October, 2012

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10/30 Dear Ab,

Jack Wilson stopped by the office this week. He is 93 years old. He was the first president of our Board of Directors for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. He was also one of the main people who built BIFC which is now NIFC.

I just love it when Jack shows up. He inspires us to do more for the wildland firefighters. He is still very concerned about the smoke that all of you get exposed to.

We also had an elementary school in Montana raise money for the Foundation. They were near the Millie Fire. We are going to have a special Bear make a visit to this school in honor of what the kids raised for our firefighters.

We still have a family in a burn center in Washington. I would like to take a moment to ask if any of you can donate your air miles or hotel awards to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Many thanks to Rowdy Muir who donated 80,000 air miles, Kris Bruington and Tom Wilson donated their hotel awards last year. It really make a difference when we get moving families around to have these hotel awards and airline miles available.

I would love to get a 2 1/2 year-old youngster back to the burn center in Seattle from New York with his Grandma. He has never been away from his mother and I know it would do this firefighter and his wife wonders to see their son for a few days. Don't forget the combined federal campaign, your Foundation number for the CFC is 12544.

Because of your donations, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation has touched the lives of every fallen firefighter family and severely injured firefighter this year.

Its a privilege to be involved ...

Vicki Minor
10/30 Dozer Whisperer!

Fire Compadres,

This is a photo taken of me and My D-9 on the Pole Creek Fire, Sisters Rd, Deschutes NF. It was taken by Todd Reinwald my READ on Division Bravo, Leo Segovia as Division Supervisor. It has gone around the District but maybe should be shared by others who came from all over (even So. Cal) to help. Thank you all. It has been a pleasure.

Dennis (Ben) Benhower
Sisters RD

PS. I’d said that this was my Last Fire Forever as Retirement on December 28th is a sure thing. Well, as always happens I said yes to St. Mary’s Mission Fire at Omak, Washington, really too soon after this…Hilarious is it not? Alas, I now have turned in the Red Card and it is over. Two more months. Benner, Camp Sherman, OR.

Thanks, nice one. I put it on the Equipment 18 photo page. Ab.

10/30 Ab,

I'd like to announce the retirement of the DC3 plane (J-42) in Ogden, UT last week. I have attached here the picture from the hanger during the retirement of this aircraft and another picture of J-42 in flight I pulled from google images. I have also included the speech given by Joseph Brinkley (44 K pdf), the triplet to Levi Brinkley (Storm King Mountain 1994), as it details how this aircraft transported the Storm King Mountain victims home. Very sad, very moving story that Vicki asked me to forward and post so it can be shared.

Thank you,

Amanda DeShazo
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Thanks, Amanda. Ab.

10/30 1947 Bryant Fire fatalities

BDF retired:

Thanks for the response and the information!

Former ANF

10/30 1947 Bryant Fire fatalities

Carl was Hugh's brother and friends with my dad Charles Smith. I barely remember my dad telling me the story.

BDF retired

10/30 Fire/EMS headaches Hurricane Sandy


10/30 Richard Stone Fatality 1967

RJM, Mellie and others,

Ab contacted me the other day about this accident. I gave him some info and hoped it would be of help. I told him I was working in that area for a company and would ask and look around. Well after reading some of the recent info sent in I viewed the map and low and behold the site marked accident?? is the exact area I have been working at. Well the other day someone asked me " what's that white cross for at the bottom of the drainage"? Said I don't know but looks as if someone went over the side. I will hike to the cross take some pics look for a name and hopefully get back out. LOL My Dad worked on the ANF 1938-late 50's.

Jody, retired BDF

Thanks, much, Jody! Ab.

10/30 1947 Bryant Fire fatalities

I noticed the recent posting regarding the 1947 Bryant Fire fatalities on the Angeles NF (Always Remember site). Does anyone know if Carl Masterson was related to Hugh Masterson who was once the District Fire Control Officer (F.C.O.) on the Tujunga Ranger District? Also, does anyone know where the Deer Creek Fire Camp was located?

Former ANF

10/29 Hurricane Sandy


10/29 Reply to RJM re Richard Stone fatality, 1967

My recollection is that the truck went off the road on Forest Road 3N90 near Pacifico Mountain.
This would have been the road used to reach the upper part of the fire. Not sure if this is accurate
but that is my memory.


10/28 I've been working on several LODDs from the 1940s and this one from 1967 Always Remember Richard Stone who was a member of the Del Rosa Hotshots.

Discovering the exact location for the geotag has been problematic. Jody, a retired ANF Captain thought the dad of one of the Chiefs of the ANF would know. I also asked RJM to give it his best shot and here's his reply.

If anyone knows where this accident occurred in 1967, could you please let us know at Always Remember. Thanks, Mellie

Hi M, Sorry this has taken so long, however it does not have enough information and has some given conflicts.

I am making the assumption that the fire was on the Rabbit peak side of Roundtop because of the name. This is guiding my thought process in the following. Note this area all burned, to one degree or another, in the station fire. Note that Roundtop is about 5 miles South East of Camp 16.

Found an error in the location information from the Valley Press article with the Accident Report in AR. Says fire was about “2 miles east of Vetter Lookout”. Vetter is (was) actually 4.5 miles South West of Roundtop. Vetter could likely see Rabbit Peak, to the NW, between the other peaks in the area. Calling in a smoke near it would be logical based on looking at the TOPO map. (A fire 2 miles East of Vetter would not be anywhere near any of the other mentioned locations. It would be at the source of the Big Tujunga Creek.)

Also another article says, in passing, the accident was near the Chilao RS. There is no road access to top of Roundtop from near that station. Closest access from there my postulated fire location would be to about one to 2 miles away (east) and over the ridge from the Rabbit peak side of Roundtop; at Loomis ranch. Access to a fire, located as I postulate, would be from the the Mill Creek Summit FS or possibly easier from the Monte Cristo Camp ground. Thus I think the reference to the Chialo Station really was to the Monte Cristo Station.

There is also a road into that area from the south, I cannot read the number on any map but it comes from Highway 2, north through Lynx Canyon, past Iron Mountain and into the Monte Cristo mine area. It is the same road that comes to the mine area from Mill Creek Summit. Shorter route if they were coming West on highway 2. That said am going to assume that they were heading for the Monte Christo mine area which has roads from three locations to it. All end up in vicinity of the mine. The Monte Cristo Mine is between Rabbit peak and Roundtop and south of a line between them. Would be the best place to stage for a fire on the west flank of Roundtop. All on steep slopes except for a few areas where they are in creek bottoms or on top of ridges.

I think the truck was approaching the mine area when it rolled. There is actually a spur of the southern approach that goes up towards the ridge line south of Roundtop.

Only thing wrong with this is that someone should have written about the fire being near the mines, if it were, or did they not care in those days? No one from fire brought it up?

The yellow area is where I think the fire was, in general. It is about a 350 acre circle about 0.76 miles diameter.

L/L I have used for the Accident is 34.347123°, -118.091465° Anywhere around there is good enough, just say it is an approximation based on information. Maybe someone will write in with some information.


10/27 FLAs, etc


I guess I am unaware of the event that you seem to be hinting at involving an engine. I am sure there are any number of reasons that events don't get reported or an FLA done on them. We all know that things happen every season that never get reported and all that we here are the whispers and rumors about them. There are still a lot of people that think when an event or incident happens that trouble will soon follow, investigation, punishment, shame, etc. This is what the system has been in the past.

The FLA process is supposed to be a learning event where people are encouraged to explain what happened and what they were thinking at the time and how we can learn from the experience without negative impacts on them. It should be an open, learning environment.

Now, if there is an accident or event that has a negative or positive outcome that the unit thinks will be a good place for an FLA, they usually request one from the region. The unit identifies what they want to learn from the event and they give the FLA team a Delegation of Authority on what they are allowed to look at for the event. I guess we all hope there comes a day when all events are brought forward and we can openly discuss and learn from them without the fear that we will be in trouble or looked down on. I think that we are getting there; its not going to change overnight.

As firefighters and risk managers, we should all make a better effort to be a reporting culture and become a learning culture. This starts by reporting events as they happen up the chain of command, use the safe net as needed, and freely discuss the outcomes of events for the learning of all of us.


