"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
CA-VNC-FF near miss with Train on River Incident
Very glad he's OK. Quick thinking. Ab.
ID-FHA-Ridgetop Burn Injury
Best wishes for early and complete recovery. Ab.
With regards to my last post, the analysis from LANDFIRE between the C-130J
and CL-415 that was posted on TheySaid was not the full analysis but rather
the briefing paper. According to Dan Crittenden the complete analysis
apparently did take into consideration the 2011 Retardant Avoidance Plan.
Further, in an email to me earlier he stated:
"The report review the current "line building/indirect attack" metric
for land base ATs. Then developed a new set of metrics more appropriate
for Amphibious ATs (direct attack/non-line building). Response time and
distance to IA (pre positioning), reload intervals, fuel types, and time
The guiding principle was to define the fire fight environment w/i each
flight circle and then see if the Amphibious ATs could be effective. We
look at 30 years history of IAs by flight circle and tied those to fuel
models, to determine which starts could be handle by ground forces,
likely require some air support (light, med helicopters) and those
likely to require ATs. The idea was to get anyway from one size fits
We then collated the IAs by flight circles to see if there is a
dominate/more likely fuel type IAs occur in. Pretty interesting most of
the likely to require ATs where in fast moving GS4 and GR4. This
collating puts a shadow on the Chiefs comment that most of the IAs
require longterm retardant" and "The Class A foam is injected into the
water stream during the operational run it is not mixed in the tanks.
The pilots have the option to inject the foam on or leave it out."
All that said, I apologize for not providing more accurate information in
my last post.
Scoopers vs Tankers/ C-130J & CL-415s
The FWFSA has been solicited for comments by several Senate offices in
regards to S 3441, the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Transfer Act of 2012
and with regards to the scooper/tanker issue. For those of you in Air Ops or
anyone who likely possesses far greater understanding, experience &
expertise than I in this subject, please feel free to offer your insight at
One issue that these studies and articles fail to address is the impact of
the 2011 Fire Retardant Avoidance Plan may have. As most know the plan
resulted in 12,000 maps identifying avoidance areas on 98 national forests.
certainly in some places this will have an impact on the type of air
Makes me think of Abalonie "Big Red Abalone ah-ceviche or grilled over
Ah back to the task at hand I have been looking for where they post the
current outreach notices for details and
have not been able to click on the right link if there is one.
Can you point me in the right direction? My folks and myself are
entertaining the idea of detailing to broaden our
knowledge and better see the Big Picture and to remain completive in this
Haw Haw, I often get grilled one way or another...
ID-FHA-Ridgetop Burn Injury -- Thanks to those who gave us the heads up
and did not auto-post on the hotlist. Ab.
15 K pdf report: Text below
24 HOUR REPORT / BURN INJURY ON RIDGETOP FIRE
To: Joe Kraayenbrink, Idaho Falls District Manager
Dean Fox, Fort Hall Agency Superintendent
Subject: 24 Hour Report (Radiant Heat Burn Injury on Ridgetop fire, Ft.
The Following information is preliminary and is subject to change
LOCATION: Ridgetop Fire, Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
DATE OF OCCURRENCE: July 28, 2012
TIME OF OCCURRENCE: Approximately 1830 Hours
ACTIVITY: Wildland Fire Suppression
NUMBER OF INJURIES: 1
NUMBER OF FATALITIES: 0
Narrative: On July 28, 2012 at approximately 1830 hours, a BLM firefighter
received radiant heat burn injuies while working on the Ridgetop fire.
The fire fighter was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, and
subsequently referred to the regional burn center in Salt Lake City with
serious but non-life threatening injuries.
An accident investigation team has been mobilized. The 72-Hour Expanded
report will be completed and posted through the NWCG Safety Alert System.
/s/ Rick Belger, Fire Management Officer, Idaho Falls District
BLM-Idaho Safety Manager
National Office Fire and Aviation Safety Manager
Idaho State Fire Management Officer
Airtanker Study Released
Fire study pits scoopers vs. tankers
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Forest Service should drop its long-held focus on
using repurposed air tankers to put out
wildfires and bring a new fleet of water-scooping aircraft into service to
counter the nation’s skyrocketing firefighting costs,
a new study found...
More at the link above...
Hotlist discussion thread if you want to chime in...
New legislation on the Air Tanker program.
www.mccain.senate.gov Press Office
RAND Airtanker study released--CL 215/415s recommended
Little surprise to
most folks, that RAND recommended the only North American airtanker designed
to drop liquid on fires
(besides Airtractor SEATs, which were excluded from the study since they are
less than 1000 gallons).
This recommendation was expected since the USFS had previously said they
wanted aircraft designed for the job, not
retrofitted aircraft (they just don't want to pay the price for the rental
of the 32 million dollar planes, so the USFS called
this study "flawed")
And for those skeptics like me, here is an analysis by the USFS, Nature
Conservancy, and the USGS, comparing load
and returns from C130's, CL-415's, historic fire occurrence areas, and
scooper sites in relation to those fires in the
www.landfire.gov/ -download file LF Aircraft C130J & CL415 Analysis (pdf
I had the honor of meeting Heather and another young woman
named Natasha the Spring before Heather's tragic death. I had come out to
visit with my son who happened to be working here in Cedarville with both of
these bright young women. Ironically, I met them at a Tupperware party and
it was Heather who introduced me to my first Margarita at the ripe old age
of 50. She told me I had not lived until I drank one of those. By my 2nd
drink I was bold enough to ask her some questions about how she ended up
here in Cedarville, CA working for the Forest Service. She had told me about
her life growing up in NY, her education and travels. She talked a great
deal about the outdoors and the environment and what it all meant to her.
And then she hit me with a question about "how did a kid from Massachusetts
get out here?" I certainly had no answer for that as I was puzzled by that
concept also. It was during this conversation that Heather really spoke with
a passion for the job she, as well as many others, do each and every day.
She told me it was in her "soul" to do this job and she wouldn't want to do
Heather's passion was infectious as I noticed everyone was listening to
her and one could see just how her face glowed as she talked about fire
lines, brother/sister hood on the crew, respect for the job those around do
to keep each other safe. I knew I had met a very remarkable young woman. By
the time I left Cedarville for home I learned Natasha would be leaving to go
back to college in New Mexico and that Heather had been accepted into a Hot
Shot crew. The last time I saw her we hugged and I wished her good luck. I
will never forget one sentence she said to me that has made an impact on my
life. When we talked about life's expectations, husband, marriage, babies
she said, "no one knows what life will bring you from from day to day, but I
know right now that when it is my time to leave this world, I hope I made it
a better place for others."
The day I received the news from my son about the tragic accident that
took Heather and two crew members I knew I had to do something to honor her.
I had heard that a recent Forest Firefighter from MA had died from a heat
attack while out on a fire far from home. I contacted the local forest
service in Foxboro and the ball just rolled from there. We were able to
secure donations and funding to incorporate a Memorial at the State Forest
Fire Barn in Foxboro. During the dedication ceremony I was asked to speak
why I was so passionate about this project and I told them the very little
time I had spent with Heather but about the big impact she made on my life.
That memorial is not just for Heather and the other gentleman who passed
away but for all to see who enter our State forest in Foxboro as a reminder
of the passion and dedication, not to mention dangerous working conditions,
all of these men and women endure because I believe, they as did, Heather
wanted to leave this world a better place for others.
To Heather's family, I think of that bright eyed, spunky young woman
every July and everytime since that I have had a margarita. Here's to you
Heather for touching so very many lives. I am sure you are an angel watching
A tribute to Heather, Steve, John, Engine 11 and those who responded to the
I did not know Heather
well but had enjoyed talking with her prior to the 2002 fire season. Smart
young woman, engaging personality, hard worker, nice... I also knew many
folks on the IMT that managed the Stanza Fire and I knew groundpounding
firefighters from the "Ukonom area" who had worked so hard to hook the fire
during IA. They put in a herculean effort and were devastated and haunted
when the fire escaped early containment and then the engine accident
occurred, killing Heather, Steve and John and seriously injuring two more
young firefighters... The
communities of Happy Camp and Orleans also felt the deep-down hurt.
Later that winter of 2003, I was invited to sit in on a hotshot report on
that fire and learned how several members of each IHC fighting the Stanza
fire provided two volunteer members each to go down the 1200 or so feet to
the engine to retrieve the three bodies... "We recover our own. We don't
leave the job to strangers." That more or less was the reasoning. Duty Respect Integrity, Lead by
I had heard there were lots of considerations, since the CHP/or Sheriff's
department was lead on the accident, given that it was a vehicle rollover.
Technically they also were in charge of arranging for retrieval of our loved
Hotshots, I still say thank God for you fellas doing the work on all of
our behalf! The way down to the engine in the triple-digit heat was
treacherous, the way up with a load increased by the added weight of
sadness, even more so. It's a comfort to me and many that you did The
Service. Thank You!
I also appreciate the great effort to contain that Stanza Fire in such
rough terrain and your success in doing so. Job well done!
If you can believe it, in 2002 not much was known by the agency or
any of us as to what the procedure was for dealing with fatalities or
helping survivors cope. We all have some idea of the SOPs now, partly
because theysaidit stimulated people to ask questions and got people to
share best practices and determine answers. And the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation helps a great deal.
I spoke with Heather's dad in early 2003. He was a structure firefighter
back East and he was upset that it took so long for the report of her death
to get to Heather's family members. In his firefighting world, next of kin
contact info is held by all engines and the station; and many from the
station know coworkers' family members. Information travels quickly.
Initially, I was surprised too. But the length of time became more
understandable when we began to try to figure it out.
In our fire world, the contact info is held by the forest, park or other
land management agency where the "resource" or crew is based. Crew members
often fight fires far from home base and often live or go to school
someplace else entirely in the off season. Permission to contact next-of-kin
has to go through the agency. Finding the information and obtaining
permission in 2002 was not fast... And such info is only as accurate or
up-to-date as the record made by the firefighter prior to dispatch or
before, so there's lots of chance for confusion and slow-down.
In addition, since the Highway Patrol/or Sheriff's office was in charge,
there was another level of "official" verification of death that they
said had to occur before family could be notified. Whatever the process, it
never seems timely enough.
Wildland firefighters fight fire in the wildlands. When they die, it's
often far from duty station and home in rugged and remote wild country. Many
who have fought fire with them, watched their backs, and played with them
during down time are affected by their deaths.
My best thoughts and prayers are with all of you who remember : Heather's mom,
Jeremy, Rob, Cara,Tony, John, Howard, Jim, Dan, Mike, Bob, Carla, the Meadows,
and the list goes on... I love the
thoughts of Marilyn Townsend of Happy Camp shared at the memorial
service in Happy Camp, CA.
(Firefighters please keep your contact records updated.)
