December, 2012

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12/31 Best wishes for a happy new year, East Coasters!
Happy New Year: New Orleans, Tennessee and Central USA. Ab.
12/31 An agreement surrounding the Fiscal Cliff has been reached between the different parties in Congress and Obama/Biden even if not voted on in the congressional bodies yet. Hopefully this will work without too many holdups. Ab.
12/31 New Year's Resolution... Cleaning out a closet or two...

What would the masses suggest I do with all of my old fire shirts, both from incidents as well as from forests and districts I've managed to collect since 1981?

I'm not going to take them to the Salvation Army or similar stores since I don't think it's right to have agency labels on random people.

I guess I could make a quilt, however I don't do quilting. I hate to think of throwing them away, since it's just wasteful.

Oh, and I have enough rags already.

I'm looking forward to the suggestions!

Signed: Not Shirtless

Hotlist thread

12/31 According to CNN, the US House of Representatives has adjourned and will not vote this evening or tonight.

We're going over the Fiscal Cliff. They promise to get together tomorrow...


12/30 Fiscal cliff puts Forest Service funding on chopping block

Congress is in the middle of tough negotiations this weekend to avoid a fiscal cliff that looms at the first of the year. If an agreement isn't achieved, hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases, and hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to government programs and services, will go into effect. Among them are the Agriculture Department and the Forest Service. On the chopping block may be programs such as the fight against pine beetles and wildfire suppression.

Cuts to the Agriculture Department, which includes the Forest Service, will total 110 billion dollars if the fiscal-cliff budget agreement, formulated a year and a half ago, is not modified by next Tuesday. The agreement does not specify programs that must be cut. But it does list cuts by department according to percentages that the fiscal cliff agreement specifies... More

12/30 Hello everyone and happy new year to all!

I recently had a knee surgery that puts me out for anywhere from 9-18 months. I am back at work working light duty with a modified job tasks and which went through ASC Workmans comp specialist but no actually job duties. My position is still the same but modified, and now my employer is advertising my position as a NTE 1 year with the option to fill after one year. If I am still in my position is that even possible? If they are going to detail my position, don't I have to vacate first and then put me into a different position that is less arduous? This Workman's comp stuff is so confusing and the case manager doesn't seem to know either because that's a staffing question. I guess another ticket is in order. Any suggestions?



12/29 Some answers to the helitack list question. Ab.

A list is being formed oh the hotlist: Current Helitack Crews

12/28 For the person asking on 11/29/12 if there was a Job Hazards Analysis for an Obstacle Course,

Hey JT, I came across this while revising links on the Acronyms page.

Here's the doc that was recommended in 2005 by Ann Baker who was Safety Officer for the FS Northern Region "Job Hazard Analysis Guidelines" 1980 (rtf format). Existing JHAs were alphabetized by the Forest Service and placed into 2 categories. The links are no longer viable.

  1. New JHAs - JHAs received after the release of the 12/1/99 Health and Safety Code Handbook and Forest Service
  2. Pre-2000 JHAs - JHAs received prior to the release of the 12/1/99 Health and Safety Code Handbook.

Looks like new JHAs were being made at that time. Apparently they already had JHAs for blasting, encountering hostile people, falling objects and encountering a marijuana garden, to name a few...

INTRODUCTION to the 1980 paper

The job hazard analysis process is the heart of a proactive occupational safety and health program.

Properly applied, this process insures that safety and health of employees is fully considered during the planning stages of a project of activity. Each potential hazard is considered; and procedures that will insure that employees are not exposed to that hazard in a way that could cause harm are established and implemented prior to beginning work on the project.

To be properly understood and implemented, the job hazard analysis should be viewed as a problem-solving process. The problem is defined in terms of hazards which may be encountered by employees when they perform tasks involved in the project under consideration. The solution is a set of actions which creates a safe work environment and establishes safe work procedures, and which is feasible and implementable given the constraints and opportunities associated with that project.

A safe work environment and safe work procedures are essential outputs and integral to any project or activity. They are as important as more commonly recognized outputs, such as contracts administered, habitat enhanced, and plans produced, etc. Providing for a safe work environment and safe work procedures requires similar planning activities as those which ensure the other project outputs are accomplished and standards are met. Such activities include reconnaissance, obtaining input from specialists and customers, cost projections, consideration of alternatives, and all the other problem-solving procedures that are central to our resource management decision-making process.

