and other
Federal employees until 2015.
The vote was 228-191. Zero Democrats voted for the budget.
Those who supported freezing Federal Wildland Firefighter pay can be found here.
Very interesting comment on the
Long Team, Short Team Type 3 on the
Yactak and all:
Yet another element of our meeting at Issa's office was the admission by the
District Director that his boss, as a member of the House Republican Leadership
Team has a duty & responsibility to "tow the party line" on votes that the
congressman personally may not agree with. I got the impression that Issa isn't
inherently opposed to the federal workforce at all... it is simply a
manifestation of the atmosphere in DC. In fact we had a frank discussion about
politics throughout the meeting.
However - as you and Pen Pal state so eloquently - while often you get a canned
response to a letter or email or phone call, persistence is the key. If you are
inclined to do so, establish a relationship with a staff person in your
Representative or Senator's District Office. Stay on their radar screen. It
worked tremendously well in 2008 and it can work again.
The message does need to be consistent though. The fact remains, you don't have
to belong to an organization or association that throws a lot of money out to
politicians. That being said, the greater the membership, the greater the voice
nationally. You do need to be passionate and persistent and try to craft your
position to appeal to the vast majority of anyone's constituent base...
Making your careers a more rewarding and prosperous one is not only the right
thing to do but it is achievable. But if you are in this for a week and you
don't see all of the problems fixed, then advocacy probably isn't your thing.
While this is a long term commitment by all of us, I do get upset when we see
many long term members retire having not seen the achievement of many of our
goals. Yet overwhelmingly their commentary is they want the younger folks to
pick up with torch and carry on.
RE: Federal Workforce downsize and pay freeze:
House vote split along party lines...
May be time to send the message to DC and your local elected representatives to
stop playing partisan politics...
Best way to fix HR 3813 is to volunteer and get involved to get rid of the
congressional representatives who support it.
You Cannot Reason with a Crazy Person(s)
Long team, short team & Type 3:
Does anyone know why a Short Team was originally ordered for the CO fire instead
of a long team? Does this
signal a change in policy or is this what CO thought it needed or was encouraged
The power of the letter is something we all have.
And we should use it... I have been.
In R6 the past few years I began to notice some inconsistencies with how money
was being spent as well as what it was being spent on. I began by asking the
"chief" about what I was seeing, thinking that might result in a response of
some sort.. However I never received a response. So I decided to try contacting
people at the top of the ladder in the region, again, no response.
So with the advice and assistance of Casey and others more prolific than myself
I took the next step and began writing to my congressman and senators about what
I was seeing. I explained that I had, in the past, loved my agency with whom I
had been for almost two decades, but that I could not morally and ethically
support what I was seeing being done and condoned by supervisors and line
Lo and behold I was surprised to receive two calls from aides of both my
congressman and my senator. They had me give statements and I provided
non-sensitive and non-private proof of what I was witnessing. In fact everything
I was reporting was information readily and easily available to the public.
These interviews led to more interviews with people who were even more powerful.
I also explained that I was afraid of retribution and this caught the attention
of even more people.
I guess my point here is that letters (and letters, and letters and phone calls
and phone calls...) can work. I was told repeatedly that the more contacts that
are received in short periods of time on specific subjects with clearly defined
and documented situations carry a great deal of weight. In other words, they are
powerful and WE have the potential to be powerful too.
Not giving up. In fact I'm just getting going. After all, the agency won't step
up for us and do the right thing. Hell, they won't even respond to my inquiries!
Pen Pal with a purpose
I believe, like you, I as well as many others who post on TheySaid do so out of
hoping we can provide information on current issues that affect the wildland
firefighting community. Perhaps if the land management agencies didn't create so
many issues to discuss on TheySaid, we, like others, wouldn't have to be
concerned about copyright infringement etc.
Candidly, while I don't know the laws governing copyright stuff, I don't think
you owe anyone an apology. I felt awful that my recent post about the Wyden
request for a GAO study did not also acknowledge that the Forest Service is once
again spending tax dollars to re-do their study on the mix of aircraft to use so
I too had to "update" the information I posted with best intents.
I am at the San Diego airport after meeting at Rep. Issa's office. As is so
common, the Congressman was not there but we did meet with his District Director
who assured us he has much greater access, and the ear of the Congressman than
those we communicate with even on the Oversight Committee. Without divulging too
much at the present time, I think we identified some "areas of interest" that
the Congressman will be interested in discussing. The idea is not to establish
just a business relationship but a personal one as well whether we agree with
all of a politician's actions or not. Let's face it, Issa wields a lot of power.
The Director has invited the FWFSA to come in and meet again but it would be
prudent to ID FWFSA members in the newly re-drawn 49th district and have them
attend. While he stated that the Congressman naturally wants to address issues
affecting his constituency (and the fires in Rancho Santa Fe from last year were
clearly on his mind) I reminded the Director that as Chair of the Oversight
Committee, the actions of his Boss impact everyone across the country.
I am optimistic we established our credibility with the Director even before we
arrived as well as a foundation for an opportunity to get the Congressman and
the Oversight Committee to address our issues. The District Director could not
offer any dispute of the commentary we provided him in advance of our meeting
with respect to budget issues, solutions to the issues, etc.
So, I'd love to hear from you if you are in Issa's district. Not only if you are
an FWFSA member but if you are with Cal Fire and work with and respect the
issues our federal wildland firefighters face or whether you are a DoD
firefighter Camp Pendleton, Vandenburg AFB etc.
Let's face it, the recent committee action on HR 3813 affects all federal
firefighters so it is in our collective effort to band together and educate
those that need educating. However we need to be armed with more than just a
letter of complaint, we need to offer solutions that both protect our
firefighters and also provide the most "bang for the buck" for all taxpayers.
making the rounds...
From: FS-Chief of the Forest Service
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 10:12 AM
To: ALL FS
Subject: Final Planning Rule Offers Great Opportunity for Forest Service to Move
Forward with Work on the Ground
I’m proud to announce the release of the final planning rule for National Forest
System land management planning. As you know, we have been working since the
late 1990s to update the planning rule, and this final rule offers a great
opportunity to move forward and implement a rule that strengthens public
involvement, makes planning more efficient and builds on years of Agency forest
planning experience. I want to thank each of you who have participated in this
rulemaking process. Your participation and expertise have been critical to the
success of the rulemaking effort.
There are very few differences between the final rule and the preferred
alternative that was released in late January as part of the Final Programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the new planning rule. A few
clarifications were made in the final planning rule to better represent the
intent of the preferred alternative, but these clarifications do not
substantively change the rule. I encourage everyone to visit the Planning Rule
www.fs.usda.gov/planningrule to review the final rule.
Now that the rule is final, we are moving forward with the critical work of
updating land management plans at the local level. This spring and summer the
eight early adopter forests—Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests; Chugach
National Forest; Cibola National Forest; El Yunque National Forest; and Inyo,
Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests—will begin implementation of the new rule,
and more forests and grasslands will begin their revisions next fiscal year. We
are developing interim and proposed planning rule directives to be issued this
summer, and there will also be a new federal advisory committee to advise the
Chief of the Forest Service and Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of
the new rule.
Again, I am grateful for all of your efforts to make this rule such a success,
and I look forward to working with all of you to implement this rule on the
Thanks for staff contacts.. sometimes. I was informed by one of my staff
contacts that the recent posts on wlf.com about the study did not mention that
the study has been requested of the GAO by Sen. Wyden of Oregon because the
Agency is adept at pushing back on Congress' demand for answers on certain
issues like this, and they have the time and expertise to do so that often
Congressional staff cannot compete with. It is clear, and humbling that members
of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee that we have worked very hard
with over the past 6 years, are starting to "get it." However they also
acknowledge that the Agency has learned to "wait out" congressional scrutiny.
That will be part of the discussion in Issa's office tomorrow.
I am hoping to get clarification as to where the funding is coming from for the
study. So, this is not a study sought by the Forest Service, it has been
requested by Sen. Wyden. Below is an article explaining the request.
With wildfire season approaching, Wyden demands outside review of Forest
Service aerial tanker fleet
WASHINGTON -- Angered by the Forest Service's indifference and alarmed by the
potential for catastrophic wildfires this year, Sen. Ron Wyden formally asked
Tuesday for an outside review of the government's plan for modernizing its aging
fleet of aircraft for fighting fires. The Oregon Democrat said he decided to ask
for the General Accountability Office study after being convinced the Forest
Service and Interior Department were not moving fast enough to develop a plan
for replacing the fleet. The aerial tankers, which are crucial in fighting big
fires, average 50 years old. The government contracts with two private operators
for the planes. "I'm trying to convey a sense of urgency," Wyden said Tuesday in
an interview. "This summer I'm concerned about a perfect storm. We haven't had
the snow. We've got ... a fleet that's practically aviation dinosaurs and
diminished number" of planes. The state of the fleet is well known and has been
in decline for years. The number of tankers available for service, for example,
has declined from 44 in 2002 to 14 as of...
Fair Use Disclaimer
Hey cool another study on Air Tankers, this should go nowhere
fast. There are about 100 of them sitting in Arizona:
it's called the A-10 and they are sitting there loaded with mothballs awaiting
some sort of rebirth. We all know the
red tape is thick but all it would take is a few Senators and or Congress folks
to make a phone call and give us about
a dozen to Prototype. Excellent mobility, ability to fly low and slow, purpose
built "fighter" and excess property. Just
a thought, but hey just one phone call instead of a one year survey.
Re: Renting FS buildings...
About renting the S.O. thats been a question for years and no one ever wants to
answer it. Another money issue is why
are some forests paying over $10,000.00 dollars for an annual for its engines
while others are well under $5,000.00?
Also why are the districts fighting to get new desks and cabinets while the S.O.
never has that problem? Why are the
positions that get cut everytime we have a budget crisis always the seasonals
and lowest GS grades? Why are our
overhead costs so high?
We could go on and on but unless you're a GS fantastic in upper management these
questions will never get answered.
Start writing your representatives and flooding them with calls and maybe one
day they will do their jobs.
CAL FIRE inmate firefighter injured in tree-felling incident
Our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. Ab.
re: another air study
Senators urge outside review of tanker shortage
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators Tuesday called for a
government review of the nation’s depleted fleet of firefighting
the remedies needed in the face of increasingly severe fire seasons.
Retardant-dropping air tankers are seen as...
Sent in by TJ...
Heard last week R6 will be 3-400 less seasonals
in suppression this year, also 5 day staffing on lots of resources.
Dear Ab and others,
Firefighters Life Challenge Program is very sorry to hear about Liza DeNitto,
our deepest condolences to her co-workers, family and friends. She was a
wonderful person. The taking of one's
life is difficult to understand. The WFF Life Challenges Program was started to
help those firefighters and their
families who are suicide survivors -- it's an underground network of support for
firefighters, friends and families.
The taking of one's own life is a difficult topic and, most don't like to
discuss, but it affects many of us and the WFF
LCP is here to help the survivors and the families affected by their loss.
Rest in Peace Liza....
Liza DeNitto defense:
In my previous post responding to SM7, I signed my name
and my crew. My comments were not intended to be an official
statement or represent the views of my forest or my crew. They were my comments
and my comments alone. It was never
my intention to accuse the forest or district of any overt wrong doing. My only
purpose was to respond to the false allegations
that were made in defense of my friend and co-worker, Liza DeNitto. Liza was not
removed from the Forest Service due to
these allegations, but from other circumstances that arose later.
I removed your last name and the name of your crew from your original
post... Thanks for being a person with integrity, Brian. Ab.
Why does the government rent Supervisors Offices and other facilities?
someone who has a better understanding explain to me why the government rents
Supervisors Offices and other
facilities? We are currently making a huge push to
save money, but spend Millions of dollars renting facilities. I’m all for
stimulating the economy, but I’d rather give our community new jobs rather than
padding one individuals pocket book.
Perhaps it is time for us to reconsider our
policies and align them with our ever changing objectives. We can’t continue
cut our Forests budgets without reconsidering where we are spending a vast
majority of our money. We definitely
can’t afford it if we continue to fork out
money to repair these facilities which we have no ownership in. I’m not a
business major, but from my point of view it seems that we are struggling with a
poor business model.
||Jury in Portland finds General Electric
engine responsible for helicopter crash that killed 9 firefighters. #Iron44
From our reporter in Oregon...
A Portland jury today awarded more than $70 million to a pilot who
was injured and to the family of a pilot who
was killed in a 2008 helicopter
crash. Immediately after jurors left the courtroom, the family of the
and the widow of the dead pilot broke into tears. The
verdict, their attorney said, served as vindication because
unanimously said the crash wasn't the pilots' fault.
Always Remember our Iron 44 Fallen
yactak/ air study
perhaps they (FS would fund a study on why they are funding so many studys?
Then, with those results they would
fund yet another study as to why they funded the prior study.
Oh my head hurts!
CO-JEX-Lower North Fork
Local media steam is saying now 6000 acres, 1000 homes evacuated.
To Casey and my fellow FWFSA members going to meet with Issa,
I hope you have a productive meeting. I have complete trust in you, all of
you. The anti-federal employee bashing we
are seeing today by a certain group is unprecedented in our lifetime. The venom
coming from some, including Issa is
abhorrent. To allow Issa cover because of an administration change gives me an
even worse impression of this person.
At least Issa and other elephants could have the duty, respect and integrity and
lead by example and say:
- “I don’t care who the President is, I want to cut Wildland Firefighter
- “I think the pay raises that President Bush gave you for 8 years were
- “Your retirement signed into law by President Ronald Reagan is too
- “And I am working to bust your unions and ability to form management and
I could live with that. If we agree to disagree, so be it. However, this man
doesn’t even have the spine to stand for his
beliefs. Maybe you can direct him to this website:
As mentioned earlier, we vote for many reasons. One of those reasons could be to
vote for someone who supports
you and your hard work. November 6, 2012.
Thanks for your leadership Casey. Keep fighting!
I would like to find one instance where one of
these Senators spoke with a
similar disdain and scorn for federal
employees under the eight years of the Bush (43) presidency.
So Cal Ridges
Goin', blowin' fires in Colorado. Check the hotlist. Ab.
Best person for the job...
While sitting through the mandatory "Safety
Journey" sessions and again while sitting through seemingly endless emails
related to hiring, ethnic diversity, "doing the right thing" (according to
Reaves, who incidentally implies that we aren't doing the right thing now and
seems to skip over a little topic called "best person for the job")... I have
been asking myself why no one from the "leadership" department ever talks about
Firefighter Safety Awareness Study. (thanks for bringing up the
Firefighter Safety Awareness Study into the limelight lemsm)
Quite a few of us put a great deal of time (& heart) into that project, quite a
few of us lost people or know people who did. And all of us have had our lives
impacted by what happened there. For someone like Reaves to ignore it is akin to
a slap in the face. And I only take that sort of treatment from people that have
my respect (and he doesn't have it).
New ideas get pushed on us, however we aren't stupid. If you read the three
phases of the study (and I highly recommend that everyone read them at least
once a year) you'll see that there really isn't anything he brings up that
hasn't been and isn't being developed in the study and more importantly, we have
already integrated these concepts into our work lives... years ago Mr. Reaves.
I am trying to be strong, but this agency and most of its leaders embarrass
me. No wonder morale continues to drop.
Signed: Trying to stay strong despite insensitive and clueless national
Doug Erskine passing (past NPS Fire Director at NIFC)
Doug Erskine 1939-2012
Doug died peacefully March 21, 2012 at St Luke's Hospital in Boise, Idaho. He
served in Alaska as the Fire Director for the National Park Service. His final
transfer was to Boise in 1989,
where he was the NPS Fire Director at the National Interagency Fire Center for
Read more here:
Here’s today’s progress report from our chief (Ab note: FS Chief)
Strengthening Service Through Administrative Solutions
You may have seen or heard information recently about a Department of
Agriculture project called:
Strengthening Service through Administrative Solutions. It is an effort to
find better, more efficient ways to deliver administrative services across USDA
in light of continued pressure on the Federal budget. As employees we rely on
such services to do our jobs, so I’m sure you have questions about possible
changes that may result from this project. I want to share what I know about it
at this early stage.
