May, 2012

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5/31 Making the rounds in Military, Municipal and Federal Emergency Services:

Fire as a Weapon (1,450 K pdf)


5/31 From the document linked below:

Let your voice be heard!

The deadline is quickly approaching for participation in the 2012 Federal Employee View-point Survey (FEVS).
As of the second week of the FEVS, USDA has a 33% response rate.

Here are the people to contact if you have not gotten the survey link or have been told you are not eligible to take it.

They say on page 4,

"As a USDA Employee, You Can Directly Influence Change!"

Mary Jo Thompson  maryjo.thompson@dm.usda.gov

Ed Cierpial  edwin.cierpial@dm.usda.gov

Rhonda Flores (FS) rmflores@fs.fed.us

Dana Schrock (FS) dschrock@fs.fed.us

I have heard from those in the know that all full time and part time Forest Service employees are requested to do the survey. I know some of you, if not a lot of you, have been denied. Try again.

Please document all your efforts to participate. If you read that Progress Report for Employees, on USDA’s Cultural Transformation it's clear and upbeat and positive... hopefully real effort will include all.


5/31 New Air to ground frequencies in R5

From Jim911Fire on the Hotlist

Just got this in an dept email about an hour ago....

"FYI – heads up. Pre-alert.

California has received an extension for the use of the Federal A-G 170.000 until 7/1/2012.

The USFS will be sending a safety alert tonight with the extension and new expiration date."

5/31 New Air to ground frequencies in R5

This was posted back in March, but tomorrow is June 1, so here's a heads up! (Thanks for the reminder, dude)

CWCG Safety Alert Frequencies (2,227 k pdf)

Region 5, program your new air to ground frequencies:


See the new direction in the email above...

5/31 Ab,

I am so grateful for the this community that supports the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

We recently had Family Fire Weekend. There were many families who drove several days to attend.

What a gift to see families healing families. They seamed to be talking in that sacred language that only those who have lost can speak or understand.

As always Jack Wilson opened with a prayer. He is in his 90’s now and still serving firefighters on the ground and in the air.

I am so proud of our all our agencies' Honor Guards including Cal Fire and the Bag Pipers. This year, after the presentation of the Colors, we asked them all to come forward together and tell us a little about themselves and why they Serve. It was so touching and humbling to hear their stories. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Each family shared some of their firefighter's stories, with a few tears and lots of laughter.

The kids don’t want to leave each other. It is wonderful to watch them grow each year. They do the talent show before the barbeque. I think some of them should be on America's Got Talent.

Saturday evening closed with a sacred native ceremony.

We usually do a "dove release" on Sunday. This year we did a "butterfly release". Each person received an envelope with a butterfly in it. They were all released at the same time. It was mystical to watch the butterflies linger on people's hands and arms and even on the markers in the Monument. It seams like time stands still when a butterfly lands on you.

One little girl came up to me with a butterfly stuck on her shirt.
She said, "Is this my dad?"
I said, "I’m not sure… but just maybe he borrowed that butterfly so he could be close to you, for a while."


Vicki Minor
Executive Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho 83705

Thanks for what you and Burk et al do, Vicki; and thanks to Rowdy for his very helpful donation of air miles. I feel honored to have met you, Rowdy. IC with a big heart! Ab.

5/30 Ab,

Regarding the survey. The note about the survey is great! When I brought this up earlier I looked into it and found out the same thing from the person I talked to at the USDA. And I then called ASC and mentioned it to someone in HR. I was told without any doubt that the survey would not be made available to anyone except for Full-Time Permanent employees. I am a Permanent Seasonal employee (PSE) and I was told that I would not receive it. And I haven't, nor have any of the other PSEs or temps in our office (16 of them - the majority of our office employees). And I even directed this person at ASC to where it was stated and asked if I could be contacted after it had been followed-up. I have not been contacted and I'm quite sure it hasn't been followed up.

I also contacted the NFFE at several different levels and have not received a response.

Does anyone have a recommendation for how we might get this topic moved forward??? Casey?? Could you help? I contacted my Congress person (her aide) and they gave me the USDA contact to call, but no one seems to be able to get the FS to do anything. I know my local management won't do anything.

So what do those of us who care do to resolve this??

Ashamed of my Employer

Maybe the WO can request supervisors get it to the part-timers, and get ASC on the same page, and inform R5 about the expectations of distribution to seasonals... Ab.

5/30 IHC rotation

Someone please explain to me how crews that are not a current IHC (Tallac and Elk Mountain), are in the
IHC rotation? Kudos, however, to crews that can not maintain the standard and are honest enough to
change their status appropriately.

Norcal Dirt Pig

5/30 The Florida - Crowl Road Fire Burnover Review (667 K pdf) is available for reading and lessons learned,
sent in by Rangerjake72. I also posted it on the Hotlist Lessons Learned for easy reference as he requested.


5/30 Ab Note:

This survey is 15 pages, but page 3 and 4 spell out who USDA wants to take the FEV survey (census).
It states all fulltime and temporary employees. Also lists FS contacts for the survey.

June 11th is cut off.

All supervisors should make the survey available to temps.



From: USDA News [mailto:USDA_News.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us]
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:01 PM
Subject: MyUSDA May 2012

The following message is being transmitted to you as a Departmental Management (DM) service to all USDA employees.
Agency E-mail administrators: Please forward this message to all USDA employees.

***** Please do not respond to this mailbox. Thank you. *****

I am pleased to share the latest issue of MyUSDA: A Progress Report for Employees on USDA’s Cultural Transformation. In this edition, we mark the 150th Anniversary of our Department’s creation by President Abraham Lincoln. You’ll also read about a number of recent successes, such as a significant inter-governmental partnership with Alaskan Tribes, the recognition of key administrative professionals, and further progress of Secretary Vilsack’s Cultural Transformation Initiative.

One overriding theme of this issue is the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). Last year, 25% of all USDA employees were randomly selected to participate in the survey, which can be used to gauge how well Federal agencies manage and engage their employees. This year, for the first time, all Federal employees should have received (or be receiving) an email with the survey so they can participate and have their voice heard.

I encourage you to take the time to complete the FEVS because your feedback is instrumental in ensuring that USDA’s cultural transformation actions are recognized and strengthened. This year’s survey also includes three new demographic questions, focusing on veterans’ status, disability status, and sexual orientation. Your response will help us better serve and meet the needs of all employees.

Thank you for being committed to helping USDA accomplish its mission to be a top leader in food, nutrition, agriculture, natural resources, and other vital services. Let’s continue to be driven by sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. We could not do it without you.

Oscar Gonzales
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration
US Department of Agriculture

5/30 Incident Management Team Questions:

This might be another good website for Anne. Teams are sponsored by an agency or a coordinating group of agencies and made up of individuals from multiple fire agencies.

The Incident Commander(s) (if in unified command) works for the Agency Administrator who is responsible for the land where the wildfire is burning.



5/30 Incident Management Team Questions:

We had a public meeting in Glenwood, NM yesterday evening with several agencies and experts.
The question that has been asked of me (that I cannot answer) is who the Incident Commander
works for. Is the team employed by a government agency or is the team a private contractor
working for the gov.? How does that work?


Hi Annie,

The Interagency Incident Management Team always works for the Agency or entity that manages or "owns" the land where the fire is burning. If you look here on our Hotlist or on the official Inciweb site, that complex is burning on the NM-GNF, that's the Gila National Forest. Thus, the Incident Management Team of firefighting experts works at the behest of and in consultation with the forest's overhead.

The Interagency Incident Management Team is comprised of individuals from federal, state and local wildland fire and emergency services agencies; members have expertise in operations, planning, logistics, finance, information, and safety. Here's a diagram of the Incident Command System Structure, compliments of Jake. There are 16 Type I Teams in the Nation. Each team is a national resource that can be sent anywhere in the country as needed. They are well trained, experienced and equipped to help "bring order to the chaos" of emergency incidents, usually large wildfires. (my words about chaos)

The person on the team who can answer your questions is Mary Rasmussen. She is usually the team's PIO (Public Information Officer). If she's not there, whoever is PIO can give you the info you need -- call 575-533-6901, 7AM until 10 PM -- or feel free to ask here. Tell 'em Ab sent you.


5/30 Trainee Assignments

Why is it so hard to get our Trainees on assignments these days? The days of who you know and I scratch your back you scratch mine are gone. ALL of our federal firefighters that are in Overhead trainee positions should be utilized. When you see UTFs for overhead positions not being filled, one can only ask, why wouldn’t they accept a trainee. That’s what the individual went to training for and needs to utilize that knowledge and skill.


5/30 Hey Guys-

I'm the guy who makes several items you may have seen in the Supply Cache catalog. There's the little black 'charger / adapter' which changes your King radio clam shell into a power source for your phone, and the 'Toy Hose Roller' which as it sounds, allows you to single or double roll your toy hose in about 45 seconds. I also make a locking clamp for that toy hose, but have had to find a new powder-coater so inventory on those is a bit... Low.. Oh! And I make a 1" and a 1.5" foam nozzle for all the engine guys out there.

Why am I pointing all this out? Well... I've had a few "Unexpected Bills" and while I have a pile of all that stuff I make waiting to be ordered, I need some orders. Hence the Shameless Promotion here with Ab's approval.

What kind of bills doesn't really matter I suppose, but if you are very curious- Tuition came due, I had a tooth fall apart, and I had to spend about $700 on wheelchair related items all in the same month. OWCP *Will* reimburse me for the 'chair stuff, but they are rather glacial, meanwhile other bills come due... So I'm a bit.. Stretched at the moment. I have food and there's gas in the van so it's not Crisis Moment, but my mastercard is grinning & drywashing it's hands in anticipation of all that interest. I'd like to pay that off as fast as possible.

So. If you don't have a way to charge your phone on the line, you need one. Have a pile of foot-ball rolled toy hose?
 Get yourself a roller. How about a couple foam nozzles while you are at it? Give me about two weeks and you can get yourself a couple toy-hose clamps as well.

But you already have all that stuff you say?
Well, if I made it (everyone has competition) why not take it & show your FMO? Tell all about how Awesome it is and maybe some will be ordered for the rest of the engines & crews on your forest. But you are on a fire you say? Awesome! Go show it to the folk at Supply! Maybe they will order a bunch!