This process provides the format for building safety into every project. Conducting and documenting a job hazard analysis prior to beginning work on a project or research study has been a Forest Service requirement for over 20 years. Properly understood and implemented, a job hazard analysis is a powerful tool to insure that work is conducted safely. However, when it is not understood or properly implemented, it is often treated as a meaningless bureaucratic requirement. In fact, many employees don't even view a job hazard analysis as a process, but think of it as a form that has to be filled out!

The best job hazard analyses are those that are focused, complete, clearly documented, communicated to employees, and implemented. The purpose of these guidelines is to help make that happen.

JT, Maybe you should create a JHA for an Obstacle Course if no one seems to have one specifically for that. The Risk Management folks at NIFC or Safety Officer on your Forest or Unit might be a good person to ask.



From the Reno Gazette Journal:

Volunteers toughen up orphaned bobcat kitten who's too nice after wildfire rescue

12/27 Someone asked if there's a list of current helitack crews. Anyone know?


PS Ab, I was just working on Always Remember, adding a few things and noticed how the counter has jumped in the last few weeks:
A little prayer for all those who lost a firefighter and who have visited Always Remember this holiday season. We LOVE  all of you!  mellie

12/27 Hello all,

As the year comes to a close, there are numerous things on the EMS plate I would like to get out to everyone and anyone that has the potential of caring for one of our own or even their own family, friend, or just the general public.

I have attached a number of hotlinks to articles that are, I feel, important to what we do no matter your EMS certification or licensure level. As a Professional Wildland Firefighter or other government employee who supervises, I encourage you to share these with all you see fit. Again and as always, for those who are certified or licensed medical providers, please make sure you discuss with your training officer or medical director how you can log the reading as hours for re-certification/licensure.

From Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) December 2012 ed.

Burns: we in the wildland fire world this summer had a number of individuals that experienced burns, especially on BLM Fires: Cool the Burn

Burn injuries require quick identification, treatment and transport

IV Fluid Therapy: another summer of septic shock, rhabdo, heat related illness, and severe laceration trauma: Drowning in Care

Studies analyze prehospital iv fluid use on shock patients

Seizures: it seems like I see one of these every summer from seizure history patients that are firefighters to camp help to kitchen crew: Sudden Attack

Know differences between seizures, epilepsy and mimics

Have a safe, happy, and festive New Year start for 2013.

Bill Arsenault

Thanks Bill, very informative and useful, as always. Ab.

12/27 PFT 0462-08/09 Supervisory Forestry Technician (District AFMO) Outreach/Announcement on Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District

Siskiyou Mountains RD AFMO.doc

12/26 Old 1916 Firefighting Manual from  District 5, is that Region 5?

I found this while dumping my "temp" computer files last week. I did find it here on theysaid from last May, 2012: Headley, Roy. 1916. Fire Suppression, Dist 5. USFS. 57 pages. (556 K pdf)  Interesting to browse if you're into firefighting history.

Does anyone know how a "Sprout" is defined on the "Terms Used in Firefighting" list? Never heard that one before. Wonder when they quit using it. Here it is from p 56:

SPROUT – A rapid running fire, shooting sprout-like from the rear or sides of the main fire; usually burning parallel or nearly parallel to the main fire. Most common on steep hillsides and in brush fires.




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From the Abs at wildlandfire.com
Hug your families! Celebration and joy!

12/24 To all on Christmas Eve,

As I drove into town this evening to pick up my grandkids to spend the night through the quiet solitude & serenity of a snowfall in the mountains of Southeast Idaho, the peacefulness belied the tremendous, and often overwhelming heartache and uncertainty for all of us that the end of 2012 has brought, not only here in America but abroad.

For those of us with elementary school age children and even grandchildren, the expectation of a joyous Holiday and New Year are tempered. That said, I find myself comforted by a sense of immense appreciation and thanks to so many of you for the opportunity to be a part of the wildland firefighting community and for the honor to represent so many of you.

It is my heartfelt hope that as we all grapple with the realities of the world, peace and happiness, and a vision of a happier New Year find their way into your homes this Christmas Eve. Thanks to all of you for what you do.

With deepest respect and gratitude,

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
12/24 Big OSO good work

Good Work, that is Good Stuff, thank you from IDAHO. God Bless all, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.


12/24 2012 Big Bear Hotshots Bikes given to Baldwin Lane Elementary

The Big Bear Hotshots keep this annual tradition going as they gave 24 new bikes to children at Baldwin Lane Elementary in Big Bear. They have raised money from their current firefighters during the fire season. The feeling of giving back to our community is fulfilling. This year's selection was Baldwin Lane Elementary students who met the criteria of good citizenship, grades and attendance.