USDA has established cross-departmental agency teams that are examining seven
key administrative areas: Human Resources, Civil Rights, Information Technology,
Finance and Budget, Security, Procurement, and Property. Forest Service
executives are on these teams and are in fact leading some of them. The teams
have evaluated hundreds of administrative functions and processes to identify
opportunities for improvement and innovation. Examples of issues they have
- Agencies using similar software and hardware but buying from different
sources. By purchasing in a more uniform
manner the Department may save time and money.
- Some USDA agencies spend $17 to process fingerprinting for new hires,
while others are spending $35.
- USDA has a fleet of 45,000 vehicles; can money be saved by trading in
cars less frequently?
USDA employees may provide feedback to help shape this process and get
up-to-date information at the website
USDA Connect. In addition, they may share ideas or send questions to the
email@example.com. I hope you will take a few moments to
participate in these opportunities to learn more or get involved. I look forward
to working closely with our sister USDA agencies to build upon each others’
strengths and improve our overall efficiency. Together we can make better use of
scarce resources and preserve our common mission of serving the American people
in these tough economic times.
Hi to all,
While I have not yet totally recuperated from my delightful week in DC, I wanted
to address SoCal Ridges post about Rep. Issa and our upcoming meeting at his
The best course of action for our Nation's federal wildland firefighters to take
is to recognize Issa's actions and that of many from both sides of the aisle for
what they are; pure election year partisan political posturing. You need to ask
yourself what has changed since this same Congressman, so hell bent on attacking
the federal workforce now, joined even more Democrats than fellow Republicans
and cosponsored the FWFSA's stand-alone portal to portal bill ( a bill with no
offsets i.e. no specific plan for paying for it) just a few years ago? Answer, a
Democratic President & Administration.
Despite clearly knowing that their approval rating by the Public is at an all
time low, members of Congress, particularly the Republicans, have gone to new
lengths in ignorance and partisan political posturing since 2008.
Before some think I am a "card carrying liberal" or simply bashing Republicans,
consider the fact that I was born and raised into a Republican household. My
Father was a Republican legislator in a very Democratic state but also
consistently secured the endorsements of all the State's labor unions including
the AFL-CIO and the teamsters. Something unheard of these days. In fact I
managed his last two successful campaigns. My comments and observations are
based on 18 years of "working the Hill" and having some modicum of success in
securing the support of those on both sides of the aisle by cutting through the
partisan posturing. Both Republicans and Democrats have authored legislation for
our federal wildland firefighters over the last decade although I will admit
that perhaps ironically, it has been Republicans that have, for reasons I can't
readily explain, who have carried our political water since 2000.
The fact is this: The attacks on the federal workforce are not a result of
actual ill-will towards that workforce. Rather, it has become fashionable during
these tough economic times for the party not running the Executive Branch to
blame the federal government for everything, despite the fact that said party is
the majority in the Legislative Branch that actually has the duty and
responsibility to make/change laws. It has become priority # 1 to offer "Doom &
Gloom" scenarios about our Nation's current budget crisis; to offer ignorant,
naive meat cleaver/slash & burn budget cut proposals to simply undermine the
Administration in an effort to "re-take" the Administration. These tactics are
nothing new in Politics. They have gone on for decades but for reasons up for
debate, the acrimony since the election of President Obama has reached new
The goal is to blame the Administration/Obama for all our Nation's fiscal ills.
Let's be candid, Democrats would and have done the same when they held a
position of majority in one or both Houses of Congress but not the
Administration. It is simply the "thing to do" in a two-party political system.
The easiest target to go after in appearing to want to create a more
cost-effective & efficient federal government is the federal workforce. They do
not have the same collective bargaining rights as others in local and state
government occupations so they are an easy target/scapegoat. Since members of
Congress have greater access to the media and thus a greater ability to
influence the non-federal workforce, it is easy for many of them to offer
uneducated partisan rhetoric and, in the case of Republicans with control in the
House of Representatives, introduce and take action on legislation that
"purports" to create a more effective and efficient federal government when in
reality, many of these proposals would actually increase costs to the taxpayers.
While I don't have a crystal ball, I do not foresee HR 3813 even being brought
up in the Senate. Of course it is an election year and politicians will take
actions not based on an educated perspective, but based on party position and
the need to be re-elected or retain or take over the majority in the Legislative
and Executive Branches of government. That being said, I think it safe to say
that the President has also bent to the uneducated assumption that cutting
government by going after the rights, pay & benefits of the federal workforce
will win favor among those ignorant in the role the federal workforce plays in
Ok, so what do we do? We all know that most, if not all federal agencies are
rife with fiscal waste & mismanagement. The federal land management agencies are
certainly no exception, especially when it comes to the management of their fire
programs. So, if politicians on both sides of the aisle are truly interested in
creating a more effective & efficient government rather than just spewing
partisan political rhetoric, we should call them on it by not only identifying
waste & fiscal mismanagement but offering solutions and offering to "help"
congress fix such problems.
That said, who has far greater insight than anyone in Congress or the
Administration into where that waste and fiscal mismanagement is in any given
agency than those at or near the bottom of the federal pay scale like our
federal wildland firefighters? Who has far greater insight than anyone in
Congress or the Administration into how to reduce, if not eliminate that waste &
mismanagement than those at or near the bottom of the pay scale who see and are
affected by the waste & mismanagement each day?
That is precisely what the FWFSA has done for the past 6-7 years. We have not
only identified the waste and mismanagement within the fire programs but also
offered proposals that would create a more efficient and cost-effective federal
wildfire response. As a result of the data and information provided by those of
you in the field which in turn the FWFSA has submitted to Congress through oral
& written congressional testimony; countless letters and emails; press
interviews etc., we have established our credibility with those on both sides of
the aisle as it relates to issues and solutions.
Our position on many issues with the agency fire programs has been validated by
those on both sides of the asile; GAO's from both Republican & Democratic
Administrations and the FS OIG. We use that established credibility by being
persistent with those who prefer partisan posturing to educate them that in many
instances, such as with the delivery of an effective and efficient federal
wildfire response, continued attacks on the workforce will result in a
continuation of losses of inherently less expensive federal wildland
firefighters and as a result increase the costs of such programs and services to
the taxpayers of this country.
The hurdle is actually getting that commentary heard by those in a position to
either spew the rhetoric or make positive changes in the way the government
conducts business. As an example, had I not gone face to face with Sen.
Feinstein in December of 2007 in San Diego and instead had to fight through
countless staff which often acts like concentric rings inoculating their bosses
from even good proposals and ideas, I don't believe the retention bonus would
have happened in R5. I am not suggesting I or the FWFSA single-handedly secured
that funding but rather explaining the difficulty getting heard and thus the
need for persistence.
We have established a good rapport with Issa's DC staff and committee staff. But
we need to continue to pound away and have candid conversations to get our
voices heard and to get hearings on issues as long as he continues to use his
position as Oversight Committee Chair to do nothing but offer partisan rhetoric.
Framing our issues into a manner that is good for taxpayers deflates the
argument by those refusing to be educated on the Hill about the important role
of the federal workforce that draconian cuts to the budget and attacks on the
federal workforce will solve our Nation's fiscal ills.
Perhaps that is why I took such a strong position on the recent office pool by
Senate staff. As recently as last week they reiterated that the purpose of the
office pool was to educate eastern members of the committee on the mismanagement
of the Forest Service fire program. Indeed, much of the commentary by many of
the western members of that committee have come to mirror what the FWFSA has
been articulating to them since 2006 and the days of Mark Rey.
However as I reiterated to them last week, the best way to educate their eastern
members and all in Congress is to get the FWFSA back to the witness table at
agency preparedness hearings. The same is true for Issa's committee. His
responsibility is Federal Government oversight however that element itself, or
the lack thereof, is what has led to much of the Agency waste and fiscal
mismanagement. If he is truly interested in creating a more effective and
efficient government, than he needs to take the lead in providing proper
oversight of the monies Congress already appropriates to these agencies.
Arbitrary cuts to the federal budget will not curtail agency waste and
mismanagement. It will simply allow federal money managers to inoculate their
wasteful fiscal practices from such cuts and thus adversely affect those at or
near the bottom of the federal pay scale and those citizens who rely on such
federal programs and services.
The breadth of double-standards being offered by Republicans this session is
overwhelming both in Congress and many state legislatures whether it is the
attack on women's rights or the federal workforce. If we can remain candid &
persistent and educate those exhibiting stunning ignorance of the federal
workforce or simply towing a party line that their proposals will have an
adverse impact on all of their constituents i.e. taxpayers, we will make
progress. Again I apologize for the length of this. No one is more disappointed
in the behavior of those in Washington than I. If we hadn't experienced success
working with both sides of the aisle over the years, I don't think it would be
fair to offer my opinions. However all some of these boobs need is a not so
gentle reminder that many of us from their own parties are growing weary of
their crap and ensure they know we see through the partisan BS; that it could
very well have an impact in their re-election efforts; that we aren't going away
and a reminder of what and who they supported just a short few years ago.
Thanks for your patience.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
They've lost the locker room...
I would like to use the analogy that's used in
"The coach has lost the locker room."
"The Line Officers have lost the locker room."
Let's look at the comparison:
"______ has lost the team," one source said. "They dont want to play (work)
hard for him/her anymore"
"They think he's a good guy/gal. But he/she doesn't have the respect of the team
(work place) anymore."
"It’s always telling when a head coach (line officer) has seemingly run out of
answers, and that appears to be the case in ________. One source says the team
(employees) "has no idea what to do" , they (line officers) reach for things
that don't exist and then try sell it to the players (employees).
" ...and according to numerous sources close to the team (work force), the
reeling club is as dysfunctional in the locker room as it is on the playing
"..the players don't even listen to the coach (line officer) anymore, They go
out and play but it's obvious they have no game plan or cohesion."
"..it seems that the coach (line officer) doesn't want to listen to the players,
the coach (line officer) believes that he/she is right and that the team is
And on, and on, and on...
"The Line Officers have lost the locker room."
Except that coaches are held accountable.
Continue with the hard work and loyalty that each and everyone of you always
Whatever goes down from the agency's "social engineering
platform", you all stay strong in your beliefs and work ethics. Don't
allow this programmed gibberish destroy your morale and the camaraderie that you
have built with others. Mr. Reaves and
others in DC are clueless as to what you all really do and what you have
accomplished. They are dependent upon statistics
and reports that filter into their cubicles in DC and, more than likely, are
flawed. They will continue to "forced-feed" the
administration's agenda on you in ways that blindside you. Stay strong, Hang
Seen It Before....
When a leader of the agency we work for stereotypes us all as not
open minded or not accepting of other cultures is an egregious mistake. For him
to make statements like that is synonymous to someone saying women are not good
at wildland firefighting or African Americans are not good working or living in
the back county. Statements such as these and Mr. Reaves statements are not only
factually incorrect, they are inappropriate.
Don't stereotype me, and my fellow fire and non-fire coworkers. Mr. Reaves is
playing culture wars. Mr. Reaves is trying to divide us. Mr. Reaves has
committed to going down the path of race and gender baiting. Mr. Reaves is wrong
when he says:
step back from holding this agency in the past and to be more open minded of
folks and their different cultures and what they can contribute to this agency.
Are you freaking kidding me?
His bias as a line officer might be to view firefighters as "not like me" or
"other" or "not so smart as me or the academics at Dialogos" or "a pain in the
A$$ because they don't immediately follow my orders".
What I'd like to know is if Deputy Chief of Research and Development Jim Reaves
and the people at Dialogos if they have really tried to understand that we've
been working on with changing our culture since 1994 and the Phase III of the
Firefighter Safety Awareness Study.
- Just Culture (our wariness with the FS bureaucracy became VERY evident
with their legal choices to fail to support firefighters on Cramer and
30mile, leading to a culture of self-protection and fewer lessons learned)
My guess is that Jim Reaves accepts his own biases or stereotypes he knows of
as OK, while not understanding or caring to understand how deeply rooted in
safety our biases are to hire and promote experienced, highly productive and
California has so many blended, multicultural, multiracial extended families and
coworkers, it's hard to think of even myself or my family as only one race,
unless it's the human race. We work beside and place our life in the hands of
leaders from all cultures, genders and sexual orientations. We do this without
pause and with respect for the position they hold. Mr. Reaves, we don't go to
work and hope to avoid minorities or the opposite gender. We don't arrive at
work spewing hate and seeking isolation consciously or unconsciously.
Many of my friends and co-workers have committed to a life of progressive values
that seek inclusiveness not only on the job, but in all American life. Martin
Luther King was not only the civil rights leader for African Americans, he was
my civil rights leader and the leader for millions of Americans including Forest
Service employees. I was a young boy being held by my crying mom as the news of
his assassination was announced. A person never forgets those moments, we learn
from them and they become part of our fiber. Cesar Chavez was not only a labor
leader for Hispanics, he was a leader for all of us. Hillary Clinton and Eleanor
Roosevelt are two of the most admired women ever. Most admired by women and men.
I shall not be preached to by someone who stereotypes all Forest Service
employees as closed minded characters and not open to other cultures and
genders. His statements lead me to believe he does not have an unconscious bias,
but more likely a conscious bias toward Forest Service employees. I find this
unacceptable of someone in a leadership position in the Forest Service. Mr.
Reaves should clarify his statements or he should do the right thing and resign
I Don't think that EPP defaults gender, only ethnicity.
Deputy Chief Reaves letter
I am just astonished at this barrage of comments from Forest Service leadership
that is trying to frame us close mined people. Do you actually think today that
a large population of employees are not willing to work with other cultures, do
you think we're sexist? I am sick of hearing about what they think we are like.
You write as if we are disconnected from society, living in a log cabin reciting
Jim Crow laws.
To the Forest Service - I am not a bigot. I am not a racist. I am not a sexist.
I am not close minded. STOP your daily barrage of emails from officials telling
us how we need to change.
Stop this nonsense now or elected officials and media outlets will be flooded
with responses from thousand of firefighters and thousands of other Forest
Service employees who have heard enough about what you think we should be like.
We shall unleash a movement, a campaign, a surge that will resemble nothing that
you have ever experienced, even louder than 2008.
You Have Been Warned!
Los Padres Fire review?
Has anyone seen the results of the recent Los Padres
Fire review? I heard it's out. If you have and you can share
that would be informative for all forum members.
Re Hiring Practices...
A good and a fair decision that can benefit ALL
employees. Especially those who are qualified and have displayed
the ability to be ready for the next level x2. Lets hope it's used appropriately
so we can reduce the number of hiring
EEO and grievance complaints R5 is currently experiencing throughout the region.
Yes, disguising unfair hiring
practices by calling it cultural transformation is bad business and illegal and
will never work.
Line Officers need to understand that it's a new world and applicants have
improved abilities to gather information,
learn about options, gain a better understanding of what unfair hiring looks
like and how to initiate an EEO or grievance.
Selecting someone who is not the most highly skilled or rated applicant can come
back to haunt you.
So Cal Ridges (an unbiased progressive thinker)
Date: March 19, 2012
Subject: Advertising Multi-Grades
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors
In recent years, Region 5 policy has been to advertise vacant positions as
multi-grade whenever possible. This letter serves as a reminder that this policy
is still in effect, and it is also in accordance with our Merit Promotion Plan,
Section 23.22c, which states that vacancies should be announced using
multi-grade vacancy announcements. Following this policy affords us every
opportunity to attract and retain a skilled and diverse workforce representative
of the culturally diverse public we serve.