Help me out with a little promotion, get some folk some cool new toys while helping me pay off those bills and everyone is happy!

But I haven't told you exactly HOW to order anything?
That is Very easy- Simply head over to www.firecache.com/ and in the little search box on the upper right type "Evans" and hit Go. A list of my products will pop up and you can order as many as you like.

Thanks Guys-
Hope you all have a long & safe season!
Krs Evans

5/29 Firfighter first, manager second,

What's so confidential about how you decided to mobilize Hotshot Crews out of region and rotation? The information is readily available through the FOIA process. Not that big of deal and frankly not that important to the community as a whole. I would suggest you just brief your Superintendents on the circumstances and move on. Also this has nothing to do with today's world. 20 years ago crews knew where every crew was, even without cell phones.

To be honest, many including me don't even know where some of those crews are located. So please, you don't need to offer the "why we fight fire speech".

Finally, do the GACCs plan on posting the rotation anytime soon?

So Cal Ridges
5/29 Re IHC rotation:

In our day and age its pretty much public every movement of every crew. Unfortunately, the conversations that happen prior to that happening are not published, nor can they be. This still does not change how or why we fight fire. Its never possible to make it fair for everyone yet cover all the needs of each gacc, this is why we don't right a set rule book on resource movement.

Just don't get worked up over decisions your not paid to make.

Firfighter first, manager second

5/29 building dedication at the Bald Mtn Helitack Base on the Stanislaus to John Greeno

There will be a building dedication at the Bald Mtn Helitack Base on the Stanislaus to John Greeno on Saturday, June 2nd at noon. It was John’s greatest wish to have a new building put up at Bald Mtn, one that he pursued relentlessly. It is finally done! There will be goodies to eat and a dessert potluck following the ceremony. Come join us for some camaraderie, good food and one of the best views in the Sierras.

If you have any questions you can call Dave Phillips at (209) 586-7650.

Good news. Ab.

5/29 Casey Judd!

Of all my bi-weekly allotments from my paycheck, the one I have set up that sends 10 bucks to FWFSA is the one I am most proud of. Period!

5/29 Re: IHC Rotation:


I thought a closest resource, immediate need might have been the case. However when will a receiving GACC ever ask for the furthest IHC? Also if we are asking for the closest resource for a preposition to a wildfire refuge then this whole thing needs to get looked at again.

Got staff work done?



5/29 Re: IHC Rotation:


I have been trying to get a firm date as to when the ONCC/OSCC SIT500 will be up and running. I believe there was a tentative date for June 1st.

As far as the rotation goes, I know OSCC is following the current rotation that is set in place. Not sure what ONCC has going on. However, I do know that in the write up for the rotation if an order comes in that states "Closest Resource" then that would be cause for not following the rotation order. Again, the ordering unit has to request this, not ONCC/OSCC.


5/29 Re: north OPs R5 IHC Rotation List

North Ops isn't working backwards, just picking crew that are out on staff rides and such since that means they "are closer". Not sure how the others are getting out. Nice to see things haven't changed again this year.


5/28 Re: R5 IHC Rotation List:

MB, here is the rotation for R5 IHCrews. After checking the SWA webpage I can't understand how Mendocino and Redding got to R3. I spoke with a friend of mine up in Northern California and he thought maybe NOPS was starting from #18 and backwards. Or maybe they don't have all the crews available up there yet.

Hope this helps


So Cal Ridges

1. Horseshoe Meadow
2. Sierra
3. Texas Canyon
4. Groveland
5. Dalton
6. Stanislaus
7. Kern Valley
8. Rio Bravo
9. Golden Eagles
10. Arrowhead
11. Arroyo Grande
12. Vandenberg
13. Laguna
14. Crane Valley
15. Fulton
16. Springville
17. El Cariso
18. Mill Creek
19. Bear Divide
20. Kings River
21. Breckenridge
22. Los Padres
23. Vista Grande
24. Little Tujunga
25. Palomar
26. Valyermo
27. Big Bear
28. Del Rosa

13. TALLAC (T2IA)**

5/28 Classification on the Agenda...!!??

Hi to all. On this Memorial Day weekend a shock from Capitol Hill...wildland firefighter classification to be a priority for some in Congress next session.

Why now? Who knows. I've learned over 18 years that things in DC just don't make sense so it isn't prudent to even try to understand. During my last trip there several months ago as I previously posted, there were a lot of apologies... and promises from both the House & Senate about the lack of interest or effort on wildland firefighter issues.

We had a lot of effort in 2004/6 & 2008/9 but as I've said repeatedly, since the change in Administrations in 2008, the atmosphere is DC hasn't been conducive to getting anything accomplished. That said, not a day goes by that the FWFSA does not communicate in some manner with staff and others in DC. Like an iceberg, most of what we do is "under the surface." I don't necessarily enjoy doing business that way but as I'm sure those in leadership positions in NFFE and other organizations will attest, that's simply how things work.

The "unknown" is the willingness of the Agencies to "play" next session. Forest Service Chief Tidwell has stated that he supports a wildland firefighter series but it "will require significant time & effort." NFFE also concurs that a series is a long term goal. However as I have posted previously, the FWFSA has already accomplished the "heavy lifting" back in 2006 when the House of Representatives passed a classification bill "with OPM" amendments.

It would be wonderful if the leadership of the FS and DOI would simply pay a little attention and respect to their firefighters and tell OPM "this is what we want" rather than the FWFSA having to take the time to "legislate" a series. However it is a sad fact that these issues have been around for decades so expecting the agencies to all of a sudden reform many of the archaic pay & personnel policies affecting their firefighters on their own just isn't a real promising expectation.

I cannot go into details as with any election year, a lot depends on how the cards fall after the elections. There will be a significant change given redistricting etc., but I am confident that many relationships we have established over the years will be intact and finally result in some movement.

On this memorial Day weekend, please know that we continue to do our very best to educate those in a position to effect positive change for all of you. Progress is painfully slow and so incredibly frustrating to know that just a little interest in their firefighting workforce would return such incredible dividends for the agencies and taxpayers of this country.

However, until the Agencies demonstrate some respect for all of you, we'll continue to do what we can to provide all of you with the pay & benefits you all deserve. I'm also hoping we can reaffirm our relationship with NFFE in the coming months to work together for the common good for all of you.


Casey Judd

I heard that S.ops and N.ops came out with an out-of-region rotation for the R5 IHCs, just was wondering if anyone was able to find it on the (OSCC) or (ONCC) webpages or if it was posted somewhere else


5/28 ATV Rescue sled

My park (NPS) has two of these: www.allterrainresq.com/

Their 800lb capacity (rescue and a patient) make these a great choice You just need to make sure your ATV has the capacity to pull this as well as carry whatever is on the ATV.

There are several accessories for this to use it with snowmobiles or by hand.


5/28 looks like it's going to be an interesting season!

Dear AB,

I know that you are enjoying your holiday...but had to pass this on as I hadn't seen it posted anywhere:

Talk about LCES!!
This was CRAZY to listen to on the radio in our dispatch....

Rescuers bring in disoriented hiker

R5VetFF on WLF

5/26 Heading out to the wilderness until Sunday night. The Hotlist carries on. Ab.
5/26 Ab,

Got word from the Chief Pilot for Conair (Canada) that former tanker pilot, writer and all around good guy Linc Alexander passed away on Thursday morning. His latest book "Firebomber Into Hell" pretty much sums up the mans life. An earlier publication "Pilots Notes For Fire Bombing", while written in the mid 60's is still considered a bible to the industry.

I was just talking to him last week, giving him some images and info for his latest (unpublished) book. I am saddened by the loss of my friend, but more importantly, I am saddened by the loss of a great man whose input and foresight into the aerial firefighting has helped make it what we know today. In his days, the learning curve was rather large. He took notes and shared his findings. He wanted to see everyone come home at the end of the day. His observations and accumulated experience were invaluable to the youngsters in the business.

We have lost a true American/Canadian hero.


That was a good book. Very Sad loss. Ab.


This came in through another fire circle... Hutch posted a note a few days ago. Do it! Ab.

Group I'm sending this out to you again for you guys to fill out the survey form send it in and to forward it through all your team contacts and networks past and present at www.allcaimt.com .

We need a good head count to put this reunion on were at 75 folks and were looking at a min. 200 to move forward .

We need all the surveys back to us by 6-15-12

Some folks think this is a done deal and its going to happen ,Not so this is a large undertaking by a group of retired team members and its a non-FS / Privately sponsored event NO GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT.

So please fill the form out and talk it up with all your contacts.

If you have questions please e-mail at hanrahanfire@ nospam hotmail.com

Thanks and have a good memorial day weekend !!!

Jim H.

5/25 Hey all, go here and please sign this petition. Ab.

President Barack Obama: Support health insurance for seasonal wildland firefighters

President Barack Obama: Support health insurance for seasonal wildland firefighters

5/25 I put up some photos of the Oak Grove Hotshot reunion.

Oak Grove Hotshot Reunion 1 & 2 and Logo: The 52 year OakGrove Hotshot reunion was held this week at the ANF Sups' office. The crew was formed on the Angeles N.F. in 1950, making it the first Hotshot crew on the forest. The crew was disbanded in 1978. Oak Grove Hotshot History Photos compliments of Russ M. (0512)

Thanks, Russ. I added them to Handcrews 29 photo page. Ab.

5/25 Big CONGRATS to the rookies. Continued success and BE SAFE!


5/24 SJ Training achievement:

I would like to congratulate the Redding Class of 2012 Rookies on completing their smokejumper training. They put in many hard hours and completed the training of Friday May 18th. I wish them the best of luck and hope they have a safe fire season.


5/24 re NV-CCD-TRE

link to TRE Wildfire article from the Nevada Appeal, Carson City's paper.


5/24 Passing of Don Wisseman

It is with great sadness that I inform you that our longtime beloved Shuteye Lookout Don Wisseman has passed away Wednesday May 9, 2012 at the age of 76. He was a Fire Lookout at Shuteye and other lookouts on the Sierra National Forest forest from 1989 to 2006 and worked with the Forest Service since he was in his late teens, holding various positions in fire. Don was one of the best lookouts that the Sierra ever had, with his vast knowledge of the forest and his beautiful fiddle playing.

He will be greatly missed.


5/24 Some info making the rounds in R5, for the Heat Illness thread.