The kids were surprised and very happy to receive this gift from us. Thanks to all Big Bear Hotshots past and present for this honorable tradition. -

Captain Jesse Montijo

Photo 1 and Photo 2

Nice! I added them to the Handcrews 29 photo page. Ab.

12/21 Subject: Petition Response: Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012
Reply-To: The White House < info@messages.whitehouse.gov >

Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012

By John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management

Thank you for using We the People. Since you expressed interest in this issue, I want to make sure you are aware that earlier today, President Obama issued an executive order that all executive branch departments and agencies of the federal government will be closed on Monday, December 24, 2012 and their employees excused from duty.

The full text of the order is below. Learn more at http://opm.gov.

Executive Order: Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012

- - - - - - -


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2012, the day before Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.

Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2012, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.

Sec. 3. Monday, December 24, 2012, shall be considered as falling within the scope of Executive Order 11582 of February 11, 1971, and of 5 U.S.C. 5546 and 6103(b) and other similar statutes insofar as they relate to the pay and leave of employees of the United States.

Sec. 4. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall take such actions as may be necessary to implement this order.

Sec. 5. General Provisions.

  • (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
  • (b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
    • (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
    • (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
  • (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


Learn more about the Office of Personnel Management.
Tell us what you think about this response and We the People
Stay Connected

Stay connected to the White House by signing up for periodic email updates from President Obama and other senior administration officials.

12/21 Mailroom R5
Sent by: Jeffrey L Desalles/R5/USDAFS
Date: 12/21/2012 10:41 AM
To: pdl r5 ro all@FSNOTES, pdl r5 unit mailrooms@FSNOTES
Subject: Fw: (All Employees) Implications of Ongoing Fiscal Cliff Negotiations


TO: All USDA Employees
FROM: Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary
SUBJECT: Implications of Ongoing Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

As you are all likely aware, the Administration and Congress are continuing to work to resolve a series of economic or fiscal events, collectively referred to as the “fiscal cliff,” that are scheduled to occur around the end of the year. One of the key issues involves potential across-the-board reductions in Federal spending— also known as “sequestration”—which were put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Under current law, these reductions are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013. Many of you have raised questions regarding the impact of a potential sequestration for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and I would like to take a moment to clarify a few things.

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that the Administration remains focused on working with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan that avoids such cuts. Sequestration was never intended to be implemented, and there is no reason why both sides should not be able to come together and prevent this scenario.

Nevertheless, with only a couple of weeks left before sequestration could occur should a deal not be reached, it is important to clarify the potential implications. Let me start by explaining what sequestration is and what it is not. Sequestration is an across-the-board reduction in budgetary resources for all accounts within USDA that have not been exempted by Congress. If it occurs, sequestration will reduce our budgetary resources for the remainder of the fiscal year (which runs through September 30). These cuts, while significant and harmful to our collective mission as an agency, would not necessarily require immediate reductions in spending. Under sequestration, we would still have funds available after January 2, but our overall funding for the remainder of the year would be reduced. Accordingly, this situation is different from other scenarios we have encountered in recent years, such as threats of government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.

For these reasons, I do not expect our day-to-day operations to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2, should sequestration occur. This means that we will not be executing any immediate personnel actions, such as furloughs, on that date. Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future. But let me assure you that we will carefully examine other options to reduce costs within the agency before taking such action, taking into consideration our obligation to execute our core mission. Moreover, if such action proves to be necessary, we would provide affected employees the requisite advance notice before a furlough or other personnel action would occur. We would also immediately cancel any scheduled personnel actions should a deficit reduction agreement be reached that restores our agency funding.

If you have unanswered questions or wish to discuss issues surrounding the potential sequestration, I encourage you to reach out to AGSEC@ocio.usda.gov. And I will do my very best to provide clear information about the status of events as they unfold.

Finally, let me express my gratitude during this holiday season for your continued hard work and dedication to the vital mission of USDA. Your contributions touch people’s lives in many significant ways, and I want you to know how deeply appreciative the President and myself are for all that you do.
12/21 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award Deadline Nears --> December 31, 2012

Know any firefighters who are good mentors? Provide motivation or vision? Initiate or innovate? Now's the time for recognition by nominating them for the Lead by Example Award! (Lead By Example Award nomination form)

The Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award is presented by the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee to remember Paul Gleason's many contributions to the wildland fire community and recognize individuals or groups that exhibit the same spirit and dedication to leadership...those who lead by example. This national recognition will acknowledge those in the wildland fire service who exemplify the wildland fire leadership values and principles.