As a flatlander, I have always been very impressed with mountain
driving. I recall as a young fire fighter looking out the side of a school
bus at the shear, bottom less, drop off just out side my window, by moon
light, to later as a supervisor thinking those guys aren’t really going to
try and drive those crew buggies up here and them watching them skillfully
do it. I have been so tired on a night shift that I fell a sleep standing up
and remember the only thing I could do to stay awake, to drive into camp at
the end of shift, was to sing every song I could think of. (Luckily, I was
by myself and did not inflict my vocal skills on anyone else.) I remember
riding in a van and another passenger noticed our young driver was nodding
off behind the wheel. We were close enough to our destination for him to
insist (over protests) to make him stay in camp until he was rested.
Don’t think I’m being self righteous here, obviously I’ve pushed myself way
past where I should have safely been. Thankfully, it was not my time to put
a wheel off the road in the wrong spot. Please watch out driving on fires at
night. When most of the fire fighters are the same age as my kids, it really
hurts when something bad happens.
10th anniversary of Stanza fatalities
I ask everyone to take a
moment to remember the 3 who died 10 years ago today: Heather, Steve and
Their deaths affected so many, offered many lessons learned and they are
still missed every day. Remember
their wonderful lives, their sacrifice and most importantly, remember to
stay safe out there. Our beautiful
Heather would want it that way.
Here is the
photo of Heather, Steve & John, taken as they geared up for their
July 28, 2012 marks the 10th year since we lost three fine
firefighters, friends and family members.
Please take a moment today to remember them and why they are no
longer with us on the earth.
We spend months training and honing our understand of fire behavior,human nature and risk management. Yet we sometimes treat driving as
just another thing we do on the job, relegating its risk below that of fire
History has shown driving is one of the most dangerous things we do.
Thus, it demands the same respect we give to the job. Whether
responding to an incident, during shift or on the way home.
Steve, Heather, John.. 10 years has done little to ease my pain of
your loss. I think about you every time I take the wheel of a truck.
I try an honor you by teaching those I work with the dangers of
driving. I challenge others to do the same.
We miss you.
What a fine crew. Ab.
Always Remember Heather, Steve and John
Hard to believe the smoke in Medford, OR is from forest fires in Siberia.
I have been asked by a few people living in the Rogue Valley where all of
the smoke is coming from. I looked on line for a local fire report and found
this from the National Weather Service. Unbelievable!
into region from Russian forest fires
July 27, 2012 4:10 PM
The smoke obscuring the hills surrounding the Rogue Valley today is likely
caused by massive fires burning in Russia, weather officials said.
The smoke is traveling across the Pacific Ocean and pushing into the Rogue
Valley, according to Marc Spilde, a meteorologist with the National Weather
Service. "The winds are carrying the smoke all the way across the Pacific,"
The Global Times is reporting that thousands of acres in eastern Russia are
burning, sending up massive plumes of smoke that are blowing eastward.
Spilde said the fires have been burning for some time and the smoke has been
hovering over the Pacific for several days. When the wind blows in from the
west, this smoke seeps into the Rogue Valley.
more at the link above...
fair use disclaimer
Lasagna, thanks for the answer to the mystery... Ab.
Waldo Canyon Fire
Thank you for your detailed description of events at Waldo Canyon. Our
Contractor Engine Captain was
extremely complementary about your efforts and success. We intend to
incorporate your methodology into
our 2013 training program.
We would extend to you that this maximum effort firefight has to be listed
as the most outstanding example
of record.. Of wildland urban firefighting... and it was accomplished under
the leadership of professional
wildland task force leaders and wildland fire captains.
The leadership and crews involved at "Waldo Canyon" deserve a presidential
citation for their valor and
Deadly Crash in North Medford, OR
MEDFORD, Ore. -- One person is dead and several others injured near the
Rogue Valley Mall on Crater Lake Highway.
Police received a call about a car crash a little after 4 a.m. Monday
morning. Officers say a pickup truck driving westbound
on Highway 62 was going through the intersection.
A van with 7 passengers was driving northbound on Riverside Avenue. The
pickup truck failed to stop at a red light and
both vehicles collided at the intersection. The van flipped over and took
out the light fixture.
There were three people who were ejected from the vehicle, two are in
surgery at Providence Hospital, and one is deceased.
Officers are still looking for the driver of the pickup truck who is a
woman. (The woman is now in custody.)
Fair Use Disclaimer
One passenger died and several are in critical condition. I am told
the van is owned by Pacific Coast, a company that has firefighting crews,
although this crew appears to have been working under a reforestation type
contract with ODF. Often crews also work on fire assignments. Our thoughts
and prayers for families, friends and co-workers. Ab.
Waldo Canyon Fire
Just an observation about the Tahoe NF strike team:
I was on Waldo as a TFLD. I arrived the day the fire burned into town. I
sat in OPS fir several hours awaiting an
assignment. While there, i saw the ST engine leadership come in to OPS and
get a good briefing by Ops. It was clear
what their mission was going to be.
Later, I was in Mountain Shadows, but not as their supervision of course. I
eventually had two of these engines assist
me on a cul de sac with fire right in several yards and already taking one
home. We lost just the one home, but saved
several. They operated very safely, were very aware if LCES and did a
Small fire world. Thanks for the feedback. Ab.
Waldo Canyon Fire:
Still Out There as an AD
Having been on one of the other strike teams in Mountain Shadows alongside
the Tahoe ST, I feel I can illuminate you on a few of the issues you've
brought up. This was not a group of homes in a brush field on the Berdu,
this was a subdivision of 1700 homes. Yes there was fire below, there was
fire above, there was fire to the side, in short there was fire everywhere.
But the fuel type was homes, there were no light flashy fuels to carry the
fire, there was no continuous fuel at all. By the time we got in the main
carrier of the fire was firebrands and radiant heat from home to home. The
streets were wide, the utilities were underground, the possibility of being
cut off was low. Even with the radiant heat put out by the homes as they
burned, in the street it was not unbearable. Parks were abundant. Once we
reconned the area, we knew that most roads were viable escape routes and in
some cases were even potential escape routes or had one very close by.
Three strike teams went into Mountain Shadows, that's fifteen engines to
cover 1700 homes, admittedly with the help of a few local government
engines, at least one hotshot crew and LEOs patrolling for spots. Modules
working alone was expected and necessary. Each strike team took several
blocks, each engine took a street, we did what we could and then moved on.
Five engines working on one house would have been exceedingly inefficient.
When necessary multiple engines or entire strike teams tied in and made some
very impressive stops, but this was after we had done what we could for
individual homes and were now working on entire blocks in flames.
As I've said, each engine was working individual houses. The entire crew was
working the house, within 200 feet of one another. That is why radios were
not picked up. Communications on the modules were done by voice, module
leaders called the STENs when needed, but that was mostly to relay
intelligence and face to face was used most often at that level. There was
radio traffic, just not on the intramodule level, as it wasn't needed and 15
people calling to say they were about to cut a deck off a house would have
jammed up the one frequency we had.
You mention a "deliberate, tactical engagement" being thrown out. The
deliberate plan was to keep the fire west of Centennial. We did. We could
have burned off Centennial I guess, but that would have been frowned upon.
Instead the tactical evolution went like this: Decision is made to hold the
fire at Centennial, strike teams head up Centennial and spread out to the
west to find the extent of the flaming front, engines report in where they
have found the fire and attack what homes they think they can save while
waiting for the intel to be collated, strike teams reconvene on Centennial
and areas of responsibility are decided, engines head east of Centennial to
control spots, at this point the wind has died down and the fire is now and
urban conflagration west of Centennial, the engines are sent west of
Centennial to save what we can with the focus being between Centennial and
Flying W Ranch Rd. At no point was the plan thrown away, it was amended and
the individual modules followed their bias for action and did what they
could, but we are not automatons. Standing by the letter of the original
plan would have meant sacrificing every home from Centennial to the Forest
boundary when a good deal could and were saved.
Taking things at face value is the same as assuming, and we all know what
that does. If you wish to ask probing questions, look higher. Why did the
engines, STENs and Group Supervisor need to raid a gas station for maps? Why
were three strike teams of federal type 3s the main structure protection
force in an area that was under mandatory evacuation two days earlier on the
priority fire in the nation? Why was no route into Mountain Shadows left
open for fire traffic during the evacuation?
Thanks for the interesting and educational details. Ab.
Waldo Canyon Fire media article:
Its a 'Newspaper story' not a deposition:
Let's assume that they had all their tactical safety stuff dialed: Let
them have their moment of note.
Good to see something some good news from a fire situation that was
really bad overall.
Waldo Canyon Fire media article:
Ok, I know the media love to pick up good
quotes from firefighters swapping stories. And I want to give the Tahoe
strike team on the Waldo Canyon Fire the benefit of the doubt that they
received a good in-briefing and were following LCES and whatever other
combination of initials and 10 rules you want to throw into the mix. But if
I take that Colorado Springs Gazette news story at face value, I have some
concerns. When I see details about radios that are barely touched and each
engine working "alone", I wonder what kind of communications were taking
place between the engines, command, and the surrounding resources. What
risks were run when a deliberate, tactical engagement gets tossed and
replaced by just jumping in and going? That's how you get engines cut off
and burned over. Maybe the most alarming was the observation of possible
fire below them while contending with extreme fire behavior: that's not just
an exciting element in a story -- that's a potential life and death
situation. I'm just glad those guys got out of the with nothing more than
some good stories to swap over a pitcher of beer.
Still Out There as an AD
Aurora CO Firefighters and Police Officers:
Our community/forum wishes to
express our pride and support to Aurora Firefighters and Aurora Police
your professionalism and rapid response to the tragedy in your town. We must
also acknowledge the hard work and
dedication of emergency responders from multiple agencies at the City,
County, State and Federal level.
We are proud you all chose to protect and to serve.
May the families of those who lost loved ones know that you're not alone. A
nation is with you. May you find a level
of peace and comfort in the days to come.
Tahoe NF Strike Team
James and 4660C,
Job well done. Very proud of you.
2 Dead, 1 Injured After Vehicle Collides With Rig Battling Shamrock Grass
Fire in Oklahoma
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -
Two people are dead and a firefighter has been injured in an accident on
Oklahoma State Highway 16 near Shamrock, Okla.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said a vehicle collided with an Olive fire truck
Sunday afternoon. The Olive Fire Department is one of the many agencies
battling a grass fire that has been burning for three days.
That Shamrock grass fire does not seem to be reported on the National
or Southern Area
Sit Reports. It's 35,000 acres, according to Modis. Anyone know the unit
Good article about the Tahoe NF Strike Team on the Waldo Canyon Fire that
impinged on and burned homes in Colorado Springs; photos too:
CANYON FIRE: Firefighters defended streets they'd never known
James Prince and the 25 members of his Tahoe National Forest strike team
rolled into Colorado Springs on June 26, just before 65-mph winds shot fire
across the landscape. The team’s five engines staged at 30th Street and
Garden of the Gods Road before they drove into the inferno that had fallen
on Mountain Shadows. They doused...
Remembering TJ Marovich...
Yes, yesterday was three years since TJ was
taken. Still hard. Many of his friends and fellow fighters came by to visit.
We love to hear what you are up to and how your lives are progressing. We
love to hear about you remembering TJ.
We want you to stay safe. We want you to know we are thinking of you.
Remembering TJ Marovich...