10/27 Posted on the Hotlist... earthquake swarms in socal -- Brawley-Imperial-Valley -- back in the end of August??? Rotten eggs in socal?

They've figured out that earthquakes and smell weren't associated with the "Burning Sands" phenomenon that Fire Geek tells us about! (tongue in cheek). Ab.

Salton Sea Volcano Mystery Solved



Gabriel Pomona Memorial Scholarship Fund

Gabriel Pomona   January 23, 1975 - February 11, 2011

Gabriel Pomona was a captain on Big Bear Hotshots. He passed on Feb. 11th, 2011. Gabe was a brother and close friend to many of us. His passing was especially difficult for us, but even more for those that witnessed his death. Beyond the tragedy itself many of us were asked to testify in the ensuing court case proceeding into May of this year, having to further endure our loss. We have healed from our loss and hope you have too. In honor of Gabe’s contributions and self-sacrifice to the community, a scholarship fund for high school students has been established. The money raised will be given to a student at Big Bear High School this year and next year to Yosemite High School; alternating every year. The scholarship will be awarded based on an essay with the topic of “Loss of a family member or close friend”. Initiating the processes to start for the scholarship was not an easy undertaking and raising funds will be a lot harder. The average college tuition for an entering freshman is $5,000. With that said our goal is a minimum of a $500 contribution to a local high school student. With rising tuition and student living expenses, $500 is only a drop in the bucket. Any donation amount would make a big difference for a struggling student.

Checks can be made out to the new fund:

Gabriel Pomona Memorial Scholarship Fund

Mailed to:
Big Bear Hotshots
P.O. Box 290
Fawnskin, CA 92333

Thanks. Readers, please remember Gabe. Ab.

10/26 October Message from FEDS.

This is a Commercial message, but in my opinion, this is a good deal for federal firefighters' peace of mind. FEDS has protected many a FEDERAL wildland firefighter. Ab.

You Can't Turn the Clock Back...
on Claims, Allegations or Suits

Your professional liability risk isn’t based on the likelihood of losing your job or losing a personal capacity lawsuit, but rather that of an allegation, claim or suit being filed against you. Even if the allegation, claim or suit is completely baseless—and the judge or final deciding committee agrees with you—you could spend thousands of dollars defending yourself if you do not have a FEDS Professional Liability Insurance policy in place.

Annual Cost:
$1,000,000 Limit; $295.80 (includes SL Tax)
$2,000,000 Limit; $397.80 (includes SL Tax)
Up to 50% agency reimbursement for qualified employees. Contact your HR rep for eligibility & reimbursement procedures.

There are 3 ways to get FEDS PLI protection today.

FEDS Protection works much like other protective policies – such as your home or auto.
The coverage must be in place prior to the allegation, claim or suit
or coverage will not apply!

10/26 Always Remember Engine 57

Our thoughts are with families and friends who are visiting the site...

This was making the rounds last night...

From Chief John Hawkins, Unit Chief, Riverside Unit

Six years ago tomorrow morning at about 0100 hours, the October 26, 2006 Esperanza Fire raged out of Cabazon and headed toward Twin Pines and Poppet Flats. Santa Ana Winds were strongly blowing and drove the fire up and over and around Cabazon Peak. At about 0730 hours, the fire ran over five valiant USFS firefighters who were trying to defend a residential structure at 15400 Gorgonio View Drive north of Twin Pines Road. On that terrible morning, the Esperanza Fire fatally burned the following from San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57, Alandale:

· Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, Idyllwild, California
· Engineer Jess McLean, 27, Beaumont, California
· Assistant Engineer Jason McKay, 27, Apple Valley, California
· Firefighter Pablo Cerda, 23, Fountain Valley, California
· Firefighter Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20, San Jacinto, California

The fire took from us five dear friends and strong firefighters. They were doing what every firefighter wants to do. That is make a difference, save life and property and serve the public. Tragically, they paid the ultimate price. For many of us who suffered with the fire and the losses, life will never be the same. But, we must work to heal our difficult thoughts and try our best to never again have such an awful loss of life. We do know that fire will again challenge us as we enter a Santa Ana Wind event tonight through Saturday.

Tomorrow morning at 7:57am (time when we first learned of the burn over), the Perris ECC will announce the Esperanza Fire anniversary and ask for a moment of silence in honor of the loss of Captain Loutzenhiser, Engineer McLean, Assistant Engineer McKay, FF Hoover-Najera and FF Cerda. At that time, I ask all of our on-duty personnel to lower their heads and recognize the USFS firefighters. My heartfelt feelings of loss go out to the families of the lost firefighters and to the USFS family. Our lasting feelings will always be with the surviving firefighters, the families who incurred the losses and all of the USFS family.

Thank you very much.

10/25 unreported incidents:


In the statement, "Incidents that occur on fires in R6 don't seem to be reported as much..." this was in reference to incidents on fires which occurred but which were not reported, slightly different than what you were writing about. And excellent job for those FLAs which were cranked out! However, what about the incidents which did not get reported initially beyond a small group of people on the forest? And then it took a while for word of it to make its way out to the adjacent forests. Thank you for pushing this matter. It really should be made public and I hope that those involved with it do what is right. Especially since you have made it clear that they have your support. We all know that situations such as these are probably not isolated events. From what I am hearing it is going to be brought into the spotlight soon, even though the secret is over a year old and the engine is in service.

Thank you for the good work!


10/25 re wildland trucks:

For Gentleman in Texas

Since it appears that he is asking questions about some potential state issues I would suggest he contact the Texas Forest Service in Lufkin with his questions. They should be able to answer his questions.


Good idea: http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu Ab.

10/24 Truck Questions

What type of equipment is required for a wildland brush truck that is a part of a volunteer fire dept?

Is there any equipment that is mandatory for a wildland fire dept?

Should any structure equipment be on a wildland truck?

What equipment should be on any volunteer fire dept truck?

Where do we find this information for wildland trucks, tenders.

Who is responsible for truck inspections of a volunteer fire dept in Texas

Will you be able to email the answers since I do not have internet all the time?


I'll email any answers. Ab.

10/24 Awesome Science fair project modeling fire spread

This is a 9th grader's email to Charlie Fitzpatrick of ESRI (Manager of the GIS in Schools Program) from Maya Patel, a Texas student, posted with permission from Maya and her parents. Quite an accomplishment! Congratulations, Maya.


Subject: ESRI Plenary Session

Mr. Fitzpatrick,

My name is Maya Patel and I am currently a 9th grade student at the Academy of Science and Technology at the Woodlands College Park High School in Texas. I have seen videos of high school students talking at your plenary sessions and I was wondering if I could present my research at the next ESRI User Conference. Last year when I was in 8th grade I did a science fair project using GIS to predict where a wildfire would spread to. I created a model to predict where the fire was going to spread to and I tested it out using the Bastrop County Wildfire of 2011. I have attached an abstract of my project along with some visuals. I would be honored to present my project at your conference.

Also with this science fair project I won first place at my district fair and advanced to the Houston Science and Engineering Fair where I was awarded first place in my category (Earth/Space Science), along with the American Meteorological Society's first place award and the Physical Sciences Grand Award. This let me advance onto the Texas State Science Fair where I was awarded second place in my category (Earth Science) and a nomination to apply for the Broadcom MASTERS Science competition. I decided to apply and and many essays later I hit the submit button. Over 60,000 junior high students in the country were eligible for this nomination and from that only 6,000 were nominated. From these 6000, 300 semi-finalist were chosen and then 30 finalist. I was very fortunate to be one of the 30 finalists! This meant I got to travel to Washington D.C. for a week and participate in many science based challenges and present my science fair project. At the end of this week I was awarded the second place mathematics award! I would love to be able to present my science fair project at your 2013 ESRI User Conference plenary session.

Please email or call if you have any questions.

Maya Patel
(Ab snipped the phone number.)

You can read more about these competitions at the following links:

Broadcom MASTERS: www.societyforscience.org/masters

Texas Science and Engineering Fair Winners
Houston Science and Engineering Fair Special Awards
Houston Science and Engineering Fair Top Awards
Houston Science and Engineering Fair Category Awards


From Tom Patterson at ESRI to Maya asking permission to post her email here; permission was granted as evidenced by the email above... Thanks for fostering the next generation, Tom, Charlie and ESRI ! Ab.