Nominations will be accepted in three categories:

Mentoring and Teamwork: This award recognizes an individual or group for outstanding effort or accomplishment related to the wildland fire leadership principles of developing others for the future and building the team.

Motivation and Vision: This award recognizes an individual or group for providing inspired vision and clear intent. This could be demonstrated by influencing others to achieve an exceptionally difficult mission or improve the organization.

Initiative and Innovation: This award recognizes an individual or group for executing an outstanding initiative or innovation related to the implementation of the wildland fire leadership development program.

Evaluation of nominees will be based on the following criteria: Demonstration of significant accomplishment in the stated category; alignment with the wildland fire leadership values and principles; and the scope of the accomplishment, considering available resources. Evaluations will be accomplished through a five-member cadre that represent a cross-section of the wildland fire service.

Nominations must be received by December 31st. Selections will be made by January 31st. Awards will be presented in the spring. Presentations will be made by a Leadership Subcommittee member at an appropriate venue for each recipient.

The Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award program will:

Recognize actions associated with wildland fire;
Recognize actions within the last two years;
Recognize individuals or groups at all levels;
Promote the wildland fire leadership values and principles.

Fireleadership.gov Award Website: Lead By Example Award Info

Pam McDonald
Writer/Editor, BLM Fire Training Unit, NIFC
Logistics Coordinator, NWCG Leadership Subcommittee
3833 South Development Avenue
Boise, ID 83705

12/21 2013 Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign


If you wouldn't mind, we have a few items that need some exposure. The campaign launched today.

2013 Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign (471 K pdf)

I will follow up with a note about the Paul Gleason Lead by Example award.


Pam McDonald

12/21 To: NJH

I'm going to be crusty and blunt. Don't take it personally.

Regardless of what you think the aviation crosswalk should be, you are wrong. A DIVS and ASGS are at the same management level in ICS. (period)

Requests from the field were submitted, and after analysis, a decision at the national level was finally made.

Be thankful that another path has been approved for your career in a complex convoluted agency policy.

Jill McCurdy said she would take questions, give her a call at NIFC.

Now back under my rock, it's cold and snowing...


12/21 FEDS Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)
Ab requested the current info from FEDS. Here it is below.

From FEDS to Federal Wildland firefighters:
You are not immune to allegations of wrongdoing no matter how well you think you do your job.

Those who choose careers in civil service have a very difficult time ever foreseeing the need to hire legal counsel to repudiate false allegations, defend an action or inaction, or for guidance through a difficult investigation or lawsuit. You must understand that good firefighting tactics will not protect you from the scope of the criminal and administrative investigations into a firefighting fatality or from the potential for civil lawsuits.

FEDS recommends every line officer, fire management officer, incident commander, and any other employee involved in firefighting or fire/aviation management – including a temporary fire line employee – to be aware of the need for PLI as each could be subject to the full scope of the criminal and administrative investigation into firefighting fatalities. Additional information is available at fedsprotection.com. Enrollment takes less than 5 minutes.
Payroll Deduction is available starting at $12 per month.
FEDS $1,000,000 policy is $290 annually.
FEDS $2,000,000 policy is $390

(Many wildland fire employees -- USFS employees can view eligible positions via our website-- and all managers, supervisors and law enforcement officers are eligible for agency reimbursement up to half the cost.)

There are 3 ways to get FEDS PLI protection today:
• Enroll on-line at www.fedsprotection.com.
• Enroll by mail using this enrollment form.
• Enroll by phone at 866.955.FEDS. (866-955-3337)

12/20 Updated IFPM/FSFPM and Qualifications vs position:

To: M@2X4

I too had to crawl out from under my rock like Curmudgeon to respond. Like you, I do not think ASGS should be the crosswalk on the same line as DIVS. It should be HEB1.

If perusing the aviation path, after completing single resource boss assignments (as a COR no less) an employee works towards managing up to five helicopters/modules and misc. personnel on a helibase as a HEB2, similar (but more complex than a TFLD/STLD). The next step is a limitless (think 20 plus helicopters) helibase as a Helibase Manager Type 1 (HEB1). If you are on the ground ops path, your next step is as a DIVS. So, it is logical that a HEB1 should equate out to Division/Group Supervisor (DIVS). You both have a piece of ground and/or group of resources that can turn out to be a very complex operation. After HEB1 on the aviation path is ASGS. After that is AOBD, who on several overhead teams works directly for the I.C.