3 years ago today the Forest Service lost
Thomas Marovich in a Rappel accident on the Backbone fire
in Northern California. My thoughts go to his family. I know the Chester Fly
Crew, along with his home
station on the Modoc NF, and many others have TJ in their thoughts today and
I wish peace to his family.
I thought mops came with Bambi buckets? (OK, I'm outa here....
Still Out There as an AD
Haw Haw! Ab.
re "mop tacs"
They're called "mop shots".
Naw, tongue in cheek, Hotshots are called
Mop Shots when they complain about having to do mop-up duty... Along the
same lines, I thought maybe Mop Tacs... Haw Haw. Ab.
Reference this HRM post yesterday:
For those seeking info on eRecruit, especially for FS employees: From: HRM
Real time monitoring for a diverse applicant pool? Maybe the first
step for the Forest Service is to focus on figuring
out how to fill a job efficiently.
To Forest Service Management; What does a diverse applicant pool look like?
If you can't define this question, we
can't help you. Your EEO compliant numbers are increasing, your payoffs and
settlements are going to mount. This
is not the 1980's. We will not sit back and take it again. Wildland
Firefighters are more knowledgeable now. They
are more connected, informed and they will fight back when they are
The President and other elected officials support Wildland Firefighters.
They will not allow for you to continuously
discriminate against this workforce.
Helitack crew motto:
Our helitack motto was always, "Smooth is fast."
That kept us alive and we were never above the drudgery.
Old Memorial - El Cariso - REQUEST
I received this email from Stephanie Regis (California Wildland Firefighters
Memorial at http://cwfm.info/ ).
If anyone recognizes the guy in the old photo, please let Stephanie (and me)
know who it is.I will try to get it posted on my El Cariso web site (...elcarisohotshots1966)
over the weekend. Thanks.
email from Stephanie:
We're trying to finalize some items concerning the old memorial
at El Cariso. Could you post the attached pic on your website
and see if anyone recognizes the person in front of the fountain?
rregis@ nospam roadrunner.com
Helitack crew motto
From the best of my knowledge the motto went something
like this "we stop them, you mop them."
Hope this helps!
Oh yeah i don't want to be mentioned, just a ground pounder.
Tongue in cheek: When they had to mop up, were they secretly called moptacs? Ab.
Helitack crew motto
I heard from an old theysaid friend who is trying to remember a motto
Helitack crews had.
Something about their initial attack and leaving the drudgery to the rest of
I vaguely remember that, does know what I am talking about?
Thanks for any help. Ab.
For those seeking info on eRecruit, especially for FS employees:\From: HRM
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 15:40
To: ALL FS
Subject: Coming Soon: New HRM Staffing Software
Intended Audience: All FS Employees
July 19, 2012
Coming Soon: New HRM Staffing Software
What you need to know
The Forest Service will be the first USDA agency to transition to eRecruit,
the new staffing software, that is projected
to go live August 31, 2012. Highlights of eRecruit, which will replace Avue,
- Applicants must have a USAJOBS profile. No need to create a new profile if
you already have a USAJOBS profile.
- Applicants will be able to stay on the USAJOBS screen to track the status
of their applications.
- Managers will have improved access to the workflow process, candidate
pools, vacancy status, etc.
- Mobile technology can alert managers of pending actions.
- Real-time reporting will help monitor the volume and diversity of the
What you need to do
For more information, please visit the eRecruit webpage at:
http://fsweb.asc.fs.fed.us.../eRecruit/ (internal FS web).
You can submit questions about eRecruit to: email@example.com.
Firefighter Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Frequently Asked
2012/federal/FF_FEHB_FAQ.pdf (50 K
Thanks for the FAQ on health benefits. Ab
eRecruit info (one page...)
eRecruit Field Readiness
United States Department of Agriculture
Field Readiness Activity: User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
The purpose of UAT is to validate eRecruit’s ability to meet the Forest
Service’s (FS’s) functional
requirements. Successful conclusion of UAT will result in system acceptance
with sign-off and
approval of the Staff Acquisition System functionality of eRecruit...
More at the link on Approach, Participants, and Timeline...
(46 K pdf)
Thanks for the info on eRecruit. Ab.
Ab note: from the 24 hour Report CA-SHF-Flat Engine
Incident that occurred last weekend:
A type 3 Engine crew was engaged in containing a slop over on the Flat
Incident on the Shasta-Trinity, when conditions suddenly changed and the
crew withdrew to the engine to depart the area. No injuries were sustained
by crew members. The engine received minor damage. A facilitated Learning
Analysis (FLA) team is on scene reviewing this incident.
doubt we'll hear more when the FLA comes out. Ab.
Implementation of FEHBP eligibility of wildland firefighters
Mark W -FS
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:58 PM
Subject: Implementation of FEHBP eligibility of wildland firefighters
Because the rule is effective immediately, I wanted to share the best
information we have at this time on the implementation of FEHBP eligibility
of wildland firefighters. This information is to the best of our
understanding, but you should be aware that specifics are subject to change
as the administration and agencies work through implementation details.
However, with this caveat in place, we wanted to share as much information
as we have, even if it is not final or definitive.
official rule as published in the Federal Register this morning is
attached (54 K pdf). Paragraph (h) of the new rule reads, in relevant part, “an
employee who is in a position identified by OPM that provides emergency
response services for wildland fire protection is eligible to be enrolled in
a health benefits plan.” In addition, the Forest Service has distributed FAQs on FEHBP eligibility; it is posted at
http://fsweb.asc.fs.fed.us. (internal Forest Service web) Based upon our
discussions with OPM, here’s our understanding of some of the details:
- The intent of paragraph (h) is to include firefighters and those who
provide on-site support to firefighting, regardless of if they do so
from a position of record that identifies them as a primary firefighter
or if they do so as a member of the “fire militia,” i.e., from a
position of record that does not identify them as a primary firefighter.
- The list of positions of record in the current Forest Service FAQs
(e.g., 462 Forestry Technicians, 455 Range Technicians) is not exclusive
but illustrative. Eligibility determinations should be made by reference
to duties actually performed when mobilized. In this regard,
qualifications to serve on wildland fire incidents are controlling.
Employees qualified to do so in the system of records maintained for
this purpose, the Incident Qualifications and Certification System (see
/iqcs.nwcg.gov/main/about.html), are eligible.
- Eligible employees will have 60 days from July 17, 2012 to enroll.
Upon enrollment within this window, they may choose from among the
following effective dates:
o July 17, 2012
o Immediately upon submission of their application
o The first day of the next pay period following submission of their
Any employee who feels they might quality and wishes to be covered should
submit an application. Because this is a new rule that was effective
immediately, I suspect there will be kinks such as varying interpretations
and problems with cross-walking IQCS data to HRM records. If an employee who
feels they are eligible applies and their application is rejected, we
certainly would like to hear about it so we can better understand the
criteria that are being used and work to correct any errors. If this happens
to you, please contact a Local union official as soon as possible. If you
have difficulty contacting a Local official, contact your Council Vice
President. Go to
www.nffe-fsc.org/ and click on the “Local Contacts” or “Council
Contacts” button on the left side of the page to find out who to contact.
We’ll be putting together a survey tool accessible from our website to allow
us to collect reports of problems in a centralized database as well. I hope
to have this designed and up and running by early next week.
OPM is working on additional guidance that we hope will be forthcoming soon.
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
Thanks, Mark. Ab.
There are a couple of folks who ought to be mentioned on the Fire Manager
History website as coming from the Dalton IHC.
The first is Ed Collins. He and I worked together on Dalton in 1968 and he
was on Dalton in 1969 and 1970. We were also classmates at Northern Arizona
University and graduated in 1971. Ed was our class valedictorian. He is
currently District Ranger on the Lakeside District of the Apache-Sitgreaves
I, Bob Withrow, served on Dalton in 1966 and 1968. I was the first Situation
Coordinator at the National Interagency Fire Center, 1974-1975. I was also
the first Chief of Wildfire Management for the Territory of Guam, 1978-1980.
Ed and I both worked for Chuck Hartley and Paul Gleason when we were on
Dalton. I was with them on the Loop Fire in 1966.
Thanks, Bob. I'll add that info to the
"IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project Ab.
I asked the same question from our Forest Administrative Officer in regards
to what will be used for Fall Fire Hire,
here is her response,
"It would be from eRecruit as it goes into effect starting Sept. 1.
Please be aware that applicants will have to
create a new profile in eRecruit and nothing from Avue with move over to
the new system. As soon as more
information is available, it will forwarded to all employees or you can
see t he latest info on the ASC HRM
website under eRecruit."
This person is usually in the know but we all know how quickly things can
change. What if eRecruit is not ready by
Sept. 1st, then what?
eRecruit and Avue for this fall's fire hire
I was just wondering if anyone
has any insight as to what is going on with our next round of hiring in
Typically for the fall fire hire applications need to be submitted by the
end of September to be considered for
the fall hiring process. My question is since Avue is out starting September
30th are we going to be submitting
our applications on Avue one last time for fall fire hire or will we be
utilizing eRecruit? If eRecruit is the case
does anyone have any leads or information links that clarifies the process
of how to apply using eRecruit?
Thanks for the insight,
Subject: Temporary Firefighters are Now Eligible to
Participate in the Federal Employee Health
Intended Audience: All Forest Service Employees
July 17, 2012
Temporary Firefighters are Now Eligible to Participate in the Federal
Employee Health Benefits Program
The Forest Service Human Resources Management (HRM) staff is working
closely with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to implement the new
regulation that allows our temporary firefighters the opportunity to enroll
in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. This is a top
priority for our agency and HRM is ready to start enrolling employees who
are eligible and choose to enroll. We have posted information on the HRM
Benefit’s website at:
http://fsweb.asc.fs.fed.us or if employees
would like to speak directly with an HR Specialist, please call
1-877-372-7248, press 2, press 2 again, and then press 4 to request to speak
with the Benefits staff.
Also, OPM has a website dedicated to the FEHB program available at:
To read OPM’s announcement on this new change, please visit:
Allows Federal Firefighters Access
to Health Insurance
||Interim Rule change for Federal Health Benefits Program Coverage for
Folks inclined to comment can take note of the
comment period and offer any thoughts they may have to
Michael W. Kaszynski, Senior Policy Analyst, Planning and Policy Analysis,
Contact info for Kaszynski is in the document. Ab.
||Update on insurance coverage, temporary employment reform:
health insurance issue on the radar screen of President Obama and him
committing to make federal coverage available to temporary seasonal wildland
firefighters was a huge victory – no doubt about it. And it took a team.
Cigars go to Rachel at change.org, Casey at FWFSA, Cory and Bill Dougan at
NFFE National, and of course John Lauer and the Tatanka Hotshots and their
family and friends.
So what will this mean? There’s a lot of rumor and speculation out there.
While we are not privy to the details of the rule change to provide
coverage, we believe it will involve a rules change at 5 CFR 890.102(c).
This is based on our understanding of the statutory and regulatory
constraints that limit what President Obama has the authority to do. In
fact, as recently as a few weeks ago OPM’s position was that health
insurance eligibility for temporary employees with the government paying its
share of premium was not possible because of language at 5 USC 8906a.