I read your great accomplishments with much interest. May we forward your story to www.wildlandfire.com? It is the most popular wildland fire website on the Internet and I know most of the firefighters who read it would enjoy learning all about you. Also, what is your mailing address so we can send you a couple of goodies.

I told the webmaster that if you continue to create GIS solutions for wildfire problems, I wouldn't be surprised if you become a Fire Management Officer in a National Park or National Forest someday.

Way to go, girl!

Tom Patterson
ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist

10/24 [Safetyalerts] New Safety Advisory - SAFENET System Update - Oct 2012

SafetyAlerts - Advisories - Update.pdf

Thanks, we updated the Links page under Safety and put the message on the Hotlist Lessons Learned and Safety Zone. Ab.

10/24 FLAs

They did a very good job on the Pole Creek FLA. I seem to recall a CDF copter using a bucket in Calif. for a similar situation. That may have been the impetus for developing the short haul capability that Cal Fire has.

Now, when will the promised FLA on the North Pass Fire engine burn over/ burn up that occurred on August 28th appear? The 24 hour report is the only documentation so far. Is the D.of D. exempt from this process?

John Barbour, CDF ret.

10/23 A new Always Remember Carl Masterson & Harry Duffy from the Angeles National Forest, 1947 has just been posted.


10/23 FLAs

Hot off the presses,

Please find attached the link to the Lessons Learned Center and the posted FLA for the Pole Creek Bucket Extraction.

This incident has been talked about far and wide. News articles written about it, SAFECOMS submitted, blogs and chat rooms talking about it, etc etc. As we continue to progress in the PNW to true organizational learning and change, Pole Creek FLA offers us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and how we view the outcome of this event. (i.e.: firefighter in a bucket taken out of what was viewed as harm’s way). If we make a conscious effort to read this story from the perspectives of those individuals involved, avoid the hindsight of “I can’t believe he made that decision” and instead focus on looking at, and understanding, HOW the decisions were made and how they made sense to those involved, we give ourselves and the organization the opportunity to truly advance and grow through organizational learning.

Please share: wildfirelessons.net/   Pole Creek Bucket Extraction


Thanks! Ab.

10/23 How are Cody White and his family doing?

I gave the Wildland Firefighter Foundation a call to see if they were helping on the Firefighting Community's behalf. THEY ARE! It's such a relief for family to know someone cares and can offer all kinds of support.

Thank goodness for our safety net! Thanks Vicki and Burk!

Cody is in a burn unit in Seattle. His wife Helen is with him. His 2 1/2 year old son was picked up and is being cared for by a grandmother in NY. An Eldorado hotshot -- who had similar burns to the back of his legs -- is consulting with and supporting Cody and his wife. Thanks JS for that! (Unlike the HS, Cody had no burns to his face.)

The WFF worked on arrangements and is picking up the costs of room and board, etc in Seattle. Thanks Burk! Any financial help to WFF for funding would very much be appreciated! Firefighters, if you have OT funds, consider signing up for a lifetime 52 Club membership. We need to keep our WFF support net in place! It's support in time of need is worth so much more than you can know!

Following healing from the skin grafts, the couple will need to remain in Seattle for a time for follow-up care. The WFF (funded largely by our firefighter community) will continue to help. Ab.

10/23 This came in

NM-Kootenai NF firefighter, Cody White a 26 yr old from Eureka, NM
was extensively burned on a RX burn last Thursday (10/18/12) on the
Rexford RD (Eureka) and is currently at Harbor View Burn Center in
Seattle. WA.

scan of the Tobacco Valley News article (10/19)

10/23 '94 Model 62

Hi all,

I'm looking for an operator's guide and/or manuals for a 1994 Model 62 4x2, built on a Ford 800 chassis by Manning Equipment of Louisville, KY.

It was acquired surplus by a new volunteer department, and has no operations manual, and some of the control panel labeling is missing. Any assistance or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Skunk Ape

10/19 FLAs

Mellie and Frustrated,

I was reading your posts from 10/13 and I would like to clarify a few things in regards to FLAs and accident reporting particularly in R6. If you look at the FLAs that have been done and the regions doing them you will probably notice that R6 produces more than others and a lot of that started here. Right now there are several in the works, Pole Creek, Milepost 66, and several others. Look through the lessons learned website and see some of the ones that have been done in the past such as View Lake and Motherlode fires.

If you guys look closely at the unit identifier for the St Mary's Mission Road fire is WA-COA. That is a BIA unit and reporting is done through them, not R6. BIA usually does their own thing and not necessarily what the rest of the region does in regards to accident reporting and lessons learned. The Wildland fire Lessons Learned Center usually does a pretty good job of reporting incidents as they happen and I believe you can get on a mailing list through them so that as incidents happen you can be updated when things become available. There are no coverups going on in R6 about these things and there are a lot of folks wanting to learn from incidents, it takes time to put a great team together and get things out to the folks on the ground.


10/18 WFF - Combined Federal Campaign:

I just wanted to remind everyone that the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) has once again started. Take a minute to fill out a form and show your support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. For just $2 a pay period (only 20 cents a day that you work) you can join the 52 Club and receive all the goodies that go with it. Of course if you would like to contribute more, that is always welcomed, but this is an easy (and cheap!!) way to help out the families of fallen firefighters.

You can find the forms at your district offices. The WFF’s CFC number is 12544. It has been a busy summer for all you firefighters and support personnel. Spread some of the OT around!!! Give to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. As someone who has received help from the foundation and now works with them, I know how much your help is appreciated.



10/18 North Dakota - Southwest ND town burns to ground in wildfire
West Central Tribune

BUCYRUS, N.D. — Looking like something out of an apocalyptic Hollywood film, much of the small town of Bucyrus was burned to the ground after being swept up in a raging wildfire Wednesday. Aided by winds in excess of 60 mph, a fire estimated by firefighters to be nearly 10 miles long continued to burn into the night in Adams County, swallowing up several homes in its path and causing evacuations and panic. Homes were seen burning or burned to the ground as of 9 p.m., decimating structures and sending residents scrambling. ...


10/17 regarding FPT FPO Qualifications:

Though it is written and required in your description to issue a citation regarding a violation of Federal Regulations and Forest Policies, it is just a small part of your position. The key to preventing writing citations is networking the E.E.E of Prevention.

You should have great knowledge of your assigned area and the public who frequent your unit. In the past I have learned that Educating , Engineering and Enforcing the regulations has limited me from having to write such citations.

On the other hand if you do indeed plan on holding a position of Patrol it is not only required but recommended that you be qualified in the position as a FPO and a FINV, these credentials will only assist you in your pursuit of  being a great Prevention and Patrol Captain.

Wish you the best in your career be safe.

Sincerely, a former Patrol

10/17 Subject: Quesinberry to NIMO from BLUE

Abs – Havent seen this posted yet.

Mike Quesinberry, formerly ICT1 of the Southern Area BLUE Team, is now the IC for the Atlanta NIMO Team.

Tough loss for the Blue Team, good score for the ATL-NIMO, and a win for the fire community overall (IMHO).

A good guy to fight fire with, and for.

And ABS, as always, Thanks for Wildlandfire.com and TheySaid.


10/15 Celebration of life for Matthew Trost:

Saturday, I had the honor of attending the celebration of life for Matthew Trost held at his family’s home here in Southern California.

The parents of Samuel Amaral-Galloway graciously came to support Matt's family and friends.

Ben Goble and Stephen Sewell brought the Ahtanum Hand Crew all the way from Yakima, Wa. Many members of past Rio Hondo Wildland Fire Academy classes came out to show their support. The Angeles National Forest was represented by several engine crews and members of Explorer Post 99. The Rivers and Mountains Conservancy was represented as well.

While this was a somber event it was truly a celebration of Matt's life which included music he had written, funny stories from his childhood and crew members recounting humorous events on fires.

This event was a good reminder of the unseen thread that runs thru the fire community. From a retired Los Angeles County member who first "beat weeds" in 1961 to the youngest member of the Roadrunners who saw his first fire this season, we share a bond forged thru common experiences earned on fires from the deserts of the Southwest to the timber of the Northwest and all points in between.

