August, 2012

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8/31 Does anybody have a copy of a 1 page story called, I believe, "Firing with the General"?

It was a good read written by, I think Greg Keller.

I would like to read it again if anybody happens to have a copy of it.

Curious and looking...

8/31 Here's an outstanding issue of Two More Chains from the Lassons Learned Center (LLC), re:  firing ops.


Two_More_Chains_Summer_2012 (pdf)

8/30 Washington trip:

While I know many of you are still on the lines, it is now very apparent that one of the topics that will be brought up in Washington next month is the decision made by the Deputy Chief of State & private Forestry James Hubbard to adopt a "full containment" policy on all wildfires.

I'd like some feedback from folks in the field as to their thoughts on this policy shift which, according to Hubbard is only for the remainder of this season. It is unfortunate that politics have come to play such a significant role in wildland firefighting.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

8/29 To all:

Below is additional information pertaining to the meeting scheduled for Sept. 20th in Washington which the FWFSA has been invited to attend. While I continue to put together my commentary, suffice it to say that our efforts will be to suggest to the Senators that the first order of business for Congress is to support efforts to create a more effective and efficient federal wildfire response through fundamental reforms to the "status quo." While that sounds relatively vague, I'm sure those of you who know me know how I usually attack that issue!

While there I plan on making a last ditch effort to secure legislative & administrative action on the classification issue. Coincidentally that week, despite my best efforts, the Chief of the Forest Service, his Deputy and Mr. Harbour are all out west while I'll be back east. That seems to be the usual case. I smell a conspiracy :) I will find someone to talk to, though.

Additionally, long gone are the days I was enamored and awe-struck by elected officials in DC and I have become more candid with each visit and I plan to be brutally honest to those I meet with throughout the week that the continued assault on the federal workforce must end and that to create a more effective & efficient federal government. Congress must start to listen to the federal workforce and solicit its ideas on how to become more effective & efficient and reduce and/or eliminate waste & fiscal mismanagement in any given federal agency.

To our incredible members, my sincerest thanks for the opportunity to direct your voices to those in a position to affect positive change.



Below is more specific information about the meeting.

Meeting Details

Date: September 20, 2012
Time: 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.
Location: S-207 of the United States Capitol Building
Guests: 10 to 15 leaders in the agriculture and fire safety communities

The meeting will be held in the Mansfield Room (S-207). We recommend using the entrance at Constitution and Delaware -- you will find a white temporary structure that serves as the entrance to the Senate side of the Capitol (http://g.co/maps/67pvh). Let them know you are there for an official meeting. After you go through security, you will be guided to the appointments desk, where you will get a badge and instructions to S-207.

You’ll want to allocate at least 20 – 30 minutes to get through security and find the room location. We recommend taking a cab or the metro to the meeting, as the Capitol does not provide parking for guests. The closest parking lot is located at Union Station; other than that you will have to find a timed meter 4 – 5 blocks away.

Meeting Format

The meeting is designed to be a candid, round-table conversation to discuss this year’s extreme weather activity and the 2012 Farm Bill, which among many provisions contain wildfire and drought assistance. We are bringing together key stakeholders in the agriculture and fire safety communities to talk about the challenges they face under these conditions, gain perspective on how the economy in rural communities is being affected, and ways Congress can assist.

Senator Begich, Chairman of the Steering and Outreach Committee, will make opening comments. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, will Co-Chair the meeting and will also provide remarks. Other Senators are expected to attend and will make statements as they arrive. Senator Begich will quickly open it up for free-flow discussion. You should feel free to participate in the conversation and add anecdotal stories of your experiences -- often these are the most meaningful takeaways for the Senators.

Your Remarks

Guests should prepare toplines (not formal written testimony) on what the Senate can do to help rural communities impacted by severe weather conditions and thoughts on the 2012 Farm Bill. A few questions to start off are:
  1. What does government do right when it comes to supporting the rural community? Where does it present challenges?
  2. How can we support your efforts?

Notes will be taken at the meeting and distributed to all the Senators. Guests are welcome to bring handouts, but we will distribute them after them meeting.

8/28 Touching story about a baby Bobcat "Chips" rescue...

By: Laurie L. Pearson
Chips Fire Information Officer - Trainee
August 26, 2012
LAKE ALMANOR -Baby Bobcat "Chips" Rescued From Chips Fire

Complete story here...

CA-PNF-Chips HOTLIST thread

8/28 KRS Evans Adaptive Car Fundraiser:

For those of you who don’t know, Union IHC is putting on a fundraiser for Krs Evans. Krs needs a new vehicle and OWCP will only replace his old van with a used van. This type of vehicle does not suit his needs. The van costs way too much to drive and limits his ability to be independent. He needs a smaller, appropriate, fuel-efficient and adapted vehicle.

So it is time we all step up and help a fellow Firefighter.

If you choose to give, also spread the word. For those that have given already, thanks.

Jody Prummer

KRS Evans Fundraiser Flyer

If any wealthy, generous donors are reading, you could give the ENTIRE Wildland Fire fighting community a real BOOST with a sizable donation toward a vehicle for KRS. Thanks in advance!

Firefighters, please dig deep. This donation is not tax deductible, but it will make your heart sing... and it's the right thing to do!
KRS could be any one of us, struck by a falling snag and surviving, but barely. Ab.

8/28 Hotlist thread on the CA-NOD-Rush fire :: Largest fire in California History???

HOTLIST: Rush is the new largest fire-in-CA-history


8/28 Hanta virus deaths

Are there precautions being taken for Govt employees and what if a fire were to start there in Yosemite National Park?
I, for one, am not sure that I would accept the assignment until they figure it ALL out and mitigate the risk.


2nd Yosemite visitor dies of rodent-borne illness

AP - YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after visiting Yosemite National Park earlier this summer and park officials are warned past visitors Monday to be aware of some flu-like aches and symptoms. Health officials learned this weekend of the second hantavirus death, which killed a person who visited the park in June, spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement. There was one other confirmed case of the illness, and a fourth is being investigated.

Yosemite officials said the four visitors might have been exposed while vacationing at the park's Curry Village, and are warning those who stayed in the village's tent cabins from mid-June through the end of August to beware of any symptoms of hantavirus, which can include fever, aches, dizziness and chills. An outreach effort is under way to contact visitors from that period who stayed in "Signature Tent Cabins," which have more insulation and amenities than other tent cabins.

Federal health officials say symptoms may develop up to 5 weeks after exposure to urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents, and Yosemite advised visitors to watch for symptoms for up to six weeks.