We argued in a brief sent to the OPM and the White House that this could be
done under the authority at 5 USC 8913(b), because 5 USC 8906a does
not apply to temporary seasonal employees or to wildland firefighters. I
assume this is where the rules change will happen.
To be clear, we also argued that all competitive service temporary seasonal
employees expected to work more than 90 days in the year should be included.
We feel this is the right thing to do. In addition, restricting coverage to
only firefighters will be challenging – because of the classification issue
the agency doesn’t even know (at the level of centralized personnel records)
who its primary firefighters are. Identifying militia firefighters would be
even more difficult. And exactly where should they draw the line? Should
only those who work in the smoke and ashes get access, or should support
personnel be included? To do the latter undermines the argument that it is
the extremely hazardous nature of the work that makes this group of
temporary seasonal employees, but not other field-going employees, deserving
of coverage. We don’t know at this point in which direction they will decide
While this is a great accomplishment, much more work remains. The
administration has the authority to provide health coverage while a
temporary employee is employed, but I don’t see how they could do so after
temporary employees are terminated and therefore not employees. Thus, my
reading of the authorities involved indicates that a rules change is
possible to make temporary seasonal employees eligible to participate like
other employees during the season, but they would be faced with Cobra
premiums during the off-season. To continue coverage under Cobra, employees
in terminated status would have to pay the government and employee share of
the premium. Rates are available at
Using basic coverage under the APWU plan (a cheaper one than Blue Cross),
premiums would be as follows:
Individual, when employed: $ 89.23
Family, when employed: $200.72
Individual, when terminated: $356.92
Family, when terminated: $802.90
Clearly we aren’t all the way home yet. The fundamental barrier to a
comprehensive solution is the false categorization of employees performing
regularly recurring seasonal work as temporary instead of permanent
seasonal. The comprehensive solution would be to convert these employees to
permanent seasonal status. This is why putting the authority in place to
convert temporary seasonal employees to permanent seasonal status is so
important. We are working to introduce a bill that would provide the
authority to convert temporary seasonal workers to permanent seasonal
status, in which status they would remain employees in non-duty status and
could therefore participate year-round. A number of other benefits (pension,
requirement to place those injured on the job into permanent positions,
etc.) would also accrue. Our bill and supporting documentation are posted at
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
Thanks for your good work, Mark. Ab.
||Dinosaur, (New Android user)...
Try Raindar and the IRPG. Raindar is free and the IRPG is $1.99...The NOAA
app is pretty cool as are the
Weather channel and G-mail...Go to personal info on Paycheck 8 and switch
your government email to your
Yahoo or Gmail account. When you times are approved or travel is done it
will notify you every time...
Welcome to the light and good to see you out
of the cave...LOL..
||2012 F350 fire issues:
Thanks for the heads up Carol.
We received 3 of these new Patrol rigs this year.
When we read the thread we immediately inspected one of the patrols, and yes
the paint was bubbling and
there was a scorch mark on the box.
This was a good save, as all his Saw gas, fusees, etc. were in that
We are calling our patrol on assignment in Colorado and informing him now.
We will no longer be using this compartment until we get the exhaust pipes
modified. (Monday morning)
Mad River BC
I support health care and hazard pay for all frontline
firefighters. It's amazing the difference in pay many of us get for doing
the same jobs. And whatever can be done to help some of our less fortunate
brothers and sisters cope, I’m for it.
Meanwhile, if you happen to travelling to and fro between Bozeman and Butte
Montana while on assignments, I highly
recommend that you take a little coffee break in Whitehall. Swing on by
Sweet Things Espresso (it's just off the exit and
across the street from the Town Pump gas station, in a little log cabin) and
I guarantee that Jody will fix you up something
that will help you keep your eyes on the road and that her charm and
cheerfulness will make an otherwise ordinary day
much more pleasant. Stay safe and have a great summer!
Tim from Craigmont ID
Not posting the photo, Tim; cute, but she might get mad. Ab.
Just traded in my tin can and string for an android-powered Smartphone.
Looking for advice and tips from TheySaiders
on best android apps to put on it that will help me on assignment.
||2012 Ford F350 fire issues
We had the same problem in 1999 with a 99
Ford super duty Ford when a Douglas utility bed was mounted. It melted a
plastic funnel into a big glob in the right rear low box. Luckily no fire
and nothing flammable. We had the exhaust pipe
extended but we still don’t carry anything flammable in those boxes. Since
then we have made sure all exhaust pipes are
extended when the beds get mounted.
It was a Knapheide Utility Box.
||In response to FireCapWife:
All people have been asking for is opportunity to be buy into the plans that
are already offered to Federal employees. This doesn't mean that every
single employee will opt in for health insurance. I know permanent employees
who choose not to purchase health insurance even though it's available to
them. My SO was a permanent GS-6 for a long time and had 18-8 or 13-13
appointments and chose to continue the health insurance when he was laid off
in the winter and back pay on the premiums was taken out of his paycheck
when he came back on in May. This was hard on us financially come spring
time, but it was our choice. There's nothing too complicated about how this
will work, it is already being done by permanent employees who are
essentially seasonal. I read that this would cost around $17 million to
implement, we'll easily spend that much money on just one fire. Take a look
at today's Sit Report, we've probably spent 4 times that much on just the
fires listed today. We can't chip in a little bit extra to make health
insurance available to hard working firefighters? I don't know about
everyone else, but my family sure makes a lot of personal sacrifices for the
commitment required by a “Forestry Technician” position in fire. So yeah, I
think we can afford a little bit extra for these people to get health
insurance if they want. As Casey has been so eloquently saying for years,
these changes can easily be paid for if mismanagement of funds was addressed
and we would likely see a return on this investment in retaining quality
Benefits for health plans are negotiated by OPM, and the BCBS FEHB plan in
particular is much better than those offered by regular BCBS plans. One
major component is that no one can be denied coverage based on pre-existing
conditions- this has been a right for Federal employees and their families
for years. I've looked into other private insurance plans and for the price,
nothing even comes close to what you pay for some of the agency sponsored
plans offered to Federal employees. My dad worked for the FS as well, so I
have been covered under a FEHB plan for almost my entire life and from what
I have gathered from various providers and other people with private
insurance over the years, Federal employee plans are far superior to
anything you would ever get with private insurance from the same exact
companies. My son has a genetic blood disorder and he would be denied health
care coverage just about any where else. If it wasn't for our great health
insurance we get through his dad's employment we would no doubt be deeply in
debt or would have declared bankruptcy from overwhelming medical bills, as
so many other Americans have. It was a financial hardship for us to pay for
insurance at the GS 5/6 level, but it was nothing compared to hardships we
would have faced without it.
The issue of providing access to federal health care benefit plans to
seasonal federal wildland firefighters is not a partisan/political issue in
regards to whatever someone thinks the President's "will" is. It is a
fundamental benefit of federal employees that has been denied these brave
men & women who risk their lives just as their permanent-career co-workers
do for decades.
The issues that have encumbered our Nation's federal wildland firefighters
for so long transcend the partisan rhetoric about "Presidential wills" etc.
As you note, the Republican controlled House repealed the Affordable Health
Care Act. This was the 34th time the House has wasted the "People's time" in
taking this "symbolic" action knowing full well that the Senate would not
pass such a proposal. Thus when you say "the majority of our elected
representatives also oppose this mandate" please clarify that such a comment
is specific to the majority in the US House of Representatives. The majority
of our elected representatives in the US Senate will not repeal the law.
Also keep in mind I was born and raised a Republican!
The partisan nonsense should be left out of this discussion out of respect
for our federal wildland firefighters who are on the lines as we speak,
risking their lives to protect our Nation's natural resources and its
citizens (such as yourself) and their real & personal property from the
ravages of wildfires.
I would ask that you and others pay particular attention to SA's post as it
relates to the fiscal mismanagement of the land management agency fire
programs. Perhaps it is time that the public become aware of just how much
money is wasted by the land management agencies in their management of their
fire programs. Congress appropriates funds for fire preparedness or
pre-suppression (WFPR) which pays for equipment and staffing when those
firefighters are not assigned to fires. It also appropriates money for
wildfire suppression (WFSU). These funds not only pay federal wildland
firefighters but they also are used to pay for the ever-increasing number of
higher-priced non-federal resources and the very lucrative cooperative
agreements between federal land management agencies and non-federal fire
Congress also appropriates money for hazardous fuels reduction. This should
However, it is important for you and the Public to know that those
authorized by the Agencies such as the Forest Service to allocate & utilize
those appropriated fire dollars as well as develop and implement fire policy
have little to no wildfire experience and little to no experience or
expertise in managing a fire department. The fact is, the Forest Service
fields the largest fire department in the world. However the analogy I often
use is that its business model is tantamount to the fire departments of the
largest cities in the US being managed by that city's Parks & Recreation
Dept. It's sheer lunacy and not cost-effective or efficient. It may have
been appropriate 30-40 years ago but not with the complexities of today's
21st century wildfires.
The public should be keenly aware that those responsible for allocating said
fire funding often spend a considerable amount of that fire money on
non-fire costs/projects as SA alluded to. As a result often the public is at
greater risk in that the level of preparedness resources is not what it
should be. To fill in the gaps, the agencies have come to over-rely on many
higher-priced non-federal resources costing you, the taxpayer, more than is
Further, the lack of benefits mean a lack of incentives for quality
candidates to be recruited into these fire positions and the inability to
retain many of these firefighters once you, the taxpayer, has made a
significant investment into their training. Sure, even if they go to another
non-federal fire agency they'll still show up on wildfires, but they will
now cost you 3-5 times what it cost you when they were a federal employee.
How can you/we not afford to change the status quo?
By providing incentives such as access to federal health care plans as well
as those included in HR 6092 introduced this week, we can improve
recruitment & retention and thus strengthen the inherently less expensive
federal side of the house so to speak so that the agencies can start to
reduce (not eliminate) their over-reliance on higher-priced non-federal
resources. This in turn will create a more effective and efficient federal
wildfire response and ultimately save you, the taxpayer significant sums of
Bottom line, there is ample funding within that already appropriated by
Congress to these agencies to provide these brave men & women with reforms
to the archaic pay & personnel policies that have encumbered them for so
long. The issue is ensuring those tax dollars are managed properly and
utilized as intended by Congress and the American taxpayer.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
I understand better than most what it is like to be without insurance. I
have a chronic health condition and have been under constant treatment for
over 35 years including multiple emergency room visits, hospitalizations and
expensive medications both with and without health insurance. I have lived
with what many fear and managed to work through it without the interference
of government agencies and mandates and was never once denied the treatment
I required because I didn't have insurance.
One of your statements, "The President had made it clear that it is the will
of the people that healthcare be provided for all" couldn't be farther from
the truth. The majority of The People oppose this mandate. The majority of
our elected representatives also oppose this mandate as indicated by the
repeal vote in the House this week.
If our government was so concerned about healthcare for all as you stated,
why all the waivers excempting federal, state and local agencies from the
mandate. There are also thousands of unions, large corporations and
religious groups excempt from this mandate putting more burden on those who
are forced into a system we The People did not choose.
