"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
That is terrific...and way overdue news with respect to the boot stipend. It
has remained fascinating to me how "cheap"
the Agencies have been in some areas such as boots, PLI reimbursement,
scrutinizing federal time cards but ignoring
non-federal costs etc.
To be candid there continues to be some "behind-the-scenes" work on PLI
reimbursement. Frankly I'd like to see the
repeal of PL 107-203 but until then, the FS should stand behind their
firefighters by reimbursing PLI premiums 100%.
Just my opinion.
There is also continuing discussion about the work capacity test itself but
as usual, most of the "experts" engaged in
such dialogue happen to be everyone but the true experts...firefighters.
Anyway, a little good news in what has been
a very busy season. To those still on the lines, please know we think of you
everyday, pray for your safety and continue
to do our part to improve things for all of you.
The Forest Service will begin in fiscal year 2013 to provide
an annual boot stipend of $100 to those who
have a red card rating that requires them to complete an arduous or moderate
work capacity test.
It is unknown if this will be offered to non-fire employees and ADs who meet
the above requirements. A
briefing paper is due out soon and will hopefully thoroughly address
Interesting Hotlist discussion here of the geology and topography that
create the Jarbo Zephyr winds and their effect on fire behavior:
Community, sad news, two 20 yr old firefighters have died in Washington
state in a vehicle accident.
Two seasonal wildland firefighters, Samuel
Amaral and Matthew Trost -- each 20 years old and members of the
Ahtanum Crew -- died in a rollover of their jeep sometime between 8 PM
Thursday (9/27) and 6 AM Friday (9/28).
Matt trained and served on the Roadrunners 77 Crew - # 178.
Roadrunners 77: Where are they now? Mighty fine crew.
He was a member of our fire community here. He posted Ahtanum's 2011
The details of the accident as we know them are posted on Matt and Sam's
Always Remember page. As we learn more, it will be updated. Many thanks
to Sammie for the heads up late last night. If anyone has personal or
professional stories about either young man, please send them in. If anyone
has a photo of Sam or another photo of Matt, please share. Thanks, Ab.
I hope AB will indulge me with this post as I know many of our members read
TheySaid, probably before they
head to our own web site! For FWFSA members, our current "post-DC newsletter
is at the printer so please
take a moment to contact us if you've had a mailing address change some time
While the newsletter will ultimately also be placed in the Member's area of
the FWFSA, I like the old-fashioned
way of communicating... mail -- so hopefully they'll go out at the end of
Where in socal can i find a school to get a FFt 2 recert?
OLD FIRE: Jury recommends death for Fowler
Another article on this was posted on the
earlier today. Ab.
Rededication of El Cariso Memorial: Nov 3, 2012
Ab and All,
Good news. Sounds like the dedication of the El Cariso Hot Shot Memorial
is a go and set for November 3, 2012
and other activities are planned on Friday, November 2, 2012.
I will post this and any additional information on the El Cariso web site
email circulating about the ceremony:
Just thought I would bring you up to speed about our El Cariso Memorial.
The re-dedication of our Memorial is finally "a go" and will happen on
Saturday, November 3, 2012. Now everyone can mark your calendars, make your
plane and hotel reservations, fill up your vehicle's gas tank and we will
gather at El Cariso Regional Park for a great day.
I am in the process of mailing out the invitations and you should receive
them in the next few days. I apologize for not getting the invitations out
sooner but for the past month I have had a serious problem of not being able
to contact any park personnel and then after I finally got contact, I had a
hassle getting approval to hold the re-dedication. I have finally received
approval and the invitations have been sent out.
The new granite Memorial has been completed. It looks great. The Memorial is
an exact duplicate of the original and nothing has been changed or added.
The plaques recognizing the donations received toward the Memorial have been
completed and were given to the construction crew to embed them into the
foundation of the monument.
The construction crew who were constructing the new site and new foundation
has completed all their work. We are scheduled to set the new granite
Memorial onto the foundation Saturday, October 6th.
The original Memorial lettering has been repainted and the cracks fixed as
best as possible. The Angeles Forest personnel has transported the Monument
down to the El Cariso Camp. As soon as the crews are back in station, some
of the current El Cariso crew members will help us set the Memorial. Hopeful
they won't be sent out on any fires for a while. They have really been busy
this year. We also hope to get a few 66 hotshots to help also. We our hoping
to have it done before the Memorial.
WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO PLAN:
On Friday, November 2nd, the day before the Memorial Ceremony, for all
members who want and can attend, we are going to meet at the California
Wildland Firefighters Memorial on the Ortega Hwy and the South Main Divide
at around 09:30 hours. Everyone will be able to see all the names of our
guys who perished on the Loop Fire engraved into the bricks surrounding the
Memorial. From there we will visit the old camp site. From there we will
drive down to the current El Cariso Camp to see the original Memorial and
visit the current Hotshots. All wives and family members are encouraged to
On Saturday, November 3rd, the day of the Memorial Ceremony, the Ceremony
will begin at 13:00 Hours. Please come a little bit early. There will
probably be a lot of traffic.
[ FOR ALL MEMBERS WHO HAVE THEM, BE SURE TO BRING YOUR "GREEN BERET" AND
YOUR KAKI SHIRT AND GREEN JEANS TO WEAR AT THE MEMORIAL CEREMONY.]