Be Safe;


Safety Alert for Heat Safety (doc)
MTDC Heat Illness Doc (pdf)

5/24 Re Diversity Hiring:

I am cc-ing the post below to all the USDA Diversity Officers and the Union Representative attached to the team, also to Tom Harbour and Secretary Vilsack. This 5/14 post is from R6 Smokey Bear on the Summary of Diversity Decision Points .

I believe it is direct violation of Section 15: Race and Color Discrimination www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/race-color.phpl#VIA4

POST from 5/14:

Re Diversity Hiring:

The Diversity Checkpoint List (pdf) comes from the Region (6), I did not edit in any way, the red is there. I really like check point #4 where it states the option of cancelling a cert if there is not diversity on the cert, and of course, a couple other ways to work the system, like changing job series etc.


Here is the contact information for the Officers and Union Representatives, we need an answer to how this practice, which is not just in Region 6, is acceptable.

This list is accurate to the best of my knowledge:

Farbrook Salt: 301-504-3976
Clyde Thompson: 202-692-0200
Frank McDonough: 703-605-1505
Joanne L Munno: 202-720-5213
Jim Bradley: 202-690-2575
Eloris Speight: 202-720-7847
Charles L Myers: 202-205-1707
Phillip G Short: 202-720-3438
Rick Swensen: 202-720-9824
Ronald Guillen: 202-720-6902
Carol Jett: 202-720-3631
Anne Todd: 202-720-1021

5/24 Flaming Mini-Van Rolls into Firefighters and Freeway Traffic

Making the safety rounds:

Interesting video received form Ken H. He makes some great points below. There are many lessons in this video. This is not the first time a vehicle on fire has started to roll down the road. This should be anticipated on any vehicle fire. Please share with your engine crews as they do their SCBA training for the upcoming season.

Peter T

Here is some extra training for vehicle fires that presents a good “lessons learned” without major consequences. This would serve as an excellent safety session during your SCBA & vehicle fire drills.

  • Do you train with a protocol of chocking the vehicle and who’s responsibility is it?
  • Are you wheel chocks easily accessible to grab if you pull up and the vehicle is about to roll?
  • Engine placement at the scene, are you thinking about that vehicle rolling and will it roll into your engine or other vehicles?
  • If you are donning your SCBA or working the scene and it rolls, do you have an escape route?

YouTube: Vehicle Fire Drills

Enjoy the video and be safe in all that you do!


5/24 President Barack Obama has ordered all major government agencies to make two key services available on mobile phones within a year, in an effort to embrace a growing trend toward Web surfing on mobile devices.

2012 Digital_mem_rel.pdf

Good news for firefighting agencies... Ab.


From the hotlist...

Today's Sit Report is not correct for this fire. The Whitewater Fire grew 60,500 acres yesterday for a total over 70,000 with the Type I IMT ordered.

Wunderground Map

Inciweb: Whitewater Wildfire

Incident: Whitewater Wildfire
Released: 1 day ago

The Whitewater Fire burning in the Gila Wilderness is approximately five miles southwest of the summer community of Willow Creek and was detected on Wednesday, May 16. The fire is currently estimated at 10,079 acres as it continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain of mixed conifer forest. The fire remains at 0% containment as firefighters are unable to directly suppress the fire due to extreme fire behavior and rough terrain. The fire did make a run...

SWA wildland fire activity map


5/24 I would like to encourage all current and previous members of the Federal Type One IMTs and those that were at that level in the Old LFO organizations that predate ICS to take 5 minutes and go to www.allcaimt.com and complete the survey before June 15. This is about a reunion that is being planned next year. Also please pass this on to all those current and previous team members in your e-mail and snail mail address books. Looking forward to seeing folks in Reno.

5/24 Union HS Crew Carriers on American Idol...

I would like to congratulate the Union Hotshots crew 65 and 66 and their Supt. Truck for their appearance on the American Idol finale show. Shortly after the start of the show a segment was done on the road travel of the judges and low and behold what to my eyes appear, 2 green crew carriers and a large white Supt. truck. To the untrained eye this could be missed in the short second that they appeared but not this Hotshot. This is the second time I have seen a Hotshot crew on the Idol show.


I thought I saw several Supts rocking out on their air guitars backing up Aerosmith! "WALK THIS WAY!"... Rock on! Ab.

5/23 Baffled

Another great day here on the Six Rivers. Forest Sup. decided the forest can't be trusted with their own budgets so now we have to have permission from him or the Deputy for any purchases over $100.00. When will these people get a clue.

5/23 Thank you, thank you, thank you for the forum.

The community's assistance has really helped us to locate many off this list and in our effort to carry out the Court Order, you have been a savior. We at CDF Firefighters appreciate wildlandfire and the wonderful staff assembled to help keep wildlandfire.com alive and well!

Stop and think about it. What other venue do we all have in this profession? Your efforts are appreciated by many throughout the world.

Mellie, and hotlist crew, you are GREAT!

5/23 Another couple of TRE fire photos from yesterday from MK taken on 5/22/12:

NV- TRE wildfire 2012-05-22-1400.jpg

NV TRE wildfire 2012-05-22.jpg
5/22 NV-CCD-Tre Fire: Photo taken 5/22/12 of the Tre Fire about 4 showing the winds. Heading south to kernville. Photo compliments of Firebeeman. (0512)

Thanks. I added it to the Fire 46 photo page, last photo. Hotlist thread: the TRE Fire. Ab.

5/22 Heads Up!!!!!! Red Flag Warning has been issued for Santa Barbara County:

www.wrh.noaa.gov ... Forecast

posted on hotlist: CA Fire Weather 2012

5/22 Ab,

Can you help us. We are trying to locate those CAL FIRE (CDF) firefighters who will be reimbursed as a result of the successful
conclusion of a Labor Law suit.

Thank you.


Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:33 AM
Subject: Request for help contacting missing individuals

I have added the Unit Worked, Rank and Years below to make it easier.


Honorable Executive Board Members

In order for CDF Firefighters to comply with a court ordered notification procedures we are sending you the following request for assistance. We request you send this email to every member, retired of otherwise as quickly as possible, we need to complete our search by May 30th, 2012.

CDF Firefighters Local 2881 Missing Class members
CASH OUT Lawsuit settlement

We need your help in finding the individuals listed below; they are members the of classes covered by the CDF Firefighters Local 2881 cash out lawsuit. We are looking for these class members to give them a court required notice. These individuals may be entitled to a cash settlement and must be notified by the department (CAL FIRE). These individuals also have a right to opt out of the lawsuit settlement if they wish.

Please make every attempt to locate the listed individuals by May 30th, 2012

We are requesting you to make every effort to find contact information for the following listed individuals.

1. MickeJ. Alexander

2. Jessie D. Barnes
3. Rick G. Bracelin
4. Melissa Brinckerhoff
5. TJ English
6. Joel D. Ficher
7. Joshue P Fisher
8. William Harrover
9. Chris J. Huddleston
10. Christie J. Lucas
11. Colt J. Maule
12. Chris J. O’Brien
13. Richard R. Shade
14. Brandon Vaccaro
15. Shaun M. Welsh
16. Jennifer L. Whipple
17. Dave Zablocki
and 216

Information needed:

  1. Mailing address
  2. Contact phone number, home and cell
  3. Email address

Please document your personal efforts to contact these listed individuals, we request you keep a phone log, written notes or emails. We will be required by the court to document our efforts to notify all individuals listed as members of the classes covered by the lawsuit settlement. Once you have completed your effort please forward an email with the specific steps, actions you have taken to comply with the court's mandate.

If you recover missing information please transmit it to the following officers:
Jennifer S. Stoughton, Assistant Legal Council: Jstoughton@ nospam cbmlaw.com (take out the nospam and the spaces)

signed, Bob Wolf, President
CDF Firefighters Local 2881
Representing the Professional Firefighters of CAL FIRE

5/22 Information on rescue litters:

Much obliged…….


5/22 M.P.

If you are looking for a tow-behind litter carrier that is suitable for uneven terrain and which can be dismounted and propelled by hand I can recommend the Cascade Levitator. www.Cascade-Rescue.com/the-Levitator/. You can see this demonstrated on YouTube. The two wheel models get very tippy on any gradient. For back country off-road trail rescue (read fire line) I use a Traverse Titan litter with a Cascade Trail Tech litter wheel which lets me bring all my rescue gear rapidly to the scene and halves evacuation time. Your patient and the litter carriers will thank you.

Good Luck
Doc Smitty
5/21 rescue litters:

He might be looking for Orion sleds. Summit County Rescue Group uses a snowmobile version.
They make wheeled ones as well.


Thanks, contributors. Ab.

5/21 In regard to MR in TS looking for information on rescue litters:

I am sure someone could adapt one of these

The NPS uses a “wheeled litter” they mention it on occasion. Found this:





5/21 Wilderness rescue equipment

I’m trying to find a source for a towable (behind an ATV or Gator) rescue litter for use on back country trails. I’ve seen two wheeled versions, some with a seat on the back for an aid giver and an IV pole, but can’t find anything online….

Can you point me in the direction of a possible source please?


5/21 Photos needed of fire viewed from the air as if from a lookout or air recon.

Ab and wildland firefighter community,

Thank you for not only sending photos and information to us but also replying so quickly! It is really nice to receive
other pictures of T-61 that we don't have.

We are not actually looking for photos of Tanker 61 but for an aerial wildland fire photo to put into our display cabinet with the firefinder just below it as part of our education to the public regarding aerial and ground firefighting. It needs to be a photo taken from the air of a wildland fire to simulate how the firefinder is used in a lookout tower, which is what the memorial building is. We need a 1 MB for the resolution to be prime but can use a smaller one if there is no such thing as 1 MB. Is there?

Please continue to forward us information at any opportunity. It has taken 4 years to get this project off the ground and we are planning a major fundraiser this fall with a rededication, as it has been 20 years now.

Marcia Cavin

There are high resolution photos taken from the air of fires burning below. Readers? Ab.

5/21 FYI: Goleta Air & Space Museum has two photos of Tanker 61 on its web site:
Douglas DC-6 and DC-7 Tankers

Old sawyer.

Thanks, Old Sawyer. Ab.

5/20 WX Guy (professional) in socal has some interesting comments... Ab.

Hotlist Comment

5/18 Hello,

We are on the hunt for an aerial wildland fire photo that is 1MB for the Tanker 61 Memorial in Klamath Falls, OR.