12/20 Re applying - Fire Hire:

For everyone working on their apps or those who are putting it off until the last minute, here’s a few lessons learned on the new E Recruit application process:

If you build your resume in USA Jobs, it will be a mess when it transfers to E Recruit. Your supervisor and their contact information will gone and the formatting is shoved together. The solution is to create your resume as a separate document and upload it to USA Jobs when you are given the option to upload a resume. If you have already created your resume in USA Jobs, you can view it, then copy & paste it to a word document, make sure it looks good, then go back into USA Jobs and upload it as a separate document. Make sure you select the right one when you are applying for a position.

There are multiple required documents listed on the fire OCR’s. Unfortunately very few of these will transfer from USA Jobs to E Recruit. Once you are in E Recruit, check to see what you are missing and upload them in E Recruit anywhere it allows you to attach a document. For example, my IQCS Master Record is attached where I would put a DD-214 if I were a Vet. This was actual direction from ASC.

Otherwise, it’s really a very simple process!! Good luck everyone.


12/20 Here's a good resource for the Forest Service hiring process; it's on a Region 4 website (NIFC is located in Boise), but seems to have info useful to FS Fire Hire regardless of region.

from www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r4/: Forest Service Fire and Aviation Hire

Mellie, doing a little updating...


FS Employment
from www.fs.fed.us/fire/people Employment Index.phpl

FS Job openings (info on and links to perm, temp, R4, R5, Job Corps -CCC)
from www.fs.fed.us Openings

How to apply HELP GUIDE (pdf)
from www.fs.usda.gov How to apply - Help Guide (pdf)

Where to apply:
USA Jobs.gov

List of Permanent Fire's OCRs -- open and continuous recruitment
from www.fs.usda.gov Open and Continuous Recruitment (xls file)

Interagency Fire Program Management Qualification Standards (IFPM) Position Crosswalk
from www.fs.fed.us Fire Management IFPM Crosswalk (pdf)

Apprenticeship program: (not for summer seasonal temporary positions)

Veterans outreach program:
FS Jobs - Veterans

12/19 Nationwide Apprentice announcement now open

From: Kinney, Lynda -FS
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 9:36 AM
To: FS-pdl wo ops asc hrm hros; FS-pdl wo ops asc hrm firefighter apprentice coords
Cc: FS-pdl wo ops asc hrm fire employment team all; Newman, Erin -FS
Subject: Nationwide Apprentice announcement now open

The new Nationwide Apprentice announcement is now open in USAjobs. Please distribute this vacancy number throughout your employment channels.

The vacancy number is 13(1)-WFAP-462-3/4/5DP.

Lynda E. Kinney, MSA, PHR
Supervisory Human Resource Specialist
National FIRE TEAM
(Special Projects / Quality / Standardization)
USDA Forest Service

From multiple sources. Ab.

www.wfap.net/ (not for summer seasonal temporary positions)

12/19 Today's Forest Service Fire Hiring:

Today’s hiring is totally different from when I got hired. When I got hired I actually mailed in an application to the district, and the Superintendent looked at my resume, called my references and then offered me a job. I think the from was a SF-71 or something like that.

Now people have their hands in the hiring that have no business doing so. Fire folks may look at your application, and make recommendations, but they do not have a hiring authority! Line officers are the only ones who can hire employees, and that level at last I checked was delegated to the Forest Supervisor. The District Rangers, Forest Supervisors are being held accountable for the hiring and are looking at most applications all the way down to the first year GS-3 firefighter. Most of these people do not have an extensive fire background.

It is what it is, and until it changes we must live with it. But in addition to the crew visits, and the PT, you should take a hard look at your application prior to hitting send. Most line officers are very detailed people, and the when they are reading applications most comments I have heard from them is more is better. I know what a “lead P” on a crew is, but they may not. I know what it takes to be on the 1st saw team, but they don’t. Simply stating that u were on a are the lead p, on the 1st saw team, on the crew, or fought fire does not work for them. In complete sentences with proper grammar explain your job experience(s). The majority of line officers are highly educated, and came up through the ranks as a specialist (oligist), in other words they write and read papers for a living. Believe it or not I have seen a District Ranger circle misspelled words and commas that were in the wrong place on people's job applications. Be careful the worst thing you can do is to cut and paste from the job description in the announcement, yes folks have done that.

Some are going to say that this is not how it works on their Forest, but it is coming more and more common place, and if isn’t how it is done today it probably be that way soon very soon..........

Good Luck

12/18 Re applying - Fire Hire:


Getting your application through the HR rating process is priority on the app side.

Here are a few things I look at on my end of things.