After the Ceremony all members along with their wives and family members
will have the opportunity to go up and visit the fire site. We are trying to
arrange fire vehicles to take us all up to the site but if not, we can drive
our own vehicles.
After the fire site visit, for those who would like to, we can meet at a
local restaurant for dinner. We will look into what is available for
restaurants in the area.
I hope everyone will be able to attend. See you there.
Please e-mail me back that you received this e-mail and if you have any
questions. If you want you can call me with any questions or comments at
Please send any El Cariso Memorial rededication photos and we'll also
get them posted at the
Always Remember Loop Fire webpage. Ab.
A special congratulations to Erickson on his retirement. He has been an
incredible supporter of the FWFSA
for nearly 10 years and I cannot adequately convey our gratitude to him.
Best wishes for a wonderful retirement.
After 30+ Years of Federal Service, Erickson B. Smith
is retiring today. Although most of his career was spent on the Sequoia NF,
he also worked on the Tule River Indian Reservation, San Bernardino NF and
1972 Peppermint Helitack
1976 Hume Lake Helitack
1977 Grey Meadow FPT
1978 Lloyd Meadow FPT
1979 Tule Canyon FPT
2002 - 2007 Suppression Battalion Chief KRRD
2007 – 2012 Suppression Battalion Chief WDRD
Congrats to Erickson B Smith! Thanks for your service! Ab.
Chris Seelye's memorial service
Got a call from Vicki
Minor at the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation, who has been in interacting with Chris Seelye's
Chris Seelye's Memorial Service or Celebration of Life will be held in
about a month, after people return from fire season.
They'll let us know details as they become firmed up.
Tanker 61 Golf Tournament this Saturday
Just to let you folks know that we
are having a Tanker 61 Golf Tournament this Saturday and a rededication
of the building on Sunday the 30th at 11am. We are trying to create a
Wildland Fire Education Center and just
received the plotted photograph for our display case today - the one that we
were asking everyone to look for.
It's of the local Barry Point Fire that happened this summer.
I have the T-61 photo for my screen saver that you sent me and have recently
made contact with Chuck and
Leonard's family members that are around.
Please check out our website and facebook page if you haven't already. ( I
don't do facebook; we just thought
it would be good for the memorial)
reform temporary federal employment regulations --> permanent seasonal
Please post the following action alert. Health insurance during the
season is a step forward, but permanent seasonal employment is what really
needs to happen. Fyi, all land management agency employees should call – the
legislation would benefit all, not just Forest Service.
Mark Davis, President
NFFE Forest Service Council
Brothers and Sisters:
Thanks to years of effort by NFFE and Forest Service Council leadership,
legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 6306)
and in the Senate (S 3585) to reform temporary employment regulations that
keep seasonal employees trapped in a never-ending cycle of temporary
appointments without benefits. A bipartisan Dear Colleague letter in support
of the legislation was circulated in the House last week. The chances for
meaningful reform of temporary employment have not been this good in
We are asking all Forest Service employees to act and call your
Congressional representatives this week. With enough support for this
legislation, we may put permanent seasonal employment within the reach of
many long-term temporary employees. Click on the link below for more
information on this legislation, the Land Management Workforce
Flexibility Act, and on how to contact your Congressional
representatives. Then, call your reps and ask them to co-sponsor this
Don't Wait - Do Your Part by Contacting your Congressional Representatives
The best time to influence your representatives is during election season.
After calling their offices, find out where they will be making public
appearances and ask them in person to support the legislation. The time to
act is now!
Can't access the link above? Copy and paste this link into your browser:
Important reminder: Do not forward this email to others from your work email
As a citizen of the United States of America, you have the right to seek
help from your elected representatives in addressing your concerns --
including policies that affect the conditions of employment of federal
employees. You may contact your Congressional representatives on such
matters and encourage others to do so, but you may not use government
equipment in so doing. You must be on your own time and use your personal
equipment (phone, computer, email account). You may call your Congressional
representatives during the work day on your break time as long as you use a
The time for proper firefighter classification is at hand...according to
those in Washington
Hi to all,
While a much more detailed report of my trip to DC last week will be sent
out in a newsletter to our members, I did want the community to know that
there is increasing support for the creation of a separate and distinct
federal wildland firefighter classification series.
meeting with OPM Director Berry and the Forest Service' Legislative
Affairs Director -- who I've known for years and who was instrumental in
helping us eliminate the overtime pay cap for wildland firefighters in 2000
-- I am more optimistic than ever that we have the support where it needs to
be to accomplish not only proper classification, but the inclusion of hazard
pay as base pay for retirement purposes; providing hazard pay for prescribed
burns and the ability of firefighters to buy back their temporary time after
The collective efforts in July of the National Federation of Federal
Employees (NFFE), the FWFSA, those at change.org, the White House and others
that led to the correction of the long-standing inability of our seasonal
workforce to have access to federal health care benefit plans, has laid the
foundation to work towards administrative remedies to these issues rather
than pursuing the legislative route.
At the same time I received commitments to reintroduce a comprehensive
federal wildland firefighter bill in Congress early next session, noting
that its contents would obviously be dictated by what we can accomplish
administratively. I also received assurances from the majority staff of the
House Oversight & Gov't reform Committee to which the FWFSA's legislation
and NFFE legislation has been referred, that it is their intent to get our
firefighter issues on the Committee's agenda nest session...again dependent
on what bill is finally introduced.