Effective immediately, each supervisor and manager should evaluate every planned
advertisement action before it is undertaken, and if possible, advertise at no
less than the next lower grade level of the targeted grade. Continuing this
policy will provide fair and open competition to all applicants, retain talented
employees by providing career growth opportunities, and will support inclusion
Please note that your SF-52 request for personnel action to recruit and fill a
vacant position must be documented classification-wise with confirmed position
descriptions for the grade levels to be advertised.
Please contact your Human Resources Service Team representative if you need
assistance in determining the career ladder pattern for the vacant position to
be advertised. If you have questions regarding this letter, please contact
Richard Rodieck, Chief, Recruitment and Placement, 707-562-8659.
/s/ Joseph C. Millar (for)
cc: Richard Rodieck
WILDFIRES: Tanker shortage could strain resources, interagency cooperation
WASHINGTON — Mounting concerns over the nation’s beleaguered aerial
firefighting fleet are exposing tensions between state and federal agencies
tasked to work together to counter the nation’s worsening fire seasons. The U.S.
Forest Service’s fleet of air tankers, vital to battling blazes along Inland
Southern California’s rugged mountainsides, has shrunk from 44 to 11 in recent
More at link...
brought to our attention by Tom J.
Temporary Employment Hiring Process...
R5 finally gives up, Admits Another Failure! It's good to know the things we do
sometimes lead to change.
All Wildland Firefighters in all regions and all agencies need to band together.
Together we are a tremendous
force. Join FWFSA.
PS - I am Consciously Unbiased.
Date: March 23, 2012
Subject: Temporary Employment Hiring Process
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors
During the past several weeks the Regional Forester Team has been reviewing
pending selections for all temporary appointments. This process has enabled a
better understanding of our outreach and recruitment methods to improve the
skill set and diversity of our temporary workforce. We are aware that this has
caused delays and additional impact on filling critical temporary positions.
Therefore, to facilitate temporary seasonal selections taking place, effective
immediately, Forest Supervisors/Deputies and Directors/Deputies have the
authority to review and approve all temporary appointment selections. With this
authority comes the responsibility that each forest and director staff must have
a recruitment plan in place to address specific outreach efforts, including
targeted outreach of under-represented groups to ensure a diverse candidate
The Albuquerque Service Center (ASC), has been notified of this decision and has
forwarded the following information for processing purposes:
Approval authority at the Forest Supervisor level includes the Deputy Forest
Supervisor. Therefore, the approval for any pending selections must come in the
form of an email. This email can come directly from the Forest Supervisor’s
Office or in a trail of emails originating in the Forest Supervisor’s Office.
The ASC staff has been alerted to the fact that if any staff members receive an
SF-52 that has been approved by the Forest Supervisor, it is okay to process the
action without any further documentation. If an ASC staff member does not
receive prior approval from the Forest Supervisor’s Office, ASC will alert the
applicable forest regarding the need to receive approval from either the Forest
Supervisor or the Deputy Forest Supervisor.
Questions regarding the processing of pending selections for temporary
appointments should be directed to the applicable staff member, ASC, Temporary
Employment. Questions regarding Outreach efforts should be directed to Ricky
Balolong, (707) 562-8752. General staffing questions should be directed to
Richard Rodieck, (707) 562-8659.
/s/ Ronald G. Ketter (for)
Another good article on human factors (including unconscious
biases and mental shortcuts we take)
What Was He
Thinking? Beyond Bias to Decision Making and Judgment (4,854 K doc file)
Link is on the Documents Worth Reading page or Site Map for wildlandfire.com.
Written by by Mike Johns, Assistant U.S. Attorney, who was a fed wildland
firefighter. He wrote it in 2007 for a Serious Accident Investigations course,
BLM National Training Center, Phoenix, AZ. Some good research.
Human beings are confronted by so much sensory information all the time that
we have many ways we simplify and organize it without conscious knowledge. We
just do it. Stereotyping, biases, heuristics (shortcuts), most of the time they
let us function fairly well and efficiently. Sometimes they become a limitation.
I don't think Jim Reeves was excusing, so much as pointing out unconscious
biases are a human factor, and maybe we should look at our biases if we can (and
we all do have them) to see when they limit our thinking or our culture.
Ted Putnam advocated (probably still advocates) Mindfulness Training for
firefighters that may also improve situational awareness. One advantage of that
kind of reflective exercise ... watching thoughts come and go in your mind --
often while gently returning your focus to your breath -- is that you begin to
get glimpses of where your mind does go, what takes up your thinking moments,
what issues are recurring, what assumptions you have, what may have made you
anxious or churned up, among other things. It can give you insight into your
personal biases and ways of thinking, stemming from human genetics, your own
personal genetics and experiences you've had that have been formative in your
life. It can make you a better observer of yourself and your crew on the
fireground in a critical moment, and give you insight into your interactions
South Dakota Family puts on fundraiser...
Ab, Check this out...
Trampus Haskvitz Golf Tournament, June 2, 2012 (338 K pdf)
This family is only 7 months out from the loss of their son and they are
already paying it forward to those who will
be coming our way, be it injured or fallen, this summer or beyond.
What I love about this wildland community is that the money that is raised
for the Foundation goes out to all
firefighters who are injured or killed -- volunteers, federal, state, contractors, structure, or
firefighters from other
countries -- fighting wildfires on US soil. What
touches me is that most of you who are raising money will
never know or see the firefighter or families you are touching.
I can tell you this, their lives are different because of what you do and give.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Events like this are such a fine way to celebrate a loved-one's life with
friends. Readers, I hope you'll chip in. HEH HEH HEH!
I added it to the Hotlist Calendar. Ab.
D. Douglas Dent's passing
It is with a heavy heart I send this email. I
was informed last night that D. Douglas Dent, my friend, mentor, and
colleague, passed away last night of a massive stroke, Doug had a minor
stroke on Tuesday and was hospitalized, the bleeding could not be controlled
causing the massive stroke last night.
Doug was employed in Region 5 during 1987 by Rusty Witwer to help us develop
our chainsaw program. Doug continued to be committed to us 'til this day,
Doug was scheduled for a certification next month on the San Bernardino. Our
current chainsaw program, procedures and policy were all developed with
Doug's help. Doug often told me how much it meant to him have the
opportunity to pass on his knowledge to the Forest Service employees. Doug
did not need to provide the training he gave us for money, he did it because
he felt obligated to. He felt he was giving back the talent god gave him.
Doug was committed to our safety. I saw it time and time again as he would
stand under a tree with our employees holding onto their belt to make sure
they would not get away from him by escaping the wrong direction. I
witnessed many times when Doug would wrestle someone to a safety zone, my
fondest memory of this was a course on the San Bernardino when he pinned a
man twice his weight and size behind a tree (the safety zone) until it was
safe to leave that refuge. (I have a video of this.)
I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Doug all over the region
Hawaii, and other Regions since 1994. Doug passing is a huge loss to the saw
programs all over the nation, not just within the Forest Service. Doug's
contributions should be remembered, respected and appreciated by ALL. He
will be greatly missed.
Goodbye my Friend, Mentor and colleague; you will be missed by me greatly.
I will send more information as I get it from his son Jesse in regard to
services and mailing information.
Please pass this on.
James Tomaselli, Del Rosa Hotshots Superintendent
Doug Dent 1
Doug Dent 2
Doug Dent 3
Sad loss. Ab.
Thanks for your 3/21 posting. I know first hand how it is for families
when there has been a tragedy, families
don’t know if their loved one is a victim, and the home district doesn’t
know either. Mom and Dad didn’t tell
me this but my brother told me last year that after the Loop Fire when
nobody knew which crew or crews
were involved in the tragedy, a law enforcement officer came by my house and
told my parents I was killed
in the fire. Dad called the district office and no one there knew if we were
involved or not. When Dad told
them a cop was by with the tragic news, they figured Dalton was the trapped
crew. Meanwhile, we and a
couple of other crews were off line and held incommunicado at fire camp. We
didn’t have access to land
lines so we couldn’t contact our families. If this important backdoor
communication network wildlandfire.com
has grown into can prevent another instance like this, it is especially
worth your effort and the effort of all
Years ago I took a career path I regretted and left fire management.
Wildlandfire.com helps me as a retired
person, reconnect with the people and life I care about and dearly miss.
Many were in that situation at Storm King as well. Thanks go to all
for keeping the group informed. Ab.
Not that I'm particularly fond of the idea that there "might be" an
Unconscious Bias in the Forest Service but I do remember when I
was in college taking an Implicit Association Tests which measured
my response times to race/sex/gender/etc. It's interesting and useful
information. Googled it and I got this:
www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol40_2/lee.pdf (171 K pdf)
Good find. Ab.
Excited but worried –
My opinion from a wife’s point of view – if your wife isn’t behind you in
this decision, it will make for one miserable marriage.
My husband was already a firefighter when I met him, but I had no clue as to
what he did or how long he would be gone while on assignments. The first
assignment of the season (no matter how long they have been doing it) was
always the hardest. You were just coming off of spending a lot of time
together, especially if they had use or lose. But after that first time, I
found myself getting into a rhythm while he was gone. I have always been an
independent person, so maybe that helped out the situation. I was able to do
what I needed to do, eat whenever I wanted to…… in other words, I made it me
time. Once the kids came along we would have quite the adventures while Dad
was gone – trips to visit relatives, going to the zoo and beach, etc.
The best part about him being gone was his homecoming. Each time I found out
that he was headed home my stomach would get butterflies. It was like being
a teenager again and when he finally did make it home it was always like a
mini honeymoon, each and every time for the 17 years that we were together.
I guess that the absences are what your spouse makes of them. If they are
constantly worried while you are gone, they will be totally miserable and
you will know it every day, even if they don’t say anything. I have talked
to a lot of other wives and you either learn to accept it and go with the
flow or it will never work.
checking your EPP page:
In answer to your question, I do know one female whose
EPP did not default to male, but it did default to white
she is not. It wouldn’t hurt to check your EPP page. I think the gender
numbers are OK. Most employees I
know didn’t mark a box, because it is not
mandatory or they were unaware of it.
They either say
- it’s none of your business or
- they are of mixed ethnic background and have nothing to check or
- they claim that their culture is American and no box for that or
- US Citizen of mixed ethnic origin and there is no box for that either.
Either way if the default thing
is true and it looks like it is, then the percentages have got to be way..
way off. And
as someone else has already said, since the stats are based on
bogus percentages, then their “diversity” targets are
way, way off.
like the damage has already been done so someone needs to come up with a
solution! (You might start by
changing the default response from white and
white male to “unknown”) EPP data manipulator or NFC Default
person or person's supervisor person!
Q. Does anyone know anyone who would or could make that change in
||The passing of Liza and helping friends/spouses:
How sad this is. I
did not know Liza, but looking at her pictures and reading about the kind of
person she was, reminds me of someone… My wife. There is a gene in her
family tree that involves depression. When I met her she was happy, funny,
full of life and a joy to be around. But, after the birth of our first
child, she changed. She had a bit of post-partum. It took a few months, but
she came out of it. However, she was not the same. Then, our second child
entered the world and she had no signs of post-partum. Through the years;
her fulltime job, my life as a firefighter, and her being a working mother
finally took its toll. Luckily she was at the doctor when she said that she
didn’t want to live anymore. At that point, everything in our lives changed.
That was 2 years ago. At first, she was misdiagnosed. The professionals had
her as a depressed mother and took her out of work for 3 months. When she
went back to work, the medication didn’t seem to be helping. She seemed
worse than before. At no point did her doc call me and ask what I saw from
her. So, I called him and asked if he had ever considered her as bi-polar?
He said that the things she told him about how she was feeling didn’t fit a
bi-polar. So, she went misdiagnosed for a year. Finally, I urged her to go
back, and I went with her. This time it was a different doctor. He said that
he thought undeniably that she was bi-polar. That was October 2011. To date
we have made a lot of life changes. She no longer works because the stress
of work and parenthood was too much for her. But, that creates a new
issue…Money. But, money can’t buy happiness, The old saying goes.
I could go on and on. But, I guess what I’d like to say to everyone reading
this is, this disease is no joke. Take it seriously! My wife has no
addictions, and that is a huge relief. If you know someone that has
bi-polar, you will need to do some reading on the disease and familiarize
yourself with what the bi-polar needs from a partner/friend/family member.
The day to day normal operations that you were used to, are a thing of the
past. And the one thing that is a must, is that the bi-polar absolutely has
to take their meds!!!!!!
||Anyone have any thoughts on this letter?
This doozy of a sentence caught my eye - “Folks don’t really think about
having a bias; it’s unconscious."
Translation - Did the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service just call me a
bigot and sexist and it's ok because I didnt know
I was one. Unconscious
bias, really? WOW!
This is starting to become very awkward. Forest Service - Please don’t send
out anymore emails on this, it’s beginning
to look a little disturbing.
Cultural Transformation is key to future success of agency
Deputy Chief of Research and Development Jim Reaves is one of several
leaders who have been instrumental in implementing Cultural Transformation
within the Forest Service. Having worked for the agency for over 30 years,
Reaves has become well immersed in the agency’s culture and believes moving
forward with Cultural Transformation is key to the Forest Service’s future
“I am proud to work for the Forest Service. The Forest Service brings a long
heritage of adding value to the citizens of this country, as well as to
conservation. The early history of the Forest Service brought forth some
very dedicated and forward thinking folks that helped make the Forest
Service what it is today, and those folks should be commended for that
foresight, innovativeness, the tenacity, if you will, of caring for the land
and serving the people,” Reaves said.
Many early Forest Service employees worked mostly in wilderness areas and
lived in various small towns, and a culture developed within the agency that
“With that brought a certain kind of culture, a very adventurous culture,
the love of the outdoors, the love of our nation’s resources and protecting
those and the love of our country back when we were doing timber cutting,”
Reaves said. “Having said that we’ve moved to another century and things
have changed. We’ve made some monumental changes both on the social side as
well as conservation. As we have in the conservation culture, we’re now
faced with changing our culture on the human side of the equation.”
Cultural Transformation is not only about increasing diversity in areas such
as gender and ethnicity, but also about changing our thought processes and
creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness throughout the agency, which in turn
will help the agency become more successful.
“If you feel comfortable in a place you will be willing to go that extra
mile to help that organization put its best foot forward and provide value
to our nation’s citizens,” Reaves said. “If we’re going to be the best
organization that folks want to work for, we’re going to have to really
address Cultural Transformation because it’s not going away.”
As the lead on the National Leadership Council Core Team on Diversity and
Inclusiveness, Reaves is heavily involved in organizing Dialogos-facilitated
diagnostic sessions around the country, such as the recent safety engagement
sessions. These sessions focus on inclusiveness and making sure participants
feel comfortable. Reaves is also one of several leaders spearheading the
agency’s Unconscious Bias discussions.
“Folks don’t really think about having a bias; it’s unconscious. I have
them, everybody has them. It’s not something you do maliciously. In the
workforce it drives your behavior. It plays roles in who we hire, how we
treat people, how we do our work, who we associate with,” Reaves said.
Becoming aware of these unconscious biases will help make us aware of how
they affect decisions we make in the workplace and help us to continue
moving forward with a more inclusive, diverse agency.
“There are some conservation-loving, adventurous and smart people who
made the Forest Service what it is today, and I would like to think that
folks could step back from holding this agency in the past and to be
more open minded of folks and their different cultures and what they can
contribute to this agency. I think if we don’t do that we’re going to
lose some really passionate people in the agency and attract the
brightest talent regardless of what culture they are from,” Reaves said.