Old Timer is right on mark about the cost of this program. How will it be
funded? Just because those effected are employed by the goverment shouldn't
give them any more rights and benefits than those employed in the private
sector who typically don't receive the same benefits as the full time
I am greatful that my husband is full time and greatful for the benefits of
such employment. However there was a time when he too was a temporary and
didn't have the benefits. At that time he and his first wife had four small
children at home and managed to make it work.
This biggest problem I see is not the lack of benefits but the lack of
personal responsibilty. How many of these part-time employees have even
attempted to get health insurance on their own? I bet the percentage is
extremely low. We have two temporary firefighters in our family, both in
their early 20s who have flat out said that even if the insurance is offered
they won't take it because nothing is going to happen to them. How many
others share the same view? I know many full-time younger worker in both the
Firefighter community and the private sector who don't take the benefits
offered to them for the same reason.
Before we implement yet another expensive program that we simply can't
afford, maybe there needs to be some committment from those who will be
affected. Personally, if I knew the majority would sign up for the program,
maybe I would be more supportive. I would be willing to bet if it was put
out there and the temps and seasonals had to committ to the program (sign up
with payroll deduction in place) before the program was available a small
percentage would sign up. By doing this we would al least have some hard
numbers to work with and not just another feel good policy or program.
||Health care / OWCP / and YOUR personal responsibilities:
Much like the gentleman who has been dealing with OWCP, I too have been
dealing with them – since 1980.
My best advice is FOIA request your complete file. I found chart notes with
assessed impairments that had never been shared with me – although they were
with the medical providers and the OWCP claims agent.
My accident was no doubt serious, with my life changed forever. Everything
was taken care of after the accident, but once upon returning to work (after
a lengthy recovery); it was truly amazing to see how much information I had
a right to see under FECA was withheld. Had I not thoroughly reviewed the
file, the injuries would be hurting even more than they do now. Also, be
very careful in what ASC tells you. I recently had some pertinent (to me)
conflicting information offered by both parties.
Bottom line – keep all your records, but may seem minutiae now, can be
massive 20 years later. If in doubt take the tie, FOIA request your files
and thoroughly review each page. If you were examined and assessed for a PPI
– there will be notes – but they may never tell you unless you look. Also
the schedule awards are pretty succinct for loss of body parts or use of
them; except for spinal injury. Your back is virtually worthless, no matter
how bad the injury.
Just a “watch out situation.”
Final point – if you are seriously injured to the point the body does not
function as it used to, stay on top of this. Get assessments but from YOUR
practitioner. OWCP doctors are notorious for downplaying any changes in
bodily function, capacities, and disability. After 33 years of dealing with
them – my best advice is keep the dialog open, and for you newbies – if you
get hurt to the nature your body work capacity becomes limited – MAKE SURE
YOU report the accident. OWCP is there for a reason – and it still is the
best health insurance for wild land firefighters injured on the job. If you
think you’ll just “tough it out” – you are only fooling yourself. I am not
talking common injuries or accidents that put you out of the game for a week
of two, and I certainly am not advocating filing a claim for minute injuries
– but it’s your body, your life, and your family that will be affected most
if you don’t stay on top of things. Here’s a link to FECA /OWCP
including what your body parts are worth.
P.S. – OWCP changes their primary case managers at least every 6 months; if
it’s a long-term issue, just keep in mind that as this rotation occurs, and
over a period of time – you’ll get a new case worker often unfamiliar with
your situation – and they all have to review your file to make their
decisions. Cumbersome but good to know.
Now with all respect to OWCP – they have improved – in my experience with
processing claims over the years / but the agency is still a morass.
Good luck – stay safe.
Signed (old, injured but still working)
Thanks for sharing your
||RE: Seasonal Employee Health Care
AK Old Timer,
You are correct that the devil is in the details. The questions you ask will
Let's be clear though.. ALL or our employees, as federal employees,
(including our FIREFIGHTERS) DESERVE
the right to have access to the Federal Health Benefit Program.
The President has made it clear that the will of the people is affordable
health care for all.. why should the Land
Management Agencies be different?
Another question that will come up is other federal agency non firefighter
seasonal employee's ability to access the
Federal Health Benefit Program.
As for the cost to government and employee... it is just a little more
complicated than a 70%-30% split... follow the
link to OPM's Federal Health Benefit Handbook.
"Hope resides in the future, perspective and wisdom are found by looking to
||RE: Seasonal Employee Health Care
AK Old Timer
After reading your post I'm pretty worked up but I'll try to
maintain and respond. As I see it you have two issues in your post,
- because of the budget the agency can't afford it and
- they are covered by OWCP.
Lets take the budget first because that's the easy one.
At the regional FMO meeting they said the suppression budget this
year is $980 million and I've heard elsewhere it's up to 1.6
billion. How much does that leave if you subtract the 10 million
cost you put out? How about if all of the money was spent on fire
instead of the deputy forest supervisors' wages or non fuels NEPA
wages or other non fire/ fuels costs? I've been dealing with budgets
every since 1995 and management has always used it to justify cuts
to the field.
Now lets get to OWCP and how they cover the workers.
I've been dealing with it nonstop since 1998 on my own multiple
injuries, as well as helping others because of my expertise. First,
about 50% of what you hear from Albuquerque is wrong. Ironically, I
just had an appointment today with a doctor that OWCP brought in
from Olympia WA to Spokane to check me out for a hearing loss claim
I turned in. Imagine that after 28 years of running a chainsaw for
the FS I have a hearing loss. He found that yes I have a 70 to 80%
loss and it is from working around noise, but he told them to rate
me at 0% impairment which means no settlement. According to him it
doesn't affect any other functions of normal living. He did say that
I borderline could use a hearing aid, but off the record he told me
I'd never wear it anyway.
I've had three back injuries and two surgeries. They told me
nothing can be done to fix this last one. It not only took me out of
fire fighting, but I am unable to take a running step or walk over
1/4 mile. Since federal OWCP doesn't recognize back injuries for any
settlement I've been trying since 2006 to get a settlement for the
loss of use of my left leg. They've been telling me that at the most
I'll get 4% which works out to about $7500 for my leg.
I've been researching for a firefighter that got run over
by dozer in Texas and lost his eye. OWCP rated him out at 25% or 40
weeks of pay, but yet I've found three different locations in the
FECA laws that say he should have received 160 weeks. Still not
enough! State industrial would have paid more.
I've got dozens of examples from a brain injury and the agency wants
to force her out... to where, due to injuries, the employee was put
into a job without firefighter retirement which added ten years to
their time until retirement.
Please don't say they are covered by
Workers' Comp like it's a good thing. I'm 60 years old and Workers
Comp is the most adversarial system I've ever experienced. In my
opinion this should be the next battle we take on.
||Got this as a cc from Kevin to Carol, Looks like there has been at
least one other problem with the F-450. Ab.
Carol, this unfortunately
is not a new problem. We received a new F-450 in 2002 with service body. On
the truck’s maiden voyage cross country it arrived and we noted the same
thing. Tail pipe too short and routed directly under the right rear box.
Ours contained fuel, 2 cycle oil, etc. Fortunately all that occurred was
melting several bottles of 2 cycle oil to the bottom of the bin. We then had
the exhaust pipe extended several inches and quickly moved our flammables to
the left side of the vehicle. Hearing this ten years later worries me but
does not surprise me. The truck leaves the line with no bed attached (which
is added later) and the bed installer appears to be oblivious to the
problem. Just curious, was this a Knapheide bed?
Gallatin Rappel Crew
||2012 Ford F350
Subject: 2012 F350's w/Utility Bed SHARE FAR AND WIDE
This morning we had a fire crew in a new 2012 Ford F350 traveling to a fire
in Utah. While in route the utility box caught on fire. The vehicle was
towed to the nearest Ford dealership in Ogden, Utah. The service department
said the cause was from the exhaust pipe too close to the box and not
extended out enough. The compartment above the tail pipe contained chock
blocks, chains and fusees.
As it turned out there was nothing but body damage but needless to say this
could have been a lot worse. We received several F350’s with utility beds on
this year’s order and from what we can tell they are all the same way.
It appears that the fix would be to have the tail pipe extended and dropped
down an inch or so. Also the crews need to remove any flammables from the
compartment above the tail pipe.
GO OUT AND CHECK YOUR NEW FORD F350’S WITH UTILITY.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Allen Nunn in our
automotive shop or any of the rest of us in fleet.
Forest Fleet Manager
Okanogan Wenatchee NF
Mt Baker Snoqualmie NF
||Re: Seasonal Employee Health Insurance Benefits
I fully support providing Federal Employee Health Benefits to our seasonal
employees. Federal health insurance for seasonal employees will be very
beneficial for a member of my family.
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but this proposal deserves a much
First of all, premiums are set at one rate for all. There’s no lower rate
for the lower GS’s and higher rates for the upper GS’s. Everyone in each
individual plan pays the same rate. I’m concerned that the lower grades (GS
3, 4, 5, etc) will find it a burden to purchase health insurance. The cost
is even a bigger hurdle for seasonals who want to have family coverage.
For example, using the low cost Basic Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan the
employee will pay $56.25/PP for the self only option and $131.73/PP for self
and family coverage. With the more generous Standard BC/BS Plan the employee
will pay $85.58/PP for the self only option and $198.48/PP for self and
family coverage. Without a lot of O/T that’s a big chunk out of the
How many seasonal employees will say that they’re very healthy so they don’t
need health insurance? After all, if they’re injured at work they have
Workman’s Comp and if they’re injured in an automobile accident they will
have their vehicle insurance to cover any medical expenses.
A bigger concern is the impact on the Federal Agencies budgets. The employee
only pays about 30% of the total cost of the Federal Employee Health Benefit
program. The Government pays the remaining 70%, which by law must be paid
out of the appropriation which pays the majority of the employee’s salary.
So Fire Funds must be used to pay the Government’s share of the health
benefit cost for wildland fire-fighting, seasonal employees. In this era of
limited budgets this could have a big impact on the overall firefighting
Using the BC/BS Plans the Government’s share in the Basic Plan is $168.77/PP
($2,194.01/season for a seasonal employee) for the self-only option and
$395.73/PP ($5144.49/season) for the self and family option. With the
Standard Plan, the Government’s share is $185.75/PP ($2414.75/season) for
the self-only option and $414.35/PP ($5386.55/season) for the self and
family option. If 5,000 seasonal employees sign up for the self-only Basic
Plan, the total cost to the Government would be over $10,000,000! And that’s
probably the low estimate of the cost to the government.
Anyone besides Casey have any idea where this money is going to come from?
How does this proposal affect other resource areas? Will the seasonal
timber, wildlife, recreation, fisheries, etc. employees be offered this same
benefit? To me it would be discriminatory if they did not have the same
options. Since most of the budgets for the other resources have been
shrinking over the past few years. This additional cost for providing health
benefits would have a major impact on other resource programs.