I also had the pleasure of meeting with NFFE National President Bill Dougan
who also attended the meeting of the Democratic Steering & Outreach
Committee to discuss opportunities to work together to achieve these goals,
which include supporting legislation they have sponsored called "Path to
It is doubtful much will be accomplished during the congressional "lame
duck" session in November and it will be interesting to see how the cards
fall after the elections but I'm confident sufficient folks who are aware of
the issues will still be in place.
We also may have secured a surprising new supporter for our issues... former
Saturday Night Live cast member Al Franken, now a Senator from Minnesota.
Since members of Congress have so much to do and are members of a number of
committees that creates scheduling conflicts, several members of the
Steering & Outreach Committee, including Sen. Franken, popped in and out of
the meeting. However, he was there to hear what I had to say and wanted to
hear more. In fact he wanted me to see him on Friday but it was not
practical to change my flight back home. That's what staff is for so we will
ensure he is fully aware of the issues especially since he is on the Senate
Energy & Natural Resources Committee, a key committee that addresses many
issues regarding the federal land management agency fire programs.
It was a tremendous honor to represent so many of you while back there. And
even on the flight back I had a captive audience...Three Republican House
members, Rep. Labrador from Idaho directly behind me who I'd met with on
Thursday, Rep. Chaffetz from Utah across the aisle and Doc Hastings of
Washington State next to him. While I don't think they appreciate being
hounded in public places, I did have a chat with each and it was also
helpful to have a thick blanket of smoke from wildfires hanging over Salt
Lake City when we landed so they'd have something to remember all of you by.
More to follow.
Great news, Casey! Ab.
Some nice photos of the CA-MVU-Valacito Lightning Complex early hours
(Wilson Fire & Stewart Fire) on 8/13.
Thanks, contributors! I added them to the
Fire 48 photo page. Ab.
Dear fellow Fire fighters,
This is my first post on TheySaid, but I was moved to comment by the true
wisdom of FOG’s remark on 9/22 regarding
owning your reaction to criticism. If we all take responsibility to learn
from our experiences (good or bad, hard or soft)
we will become the best that we can be. Cognitive thinking before one
chooses to take a negative reaction to what could
be a positive learning experience is always going to bring out the best of
what may be a negative situation. Please take a
moment to read FOG’s (funny old guy) post. It is a true testament to the
wisdom of age and experience of a person who
has lived a life awake to all the possibilities of learning.
Takes one to Know one
If you don't want Curmudgeons opinion to your post (or anyone else's opinion
for that matter.) then you should not be posting on a public site. When you
post on "They Said" you are asking for honest feedback, not just the
feedback you want to hear to support your past, present or future situation
or make you feel "Warm and Fuzzy" all over. Maybe if you would have given
abit more in the way of details pertaining to your situation, you would have
received advice more geared toward your particular issue? Don't know
Curmudgeon but seems like he has given pretty good advice in the past
"yactac" and M@2X4 offered sound advice also. In 20 years of hiring folks
for fire positions, I never once looked at past performance ratings. They
are too subjective! Some supervisors will never give a bad rating while
others will never give a "Great" rating. The telephone call to the first
line supervisor is what got people hired in my district fire management
department! In some rare instances, a phone call to someone I knew and
respected on the neighboring district would usually get me an honest opinion
of someone I was looking at. Years ago, fire management folks in R6 knew who
the good supervisers were and the ones that weren't worth their salt. They
knew who would give them honest feedback and who wouldn't.
Seems like many of the agency superviors/managers lately have little to no
fire experience and many of them have no clue on how to manage/supervise
folks. (My last FMO was one of those seriously lacking managerial skills
even though he had a degree and let you know it!)
Good luck and hope all works out for you when all is said and done.
Remember, folks here are trying to give you the best advice from years of
I appreciate the feedback from everyone. Thank you.
A photo of the cap, day 1 (9/21/12) from the station. (I was on recall.)
Thanks for a great site!
Nevada-CCD-Carter Springs Column 09/21/2012 is posted on
Fire 48 photo page. The site is terrific due to contributors like you!
Astar Helicopter with Klump Pump photos:
Please post, as I think this was a first for a type 3. The photo credit
goes to the pilot’s wife Marie.
Description: Photos of 26HX (AS350B3) lifting a Klump Pump in Happy Camp,
CA on the Fort Complex fire.
AJD (USFS Ret)
ADJ, I posted two of these on
Helicopters 30 photo page and one on the
Equipment 18 photo page, with credit to Marie. Pretty neat!
Hotlist thread of the CA-KNF-Fort Complex
A Klump Pump was long-lined by helicopter on the CA-Iron Complex
Anyone asking, what is a
Klump Pump? An
innovation by a firefighter!
Jim, if you're reading, our best to you and your family! Ab.
Attached is a picture of AeroFlite's new Tanker (T-160).
Aircraft Management Officer (NWR)
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services
Thanks, Mike. Nice. I added
AirTankers 37 photo page. Ab.
Re: Chris Seelye
Thank you for the very nice article you posted regarding
my kid brother Chris. It so touched my heart. He had called
me from Happy Camp when he was on a fire there. That was my last
conversation. He was so happy to be out in the
woods falling and being with the guys.
There are a couple things I would appreciate. I would like to be in touch
with the person from Division A of the Goff
Fire, Fort Comples, Klamath NF who was on the fire line with Chris.
So much I would like to know who was his falling partner.