Any leads for this size?

Thank you,
Marcia Cavin
Executive Director
Tanker 61 Memorial

Readers this is a high resolution photo about 1,000 K or larger of Tanker 61. We don't have one. T-61 crashed in 1992 on the ENF before our time, killing Chuck Sheridan and Leonard Martin. Does anyone out there have one? My experience is that even good photos for the mid 2000's were not that large. If you have an any-sized photo of T-61, I'd be happy to try to adjust it in Photoshop so it could be printable. Ab.

Always Remember Chuck and Leonard.

5/18 From Tri-Sac

US forecasters say heat will stay on this summer

Associated Press - Thu, 17th May 2012 08:43 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — And the heat goes on. Forecasters predict toasty temperatures will stretch through the summer in the U.S. And that's a bad sign for wildfires in the West. The forecast for June through August calls for warmer-than-normal weather for about three-quarters of the nation, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. The warmth is expected south of a line stretching from middle New Jersey to southern Idaho. Only tiny portions of northwestern U.S. and Alaska are predicted to be cooler than average and that's only for June, not the rest of the summer.

Last May until April was the hottest 12-month period ...


5/17 "Wildland Firefighter Heat Illness Awareness and Prevention" webinar

Nice job. Should be online in an hour and a half, about 4 or 4:15 PM Pacific time.
Heat Illness Awareness and Prevention from wildfire lessons


5/16 Ab-

This Yosemite burn was planned to be done this week on the north side of Wawona and East of the South Fork
of the Merced. The lower portion would have been just above 4000' elevation. Things are drying out and this is
a south facing slope for the most part.


rx-fire-projects from NPS

5/15 The NIOSH Report on Caleb Hamm's death is out.

Don't forget the “Wildland Firefighter Heat Illness Awareness and Prevention” webinar, scheduled for tomorrow: Thursday May 17, 2012 at 1 pm Pacific. This webinar will discuss the indicators of heat illnesses, the physiology of heat illnesses for appropriate mitigations, and examples of mitigations used successfully by IMT and IHC crews in extreme conditions. Go to www1.gotomeeting.com to register.

It will be available for viewing afterward at wildfirelessons.net


5/15 Hey Folks,

Just a reminder to all for the Big Hill Helitack 50th Anniversary / WFF Fundraiser is happening this weekend May 19th and 20th. The following events are as follows:

52 mile hike:
Starts May 19th at 8am at Camino Heights Drive. Ends just east of the intersection near South Shingle Road and Mother Lode Dr at the railroad tracks ends approximately 4-5 pm. The hike will start where it left off on May 20th at that location at 7am, and end at Town Center in El Dorado Hills between 2-3pm. Alumni interested in hiking a single day are welcome.

-Big Hill Gathering on May 20th @ Big Hill:
starts at 10am, ends at 2pm

-Reunion Dinner Benefit at Diamond Springs Firefighter Hall on May 20th:
Doors open at 5pm, ends at approximately 9pm

Please direct questions to Sean Cox at (530) 409-2363 or Rob Allan at (530) 304-0629

To make a donation to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. You can add a comment Big Hill Helitack 50th Anniversary. Ab.

5/14 The WLF staff is happy to introduce a new sponsor on the Hotlist Forums.

Manuel Villegas , the owner of Ambry Equipment, designed and is marketing a new and improved hose deployment pack called the MVP Hosepack. Manny says he realized there had to be a better system where a firefighter didn’t have to bend over so other firefighters could pull hose from the pack and that removing gloves to grab hose wasted time and compromised safety. He also states the MVP Hosepack allows firefighters to fight fire faster and allows many options for configurations, sizes, and amounts of hose.

You can find out more information on the MVP Hosepack including instructional videos at: Ambry Equipment

5/14 Sounds like ROSS and phones may be down in R3. ROSS was down last night. Message one of our firefighters got is to use email. Ab.
5/14 Casey

Well atleast you weren't accused of being Secret Service haha. You're moving up in the world.

Take care and be safe Casey.


5/14 Re Diversity Hiring:


The Diversity Checkpoint List comes from the Region (6), I did not edit in any way, the red is there. I really
like check point #4 where it states the option of cancelling a cert if there is not diversity on the cert, and
of course, a couple other ways to work the system like changing job series etc.


5/13 Historical photo of Schoolhouse Fire Camp 1966

I found your photo of the Schoolhouse Fire camp from 1966 in the Equipment 11 photos. The descriptive text from that photo is:

School House Fire Camp, 1965 or '66: I ran in some slides taken on the School House Fire on the LP in 1965/66 Cuyama RD (now part of Mt. Pinos RD). Time Keepers were in long trailer on left and the small trailer to the right of center was Plans. The copy machine was carbon paper. No tents: the kitchen had a tarp over the stove and a shower was what you got when you got home. Times have changed. Photo compliments of jmck. (0808) My records for the Schoolhouse Fire confirm it was in early July, 1966. I was a rookie on the Dalton crew with only two weeks on the job. The Schoolhouse Fire was my first large fire and I was on the fire for two days. I remember night shift, some squirrely winds at a saddle, and backfiring with one gallon cans of napalm with a pull fuse. BobW (0112)

We still own the property that they camped on in 1966. I would enjoy any other photos of that fire or camp if available. I was 10 at the time and my grandfather lived on the property while I lived 80 miles away. We came out to see the sights for one day as I remember and I walked all through camp amazed at how our sleepy little ranch had turned into such a bustling place.

Thanks for the memories.

Jim Mitchell

Jim, thanks for the year. jmck, do you have any other pictures? Ab.

5/12 From Casey:

Sad reminder of the Esperanza Tragedy:

This October will mark the 6th anniversary of the Esperanza Fire and the stunning tragedy of the loss of life of five Forest Service firefighters. Some may have felt a sense of justice prevail upon the conviction of Raymond Lee Oyler.

However the wildland firefighting community needs to be aware that at least one individual has taken up the pathetic cause of accusing many, including the FWFSA, Senators, judges, firefighters, sheriff etc., of participating in a conspiracy to wrongly convict Mr. Oyler and alleges that all have perjured themselves. He has suggested that he has evidence of how the fire actually started.

The FWFSA was first alerted to this issue a couple of years ago when I received a letter from this individual claiming that he had proof Mr. Oyler was innocent. The letter listed a number of judicial, legal and other groups & individuals he claimed had conspired in the conviction of Mr. Oyler. I didn't give it much credence until I saw the FWFSA listed on the 2nd page as one of those who, according to this individual, was complicit in the conspiracy. In fact the FWFSA and many, many others are called "architects of conspiracy" by this individual.

I then made a serious mistake of judgement by responding to the individual to let him know the FWFSA played no role in the legal process. Unfortunately this led to the opening of the flood gates and letters with more and more serious allegations started to arrive. It got to the point where this individual suggested the FWFSA (in a more recent letter it is now the FBI) had hacked his computer. The allegations and threats became far more disconcerting.

I tried to explain to the individual that his actions and allegations were serious and that he could face legal action and be held liable for his slander and libel. Obviously this has not deterred him.

I was contacted by the individual's son-in-law early last year who indicated the man had recently lost his wife and was aged and that perhaps this issue was his last gasp at doing something with his life. The FWFSA received at least 4 additional letters between August 2011 and February 2012 which I chose to simply save but not open.

Recently I was contacted by investigators from the California Highway Patrol seeking my thoughts about the level of concern of the allegations/threats. The CHP asked me to read the more recent letters to see if the text had become more aggressive etc. They have.

This week I have been in touch with law enforcement officials, representatives from Senator Feinstein's staff (she is also identified as a "cover up specialist") law firms and others who have not only been targeted by this individual but who have also received letters claiming the FWFSA did this and that.

Sen. Feinstein's staff will be sharing these documents with the US Capitol Police. It is sad to think that an elderly man feels compelled to make such allegations yet throughout his many rants, fails to acknowledge the realities that 5 brave firefighters lost their lives needlessly.

Perhaps I have been remiss in not sharing this information with our members or the community until now but I had hoped this was a simple case of some eccentric old man, lacking some of his sensibilities, ranting and raving and thus hoping it would go away. It has not and unfortunately has escalated to the point of this individual recklessly indicting this entire community as well as law enforcement and anyone he can list on a piece of paper. To this day I still am unclear as to how the FWFSA even got on his initial radar screen.

Without a doubt investigations are either on-going or will commence and I will ensure I provide accurate information without compromising those investigations.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Wow, hope everyone is careful, including you, Casey. Ab.

5/12 R5 Fire Work Environment Update



Date: May 9, 2012
Subject: Fire Work Environment Update
To: All Region 5 Employees

As the field season draws near, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you an update on the progress of the Fire Work Environment group. As you’ll recall, this effort began late in 2011 with a goal of identifying challenges in the fire work environment in Region 5. By identifying and addressing these issues brought forth by our employees, we can work toward ensuring an inclusive workplace for all employees.

I’d like to extend my thanks to Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management, Willie R. Thompson, and the team she has assembled to tackle this important project. I know there were many long discussions undertaken by this group to arrive at common thematic areas, specific issues within these areas, and recommendations for myself and the rest of the regional leadership team.

I have received the initial Executive Report and supporting materials from Willie and the Fire Work Environment Planning Team. This report contains your thoughts and insights as to how you view the conditions on the ground and what opportunities may exist for positive changes to occur. It speaks to the responsible attitude of our fire personnel that such a thorough list of possible solutions accompanies this request. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reviewing the report in its entirety and having pertinent discussions with my staff as well as USDA Deputy Director, Administration Robin Heard.

I’d like to acknowledge that this report would not have been possible without your candid input. Your suggestions and valuable insights will help guide the transformation of our fire work culture and our overall regional work environment. We will continue to provide you updates as these issues are evaluated and a realistic course of action is taken.

If you have any questions regarding the Fire Work Environment Group and its mission, you can contact Willie Thompson at __________ or ______________.

/s/ Randy Moore
Regional Forester

5/11 Re Diversity Hiring:


Is that an official R-6 form hiring form? Are the highlights in red added by you or part of the official form as you found it?

Anyone from NFFE in our forum have any thoughts on this form and how the outreach processes outlined in the Master Agreement are being implemented?