It was also a reminder of how fragile life can be. How quickly those whom we care about can disappear and how much we need, whether we know it or not, the support of family, friends and coworkers.

I hope all of us will cherish our friends, coworkers and families and let them know how much they mean to us every day and not just in times of need.

As I drove home that night I thought how fortunate I was to have chosen a profession which, even in times of sorrow, comes together to support friends and family.

John R. Bennett
Lead Instructor
Rio Hondo College
Wildland Fire Academy

10/14 Does anyone know the location of the crash site for Tanker 61, that went down in 1992?

In a comment posted this evening on Always Remember Tanker 61, Dave Lane says Chuck Sheridan was his flight instructor and he'd like to locate the crash site to go and pay his respects. Contact info is available there.

Any help would be appreciated.


10/14 El Cariso New Monument Dedication November 3, 2012

I have updated the El Cariso web site to reflect the information about the new monument dedication.

www.norwegianwest.com: El Cariso Hotshots1966


10/14 Thanks very much, ms, for the Forest Service thresholds for investigations and FLAs.

Frustrated, regions do seem to vary in how transparently information is shared. Presumably 24- and 72-hour reports are a national standard across agencies even if no one is injured or dies. I did research the tender rollover on the St Mary's Mission Rd Fire on 10/11/12. I'm thankful no one was injured in either that tender rollover or in the earlier dozer rollover on 10/05/12. The tender was totaled. Don't know if the dozer was totaled. If there are lessons to be learned, I hope the info will be shared with those it could benefit.

There have been fires near our place on the Shasta Trinity NF in R5 where a large piece of equipment had gotten partially tipped and had to be rescued by a large tow truck and another where a dozer had rolled over, injuring the operator. I still feel some anxiety not knowing if the operator recovered... There was one instance during the nor-cal lightning bust fires of 2008 in which a road grader operator hit his head after his equipment started rolling, was transported to the hospital and died 16 days later. In some cases the jurisdiction is the State Highway Patrol, in some cases, FS or another agency. There are lots of timing and protocol (HIPPA) reasons why information may not be publically available. Sometimes if the fire is contained and resources demobe, it's hard to get further information, even if to allay anxieties.

Be safe. Thanks for the sharing on this forum. Thanks to those who replied privately to me about the lack of injuries.


Always Remember Curtis Hillman (norcal, 2008)

10/14 Mellie, although this is a recent R5 letter (not R6), it outlines WO requirements and thresholds for investigations and FLAs.  Hope this helps.


File Code: 6730
Date: May 8, 2012
Route To: (6730-1)
Subject: Rescinding -Interim Protocol for Investigations of Serious Injuries and MVA of On-Duty of Forest Service Employees
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors

In May 2009, the Chief of the Forest Service implemented the Interim Protocol for Investigations of Serious Injuries and Fatalities of On-Duty Forest Service Employees. Shortly thereafter, Region 5 issued a letter of direction requiring more stringent protocols required by the national standard for Serious Accident Investigations. Those protocols prescribed a Regional Serious Accident Investigation anytime the following conditions were present;

  1. On the job fatality, or
  2. On the job injury, in which the employee receives in-patient hospitalization with a substantial risk of fatal consequences, or
  3. Personal property/vehicle damage is $10,000 or more, or
  4. When the Designated Agency Safety and Health Officer – RO (DASHO) and Special Agent in Charge (SAC) initiates the interim protocols.

The above protocol is hereby rescinded.

When an incident meets the criteria below, both Law Enforcement and Investigations and a WO or Regional Serious Accident Investigating Team (SAIT) will conduct investigations with independent processes outlined in the May 2009 protocols.

  1. On the job fatality of a Forest Service employee, or
  2. On the job injury, in which three or more employee receives in-patient hospitalization, or
  3. Personal property/vehicle damage is $250,000 or more, or
  4. When the Regional Forester and Special Agent in Charge (SAC) initiate a regional investigation.

In the event of a Serious Accident, a Regional SAIT will be dispatched. The local unit will initiate an investigation as described in the current Accident Investigation Guide. This includes initiating rescue and medical assistance, securing the site, identifying witnesses, setting up administrative support for the team, and collecting and preserving evidence.

When an incident does not meet the above definitions, the Forest shall initiate a Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) utilizing local or regional personnel, keeping their local Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations informed of the incident.

Should you have any questions, please contact Deputy Regional Forester Jeanne Wade Evans.

/s/ Jeanne Wade Evans (for)
Regional Forester

Enclosures: Accident Investigation Protocol, May 21, 2009


April 17, 2009

Forest Service directives and guidelines regarding the investigation of serious employee injuries and fatalities establish specific roles for the Office of Safety and Occupational Health (OSOH) and Law Enforcement and Investigations (LEI) Staffs. These roles are delineated in the Law Enforcement Manual at Forest Service Manual (FSM) 5303.11, the Service Wide Claims Management Handbook at Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 6509.11h, the 2005 edition of the Accident Investigation Guide, and FSH 6709.12. To ensure that these disparate roles may be fulfilled in independent processes, the following interim guidance is provided:

  1. For every Forest Service accident in which the potential for a claim against the federal government exists, two independent investigations will be performed. LEI will investigate for legal, and claims purposes and OSOH will investigate for accident prevention purposes.
  2. The Special Agent in Charge (SAC) and the appropriate Region/Station/Area Safety Manager will be notified immediately of these incidents and will report them to the Director of LEI, Washington Office, and the Director of OSOH, Washington Office.
  3. The SAC will have priority with respect to access to the accident scene to determine if any violations of criminal statutes may have occurred.
  4. If the SAC determines that one or more criminal violations may have occurred, the Director of LEI or official with delegated authority will assign a criminal investigator to conduct a criminal investigation and will inform the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO) that a criminal investigation will be conducted. The SAC or official with delegated authority will oversee the criminal investigation. The DASHO will assign a Chief Investigator for Safety to work with the SAC or SAC designate to determine whether a safety investigation of the incident is appropriate and can remain independent of the criminal investigation. A safety investigation team (SIT) may or may not be mobilized to perform a full safety investigation. If a safety investigation is performed, the criminal investigation will have priority with respect to access to witnesses.
  5. If the SAC determines that a criminal investigation is not warranted, the SAC will immediately inform the DASHO. The DASHO or official with delegated authority will assign responsibility for a separate safety investigation to the SIT. The SAC or SAC designate will continue investigating for claims or other legal purposes.
  6. Witness statements taken by the SIT will not be disclosed to agency personnel, other than those individuals appointed to the SIT or those involved in supervising or reviewing the work of the SIT, unless a disclosure of criminal activity is made, in which case the SIT will immediately cease its investigation and report the disclosure to LEI.
  7. The Director of LEI or official with delegated authority will assign one or more Special Agents or Law Enforcement Officers to serve strictly as liaisons to the SIT. These agents and officers will not participate in SIT witness interviews or the SIT deliberative process. Duties of the liaisons may include:
    1. Evidence collection and storage and establishment of the chain of custody of evidence;
    2. Preservation of the scene of the injury or fatality; and
    3. Coordination with local law enforcement offices.

In cases involving National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the DASHO will coordinate party status for the Forest Service in the NTSB investigation for the SIT. The SAC or SAC designate will coordinate with NTSB in conducting LEI’s investigation of the incident

10/13 Mellie,

Good question. And of course you are talking about R6, so it's more complicated. Incidents that occur on fires in R6 don't seem to be reported as much as they are here in R4. Here there seems to be a lot more encouragement to get the word out so that hopefully the situation won't be repeated. In other words, hopefully people can learn from the mistakes of others before it happens again.

Sometimes I think R6 makes up its own rules, or at least chooses to follow existing rules the way they want. And there doesn't seem to be a push for change or transparency (or I guess accountability).

And yes it is stressful and frustrating. I have been responsible for bugging a dispatch this season (and I take full responsibility!) in order to get info on an incident within an incident that was never reported. I just wanted to know if a loved one was involved! I didn't need a name, just the type of vehicle! No facilitated learning analysis was ever done. So I guess no lesson was learned by a lot of people. The local forest dispatch knew about it, the coordination center knew about it, but I guess since no one was hurt, it wasn't important enough.