How I would appreciate any photos any of you have.
Chris gave a lot of people a lot of wonderful memories to cherish.
It so happens his name is Christopher Joseph Seelye and I am Christine
Seelye. He went by Joe when he was little but
in Fortuna High School they insisted he go by Chris.
Years back I went elk hunting in Paulina, Oregon and stayed on the Bernard
Ranch with Andy and Archie. I was invited
by a bunch of hunters from here in Brownsville, Ca. I traveled there with
Chief John Murphy. I loved every minute of it
year, after year, after year. Thirteen years and no elk. One never stepped
in my path so I take my bragging rights.
I would always tell Chris all about the trips and how bad I wanted to shoot
my elk. The next year he was working for
Columbia Helicopter outside of Idaho City, and he saw the elk. Every day he
flew into the work site along with his old
dog "Axle". He phoned me and said get your tags for Idaho Sis, your going to
shoot your elk and the trip is on me.
We had the best hunt and he dogged for me! He put a five point bull over me
and I had my trophy to brag about.
Not only was he a good faller he was one excellent hunter. He shot his moose
in Darby last and mailed me twenty three
pounds of meat in dry ice. He was pretty clever.
I got to know some of his friends through the years and I would love to hear
My phone # 530-675-9576
E-mail chrissymohawk@ nospam hotmail.com (take out spaces)
Good to hear from you Chris. Sorry for your and our loss. Besides
Fillmore's tribute to and photo of Chris here, someone else on the Goff fire
posted a brief note on
Chris' Always Remember page. If someone sends you more photos or
stories, please share so we can add them to his memorial. I just sent an
email and attached the
large originals of the photos on that page.
As more firefighter come home from the season, we could ask again for
stories and photos. It seems to me that someone on a team in the last year
or two did a human interest story with photos on an older mentor faller. I
can't remember if that was Chris. Does anyone recall? Ab.
You won’t find me making many statements in They Said It however the wisdom
expressed by “yactak” on 9/22 was too over whelming. I have 37 years with
the Forest Service, 35 of which were in fire suppression and 21 years a
supervisor of wildland firefighters I support yactak’s advice, 100% Read it
again, print it and review it 6 times in the next 6 weeks.
If you truly have a bad supervisor, move on. You will not fix the situation
and you will simply stall out waiting for them to move out. If they are
truly a nightmare and no one has done anything about it by now, what are
your chances? I have worked for a couple of supervisors that fit the bill
and felt for them. They were not enjoying their existence anymore than those
working for them. Don’t limit yourself to any one agency in your pursuits.
On the other hand this supervisor may have done you an incredible favor by
pointing out a weakness. If a weakness has been identified be thankful it is
up front and you have the chance to correct it. (as opposed to being dealt
with behind your back). You will only shine brighter after the correction
then you do now. We are all prone to make mistakes. We all learn from
failing. It is how one handles that failure that makes or breaks the person.
Frame that one and hang it on your wall.
The fact that you felt a need to go onto They Said for advice along with
your response to curmudgeon does give a hint as to how you are handling this
situation. You have a choice in every situation as to whether you will be
offended or not offended. In this area, the best advice I have ever come
across is, “Choose not to be offended.” Face the facts. Take a deep breath
and get on with enjoying one of the most fulfilling careers one can follow.
It is sad today that our failures are not pointed out to us with the intent
to make us better at what we do. The agency has developed a culture of
bowing to the offended (as long as you are a member of the protected class).
This has resulted in an entire workforce fearful of pointing out someone
else’s short comings even in the most positive, “I want to help you.”
atmosphere. The fear of offending you is not to your benefit.
When I started there was a 16mm film (google it) entitled Crewboss. In one
scene an FNG (that would be funny new guy) after screwing up several times
is sitting on the porch of the office and an old timer is giving him some
positive feedback. The FNG had 2 choices. He could choose to be offended, in
which case he learns nothing or chooses not to be offended and grows from
the experience. Your choice. Remember, no one owes you anything. Say it
again, No one owes me anything. If you forget that, you will be working
towards a self fulfilling prophesy that may “set you up for removal or make
it hugely difficult to get a new job.”
I have never known a single, non-critical, less than satisfactory
performance rating cause anyone difficulty in getting a new job and never
ever set one up for removal, even during a probationary period. One’s
reputation on the other hand has influenced hiring selections; though you
will never see that documented in print.
They don’t make an APP for this type of thing so put down your IPhone and
get to work.
FOG (careful, that would be funny old guy)
an aside: yaktac used to be a phrase used by YACC crew members. Just
As Ab pointed out.. document, document, document.. Save emails. Ask the fmo
who gave you the rating for
improvement ideas... ask in writing and ask for a reply in writing.
I have found throughout my career that there is about a 50/25/25 split in
the Forest Service Fire Management.
About 50% of the management folks truly do not care a hoot about you, 25%
care but are afraid of their shadows
and as such will not go to bat for you and about 25% truly care about the
firefighters who work for them and will
go the extra mile to help you.
That being said.. The profession is too honorable, fulfilling and fun to
waste your time with a bad supervisor. Find
a good district or unit to work on (Look at all the land mgt agencies) with
an fmo or division chief that gets high
marks from the folks currently working for them. Homework.. it takes
research and time, but is well worth it.