“Lastly, it’s not a win/lose scenario and I think some folks are looking
at it that way. In my mind, if we approach this as caring for land and
serving the people in its true meaning, we’re going to have to realize
that in order to more effectively deliver our programs to our diverse
public it’s going to require us to think a little bit differently.”
Deputy Chief of Research and Development Jim Reaves
||checking your EPP page:
ANON, one thought about your question below;
Question: Why would someone have it default to White Male? Why not just….
I don't really have an answer for your question why the agency would do
that, however the word incompetent comes to mind.
Forest Service Firefighter Hiring Processes and Practices - A freaking joke!
For those meeting soon with Darrell Issa,
Can you please consider asking him the following questions:
1) Why do you support freezing Federal Wildland Firefighter pay for another
3 years until January 2015?
2) Do you support a 10% reduction in Federal Wildland Firefighters, like
your fellow party members have recently proposed?
3) Why do you support your party's recent budget proposal that wants an
increase in retirement contributions (reducing even more take home pay) for
Federal Wildland Firefighters?
So Cal Ridges - member of Firefighters Against Issa!
||From Ab -- Colorado Fire Danger and THANKS to the WLF.com Community:
There was a
burnover of a local Colorado fire engine crew with quite serious burns on Sunday, March 18.
Thanks to Musher Cubby for the immediate, appropriate
report on the Hotlist. It allowed me to get the
Foundation alerted and Vicki has been in touch with the families
offering our wildland firefighter community's support of lodging and
Sometimes I'm amazed that NIFC (BLM) has not been inclined to supply us
with a contact person for these kinds of incidents in spite of my requests
two years ago. Apparently NIFC didn't hear about the burnover until Vicki
called them on Monday. (I don't know this from Vicki but from an email
circulating from NICC through the NPS and FWS with a link to the media
report posted on the Hotlist... We get lots of circulating info behind the scenes...) The info
on the burnover was
on the Hotlist on Sunday. A burnover in Colorado at this time of year should
be a heads-up about the early fire danger around the nation.
Sometimes I wish you all could experience my job here as editor and
wildland firefighter advocate and go-fur for many different people behind
the scenes. I am so proud of our very professional wildland firefighters
whether fed, state, local, private, volunteer, especially the boots on the
ground and their firefighter leaders. I am proud of the emergency responders
and fire community supporters from the other parts of the country than CA
and want to say THANKS for your participation in the Hotlist and Theysaid
- Thanks for providing information to new firefighters and taking time
to answer their questions on wlf.com, you experienced FF.
- Thanks for training and developing crew cohesiveness and community
support, you trainers. We get requests for photo use from around the
- Thanks for focusing on safe practices and educating yourselves and
New people still write in private messages saying how glad they are that
they found this community and that they have learned so much from your
collective answers. Thank you.
I also appreciate those of you that contact Ab with a heads-up on
injuries and fatalities. It allows us at wlf.com to be vigilant to stem
premature info release on the hotlist. It lets us contact the WFF -- or
encourage you to if you want to and haven't done so already. It also allows
us to reassure families that have heard rumors that "No, it is not your
loved one's crew" or "No, it is not someone from that state." As most of you
know, rumors abound after an incident. They are stressful on fire families
and run rampant at times.
I need to remind myself that the federal government bureaucracy --
usually not-so-much including the Forest Service FAM -- can often be
very SLOW when it comes to providing info in a fluid situation where info
can alleviate firefighter stress. This isn't an indictment, just a reality. Similarly, the fed govt cannot help
firefighter families with lodging and transportation
immediately after a tragedy, so we have the WFF!
I have to say though, the gov can be especially
slow if they avoid the resources of the unofficial firefighter network. Oh
well, maybe someday there will be a leader at NIFC as smart as USFS R5 Chief
Ray Quintanar back in 2000 who included us, provided introductions to liaisons, educated
and encouraged communication and networking on the internet. He also worked
closely with the boots on the ground... Visionary... and too soon retired.
Oh yeah, take a look at the fire photo in this media article on Fire in
Hotlist Reminds me of one picture from the socal firestorm in
||checking your EPP page: Making the rounds
Not sure, Are my emails reaching you thru the link
on, They Said?
Taking a look at the EPP defaulting to “White male” thing, (if really
true) seems like there would be concern all the
way from the temporary employee on up.
A tremendous amount of time, energy, bad feelings and money has been spent
trying to “diversify” our work force,
but if there is no real count of who we have, if that information is based
on erroneous, possibly manufactured statistics,
then all of that effort is for… naught. I have to admit it is an ingenious
way to skew the numbers, if that is the case,
but for what sort of outcome?... Overdiversification?
I tend to wonder if there would be an outcry if it defaulted to something
NSTARDIJPOD = (no such thing as reverse discrimination its just plain ol'
||checking your EPP page: The gender/race thing...
I know several people who are a small part
Black or Hispanic that always leave it blank. They consider themselves
mixed and say "so what" to checking a race category. I know several more
that are part Native American. Most of
these folks have been opting out of the racial tagging system. Maybe they
Are the records of race/ethnicity sealed or can someone look it up or
FOIA it? (Is there something like the HIPPA
law in medicine?)
It would benefit the FS and other fed agencies to check the box and say
what they are, if there are no personal
Does anyone know?
If you leave gender blank do they assume you're male?
Mellie, formerly known as Mel
||Excited Yet Worried-
You are not alone! The issues you face are real and important. It is obvious
that you love and care for your wife very much. That is good! In my opinion,
it is impossible to be TRULY successful in this profession without the
support of your family. We all make choices which impact our loved ones.
This profession is a HUGE impact. Be ready for things to change. Be
intentional about dealing with it.
I have recently left an Interagency Hotshot Crew after 11 seasons. I do not
regret one second I spent as a hotshot and I have nothing but the utmost
respect for the community which stands as a shinning of example of effective
fire management. Many of my hotshot years however, never allowed more than a
few days with my family for months on end. I often spent more time with my
saw partner than I did my wife during the summer. I learned as much from
observing marriages and relationship dissolve because of the job as I did
from seeing successes. The suggestions below are a starting point, just like
your first season in fire. As your career advances, so will your
understanding of how this profession affects your marriage.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Pick up 2 copies of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement. Read it
with your wife.
- Start an honest and open conversation about your expectations, needs
and wants for your career.
- Three words: HOBBIES, HOBBIES, HOBBIES! Find something outside of
work that allows you to shift your mental focus away from the fire line.
- Use your time-off wisely. Be intentional about how you spend your
admin. days. Have fun, blow off steam, stay in shape and do it with your
- Just as you physically prepare for the fire season, emotionally and
mentally prepare for the fire season also. These 3 things are highly
related. The better physical shape you are in, the better you will be
able to deal with the stressors of the job.
- Encourage your wife to seek other other "fire spouses", who are
dealing with the same thing.
- Give more than you receive, never take her for granted, flowers go a
- For the off season--find a very remote, very warm, very sunny beach,
somewhere near the equator. Make sure that you, your wife and cold beer
are there. Do nothing for about 3 weeks. Fill up your passports
All the best,
||Excited but worried,
This little tidbit was told to me by a very wise crew superintendent when I
went on a hotshot crew after 16 years in a marriage:
If your relationship was a shaky one before you went on the crew, being away
all the time on fire assignments isn’t going to help.
However, if you have a strong marriage based on trust, you have nothing to
||Making the Rounds
Information worth sharing. checking your EPP page:
Subject: FW: Confirmation of your Employee Personal Page
Chiefs, Captains, Superintendents, et al:
One of the many things we learned during our journey in the Fire Work
Environment Planning Committee was that many folks did not know that the
agency keeps track of our diversity numbers via the National Finance
Center/Pay check. When our employee personal page went electronic, unless
you went in and said what your ethnicity was, it has (and probably remains)
blank. When NFC processes your pay check, if their system finds the
ethnicity part as bank, it defaults to “White”.
So one way we can help get true numbers is for each of you to get into your
Employee Personal Page and follow the instructions listed on the email
below. Your attention to this simple matter will help get true numbers put
IF you have questions, please call.
From: EPPESS@usda.gov [mailto:EPPESS@usda.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, March ... (snip)
Subject: Confirmation of your Employee Personal Page Change Request.
Thank you for using the Employee Personal Page. You entered the following
Self-Service change request.
If you need to make changes to this request, click "Self-Service" at the
top of the Ethnicity and Race Identification (ERI), Gender, and Disability
page. Do not enter a new change request. Entering multiple requests will
cause duplicates and will prevent your request from processing successfully.
If your Self-Service request is free from errors and duplication, it will
Effective on 2/26/2012, the first day of pay period 05.
Processed in the Pay Period 05 processing cycle that begins on 3/5/2012).
This Self-Service request should be reflected on your Employee Personal Page
(EPP) within two business days. Please return to your EPP and verify this
change. If you do not see this change request reflected on your EPP after
two business days, contact your Personnel/Human Resources Office to
determine the status of this request.
Your Personnel/Human Resources contact is:
ASC-HCM Contact Center
Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that
cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.En1.
||Your gender and ethnicity:
You most likely won’t think this is
true, because I still have trouble believing it, but we did get the
information from a very trusted source.
Apparently if an employee does not chose to fill out their Ethnicity and
gender survey on their Employee Personal Page then it defaults to “male”
on the ERI portion and then to “White Male” in paycheck at the NFC! I
spoke to about ten federal employees since then and only one had filled
theirs out (most said they thought it was voluntary)
Only issue is that apparently this his is how the Agency tracks our
Ethnicity, gender and disability numbers!
This means, that at the very least, the numbers are most likely way off for
the 2010 Annual Federal Equal opportunity Recruitment program report.
And might confuse the increased efforts to “Diversify” our federal
Ever wonder why when you look at your workforce it seems way diverse, even
though all the statistics show that it isn’t? Well this may be the answer.
Question: Why would someone have it default to White Male? Why not
Can anyone else confirm this? Any thoughts?
True, read the next post. Ab.
||Fire and Wife:
I have to ask for any of yawls advice on a potentially touchy subject. I am
REALLY excited as I just got an offer from the USFS to work on a fire crew.
I have worked seasonally before as a Recreation Specialist and this will be
my FIRST year as a full-time member on a fire crew. PROBLEM, my wife seems
to think that this may hurt our relationship as I will no doubt be gone for
significant periods of time this summer. I have told her time and time again
that it is just for (1) season as I am figuring out if fire is for me or
not, but she insists that she is worried about the potential negative
effects of me being gone. What are some of your opinions/advice from those
who have gone through similar stuff. We are both still fairly young---late
20s---but we are approaching our 10 year mark together so we are pretty much
joined at the hip. Fire is something I have been wanting to do for a REALLY
long time as I have a long family history of wildland firefighting, but
nonetheless, I dont want my soulmate to suffer. Any advice and/or opinions
Excited Yet Worried
||The passing of Liza:
Thanks Brian and TH,
Since we learned of her passing I have been
mostly bummed by what has
been posted. I only got to work with her for half a season. That was in
2006ish. I have kept her as a friend ever since. I randomly bumped into
her in Santa Fe this past summer. It was great to see her again. She
spoke of the horrible attack and I was devastated. To find out the tragic
news of her passing was equally crushing. It's been hard to read some of
the things people have been saying. On one hand some things need to be
brought to the surface and if this can help some people then that's great.
But, hopefully we can just let her rest now.
I still make the noise she made upon sneezing, SHAMONAE!! Always
good for a laugh.
Great words and pics Brian. You're a great friend.
||The passing of Liza:
I was saddened and disappointed to see the note from SM7 regarding Liza and
the accusations that were made, particularly when she is not here to defend
her reputation. I knew Liza and worked with her for many years. I have just
spent the last few days going through her storage unit, sorting through
items to send to her family, things to shred and others to donate. Liza kept
meticulous records of her many years in fire with the forest service,
including the many difficulties she encountered late in her career. It is
unfortunate that the small minds on the district chose to believe the
malicious rumors rather than seek out the facts and truth. A few members of
her crew, threatened by a successful and intelligent woman, started those
rumors in an effort to have her removed. In amongst her records are doctor's
reports, an investigation completed by the district, drug tests and letters,
all stating that the charges were unsubstantiated and untrue, yet there are
those that believe this falsehood and continue to spread it.
Liza was Bi-polar, but with medication and therapy was well adjusted and
successful in all her endeavors. I enjoyed working with her and it was a
joy to be around her. Like everyone else, she had her bad days, but we all
do. As a Firefighter, Medic and Helitack Manager, I had complete and total
faith in her skills and abilities.
The ensuing Witch Hunt that continued into the next season devastated Liza,
and created additional issues in her life including severe depression.
However those on her forest decided to ignore the truth and continued to
persecute her. The additional stress brought on by the unfounded accusations
made her lose faith in her program, the district and forest. And if that was
not enough, Liza was brutally attacked and beaten to the point of death and
barely survived. She left fire with the hope of starting over as a nurse and
our community lost a great firefighter and medic.
TH's comments are spot on. "The real truth is that Liza was a special human
being with special needs and none of us were there when she needed us. I
will have to live with this reality myself, and it saddens me to the extent
I cannot communicate."
Thanks for that, Brian and TH. Ab.
||Pete Coy is retiring!
Hemet, CA Party
Retirement flyer (700 K pdf)
Best wishes in retirement. Ab.
Became aware of this today and may be of interest to those in the prescribed
fire business. A two day meeting with one
being a field trip, beginning March 28 and is being held in Chico, CA. Check
out website for more specific information.
||Sad news: Kynan Stanners has died.
Sent in by Josh N.
CAL FIRE Firefighter (Fresno County) Dies while snowboarding at China Peak
The snowboarder who died at China Peak Mountain Resort on Sunday
afternoon, in what's been described by employees as a tragic accident,
has been identified as Kynan Stanners, 30.
Employees say Stanners, who had worked as a firefighter for CALFIRE for
the past seven years, was alone when he went head first into about five
feet of snow in an area known as "The Face." He had been going to resort
for several years, was a season pass holder, and considered an expert
snowboarder, resort employees said.
"Actually skied or snowboarded here for many years. And in particular,
that general area many times yesterday and in the past," said Rich
Bailey, Mountain Manager.
Employees say Stanners somehow got separated from a friend, fell
head-first into the snow at around 2pm Sunday, and likely suffocated to
death. Two expert skiers noticed the bottom of his snowboard, got him
out of the snow and started to perform CPR, they added. Crews brought
him down the mountain. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but it was
too late, they said.
Fair Use Disclaimer
||Sue Husari's Retirement Party
May 12, Camino, CA
Sounds like fun! One very sharp gal! Has it been that long??? Ab.
I was so very sad to read the obituary of Liza and discover what became of
her after she and I parted. I have
attached a picture of her. She was one of the most kind women I have
ever known and I was lucky to know her.
I would also like to share my sadness after reading the comments from SM7.
Funny how things change with time, and now there is a perspective of being
totally "above board" in trying to get Liza help. The reality is a little
different, I am afraid.
The comment, "A while back a few of us appealed to authorities within the US
Forest Service" sounds wonderful but in reality that "appeal to authorities"
was submitted as an anonymous tip to a forest service hot line.
The resulting witch hunt and unprofessional treatment from her direct
supervisors and co workers resulted in taking her to the breaking point in a
career that she loved more than life itself.
I lived with her during this time and was privy to all of her medications
and it is true that she was on a large number of medications all while under
the care of a medical professional. Sometimes her actions were erratic and
could have been interpreted as possible abuse of medications, but as someone
who lived with her I can assure you all that this was not the case. Sadly,
this "open secret among people she worked with" was really just whispering
of certain clicks in your community and nobody had the integrity to ask her
about it directly. She was painfully aware of this whispering and it weighed
heavily on her. Shame on not only the Forest Supervisor but all involved,
The real truth is that Liza was a special human being with special needs and
none of us were there when she needed us. I will have to live with this
reality myself, and it saddens me to the extent I cannot communicate.