Of the 587 documented U.S. cases since the virus was identified in 1993, about one-third proved fatal. There is no specific treatment for the virus.

After-hours calls to Yosemite officials seeking further details were not immediately returned Monday night. Following the first death, which was reported earlier this month, state health officials advised anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention and let doctors know if they were camping in Yosemite. Officials said thousands of people visit the park every month, so it would be impossible to track everyone who had set foot in Curry Village.

Curry Village is the most popular and economical lodging area in the park, a picturesque assemblage of rustic cabins at the base of the 3,000-foot promontory Glacier Point.

Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle that of the 408 tent cabins in the village, 91 are of the "signature" variety where the four cases had stayed, which feature more insulation and amenities than the others. It was not clear how many people stayed in the cabins in the period in which park officials are warning visitors. Gediman said contractors are working on the signature cabins to protect park-goers. "They're doing everything they can to eliminate areas where mice can get into the cabins," Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This was never because the cabins were dirty, it was never because we didn't take care of them. This is just because approximately 20 percent of all deer mice are infected with hantavirus. And they're here in Yosemite Valley." This year's deaths mark the first such deaths in park visitors, although two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.

fair use disclaimer

8/27 Boise District BLM

72 hour report - Burn Injury on MM71 184 Fire (87 K pdf)

8/26 Book Review: The Tinder Box

I and others assisted Chris Burchfield with documentation and interviews for his new book "The Tinder Box" which has been out a few months. This book is excellent. It covers all aspects of the Consent Decree and how the Forest Service used and abused its own employees in implementing it. It is a perfect in depth summary and a TRUE and factual history of the Consent Decree! A  The names of some of the reviewers on amazon should be familiar to a lot of you!

Bob Grate

Posted it on the Fire Books Review page. Ab.

8/24 Boise District BLM

24 hour report - Burn Injury on MM71 184 Fire (72 K pdf)

24 Hour Report / Burn Injury on MM71 I84 Fire
To: Meagan Conry, Boise District Manager (acting)
Steve Ellis, Idaho State Director

Subject: 24 Hour Report- MM71 I84 Fire, Minor Burn Injury
The Following information is preliminary and is subject to change

LOCATION: MM71 I84 Fire, Southeast of Boise
DATE OF OCCURRENCE: August 23, 2012
TIME OF OCCURRENCE: Approximately 1500 Hours
ACTIVITY: Wildland Fire Suppression

On August 23rd at approximately 1500 hours a Boise District BLM employee received Quarter size 2nd degree burns to his wrist and elbow. The firefighter was performing mobile attack with a hardline hose when the injury occurred. The fire fighter was transported by incident personnel to St Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise Idaho, where he was treated and released. A Wildland Fire Accident Investigation Team has been assembled and will be in briefed at 1500 on August 24th.

/s/ Andy Delmas, Fire Management Officer, Boise District

BLM-Idaho Safety Manager
National Office Fire and Aviation Safety Manager
Idaho State Fire Management Officer

8/22 FWFSA invited to appear before the Senate Steering & Outreach Committee

I am pleased to report that even with little time left in this congressional session, opportunities are arising to put forth, front and center, the issues facing our Nation's federal wildland firefighters.

I have been invited to participate in a meeting with Senators of the Senate Steering & Outreach Committee Sept. 20th in Washington DC to discuss the impact of the current wildfire season and to have an opportunity to convey to members of the Senate how the current management of the federal land management agency fire programs continue to encumber our firefighters with archaic pay & personnel policies which directly and indirectly drive the costs of wildfire suppression needlessly higher.

It will be my intent to not only articulate the issues facing our firefighters and our concerns over the fiscal management of the fire programs but to offer real solutions which we believe will lead to improved recruitment & retention; a more effective and efficient federal wildfire response and thus save taxpayers significant sums each season.

As I've often said, education is the key. Opportunities to educate Congress, especially those in the Senate, are few and far between. If any FWFSA members, active or retired want to offer some ideas of issues to discuss that may not necessarily be on top of my brain, please feel free to contact me at 208-775-4577 or by email at cjudd@fwfsa.org.

This invitation validates our hard work in developing and maintaining our credibility on Capitol Hill. It is my sincerest hope it will lead to changes that will provide our firefighters with the incentive to remain in the federal system and provide to them a more rewarding and prosperous career.

It remains an incredible an honor to serve the federal wildland firefighting community.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Great news! Ab.


Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Hiring:

To the best of my knowledge, R5, who hires the overwhelming majority of Apprentices, hasn't hired an Apprentice using a student program for a few years now.  Might be a few here or there; however the regional sponsored apprentice hire uses the 0462 series.


Date: August 21, 2012
Subject: Pathways and the Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Program
To: Wildland Firefighter Apprentice

I want to personally inform you that an issue has been raised about the accreditation of the Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Program during the implementation of the new Pathways Program.  Resolving the issue is a top priority for Forest Service Leadership and we are confident that we will be able to resolve it.

At this time, no action is needed on your part. Enclosed is a Question and Answer document to provide additional information. If you have any questions, please contact your regional fire apprentice coordinator.

As information becomes available, updates will be provided to you on leadership’s progress towards resolution. Please keep up the great work and know that your dedication to the Firefighter Apprentice Program is recognized and valued.

/s/ J Lenise Lago Deputy Chief for Business Operations

cc:  Apprentice Coordinators
August 2012

Pathways and the Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Program

Questions and Answers

1. What is Pathways?

The new Pathways Programs consist of three student programs that include: 1) an Internship Program for current students; 2) the Recent Graduates Program for people who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs (2 years from the date the graduate completed an academic course of study); and 3) the reinvigorated Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for people who obtained an advanced degree (e.g., graduate or professional degree) within the preceding two years. These programs collectively are the Pathways Programs.  The Internship Program effectively replaces the Student Career Enrichment Program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).  The Pathways Programs should be fully implemented by January 5, 2013.

2. What is the accreditation requirement under the Pathways Program?

At the time the education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (from Office of Personnel Management’s Qualification Standards for General Schedule Position, Policies and Instructions).

3. What is the issue with accreditation as it relates to the Firefighter Apprenticeship Program, and how was it identified?

In line with requirements for the implementation of new guidelines regarding the Pathways Programs, every agency is reviewing its student programs to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and regulations. It was during this review that questions were asked about the Department of Education accreditation requirement for the Fire Apprentice Program. While the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program is accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) it is not accredited by the Department of Education and therefore, not considered a qualifying education institution/program per established Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations for Pathway student hire programs.