5/11 retired CSRS ad's & Soc. Security

Can you provide any tips on how one would go about getting Social Security credit for AD work? They tax wages for federal income tax, but don't pull out SSI taxes and when I called the national SS hotline, they had no clue about how to pay back into the system to get credit for quarters worked.

5/11 Making the rounds:


Please join us for the “Wildland Firefighter Heat Illness Awareness and Prevention” webinar, scheduled for Thursday May 17, 2012 at 1pm Pacific. This webinar will discuss the indicators of heat illnesses, the physiology of heat illnesses for appropriate mitigations, and examples of mitigations used successfully by IMT and IHC crews in extreme conditions. Go to gotomeeting.com to register for the webinar. If you have any questions let me know!


Brenna Macdowell wildland fire Lesson Learned Center

PS -The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing after at http://wildfirelessons.net/.

5/10 FS Employee View Point Survey:

I wrote to OPM and asked why there was no spot for any additional comments at the end of the survey and this is what I got back from them.

(Me) “Hello, I just finished taking the FEV Survey and wanted to put some comments at the end of it, but there was not a place for it. I wanted to comment on how the diversity questions were inspired. While the answer to most of the questions were geared to make the employee to answer the questions as the FS being very motivated to hire diverse candidates, I believe this is not true. Most people feel the way the Forest Service is trying to get diverse candidates hired is somewhat illegal.

Another comment I was going to make was that the lack of budgets in Recreation, Wilderness, etc.. has really impacted Fire employees. We find ourselves doing other departments work and charging the time on the job to Fire Preparedness, Fire P#'s, or severity overtime codes. Most Fire employees think that this is a mismanagement of funds. Just something for consideration, thanks.”

(OPM) “Thank you for your desire to provide us with additional comments about the subject and completing the survey. After this year’s survey administration, we will compile all survey suggestion and make recommendations for improvements in future administrations of the survey.”

Quick Connect

5/10 Diversity Hiring:

All this blatant (reverse) discrimination is overwhelming, I am so glad that I am already in, and actually able to step out at any time, I just find it hard to watch an Agency that I have worked for 30 plus years implode. I used to read They Said to snicker at all the BS you R-5 folks went through in the past and are still going through. Well I tell ya, the border between R-5 and R-6 leaks like a sieve, (just like the Arizona/Mexico border), and all that stuff is here now! If you aren’t diverse or a veteran, go ahead and apply but don’t think you’ll finish any higher than second place. If a cert does not have adequate diversity, it is cancelled and outreach/advertised again.

You R-5 folks are pretty good at law suits, I think I see one in the making.

Our front desk received a phone call yesterday from a potential mushroom picker that demanded to speak to someone in Spanish, as it was his RIGHT!

Here’s the Diversity check point list.


The cancelling and re-advertising is probably illegal. Ab.

5/9 FS Employee View Point Survey:


I pulled this from FedSmith.com and I believe it was mentioned earlier here on They Said. It's yet another tidbit about the survey.

And by the way, I'm a full-time permanent employee and I have not received it in my Outlook In-Box yet.

Perhaps we should take a poll to see how many people have or haven't received the poll. No one else is doing it. We could use a proactive advocate and this site is a great venue!

Are people comfortable with this? I would have hoped for some sort of a statement from the union.


Call me: None of Your Business

5/9 The Fire Line Officers Team announces awards for Line Officers.


Date: April 30, 2012
Subject: 2011 Fire Line Officers Team Award Recipients
To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director and Deputy Chiefs

It is with great pleasure, the Fire Line Officer Team (LOT) announces the recipients of the 15th Annual Fire Leadership Award Program. These national awards recognize Forest Service line officers who made a difference through their commitment to fire management principles in 2011. We had an excellent response across the Nation, with 13 nominations for the four categories of Fire Leadership Awards. The following line officers are recognized:

Excellence in Line Officer Commitment to Firefighter & Public Safety

Jim Upchurch – Forest Supervisor, Coronado National Forest, R3 (Individual)

Excellence in Line Officer Commitment to Restoration of Fire Adapted Ecosystems

Jim Zornes – Forest Supervisor, Apache-Sitgraves National Forest, R3 (Individual).

Excellence in Line Officer Commitment to Building a Workforce for the Future

Kevin Martin – Forest Supervisor, Umitilla National Forest, R6 (Individual).

Line Officers, Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, R4 (Brian Ferebee, Cheryl Probst, Jennifer Parker, Rick Schuler, Robin Redman, Cathy Kahlow, Sylvia Clark, and George Garcia) (Group).

Excellence in Line Officer Commitment to Partnership Efforts in Fire Management

Chuck Oliver – District Ranger, Darby Ranger District, Bitterroot National Forest, R1 (Individual)

We congratulate the recipients for their contribution to fire management principles these awards represent. We had many outstanding nominees for this year’s program and the selection process was difficult. Awards will be processed and sent to you for distribution in the next several weeks. We hope you continue to encourage your people to nominate line officers deserving of recognition for the leadership they provide to our agency and the public we serve.

/s/ James E. Hubbard

Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry
cc: pdl wo spf fam regional directors, pdl wo lot
5/8 Firefighter Pay in Florida:


A colleague of mine posted this news link on Facebook, I would like to share it with the community here.

I know the situation is not unique to just Florida, but I would like to get the message out.



5/8 FS Employee View Point Survey

Like I posted some time ago "9 out of 10 dentist surveyed said" the gum company wrote the survey, as the Government did with this one, in addition, read the sign in message on all Gov computers, then tell me how what I express will be confidential. I never liked the taste of Dentyne, Bazooka Joe is where it's at.


5/8 FS Employee View Point Survey


Regarding the survey does anyone think its odd that no 13/13 or 18/8 employees will be getting the chance to fill out this survey? Just some quick figuring shows what over half of the USFS fire org will not get the chance to fill it out. By this happening I think the survey results will be very unrealistic.

Any others thoughts out there?

Getting Frustrated

5/8 Re Roddy Baumann's passing:

I am so sorry to hear of Roddy Baumann's passing. I worked for him in 1980 as a young and ambitious patrolman on the Redfeather District of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest in northern Colorado. He was a fairly new FMO with lots of ideas and a very motivating supervisor. I had a few seasons in southern California and thought I knew everything. He gave me a few slices of humble pie and I was a better person and firefighter for it. After not hearing from him for decades I ran into him on the Ranch Fire on the Angeles in 2007. He was there as a Strike Team Leader for several FWS crews I think. We had a very nice reunion. Rest in peace Roddy.


5/7 Ab & All,

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation needs your HELP....

We have several of our fallen firefighter family members who want to attend Family Day 2012, but they can't afford to travel here.

We have a few firefighters who have donated awards for motels, but we could use a lot more. Mostly we need airline awards or miles donated, to
help families make their journeys here.

Family Day is May 18, 19 and 20 here in Boise, so time is short.

If you can help please call 208-336-2996 or email us at

Vicki Minor
Executive Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

5/7 An email from the Chief of the Forest Service:

When I meet with employees and review our performance, I am always impressed with the tremendous dedication I see, and with the great amount of work we accomplish. Because of the hard work of you and our partners, the Forest Service provides essential and sustained benefits to this Nation and the world in countless ways.

We recently published a report to shine a spotlight on some of this great work, to share with the public how much we have been able to accomplish in restoring the resilience of our forests, and how we expect to build on that in the future. The report, “Increasing the Pace of Restoration and Job Creation on Our National Forests,” cites the many benefits our work provides for the environment and for communities. Our restoration work included over 3.7 million acres of treatments in 2011, and we are projected to increase the pace to 4 million acres in 2012.

In light of our funding situation, one of the questions I get is whether leadership is asking employees to work harder and to do more with less. WE ARE NOT ASKING THAT, AND WE WILL NOT. Rather, we are improving processes and systems to stretch funding to accomplish more, to put more money into projects and less into documentation and process. By improving our collaboration with partners and communities, we expect to build consensus, allowing the work to get moving and more quickly produce results that people value.

Folks in the lab and on the ground are finding new ways to assess needs, work with partners and seize opportunities to improve forest and rangeland resilience across all lands. A modernized forest planning rule, streamlined NEPA procedures approved by CEQ, and a pre-decisional administrative objections rule are a few tools we are developing to empower our workforce to carry out the tremendous mission that has been entrusted to us. With your commitment, I know we will excel.

We have the responsibility and a well-deserved reputation for developing better delivery systems and expanding capacity through partnerships. We also have the responsibility to make sure that expectations match resources. When appropriations are reduced for parts of our mission, production and service will also be reduced. I know this is not easy, especially with our publics requesting more of us. It is essential that we focus on our priority work. By doing this, I am confident we will continue to deliver the highest level of service and stewardship possible with available resources.

A safe outcome is a critical piece of our successful work. We will not sacrifice safety for production. If it cannot be done safely, we do not do it.

Thank you for all you do.


5/6 EMS changes for emergency medical providers:

Hello all,

Recently I have had a number of inquiries from all levels of EMS providers as well as management levels within both Federal and state wildland fire programs into some of the changes taking place in regards to Emergency Medical Providers at all licensure and certification levels. I believe this is an important piece of information for all wildland firefighters, safety officers, and other agency personnel involved in any EMS component within their jurisdiction.

This has included name changes, scope of practice material, and the biggest question of all, why these changes and why now.

Next to this is a specific highlighted statement from the article itself which, I feel, may help people find we are stepping in the right direction.

"Supporting the Profession

It’s anticipated that National EMS Certification will standardize testing across the country and optimize EMS opportunities for career mobility. It will help ensure entry-level competency, lessen the burden of interstate reciprocity and eliminate legal barriers to EMS practitioners crossing state lines, which has been a source of frustration for providers in these areas for years."

I thought I might include the article "EMS Education Agenda" from the September 2011 edition of Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) magazine;


It provides an excellent overview of what is happening or about to happen depending on your state EMS office's current transition timeline.

FINAL NOTE: I have received permission from my medical director to count this article as .5 hours of CE towards my re-licensure for state and .5 hours for NREMT under the EMS operations and general category.

If you have any questions or comments, I am always here to help.

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic

5/6 Pyro-terrorism & other long-term issue tidbits:

With the recent concerns raised about the use of wildfires as a terrorist activity, I wanted to let folks know that in 2004/2005 a U.S. Marine Major, Robert Baird, submitted a paper entitled: FUTURE WAR PAPER-TITLE: PYRO-TERRORISM-THE THREAT OF ARSON INDUCED FOREST FIRES AS A FUTURE TERRORIST WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION which he submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for his Masters degree. So the issue certainly isn't new and the paper makes very interesting reading.