I was extremely lucky in my career to have worked for great leaders and
firefighters the majority of the time. When
I found myself working for someone who did not measure up, I moved. Life is
too short to not have a good time
As for your question about the performance rating.. yes it stays in your
official folder. Is it the end of the career? Not
at all. As Curmudgeon alluded to, your reputation also plays a big part in
this. In my opinion larger than one marginal
performance rating. When hiring folks, rarely did we look at historical
performance ratings.. information from the first
line supervisor was much more pertinent.
If your FMO is truly a nightmare, then hopefully you did not sign
it, if you did,
then you just made the bed you must sleep in. Bottom line, if you have a
deficiency, then fix it.
I would add, document every step you've taken to fix it. Ab.
Thank you for the answer to my succinct question. I didn't
ask for sympathy from anyone, merely an answer
to a straightforward question. Considering you don't know me and the
situation, perhaps you should keep
your opinions to yourself.
Who has never had a problem with an FMO before this District
Sent from my iPhone
So you have decided to share your marginal performance with
the fire world. I hope you are not seeking sympathy. It
seems you are displacing blame for your situation to an FMO,
who you claim is a nightmare.
Perhaps you may be the reoccurring nightmare. An
unsatisfactory rating on a performance element is reviewed
and approved at higher levels and usually has documentation
to back it up. You have some work to do.
Step up and ask for a specific plan to correct your
unsatisfactory rating in the element and then demonstrate to
your supervisor / FMO your ability to improve, earning a
satisfactory (or better) rating in that element next year.
The answer to your question is Yes and Yes. Performance and
reputation will follow you throughout your career and you
have the ownership for both.
(retired FMO, without nightmares)
Table Mountain Complex and other Washington Complexes of fires:
posted some WA-SES-Table Mountain Complex photos from yesterday and a NASA
smoke and hotspot photo on
Fire 47 photo page. Thanks contributors!
Hotlist threads for Washington Complexes
Look, Red Flag Warnings there through Sunday.
www.inciweb.org/incident/3269/ Check out the map.
In regards to the passing of Chris Seelye:
Everyone on Division A of the Goff Fire, Fort Complex, Klamath NF, under So
Cal Team 1 will remember Chris. Attached is a
photo of Chris with his signature pipe; also attached is a photo of the
jigsaw hazard trees that we were fighting while trying to hold onto Goff
Creek. Note that our fireline is the trail in the middle of the photo
running under these trees that came down.
Chris brought his lifetime of experience working in the woods to the crew
members and other fallers working to keep the line clear. I didn’t see Chris
running the saw much on the line. He explained to me that at this point in
his life, he saw much more value in going up to the tree and instructing
others in the proper way to handle messes like we had to deal with. Complex,
large diameter messes. Repeatedly I saw him take less experienced fallers up
and walk them through the process. I can’t tell you how much respect the man
gained from those around him from doing this, and I watched them soak up the
instruction. However, when Chris did run the saw, it was worth stopping for
By the end of the assignment I didn’t see Chris carrying anything other than
his falling axe and PPE up and down the line. The falling bosses, EMT’s, and
other fallers around him silently showed their respect for an old-timer by
carrying his saw, wedge bag and dolmar. I’m proud to say I hauled his wedge
bag out myself at the end of one shift. He didn’t ask for the help, he
didn’t need the help. It was just unspoken.
I know that many of the folks on the division enjoying hearing stories about
all the places in the states he cut timber, and especially about the old
growth Humboldt redwoods he used to fall. “ The last big redwood I cut was
in the ‘70’s” he said to me. Yeah, Chris was felling 16 foot diameter
redwoods before most of us on the line that day were born. They don’t make
guys like Chris anymore, take the time to talk to them when you see them.
Godspeed and thanks for the good work.
- Fillmore (Division Alpha)
Thank you. Ab.
Always Remember Chris Seelye, firefighter/faller
Dealing with a nightmare FMO. How will a "marginal" performance
appraisal affect me down the road?
The "does not meet satisfactory" is in a non-critical element.
Will it set me up for removal and make it hugely difficult to get a new job?
Sent from my iPhone
North Pass Fire - Rotor Blade Strike Final Report
Lessons Learned Center
Other new releases there. Check it out. Ab.
I am very sorry that Chris has passed.
Please let us know when and where
services will be held.
If anyone has stories, a photo of Chris, a photo of the kinds of hazard
trees he felled, photos of small or large gatherings or services
that honor him, please share them. If you email them to Ab, I'm sure Ab will
pass them on for
his Always Remember page.
Thanks, and I am so sorry he's gone.
Chris Seelye the timber faller from Darby Montana, a timber
faller on the Wentachee Complex in Washington became ill and died last night.
Info and the condolences thread (incident within the fire incident) is
Hi to all,
In a few minutes I will be meeting with Mr. John Berry, Director of OPM to
discuss wildland firefighter classification
and a number of other issues facing our firefighters. I hope both members
and non-members of the FWFSA understand
the importance and accomplishment of a very modest sized organization such
as the FWFSA being afforded such and
opportunity rather thanks being relegated to meeting with some low level
In any event I am honored to be here on behalf of our Nation's federal
wildland firefighters. More from DC to follow.
Thanks, Casey! Ab.
Anybody have an idea on what's going on with the (IWP), incident with
potential involving the lead with the MAFFS accident?