4. Why is this only now an issue? The Firefighter Apprenticeship Program has been a successful program for some time.

The Forest Service knew that the Firefighter Apprenticeship Program was accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor and believed that the DOL accreditation was sufficient to meet compliance with OPM regulations.

5. What is Forest Service doing to resolve this?

We are in the process of reviewing all employees who are currently in student programs as STEP and SCEP to determine they meet all the requirements of the new Pathways Program. This review includes employees in SCEP appointments as Wildland Firefighter Apprentices.

6. What are the next steps?

We will be working with your Regional Fire Apprentice Coordinator to complete a detailed review of your employee records to determine if there is a possibility of your eligibility for a different hiring authority, such as VRA, Peace Corps, Schedule A, or Student Program (if we can verify and document actual enrollment in a degree or certificate program through an accredited college). We are also researching to see if some of our apprentices may have been previously eligible for selection for a competitive appointment. This research is necessary to ensure employees can be placed in legal appointments as soon as possible.

7. What will happen once the reviews are complete?

Once determinations have been made, employees who meet another hiring authority will have their appointment corrected to a legal appointment. Employees who are still deemed ineligible for another hiring authority will be considered in a “Variance” request that would be presented to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) through USDA for approval to allow them to complete the program. This step cannot happen until we exhaust all other efforts to place Fire Apprentices in a legal hiring authority.

8. What is a variance and what is the process to request one?

A variation (or variance) is an exception from the strict letter of the regulations that OPM is permitted to make when precise compliance with those regulation would impose practical difficulties and unnecessary hardship and when no other remedy exists within the regulation. The package is prepared by Forest Service and routed through USDA who in turn must request the variance from OPM.

9. While this is being resolved, what happens to career or career conditional conversions or promotions that become due?

Personnel actions for our Firefighter Apprentices that were hired using the student employment hiring authority (Schedule B), including promotions or conversions to career or career conditional appointments, are currently on hold. If we are able to find an appropriate hiring authority, we would then be able to process conversions, promotions, and other actions.  Promotion actions will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine whether they can be processed retroactively.  When we request the variance to staffing regulations from OPM we plan to request authorization to make conversion actions retroactive to the date they would have been effective absent this issue.

8/21 Message from KRS our adventuring injured Hotshot:

Ok Guys, I need some help.

December 12 2012 my friends are getting married in Thailand.
I want to go, but haven't the coin for an airplane ticket let alone
any incidentals while there so I've come up with an idea to get myself
there & back.
What is it? Film the trip and hand it to the Travel Channel or
Discovery or one of the reality channels.
They flow $$ for the trip and get to document my trials & tribulations
along the way.
Sounds like a plan, right? Well, thing is those places do not accept
unsolicited ideas. So how do you get your foot... Or in my case, wheel
in the door? Apparently you have to "align with a production company
or agent in order to submit to us."
Now I can just google "video production company" or "agent" and take a
bunch of shots in the dark, which I'm going to do but I thought
someone I know might know someone who might know someone... You know
how those sort of things work.
So. Here's the gist:
Guy in a wheelchair who has flown 40+ times domestically flies
literally to the other side of the world and drops himself into
Thailand for a week.
There are obstacles to overcome at every turn even here in the 'states
where we have had the Americans with Disabilities Act since 1990.
Imagine another country- Are there ramps? Can I get into the bathroom?
In the taxi? On the bus? Do they have 'accessible' rooms at the hotel?
I understand most travel over there is by "Water Taxi". How the heck
does a guy in a chair get himself into (and out of) one of those? I
have no idea, but you all know my ability to Adapt & Overcome... I'll
figure it out.
How to overcome the foreseen challenges, and deal with the unforeseen
ones? Might make for some good TV, don't you think?

Now Gimps what to travel just as badly as anyone else, so I figure
I'll make myself the proverbial guinea-pig. Maybe I can cause a few
folk to overcome that fear of travel and go see Grand-Ma or something.
Plus imagine all the AB's (what we call you Able Bodied folk) who will
be curious.. Should get some pretty high ratings as well.

So. "All" I have to do is get it in front of the "right" person, who
one of you might know.
I'm busy writing up "The Pitch" so if you think you might know that
Right Person and could pass me a name I'd appreciate it.

Thanks Much-

8/21 PIOs Rocky Mtn Type 1 Team

Back on 8/6 Brenda Bowen posted to "They Said" about starting a Facebook page to consolidate all the thank you notes, photos, etc. to firefighters that were received on incidents that her IMT had managed. I read the post with a passing interest..... and, then, amazingly, the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Team that Brenda is a member of was assigned to manage the Springs Fire which was threatening Garden Valley, Idaho -- which is my home.

All of a sudden, I was on the other side of the incident -- I was a community member instead of a team member -- not something I was familiar with. I have to tell you -- Brenda's idea was absolutely embraced and wonderful for this community. People wanted to thank the firefighters -- and now there was a place to send their gratitude.

I was amazed at how this one idea took hold! The team then took the letters, notes, thoughts.....coupled them with Kari Greer's photography work and sent a thank you back out to the people of Boise County and Garden Valley via youtube. Remember what we always preach to teams and fire personnel about leaving a community with good, positive impressions? Well...this is over the top great interaction -- way to interface with a community Rocky Mtn team! Here's the link to the video: www.youtube.com

Cache Queen

Nice. Ab.

8/21 Sierra Hotshot 35 year reunion...

This is the year that the Sierra Hotshots celebrate 35 years of being an established crew. We would like to put on a reunion for past crew members to present.. 1978- Now.

If you have a contact or contact information please share it with me. Our archives are pretty slim. Please contact me ASAP so we can plan accordingly.

Spread the word,

Brian "Reggie" Grossman
Sierra 15D


8/20 Re: Report: Hot Shot crew refused to work forest fire day before firefighter was killed

Incident Response Pocket Guide

Gold pages 17 & 18. Third and fourth bullet items on page 18.

8/20 from SB

Report: Hot Shot crew refused to work forest fire day before firefighter was killed

GRANGEVILLE — A U.S. Forest Service specialized fire crew refused to work on the Steep Corner Fire managed by the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association the day before a 20-year-old firefighter was killed, according to a report posted online.

In a SAFENET Wildland Fire Safety and Health Reporting Network document, a superintendent of a Hot Shot crew of firefighters indicated there were a number of safety hazards on the Steep Corner fire on which Anne Veseth was killed Aug. 12.The report says the superintendent of the Forest Service crew "said to send no one down the burned line through the middle of the fire the (incident commander) has directed to go down, due to snags and previously cut log decks. Line was still hot. As supt was hiking, he observed multiple cedar snags burning from half way up down to the base."