10/13 Some nice inline photos from Casey Judd on a fire on the mountain opposite the FWFSA office yesterday. Sounded like they were going to hook it. Ab.


10/13 WA-Dozer rollover


When there is a dozer rollover as there was on WA-COA-St Mary's Mission Road Fire on 10/5, but there are NO INJURIES, does it get written up in an accident report that's released to the public? Where does someone find that info? Is there a website or a mailing list to join to receive that info to allay concerns?

Is the dozer rollover different than the tender that is reported to have rolled over in the last day or two? Was anyone injured on that accident?

When firefighters know people or have good friends in these positions, it's stressful to have the rumors floating around without knowing the details.


10/12 Re OR Pole Creek Bucket extraction

I have been working in the area of the extraction and it has been burned over. Perhaps there are different definitions of burned over.

I'm not sure if the area of the extraction had crowned, but there were areas to the South and West directly adjacent that were completely torched and these may be what the pilot was concerned about.  The area of the extraction was burned over enough that recent hover drops in the area kicked up clouds of ash, even from over 250 feet. Either the fire had not burned hot enough yet where the firefighter was picked out (a dirty burn) and it burned more thoroughly later, or the helicopter must have been in a total cloud at the low level he must have been at to put the bucket on the ground, if in fact, the firefighter was "in the black".

Also I thought I heard the firefighter say on TAC Freq.  "now I see what you mean".

Great call by the pilot.  The FLA will be interesting.


10/10 Re FPT position:


You may be removed from your position if you can not meet or refuse to meet the criteria within your Position Description or Performance Elements. The R5 FPT position requires you to be FPO and also to "investigate fires." I would assume that means to be INVF qualified as well. Check your PD and see if you are required to have certain quals or are required to perform specific duties. Like any job there may be parts you do not like, but there are a lot of options out there if writing tickets isn't your thing.

McMonkey McBean

10/10 Re FPT position:


You would have to look at your position description it is says "must or shall" have the ability to write citations, then normally you have 90 days to take the Forest Protection Officer (FPO) Class unless otherwise agreed upon by you and the responsible agency administrator. If it it says "may or might" have citation writing authority then it is suggested and not required. It is all in the wording look up the definitions in the dictionary.



10/10 Commentary Sought:

Hi to all,

I'm sure many of you have encountered the well-meaning private citizen trying to protect his/her, or their neighbor's property from wildfires all the while creating havoc for the communication and crew coordination so critical on such incidents.

This summer the Pocatello area suffered a significant wildfire that destroyed 66 homes. During that fire, a politician (go figure) and rancher complained about law enforcement keeping him from helping his neighbors protect their property. Apparently a meeting was held with County Commissioners, the County Sheriff, the "politician/rancher" and a local government fire district Chief. it does not appear the BLM or Forest Service were invited to this "meeting".

This is reminiscent of the incident in 2006 during which former Montana Senator Conrad Burns, in the aftermath of criticisms by his rancher-friends of federal crews precluding them from taking matters into their own hands, publicly criticized a Hotshot crew ( I believe it was the Augusta IHC) at a Montana airport on their way home.

Although I have sent a letter to the politician and a copy to those referenced by the Idaho State Journal who attended the meeting outlining the critical necessity of crew coordination and communication and how unknown or unexpected private citizens on the fire ground could create problems, I'd be delighted to draw on any additional experience and expertise our federal crews have had with this phenomenon. If you have such experiences you'd like to share, please feel free to email me at cjudd@fwfsa.org.

Thanks very much.

Casey Judd
10/10 Re FPT position:


Your question depends on several different factors. I have hired people without their FPO training and certificationAND with the understanding that if they do not pass the FPO training and certification (background check, etc), that they would not be able to retain the position. The PD for the position requires that they (FPTs) be able to issue violation notices when necessary in addition to their other duties. So, if they are not able to write them due to not qualifying, then they can't perform the position duties.

And actually, I don't have the PD right in front of me, however on our forest and district we make it very very clear from the start with everyone we interview that this will be a requirement of the position. We have only come across one situation where someone didn't pass the FPO training and we were able to find another area better suited for this person.

We are not looking for an LEO/"cop", however we ARE looking for someone who can enforce the Code of Federal Regulations which go hand-in-hand with prevention work on the forest.

Hope this helps.

Ye Old FPT

10/10 Re FPT position:


RE: FPTs and FPO cert.

It's not just writing the tickets, it's that the full performance level duties off an GS-7 FPT include being a fully qualified FPO and fire investigator. So, if you can't become an FPO, you can never meet the 'fully successful" in the performance elements for that job, so, you need those quals. Those are also why they are GS-7 and not GS-6 jobs these days.


10/10 Re FPT position:


It may be a requirement of the job in the outreach and announcement. I know that it was for a recreation tech job I was on the panel for. If they are not able to do part of the job, they are out I assume.


10/10 FPT position:

Is it a requirement for an FPT to write tickets ? I heard people are being removed from positions if they are denied FPO status. ?


10/9 The WFF Life Challenge Program gives their sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of those wildland firefighters who have chosen suicide. We are sadden by the wildland firefighters who have committed suicide last month and throughout the years past.

Each day wildland firefighters face new and old challenges that test the physiology of the body which can alter the psychology of the mind. It is okay to admit if you are not feeling right or need help - it is okay to ask for help, and as leaders, we should embrace open dialogue with our employees who are dealing with these life challenges. The mind is a very powerful machine and, if not taken care of, can lead one down the path of the unknown, a lonely path that one can only imagine, leaving others to speculate and doubt the actions of the unknown.

The WFF Life Challenge Program has recently updated their website with helpful information for those wildland firefighters who may be dealing with the demons of life, or for those who have lost a loved one to the unknown. Please visit our site, ask for help and/or help those who are struggling. We all have demons, yet we may not admit that we are struggling as this can be seen as a sign of weakness. It is not a weakness but a sign of self-leadership to understand and know yourself and the challenges you face, day in and day out, now, the past and in the future. For only you know the challenges you face.

Life is precious. One cannot get yesterday back, so reach out and help yourself or help other wildland firefighters in need.

Rest in Peace those forever gone and God Bless the Survivors.

Keep On Keeping On.

10/8 Re OR-Pole Creek Bucket Extraction:

Abs… squelching rumors;

The pilot involved with the “bucket” extraction is not being fired. He’s scheduled to return to his helicopter and crew today. The Forest completed a Facilitated Learning Analysis (I was a team member) which will be available soon at the Lessons Learned Center.


Thanks, man. Ab.

10/7 Re Serious Rappel Accident (non-helicopter related)


UPdate on the rappel accident.

Just learned that there will be an FLA conducted for the rappel incident. A rock, not sure what size (although sources on the scene say it was about "half the size of a soccer ball,") hit the firefighter in the head causing extensive facial and bone damage. Surgery was required and I'm guessing that because there will be more follow-up surgery required as well, possibly plastic surgery.

Apparently OSHA has also been alerted and is doing their own investigation.

I am guessing that because it involves specialized equipment that MTDC will also be involved. I will do some follow-up to see if this is the case, although I know from previous experience that this has been the case with FLAs involving specialized techniques and equipment where MTDC has already done the ground work in the past. MTDC is very involved with the interagency (helicopter) rappel program from both the equipment aspect to the procedures, to the training and refreshing. To not have them involved would be a disservice to all of us who rappel (out of helicopters). Anytime we have an issue with equipment or procedures, they are made aware of it.

Not sure why the FLA has not already been conducted, this happened on the 30th of September. I also learned that this was a State of Oregon fire, not a fed fire. But the crews are fed. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a Forest Service controlled area.

It was tough to get any information out of anyone on this, seemed like people were reluctant to talk about it.

News from the Front

Hotlist thread on the Milepost 66 Fire for location.
Hotlist Question and Discussion thread for additional info and links to articles with photos.
Beautiful there along the Columbia River. Hope the injured firefighter will be OK. Ab.

10/7 Helicopter down but all OK on the OR-71S-23 Mile Marker Fire. Ab.

HOTLIST: 23-Mile-Marker

10/7 Re: Bucket Extraction

There was an FLA done on the Bucket Extraction on OR-Pole Creek fire so we’ll all have to wait and see how that comes out.