  • Persistence pays off, even if we may sound annoyed when you call. We did the same thing back when we first started, but keep it short and to the point.
  • When you call, have specific things to talk about or mention.
  • If you make a visit, give us a heads up first to make sure we're there. Please, do not bring coffee and donuts. While the gesture is nice, just please don't do this.
  • Be prepared to tell me your goals and how we fit in with this plan. Don't mention I want to be on a IHC because you guys don't do "X" as often. Generalization like this really are not accurate anyways.
  • Why do you want to work on my crew? Honesty pays, even if you just say my goal is to get on any IHC, be straight with us.
  • PT program? Don't say "I run a few miles, push ups, pull ups and situps" as this doesn't cut it. I want specifics, plain and simple.
  • Lastly, how are your references? When was the last time you spoke with them? Have you discussed what they will say about you, or if they support your choice? We rely heavily on what your references say about you. Make sure they know you, your goals and career aspirations. Putting the FMO of the district you worked on may look good on paper, but a title doesn't mean much if they didn't directly supervise you.

Hope that helps some.

IHC, Supt

12/18 Updated IFPM/FSFPM and Qualification vs. Position

To: M@2X4

You got me to crawl out from under my crusty old rock with your post. Is it a question or something else?

What part of the Division/Group Supervisor management level in ICS are you confused about? Dust off that ICS training 3-ring binder, fireline handbook, etc.

What would you suggest for the aviation position in the crosswalk? (hint: equals DIVS)

As for the lowering of standards comment you provided, ask yourself why the FS has a "crosswalk" in the first place.

I'll leave it at that.


12/17 tips for job seekers

This question is for any and all fire folks out there who recruit and/or hire crewmembers. I have worked for the USFS for 3 seasons. Only one was in fire (on a type 2 handcrew) and I am trying to get on a new crew in a new region---family move to a new state. What are some tips you can offer those trying to get on with your crews? I have done all the typical/basic things such as visited many of the ranger districts, called several hiring sups, and of course applied via usajobs.  Just thought I would ask folks who know how the process works and may have some pointers. thanks!


12/17 Qualification vs. Position

"Certain aviation qualifications are now allowed as multiple pathways to meeting the IFPM or FS-FPM selective placement factors for key positions."

ASGS? Out of all the Aviation Quals to use for the crosswalk, they are going to use ASGS?

If all else fails, lower your standards.


12/16 Updated IFPM/FSFPM with Aviation Qualifications added!!!
Making the rounds:

Hello All! Happy Holidays!

Attached is a link to the IFPM website that depicts the updates to “day job” qualifications/prerequisites. You will notice that aviation qualifications have finally been approved as an avenue to further oneself in the fire organization.

Fire management ifpm crosswalk.pdf

For the whole FS IFPM?FSFOM website go to:
Fire management ifpm index.phpl

Any questions give me a call. Thanks!

Jill McCurdy
Branch Chief, Fire & Aviation Training
Boise, ID

12/16 Heroes

As we all know, you don’t need to;

  • - carry a Pulaski
  • - hike fire hose
  • - climb a fire ladder
  • - perform CPR
  • - stand guard in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, or
  • - carry side arm while protecting and serving the community,

to be a hero...........

Newtown Teacher Vicki Soto Remembered

Newtown Victoria Soto died while protecting students


12/15 Another Job


Here is a job announcement for the White River National Forest Wildland Fire Module.

They are a top notch crew and they are in an extremely busy part of the country during fire season.
Please distribute this far and wide.

White River National Forest Wildland Fire Module

All pertinent information is on the attached flier (346 K pdf).

Thanks -


12/14 Please share this benefit the WFF fundraiser with our firefighters:

National Fire Fighter Corp. is offering our Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser Challenge Coins Buy 1 Get 1 Free (2 for $20) Friday December 14 only. 100% of the profits from the sale of these coins will be donated to the WFF.

Coins purchased today will be delivered in time for Christmas.

Thank you for your support!



12/14 Results are out for the partial federal employee survey. Forest Service came out in the bottom 13% nationwide.

When the 13/13's and 18/8's were allowed to participate in the past, Forest Service ranked in the bottom 5%.... I guess that's one way to improve your satisfaction ranking.


Happy Holidays ya'll,

12/13 I just found out this morning that the GS-462-4/5 Helitack permanent position was posted in error. The Forest will not be pulling a referral list for that job. My apologies for getting folks hopes up. The temporary announcement numbers are good for the engine and crew jobs.

Rita Yates
Wildland Firefighter Recruitment Liaison Specialist
Region 5, Regional Office, Civil Rights Staff
Virtual Location: Eldorado National Forest
12/12 Temporary Fire Announcements, they're good across the FS, not just R5.

