September, 2012

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9/30 Boot Stipend


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.



9/30 Boot Stipend

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 implementation.


9/30 Interesting Hotlist discussion here of the geology and topography that create the Jarbo Zephyr winds and their effect on fire behavior:


9/29 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. Rio Hondo Roadrunners 77: Where are they now? Mighty fine crew.

He was a member of our fire community here. He posted Ahtanum's 2011 season video.

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.

9/29 To All;

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 this season.

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 next week.



9/29 Ab,

Where in socal can i find a school to get a FFt 2 recert?



9/28 OLD FIRE: Jury recommends death for Fowler


Another article on this was posted on the Hotlist earlier today. Ab.

9/28 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 soon:


email circulating about the ceremony:

Hello Guys:

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.


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 attend.

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.


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 (760) 947-9636.

Rich Leak

Please send any El Cariso Memorial rededication photos and we'll also get them posted at the Always Remember Loop Fire webpage. Ab.

9/28 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.

9/27 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 Tahoe NF.

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.

9/26 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 daughters.

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.


9/25 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) www.tanker61memorial.org

Thank you,
Marcia Cavin

9/25 reform temporary federal employment regulations --> permanent seasonal employment


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 decades.

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 legislation.

Don't Wait - Do Your Part by Contacting your Congressional Representatives Today!

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: www.nffe-fsc.org/committees/legislative/whatcanido.php.

Important reminder: Do not forward this email to others from your work email account.
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 personal phone.

9/23 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.

After 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 1989.

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 Permanence."

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.


Casey Judd

Great news, Casey! Ab.

9/23 Some nice photos of the CA-MVU-Valacito Lightning Complex early hours (Wilson Fire & Stewart Fire) on 8/13. Hotlist thread

Thanks, contributors! I added them to the Fire 48 photo page. Ab.

9/23 True Wisdom:

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.

Thank you,

Takes one to Know one

9/23 "C"

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 experience.

9/23 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! Ab.

9/23 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.


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 in 2009 YouTube
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.

9/23 Hi there

Attached is a picture of AeroFlite's new Tanker (T-160).


Mike Shapland
Aircraft Management Officer (NWR)
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services

Thanks, Mike. Nice. I added it to AirTankers 37 photo page. Ab.

9/22 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 from them.

My phone # 530-675-9576
E-mail chrissymohawk@  nospam  hotmail.com (take out spaces)

Chris's Sister,
Chris Seelye

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.

9/22 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 coincidence?
9/22 C -

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
at work.

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.

Good Luck!

9/22 To "C"

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.

9/22 To curmudgeon

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

9/21 To: "C"

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)
9/21 Table Mountain Complex and other Washington Complexes of fires:

Just 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. http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/

www.inciweb.org/incident/3269/  Check out the map.

Be safe!


9/21 Hey Ab,

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 and watching.

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

9/20 Ab,

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

9/20 North Pass Fire - Rotor Blade Strike Final Report


From the Lessons Learned Center

Other new releases there. Check it out. Ab.

9/19 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.


9/18 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 here: http://wlfhotlist...Wentachee-River-Complex-Faller-Fatality?p=129877

9/17 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 aid.

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.

9/15 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.

9/13 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
Subject: eRecruit “Go-Live” Update

HRM 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 website)

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: erecruit@fs.fed.us
9/13 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.

9/12 From SmNeveau4

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

9/11 Ab,

Worth posting.



Always Remember: Chuck Sheridan & Leonard Martin /  Tanker61

9/11 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.

Obviously one 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.


9/11 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 http://fsweb.asc.fs.fed.us/HRM/eRecruit/.

September 17, 2012 is Go-Live for all remaining Forest Service units.

9/11 9/11 Anniversary

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.

Thank you.


9/11 Remembered in pictures and linked with words from our community: www.wildlandfire.com/pics/nywtc_pentagon/sept11.php

9/9 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 areas.

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 it.

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 not known.

Looks like Idaho got hammered too.


9/8 burned-over Federal Fire Dept (DOD) in San Diego engine on the CA-MNF-Pass Fire

Got a note that a FLA (Facilitated Learning Analysis) is being done on this burned-over engine, as well. Lessons for all to learn. Ab.

9/8 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 file. Ab.



9/8 burned-over Federal Fire Dept (DOD) in San Diego engine on the CA-MNF-Pass Fire


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.

Ab/ Normbc9,

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.

Thanks Ab!

SoCal BC

9/7 Ab,

The Treasure Valley Community College’s training schedule for the 2013 Training Season is out and attached. Here's our new web address:


Sheryl Romans

This is in Ontario, OR. If anyone would like me to forward the pdf, just ask. Ab.

9/7 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. "


9/7 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 process:

Fire Hire Session Grades Subject Matter Experts
Recommendations &
Selections Date
GS-3/4/5 (WFAP),
GS-6-9, WG-10
February 19-March 1 March 11-29


9/7 Re: E-recruit,

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.


9/7 24 hour report of burn injuries on the CA-NOD-Likely Fire

See the Hotlist: http://wlfhotlist.com/threads/30417-CA-NOD-Likely

9/7 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.

Don Zimmerman

9/5 Hello all,

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?


9/5 Hello everyone,

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 this summer.

Until next time.

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic
9/4 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 the CA Questions and Answers thread.

Carry on!


9/1 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 day.

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.

Casey Judd

2012 Wildfire Guidance

9/1 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.

9/1 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.

William Riggles
9/1 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 good reason.


9/1 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 agency....

"Hope resides in the future, perspective and wisdom are found by looking to the past"

the yactak portion of Tri-Sac
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