Re: Classification, diversity and primary/secondary positions

With an increased discussion over the USDA's renewed efforts regarding diversity over the past year, I also wanted to remind the younger folks that as far back as September 1991, a Forest Service memo to the Chief with the subject Hispanic Resolution Item 50 Update- Wildland Firefighter Series stated that in April 1991, representatives from the Forest Service' region 5 participated in a task group to address issues that were raised at the Aviation & Fire Workforce Diversity Conference in Denver, 1989. The group was charged with the task of recommending solutions pertaining to the development of a wildland firefighter series.

Six alternatives were reviewed by the group including:
1) Establish a new wildland firefighter series
2) Fully utilize the existing series 401, 301, 025 & 081
3) Modification of x-118 standards for the 400, 460, and 462 series
4) Stay with the existing 462
5) Contract fire protection in the Urban Interface
6) Creation of a California Fire Service

The alternatives were ranked with the following criteria (no particular order):

1) Recruit & retain
2) Career Path
3) Compensation
4) Recognition (self-esteem)
5) Standards, knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The recommendation... drum roll please: "The establishment of a wildland firefighter series was viewed in the long-term as having the most potential to best address and resolve the aforementioned concerns in the criteria listed above."

21 years later the Agency is still putzing around this issue. In 2006 the FWFSA secured passage of the OPM amended (very important fact) Federal Wildland Firefighter Classification Act in Congress only to have it literally lost on the way to the Senate floor for certain passage.

Recently FS Chief Tidwell has acknowledged a wildland firefighter series as a "long term" goal and others have suggested it would require "heavy lifting." Nonsense. All of you have already endured the "long-term" part of the goal...some of you in diapers when the issue was first raised or others not even born.

This issue does not require legislation. The Agencies and OPM could fix this administratively virtually overnight and it is a travesty that they have paid so little attention to the one issue that could positively impact recruitment & retention & even diversity more so than any other proposal.

Finally primary/secondary firefighter positions:

Periodically I like to remind the federal wildland firefighting community that again, in 1991, in a decision issued by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, Felzien v. Office of Personnel Management (Fed. Cir. 4-17-91) the Court constructively redefined "primary firefighter" to include those employees who only maintain or use firefighting equipment in a support role.

At the time, this was a significant departure from the rather limited definition of firefighter OPM had been applying to determine which employees were eligible for firefighter retirement.

Bottom line... OPM will not knock on your door and say "guess what, you are eligible for firefighter retirement." Additionally, I can't think of any instances in which any of the land management agencies have volunteered such information. Even if you remotely think you are eligible, pursue it.

For those of you in the bargaining unit, I would contact your union representative (NFFE) for additional information. I also have a copy of a Union article about the case I can send out if necessary.


Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
5/6 Here's a BLM topo map of the Canyon Inn 1968 burnover site.

The little red dot below the heel of the ANF boundary is the burnover site, outside of the ANF.


Thanks, RJM, it was added to the Always Remember page. Ab.

5/6 The site where the FF's were lost was outside the ANF. However, it was within 1/2 mile of the forest in a mutual aid zone.

There was video footage of the incident taken by a local news helicopter which I saw a number of years ago while attending a CDF (now CALFIRE) class. If any one knows a source for this video I would like to get a copy to show students in the Rio Hondo Wildland Fire Academy as that area is within the IA zone for the Roadrunners fire crew.

John Bennett
USFS (Ret)
5/6 Dear Ab:

I'm wondering if your southern California readership can help me out with a geography question.

Was the sector of the 1968 Canyon Fire where the 8 LA County firefighters were overrun within the boundaries of the Angeles National Forest?

Thanks very much for your help.


Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

Hi Marty, I'm fairly certain it was not. Readers from socal who know the location and/or the report, what do you say? Ab.
Always Remember the LAC Canyon Fire teenagers, 1968.

5/6 Outreaches

It makes sense to have them all in one web location. Not just fire outreaches either, having all Forest Service outreaches in one location would help out our veterans and other externals looking for a job.

So Cal Ridges
5/5 Outreaches

To; NFFE Regional or National Representatives

NFFE can you offer some assistance. Regarding Article 16, Section 2c, was it your intent to have a single location where all outreach notices for bargaining unit positions are to be posted? If not, what benefit is outreaching if the outreach can occur at multiple Forest Service websites? This doesn't change a thing from previous Master Agreements.

If it was the intention of those who negotiated the 2010 Master Agreement for a "single" location, can you help get this back on track? In this difficult job market and a reduction in the number of available positions, wouldn't the smart thing to do is have a single location where interested candidates can search for available positions? Or do we want each unit posting position where ever they like? If so, why even bargain this since the end result is nothing new.

As directed by the Dep Chief, all bargaining positions are being posted here.

NFFE, What say YOU?


Highway 2 Protector

5/5 Interagency Incident Management Team website links are updated as much as possible; asterisks indicate 2011 info and they'll be updated as new information permits. Links to these are located on our Links page under Federal. Teams are still categorized as Type I and Type II and have their own categories of rotation schedule.

Type I Teams & NIMO Teams
Type II Teams
Area Command Teams


Other teams: http://www.imtcenter.net/main/default.aspx Any chance CAL FIRE Teams will all have websites at some time? The ones that exist are nice.

5/4 Dangers of electrical lines:

Always Remember what these firefighters contributed:

1975 July/Aug, George (Art) Norton (info from Hotlist thread: Skee, CDFTIM. Old-and-Gray and the other CDF elder; incident not entered yet)
Art was a Fire Captain for CDF out of either King City or Bradley Station, Monterey Co. He stepped on a live powerline during a grass fire in the area of San Lucas. It was the summer of '75, probably July or August. This accident began the policy of CDF dispatch announcing "power lines down" and requiring an acknowledgement from all responding units.

CDFTIM adds: This is from my dad who was on duty with the cat and got canceled at scene. It was only a few acre grass fire just East of Hwy 101 and San Ardo exit. Art was walking thru the smoke and stepped on the powerline that was backfeeding from the transformer. As someone mentioned previously, this fatality brought forth the required announcement over the radio if powerlines are involved. Dad is unaware of any formal investigation sheets published within the department.

1999 06/23 CA Matthew Black
2007 09/24 KS Bryon Johnson

Thanks, Strider.


5/4 Here's another resource on dangers of electrical lines:

Video discusses the dangers of wildland firefighting near power lines: Training video produced by the Salt River Project (SRP) with help from USDA FS, Coconino National Forest. (18 min)


5/4 Making the rounds:

Subject: Responding Safely to Electrical Emergencies

Take a look at the attached YouTube video from the Secret List. Although this happened in a city environment, our friends from Southern California Edison remind us that Wildland fire fighters can encounter this type of incident in the Interface. Troy Whitman from SCE presented the First Responder Safety Awareness program at the Interagency Wildland Fire Safety Officers Workshop this year and it was well received. SCE has an excellent DVD program that provides Safety Awareness to first responders. To request a copy for your unit see the information at the bottom of this message. This is a must see training package for all emergency responders.


Southern California Edison Safety Awareness Guide

To request a free Safety Awareness Guide, email the following information to karli.massey@ nospam sce.com:

Full Name:
Mailing Address:

The safety guide will help first responders identify hazardous situations, assess the related dangers and make informed decisions so they can do their jobs safely and effectively. This safety guide is not a substitute for a thorough course of professional training, however.

This comprehensive guide was produced in cooperation with several law enforcement and fire agencies. First responder agencies should already have established policies regarding specific actions in emergency situations. Please consult your agency for policy details. SCE will, however, help first responder agencies establish safety guidelines and policies related to electrical hazards.

This award winning program is available free to any law enforcement, fire and EMT agency and organization serving SCE customers and/or operating within or near the Edison service area.

Fire Ops Risk Management, FS

CAL FIRE Green Sheet: Electrical Shock -- Downed Power Lines 9/25/10 (216 K pdf)

5/4 Dear Federal Wildland Firefighters,

Thank you for attending our webinar today. Our goal was to inform you - within a very manageable time frame - of your potential liability exposures and the protections provided by a FEDS PLI policy.

If you would like to view and/or share the taped webinar, please just click or forward the link below:

Federal Wildland Firefighters Professional Liability Webinar

Enrollment takes just a few minutes and payroll deduction is available. There are 3 ways to get FEDS PLI protection today.

Enroll on-line at www.fedsprotection.com.
Enroll by mail using this enrollment form.
Enroll by phone at 866.955.FEDS.

Comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated. If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thanks and best regards,

Catherine Shipanik
FEDS Webinar Coordinator
5/4 Thanks for the Webinar, Tony and other FEDS folks.

Interesting harsh history of legal changes resulting from 30-mile and Cramer. Interesting point that IGs and LEOs are criminal investigators first... Good to know when not to speak without consulting your lawyer... that you want an Agency interview or any interview to be compelled so it can't be used against you later... Hard to know or remember what to do if you don't have a lawyer to consult with immediately.

Federal Wildland Firefighters, this kind of legal support -- Professional Liability Insurance -- is your safety net in terms of Criminal, Civil and Agency Administrative investigations. Many people who email me asking for help after the fact figure out that you can be financially and emotionally screwed even if you did nothing wrong or outside the scope of your job and are ultimately vindicated..

Tony did not address managerial exposures. Managers, you should understand you have additional exposures. Watch this webinar that includes discussion for you: Professional Liability Insurance for Fed Employees

Please take time to sign up for Professional Liability Insurance with FEDS, then keep Tony's phone number handy in case the undeserved and unexpected happens.

The webinar should be out on youtube sometime soon. I'll let you know.


PS, several questions I've been asked is about FEDS PLI coverage for two different groups. I got these replies from FEDS:

1) for former feds that now work as ADs on incidents or teams?

Individuals who are hired under the Pay Plan for Emergency Workers (AD Pay Plan) are considered "federal employees" for purposes of eligibility for benefits with FEDS PLI. Eligibility for benefits under FEDS, however, is limited to those instances when he/she is performing a federal function under the direction and control of a federal agency (i.e. within the scope of federal employment and are an employee under 5 U.S.C. 2105(a)). When signing up on line at www.fedsprotection.com simply select "AD Pay Plan" when asked to identify the employing federal agency.