This seems to be taking a long time, and one would think there would be an
opportunity for lessons learned.
making the rounds... eRecruit “Go-Live” Update
From: HRM News [mailto:HRM_News.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us]
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:57
To: ALL FS
Subject: eRecruit “Go-Live” Update
Albuquerque Service Center - Human Resources Management
Intended Audience: All Forest Service Employees
September 13, 2012
eRecruit “Go-Live” Update
What you need to know:
eRecruit, the new staffing software, recently went live on August 31, 2012
for Region 3, ASC, and Fire. All other regions will “Go-Live” on September
17, 2012. On your scheduled “Go-Live” date, if you are designated to have
access to the system, the eRecruit link will appear in your ConnectHR
(Dashboard) menu under “My Links”.
For more information, go to the eRecruit website at:
http://fsweb.asc.fs.fed.us/HRM/eRecruit (internal Forest Service
On the website you will find helpful resources, such as:
- - How to Apply for a Job – Job aid
- - Training Job Aids, Materials, Recorded Modules
- - PD, Question, Template Matrix - The Position Descriptions (PD),
Question, and Template Matrix is a list of all questions and PDs loaded
into eRecruit as of August 31, 2012
- - FAQs
- - eRecruit Go-Live Prep FAQs
If you need assistance:
- - Call the HRM Contact Center at: 877-372-7248 (Press 2)
- - Open a case through ConnectHR (Dashboard) at: https://connecthrauth.gdcii.com/
click on the HRM Help (CRM) link. For detailed instructions, click here.
- - Or send an email to the eRecruit mailbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m looking for some good fire photos for an educational brochure we are
putting together for the Kittitas area,
affected by the Taylor Bridge Fire, do you have some print quality pictures
that we could use? I would like to
not have to pay for the i-stock photo’s currently in the brochure. Thank you
for your help.
Carly from Yakima
Anyone have a good Taylor Bridge Fire photo or two
that you're willing to donate? Need to be high resolution. Ab.
8 years ago today:
This day eight yeas ago on a mountain side in Tuolumne County outside
Groveland CDF Helitack Firefighter Eva Schicke fought her last fire. She was
killed while constructing hand line in the Lumsden Bridge area. Please say a
prayer for her, her family and friends.. Keep her in your thoughts and Never
Forget.. We miss you and your contagious smile..
Always Remember Eva Schicke
Honoring Eva Memorial Photo page
Always Remember: Chuck Sheridan & Leonard Martin / Tanker61
As we all pause to remember 9/11, many of you continue to have valid
concerns about the land management agency's ability to fund the remainder of
the fire season which obviously has some time to go.
One of the primary goals of Congress is to pass 13 separate spending bills
(appropriations) prior to the start of the fiscal year which begins October
1st. Often in recent Congressional history, election years rarely produce
these "must pass" bills and Congress enters into a "Continuing Resolution"
(most often referred to simply as a CR) which continues to fund the
government until after the elections.
However, recently a more ominous word has been utilized that creates even
more concern over agency's abilities to properly fund their programs. The
term is Sequestration. Below is an explanation of the use of the word
for congressional purposes.
Originally a legal term referring generally to the act of valuable property
being taken into custody by an agent of the court and locked away for
safekeeping, usually to prevent the property from being disposed of or
abused before a dispute over its ownership can be resolved. But the term has
been adapted by Congress in more recent years to describe a new fiscal
policy procedure originally provided for in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings
Deficit Reduction Act of 1985 -- an effort to reform Congressional voting
procedures so as to make the size of the Federal government's budget deficit
a matter of conscious choice rather than simply the arithmetical outcome of
a decentralized appropriations process in which no one ever looked at the
cumulative results until it was too late to change them. If the dozen or so
appropriation bills passed separately by Congress provide for total
government spending in excess of the limits Congress earlier laid down for
itself in the annual Budget Resolution, and if Congress cannot agree on ways
to cut back the total (or does not pass a new, higher Budget Resolution),
then an "automatic" form of spending cutback takes place. This automatic
spending cut is what is called "sequestration."
Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the
cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is
"sequestered" by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which
it was originally appropriated by Congress. In theory, every agency has the
same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the
excessive spending on an "across the board" basis. However, Congress has
chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process
(for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), and
the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time -- which
means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the
budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks
required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.
The prospect of sequestration has thus come to seem so catastrophic that
Congress so far has been unwilling actually to let it happen. Instead,
Congress has repeatedly chosen simply to raise the Budget Resolution
spending caps upward toward the end of the legislative session in order to
match the actual totals already appropriated, thus largely wiping out the
incentives that the reformed budget procedures were expected to provide for
Congress to get better control of the budget deficit.
of the primary questions about the upcoming meeting in DC to discuss the
impact of the wildfire season on a number of entities including the 2012
Farm bill is how a "CR" and "sequestration" will impact the land management
agencies ability to fund FIRE.
As I reported in a previous post, the concept of the FLAME Fund passed by
Congress several years ago was to prevent the need for budget transfers
(taking funds from non-fire projects to pay for fire) by creating a separate
fund for catastrophic wildfires that the Secretary of Interior or USDA could
access. However, a couple of years ago the Administration proposed to give
some of it back to limit Congressional cuts and then Congress actually took
$ 200 million. With the prospects of sequestration the big question is
whether what is borrowed from non-fire projects to pay for fire will be paid
back given the expected $606 billion to be taken from discretionary
spending for the sequestration.