The report went on to indicate the Forest Service crew refused to work on the fire because of the way it was being managed by the CPTPA and the danger of snags and other issues.

The next day Veseth was killed when one tree fell and crashed into another tree, causing it to fall in a domino effect.

Fair Use Disclaimer


HOTLIST thread: ID-NPF-Steep-Corner Firefighter Fatality

8/20 From Old LPF:

Rare flying tanker hit by vandals; fires rage, damage to plane's stabilizer puts aircrews at risk

Rare flying tanker hit

Coulson Flying Tankers is offering a $5,000 reward for information after one its rare Martin Mars water bombers was vandalized on the weekend. Company chief Wayne Coulson said Tuesday the damage could have had "catastrophic" results. The bomber, the Hawaii Mars, was moored at Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, Canada. It flies with a crew of two pilots and two flight engineers. "Absolutely, they were at risk," Coulson said.

The vandalism, being investigated by Port Alberni RCMP, happened Saturday evening when some people boated up to where the Mars was docked and clambered aboard, apparently to jump off the plane's wings. (More at the link...)

8/20 Sad news, a firefighter became ill after fighting the CA-RRU-Buck Fire. (This is not related to the Airtanker drop.)

Inmate Dies After Fighting Buck Fire
The inmate, 44-year-old Jimmy Randolph, had been on firefighting duties.


A Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp inmate died at Desert Regional Hospital Sunday, and his death is under investigation by Cal Fire and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The inmate, 44-year-old Jimmy Randolph, had been on firefighting duties.

"Prior to becoming ill on Saturday morning ..., Randolph had been assigned to the Buck fire in Hemet," according to a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statement. He died with his family at his bedside.

More at the link above...


8/16 Forest Service to Resume Night Flying

PRESS RELEASE Inkom, Idaho 8-16-12

The FWFSA responded to numerous press inquiries since yesterday in response to the decision by the Forest Service to resume night flying as a result of pressure from elected officials in California.

FWFSA President Casey Judd reiterated to the media the absolute primary consideration for such policy changes is firefighter safety.

While the FWFSA must rely on these same elected officials in Washington to reform the many archaic pay & personnel policies that have adversely impacted our Nation's federal wildland firefighters for decades, Judd stated that " Fire Policy should not be dictated by politicians nor should it continue to be developed and implemented by Agency Line Officers who collectively have little to no wildland firefighting experience or expertise or said experience or expertise in the management of what is obviously the largest fire department in the world."

"Often times, recommendations for such policy changes from politicians is based on pressure from their constituency who also have little understanding of the dynamics of 21st century wildfires" said Judd. "The safety and well-being of our firefighters in the air and on the ground must be the primary consideration. Sadly, more often than not those risking their lives are the last to be consulted with, if at all" said Judd.

For more information on the FWFSA please feel free to email Casey at cjudd@fwfsa.org.
8/16 72 hour report on the NV-WID-Holloway Entrapment and Shelter Deployment

72-hr-nv-wid Holloway Entrapment Shelter Deployment

8/15 For anyone out there

I am a former BLM employee. I held a career in fire for nine years before being terminated due to false accusations against me by a former manager. For the last six years I have fought to clear my name so that one day I could return to the career I love. I have used my rights under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documentation from my former employer and other federal agencies which could be used as evidence to clear my name. After a long hard battle I now have in my possession files and documents which not only clear my name but also proves BLM employees altered, forged documents and knowingly provided false statements which were used to terminate my career.

I am now in the process of finding a law firm who specializes in federal employment law. I would appreciate any help to find a law firm/lawyer in the Pocatello, Idaho area but since this is a special case any law firm who specializes in federal employment law would help.

thank you

8/15 Anne Veseth's passing:

As most of you know, Anne Veseth, age 20, was struck and killed by a falling tree on Sunday Aug 12 while building line around the 43-acre Steep Corner Fire near Orofino, ID (north-central ID). Anne was a North Fork Ranger district employee, and at the time of the accident, she was assigned to Engine 31 and working with a mix of folks and employees from Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protection Association. Anne was in her second summer of wildland firefighting. In the winter, she was a student at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID. Her older brother is also a wildland firefighter. In addition, she has older sisters.

Two investigations, a Serious Accident Investigation (SAI) and an OSHA investigation, are underway. Such investigations are standard to determine what happened and whatever we can learn to make wildland firefighting safer.

Anne's memorial service
will take place this Saturday (8/18) 11 AM
in her hometown of Moscow, Idaho.

The service location was moved from the local Catholic church to the larger Church of the Nazarene to accommodate the large number of family and friends who attend. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and co-workers.


Always Remember: Anne Veseth

8/15 Hi Fire Professionals!

Understanding that August is generally a busy time of the year for fire, I would not be asking for your time if I did not think that the results from this study could make a real difference for the trainings and safety of fire personnel. As the NWCG Leadership Sub-committee is very interested in its results, as well as others.

Who am I: My name is Alexis Lewis, and I am a PhD candidate at Oregon State University in Exercise and Sport Psychology and have been a wildland firefighter for nine seasons. Based on some of my own, and others near misses/accidents and leadership experiences in fire I have developed a drive to build and enhance fire trainings and tools based on what firefighters have expressed is important. I have been conducting research on wildland firefighting leadership and decision-making performance since 2006; the current research is the result of the previous six years’ work, including previous work this summer and research with wildland firefighters to improve work engagement and safety.

What: I am looking for 60 "Crews" (engines, hotshots, type 2s, modules, fuels, helitack) to participate. The survey for crewmembers takes 5 minutes to fill-out and the supervisors, 10-15 minutes.

How: If willing please email me at: lewisale@onid.orst.edu, or if you would like more information on the study you can go here http://wildfireleadership.net/

Thanks so much for your consideration!

Alexis Lewis
Graduate Research Assistant
Exercise & Sport Science
Oregon State University
(541) 215-3454
8/15 Arsonist Guilty of Murder in 2003 Old Fire Deaths

Tom J

8/15 Re: database for redcards.

The only way I cna think of is if you used a program like IQS or IQCS to record all your training and qual info, then you copuld print out a master record to use as a "temporary' redcard. Those programs are great to track training, quals ,and development anyway, and after you add ther person in once, can be updated easily. All the fed fire Agencies use IQCS. Other Agencies use IQS. I bet there are more programs like this as well that might work....