2) for fire dispatchers?

With regards to a dispatcher's exposure, especially if there is an injury, death or other tragedy - every act, error or omission - intentional or unintentional - will be scrutinized. If this leads to an investigation, disciplinary action, or civil suit without DOJ representation, the FEDS policy provides an attorney experienced in these types of matters AND the policy will indemnify up to the $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 limit in the event the dispatcher is sued and held liable for the judgment.

5/4 Reminder: there's a FEDS Professional Liability Insurance Webinar

Today, Friday, May 4
9 AM west coast time | Noon east coast time |

Coming up within the hour...

Registration at the link below.

Remember to sign up for FEDS Professional Liability Insurance. Protect yourselves.


5/3 Making the rounds...

Subject: MEDIA ISSUE--Wildfire terrorism statement


The WO informed us that Staff in R1 and R3 received queries today regarding a recent Al Qaeda publication that encourages the setting of wildfires:

We have been instructed by the WO that Forests can use the below statement only in response to queries on this issue:

USDA, including the U.S. Forest Service, works closely with its partners within the intelligence community including both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice on any terrorist threats, including threats of this nature.

The below supporting points are also approved for use on background:

  • The Forest Service and its interagency partners are prepared to fight wildfires, regardless of cause. Firefighter and public safety are the highest priorities on all wildland fires.
  • Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations works closely with law enforcement agencies at all levels of government.
  • Most wildfires are human-caused. The Forest Service and its interagency partners in the wildland urban interface respond aggressively to all human-caused fires, including arson.
  • The Forest Service has one objective for all human-caused wildfires on National Forest System lands: full suppression.
  • The management of risk guides all decisions in the management of wildland fires.

Please ensure you provide a head’s up to R-5 PAC, John Heil, if you receive a media inquiry on this subject. We would also like to know of ANY inquiry (non-media as well) on this issue, so that we can advise the WO.

Sherry Reckler
Director, Public Affairs & Communications
Pacific Southwest Region, R-5
U.S. Forest Service

Good job keeping all in line! Sherry, thanks for joining us every morning. I hope you and Joe enjoy your coffee with theysaid. Ab.

5/3 Skeptical

Yeah, I agree pretty much with 100% of what you said. I answered the diversity questions with the middle bubble… No opinion or not applicable. Whatever that option was.

Quick Connect

5/3 FS Survey

Quick Connect,

First of all only two of 9 people in our fire shop (permanent employees who meet the requirements for being given the survey) have received the survey. That includes some PFTs.

Aside from that, your first point related to Cultural Diversity seemed askew to me as well. And in discussing this with others (who have actually received the survey), we all agreed that because of the illegal nature of hiring and the push that management has initiated to get it done (and boy do we all wish there was a similar push to create an efficient and effective ASC type of department!), that one cancels the other. So we all chose to say that management was NOT motivated about hiring diverse candidates. Leaving out the word qualified meant to us that they were motivated to do something incorrectly. Not taking into consideration LOCAL diversity and applying that to local hiring meant that management was NOT completely motivated.

We really felt that if management was really and truly motivated, they would have performed this task properly and to its fullest extent AND followed the law.

They are not and therefore we chose to say that management is NOT motivated.

I would encourage everyone to network and discuss this survey. That is a very unfair question because it is forcing us to answer with few/limited choices. For those of you that have had statistics as they relate to surveys know, this is a sign of an inaccurate survey. And in the world of statistics, inaccurate = BAD.

PLEASE don't rush this, a lot depends on it.

On the topic of what do to if you haven't received it yet... Does anyone know???

So, Quick Connect, and everyone else out there who has received and taken the survey... How did you feel about the sexual orientation question? And keeping in mind that these surveys are individualized, are you comfortable with providing this information? Do you understand why they "need" to know it? And yes, I realize that the question was optional, but... well... I'm not sure what to say at this point.

I will bet good money that this survey will not help our cause one bit.

Sign me: Skeptical

5/3 Hotlist post from norcal on Fire Terror threats: Hotlist Thread

similar message from the Ab account:


Just saw this on-line Al Qaeda just released, ( I think last eve) Direction as to how terrorists can attack US in Other ways Including wildfires. The report even says that there are detailed directions as to how to read weather etc. for best possible ignition. So is Al Qaeda now putting on S-234? Crazy stuff, guess their going back to the playbooks from WWII



5/3 Dear Ab:

Your readership might be interested to know that the sixth edition of the book Wilderness Medicine has recently been
published. It includes a chapter on “Wildland Fires: Dangers and Survival” co-authored with Bob Mutch, Kathy Davis
and Colin Bucks.
For additional information visit the following links:www.us.elsevierhealth.com/.

Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

Thanks, Marty. If you want it and order from Amazon, it helps support this website. Amazon Ab.

5/2 RT 130 classes and locations



5/2 Education,

Ab said ...
  • They learn how to write and think logically if they haven't already mastered that; they read widely and are exposed to the new ideas and cultures present in our complex world.
  • College degrees are or will soon become required for the profession of federal and state wildland firefighting.

Ab is right on point. My attitude was only to to give creditability to folks who have given time like me by hiking the hills with a crew season in, and season out. As i get older and wiser, my attitude has changed, and time spent on the fire line accompanied with an education is where I need to be. I will always cherish the days I spent on crews. But the time came, as it will in most hotshots' careers, that it is time to help make decisions, and take action on all of those ideas that have been sparked in those many many miles put on those power hikes, or even longer drives to god only knows where.

But pulling a trigger, stacking sticks, dragging a torch, or swinging that tool did not prepare me to think or write logically. Now when I'm trying to argue a point I can't get by in an ID team meeting with oligists or line officers by just saying I'm right because I am. I need to create a logical argument, and present a case usually written and then presented orally. One program that has been around for over 20 years is Technical Fire Management (TFM). The focus is to teach current permanent Federal Firefighters how to do just exactly that - along with getting 24 upper level credits. The brochure is out now for the next session!

TFM 28 Fire Brochure

Student of Fire/Leadership

5/2 I think the USFS is fooling itself once again to think they are going to recruit or retain women and minorities for the long term. First of all leadership doesnt have the will for it and are only trying to get out or stay out of trouble ! Secondly, they cant even mentor and train the women and minorities they do have, Im not alluding to the expectation of any special treatment... however, the opportunity to be properly trained and mentored shouldnt be too much to ask ! but instead....women and minorities are hired then just get put in a corner like a potted plant so management can say "see, we're hiring women and minorities"..... it's a  pathetic joke and all the while the women and minorities are choking off at the roots while the favorite golden boys and girls who screw up so big that they should be FIRED ! get promoted and get all the opportunity no matter what Knowledge. skills and abilities other people have...... ask yourself next time you're in california how many hispanic or native american or black  firefighters you see and how long the recruiting of certain groups have been hired ..... then ask yourself how come they only seem to reflect the ground pounders and hose draggers and why the Supervisors office / Ivory Tower don't have some of these groups employed ? it's because they have no one up at the top to give a helping hand ! and the few minorities that have made it in the GOOD OL BOY CLUB are merely trying to navigate the rest of their career without becoming a target or labeled incompetent or a trouble maker ! end of Rant...............



5/2 I have taken a few of these surveys over my 11 year career with the Forest Service and this time I was really looking forward to adding some personal comments at the end of the FEVS. However, for some reason, there was no additional space for such comments. So, I will add them here.

1. For those of you who took it, let me know if I’m off base here. The questions about Cultural Diversity seemed askew to me. The questions were wanting you to say that Management was very motivated about hiring diverse candidates. This is true, but in my opinion, they are so motivated to hire diverse candidates, they may be going about it illegally.

2. I really wanted to comment on the narrowing budgets in the Recreation area and others. This is really impacting our fire shop as well as others on our Forest. I’m not really sure what to call it, but where we work, all duties outside of Fire, that Fire employees do is called unfunded work. We fill out a sheet with the time spent on the project. This is done on Fire Preparedness dollars. Heck we even did Rec duties on an overtime day that we were charging to a P#.

I realize that work still needs to get done and we don’t really mind helping out other areas that we work with. But, at what point does the mismanagement of funds stop?

Thanks for reading

Quick Connect

value of colleges and universities:


Ref your last clause. Since you opened the new topic of value of college and university education, here's what I know...

  • People with college degrees are more likely to get a job and make substantially more over their lifetime than people without, like $200,000 more.
  • They learn how to write and think logically if they haven't already mastered that; they read widely and are exposed to the new ideas and cultures present in our complex world.
  • College degrees are or will soon become required for the profession of federal and state wildland firefighting. Without a degree you will only be able to go so far, and no further, if you want to be part of the federal or state firefighting force and advance.

Readers, especially young firefighters:

If you're seasonal, fill up your wintertime after fire season with education. Taking lower division courses in a community college is the least expensive way to go, then you could shift to state university which is cheaper than private. You want to have job options in your life. You want your children to have options. College is the old high school minimum requirement for a good job, given the complexities of our modern-day world. Work smarter. Plan to! Ab.

5/2 diversity hiring:

MJ has an interesting post, Civil Rights Staff, National Census Data, Civilian Labor Force, Collateral Duty Fire Recruiter Course, R5 Civil Rights Website, Outreach, Recruiting, Forest FCRO, ad nauseam.

"For example, the Census may say that Fresno has a large Hmong population. But, CLF data for Fresno might show that even though there is a large Hmong population there, there are very few Hmong folks in the local civilian labor force, for whatever reasons, So, the Hmong folks might not show as underrepresented there."

My guess is that the Hmong population is not working in the local labor force, however wouldn't it make a great diverse employee to hire someone for your engine crew that does not work?

All of this has become ridiculous, the Federal State and Local Governments are broke, there is no more money to spend on all of this foolishness.

Wildland firefighting is not that complicated but it does take dedicated people to work together as a team to accomplish the mission, not a bunch of political correct jibberish to satisfy the social engineers that our colleges and universities churn out.


5/2 Western Communications Working Group Call:

First, thanks to the communications work group and many others for these efforts. For others this clearly illustrates how we are implementing our program of work in the West. These will also be posted @ the Western website located at http://sites.nemac.org/westcohesivefire/updates/

This is outstanding work and thanks again to all who have contributed to our efforts. Please pay particular attention to the immediate success stories.