TH, another message I got this morning in relation to another loss had
the admonition "Love one other." Sometimes it's very hard to know how to
express the love we do have through action or advocacy, a hug or...
listening or... inaction. Sometimes whatever we can do is not right or not
enough or the timing is off. Best thoughts for all of you. She must have
been a special person. She left firefighting and chose to go into another
"helping" profession -- Nursing. I am sorry for our loss of her. Ab.
So sad to hear of the passing of our friend Liza. A few of the posters asked
for a photo of Liza.
I'm attaching a
photo of Liza with a group of her Boulder Emergency Squad team at a
Godspeed, Liza, we miss you.
Chief, B.E.S., Boulder CO
||Reference: Tidwell's letter on the upcoming
fire season (3/11)
CAL FIRE Letter to Tidwell
It's quite obvious the Forest Service needs to revisit Webster's
definition of "agreement".
Yactac, you are right on with the FS managing anything to do with emergency
CAL FIRE letter to Tidwell
||Australian Convicted of Starting Deadly Wildfire
It was part of the worst wildfire disaster in Australia's history: hundreds
of fires across Victoria state that
killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2000 homes in February 2009.
Sokaluk, 42, did not react as
the verdict was read.
||We are all Liza.
Born in '46
Started drinkin' in '56
Travels to a far off place 65-67 increased the habit
Seams like life became a can of beer
To the USFS in 76
And it was party hardy until 87
By the grace of God, support of the agency and friends
It's now 25 years of sobriety.
Every day now is a good day no matter what life hands out
I have friends and family not as lucky as me
And see their days and life just wasting away
So sad it is, something I cannot change
For I can only change me
Another Grateful Alcoholic
||Sad news. Ed Hutton has passed away.
Wanted to pass this on...had not seen it posted on TheySaid.
As some of you may know, Ed Hutton worked with us here at CWICC (Central
Interagency Communication Center). On
3/16/12 at 9:15 pm, he suffered a
heart attack and
Rosary services will be Tuesday 3/20/12 at 7pm in Tonasket at the Holy
Rosary Catholic Church.
His funeral services will be the following day, Wednesday 3/21/12, at 10am
also at Holy Rosary
Catholic Church in Tonasket.
Burial will be at the Ellisforde Indian Cemetery with a dinner to follow at
the Catholic Parish Hall.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation has been in contact with the
families of the firefighters involved in yesterday's
burnover in Colorado...They are at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley,
Colo. This is a verified burn unit
which is also the same burn unit that treated a survivor of the Coal Canyon
Fire in South Dakota last year.
Many Thanks to all of you who donate. It is because of you that we are able
to funnel money and other services to
help our firefighters.
I want to tell you a little story:
We send out our 52 Club renewal letter every spring as usual.
This year we had a wife send in -- not the normal renewal -- but instead, a
Life Time Membership for her husband.
It was for Mark Cooper. Mark had been a 52 Club member before....
He told his wife he really wanted to become a Life Time Member.
So she sent in a Life Time Membership for him.
Mark Cooper was from Sacramento.... he passed away Sept 5th, 2011.
Mark, it looks like you are still taking care of your fellow firefighters.
Thanks All for your support.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
We have you beat! We put in our vets for quals on Jan 27 and still haven’t
heard a word from the RO. My question
to them is – Why are vets having to get approval from the RO? Diversity
doesn’t matter in their case, they will be
hired if they meet the quals whether they are diverse or not.
The system is totally broken – I just hope that we can get our temps hired
by Memorial Day (even though we want
them at the beginning of May!)
||Sad news: Mark Hentze, Redmond Smokejumper, has died.
rounds from from John Allen:
It’s with great sadness that I share with you that Mark Hentze, Redmond
Smokejumper, died in a river accident in Colombia, South America. Mark and
his river companion were camping along the Rio Santo Domingo River in a
remote area of Colombia when a high water event at 10:00 pm local time took
place. Mark’s companion notified local authorities who in turn notified
Mark’s family. A search was conducted by local authorities confirming that
Mark did not survive.
Mark was born in November of 1974 and starting working for the Forest
Service in 1998. Mark Hentze was a valued member of the Smokejumper
community and will be missed by a tight group of friends, co-workers and
family. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts.
More background information on Mark and his love of kayaking adventures and
experiences in Colombia can be found on his website at:
||Engine crew burnover with injuries in Colorado yesterday in case you
don't read the Hotlist:
Good thoughts and
prayers for recovery.
In regards to the hiring of your temps... As I have said before.. Today's
Forest Service has no business trying to manage or
lead a Fire & Aviation (Emergency Services) program in this day and age....
||According to my ASC Case Manager, my recommendations for my temporary
Firefighters are still at the R5 Regional Office
for selection. It has now been over 30 days. The Case Manager said she has
no clue what R5 is doing and why it takes so
long to get a hiring recommendation approved.
My recommendations are based on a fair evaluation of all applicants. Also I
am not going rogue with my hiring. My
recommendations have been reviewed by six management officials and my
recommendations are the same as my:
- Battalion Chief
- Division Chief
- District Ranger
- Forest Fire Chief
- Forest Civil Rights Officer and
- FOREST SUPERVISOR!
Seven management officials all have the same recommendation, however
still my temps sit in the Regional Office awaiting approval
from, someone. Are you kidding me?
What happens if one of my selections takes another job? My next firefighter
will show up when, some time in August?
All applicants and module leaders should ask an elected federal official
what is going on with Forest Service hiring practices? This is
The meeting Casey has with Rep Issa is March 29 end
of this month, not Dec 29. I just talked with him and he's in some
airport. He apologizes and says his brain cells are fried.
Hope all are having a great day!
||Apologies & Promises abound on Capitol Hill:
Hi to all:
Well there has been no shortage of apologies from both sides of the aisle
this week while I've been in DC for the
dysfunction and divisiveness so prevalent over the last 2+ years.
However there has also been some interesting "promises" made by both sides
of the aisle to recommit to many of
our issues.....after the elections.
Overall there seems to be an increased awareness of the issues facing our
firefighters but to try and pin down the
priorities of either party is impossible. Another factor we will face is
that with the end of this congressional session,
a significant number of House members will not be running for re-election
for reasons ranging from retirement to
redistricting that pits many of them against other members of congress from
their own parties. This is certainly the
case throughout California.
We are still pressing members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources
Committee to include the FWFSA in any
fire preparedness hearings this year. The idea behind this trip was to stay
on the radar screen of many on the Hill as
you all gear up for the season. As posted previously, we will be meeting
with Rep. Darrell Issa's office on March 29th
and will bring to the meeting some very frank and candid commentary.
||Ab, Please post.
Air to Ground Frequency change CA USFS:
NWCG Safety Alert - Frequencies (2,176 K pdf)
||Re: We are all Liza.
Just a suggestion, perhaps the posts about
Lessons we could Learn and Liza could be put together in order and stored
somewhere available for those involved in similar situations to be able to
reference? Might be helpful both for those
addicted and those wishing to help them.
||Re: We are all Liza.
SM7 & Grateful Alcoholic
Thank you for stepping up and speaking the truth about addiction in our
agency. I am also survivor of this terrible disease, but not because those
closest to me at work were there to help me. I hit bottom and sought help
for myself, twice. I'm one of the lucky (blessed) ones. I relapsed after
almost 8 years the first time... after I got sober again I heard a co-worker
say they liked me better when I was drinking (I really was a lot of fun to
party with, but I have a terrible habit of drinking and driving)..... sorry
to disappoint but that road ends in death for me. I'm grateful everyday to
be free from the grips of that disease where it seemed I had no choice but
to pick up the bottle again and again. This time it's been 7 years again, my
life is flourishing with good things these days because I don't drink!
It broke my heart to read the story of Liza (I did not know her) because I
know what it is like to live in hell in your own head; you don't want to
leave life, your loved ones, but it hurts so damn much you just want the
pain to stop, and you can't think of any other way. Oh my gosh, that is
horrible dark place to be. Through the unwavering love and support of a very
special man, I made it through, but just barely, and I have so much to be
grateful for today.
Please if you see a friend or co-worker struggling with addiction or
otherwise, reach out, tell them they are worth it and point them in the
right direction. You could be saving a life.
Grateful Everyday on SRF
||Re: We are all Liza.
I am very sorry to hear of one of our fellow firefighters lose one of the
hardest battles we will ever face, "Addiction". We can handle a lot, give us
36 hour shifts, hot line, mop up, burn outs, jumping & rappelling fires,
driving large engines & crew buggies down smoky, dusty, narrow forest roads,
battling fires and disasters in all regions of the 50 united states, That's
Men and women in high risk/stress jobs face danger on a daily basis, we
suffer injuries that require us to take medications, we self medicate with
alcohol or drugs, we tough it out and use gallows humor when that next pill
or drink is just to far away.
I would like to say we work in an environment when our boss or bosses boss
would tell us when we need to get our act together and help us get the
treatment we need, 20 years ago that may have happened, now most people are
to concerned with how they look or what others would think, rather than to
reach out to a fellow in need. Now they hand you an EAP card and say "maybe
they can help".
This is a very taboo subject among us so I am glad you brought this to
light, it is sad that one of us has had to die in the grips of this illness,
and that what it is an illness. I am not going to slam leadership, some
don't see addiction as a disease just an excuse, or others suffer themselves
and can't stand to look in the mirror, and some just dont know what to do,
due to a lack of education.
I know what this feels like because I have lived through that hell of
addiction, everyone around me knew that I was a hopeless alcoholic, but I
did my job and did it well, (so I thought) so nothing was said, at least to
my face, I was never offered that EAP card but had someone handed it to me I
don't think that it would have mattered, but since it wasn't offered I will
Luckily I have a family that cares about me and were there for me through
the my darkest days and a supervisor who is very familiar with addiction and
the hell a person puts themselves and their families through, unfortunately
my boss is one of very few in the forest service who actually cares about
their employees and will stick by them.
I used to have other supervisors with the same set of values that I model my
style of leadership after, which seems to be lacking in the organization,
but who can blame someone when they have a family to feed and fear for their
job if they stand up and do the right thing, but I digress, sorry.
Some of us do have an addiction and it is a disease which when in the grips
of our disease are the last one to see it or admit it and until we hit rock
bottom unfortunately some don't make it back once they hit bottom and that
bottom is death. Some of us do make it out and with any luck we gain our
sanity back. Some on their own and some with help.
I hit Rock Bottom and sought help and I have regained my sanity, there is a
path of destruction in my wake, mostly self destruction caused by no one but
myself, I don't blame upper management for my mistakes and if they feel that
they need to cast me aside so be it, I have made my amends and when I wake
up in the morning I can look in the mirror. I have come to learn there is no
cure for my disease but it can be managed so I can at least have my sanity.
Bottom line is that addiction is a sickness of the min, and when in the
throws of the disease, the irrational seems rational and the last one to see
how sick they are is the person with the addiction. With the help of family
and friends they may be able to find enough clarity to get some help, some
can do it on their own for those that can't we do have EAP, if your a family
member go to their work and get a some cards and leave them laying around
the house, if your a coworker or supervisor leave them around the office,
the life it saves could be a good friend, wife, brother, husband, sister,
God speed Liza...
A Grateful Alcoholic
I posted this once before but I'm not sure if it was the most recent report
I posted last. Here is a link to the 2010
OPM numbers regarding representation of minorities in the federal workforce
(FW) in comparison to the civilian
labor force (CLF).
If anyone wants a quick graph showing overall numbers, it's on page 9. I
also copied and pasted the definition of
"underrepresentation" and I intentionally made a couple parts of it bold to
point out what I felt might be an
important driving force behind a lot of the current controversy around
"Underrepresentation, as defined in 5 CFR, section 720.202, means a
situation in which the
number of women or members of a minority group within a category of
employment constitutes a lower percentage of the total number of
employees within the
employment category than the percentage of women or the minority group
the civilian labor force of the United States."
Page 3 discusses senior pay levels (those above GS 15) feel free to note
the representation levels below and above
the GS 15 positions in the comparison.
If I could find the 2011 report, I would post it.
So, here are my own personal, and quite likely biased, opinions in this
1) The highest GS level jobs are the ones that need to be examined most for
2) I don't feel it is fair under our own U.S. civil rights code to exclude
Caucasian males from being classified as
3) Certain federal departments by simple designation of responsibility will
offer jobs in areas that have a much
greater population base of a given ethnic group. As an example, compare the
ethnic distributions in the Department
of Interior and The Government Printing Office and think about where most of
those jobs are located. I don't think
that is so much a reflection on a hiring bias as it is a reflection of where
people happen to live.
Anyway, I posted this because I really don't think we're doing this right as
an agency and I think it's a very valid
discussion, whether anyone agrees with me or not.
This is a epic hiring fail in my book! This is sifting through the R5 civil
rights officers and making it to the ground supervisors.
Outreach Example used in our email letter to the Forest
From: Balolong, Ricky -FS
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 12:47 PM
To: FS-pdl r5 ro cr; FS-pdl r5 fcros
Subject: FW: Outreach Example used in our email letter to the Forest
Good Day All,
RE: New requirements for justification statement. As you may have seen on
previous emails, there are some questions that need to be answered and
concerns that need to be addressed. We are working on a setting up a
telecom. In the meantime, see statement example below. Most of the info was
already being provided per previous requirement. An example statement with
regard to item 1c: How have those results affected hiring decisions and
opportunities for diversity, is a highlighted in yellow…
More to come, so please be flexible…
Director, Civil Rights
Pacific Southwest Region (R5)
U.S. Forest Service
From: Rodieck, Richard -FS
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2012 10:56 AM
To: Balolong, Ricky -FS; Lawson, Lois -FS
Cc: Deep, Stephen -FS; Ilusorio, Arlene -FS; Smith, Melissa -FS; Erdman,
Yvette -FS; Koroknay, Karen E -FS; Reed, Renee -FS; Morgan, Helen H -FS;
Stewart, Gary V -FS; Wingert, Milton H -FS
Subject: Outreach Example used in our email letter to the Forest
In our email to the Forest Supervisor/Director requesting their
justification statement for the RF review and approval process (after a
tentative selection has been made) Arlene sends in this email the following
“The Chief has implemented an exception process from this Hiring
Pause. To submit an exception justification regarding your special
circumstances, provide a short narrative (less than 100 words) to
(Staffing Team Supervisor) at (email) as soon as possible.
Please directly address the following:
1.Specific outreach efforts conducted, including targeted outreach of
under-represented groups to ensure a diverse candidate pool;
a. What Outreach was conducted?
b. What were the results of the Outreach?
c. How have those results affected hiring decisions and
opportunities for diversity?
2. The justification as to the critical nature of the position in
meeting mission goals;
3. Availability of current and future funding for the position; please
specify if funding is appropriated or other.”
Until now, we have been using the following example. However, this
example refers to the Outreach efforts and our criteria prior to this
refinement by Ron Ketter as stated above. We would now like to include in
this example a fictitious explanation covering the three separate criteria
(a-c) listed above. Can you or your staff initiate this draft? I will
massage it if needed and we can use as an example so that the example covers
everything Ron is requiring.
The following is the example we are currently using. If you could integrate
the three Outreach criteria into this example, that would be great.
“Below is an example of an exception justification which incorporates
the three line items addressed above:
Position: Rangeland Management Specialist - GS-0454-05/07/09
Targeted recruitment approach included Merit Promotion, Multiple
grades (5/7/9), Forest Service, USDA-wide, Government-wide and
Demonstration Project/Outside Government. Internal and external targeted
outreach strategy included communication with USDA FS National Outreach
Coordinators and Special Emphasis Program Managers; Multicultural
Workforce Strategic Initiative Program; HRM national recruitment
coordinators; the USDA Office of HRM Recruitment, Diversity, Wellness
and Worklife, Mediation, Disability and Veterans Employment Division's
recruitment coordinators; Regional FCRO and Recruiters; all Forest
Service employees; and universities with range management curriculum.