Region 5 Temp Fire Announcenents (doc)

12/12 Great News!!!! Ab.

Bethany Loomis-Hannah is back! Resume Writing and Updates...

We're Back!
We are excited to announce that Wildland Fire Careers has re-opened operations for a limited time only. We will be accepting projects from now through February. Just enough time to get you through Fire Hire! After February, we will be accepting projects on a per-project basis.

Visit our website today! Wildland Fire Careers

12/12 Re Leave donation for Heather:

Hi Ab!

Could you do me a favor please and let everyone know how much I appreciate all the leave donations. It’s going to be a long road to my transplant and being on dialysis I have good days and bad days so I need all the leave I can get. I just want my fire family to know how much I love and appreciate them!!!! Feeling very thankful and loved.

Thanks, Heather Kantor

Good news! Carry on! Be well! Ab.

12/12 Region 3 Fire Hire Outreach Document - OUTREACH extended to  DECEMBER 31, 2012

Region 3 -- 2013 Fire Hire Outreach 120712.doc

12/12 from the NFFE Forest Service Council for Dec 7, 2012:

Note on Drug Testing for Fire Fighters – The Forest Service now has the approvals it needs to start drug testing for fire fighters. The Union is aware of these plans, but the needed implementation negotiations have not taken place. At a minimum the Agency must comply with the language in Article 43, including:

  • b. Changes to Existing Positions: Management will notify an employee of any change in their TDP status. If an employee’s position is newly included in the random testing program, or if the employee is detailed to a TDP, they are entitled to 30-days written notice prior to being subject to random testing, (not withstanding reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing).

TDP status = Test Designated Position status

12/12 Hey Folks,

Trying to help a friend get perm. appt. We are in R-5 and the pickin's are slim. Can anyone point us in the right direction as to duty locations and contact info to folks OUTSIDE R-5?? even as a PFT employee I am having trouble locating any info besides what's on the Intranet . ANY help would be appreciated as we have some very motivated folks willing to relocate out of region for a shot at a PERM. JOB!!.. Very experienced folks frustrated with the process here in R-5 with multiple seasons on hotshot crews, helitack, and engines, just looking for some info that the other regions are sending out, and if anyone reading this is interested in hiring, some contact info to get the ball rolling!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Sign us

Ready, Willing, and ABLE!!
12/11 Re: our SW firefighter in NZ


(Our SW firefighter) is in intensive care. His brother and sister arrived and admitted him to the hospital immediately. Visitors are prohibited. Hopefully he will survive this, and they will bring him home where he belongs. Please keep him in your prayers. He is a good man.


I'll keep him and his family in my thoughts and prayers. Speedy recovery. Ab.

12/10 Another nice fire logo from North Dakota, the Standing Rock Agency. Thanks! I added it to the  Logo 20 page. Ab.

Here is the current logo for Standing Rock Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs. We are located in south-central North Dakota and north-central South Dakota.

PS. JWC from Cherokee Agency knows where we’re at…


12/9 Thanks to those offering info regarding the firefighter from the SW who is in NZ. Family help is on the way. Ab.
12/6 I found some February 2004 Heavy Helicopter photos that are very nice, quite artistic, from a firefighter in AZ. I posted them  on the Helicopters 30 photo page. Ab.
12/6 Fiscal Cliff and Wildland Fire......

There is a document on the White House website which shows that both the BLM and USFS will face
around 8% cuts to the wildland fire management programs.

from whitehouse.gov, OMB. Legislative Reports Stareport.pdf

Has anyone heard anything from their various agencies about how the fiscal cliff and associated automatic budget cuts will affect next fire season (hiring, operations, etc) if a deal is not reached before the deadline? All of this is hitting at the same time the Fed agencies are ramping up their seasonal hiring in the beginning of 2013 so it could create a huge mess for next season.


12/6 This came in a back in October. Thought you might enjoy it now... Ab.

OK, so this has nothing to do with wildland firefighting but maybe it'll provide a little levity for all of you pooped from a busy season. We got a new kitty...seems his best friend is our green Iguana Iggy. We made a video and put it on YouTube entitled Iggy & Link...check it out and share it.

It's fascinating to see a kitty being a pal to a modern-day dinosaur...


PS Thanks AB for indulging me


12/6 Vandenberg hotshots military deployed to Waldo Canyon in June, 2012. Photos compliments of RES.

HUGE transport. Another interesting way of getting to a fire with your crew buggy. I put them on the Handcrews 29 photo page. Thanks!

Here's another interesting way engines used -- from 2007 -- hovercraft... to the Catalina Island Fire. Ab.