The next milestones are the May 10-11 meeting for the Strategic Group to begin development of alternatives to implement the CS in the West…

Joe Stutler
County Forester
Bend, OR

All the attachments are posted at the Western website, so I'm not attaching them here. Nice work.

5/2 Would you know where can I take RT-130 Refresher here in Bay Area or anywhere close to my area. Please help.


Readers, Anyone know? Ab.

5/2 Link to description of Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey: Employees Influencing Change

HRM Update

Intended Audience: All FS Employees
May 1, 2012

Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey: Best Places to Work in the Federal Government

What you need to know

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is provided by the Office of Personnel Management. This survey produces the rankings for the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. Your feedback about the workplace is essential to understand how we are doing and where we need to focus efforts for improvement. Survey responses are voluntary and strictly confidential.

What to expect

Most permanent employees who were on board as of October 31, 2011, will be able to participate in the survey and share opinions and concerns about the Forest Service workplace.

Participants should receive an email with a link to their personal survey from OPM by May 2. Participants have 6 weeks to complete the survey, and it will take only 20 to 30 minutes to complete. (OPM will send weekly email reminders to each participant until the survey is completed). You can find the OPM Director’s announcement about the 2012 survey at: Survey Announcement


Ab note: At he start of the survey / FS is under NRE not FS (Food Services).

Click on NRE, and the survey will ask “Within Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), where do you work?”
Forest Service (FS)
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

5/1 MJ,

Thanks for visiting our forum, it's not a blog. I would ask you to take a moment and read this information from OA. Ab Speaks

This forum answers more questions and dispels more rumors than any other website visited by Wildland Firefighters.

This forum offers me more information on official Forest Service decisions than I would ever get from my email or any Line Officer.

This site allows to me to learn about the dynamics of my profession more than anything I will find in aglearn, my email or in the hallways of my District Office.

This site, our forum, allows for communications to occur, honest communication, allows for people to ask questions, learn, grow and be involved, just like OA wanted.

At this site I learn about Wildfires sometimes 10-15 minutes before my dispatch office does. I know, I have set my watch to see how long it will take to get a response out.

At the sister site of our forum, I can learn more about the specifics of Wildland Firefighter fatalities than any official government website. Because of this site, our fallen will never be forgotten. www.wlfalwaysremember.org/

With that said, I look forward to taking your class and thank you for visiting our forum.


5/1 Disgruntled in Idaho,

Good post. I hear what you're saying and I think there is always a chance E-Recruit could be a mess, however I do want to believe that it will improve. I'll take that bet, hang on to the cash for a rainy day, but the growlers sound good about right now, you're on.

I'll tell you that the new AVUE (dejuvue?), or whatever it's called, is a complete mess. I know this because I have seen it and I've had ASC Case Managers tell me it's a mess. They are as embarrassed as we are with our on-line application program. I strongly doubt that applications will mysteriously disappear at a rate like they are in this new version of AVUE.

In any event, cheers, see ya in 15.

5/1 U.S. Forest Service – Media Advisory
Black Hills National Forest ● Public Affairs Office ● 1019 N. 5th Street
Custer, SD 57730 ● Voice (605) 673-9200 ● Web: http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills


Contact: Craig Bobzien, Forest Supervisor at (605) 673-9200

U.S. Forest Service Releases Coal Canyon Investigation Report

Custer, SD –(May 1, 2012) The U.S. Forest Service has released the Coal Canyon Fire Serious Accident Investigation Reports. These reports address the accident which occurred on August 11, 2011, when Trampus Haskvitz, an employee of the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression, died while responding to a fire in Coal Canyon on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota.

“This was a tragic accident and our hearts go out to the Haskvitz family, his friends and his colleagues, said Black Hills forest supervisor, Craig Bobzien. “Our intent in releasing this report is for all of us to learn from this incident and help prevent accidents of this kind in the future.”

After the accident, a national Serious Accident Investigation (SAI) Team was dispatched to investigate the accident. The team consisted of employees from the U.S. Forest Service, State of South Dakota, and State of Colorado. They worked to identify conditions and events leading to the entrapment, in an effort to help the greater wildland fire community learn from this incident and help prevent another in the future.

“South Dakota is blessed to have a top-notch fire organization. As the report notes, the actions of the firefighters involved were ‘manifestly heroic, demonstrating the best of wildland fire professionalism.’ Protecting our citizens from wildfire is dangerous and demanding, and I thank all the brave men and women who put themselves in harm's way. Trampus Haskvitz lost his life protecting the lives of others, and he will not be soon forgotten," said South Dakota governor, Dennis Daugaard.

A U.S. Forest Service Accident Review Board (ARB) reviewed SAI team reports and developed a Safety Action Plan (SAP) that focuses on key items to reduce the likelihood of serious accidents in the future. The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service approved the ARB’s recommendations.

The Coal Canyon Fire Serious Accident Investigation Reports and the Safety Action Plan are available Coal_Canyon_Fire_SAI_Report....pdf .

Our thoughts and prayers for Trampus' family, friends, co-workers, all involved with this sad accident. Ab.
Always Remember Trampus Haskvitz

5/1 Diversity Hiring:

"I believe that using National statistics gives a very misleading target to obtain for the FS. Just looking at the tables, charts, and maps at the 2010 Census website demonstrates that the races and ethnic groups are not equitability distributed throughout the country."

Civil Rights Staff do not use National Census data and have not for many years, but have access to very detailed Civilian Labor Force (CLF) data. CLF data is much more than generic National census data. CLF is figured out by Forest, County, and in some places, CITY data. And it's much more that just how many members of each race live there. It's comprised of what groups are there, how many are in the actual labor force, (By age and classification, number of babies, inmates, hospital patients, elderly, etc). for a given area.

For example, the Census may say that Fresno has a large Hmong population. But, CLF data for Fresno might show that even though there is a large Hmong population there, there are very few Hmong folks in the local civilian labor force, for whatever reasons, So, the Hmong folks might not be shown as underrepresented there. And the local Forests could see this info, and use it. So, generic National or State figures are NOT what is used. You can see your local CLF charts on the R5 Civil Rights website. I recommend you look at the R5 Civil Rights website, which has CLF data for every Forest in R5, separately. It has tons of links to MOUs programs, policies, partners, etc. as well.

Civil Rights and Fire Training in R5 have gotten together and come up with a new Collateral Duty Fire Recruiter course. This course started alpha testing at Danny Rhynes last month, and is coming to Redding next. In this class, you are taught how to find your local data, how to determine what your local needs are, how to build networks to help you fill positions with folks that have the skillsets you need, but still reach the underrepresented groups in your areas. This will help folks learn to distinguish the fact from the fiction about Outreach, Recruiting, and Hiring in R5. I highly recommend folks take this class, to help spread the truth, and squelch rumors.

I don't work in CR. I work in Fire and have for over 30 years. I just pay attention to what is actually going on, and ignore the rumors. Educate yourselves on what really goes on, don't listen to blogs or hearsay. Ask your Forest FCRO, or check out the R5 site.... you might be surprised.


5/1 Hello, Ab.

I am one of the first female wild land firefighters for CDF and I have written my memoir of my experience. I'm writing to ask if its possible that you include it in your fire books! All proceeds of my book will go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Thank you so much for your consideration!

Jan Mendoza

Fire Girl by Jan Mendoza (on Amazon)

Of course. Thanks, Jan. Can't wait to read it. I added it to the Fire Books page along with several new fire book listings. Readers, if you've read any of the books without reviews, please send in a brief review with the book title in the subject line. Thanks, Ab.

5/1 Historical: US Forest Service Fire Fighting Style in 1916 for District 5 (California)

Making the rounds, from the Ab account:

Attached is a 57 page PDF document written by Roy Headley in 1916 as a Fire Suppression Manual for the District 5 (CA) for the US Forest Service and reproduced by Jeffrey P. Prestemon:

Headley, Roy. 1916. Fire Suppression, Dist 5. USFS. 57 pages. (556 K pdf)

This fire suppression manual for District 5 (California) of the United States Forest Service, written by Forest Service employee Roy Headley, is a reproduction. The only known remaining original of this manual is available in a library at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ideas advanced in the section Suppression Financial Policy, pages 19-21, have served as part of the foundation of economic theory of wildfire management.

The reproduction was created by Jeffrey P. Prestemon, Forest Economics and Policy research unit of the Southern Research Station, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Work was completed on February 25, 2012. The text of this manual was reproduced as accurately as possible for each page as it corresponded with the text on the same numbered page of the original. Fonts and margins in this reproduction roughly correspond with the fonts and margins of the original, as well.

Several minor typographical errors, contained in the original, were corrected in this reproduction. A version of this reproduction that has these errors noted but not corrected and a scanned version of a photocopy of the original from the University of California, Berkeley, are available upon request at:

Jeffrey P. Prestemon
Forest Economics and Policy
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
Southern Research Station
P.O. Box 12254
Research Triangle, Park, NC 27709

Thanks for that. Fascinating. Class D men... the grub list, 5 cents a mile auto transport, chain-of-command, importance of the Lookout, the Dispatcher, how many men? rest, night work, etc... Ab.

5/1 AVUE

Just a quick note to Aaron on 4/28 regarding the end of AVUE. In 24 years with the Forest Service, the one thing about change I have observed, time and again, over and over is the “new and improved” very rarely is. I’d be willing to bet that 3 years from now, after a long and frustrating rollout of E-Recruit, that we look back at the AVUE days with nostalgia, because they were the good old days, when things weren’t so messed up. While I agree that AVUE has been a royal pain in the behind, and contributed heavily to the Forest Service’s decline from “in the top 10%” to near the bottom as AK old timer spoke of, I have no faith that the agency will get it right and the new system will be any better, especially since it’s a USDA program, the same folks that brought us EmpowHR and AGLearn. I can’t wait until “sometime after May 2” when I get to fill out another employee satisfaction survey. Here’s trying for 216 out of 216 on the employee satisfaction scale…

Sign me, disgruntled in Idaho.

PS: If anyone wants to take me up on my bet, I will hand over a crisp $50 bill and 2 growlers of local microbrew three years from now, say May 1, 2015, to each of the first three people that respond, and believes E-Recruit will be better than AVUE. They can keep the cash, but we’re drinking the beer on the spot!

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