8/14 Good afternoon,

We have a bunch of crews that have taken and passed the wildland firefighter training and with the wildfires this year they may need to be deployed. Our red cards have not been sent out yet and I was wondering if there is a database that we can use to get confirmation until the cards are physically sent to us. Is there such a thing?

Thank you.

Stephanie Jackson
WA Conservation Corps
WA Dept. of Ecology
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504

Readers, does anyone know? Ab.

8/13 Community,

We have lost another promising young firefighter to a falling snag and our hearts go out to Anne's family, friends and co-workers. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

I've been in touch with Burk Minor at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation; they're helping make arrangements and smooth the way as much as is possible.

I suggest that if you haven't stopped by the WFF BOOT recently, you should. Our "safety net" could use some bolstering so Burk and Vicki and crew can keep helping our families in the middle of these sad and stressful times.


8/13 Sad news:

All FS Employees
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the loss of one of our Fire Fighters yesterday on the Steep Corner Fire near Orofino ID. The victim, Anne Veseth, a seasonal employee of the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest was apparently killed by a falling tree. Anne was 20 years old and in her second season as a firefighter. I know her family and friends are devastated by this tragic news, as are her colleagues on the forest and in the fire fighting community. A Serious Accident Investigation Team is on its way to try to learn everything we can from circumstances surrounding this horrific event. Please join me in keeping the family, friends, and colleagues of Anne Veseth in your hearts.

Lenise Lago, US Forest Service
Deputy Chief, Business Operations

Thank you for sharing the sad news. She, her family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers. Ab.

8/13 Remembering Ernie Johnson

Has it really been 7 years since we lost Ernie Johnson? It doesn't seem possible that time marches on, fire season after fire season. He would have loved the challenges we are facing today. He would have been the first to embrace new technology and see new ways of doing business. For we lost a true leader when Ernie passed away. There are many who still mourn his loss among his family, friends and colleagues. We do not forget the ones who went before us. We remember them for their contributions. There are still Ernie moments out there. You can see the twinkle of his eyes in his grandsons. You can remember the stories of his contributions to the agency through his inventions and leadership. But with his loss, we have all learned to treasure every day moments a little more. Take time today to hug a friend, check in with those you love and make a difference in someone's life. Tell a story that puts a twinkle in your eye, Think of a new way of doing business. Put the firefighter first as you make a decision. Call your family and tell them how much you love them. And remember that each of you make a difference. Thank you Ernie for all you did..... you made a difference in so many lives and you are missed.

Julie J. Stewart - Ernie's friend

Always Remember Ernie Johnson

8/12 Major fires with extreme fire behavior being reported on the hotlist...
8/12 I teach a lot of S-130/ S-190's, and the way I explain it in these basic classes is:

Contained- This is about the fire's immediate growth. Do you have a "line" around it, and a reasonable chance that this line will hold?
So this measurement isn't worried about tomorrow, or two days out, just for now, has it stopped getting bigger?

In between these two labels is the rehab or mop-up you will perform to secure the fire permanently.

Controlled- Now think about tomorrow and time forward. If the wind changes, things dry out, whatever... Can you leave this fire and be sure that it will not get out?
If you can walk away, take no further action, and KNOW that the fire will not escape, then it is controlled.

I know these aren't technical measurements of how far in to mop up, etc. but sometimes these things are best conveyed by broad concepts.

For example, I had a fire in a 50 acre block of pine trees that I responded to burning in the middle of a 2000 acre orange grove. Once I arrived on scene and observed the condition of the grove, I was able to call the fire both contained, and controlled, even though it was ripping through the tops of pine trees very impressively. Flame lengths were upwards of 100 ft.

But the pine stand was surrounded by a 60 foot swath of sugar-sand at its most narrow point, therefore the fire was contained. And even if it spotted into the grove, the irrigation was on, and there was simply no way this young green well mowed and soaking wet grove would carry the fire.

And considering the shear size of the grove around this block, there simply was no threat of escape.

In essence the considering the grove and sugar-sand as a barrier there was about a 1 mile buffer to the nearest burnable "rough", and this was upwind.

So without any action on my part the fire was contained and controlled.

Just my way of thinking, but these concepts are too involved for set measurements. It requires the judgment to consider the time of year, the fuels, spotting potential, chance of reburn, etc.
Only by considering all of these factors can you decide how or when to make the call of contained/ controlled.

Flash in Florida

Did you take into account the possibility of burning sands (tongue firmly in cheek!) Ab.

8/11 CA-CCD-Jawbone Canyon Fire

These two photos are of one of the CA-CCD-Jawbone Canyon Fires in KRN.  Taken coming in from the west of the fires, from Sand Canyon on 8/11/12.

Photos compliments of Rick. (0812)

Hotlist thread

Thanks, I added them to the Fire 47 photo page. Ab.

8/11 South Dakota - Safety Stand-down held in honor of Firefighter Trampus Haskvitz and State Engine 561

Today -- One Year Anniversary.

Details and photo on the hotlist.


CA-MVU-Chihuahua Fire:

Reporter here.

There's a story that ran on the East County Magazine, the photo is from 1/4 up Chihuahua Road last night... feel free to use it.

Lord knows you guys are one of our many resources.

And I need to get more water to put in the truck, since we distributed water.


Tom and Nadin Abbott

Pleased to be of service! Thanks for distributing water and for reporting! I added the photo to the Engines 29 photo page. Ab.

8/9 Fire Helicopter photo from Georgia:

Buena Vista GA: Fire helicopter from Buena Vista GA. Submitted by Ellis Leeder, Buena Vista, GA.

Thanks, I put it on Helicopters 30 photo page. Ab.

8/9 Ab,

Here's a Brief History of the California Department of Forestry from 1957 (916 K pdf), if you'd please share it.


Interesting read. Thanks, Ab.

8/8 Controlled Continued,

Let me add to NPS Captain's reply. In order to control the fire, you need to mop the edge, however far in it takes for the fuel type. Also snags threatening containment lines need to be put out or felled. Rolling debris needs to be secured as well as interior pockets of fuel that could torch days later, especially if the weather changes. Basically you are saying there is NO chance of it escaping containment! Your reputation depends on being right.

Out, means you could cold trail the entire fire and not find heat.

William Riggles
8/8 “Contained” and ”Controlled”

the definitions currently applied to what the 209 is requesting irregardless of what each agency or department wishes to define them as.


Containment - fire line built around a fire. sometimes a moving target with regards to indirect fire line and firing operations. IC's use their own formula for solving that problem but basically build the line and give it 12 to 24 hours to hold and it is good contained line. Using fire scars, rivers, lakes and other natural features are bonus points. Worst thing you can do is put down on the 209 100% contained as soon as a DIVS calls it in and at the end of shift they call and say they just lost it all. Oooops.