What happens when the seasonal employees are not on the payroll? Does the
insurance just stop? Or, can the employee pay out of pocket (100% or their
regular portion?) to continue the insurance like a COBRA continuation? Does
the Government continue to pay their share for an employee (who may not
return) during the off period?
I’d like to implement health insurance for seasonal employees but there are
a lot of questions that need to be answered. What concerns me the most is
the fact that this is an election year. A lot of promises are going to be
made by politicians up for election. But, once the election is over, these
promises are soon forgotten.
AK Old Timer
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
Let's be thankful.
Yes, many agree, health care for temporary Firefighter is a long time
coming, politics is not pretty, election year politics
is even worse. However let's be thankful, stay positive and appreciative of
this huge development. Time to move on to
supporting HR 6092 and joining FWFSA. The best 10 bucks I spend every two
Thank you President Obama.
Patience-Involvement-Activism! - Casey Judd, 10/7/2011
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
What a shame this didn’t occur years ago. For a change, common sense seems
to have prevailed.
Kudos to those that made it happen.
There's still lots more to do for it to become real, but it's a good
first step. Our thanks to all who took action and to those who have done so
for years! Ab.
Today the president announced that he is directing the Office of Personnel
Management (OPM) to provide access to federal health care benefits for
seasonal federal wildland firefighters. Details of the directive still need
to be obtained.
This news is on top of other encouraging news that Congresswoman Diana
DeGette of Colorado today introduced a near identical version of the FWFSA's
HR 4488 (originally introduced in Dec. 2009) which is now HR 6092 the
Wildland Firefighters Health Protection Act (attached). The bill includes
provisions to address the classification issue; portal to portal pay; hazard
pay included as base pay for retirement purposes; hazard pay for RX burns
and of course the health care coverage which may be moot at this point.
I sincerely hope this community understands the effort and commitment of so
many to ensure all of you in the federal sector get the pay & benefits you
deserve. Not to dampen the feeling of accomplishment these announcements
bring, there is still an incredible amount of work to be done and the sense
of accomplishment must be met with the reality that often it takes
devastating fire seasons to get the attention of those who can effect
positive change and let's not forget the role of election year politics at
It is simply my sincerest hope that those of you away from your families and
on the fire lines know that someone's got your back.
HR 6092 Wildland Firefighters Health Protection Act (54 K pdf)
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
a friend in Denver alerted me to this, from the Denver Post.
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
Too good to be true?!
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
I found this article posted by Sherrie Kvamme, our healing angel at the
WFF. This is great news! Let’s hope that nothing holds it up.
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
This is from the Denver Post, "Obama directs that wildland firefighters be
offered health insurance."
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
Hopefully this proves to be true. If so, great work by Tatanka IHC and
scores of others.
Charles Palmer, Ed. D.
Health and Human Performance Dept.
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences
University of Montana
||Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance
From: Davis, Mark W -FS
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:00 PM
Subject: Obama directs that wildland firefighters be offered health
This happened quicker than I expected. This from the Denver Post: Obama
directs that wildland firefighters be offered health insurance.
Your union – and many fine employees (more kudos to John Lauer) – and other
partners in our ad hoc coalition – at work.
Our work is not done. The President faces statutory constraints that prevent
a comprehensive solution. But this is a significant step in the right
direction – and for tonight – just this one night – I for one am going to
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
From: Davis, Mark W -FS
Subject: Status of temporary employment reform - or where's the President
I’ve been taking some time to devote my full attention and energy to getting
health insurance for temporary seasonal employees and to work for the more
fundamental reform that will require Congressional action. The odds of
stimulating positive change of this magnitude out of Washington are always
long, but I’ve never seen them this good before. I’m sorry I’ve been
“missing in action” from the perspective of some, but there’s a brief window
of opportunity open now and my intent is to give it the best shot I have.
For those who may not have seen it, here’s recent national press on the
· NBC Nightly News:
NFFE National and I have devoted a lot of time over the last few weeks on a
two-pronged approach. First, we have reached out to OPM and the White House
to advocate for health coverage to be provided administratively, to the
extent they have the authority to do so. We specifically recommended that
this be done by modifying the eligibility rules at 5 CFR 890.102(c)(2).
Second, we are working hard to get our legislative proposal, which lays the
foundation for more comprehensive reform, introduced within the next week or
two. Fundamental reform will require Congressional action. Our latest brief
on this aspect is attached, fyi.
With the public’s eye on this issue, there is great momentum for positive
change. This opportunity was made possible by two things: (1) John Lauer
stepped up and (2) he was part of a union with the knowledge and contacts to
use the momentum he generated. And by the willingness and ability of
Secretary-Treasurer Melissa Baumann to take over the reins while I’m “on
detail.” That’s what it takes – all of us working together in solidarity.
I’m proud to be a part of this effort. I’ll keep you informed of significant
events as I am able to do so.
Be well. Be safe. I’ll be back.
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
||Oregon Crew Carrier accident, but all seem to be OK.
Following is a news
release that Oregon State Police just sent to media a few minutes ago. ODF
Public Affairs is handling media calls about the crew, the fire they were
headed to, and other forestry-related matters. We are referring questions
about the accident, status of the victims and other law enforcement-related
matters to Lt. Gregg Hastings, OSP, pager 503-323-3195.
UPDATE: SERIOUS INJURY TRAFFIC CRASH - HIGHWAY 126E NEAR PRINEVILLE (PHOTOS)
Posted: July 10th, 2012 9:38 AM
Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into an early
Tuesday morning serious injury crash involving a van transporting ten
contract wildland firefighters and a commercial truck on Highway 126E west
of Prineville. Nine of the 10 people transported to area hospitals have been
treated and released.
On July 10, 2012 at approximately 2:15 a.m. a 2000 Chevrolet van containing
ten people was enroute to the John Day area responding to assist
firefighting efforts at a wildland fire. The van driven by JEREMY A. MIESNER,
age 35, from Salem, was eastbound on Highway 126E near milepost 12
negotiating a curve when MIESNER fell asleep. The van drifted into the
westbound lane and crashed into the left front side of a Freightliner truck
driven by SCOTT RAMAGE, age 48, from Washington.
The van sustained major left side damage and all ten occupants were
transported to three different hospitals. The truck's driver and 39-year old
male sleeping passenger were not injured.
Subsequent to the initial investigation, MIESNER was cited by OSP for
Failure to Drive Within a Lane. Trooper Todd Burke is the lead investigator.
OSP was assisted at the scene by several agencies including Crook County
Sheriff's Office, Prineville Police Department, Crook County Fire & Rescue,
LifeFlight, Air Link, and ambulances from the city of Redmond and Jefferson
Transported by ambulance to Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville where
they were treated and released for minor injuries:
* age 29, from Sheridan
* age 22, from Salem
* age 38, from Independence
Transported by air ambulance and ground ambulance to St. Charles Medical
Center in Bend:
* age 37, from Salem, treated and released for minor injuries
* age 40, from Salem, treated and released for minor injuries
* age 39, city of residence unknown, is in critical condition
Transported by ground ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond
where they were treated and released for minor injuries:
* (female), age 36, from Woodburn
* age 20, from Salem
* age 33, from Salem
According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, the fire crew works for Lava
River Forestry out of Salem. They were enroute to assist firefighting
efforts at the Briley Mountain Fire. Questions for Department of Forestry
should be directed to Rod Nichols at (503) 945-7425.
Photographs - Oregon State Police
||Draw down and sitting on resources
Who Knows & Shrek,
I'm on a Type 1 IHC crew sitting right next door to a Forest that had a fire
with structures threatened and we didn't
even go. I'm scratchin my head too! Mutual aid and they probably had enough
State crews to handle, and didn't
request FS crews, immediate need, etc, etc.
I've been at this for a while now and I've only seen this the last maybe
eight years? It's the same thing every year. I
know, I don't want to preach to the choir here but, you gotta let go and
just enjoy the time you can spend with your
family. I know I do!
We like doing our jobs, that's why we are here. I have friends and family
asking me why aren't you in Colorado? I
tell them somebody needs to hold down the fort while all of our other
resources are gone. Are we being held on
Forest? I dunno??
Either way, If you're willing to search for the puzzle pieces to find out
why, I say do it. I enjoy my days off, spending
time with my family and friends.
Just my side,
Anchor N Flank
||Lassen on Draw Down?
Over the past several weeks I have made some observations and have a
question that maybe readers on
They Said might be able to answer.
Is the Lassen N.F. on a draw down? It seems over the last four weeks they
have not sent many engines
to off-forest fires. You would think that the Lassen being next door to the
Mendocino, they would have
sent an engine or two. I know that they did send 3 engines to the fires out
of region a couple weeks ago.
I think the Draw down is 5 engines for the forest and they are showing 11 on
it right now. It seems that
every forest and even local Government strike teams are being sent. Did
North Ops forget about them?
If someone else can shed some light on the thinking process of North Ops and
how the decide to send
orders to the dispatch centers I would appreciate it a lot.
It looks like South Ops has Engines heading to North Ops also.
||SoCal Sitting on resources?
I have been hearing that there has been some NICC/North Ops games going
on in regards to resource orders . Its my
understanding listening to the NMAC call and daily conference calls while
out of region 5 that NICC is filling the majority
of engine and crew orders from North Ops (region 5) due to the fact that
many of the South Op's equipment and crews
spent time in Texas last year, North Ops felt left out of the mix and
complained to NICC. I have seen engine strike teams
orders go to the Klamath and the Lassen for fires and severity in Southern
Arizona over sending South Ops resources.
Just wondering if anyone can shed light on this or has insight.
||Washington lightning bust:
Enjoying the 8th of July! The attached
photos are from Spokane Weather Service two nights ago showing the storm
cells moving across our forest and through our valley, and a post from
Facebook. From my house it looked like 5 cells
firing across the ridges.... I have never seen anything like it...except in
movies! This lightning show went on for 3 hours
night before last... Amazing. Fierce. Humbling. Photos sent in by Firefox1.
Thanks, I added them to the
Fire 46 photo page. Ab.
||I updated the
Type 2 Incident Management Teams pages. If you need them, you
can find them on the
page under Federal.
||Here's a nice article on Bequi Livingston in the Washington Post:
Ensuring the safety of those who fight forest fires
Great work Bequi! We appreciate you!
||Re: Pocket Cards
Can’t answer “Still Out There’s” questions about how the Pocket Cards get
updated, but here’s a working link.
Very similar to the broken link in the IMSR, but no end “slash” or period:
And Abs, I can’t say it enuff – THANKS for wildlandfire.com.
We appreciate it too. Never a dull moment! Thanks to SteveM
(Original Ab) my partner, the Mods, and thanks to all contributors across
the USA! Ab.
I have not heard or seen much about pocket cards in
recent years. The cards, developed as a result of one of the tragedy fires,
gives critical local thresholds for temps, fuels, humidity, etc. Now today's
situation report focuses on the cards in the safety message -- but gives a
dead web link. I had thought the card system was excellent. (A couple of
times I took the info from the cards and compared it to RAWS and current
fire behavior and found the information to be extremely accurate.) What is
happening with this system? Have the cards been updated to reflect major
fires from the last few years? What's the current link?