Having talked with some of the ground folks, the guy got in the bucket, not because he saw something that put him in danger, but because the urgency in the pilot's voice made him concerned there was something he wasn’t seeing. After being in the bucket and looking, he saw nothing he wasn’t aware of. But he was in the bucket and on the way.

Two days later he and others walked back into the site and recovered his handtool, the area had not been burned over.

Hopefully neither pilot nor ground person have any repercussions from this incident.

Smoke Sniffer

Thanks for the clarification. We look forward to learning from the FLA. Ab.


In response to the question if OWCP will compensate if you get hurt while performing unapproved activity, the answer is yes. OWCP will cover you but the agency does have the right to challenge the claim and if the challenge is upheld, the claim would be denied by OWCP. But in the words of an instructor I had at an OWCP training “stupidity is compensable”. The challenge would need to prove willful misconduct on the part of the injured worker. If any supervisors/managers need guidance on determining if a case can be challenged, Ab knows how to reach me.

WC Advocate
10/5 KR.

This was not a helicopter rappel accident, it was an accident by a USFS engine crew. The firefighter was using an unapproved rappel technique to access smokes within a contained burn on the Milepost 66 Fire on September 30th.

Information hasn't been too available. It is being kept quiet

It brings to mind the issue of risk vs. reward. And in this case the risk to get at a smoke within a burn by rappelling down a steep face was probably not worth the damage caused by a rock to the face of a firefighter. I guess there is a reason that the FS rappellers I've watched wear flight helmets with their faces protected, not to mention all of the other safety precautions and proficiency trainings they perform on a regular basis.

It boggles my mind how we are lectured to over and over about not participating in activities that have a high level of risk and asking ourselves if the risk of the activity is really worth it? Or if maybe losing a few more trees might be a better substitute. I'm sure this person wasn't acting with the permission of his or her supervisors and I hope for a speedy recovery.

Does anyone know if OWCP will compensate you if you get hurt while performing an unapproved (no approved JHA & no permission) activity? Apparently this resulted in a rock to the face and led to broken bones, although I am not sure of the extent of the injuries.

Does anyone familiar with the situation know if there is a need for financial help? If even part of what I have heard is true then this is a really sad situation.

Stay alert everyone, think before you take an unfamiliar step. Listen to your leaders and supervisors who are hopefully giving you good advice.

10/5 Serious Rappel Accident (not helicopter related)

Hello Ab,

I have heard second-hand from a reliable source that there was a rappel accident in Oregon on a fire in the Columbia Gorge, maybe the Milepost 66 fire. Does anyone have any news on the situation? And what the nature of the injury was.

Normally those of us in the helirappel world get the scoop on rappel accidents soon after they occur, so this one snuck up on me and caught me by surprise.

Hopefully someone out there can provide some more information.

Thanks - KR

I heard there was a serious accident on Milepost 66 Fire. Don't know much more. Anyone? Ab.

10/5 Pilot Carries Firefighter To Safety In Helicopter Water Bucket

Pilot Carries Firefighter To Safety In Helicopter Water Bucket

The quick-thinking helicopter pilot working for the U.S. Forest Service may have helped save the life of a firefighter at the Pole Creek Fire last week. According to an after-incident safety report, the firefighter narrowly escaped the flames by clinging to a water bucket strung below the aircraft.

More at the link...

10/5 Dalton IHC 60th anniversary!

My name is Anthony powers an I currently work on Dalton IHC.

In 2013 we will be having our 60 year anniversary and we want to have a reunion.

Location and date are still in the works but it will be in the spring of 2013.

Just a heads up to get the ball rolling would be cool!

Ab Note: You heard the man, HEADS UP on a Dalton IHC Reunion!

10/4 On 8/31/2012 Curious and looking wrote:
Does anybody have a copy of a 1 page story called, I believe, "Firing with the General"?

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

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

Curious and looking...

Here's the response:

Hi Ab,

Finally got it from The General himself, Enjoy.