31 applicants responded to the
outreach with a diversity rate of 40 percent. Based on the
numbers/diversity of the applicant pool, the position was forwarded for
recruit/fill without need to re-outreach. This position is
critical to fostering grazing permittee relationships and responding to
ongoing litigation. The position is fully funded and included in FY2012
NFRG and is on an approved organization chart.
Negative responses are not required. HR will then present your
justification to the Regional Forester Team. If they concur, then it
will be submitted to the Chief's Office for decision.
The justification must be approved by the RF team before it can be added
to the ELT database. You will be notified when your position is input
for referral to the ELT.
Arlene C. Ilusorio”
Ricky, thanks for your cooperation on this. We want to make sure that
everyone knows that these justifications involving Outreach is a joint
effort between HR and CR. This is a good example.
Chief, Recruitment and Placement,
Human Resources Service Team
Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592
Recently the fire community was impacted by the death of a woman who took
her own life. Sadly, to some of us this came as no surprise. For a number of
years it was an open secret among people she worked with that she suffered
from a prescription medication addiction proceeding from a hip surgery some
years ago. A while back a few of us appealed to authorities within the US
Forest Service to get her enrolled in a rehab program, but to no avail.
Instead we had to watch her unravel under the strain. The truth is that
those in a position to help her the most failed her in her time of need.
We treat addiction in this society as something to be ashamed of, but the
truth is that any of us could fall prey to it at any time and it is a
sickness that eats us from inside out, tearing our world apart. I liked
Liza. She was bright and funny and since it had been a couple of years since
I had seen her I was hopeful that things had turned around for her and that
she had found happiness. Maybe if our leadership worked for the long-term
heath of our employees (including addressing addiction in a helpful rather
than pejorative fashion) it wouldn't have ended this way for this wonderful,
sensitive woman. We need a program to help firefighters get the help they
need given that the lifestyle can exacerbate and foster issues such as
depression and addiction. We need to be able to get assistance for our
friends and our coworkers without the fear of them loosing their jobs. Shame
on the Forest Supervisor who could have helped her but didn't.
We are all Liza.
||Obama Directs Agencies to Submit Diversity and Inclusion Plans
post if you see value. Direction is coming from the top…
So if our forest doesn't fill a vacant job is that considered a cut? Our
forest just decided to not fill our FMO position on our district.
They are going to combine our district with another district because we do
have a small fire load. But the problem I have is that our
FMO retired and the remaining one is retiring next month and they don't plan
on filling either one, not smart in my book. The AFMO
is going to be running everything, and not that he can't, but really he
shouldn't be expected to. I don't blame management on our
forest, its not fun making those decisions but I do want to hear from our
Regional Office on where all the money went.
||I originally posted this last week just trying to wrap my head around
the way Government does the budget for our agencies.
Forest Service and BLM Budgets Question:
Can somebody give me a good explanation as to how the federal budgets
work for different forests and agencies?
I've been told through the years that the current budget is based upon
the previous years budget, and the deficit or surplus?
If that is the case is it true that Forests are penalized for saving and
for not spending all their federal money, by getting their
budgets reduced the following year? Is the same with all federal
agencies? If so is anything being done at the washingtonlevel to change this pattern of "spend it or lose it kind of budgeting?"
I've seen a lot of irrational things the last few years, of
districts not being able to fill vacancies due to budget constraints,
but every year they have extra money to spend on non
critical things like office furniture and new fleet vehicles.
Can someone tell me too how emergency severity money plays into future
I am a temp employee in a region that has been very busy the last few
years, and does not have the money to fund its crews,
but instead brings crews in from out of region on severity charge codes.
It seems irrational to me, but I'm just a lowly tech..
||Region 2 Budget
You might want to talk to your Regional Forester (RF)
about the cap he placed on your budget.
R5's RF has some balls and found the money to keep people on. We are
already in fire season in some parts of R2 and
we are putting engines on blocks, seasonal hiring in cut 10%-30%, positions
will not be filled, tours are being cut, and
people are being asked to do collateral duty.
Yes, the R2 had some budget cuts, but the RF is the one putting additional
caps in place. Sure, he may get a good
performance appraisal, but look at the risk his is putting on the work
||re: Re-org on the LP
The bus that hit them is long gone, and if there is one lesson we should all
take note of, it is this. The F.S.
is being run as an Alzheimer clinic and Management at the WO, RO and SO are
||from an Australian contributor:
Must be the name Paul Gleeson
Lets not dwell on the spelling...
Medal a real honour for Paul
STORY AND PHOTO: KATRINA CONDIE
15 Feb, 2012 10:09 AM
IT took more that a week for Cunjurong Point volunteer fire fighter
Paul Gleeson to fully comprehend that he had been awarded one of the
nation’s highest honours.Mr Gleeson said the announcement on Australia
Day that he was one of six Rural Fire Service personnel to receive the
Australian Fire Services Medal “came out of the blue”. “It took a while
before I realized it really was a big deal,” he said.
A volunteer for 25 years, Mr Gleeson will be presented with his medal
by Governor General Quentin Bryce in the coming months.
He joined the Cunjurong Point Rural Fire Brigade after moving to the
district from Shellharbour in 1986 and is currently the Shoalhaven Group
Four Captain, leading five brigades from Bewong to Lake Conjola.
Mr Gleeson has participated as leader or participant in many out of
area strike teams and task forces and is a major contributor to the
strategic development and planning of training. He assists in the
organisation of the Shoalhaven Local Emergency Management Centre’s
annual interagency training exercise.
It is in training that Mr Gleeson has left his biggest mark, teaching
firefighters and also high school students taking part in the cadets
program with the RFS. “It’s a real privilege to work with the kids,” Mr
Gleeson said. “They’re so keen, they want to give everything a go.”
Having been involved in every major fire in the Shoalhaven in the
past 20 years as well as many out of the district, including the Snowy
Mountains, Canberra, Gloucester, Wellington and Victoria, Mr Gleeson
said it’s the 2001/2002 fires that nearly wiped out his village as well
as nearby Bendalong and Manyana that hold the most vivid memories. more
at the link...
||Reply to the 3/11 inquiry about ex-CDF engine
The description is
typical of late 1940 / early 1950 era engines of CDF.
What is unusual is two pumps; many had a 250 gpm front mount crankshaft
driven pump. Other had a midship
250 gpm Berkley pump driven by its own
motor. The fact that this engine had both, but only the front pump had
drafting capability makes me think it was modified at some point or was a
Jim could contact the CDF Museum in San Bernardino. They have a very active
apparatus restoration program.
CDF BC ret
Another couple of replies on the
Hotlist Thread. Last one suggests it could be a Van Pelt. Ab.
||re: Re-org on the LP
They wont cut Battalion Chiefs. You might see a shuffle of some positions,
but they wont reduce them. The WO, RO and SO
are still feeling the effects of that bus that hit them over the Air Tanker
Base battle. They don't want to go through that again.
Keep us posted.
||My prayers go out to the friends and family of Chief Kenny Allison.
Kenny was a well respected firefighter and leader not only in the fire
organization but in life over all. I had the honors to work
side by side with Kenny as a trainee on several occasions and till this day
his mentoring sticks with me.
Our condolences from the San Bernardino National Forest.
||re: Re-org on the LP
Let's see. Take the Ojai and Santa Barbara ranger
districts -- two of the more active fire districts in the United
States -- and reduce line authority and leave the presence of operational
authority in question. Preventing one
project fire would more than pay for those two positions for years to
It is with deep regrets to inform everyone that Kenny
Ellyson Santa Clara Mojave River Ranger District Battalion
Chief 32 passed away March 7,2012 at his home in Quartz Hill with family and
many close friends by his side.
Chief Ellyson served on the Angeles National Forest for 23 years. His
previous positions included Firefighter, Hot
Shot Squad Leader, Hot Shot Captain and Engine Captain. He is survived by
his wife Kerri and two sons, Austin
& Aidan. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.
Kenny was loved by many and taken all too soon. He will be greatly
March 14th, 2012 1100 hrs.
1011 East Avenue I, Lancaster CA 93535 Desert Vineyard Christian School
Family Members and Close Friends Only
March 15th, 2012 1100 hrs. -Eternal Valley Memorial Park, 23287 North Sierra
Hwy, Newhall, CA 91321.
photo of Kenny
flyer containing the info and photo (200 K doc) to email to let folks
Condolences, good thoughts and prayers. We'll miss him. Very touching
With the Re-org on the LP there is talk of combining the Santa Barbara and
Ojai districts to reduce "Ranger" Positions. When
asked about "Fire" ... The response we received was BC positions may also be
cut. Mind you this was a "guess" at best. We
were told we would find out in a few months when the new Org. Chart came
out. We will be watching.
||A letter from the Chief of the Forest Service on the upcoming fire
395 Border Fires
Date: February 29, 2012
Subject: Chief's Letter of Intent - 2012 Fire Season (CORRECTED)
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director and
We are focused on a successful year of managing fire. We must manage fire on
the landscape, including the risks,
with a broad perspective and
consideration for all lands, people, and resources.
Success is defined as safely achieving objectives with the least firefighter
exposure necessary, while enhancing
stakeholder support for our management.
Principles we embrace for success:
· Safety is who we are and how we do our work.
· Everyone, every day, returns home safely.
· Every fire meets reasonable objectives, and receives a safe, effective,
and efficient response.
· Relationships are in place, and are enhanced before, during and after
· We assess, analyze, communicate, and share risk before, during, and after
We do not accept unnecessary risk.
· We create a respectful work environment for everyone involved in fire
· We learn from every experience and use that knowledge to improve.
We have outstanding employees working in wildland fire management. I am
encouraged and excited by the
improvements we are making. Those improvements
are exactly what we need to be doing to provide value to
the people we
serve. Thank you for your commitment and service toward making 2012 a
successful fire season.
/s/ Thomas L. Tidwell
THOMAS L. TIDWELL
||Wildland Fire Truck Identification
Spent many years with the California State Park Service, the National Park
Service and the US Forest Service. In that
time I fought a lot of wildland fire and came to know many of the various
fire trucks used in that work.
The sketch of the truck in the attachment is alleged to have been owned by
the California State Division of Forestry
(CDF) and then the California State Park Service. No photos of the truck
survive. The sketch is by a Ranger who used
the truck for many years. He describes the truck as follows:
1. The Platform is probably a 1946 4x2 Ford.
2. The front bumper mount pump (Make, Model, Type and GPM output is unknown)
was driven from the truck engine
crankshaft pulley. The pump had a suction inlet and was hard plumbed to the
truck’s water tank. The head gate had no
3. The pump behind the truck (known in CDF parlance as an Auxiliary Pump)
was powered by its own Continental engine.
The Make. Model, Type and GPM output of the pump is not known. The pump did
not have a suction inlet, its water out
puts relying on the trucks water tank.
CDF equipment specialists, some of them going back a number of years, cannot
identify this truck. Is it familiar to you?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Jim Davis, retired California State Park service Chief Ranger
Sketch of possible CDF Turlock Lake STS fire truck
Readers, anyone know this vehicle? Jim, I heard you folks in Hawaii
got 43 inches of rain from one storm. Is that true? Quack... Ab.
Region 5 Forest Service released its 2012 budget this week.
Each Forest received less funds for fire management, however
approved increased suppression funds to make up the deficit. Randy Moore
ordered no reductions in firefighting
strength for R5 for 2012. If Forest
Supervisors reduced firefighter positions anywhere in R5 or even threat to
report this in our forum. Working together we will get
that decision changed.
||New CPR Method
This is well watching and easy to remember and who
wouldn't want to save a life?
This is a new CPR technique which is much simpler.
Please watch and forward to your friends and family. You never know, a life
may be saved utilizing this
||Into the Firestorm 2006
So in 2006, Discovery aired a 4 part
mini-series following around a shot crew. Well it aired and got into trouble
rules I guess. It seems to be very hard to get your hands on these videos.
Could you please point me in the right direction?
||Just curious with all the talk about “Federally mandated diversity” that
has been going on since I started with the agency,
how much talk/emphasis is placed or at least looked at with an area's
demographics compared to diversity?
||Model 34 Wet Side & Poly Tank
I have had the opportunity to see both the Placer 14 & 34 “wet side”
versions in various stages of repair or rebuild would be a
description. One post could be interpreted as inferring the problem is
inherent to wet side design. The problem the placer
units have is the tank
is essentially welded directly to the frame rails which doesn’t allow
adequate flex to match the chassis
frame, tank and body. If you have the
opportunity to look at a repaired version you will see that there are a
series of materials
and mounts between the tank and frame rails to
accommodate the flexing forces. A properly mounted wet side tank such as
West Mark 14’s (and many others) is virtually bullet proof.
As for the latest batches of Poly 34’s, it is yet to be proven how they will
hold up. A significant body mount modification has
been applied to delivered
units. The system holding the poly tank in place has had some problems and
hasn’t had much of a test
in 2010 or 11. Poly tanks have some wonderful
qualities but they are more suited for apparatus that isn’t subjected to
flexing and side pressures that are common with 4x4 wildland
apparatus. Time will tell.
North Bay FC
I sent the info from the e-mail you sent me about the outreach postings
to a CR person to look into whether that one
site was the only official site to post outreaches on. It isn't. As long as
it is a public site "or the Forest Service internet as
it's referred to here, that is all required under the master agreement, the
CR folks tell me. Here is the reply I received from
I have reviewed the outreach information that you reference in your
message. The Six Rivers fire vacancies are
posted on the Regional Vacancy website at:
www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/trackingdb/ , a Forest Service Internet site,
and meets the terms under the Master Agreement. Article 16…2 (c),
states, “All permanent positions to be filled
shall be listed on the Forest Service Internet a minimum of 21 days
prior to pulling a referral list.”
So, the person that's talking about posting the outreaches isn't fully
informed. There is more to it than they realize. Also,
AVUE, and most Forests tell people all the time to put in for positions
whether they are vacant or not, due to instant
vacancies and backfill created by the FireHire process. So, if someone
really wnats a job, they should put in anyway
in case it comes up open at the locations they want, and not worry about
Outreach notices, which are mainly for tracking
purposes it seems. I'm sure that these CR folks are trying their best to get
the folks to apply, nit hiding jobs from people....
||Re: Apprentice in California and General Questions
This may be a bit long, but I will try to address everything in a semi
Think of the division of Temp and Perm as a dam. For the last decade the
flood gates have been wide open allowing almost any temp to flow over into
the perm side of the dam with much ease. Since 2010 the flood gates have
been closing up each year due to the economy, IFPM, budgets, etc. This year
the gates were mostly closed. Without the rapid movement that was happening
inside the agency due to lack of outside hiring influence and rapid upward
movement that was allowed pre-IFPM, positions on org charts have clogged up.
This is what has lead to the Region ending the retention incentive. The lack
of positions open trickles down from the top to the apprentice position
rather quickly. The government tends to go through these natural flows
throughout our history. The economy will pick up, outside hiring will once
again influence our agency and the gates will open once again, but for now
the number of apprentice positions available is a lot smaller than what it
was even two years ago. There are other agencies in the sea as well. The DOI
also has four agencies that hire apprentices.
If you are currently 30, you have until you are 37 to make it onto the perm
side of the dam. I try to give the best advice I can. Most places do not
like to hire apprentices that they do not know as temps or who do not have a
strong recommendation from someone inside the Region. Personally, I like to
see stability in my apprentice. Bouncing from crew to crew all over the
state brings questions to my head. Have they just not found the right place?