Controlled - Each IC has their own comfort level based on fuel type, weather, topography, and resource availability. Build the line and hang on to it for some period of time till you can say with some comfort level "it wont move".

understand, some of the politics and economics with both of these terms. for the federal and some states, these terms mean very real and important milestones that will force questions to be asked if your hanging on to an inordinate about of resources after you call it 100% controlled. Your ability to be ranked in priority (i.e. get stuff) will hinge on these terms as well.

Wow, to think I still remember all this crap!


8/8 “Contained” and ”Controlled”

Matt from Carbondale CO

Generally a fire will be called contained when there is hand line all the way around the fire.

Controlled is a term used when there is no longer a threat of the fire flaring up and crossing the containment lines.
Controlled status can happen quickly on small incidents and can take weeks on larger incidents.

Hope this helps

Former NPS Cap’n

8/8 “Contained” and ”Controlled”

Do you mind tossing a question out for feedback?

There is slight debate here about the definitions of, and the difference between “Contained” and ”Controlled” stages… ie: when to declare a fire one or the other.

Matt from Carbondale CO

Hotlist thread

8/8 C-27J  = airtankers?


This is being phased out by the Air Force and Guard because Lockheed won the contract for additional aircraft in that category. Congressman Schiff (D) of California has proposed that the Forest Service pick up 27 to use as air tankers. It looks like they would fit the bill quite well. The possible problem I see is that they would try to use a variation of the MAFFS aerosol system instead of a real tank system. With Aero Union not operating they would have to put something together to do the mods. It could probably be about a 3000 gallon tanker. Its the C-27J if the link doesn't work.


8/7 There are new photos on the following photo pages. Most are current fires. Some were sent in last year. Ab.

Engines 28,
Engine from Reserve NM, Clearwter NF Engine 51 with storm a'brewin'. Thanks to Cecil R.
Engines 29
Engine 61 from The Nez Perce NF;
the Round Top Fire Crew
ID - Liz Butte Cabin Wrap, 2011. Thanks to Cecil R.
Fire 47
ID- The Liz Butte Fire and Wietas Column, 2011. Thanks to Cecil R.;
the CA- Chips column photos from earlier today;
also, there's a wonderful photo of Elk running from the Mill Fire on the CA- Mendocino NF. Thanks to Eric C.
Handcrews 29
has a nice photo of the Lakeview Vet Crew with the VLAT 911 in Phoenix AZ. Colorful. Thanks, Mike.
Logos 20
has the Old Lochsa FAM Emblem from Cecil R. Thanks;
the Texas Canyon Engine 31 logo from the ANF, thanks SF;
and the Slate Mountain WFM Logo from the Sequoias. Thanks SR.

Thanks everyone! Ab.

8/7 Fire by George R. Stewart

Pam -

You made me go out into the garage and dig thru the box of old books. Found Fire and also another one by Stewart called Storm. Both great books and worth the time to read. He was great in his day – guess I’ll read both again.



8/7 Chips Column

Photos of the column/blowup on the LPF Chips fire on 8/5/12. There's a photo from near Quincy, one from Jim in Chico and one by Cafban from a high vantage point. Chips is expected to be very active again this afternoon:

Fire Photos 47

Also check out the 2 small photos on the same page from the WA-BLM-Antoine 2. Ab.

8/7 Chips Column

Original Ab,

Here's a photo of the cumulus from the Chips Creek burn as seen from Chico today around noon 8-5-2012. My old team is there again on the same piece of ground we were on in 2000 for the Storie Fire. My, these fires are really repetitive. Seams like the same ground just burns over and over.


PS I'm hoping to be a neighbor by September!

Fire Photos 47

8/7 Chips Column


Pretty impressive fire behavior 8/5 on the Chips Incident. I realize that this was a human caused fire, but all these landscapes are going to burn at one time or another, and from my perspective, I would like to see it burn under our terms and conditions (Rx fire). Do nothing and Mother will do it her way. We must be more proactive in out burn programs and get the number of treated acres up or we will end up with more type conversion type fires like this one. They are just too damaging, dangerous and expensive.


Fire Photos 47

8/6 Fire by George R. Stewart

I have owned this book over 43 years - I know that because it sports my maiden name. I reread this book yearly even though the pages are yellowed and falling out. Truth is truth and reality is reality regardless of how old and basic the knowledge is. Before one fights fire, they need to read this book. Highly recommend it !

Pam Wilson
Mother Nature Always Bats Last

8/6 Hey Ab

I am one of the PIOs on the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team. As PIOs, we tend to get thank you letters that trickle in to us long after the firefighters have moved on to other assignments. After the Myrtle Fire in South Dakota, I received a very touching letter that was forwarded to me by a friend’s mom. I thought it was a shame that the firefighters she was writing about would never see that letter. Yesterday I decided to do something about that. The Rocky Mountain Type 1 PIOs now have a Facebook page just for the thank yous that we receive. Our hope is that firefighters assigned to our incidents will visit our page to see what has been posted. Unfortunately, I am not sure I will be able to go back and find all of the letters, but we have a start. Currently we have thank you notes posted from both the Myrtle (you really need to visit the site and read the letter) and Pine Ridge fires. I am still looking for those we received on High Park because I know they are out there!

I am hoping you can help us get the word out about our new page www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs

Thank you!

Brenda Bowen

Great idea!. Ab.

8/5 I've posted some new photos on

Fire 46,
Engines 28,
Fire 47, and
Airtankers 37 photo pages.

All are from current fires this season including the Colorado High Park Fire, the Oregon Long Draw, Wyoming Fontenelle, Oregon Crack in the Ground. Thanks to JH and  JS. I have some more I'm working on. Evidently some contributors watched the PNF Chips blow up and photographed it. Awesome! Ab.

8/4 Hi AB and All,

I wasn't sure if the attached new clinical treatment guidelines had been posted. If they have been I apologize for the redundancy.

Also word that the Dept. of Labor has recently confirmed that the Apprenticeship program will not be recognized as an accredited educational program by the Dept. of Education as a result of the new Pathways Reg? Perhaps someone out there knows a bit more than I do and can share as I try to get some additional information.


Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Clinical Treatment Guidelines for Wildland Fire Medical Units Memo

Clinical Treatment Guidelines for Wildland Fire Medical Units Attachment

Thanks, Casey. Ab.