-One of the lighters

~~~~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~~~~



This firing show started almost a month before on a dusty road in a barren stretch of Nevada that no one ever cared about or will ever care about again, unless there's another fire there. On this day the General was not his usual cheery self, because every Hotshot Crew in the state was gone except two. And these two crews were now stuck in the beautiful chaparral country of the Carson BLM District, knowing full well that all the other R-5 crews were in Montana. This started what would become a 17 day run, averaging 18-19 hour days, while the R-5 crews came home after about 3 days. It was the perfect scenario, a new fire every day or so, not much line construction, a lot of firing. Well we made a lot of money, we were well fed, (this kept the General very happy), and for the most part the crews were having a good time, except for the fact that for this entire 17 day run there were no showers. But I found the General needed something more than a shower, that was a telephone. For you see the General was courting, so we seemed to stop at every available phone booth, but more about that later.

After being released, the crews headed for home and what they thought would at least be a good nights sleep. But the phone rang about 2300 that night, it's something with dispatchers, and we were on the road again. As usual, strike teaming with the General. We headed to the wonderful country around Lake Isabella. There wasn't much firing on this one, just a lot of line cutting in steep terrain with a lot of poison oak. From there we headed to Banning and built a line that basically started no where and ended no where (that's a complete story in it's self). After what amounted to a double shift I had the mistaken thought that some sleep was in order, but after only a few hours of sleep I was rudely awakened by the General. It was 0200 and he had that look. "Let's go" he said, "There's a big fire in Wheeler Gorge". Some how he knew, this was the one we had been waiting for.

After a long drive we pulled into Ojai, it was still dark and the fire was cranking. The General was warm ing up. There was a camp full of kids that needed to be evacuated. While I worried over the evacuation process, and how to move a couple of hundred kids to the local high school, the General worried over finding a good map and a place to start firing from. And he worried about one other small item on his agenda. How long could he fire before he had to leave for his wedding. Yes you see, the General was in a state of bliss. Big firing show and getting married. If he would have had a C-phone in those days, we would have been able to devote all our time to fighting fire. As it was, we all kept our eyes open for a phone booth. When one was found, the General would dutifully phone home. It seemed he was trying to renegotiate the wedding date until after the firing show. I was never sure if he found the map, but he started firing behind the avocado grove. By the time the kids were all transported and I tied in with the General, he was running low on fuel. "Damn hard to fire with only fussees", he said. So I found myself heading to town to try and find a gas station with diesel fuel at O dark thirty.

It was an interesting evening, fire seemed to be burning everywhere, an engine foreman walked around in a daze, his crew worked on without him.; The confusion seemed wide spread, even the General appeared to hesitate. Th, and fortunately sometime before noon, a briefing of sorts was given. With a plan in the works we started firing behind the residences of Ojai. We used a portable pump to knock down the hot spots, going from one swimming pool to the next. It was so hot that day and the pools looked really inviting.

And speaking of inviting, a woman invited the General and myself in to her home and proceeded to make ice cold lemon aid. The General asked if he could use the rest room and was shown the way down the hall. Back in the kitchen the ice cold lemon aid was done and I waited for the General to finish his business, when the most amazing sound either I or the woman had ever heard came from the direction of the bathroom. She had a stunned look on her face when the General reappeared looking pleased with himself, took the cold drink and out the door we went. She could probably hear him laughing over the sound of the saws as we cut through her backyard fence.

The days seemed to fade and I don't recall all the events of the next several days except that we didn't cut much line and we fired a lot of country. It was during this period of time that the General started watching his watch. It almost seemed he was obsessed with what time it was. Well he walks up to me and his foreman and says, I've got to go, If I leave now I can just make the wedding. So for a moment we stood and watched him drive away, only to see him a day later. And so that's how the General ended up spending his honeymoon with me. And it started a pattern where I spent nine of the next ten wedding anniversaries with the General, usually involved in a good firing operation.

The one thing I do remember is the I.C. being pretty damn mad when he saw us in camp and wanted to know what was up. The General explained that it wasn't for himself, but the crew had to eat sometime. And with directions from the I.C., we headed back out doing our best to institute portal to portal pay. Even on this fire there were some bean counters and they got wind of the time we were turning in, the word went out, get these crews back to camp for some rest. Instead of going back to Soul Camp, we headed in to Carpenteria and worked out of there for several days and as the posse closed in, we headed over the mountains and stayed at Pendola for a day. Finally running out of tricks and drivers that could keep their eyes open, we headed back to Soul Camp and went off the clock.

When the sun came up, the crews were more or less rested, we attended a real briefing and got a map with a plan. Fire Highway 33!

It was a hot day with a mild wind at our backs, favorable conditions. The General had that certain look, we were going to make the evening news. We started out fast as the General usually does, fussees, drip torches, very pistols even a torch in the air. I've seen him fire fast to build up heat, I've seen him fire fast when the holders could barely hold on, today he just fired fast, just because. We fired miles of road, the crews' feet were burning from the heat of the pavement. This time the holders had to struggle just to keep up and there weren't even any spots to deal with.

As the day progressed and there wasn't too much holding to be done, the General had me scout out in front a ways to check the lay of the land. I encountered a strike team of state engines and wondered about the wisdom of deploying in front of a firing show, but the attitude of the strike team leader allowed me forget my concern in a hurry. In a gruff and impatient manner he wanted to know who was in charge. I pointed to the approaching smoke column and said the firing boss was at the base of that column and it was going to get pretty hot here in a few minutes. There was no verbal reply, you could see his disdain in the look on his face. I saw him a little while later. The engines in his strike team had drooping red lights, blistered decals on the doors, and melted tail light lenses. All I said to him was, "you should have moved your trucks". The General came by and the two of them had a lively discussion, I don't recall seeing either the strike team leader or his strike team again.

The lunch hour found us at a small road side store. Sack lunches were going down good with cold sodas. More 25mm ammo was being pulled from the trucks, drip torches were topped off, and shirts were stuffed with fussees. They were a grim and dirty bunch but they all had a certain look in their eyes. Damn it just doesn't get any better than this. When completely by surprise, a radio call from Operations to the General, gets everyone's attention. A "Firing Specialist" is due any minute to take over the firing show. Well after several days, a "Firing Specialist" is just about the only thing we don't need. But to everyone's surprise, the General sounds polite and courteous in his response to Ops. And sure enough, before we got started up again, a truck appears.

Three guys step out with their round metal hats and Filson vests. And one is different than the rest, he has a certain air about him, a swagger to his step. This is the "Firing Specialist". He eyes the General and knows immediately who he is. He walks over with a confident look in his eye, doing his best John Wayne. Two gun slinger's meeting at high noon in the middle of Highway 33. The General says in a pleasant voice, "We were just getting ready to fire up again, what can we do to help?" Something didn't seem right, so I thought I'd stay close to see what developed.

The General looks at the crews with pistols, fussees, and drip torches, and asked the Firing Specialist what he had to fire with. "Well", he replies, I've got a case of fussees". So the General tells him to light them up and we'd follow in behind holding. The Firing Specialist dropped the case of fussees and bent over to open it up, when the General pulled two (I wish I could say pearl handled) very pistols from his belt. He cocked and fired two rounds over the Firing Specialist's head and yelled to the crews, "lets go". Well as I looked back, I was laughing so hard I could barely walk, I saw the Firing Specialist holding his ringing ears with a look of astonishment on his face. He'd lost the showdown in the middle of Highway 33.

Some days later, the General was holding court at his favorite place in fire camp, the dinner table. The I.C. appeared and had a laugh or two with him and commented that it was the biggest burn out he'd ever been involved in. Well the General thought this over for a second or two and said, "you ain't seen nothing yet". And you know as the fire seasons developed over the next ten years, he was right.

One of the holders
Greg A. Keller -

I have the original pdf but it's very large. I'm willing to email it... Ab.

10/4 Some good information  here! Ab.

Information on Forest Service positions

A majority of the Forest Service Fire OCR’s will be posted during this month on the USAjobs website. They will not all open at once but by specialty as they are ready to post. We are concentrating on the positions that are filled in high volumes to open first.

Since this is a new system for posting jobs within the Forest Service, we expect there may be problems initially. As they are identified, they are being sent to our developer to resolve. Please be patient at this time since some of the problems cannot be fixed immediately. If that is the case, we may have to shut down the vacancy until the problem can be resolved.

If you have any problems with a Forest Service vacancy in USAjobs, please call 877-372-7248 Option 2 and report this through our Contact Center. Let them know that it is a Fire position and the announcement you were trying to apply to.

employment/permfire.php (internal FS web)

ASC-HRM Staffing
National Fire Team

10/3 There's an interesting SAFECOM link that originalab posted on the hotlist discussion section yesterday. Thanks to those who sent it in to the Ab account. Appreciate it.

OR-DEF-Pole Creek --Firefighter extracted in helicopter’s bucket:
Link to Safecom Incident - Tracking #12-1122

It may be easier to read here; HOTLIST: Pole-Creek


10/3 I posted Pennsylvania Crew 6 in California 2012 on the Handcrews 29 photo page.

Thanks, Michael. Welcome Crew 6. Ab.

10/3 El Cariso Guys:

In the Fall of 2010 I requested everyone send me their home phone and cell phone numbers to share with other El Cariso Hot Shots. This came in very handy when we met that Friday at the Overlook and at the California Wildland Firefighter's Memorial, as well as attending the Little T Reunion on Saturday. Since people's cell phone numbers seem to change frequently, my information is over 2 years old!If I have missed anyone, and you have their email address, please forward this email to them.

If you are planning on attending the November 3, El Cariso Hot Shots memorial dedication and/or the reunion planned for Friday, November 2, 2012, please send me your contact phone numbers.

Would you please email me your home phone and cell phone numbers, and I will compile a list and send to everyone. This will only be shared with El Cariso folks. Thank You.

David S. Westley
Home: 479-996-6022

10/2 Re: The (IWP) incident with potential -- involving the lead plane with the MAFFS accident on 7/1/2012


Yeah, thanks, I stand corrected. It was probably a severe downdraft as reported in many news articles. "The US Forest Service says a plane flying just ahead of the C-130 encountered a severe downdraft."

I think investigations are needed as speedily as possible so lessons can be learned. I also doubt there will be the speed you want, given interagency circumstances and past investigations. Hope I'm wrong. As far as placing blame, I agree. It should have no part in this.