Is it because they are a problem? Will they be happy here or just bounce
off? There are many others. Being in one area for four plus years to me is a
plus. It allows you to get to know your duties as a firefighter better,
allows you to become familiar with the local fuel type where you are working
(creates a better understanding of fire behavior and it is okay if it is not
my fuel type, it becomes valuable later), and shows that you are committed.
Personally, I like to see my people with crew experience (Type 2 I.A. or
better), because it tells me that you should have a solid footing of the
basic things that we do no matter what module you are on. It also helps make
you the best candidate for the job.
Personally, I try to hire the best person for the job every time I have an
opening. The Forest Services policies and agenda may interfere with that
from time to time. The Agency's past and current hiring policies have a
history of missing the mark for Federally mandated diversity, but it is kind
of hard to hit the mark when you have no idea where the mark is and what
your diversity is supposed to look like. Regional and Washington leadership
has proven so inept at figuring this out in the USDA’s eyes that they have
removed some aspects of Human Capital Management from the agency as a whole
and dictated other policies down for the things we were allowed to keep. Is
this the answer to the billion dollar question? In my opinion no and I think
a lot of others would agree. In the cases in life where your boss thought
you were doing something wrong and took it away from you and did it
themselves. Did the situation improve? Let's say no for the sake of argument
and you probably already said that as well. Now say your boss gets in
trouble and has that very same thing that you did taken away from them
by their boss and now that boss does it. Did that situation improve for your
boss? Did the situation improve for you? I would venture to bet that almost
everyone that has worked for the federal government is shaking their head no
and saying it got ten times worse for them. Our hiring issues need to be a
bottom up fix to clean up the mess of mis-management. A top down fix is just
going to make it worse and lead to problems of a different type. You see it
especially in Region 5 with the Consent Decree followed by the Hispanic
Settlement followed by another and another and another. Until the political
types in the upper end of the GS and ES pay scale realize that they have no
true hand in fixing it besides listening to the ground and our
recommendations and implementing them. Then actually fighting litigation and
grievances that have no merit. This cycle will never stop. The Fire Work
Environment stuff going on in Region 5 may be the start of this, but that
still remains to be seen. Targeting a specific group of people for hiring
and excluding another is and unfair labor practice. I will remind that
hiring a diverse work force is just that: hiring all groups that are
represented in the area you are hiring in. It does not mean that white males
are not getting a fair shake. Now that comes with the disclaimer that I do
not have a window into the RLT, WO, USDA to see what is actually going on
there and what exactly they are up too.
Hopefully, this answers your questions and I am sure that others may have
different views and arguments and I invite them to share them with you. So
that you can make a educated decision. I am just one person offering my take
on things. As with everything in fire there are 1001 ways to skin a ridge.
Best of luck,
P.S. I know it took me a long time to get there and if you have any
questions Ab can pass my email off to you. Also, my line between North and
South is a lot farther north than Santa B. It is more like San
Fran-Sac-Sonora. The poor Stanislaus is always caught in the middle.
||CAL FIRE Model 34 issues
For clarification, E2761 is a model 14 built
by Placer, one of the very last ones built. It had the build up repaired,
along with the three other Placer built engines in AEU, which are a model
15, model 34, and a model 35. The issue
of the wet side tank build up is in the body mounts, the HME's poly tank
failure on the newer model 34's is a
I got it. Any tenuous questions about the veracity of your writings (based
on my information) should be referred to” ncfma.org”
That is the Northern California Fire Mechanic’s Association. Their
membership has for the most part personally witnessed some
of the repairs to
catastrophic failures to the Cal Fire Model 34 and 35 fire bodies. This
isn’t a “who built it issue” This is a design
defect in a plan submitted by
the state for apparatus builder to bid on building in conformance with those
plans and specifications.
During a meeting many years ago all of the major
builders were invited to the Cal Fire Davis Equipment Facility to view the
of the Model 34 engines. All were asked to bid on building many like
it. Few did. Many submitted high priced “Courtesy Bids.”
One told me later,
“I wouldn’t have our company name on any built the bad!”
I expect more inquiries. All will probably originate for last Monday’s
huddle in Sacramento on the 25th floor.
Thanks Normbc9. Ab.
||I sent a note a while ago on our case of Rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis).
FLA we conducted day-lighted the need for a document such as this to help
reduce the time it takes for
small town medical facilities to diagnose, and therefore successfully treat,
compartment syndrome and Rhabdo.
Thought I would share it.
Ab note: Here's a bit more background from Jennifer's email that
accompanied the paper. Many thanks, Jennifer.
While designed for Work Capacity Tests in particular, the document has
application for PT, prescribed burns,
wildfires or all-risk situations. It
is designed to remind doctors that we are prone to many other medical
beyond cardiac episodes. It includes a tickler list for
dehydration, heat illnesses, muscle compartment syndrome,
Please circulate widely with the hope that we can assist with earlier
detection, and more successful
treatment of relatively overlooked diagnoses.
Potential Pack Test Issues
||Apprentice in California and General Questions
I love reading this blog and would love receiving any advice. I have a
couple "career" path questions. First off my
background is pretty simple: 2
Seasons with USFS on a Rec./Trail Crew, 2 seasons on an Engine (Type 4) in
urban/wild interface zone, and I hold a Master of Science in Natural
Resource and Land Mgmt. First question: what
are my chances of getting into
the California Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Program----next season of
and would only want to work in Northern California -- Santa
Barbara is as far south as I am willing to go. Second
question: any advise
as far as career progression would be welcome. Should I just keep plugging
away season after
season on the same district and on the same crew? Or is it
more beneficial to try and apply to different districts and on different
fire crews? My ultimate goal would be to get one of those highly coveted
hopefully within the next 5 years as I am pushing
Thanks a ton,
Hopeful USFS Permanent Employee
P.S. With a lot of talk recently concerning hiring issue---i.e. diversity
push--- it seems to me that the USFS is trying to
PUSH OUT people like
myself. That is, people who work hard, want to come back season after
season, have a College
degree in the field, and want to make a career out
this. Why does it seem that the USFS does not want me and others
like me? Or
am I just paranoid from all the scary doomsday talk?
||RE the CAL FIRE Model 34 engines
This photo taken of a Cal Fire Model 34 engine may help. Engine 2761 is a
Rosenbauer built up Model 34 that has
the fire body off to allow the replacement of the body mounts that were
failing and not sufficient to keep the fire body
in a secure position on the engine chassis. This unit is assigned to the
Amador-El Dorado Unit. The fire body and tank
mount systems on all of those Model 34’s not repaired after being placed in
service was a common problem.
2761 stripped for repair
||Cal Fire Model 34 fire body issues
From the Ab account:
RE Cal Fire Model 34 fire body issues:
While there is no manufacturer name displayed, this is the rear of an HME
produced Model 34 that was also sent in
for the correction to the fire body mounts as well as correcting the Poly
tank mounts at the same time. This one was
at HiTec in Oakdale, CA.
link from before:
Tank mounts being installed
Hotlist Shift briefing news post on Aerial firefighting resources. Chief
Tidwell appeared before a Senate panel yesterday...
||re Liza's passing
Devastating to hear. Godspeed Liza to a place you
can find the peace you sought in life.
I remember you as someone special.
||RE the CAL FIRE Model 34 engines
It should be pointed out that the problems with the tanks on the Model 34
Engines are limited to the first batch (2004)
of engines made by Placer Fire Equipment (now defunct) due to their wet-side
(steel water tank) construction. All
subsequent Model 34 manufacturers (HME, Rosenbauer, Ahrens-Fox) were
slightly different configuration due to the
use of Poly tanks. As far as I know, no leaks have occurred in any of these
By the way I have an early Model 34 with the steel tank, and after the
modification/repair of the tank, it is one of the
best engines I have driven in my 30+ years. It has served us well.
||re Liza's passing
I am so sorry for the loss of the wildland
community. With god Speed may Liza travel.
||re Liza's passing
Ab and All,
I can't tell you how saddened I am to read of Liza's death.
Brian, I respect you posting this, very difficult to do.
No, I did not know her, but anytime one of us takes their own life, it is a
loss to us all.
Something for all to consider...
The off season can be a very difficult time for some temporary hires. We
ask these folks to commit and be available 24/7 throughout the fire season
and then with very little notice we cut them loose come fall. For many "the
crew" is/was their family and without that support some are lost.
Fortunately (knock on wood) I never had to deal with a suicide, however
there were many (too many) off season DUIs, vehicle crashes, relationship
problems, etc, etc, etc. These were not problem employees, never an issue at
work, but for some the loss of the "crew" had left them adrift. I appealed
many times to personnel throughout the years to make "help" available to our
temps should they ask. No luck, out of sight out of mind.
Supervisors, if you haven't touched bases with some of your temps since
they left this fall, Do It!
Most are just fine during the off season but I know for a fact that you
will make someone's day (and more) with a telephone call and a " how are you
doing" "what's up" chat. They were there for you during the season (yes,
even the boneheads) be there for them.
(Ab, don't feel you have to post this, just sad for Liza, her family and
friends. Hope this doesn't sound like I am taking a shot at Brian or her
crew mates, I am not, not my intent.)
The number of suicides per year in the FS have increased in recent
years. We all need to work a bit harder at really listening to friends who
may need help and offering support. Trying to stay in touch during the
off-season is a worthy goal. We should also know where to direct friends and
co-workers for help if their need is beyond our capabilities. Ab.
||Forest Service and BLM Budgets Question:
Can somebody give me a good
explanation as to how the federal budgets work for different forests and
I've been told through the years that the current budget is based upon
the previous years budget, and the deficit or surplus?
If that is the case
is it true that Forests are penalized for saving and for not spending all
their federal money, by getting their
budgets reduced the following year? Is
the same with all federal agencies? If so is anything being done at the washington
level to change this pattern of "spend it or lose it kind of
budgeting?" I've seen a lot of irrational things the last few years, of
districts not being able to fill vacancies due to budget constraints, but
every year they have extra money to spend on non
critical things like office
furniture and new fleet vehicles.
Can someone tell me too how emergency severity money plays into future
I am a temp employee in a region that has been very busy the last few
years, and does not have the money to fund its crews,
but instead brings
crews in from out of region on severity charge codes. It seems irrational to
me, but I'm just a lowly tech..
||Sad news, Liza Elizabeth DeNitto Smith has passed:
Please post on your website the attached Obituary. Liza was a member of our
crew for several seasons.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Santa Fe Helitack
Liza Elizabeth DeNitto Smith
24 March, 1975 – 28 February, 2012
Liza DeNitto Smith, 37, professional wildland firefighter, phlebotomist,
chef, fitness fanatic and friend to all animals took her own life this last
week in Sarasota, Florida. While a Fire Fighter for the US Forest Service
Liza was a resident of Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Albuquerque. Liza worked on
many firefighting crews and fought fire throughout the United States.
Liza was a wonderful woman, full of life and energy. She was a joy to be
around and an excellent firefighter. She had a loud infectious laugh, a
room-brightening smile, and was wicked intelligent. She spent several
seasons with Santa Fe Helitack in Los Alamos and later with Sandia Helitack
in Albuquerque. Her last fire season was a rough one. In 2010 she was
attacked and brutally beaten to the point of death, but was brought back to
life and given another chance. The incident required multiple surgeries, and
it left her with post traumatic stress and bouts of depression. Liza was
more than up to the challenge of handling these psychological set-backs. Due
to this near death experience, which changed her life forever, she left
fire-fighting altogether to take up a new career in nursing.
Shortly before Liza’s death her mother passed away after a hard battle
with cancer. It scared Liza to think one day she might go the same way. We
can only imagine what she felt and thought in her last few days. She decided
to go out on her own terms. She will be missed.
Liza was a badass. She was a fire fighter, a helitack crewmember and
manager. She could do twenty pull-ups. She could run a seven-minute mile.
All at 37. She saved people and homes, loved the outdoors and animals, and
was a true American hero.
Liza’s Ashes will be interred next to her mother and grandmother at
Christ Church Cemetery, Irvington, Virginia, 10 March 2012. In lieu of
flowers, if you wish to honor her, please make a memoriam in her name to
your local animal shelter. Please celebrate her life for her.
How sad. If anyone has a photo of Liza, please send it in. Good
thoughts and prayers for her family, friends and fellow firefighters. Such
loss diminishes us all. Ab.
||RE: outreach posting
I, personally didn't post the Outreach, as I'm in Fire, I'm not in CR, but
our FCRO did.
See Joint PowerPoint for MA Training - slide 77
As outlined in the PowerPoint which was created by management and NFFE, this
is the agreed to website for the
required 21 day outreaches prior to pulling a referral list. Did you post
your outreaches at this website 21 days
prior to February 21?
So Cal Ridges
||Cal Fire cuts operation explanation:
The cuts are as follows:
Dozer staffing for 5 dozers, ( per dozer)
Staffing for either two or three Air Bases.
It should be noted that the Dozer/Transports and Aircraft numbers will not
There are other cuts too, but this was hopefully going to help out
financially to get through this coming Fire Season.
Reading what the Drought report says causes me to wonder. This may be a busy
||Re: Wow's post
I guess you didnt see my post of 02/14, with a link to
the Six Rivers N.F. outreach for the Fire Hire round,
the outreach had been out 2 weeks then..4 weeks now....I don't know what you
are referring to when you
say there are no outreaches out....
||Region-5 Fire Hire Team has pulled referral lists for the April GS 6-9
fire hire. This now is a violation of the 21 day
outreach posting requirements between NFFE and the Forest Service. The
Forests are not to be blamed if an unfair
labor practice is filed or when grievances come in from employees who were
not selected in April because R5 set the
date to pull referral lists and did not allow the required time for Forests
to properly post the outreaches.
Management seems so busy trying to increase "the numbers" they have no time
to follow agreed to processes. They
seem overly focused on cultural transformation and what the percentages look
like, with minimal focus on their own
I am a long time lurker on your site, and haven't felt compelled to write
in until I read the post from overpaid
and underworked bureaucrat. I couldn't agree more with all three of his
points. It is nice to know that there
are other folks in the fire business that have a bigger picture view of how
we manage public lands and the
people that protect/manage them. Amen
||TX Bastrop Fire of 2011
Interesting "anatomy of a fire" and
account of "horizontal roll vortices".
Excellent piece of writing - Excellent graphics - Firescribe
Unstoppable: anatomy of Texas' most destructive wildfire
By Dave Harmon
BASTROP - In 2009, Karen Ridenour wrote the official report on the
worst wildfire in Central Texas history. Less than
three years later,
she has the grim task of doing it again. Ridenour, who studies fires as
a geographic information....
from page 2...
As the fire grew, smoke and heat and energy billowed into the sky and
created horizontal roll vortices: slowly turning
cylinders that roiled
above the fire. Ridenour said they are a sign of "very extreme fire
More... at the link.
Hotlist thread: will be moved from Shift Briefing to General Discussion
if people want to contribute there or here. Ab.
For people that may not be familiar with Black Friday, perhaps it should be
re-explained to people on here.
Supportin' the folks on the line
||Making the CAL FIRE rounds: Team Decisions
From: McMurry, Andy
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 12:22 PM
To: Unit Chiefs
Subject: Team Decisions
I realize that some of you have already put something out to your troops. In
order to keep the rumors at bay, I wanted to put out a short email that
summarizes Chief Pimlott’s decisions that were announced at the Team IC’s
meeting on Tuesday. The Chief will be providing more information on the
details that lead to the decision in his monthly Chief’s message this month.
Our teams will now be called “Incident Management Teams”. (Upon policy
change, no later than June 2012)
Our teams will be reduced from 10 to 6. (March 1st, 2013)
The 6 remaining teams will have statewide responsibilities when on call.