I will try [emphasis added] to get answers to some of these questions while
back there. In the meantime, pause for a moment, reflect on 9/11 and keep
yourselves safe. There's a lot of season left.
From FS HR dashboard:
eRecruit - went live August 31, 2012 for Region 3, ASC (B&F, CIO and
HRM), Fire and Temp Employment. Live units may access eRecruit from their
ConnectHR "My Links" area.
For more information please visit the HRM eRecruit web page at
September 17, 2012 is Go-Live for all remaining Forest Service units.
Good morning, All,
Probably like many of you I've been remembering the immediate victims of
9/11, their families, the shock of the day, the grief and loss, and our NYC
firefighters and other on-the-ground support providers who are ill from
working on the pile.
Thanks to this firefighting community and our military for the roles
you've played in helping our nation deal with the aftermath of 9/11,
addressing the threats to our national security, sharing your KSAs for the
greater good, for remembering the fallen, and for the comfort you've
provided me and each other.
Occasionally I am overwhelmed with the gratitude I feel for all the
variety of people who contribute their service for the good of this country.
This anniversary is always one such day.
9/11 Remembered in pictures and linked with words from our community:
Washington Lightning Siege:
Lots of fires in Washington due to lightning. Cold fronts moving through
could make for windy conditions. A Red Flag warning is in effect in some
Take a look at the maps and fires I posted here:
If you know the names of any of them or have info to post an IA, please do
Lightning starts 80 fires in Washington
GRANT COUNTY -- Department of Natural Resources officials say more
than 4,000 lightning strikes overnight Saturday in Central Washington
started at least 80 fires. The fires stretch from Yakima to Okanogan
County. The larger of two fires burning near Grand Coulee has State
Route 174 shut down. 20 homes are under a level three evacuation notice.
Multiple agencies are responding. Another fire is burning closer to
Grand Coulee. It has 35 homes and a trailer park under a level one
evocation order. The exact location and size of both of these fires is
Looks like Idaho got hammered too.
burned-over Federal Fire Dept (DOD) in San Diego engine on the CA-MNF-Pass
Got a note that a FLA (Facilitated Learning Analysis) is
being done on this burned-over engine, as well. Lessons for all to learn.
Regarding Fire Hire and the post below: Making the rounds...
Here are the
letter from the R5 Forester and the excel spreadsheet I converted to a pdf
burned-over Federal Fire Dept (DOD) in San Diego engine on the CA-MNF-Pass
Sent to me from a FS employee on the Pass fire on the MNF. No injuries
thankfully. Federal Fire Dept
(DOD) in San Diego engine on a MNF incident
pass fire burned engine front
pass fire burned engine rear
Followup: I corrected the ownership of the engine that
was burned in the text above, so there's no misleading confusion. Glad so
many of you are up at ungodly o'dark-30 hours! Ab.
Not sure how this rumor got started but I wanted to set the record straight,
The engine that was burned over on the Pass
Fire was NOT from the CNF. The engine involved was from the Federal Fire
Dept (DOD) in San Diego.
USFS engines in R5 have the pump panel in the rear. The pictures of the
burned engine reveal that the pump panel was
on the left side which indicates that it was not a USFS engine.
The Treasure Valley Community College’s training schedule for the 2013
Training Season is out and attached. Here's our new web address:
This is in Ontario, OR. If anyone would like me to forward the pdf,
just ask. Ab.
King EPH radios declared unusable for 2013 Fire Season
King EPH radios declared unusable for 2013 Fire Season due to age and not being able to program
the newer frequencies CA, OR and
WA are now using.
"Outcome: Effective January 1, 2013 the EPH/EMH will be removed from
the NIFC/NIICD Approved
Radio list. Wildland fire contractors who are required to provide radios
from the NIFC/NIICD Approved
Radio list need to plan accordingly for the 2013 fire season. "
Fire Hire in Region 5:
During February 2013, Region 5 (R5) will conduct its Centralized Fire Hire
at the Wildland Fire Training and Conference Center (WFTC). Due to the
change in our hiring system from Avue to eRecruit, our Fire Hire session
that normally would occur during fall of 2012 has been postponed. Deferring
the hiring to a later date will provide our workforce adequate time to learn
and use the new system. It is also in alignment with the HR timeframes for
developing and activating new open and continuous announcements for the
positions included in Fire Hire.
This Fire Hire will be combined for Wildland Fire Apprentice Program (WFAP),
GS 6-9 and WG 10 Permanent positions (PERM) hiring. The following schedule
displays the specific dates and duration for the sessions included in the
|Fire Hire Session
||Subject Matter Experts
|February 19-March 1
E-recruit is already live in Region 3. new areas are coming
live very soon, and as they become live, the website starts
working there. For some reason, you can't see the site until the area you
are applying for is live...so, someone can
probably see R3 now if they wanted to. E-recruit links to USA Jobs, so I
would start with a profile in that.
As for hiring, all rounds are still a go unless something changes, but no
dates set in stone yet.
24 hour report of burn injuries on the CA-NOD-Likely Fire
See the Hotlist:
Hi Ab and All,
I was on the Bonito Complex and the Holloway North fires in
Oregon this summer plus I have been on
2 in Montana. Does anyone know who might have been at these incidents
selling t-shirts so I could get
a t-shirt from each of the incidents? I was told there was one that showed
up at the Holloway North/South
incident but I was at expanded dispatch about 5 hours from the fire.