Still Out there as an AD
||In the news: a computer malware virus.
To make sure your computer is clean:
Visit the federal FBI -backed website,
DNS-OK which will tell you
whether your computer is infected with DNSChanger malware.
If green, you're
good to go.
If red, you're infected. Follow the directions on
this site, run by the DNS
Changer Working Group.
We're all fine here. It's likely you are too.
||We're getting lots of questions.
Chris passed away on July 2, 0600 hrs as the result of a traffic accident
-- Hwy 138 and 110th W -- on his way back to work on the fire mop-up. His loss is a blow to many of
Chris' family is awesome. Prayers and condolences for Chris' wife
Courtney, his mom and dad, Kathy and Danny, brother Chad, and grandmother,
A memorial website has been set up for Chris at
With god speed, take care Brother.
||Los Padres National Forest Firefighter Christopher Paul Carroll
was taken from us on July 2nd 2012.
Chris Carroll was the Engine 74 Assistant Fire Engine Operator at Los Alamos
Station on the Mt. Pinos Ranger District
located at Interstate 5 and Smokey Bear Road. This Angeles National Forest
Fire Station houses both
ANF Engine 336 and LPF Engine 74.
The family welcomes all wishing to attend services which will be
1000 hrs on Thursday July 12, 2012 at:
Palmdale Stake Center
2120 East Avenue R
Palmdale CA 93351
Uniformed FS personnel should wear long sleeve dress uniforms with a solid
tie and dark green pants (nomex okay)
Chris dedicated his life to emergency services for 15 years starting as an
LA County Explorer at the age of 14. He
was an ANF explorer at post 99, and then worked for AMR Ambulance before
starting a career with the Forest
Service. With the FS, Chris worked on Sequoia Engine 45 in Havilah,
Breckenridge Hotshots, Kernville Helitack
and responded to his final call to the Hill fire with LPF Engine 74.
Cards, flowers, or donations can be sent to the
Chuchupate District office at
34580 Lockwood Valley Rd,
Frazier Park CA 93225
attn John Abell
The ANF has been tremendous in their efforts to assist the immediate as well
as the extended firefighting family and
has also graciously set up a collection point at the
33708 Crown Valley Rd,
Acton CA 93510
attn Tracy McGuff
Condolences. This is sad, Chris and his family were tremendous
contributors to the wildland firefighting community. Great loss. Ab.
||Good day Ab.
I'm looking for some help from your readership.
As part of the JFSP crown fire synthesis project (www.fs.fed.us/wwetac/projects/alexander.html)
I'm involved in, the project team is attempting to collate examples of
YouTube videos portraying crown fire behavior in different forest types from
various parts of North America (e.g., PJ in the Great Basin, pine barrens of
NJ, jack pine in the Lake States, pine plantations in the SE, high elevation
spruce-fir in the West).
There was, for example, the excellent footage associated with mountain pine
beetle fuels on the 2011 Salt Fire that came out last year.
I'd imagine everyone has their own favourite clip. Appreciate if you would
be willing to share your INTEL.
Thanks very much in advance. Greatly appreciated.
University of Alberta, Canada
||I just got back from a 14 day run to Colorado. Hadn't been there since
2002. The people of Colorado are about the most
generous, helpful, and friendly people you are ever likely to run into. The
drive into base camp every night took us past
cheering crowds and good vibes. They made us feel like their own sons and
daughters who were coming home to a family feast.
Thank you Colorado. It's
always a privilege and an honor to help out on your fires.
-Fireguy57- from Northern Calif.
Some of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters currently on the fire
lines across the country were still in diapers and some not yet born 18
years ago when the South Canyon Fire tragedy took the lives of 14 wildland
firefighters. It is my hope that as new federal wildland firefighters come
into the federal system, they are reminded of the dangerous nature of this
business and ultimate price so many have given in pursuing their passion as
It is with that great sense of admiration, respect, affection and gratitude
that as we reflect on the losses of those on Storm King as well as all the
others who gave their lives, we let you know that plans are being made to
re-introduce the most comprehensive legislation ever introduced on behalf of
our Nations' federal wildland firefighters.
As you may recall, the FWFSA crafted HR 4488, the National Wildfire
Infrastructure Improvement & Cost Containment Act which was
introduced in Dec. 2009. The bill contained a variety of provisions
including health benefits for seasonal wildland firefighters; portal to
portal compensation; hazard pay on RX burns; hazard pay as base pay for
retirement calculations and others.
As a direct result of the recent petition drive on change.org calling for
health care coverage for seasonal federal wildland firefighters initiated by
John Lauer of Colorado, Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado plans to
re-introduce a near identical version of HR 4488 next week. Several
conference calls between the Congresswoman's staff, NFFE, the FWFSA and
others have discussed the tactics & strategies which will compliment efforts
led by NFFE to work an administrative solution (rules change) for the health
care issue directly with the White House and OPM. It is our hope that both
legislative and administrative efforts will compliment each other to produce
an end result that has been a long time coming.
Getting action on such a comprehensive bill with only 4 months to go in this
already "do-nothing" session of Congress will be a tough challenge. It will
require the help from all of our federal wildland firefighters in
communicating with their elected representatives to support such an effort.
Once the bill is introduced we will provide those interested in
participating in the effort clear and concise talking-points.
More information will be provided as it becomes available. Stay safe.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
||Anniversary of Storm King...
Good day all,
A day to remember Kathi, Tami, Scott, Levi, Robert, Doug,Terri, Bonnie,
Rob, Jon, Don, Roger, James and Richard,
Storm King/ South Canyon...
||Friday July 6, 2012 is the 18th year since the South Canyon Fire / Storm
King Mountain tragedy occurred.
Please stop and remember our fellow
co-workers and friends that lost their lives in the Line of Duty.
FF's Kathi Beck, Tami Bickett, Scott Blecha, Levi Brinkley, Robert
Browning, Doug Dunbar, Terri Hagen, Bonnie Holtby, Rob Johnson, Jon Kelso,
Don Mackey, Roger Roth, James Thrash and Richard Tyler were killed in the
Line of Duty.
Canyon /Storm King
||Message from Ab:
Many of us celebrate 4th of July in different ways.
Wildland firefighters are often on the fireline unless they're holding down
the fort at home and even then they may be at the station, not at "home"
Those who are off duty may be taking in a local 4th of July fair or having a
family picnic or meal, or in normal years, watching a fireworks display in
the evening with friends and family.
When I think about the birth of our nation, I am in awe of the founders and
in awe of the people who persist in our country's evolution.
Here's a big Thank You to all who actively participate in our ongoing
Great Democracy Experiment. For me, the thrill in trying to solve problems
One of my favorite all-time posts came from Shari Downhill in 2008. She was
teaching her daughter how to remember the Preamble of the Constitution for a
school assignment and in doing so, taught her the meaning of it.
Here's the "Learning Sentence" and a link to the Hotlist post from several
We Understand Justice and Truth and will Deliver it With our Lives
W – We the People of the United States of America
U – in order to form a more perfect Union,
J – establish Justice
T – insure domestic Tranquility
D – provide for the common Defense
W – promote the general Welfare
L – secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our
…do Ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of
Happy 4th of July!
Happy Independence Day!
from the Abs and Hotlist Mods
! CELEBRATE OUR NATION'S
236 th BIRTHDAY !
Thanks for your service and participation.
||Re Little Bear
Air Attack platforms, Type I Heavy Lift Helicopters and Air Tankers were
available in Silver City and Albuquerque
(carded and on contract), when and after the Little Bear started.
When I meet someone new and they ask what I do for a
living I hate when... I have to tell them...
1. I do not work for The Forestry Service, I work for the US Forest Service,
and no, that is not the same as CalFire.
2. I am not a park or forest ranger, I'm a firefighter even though
officially I'm a Forestry Technician unless One of us dies then I can be
called a firefighter.
3. I do not jump out of planes!
But a huge thanks to Ab, Steve, Casey, Burke, and Vicki for all that you do
||Media Reporting of Fire Size: acres vs sq miles
Gotta smile at that peeve! Folks definitely can relate to miles better
than acres; they get reminders every day
as they drive. Seems like unless you're a rural real estate agent, a farmer,
or in the forestry/timber business,
acres are not well understood. I even have trouble getting firefighters to
call in fire sizes accurately.
I think chainsaw "blades" should be a bigger peeve :)
||Media Reporting of Fire Size: acres vs sq miles
A few years ago, media
grabbed hold of the idea of giving square miles and then relating that to a
place (like a city) so people could better grasp the size. I guess acres
don't make as much sense to people
who have never farmed or managed land; we leave just as many people puzzled
when giving fire spread in
"chains" per hour.
Still Out There as an AD
||Media Reporting of Fire Size: acres vs sq miles / Pet Peeves
Everyone of us have
our own pet peeves. My recently discovered peeve and a stressor is with the
media reporting fire size
as square miles instead of acres. Simple math but I wonder why the change?
Can people relate to square miles better than
acres? Are PIOs reporting acres or sq. miles?
As with many things...What I perceive as a change is normal business for
others. Any thoughts?
||Names of the Fallen:
Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal,
Maj. Joseph M. McCormick,
Maj. Ryan S. David and
Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon
Our condolences. Ab.
The military is going to release the names of the remaining fallen and
provide information on the condition of the two in the hospital
at 2 PM North Carolina time or at 11:00 Pacific time, in a little over an
I believe CNN is televising this.
What we know...
Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, age 42, of Mooresville, NC; Lt. Colonel in the N.C.
Air National Guard & pilot
Master Sgt. Robert Cannon, of Charlotte, NC
two more, names as yet unknown...
Josh Marlowe, age 28, of Shelby, NC, condition upgraded from critical to
one other, name as yet unknown.
Also, I don't know if it's on wlf.com yet, but there were two incidents that
occurred within the White Draw Fire Incident:
- The first was the MAFFS crash, the investigation of which is
under the lead of DOD.
- The second is a possible investigation relating to the Lead
Plane's experience at the same time. The lead did not crash entirely, but this
statement was sent to me or Ab or... or I found it somewhere...
"A BLM ASM platform was also engaged as a lead with the C130 when
the accident occurred. The ASM (Aerial Supervision Module)/Lead
experienced a severe downdraft while approaching the intended
retardant drop zone with the C130 in trail. This is being
investigated by the USFS as a separate Incident With Potential."
There is also a meeting at NIFC this afternoon, from 1330-1530
Mountain time. Those of you who can make it, please let us know what
NIFC will be hosting two dignitaries on the campus tomorrow, July 3,
from 1330-1530. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be here for a short
briefing to gain perspective on the current and expected wildland fire
situation. NIFC Security will be putting up a couple of barriers on the
main floor of the Jack Wilson Building from 1-3 pm Tuesday. These
barriers are not meant to impede official NIFC business, but to keep
news media visitors in the appropriate part of the building. The Secret
Service has asked that non-essential foot traffic in the Jack Wilson be
limited during the 1:00-3:30 pm time period.
Thanks to the WFF for making the arrangements to get immediate help to
the families of the fallen. If it wasn't for donations of this community to
the WFF we would never be able to touch the lives of the military in this
way. All of the fallen have children in their homes.