(March 1st, 2013)
Team deployments will be scalable to fit the incident need. (Immediate)
CAL FIRE Units and personnel will actively participate in the development/
membership of Type 3 All Hazard Teams. (Immediate)
In addition to actively participating in Type 3 All Hazard Teams, Units need
to continue to work with their federal and local government partners in
preparing to support their own incidents for the first 24 to 48 hours before
any team arrives. (Immediate)
Many, many details will need to be worked out in the coming year that will
solidify the 6 team membership and operational procedures to assure a smooth
transition. As details are worked out they will be communicated through the
chain of command for dissemination to the troops. I encourage you all to be
patient as we work through this process and to funnel questions to your
respective Region or Program operations personnel for consideration as
things move along.
Chief of Fire Protection
||Very important jargon skipped on jargon archive.
"Vitamin I" -
Affectionate name given to Ibuprofen pills by Los Padres Crews. ex "Time for
a hearty breakfast and some vitamin I"
Nice one. I added it to the
Funny Fire Terms page. Ab.
||I have some conspiracy ideas of what might be going on with radio.
Right now there is a lot going on with what is called the D-Block radio
spectrum for Public safety
What it will be is a separate cell phone service Nationwide that will be
only for Public Safety in the 700 MHz band
that television had to get off.
There had been problems with getting private companies to bid and take on
the project, but it looks like Congress
forced the issue, we are talking Billions of Dollars. There has been heavy
lobbying at the highest levels in GOV to
get this through; with some of that being this system will replace radio. I
have been looking for the minutes of a
Conference call where the Chief mentioned something to this effect. It’s an
easy sell, reliable communications for
Public Safety, especially when the Desk Jockeys are so in love with their
The FS had been asked what it would take to extend this into the Forests
and the costs were too high and coverage
areas would shrink. You need to have the radio sites connected together for
high speed data and AC power, or really
big solar power backed up by diesel or propane generator. For this reason
urban areas will benefit more.
The FS CIO is also going through another Re-organization. Personally, the
way things are going, I would like to take
Radio away from the CIO and put them with Fire.
And There I Was
||[Mr. Abercrombie: You may feel this is totally off the mark, and
maybe it is. For what it's worth this is what I have been thinking and
talking about with people in the agencies at the FFT1 to CRWB or equivalent
level, so I suppose it's a view from the bottom. I hope there is something
of meaning in it to somebody, I definitely felt I had to share these
This is a little bit of a rant, but it isn't meant as an
assault or a personal attack. I believe ideas can be talked about without
personal attacks or taking offense. If I am wrong in this rant, I'm happy to
admit it. I have strong feelings and passions, as many do. But I haven't
really seen these opinions shared on this site, and I know there are at
least a few out there who feel like I do. Note: These thoughts are in
regards to the federal system, not the state firefighting agencies.
1. Policy implementation, or, what the heck do GS-13s do?: I have
worked on districts that operate exactly according to the letter of policy,
and yet are indistinguishable from a fire management standpoint from where
they were in the 1960s. IA is king, the only fires we don't fight are deep
in the Wilderness. I appreciate the complexity and heartache associated with
WFU/AMR/WFRB, but if we aren't going to actually implement the spirit of
changes in policy over the last 40 years, then what exactly do the upper
echelons do; districts could seemingly be managed from the GS-7 level. If
all we are ever going to do is fight fires, then, by all means, don't cut
the seasonal positions when budgets are tight -- they are the ones fighting
2. Collar bugles: With the benefit of decades of research in ecology,
we understand a little bit better how interconnected the environment is.
Fire isn't a separate piece than can be managed separately -- it is an
integral part of the system. We've tried over years to get away from our IA
addiction, and manage fires as parts of the environment, only to be set back
by total incoherence in the message of the agency and complete confusion in
management. So what are we? Has the USFS given up on ecology and gone fully
to collar bugles, red engines, and 100% suppression? Or are we ever going to
actually try to implement the policy changes and do some work FOR the
wildlands? Perhaps we should split, and spin off a fire service that focuses
on suppression. We seem to be putting our energy into suppression questions
again, even as the ecology becomes more clear and the need for real action
grows ever greater.
3. Diversity: Every seasonal can tell you why, in part, every
diversity push fails: It is next to impossible to apply to USFS jobs. You
have to be deep in the system with lots of contacts to have any clue what
jobs are actually out there. The way AVUE works, all jobs are listed using
exactly the same words "Forestry Technician" and listed "nationwide". Even
if someone besides the typical white young male (already aware of the USFS
and knowledgeable of a particular job) tries to apply, they have no hope of
ever getting through. Some other ideas: actually advertise, and use language
the public understands (i.e. stop calling ranger stations "work centers"--
WTF is a "work center"?). If we become visible and the public is aware of
us, diversity might follow.
But diversity really is important as a goal. A diverse workforce is a more
creative and driven one. Just because the strategies to reach diversity have
been imperfect or disastrous doesn't mean the goal is wrong, or illusory. In
fact, I think it is a necessary goal. Changing the way we manage fire means
changing the system by which we bring up new managers. The system we use now
creates great firefighters that know how to put out fires extremely
effectively. Unfortunately, the personnel development changes I have seen in
the last few years (quals needed for fuels jobs, the rise of the apprentice
program) have shown me that agency leaders don't understand or don't agree
with this idea. The path upwards in fire is so tailored to traditional fire
suppression, and so hostile to creative thinkers, scientists, or motivated
and educated people, that the workforce can't fundamentally change. I know
many dedicated and thoughtful people who give up on fire because they have
no place it in.
To sum up, from my perspective: We have a system that disincentivizes
creativity or dissent, that is opaque to outsiders, and that is becoming
more paramilitaristic. I believe these trends will make scientific and
responsible land/fire management impossible for the USFS.
Just another overpaid, underworked federal bureaucrat
Thanks for the comments and perspective, firefighter. Ab.
||Hiring at its best:
Whether we are looking at a GS-3 forestry tech. or a GS-13 district ranger
position to be filled, we are already feeling the consequences of the RO/WO
hiring for us based on "diversity". The most North Eastern forest in R5 is a
recent example of this robust practice. They just received a district ranger
that has roughly 3-5 years with the agency as a "liaison" to the national
transportation department. So, as you ponder how a "liaison" is remotely
qualified to oversee two districts, don't think for a moment that the RO/WO
is not willing to hire your employees for you. And Tom Tidwell is trying to
figure out why morale is at an all time low or why there are so many
grievances. One might guess hiring less than qualified leadership might have
something to do with it. I hope before this gets completely out of hand,
another "Black Friday" occurs.
One in a million
Meeting notes from the Forest Service Partnership, lots going on at the
See attached document. It may help others on answer to their questions they
have posted on “They Said It”.
Your recommendation to Skunk Ape for the Relm (Bendix-King) antenna adapter
LAA0801 is probably not a good
choice. The original post said that the need was to connect to the Larsen
PHW-150 antenna. This is a
suspended wire whip antenna typically used in remote areas. The antenna whip
end is attached to a small
nylon cord; the cord is thrown over a tree limb to pull the antenna up for
The LAA0801 (either version) provides a maximum of 6" or 12".
Consider Allcom Products p/n 58AB5-UM3.5-48. This is a 48" cable. Change
last two digits of the part
number for longer or shorter length (e.g., 58AB5-UM3.5-72 would be for 72").
||Cohesive Strategy Workshop invite packet:
Please share this opportunity with your contacts.
Attached are the final docs for inviting folks to the Cohesive Strategy
workshop in Reno. They are:
the official invite (to be pasted into the body of an e-mail to people);
your final workshop flier;
the agenda; and
the WFLC letter of support for the Cohesive Strategy.
This is a great opportunity to both learn about the Cohesive Strategy
progress and how the work with the Collaborative
Forest Restoration project fits nicely with Cohesive Strategy…txs.
Bend, OR 97702
I've read the recent posts concerning the CIO decision to purchase a whole
lot of SPOT transmitters, and agree that it is a huge waste of money. Our
forest has been testing the SPOT receivers the past couple years, and the
service is very erratic, and while the transmitters do work as advertised
occasionally, they can't be relied on to send the updates in a timely
manner. Often the person in the field would send their "all is well"
check-in, and it wouldn't be received for 8-10 hours later back at the
office, even if the sender was on the top of a mountain with a clear view of
the entire sky. On one occasion, when there was an actual problem, luckily
only a flat tire, the "I'm not OK, I have a problem" signal was used, (not
the "dial 911" button) it was received fairly quickly, (within 2 hours), but
the coordinates it provided were nearly 20 miles from the actual location of
the person. That person's supervisor, by knowing where their employee was
working that day, was able to contact dispatch and send help to the actual
location, but without that supervisor being aware that the transmission was
wrong, we would have been looking in the wrong place, off by many miles. We
were already out looking, because we had received a partial, garbled radio
transmission that something was wrong, with a road number, then nothing
else. (The employee's radio battery died, and with no spares, they used the
SPOT as a backup plan) The SPOT system does use the Globalstar network of
satelites, and as we have found out that is not the most reliable satellite
network for phones. I believe that while the SPOT system is OK as a backup,
and somewhat better than no communications at all, it should not be relied
upon to provide timely check-ins to ensure employee safety in the field.
I believe that ensuring every vehicle has a properly programmed mobile radio
(with more transmitting power than a handheld), every employee that will be
away from the vehicle has a handheld, spare batteries, and that the person
using the radio knows how to change groups, access neighboring repeaters
from the ones they are used to using, has emergency access to non-standard
frequencies such as EMS and Law enforcement channels, and CIO maintaining
the regular repeater system would be a much better expenditure of funds than
purchasing even a small number of SPOT transmitters. The SPOT transmitters
can be a fun toy to play around with, but that is all they are, a toy.
Does anyone know if the SPOTs have already been purchased? Perhaps its not
too late to collect all these comments from the field and stop CIO from
doing something costly and stupid. But in my dealings with CIO, they don't
want to hear it, they are going to do whatever they want regardless of field
Ab, sign me " a concerned taxpayer"
And keep up the good work, without Theysaid, we'd be mushrooms, kept in the
dark and fed sh__.
||SPOT vs radio:
Is there something else going on like a larger shift
that will require abandoning radios? So they have to come
up with some alternative?
I don't know enough, but there must be a reason beyond what meets the
LA, sounding like a conspiracy theory person...
||Re King antenna adapter and personal satellite trackers waste of FS
Radio Budget $$:
You can find the King antenna adapter by doing a search
for LAA0801 (6”) or LAA0801A (12”)
(listed under accessories).
You can call RELM/King direct and ask for GOV sales to get GSA price. When
you string that antenna up,
position it between 2 trees, just raising it against a single tree will let
some of your radio signal get sucked up
by the tree it is near.
I also consider the purchase of the personal satellite trackers a waste
of FS Radio Budget money. Proper
check in/out procedures that are followed and testing your radio before
leaving the compound would be
more beneficial. Hand on Radio training is also another way to help field
users, but the CIO has been
neglecting this for years. The FS CIO also has a problem with Leadership at
all levels making these decisions
in that they have not come up through the ranks and don’t have real field
experience to draw from.
Looking at reviews of the satellite trackers does not paint a good
picture, a very low wattage transmitter
(to extend battery life) sending out a Satellite frequency requires good
antenna positioning with a “CLEAR”
view to the South (in USA). Also check into Globalstar Satellite problems
when researching this product
as that is the service they use to communicate (at least the ones I’ve
looked into). These devices are
designed for public consumption by a company for profit and I personally
would not depend on it for my
Be safe you guys/gals, families out there in tornado land.
66 tornado warnings most concentrated over 6 states OH, IN, KY, TN,
Heard from a friend that Henryville Indiana is gone. Critical injuries in
Chattanooga TN, towns north of Louisville KY like Henryville. Tornado
bearing down on Cincinnati. Even Richmond IN is in the warning category.
Worst time for tornadoes is 1500 hours due to the sun heating the earth
This might be interesting for some of the folks who follow politics and
federal employee issues. The NTEU (National Treasury
Employees Union) which is one of the fed employees unions has a website of
The website offers rebuttals to some various anti-federal employee
rhetoric espoused by various politicians and some more
detailed info available via links to the facts for each one.
DISCLAIMER: also clearly posted on the website: view on your own time on
your own computer!
||The NIOSH Report is out on the death of Volunteer Firefighter Greg
Simmons in TX last April.
Excellent Report in my opinion. Ab.
Always Remember Greg Simmons
||Making the rounds in the FS:
From: FS-Chief of the Forest Service
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 08:37
To: ALL FS
Subject: FOREST SERVICE LOSS
I am sorry to share the news that one of our employees, Donna Rann, and her
husband Randy, died in the recent spate of
tornadoes in the Midwest. Donna was an employee at the SO in Harrisburg,
Illinois on the Shawnee NF. This is an awful
and unexpected tragedy. There is extensive damage on the ground and our
folks in the Region are assessing the damage
and beginning clean up operations. Thank you for keeping our colleagues in
Region 9 in your thoughts, as they work through
the aftermath of this terrible event.
||National Firefighter Corp, one of our sponsors, is doing a fundraiser
for the WFF. Their commercial exposure is pretty wide. Check it out. Thanks
for supporting our WFF. Ab.
Info on the National Firefighter fundraiser on the Hotlist
||RE: Antenna Adapter
You will not be able to find a standard cable adapter you referenced for
connecting a B-K portable radio
antenna port to the Larsen PHW-150 antenna. Something similar is NFES
#005350 cable adapter found in the
Radio Support Caches from NIFC, which is custom made, but is only 12" in
length and has the incorrect
connector on one end.
Will put you two in touch if he wants. Thanks. Ab.
I just caught wind of a potential waste of Taxpayer Money by the Forest Service and had to speak up.
The Forest Service has been looking into different Technologies and how
they can be applied in the field to improve
communication and safety (very good thing).
Emergency Communications for Remote Ops (829 K pdf)
Evaluation of the Spot Satellite Messenger (1,935 K pdf)
The initial cost then recurring subscription fees of these services are real expensive.
The problem I see is the FS CIO is going to spend over $1M for the
devices and one year of service, then it's up to
the user (District, Lab, Unit) to pay for monthly service/maintenance.
At this time they are having funding issues trying
to keep personnel and the basics running.
Instead of doing a mass purchase and issue of the devices, allow the
individual units (that can use them) to purchase
them using a CIO job code. I don't really see a need for them as most of
the radio coverage problems I've encountered
are the user not using the correct repeater access tone. The radio dead
spots that exist are also probably satellite dead
spots as most are down in canyons. I think the biggest selling point is
the ability to upload your travels to Google Maps.
Just blowing my little whistle
Letter to FS Doug Nash Concurrence 01232021.doc (62 K doc)
SEND Project 0203212 v1pptx.pdf (138 K pdf)
Field Communications - Tech Review.pdf (1,240 K pdf)
If the links in the post above (Emergency Commo for Remote Ops and
Eval of Spot Satellite Manager) get broken, please let me know so I can link
to the copies we have here. Ab.
||For those that know our Mo'Hick...
Yep.. we were lucky again here where I'm at. This time it was both north
and south of my area. North end started in
Kansas and went north of us about 30 miles, Lamar area then east passing
north of Springfield into the Lebanon and
Rolla area. The south end started about 25 miles south in McDonald county
area then east into Branson... Had some
50 to 60 mile winds with tree and powerlines, but nothing major for us this
time. Hurt a lot of people though and it's
||The article about the death of the Cottonwood firefighter yesterday has
been updated. Some of you might recognize his name or his face. It's a small
fire world. He worked for the USFS as a wildland firefighter prior to 2003.
The coroner's office identified the firefighter as Capt. Mark Ratledge, 35,
of Cottonwood. He was training officer of the Cottonwood FPD.
His photo and more info are here at