8/4 Abs & All,

I ran into the Union Hotshots in Missoula a couple of weeks ago and their Sup Jody Prummer told me about about a fundraiser the Union Hotshots have organized. The fundraiser is to buy a car for Krstopher Evans, the Plumas Hotshot who was injured in 2001 when a falling tree struck him on the back of the head. Krstopher is paralyzed from the chest down and requires a specially modified vehicle to get around in. Unfortunately, the van that OWCP has provided for him is a gas guzzler that is too expensive for him to drive.

One of the inspirational things that Krstopher does these days is to give presentations to fire organizations to remind us that we are not invincible and that we all need help at times. I am told his presentations are very powerful and moving.

The Union Hotshots are trying to raise enough money to buy a vehicle for Krstopher that gets decent gas mileage. The vehicle will also have to be modified for Krstopher to drive, which will cost additional money. I encourage anyone who is looking for a good cause to donate to this fundraiser. The Union Hotshots can be contacted at:

Union Hotshots
3502 Highway 30
La Grande, OR 97850

The Union Hotshots have created a brochure that explains the fundraiser and how to donate. This is a great way to help one of our own.

Tim Lynch

Send us a brochure or a link for it. We're happy to post it here. KRS, we support you, man. Ab.

8/4 Heads up: Lightning in norcal and nevada

West Basin fire weather thread:

WGBCC twitter: https://twitter.com/wgbcc

ONCC Northern CA has links to Weather Forecast Offices and a red flag warning map: http://gacc.nifc.gov/oncc/predictive/intelligence/news_notes/index.php 

8/4 The Salt Creek Fire North of Redding California could be used as a text book for interagency cooperation. This was a fire in the Mutual Threat Zone, near Shasta Lake. The Forest Service, CalFire, Shasta County Fire, Redding City and several Local Fire Districts responded...lots of engines of all colors ! Two USFS Heavy air tankers, 4 CalFire S-2's and a mix of Fed and State helicopters made up the Air Attack.

It tickles and old fire dog like me to see the system work so well . These agencies meshed into one good firefighting unit that had no regard for protection boundaries.

The USFS NorCal Type 2 team performed equally well. This was a tough WUI fire with over 100 houses under threat in 105 degree temperatures. Not one dwelling was lost.

This 970 acre, very heavily fueled timber fire is already in mopup and demob. That's a superb effort .

Congratulations to all of the Agencies involved for making those cooperative agreements and keeping them in place. Congratulations to the Firegoers who make the agreements work.


I agree, Nice work! Hotlist on Salt Creek Fire. Ab.

8/4 From Midland, screensave "maps", posted on the hotlist

Fires burning SE of Oklahoma City, OK, between Norman and Slaughterhouse,  and the Luther Fire

Fire burning SE of Oklahoma City, OK, between Norman and Slaughterhouse OK; large smoke signature to the east.
The fire near the highway to the ENE between Oklahoma City and Tulsa is "Luther". Large smoke footprint to the east there as well.
Don't know the larger fire NE of there with the small smoke signature, no OK fires are named on the modis map, just appear as hotspots.

Screensave of Fires map from wunderground: www.wildlandfire.com/maps/2012/ok-fires-around-ok-city080412.jpg

Screensave of Modis on Google Earth: www.wildlandfire.com/maps/2012/ok-fires-norman-slaughterville080412.jpg

Ab note:

Hotlist thread is in Southern Region/ Oklahoma -Cleveland County Fires/ Questions and Answers because it's not clear what the unit identifier should be. They have a different system than the West, as I understand it... Ab.


To Chief John Hawkins re the Volcano Fire:

Thank you Chief for allowing the system to work the way it used to! We didn’t care who showed up on our wild fires. WE needed good strong qualified help and we got it. Color of trucks meant nothing. Quality of firefighters did become a true asset. Together we saved a lot. This operation proved to us old timers that the spirit is still there, as well as the talent.

Thank you for your leadership and resurrection of the fact that together we can be successful. The number of residents whose homes were saved is a true testimony to how good all of us “together" can do a magnificent job! Memories of our “Secret Fire Operation” with Oak Grove, Dripping Springs, Henshaw and Warner Springs still stands as a testimony to that fact. We just went and put it out. If there were differences it was up to the higher ups to work those out. The fire perimeter was stopped. Right now you examples reenergize us all!


8/3 Howzit Scott (Pohakuloa Fire)

Nice to see some "locals" on TheySaid. I'm heading your way next week as we own a home in Keaau and we're bringing Vicki Minor of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation with us for a much needed and deserved vacation.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Have a GREAT time in Hawaii! Ab.

8/3 Need memo:

I am getting old here, But I am looking for a memo that I think came out a couple of years ago. It was about team members going on fires and if it was a long drive you could have someone else go with you for the safety of the drive even if they were not ordered up for the fire.


Still have a great time out there

8/3 Aloha,

It’s been a while since I was on here last. I would like to ask if someone has the link on instructions on how to make the gasner pack. I did it before and of course has since lost the paper and link. Can’t remember if I had to log in or not. Could you please help.

Scott Nagai
Pohakuloa Fire and Emergency Services, HI

Hi Scott, you're here, simply by emailing Ab, but you should register for the Hotlist. Lots of info shared there...

First of all, it's the Gansner Hosepack for progressive hoselays. If I recall correctly from discussions over a beer with Original Ab (Steve), this configuration originated on the Plumas National Forest and was named after a local bar in Steve's old stompin' grounds. Happy birthday partner!

Does anyone know where the 7/4/2007 link to the pdf went when the new FS website was built? Is there a tinyurl? This one no longer works. http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/academy/Documents/Complete%20hosepack%20Guide.pdf

OK, I found this pdf I had saved in my files. This must be the one: www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/complete_hosepack_guide.pdf (2,168 K pdf)



8/3 Here's a fine message of thanks from Chief John Hawkins to his "troops" that's circulating behind the scenes. I contacted John to see if it would be OK to post it here and he said yes.

Job well done. Be safe out there! Ab.

From: Hawkins, John
Riverside Unit & Riverside County Fire/County OES Personnel,

From my HEART, Thank You so much for the great job you did yesterday at the Volcano Fire. I watched your work whether on the ground or from the air, I heard your heart felt stories about the fire fights you faced at the head of the fire and saw the emotion in your eyes, I saw the support from County OES and from our personnel behind the scenes who support the front line Firefighters and I heard the appreciative statements from victims and residents. Your work was amazing.