Just curious, does anyone have any updated info on when the new
eRecruit system will be going into
effect, and if there will be WFAP hiring in region 5 this year?
For those individuals who are certified and/or licensed Emergency Medical
Responders (EMR), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), or Paramedics,
today's Six Minutes for Safety topic- Heat Disorders, is an excellent
example of a free continuing education credit that will help maintain the CE
hours a person needs to keep their respective EMS license. An additional
suggestion would be to share this information with as many non-medical
licensed folks as well, because knowledge is power and it may be that a
non-medical crew-member recognizes the emergency first.
I have also attached a recent article I read from the magazine "EMS WORLD",
June 2012 publication. This too can be listed as an EMS CE credit typically
under the "self-study" section of a CE tracking form. It too is in regards
to heat related emergencies. Even though some regions are starting to see a
decline in temperatures and better RH recovery during the day and night, it
should not lessen the vigilance we maintain regarding HRI situations. It has
been a long fire season already and people will be starting to develop
cumulative mental and/or physical fatigue.
In a note of tracking that credit, place it in your excel spreadsheet or
similar continuing education tracking form for continuing education credits.
As we all know, this type of topic usually leads to long discussions or
additional research. In such, I would also suggest further research in
regards to Rhabdomylosis as well as Hyponatremia, both of which I have seen
Until next time.
Lots of fires and also discussion on the Hotlist:
Fires by regions are on
IA threads and Questions and Discussion threads with the ?? indicating
questions, photos, etc go there.
Discussion is located in
General Discussion and on the Regional Discussion threads, for example
CA Questions and Answers thread.
2012 Wildfire Guidance
It has been interesting to receive a number of comments about the wildfire
guidance issued by Mr. James Hubbard of the Forest Service in May. Since
many in the field might not even be aware of it because of assignments and
since the memo was addressed to "Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area
Director, IITF Director, Deputy Chiefs and WO Directors" (Hmmm, I see
someone not mentioned...firefighters) I thought I'd attach it so AB can
create a link to it.
Fundamentally, and this is my humble personal opinion and not an official
"FWFSA position," to me it is yet another example of fire policy being
developed and implemented by folks with little to no wildfire experience or
expertise or said experience and expertise in managing what is arguably the
largest fire department in the world. More troubling to me is what I assume
to be a total lack of discussion,consultation etc by Mr. Hubbard with our
firefighters in the field.
Perhaps that is why I often use the analogy that the FS fire program would
be tantamount to a major metropolitan city fire dept. and its funding, being
managed by that City's Parks & Recreation Dept. It may have been OK 30-40
years ago but not with the complexities of today's 21st century wildfires.
What concerned me also about the guidance is the continuation of budget
transfers. That particular act gave rise to Congress creating the Flame Fund
which was to prevent the need for budget transfers. However Congress used
the Flame Fund as part of the 10 year average, not in addition to it so with
costs this year in excess of that average, apparently the Agency has or will
consider such budget transfers. That in and of itself raises the issue of
the costs of non-federal resources and their overuse but that's for another
In any event I'm sure the policy will get some air time at the meeting in DC
in a few weeks so any and all thoughts regarding the policy, especially
those from folks in the the field, would be greatly appreciated.
2012 Wildfire Guidance
Full Containment is as much a political strategy as anything right now. Over
the past several years, the Federal wildland fire agencies were doing their
best to save the Fed dollars by looking at other large incident management
strategies that would benefit ecosystems and save money. Because of
continuing budget cuts to Federal wildland preparedness and hazard fuels
programs, I think the 'Full Containment' direction is a statement to
Washington lawmakers that fire suppression costs money, and that we aren't
going to put a lot of effort into saving the Fed money by tryinig to manage
fires differently than in the past if they are going to turn around and cut
our budgets year after year.
full containment" policy on all wildfires:
What the heck is "full containment" anyway???
How about something that makes sense, like reintroducing the "out by 10
o'clock the next day". The FS told us in the early 80s, that the policy
worked too good, and fuel was loading up, leading to; what we have now.
When there is no rain in sight; and resources are maxed out, wilderness
fires should be hit hard when the fire is small. There is a reason for the
out by 10 rule; big fires go where they want to go. Turning wilderness
fires, into fire use fires, during the dry period, is like herding cats! No
control lines, no real contingency plan. What are they thinking.
To balance this out, we need to do MORE wilderness burns in the offseason.
We need Fuels Crews, to prep the worst areas, by piling ladder fuels and
burning them in the snow; followed by building control line, for the final
stage when the weather is right for a prescribed burn. There is a small
window of opportunity to burn, and if everything is prepped for when the
time is right, it should take no more than a day to secure the edge.
Let's go by the out by 10 rule, when dry, windy conditions are the norm, and
the fire crews are out of town.
Re: DC trip.
Dont know how well known this "Hubbard Rule" is with fftrs on the ground.
Imo....it is very bad policy
and practice to decree something like this unilaterally from on high and to
unnecessarily tie the hands of
fire managers and take tools out of their toolbox without overwhelmingly
Regarding your trip to DC on September 20th Casey,
The Forest Service has no business managing an Emergency Services Branch in
this day and age. Period.
Any attempts to "fix" the FS will result in dismal failure. Proof is in the
past which still exists. Yank fire and
aviation out and put it where it belongs.... in an emergency services
"Hope resides in the future, perspective and wisdom are found by looking to
the yactak portion of Tri-Sac