10/2 This message came to all Forest Service employees from Secretary Vilsack, I have a question for the Secretary. Do you want your Firefighters from the Forest Service to fight fire? If so, we need to travel, train, supply and equip ourselves. With that said, do you have any additional guidance or questions or updates for us?

So Cal Ridges


Dear USDA Employees,

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the status of the Department’s funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 which begins today, October 1, 2012, and issues raised by a potential sequestration on January 2, 2013. In addition I would like to briefly address the failure by Congress to act on comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs legislation or an extension of programs authorized under the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

In February, 2012 the President released the Administration’s proposed budget for FY 2013. As you likely know, to date Congress has not passed any full year appropriations bills that fund Federal agencies for FY 2013. However, on September 22, the Senate approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) previously passed by the House which provides funding for the Federal government through March 27, 2013. The President signed it on September 28. The CR provides funding for most Department programs to continue at a level that is equivalent to 0.6 percent above the amount provided for in FY 2012. Entitlement programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are funded under the CR at a rate that maintains current program levels.

Despite enactment of the CR, there is a significant level of uncertainty surrounding funding levels that will ultimately be provided for the Department’s activities during FY 2013. This is due in part to the potential for an across-the-board reduction, known as a sequestration, under terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Absent further Congressional action, a sequestration will occur on January 2, 2013. It is estimated that a sequestration would reduce the Department’s budget by more than $3 billion in FY 2013 alone.

To add to this uncertainty, Congress has not taken action to pass multiyear, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs legislation. Beginning today, the authority or funding provided under the 2008 Farm Bill for USDA to operate a number of programs has expired, and the authority and funding for additional programs will expire over the coming months. Not only does this create uncertainty in terms of USDA programs, it leaves thousands of farming families exposed at a time when U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years.

With the uncertainties of final Congressional action on the Department’s FY 2013 budget request and the sequestration, it is critical that all offices and individuals remain vigilant to ensure that there are absolutely no unnecessary expenses by USDA offices.

Because of your efforts, USDA has been a leader in saving taxpayers’ dollars through the Blueprint for Stronger Service and the Administrative Solutions Project. This includes a reduction to USDA’s travel expenses alone by approximately 45 percent in 2012 from 2010 levels, a highly commendable effort. We must continue these efforts to operate at the minimum level necessary to deliver critical services, while maintaining the flexibility that could be needed to absorb further potential cuts later in the fiscal year. I expect that your work to reduce operational expenses such as contracts, travel, supplies and conferences will continue throughout FY 2013.

I am confident that all of us will continue to deliver historic results and outstanding service to the American people at this critical time, even with significant uncertainty and under these fiscal constraints. I will continue to update you on Congressional actions as they occur regarding funding for the Department for FY 2013, the possibility of a sequestration and the status of USDA’s authorizing legislation. In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for your continued service to the Department and the American people.

Secretary Tom Vilsack

Re: The (IWP) incident with potential -- involving the lead plane with the MAFFS accident on 7/1/201:


I think your first statement is one of the problems within this industry now. Why is it that an investigation is seen as a bad thing? While I agree that 30 Mile and Cramer have tainted the utility of an investigation, in this case it's completely different. It is true that this was a USAF accident, and thus was investigated by them. But the IWP is independent of that accident. As for the NTSB, they have no legal authority to place blame on any individual involved in any accident they investigate. Their mandate is simply to find “cause”, not “blame”. The USAF follows the same mandate. You mention the time frame needed to compile a final report. This is true, but there are preliminary reports that are released to industry and the public, especially when the findings, therein, will immediately and judiciously inform those that have the same mission or fly the same equipment as that in a particular accident or incident.

An IWP report would in no way, morally or legally, be an issue here. As was stated, there has been no report of any kind since the incident. There hasn’t even been a SAFECOM posted about the incident. Again, the IWP is independent of the accident investigation, as the ASM did not have an accident. The learning does not have to be a result of the C-130 accident. There is a learning moment from the incident with the ASM. That is what the original question was posted for.

You mention wind shear twice. Where did you get that information? Even if it was wind shear, which we have no reliable source that it was, are we really supposed to chock that up to an act of nature? Wasn’t the Storm King Mountain blow-up an act of nature? Wasn’t 30 Mile an act of nature? SA and LCES are just important to aviators as to ground firefighters. There is no room for chocking it up to acts of God. And, finally, you ask the question,

“Do "Lessons Learned" suffer? Possibly, but only if another Lead plane/airtanker/MAFFS goes down due to wind shear in similar circumstances.” I’m not sure how to respond to that. Since we don’t know the circumstances, how can we expect another lead plane/airtanker/MAFFS to have the information to avoid those circumstances?

But then you go on to use the cliché of stating that all those involved would benefit from a “slide in their slide tray”. That is why a report is important. That’s why blame should not be a part of an investigation. Others might learn from others’ mistakes, or experiences. That is all that the original question from M@2X4 asked. Why 4 months later, have we not heard anything about this Incident.


10/2 Re: The (IWP) incident with potential -- involving the lead plane with the MAFFS accident on 7/1/2012

I may be wrong but as I understand it, any investigation that could possibly result in criminal charges being brought against an individual must precede a Lessons Learned investigation (eg, IWP), so as not to violate a person's basic, constitutionally-stated right against self-incrimination (if the first investigation turns out that way).

The Air Force (DoD) has jurisdiction over the MAFFS accident and is conducting its investigation. Investigators probably want to thoroughly understand all possible latent and direct causes of the accident and implications and mitigations for future involvement, if any. Recommendations are a part of the report.

MAFFS is a joint DoD and (DoA) USFS program. The Aerial Supervision (DoI). At least three agencies are involved, and probably all their lawyer/advisors as well (DoJ).

Re: the Lead plane Incident. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that the investigation of the MAFFS or the Lead Plane would find human wrongdoing. Wind shear is more an abrupt "act of nature" than human error. However, the probable legal thinking is that the Air Force investigation comes first, followed by the IWP for Lessons Learned. Regarding timeframe, for comparison: In investigations where NTSB is lead investigator, the investigation routinely takes a year or more... A related IWP probably would not come out until after the NTSB investigation. It's unlikely we'll see the results of any investigation until next summer.

I might be speaking to the choir here - M@2x4 - but this couldn't be more complicated in terms of agency involvement than it is and time moves slowly when we'd like answers. Do "Lessons Learned" suffer? Possibly, but only if another Lead plane/airtanker/MAFFS goes down due to wind shear in similar circumstances.

Lead plane and MAFFS personnel would benefit from a "slide in their slide-tray" regarding the cause of the MAFFS accident and the Lead plane near miss in SD this summer.


Always Remember our FOUR Air Force aviators who died on 7/1/12.

If anyone knows how the two injured airmen from North Carolina are doing, please let us know. No names or details, in general would be appreciated. Ab.

10/2 The (IWP) incident with potential -- involving the lead plane with the MAFFS accident

Over two weeks ago (9/15), our group at M@2X4
posted a message regarding the MAFFS accident that occurred this Fire season. As tragic as this accident was, it is even more disheartening that there has been no follow up information regarding the accident and or the Lead aircraft that also had reported problems. No 72hr report, no Safe Com, no pending post crash investigation, no lessons learned from the Lead, and more importantly, no news on the survivors of the MAFFS crew. Are we to assume since Fire season is over, that so are the lessons learned that many others could have learned from?

Tragic? Yes it is.


10/2 Tourniquet will save a life and a limb:

Good job on bringing this topic up. This incident is a story to tell and learn from.

As an EMT/IC during critical medical emergencies such as this I have found offering foot powder to responders is very beneficial. It provides that soothing feeling to their hot and sweaty feet plus it keeps me out to the way of the primary care givers.

Since this event I have added a tourniquet to both my work and personal Trauma kits.
Never leave home without it.

Dan Kleinman
Operations Section Chief
National Incident Management Organization

10/2 Tourniquet will save a life and a limb:

Hello everyone,

In the interest of trying to continue the mission of providing all wildland firefighters as well as those wildland firefighters who are also EMRs, EMTs, and Paramedics an opportunity to receive free continuing education that is not only free but can in-turn help save the life of a co-worker, I have attached a recent article that I feel provides great knowledge.

Tourniquets for a long time were considered as a last resort in the treatment of arterial bleeding. Now that is changing. Having used tourniquets multiple times in Iraq as well as Israeli Dressings and Combat Gauze, they are now items that SHOULD be a standard in every 10 man first aid kit, chainsaw kit and saw team, and line EMS providers. I have yet to see that standard being met. It is getting there, but we are not there yet.

While at the Custer Command and Mobilization Center this year in Custer, SD, wildland fire personnel saw the importance of not only having the devices readily available but also the proper training in how, why, and when to use them can make a critical difference. Because even in fire camp, personnel get hurt and time is life when there is arterial bleeding. I will save a full description of the situation at a later date.

Again, I have attached an article as it relates to the use of a tourniquet. This can be read and logged into your excel spreadsheet under "self-study". If your EMS/wildland fire training officer creates a test for the article, then it can be given a listing under the mandated training. Below is the article.

Rollover crash almost costs driver his life

If you have any questions about styles, costs, and/or where to purchase them often at a discounted rate, please fee free to get ahold of me.

Until next time...stay classy.

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic

10/2 From the Hotlist.

Nation - National wildfire teams seek members as federal workforce ages


-- The Associated Press -- Officials with the National Interagency Fire Center are studying ways to boost recruitment for the teams that manage wildfires and other disasters. A shrinking and aging federal workforce, combined with the personal and professional rigors of serving on a team that manages large wildfires and other disasters, is expected to make it more and more difficult to recruit members of incident management teams. "It's hard on families and...


10/1 Remembering Evelyn Janette Brenner, 6 years later

It was six years ago today that we lost a dear friend and co-worker, Evelyn Janette Brenner. Evelyn was taken from us way too soon and is sincerely missed. My heart goes out to Evelyn's family, and she will never be forgotten. For those of you that knew Evelyn, you know what a beautiful person she was, and how much fun she was to work with. Please take some time out of your day today and think of Evelyn.


A Memorial Page for Evelyn that Original Ab made after her death.

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