Attached are pictures of the fire taken from Air Tac 310 (BC Justin McGough). Picture IMG 0330a was taken 10-12 minutes after the arrival. Picture IMG 0336 was taken before the fire hit the structures in the lower left side of the picture. An orthophoto fire perimeter map is also attached. Volcano Fire map (258 K pdf)

We committed 35 Engine Companies, 11 Fire Crews, 4 Dozers, 6 Copters, 6 Air Tankers and 2 Air Tactical Planes to the Volcano Fire. The Team of Firefighters assembled, were organized, directed and responded to the challenge. Our personnel care and care a bunch. It is so evident! Few Organizations can implement and effectively handle such an emergency in such a compressed time frame.

We are lucky that we enjoy great Public Safety support from our Elected Officials. They built and have supported our integrated, cooperative, Regional Fire Protection System. Our system is strong because of the additive values of the State, County and City’s contributions. Our system is exactly what every major fire after action report recommends. We are lucky enough to enjoy the system. Yesterday, your work via the system paid dividends beyond belief.

Again, from my HEART, I respect and thank everyone of you so much. Words don’t really express how proud you make me. As always, take care, be safe, have fun and live the dream…

Unit & County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins
Riverside County Fire Department

Thanks for the photos, map and message, John, and for your leadership and service! Ab.

8/3 Here's an interesting bit of production trivia that has made a difference in the lives of many blind employees while helping firefighters and citizens. Ab.

Hotlist: http://wlfhotlist.com/threads/28993-All-Forest-Service-Fire-Hoses

8/2 Here's a message from FEDS (36 K pdf), regarding the Cost of a Federal Career. As most know, FEDS provides Professional Liability Insurance.

Firefighters could understand two things:

1. With the requirement of an OIG investigation into every fire fatality, burnover, or entrapment for FS personnel AND the possibility of criminal prosecution, the criminal benefits of PLI are critical to a firefighter’s livelihood and financial security.

2. Most federal firefighters are eligible for partial agency reimbursement for a premium as low as $135 annually.


8/1 AB,

Went up and looked at the CA-PNF-Chips fire this morning. Impressive pyrocumulus for a while. Walking
through some rough real estate. Will probably go big before it is said and done.

All the Best,


Thanks, Cafban. I featured it on our Home page and made it a Wallpaper. Ab.

8/1 Status of Nathan Fyock, making the rounds in CAL FIRE; thanks to 4711. Ab.

Subject: Nathan Fyock

Hello everyone,

I am pleased to report on Nathan’s condition today. Nathan has been recovering well this week and is in good spirits. A very specialized Doctor at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA has accepted him as a patient. The details on the transfer are still being worked out but they are saying it will happen today. Nate and his family are very excited about the transfer. There are still no guarantees about the final outcome but things have been looking increasingly optimistic. Nate and Michelle are thankful for the continued support and well wishes. I will update again when I receive more information.

Paul G. Speer
Assistant Chief
Assistant County Fire Warden
Tuolumne County Fire Department

8/1 The CA-PNF-Chips fire has "exploded". You can see it on the animated satellite and we're hearing there's pyrocumulus buildup from a member of the public in Grass Valley.

And here's 6+ min of streaming video of the CA-RRU-Volcano (Murrieta area) :
Hotlist thread



8/1 ATGS plane - Aero Commander 500-S -- Forced landing due to out of gas...

NTSB Identification: WPR12TA323
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Monday, July 23, 2012 in Elko, NV
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 500 S, registration: N535SA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 23, 2012, about 1745 Pacific daylight time, an Aero Commander 500-S, N535SA, was substantially damaged during an off-airport forced landing near Elko, Nevada, due to the complete loss of power in both engines. Neither the pilot nor the observer was injured. The public-use flight was operated by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as an air-attack coordinator for aerial forest firefighting activity. The airplane was owned and piloted by Spur Aviation of Twin Falls, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the observer, who was a BLM employee, the flight departed Elko International Airport (EKO) about 1315, and flew to the vicinity of the fire, located about 15 minutes east of EKO. Interagency Dispatch Center records indicated that at 1319, the pilot radioed that they were airborne, with 4 hours 30 minutes of fuel on board. The airplane loitered in the vicinity of the fire and the observer coordinated the air attacks. About 1730, the pilot notified the observer that they had to depart the fire locale for a return to EKO, and shortly thereafter, the airplane turned on course for EKO. While en route to EKO, at a point which the observer estimated was 4 to 5 minutes away from EKO, the engines started "surging," and the pilot then decided that due to distance and terrain considerations, he would land on a road instead of attempting to return to EKO. Interagency Dispatch Center records indicated that about 1744, the flight radioed that the pilot was planning to land on a road, and that they would need assistance controlling road traffic. About 1751, the flight radioed that they had landed on the road and the occupants were uninjured, but that the airplane was damaged.

Dispatch records indicated that the airplane was pushed clear of the road about 1830. According to information provided by first responders, the airplane landed on a straight section of road about 2,300 feet long, at a location about 6 miles southeast of EKO. The landing site elevation was about 5,300 feet above mean sea level. The outboard sections of both wings were damaged by impact with road signs; the airplane was otherwise undamaged. Personnel from the FAA, BLM, and the United States Department of Interior (DOI) examined the airplane 2 days after the event. They reported that a total of about 1 gallon of fuel was recovered from the airplane.

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1972, and was equipped with two Lycoming TIO-540 series piston engines. Spur Aviation held a 14 CFR Part 135 operating certificate. The pilot held multiple pilot certificates and ratings, and was appropriately certificated and rated for the accident airplane make and model. The pilot's records indicated that he had a total flight experience of about 16,800 hours, including about 1,500 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in April 2012, and his most recent flight review was completed in May 2012.

The EKO 1756 automated weather observation included winds from 330 degrees at 8 knots with gusts to 17 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 11,000 feet; temperature 24 degrees C; dew point 12 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

No Info from our Aviation Safety Offices in 7 Days too busy dealing with Air Tanker Study!!!!

Seldom Seen

Thanks for the info. Ab.

8/1 NE-NBF-Ash Creek ATV Accident - 72 hr expanded report


Thanks to those that didn't post this but sent Ab a "heads up".

8/1 Stanza Fire escaped IA in 2002:


In regard to Mellie's post on the Stanza Fire. I just want to clarify that it was 5 crewmembers from Crew 2, Happy Camp RD that initial attacked the Stanza Fire. They were able to contain it during the night and actually turned the fire over to a CDC Crew the next day . The fire escaped containment later that same day. Please post this for Mellie and all to read. Thank you

Retired Wildland Firefighter

Thanks, man. Appreciate the clarification. Ab.

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