If anyone has a few bucks to kick in to help keep our community's safety
net going, please do so.
to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Click "Giving".
Hotlist Thread - MAFFS accident
||Call for Footage of The Waldo Canyon Fire
Incident: Waldo Canyon Fire Wildfire
Released: 2 hrs. ago
Do you have video clips or cellphone footage of the Waldo Canyon Fire
Incident? Commander, Rich Harvey, asks anyone with footage of the Waldo
Canyon Fire to contact the team. Our videographer is especially looking for
footage from June 26, when the fire grew rapidly. Call 719-328-4334. Or drop
a CD or DVD off with Security at the Incident Command Post entrance at
Holmes Middle School, 2455 Mesa Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Or e-mail a
link or clip to firstname.lastname@example.org .
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The crash of a North Carolina-based Air
National Guard cargo plane
that was fighting wildfires in South Dakota has left at least one crew
The family of Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville confirmed they were
notified early Monday that he had
died in the C-130 crash on Sunday. The 42-year-old married father of two was
a veteran of deployments
to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Rose Dunlap of the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte says six crew
members were aboard, but that
she could not yet provide any information about their condition... (more
at the link...)
Fair Use Disclaimer
Our condolences to his family, friends and co-workers. Ab.
||A MAFFS went down on the Rocky Mountain Area - SD-BKF-White Draw fire,
we believe the accident occurred just after 1830 hours Mountain time.
is unknown how many on board survived or died. Info will be forthcoming.
several were life-flighted.
Thanks to those who gave us the heads up. We held the "news" until
2200 hours Pacific time to make sure the military could inform families.
There were many media news releases early on. As always, we do not want
families whose firefighters are involved in accidents to read it first here.
Families of our injured and fallen deserve the respect of a human presence.
Our thoughts and prayers for good outcomes. Ab.
A lot of support for Firefighters in these two news releases.
Date: June 29, 2012
Contact: DOI Communications (202) 208-6416
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Federal Wildland Fire-Fighting Agencies Further Strengthen
Preparedness, Prevention in Advance of July 4th Holiday
WASHINGTON, DC – To further address the severity of current wildland
fire activity across the western states, Secretary of the Interior Ken
Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have directed federal
land managers to take additional measures to help reduce the risks of
new wildfires, ensure the highest possible level of coordination among
federal land management agencies, and continue to prioritize safety for
firefighters and communities.
“As we continue our aggressive response to wildfires across the West, we
must continue to do all we can to support our firefighters, first
responders, and their families,” said Salazar. “Protecting human life
and ensuring public safety is and will remain our top priority, and
these measures will help us minimize the risks of new wildfires on
America’s public lands. As we move into the 4th of July holiday under
difficult wildfire conditions, let’s use this opportunity to thank the
men and women fighting to keep our citizens safe, and remember to take
easy steps to prevent and prepare for wildfires by visiting
Building on existing federal and state policies designed to decrease the
likelihood of accidental fires, the joint memorandum directs federal
land managers to prohibit the personal use of fireworks on lands managed
by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture in
Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming until July 8, 2012. These local
managers will also enforce additional fire restrictions or public land
closures as appropriate for the 4th of July holiday and heighten law
enforcement and fire prevention patrols in critical areas to ensure that
all applicable restrictions are enforced. Many states, such as Colorado
and Wyoming, have also put in place new restrictions on the use of fires
and fireworks during this time.
"As our country celebrates its independence, the aggressive wildland
fire fight continues," Vilsack said. "I want to thank the thousands of
brave men and women on the front lines who are battling these fires
under extremely difficult conditions, and protecting homes, communities,
and cultural and economic resources. We ask our citizens to be extra
cautious while following open flame guidelines and to review the fire
prevention guidance at www.nifc.gov."
Additional measures include prohibiting new prescribed fires in
geographic areas where Preparedness Level is at 4 or 5 – which currently
includes the Rocky Mountain Area, Eastern Great Basin Area, and
Southwest Area (GACCS)
– and requiring regional or state level approval to
initiate any new prescribed fire in all other geographic areas. Each
Preparedness Level has specific management directions. As the
Preparedness Levels rise, more federal and state employees become
available for fire mobilization if needed.
Agencies and bureaus are asked to review their procedures to ensure that
the safety of firefighters and the public continue to be the highest
priority at every level of the decision-making process during fire
suppression. These measures will remain in effect until the National
Multi-Agency Coordinating group determines a national Preparedness Level
3 or below. On June 27th, NMAC raised the preparedness level to 4, on a
scale of 1-5.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior,
in partnerships with states and local agencies, have developed a
cohesive strategy to respond to the increase in wildfires in recent
years by focusing on:
- Restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes. Through forest and
rangeland restoration activities such as mechanical thinning and
controlled burns, officials can make forests and rangelands healthier
and less susceptible to catastrophic fire.
- Creating fire-adapted communities. The Forest Service, the Department of
the Interior and their partners are working with communities to reduce
fire hazards around houses to make them more resistant to wildfire
- Responding to Wildfires. This element considers the full spectrum of
fire management activities and recognizes the differences in missions
among local, state, tribal and Federal agencies.
On average, the USDA Forest Service and the Department of the Interior
bureaus respond to about 16,500 wildfires per year that occur on land
under their jurisdiction and assist state and local agencies in
responding to a significant number of the approximately 60,000 wildfires
per year that occur on land under their jurisdiction. Federal
firefighters, aircraft, and ground equipment are strategically assigned
to parts of the country as the fire season shifts across the nation.
Firefighting experts will continuously monitor conditions and move these
assets as necessary to be best positioned and increase initial response
Federal land managers are also helping communities prepare for wildfire.
Federal partnerships with state, tribal and local agencies strengthen
preparedness programs Firewise and
Ready Set Go! that help families and
communities prepare for and survive wildfire. You can also visit FEMA's
learn more about steps you and your family can take now to be prepared
for an emergency.
The full text of the joint memorandum is below:
To: Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Director, Bureau of Land Management
Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Director, National Park Service
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation
From: Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Thomas J. Vilsack
As we continue our aggressive response to wildfires in the West, the
President has made clear that we must do all we can to protect human
life and ensure the safety of communities that are affected.
To fulfill this commitment, the Department of Agriculture’s Forest
Service, the Department of the Interior, and the Federal Emergency
Management Agency are deploying incident command teams, crews, engines,
helicopters, tankers, and other resources through the National
Interagency Fire Center to support local, state, and tribal partners in
our coordinated response to wildfires.
As we maintain an aggressive posture in our response to wildfires, it is
important to recognize the dangers that this year’s wildfire season
poses. Periods of critical fire weather have already produced extreme,
erratic fire behavior on several fires. Insect infestation, diseased
trees, dense vegetation, and dry conditions in the western United States
are expected to continue to exacerbate the weather conditions and create
challenges for our firefighters through the summer. Recognizing the
severity of current fire activity, resource commitments, and predicted
conditions, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating group (NMAC) at the
National Interagency Fire Center has raised our national Preparedness
Level from Preparedness Level 3 (PL3) to Preparedness Level 4 (PL4).
Given the challenges that this wildfire season poses, we believe that
additional measures are warranted to reduce the risks of new wildfires,
ensure the highest possible level of coordination among Federal land
management agencies, and enhance safety for firefighters and
communities. We therefore are implementing the following measures, which
will remain in effect until NMAC determines that we may assume national
PL3 or below:
Review procedures and take any additional appropriate measures to ensure
that the safety of firefighters and the public continue to be the
highest priority at every level of the decision-making process during
- Do not initiate new prescribed fires in geographic areas at PL 4 or PL
5. In all other geographic areas, to initiate a new prescribed fire the
implementing Agency or Bureau must receive approval by their respective
leadership at the Regional or State level.
In light of the current wildfire situation, we must further heighten our
vigilance around the Fourth of July holiday. The following measures will
remain in place until July 8, 2012:
- Local managers must ensure that personal use of fireworks will not be
allowed on public lands managed by the Department of the Interior and
the Department of Agriculture in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho,
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Any
exception to the prohibition on personal use of fireworks must receive
approval from the agency’s leadership at the state or bureau level.
Commercial, professional, and municipal fireworks displays may proceed
with approval of the local manager after consultation and coordination
with appropriate local authorities. On public lands managed by the
Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture in all
other states, any use of fireworks must comply with any applicable
policy of the land management unit, state, tribe, or local government.
- Local managers are to coordinate with other interagency partners to
determine whether any additional fire restrictions or closures are
appropriate for the Fourth of July holiday.
- Local managers are to heighten law enforcement and fire prevention
patrols in critical areas of concern to ensure that all applicable
restrictions are enforced.
No directive in this memorandum limits your authority to adopt and
enforce more restrictive measures if you find that they are warranted or
if they have been or may be established by state, local, or tribal
authorities where the public land unit is located.
Finally, as we confront this challenging wildfire season, it is
important that we do all we can to support our firefighters, first
responders, and their families. The thousands of men and women who are
responding to wildfires are working under difficult and dangerous
conditions to protect communities and resources for our Nation. We must
honor their service, continue to provide them the resources they need,
and guard their safety.
Did not mean to insinuate I was seconding guessing what you were advocating.
Trouble is, funding for any government agency, no matter how worthwhile the
project, lives or dies at the whim of congress and the administration, well
and also the agency. So the best laid plans of mice and men you know. I too
remember working on fuel breaks in the 70's and 80's and guess what, that
was the last time they were worked on. I think we all realize the folks
normally holding the brown end of the stick are the folks closest to the
"ground". Being very familiar with the Ruidoso area, I feel the private land
owners are not holding up their end of the bargain, "generally" speaking.
Without a doubt there are folks trying to do the right thing. That said, I
think you would agree, a ride around the residential areas of Ruidoso where
it abuts the Forest and the reservation, a person generally finds the
private land is in very poor shape to survive a WUI fire event. So is that
the land owners' responsibility or the federal government?
I think a person could start throwing rocks if the folks on the fire at the
time ordered resources and those resources were not delivered by the
dispatch system, or if management did not allow orders to be filled.
However, if their orders were filled, then to my way of thinking the problem
is not with the dispatch system. I mean, how are they supposed to supply
something that was never requested. After all, isn't the IC in charge of the
fire? Once the fire was up and rolling I doubt all the helicopters and air
tankers in the west would have been able to hold it whether they had been
ordered or not.
My point on the air resources is I saw one of these so called "resources"
and since I spent a career working with helicopters I know exactly how much
that ship particular ship could have hauled to the elevation of the fire.
I have a hard time with the after-the-fact critiques of folks like Rep
Pearce etc. You know, hindsight is always 20/20 and Monday morning
quarterbacks always make the right call. As an agency we need to perform a
good in-depth AAR and learn from this event, even if it turns into a brutal
exercise. Need to remember there were some things that were done correctly.
A final point, what would everyone be saying if those volunteer firemen had
the worst thing happen and a bunch of them did not make it. You think the
feds would be catching hell for letting/allowing/not stopping them from
being there? I guarantee you that would be the case.