12/6 Photo

I also added a Sierra National Forest Mountain Rest Engine-31 logo to the Logo 20 photo page. Ab.

12/6 Photos:

Here are a couple of unique fire pics from the KS-DOD-Calfex complex. Always something new in fire, that’s one of the things that makes it enjoyable…first time I’d ever had tanks driving through ICP and staging areas, or had to wait to IA a rapidly growing fire because you can’t move past the tanks that are still shooting.

Safety Zone takes on a whole new meaning when the fire is less of a threat than the tanks that caused it!


Thanks, unique and interesting... I put them on the Equipment 18 photo page. Ab.

12/6 Photo:

Attached is our recently designed logo for the BIA-Cherokee Agency Wildland Fire Management program in Cherokee, NC. Your website is great and keep up the good work.


Thanks, very nice. I put it on the Logo 20 page. Ab.

12/6 For KJ

A little reading would reveal Cal Fire didn’t seek this fee, didn’t lobby for it, didn’t support it in any way. Fire Departments all over California have come out against it.


It's clear the governor and legislature passed if due to the fiscal hole California is in. Ab.

12/5 Ab, thanks for keeping it straight,(concerning the advance fee notice received for the CA Fire Prevention Fee.). It reads as follows.. "according to the California Department of Forestry and fire Protection (Cal Fire) you own a property in one of the designated areas and must pay the new California Fire Prevention Fee" you could see how this would lead many of us to come to the conclusion about who is behind this travesty.  Apparently The legislature did pass and the Governor did sign the legislation.  If this (in red) is a misleading statement then I would suggest that Cal Fire somehow make it clear that they are not involved with the "fee." Questions regarding the "fee'  call 888-310-6447  or visit firepreventionfee.org

PS: And I still aint payin!


12/5 NIST and Forest Service Create World's First Hazard Scale for Wildland Fires

Dear Colleague,

Wildfires are growing more and more prevalent as housing developments push into wilderness areas. How bad is the problem? From January to October of this year alone, there have been more than 54,000 wildfires resulting in a staggering toll of destruction: 3.7 million hectares (9.1 million acres) burned. That figure for just 10 months is nearly double the annual average of land lost from wildfires during the period 2002-2011.

Now, thanks to the efforts of two federal agencies, a proactive solution to the tremendous losses from wildfires may be at hand.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have teamed to create the first-ever system for linking accurate assessments of risk from wildland fires to improved building codes, standards and practices that will help communities better resist the threat. The proposed Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Hazard Scale addresses fires that occur where developed and undeveloped areas meet, and is described in a report released today.

The news release from NIST about the report and the new WUI Hazard Scale may be accessed at Wildland Fire Hazard Scale 120512. The images accompanying the release are available on request.

We wanted to alert you about this important and exciting research because we know it will be of great interest to your audience.

For more information or to arrange interviews with the report’s lead authors, Alex Maranghides of the NIST Engineering Laboratory or Ruddy Mell of the USFS, please contact me during business hours Eastern Time at (301) 975-3025 or michael.newman@nist.gov. You also may contact Yasmeen Sands at the Forest Service during business hours Pacific Time at (360) 753-7716 or ysands@ nospam fs.fed.us.

Thank you!


Michael E. Newman
Senior Communications Officer
Public Affairs Office
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 1070
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1070

12/4 Forest Service Employees, please donate leave for this worthy recipient. Heather was a firefighter on an engine on the TAHOE and now works dispatch on the TAHOE. Giving a little leave (or a lot) would mean so very much to her!

I haven't attached the docx file. Please contact me and I'll send it. Ab.

Heather Kantor has been approved as a Voluntary Leave Transfer Program recipient and is in need of donated annual leave.

I am currently in the hospital with Kidney failure due to the fact that my original donor was older and was only ever expected to last 4 to 5 years. It has lasted 6 years, but now it is time for a new one and thankfully, I have multiple potential donors who have volunteered to save my life. I will likely be away from work for a few months dealing with preliminary appointments and testing, having the transplant and then recovering. Any leave donations, however small, would be a huge help in getting through this times. Thanks So Much!

If you are interested in donating annual leave:

1. Complete the attached AD 1043

2. Ensure you complete the certification block "signature of donor" and use your electronic signature: /s/Smokey Bear

3. Click on file/save as, save the form locally to your computer

4. Reply with History DO NOT "REPLY TO ALL"

5. Attach the AD1043 to your email for processing and email to ASC_VLTP@fs.fed.us or fax to 1-866-339-6435.

6. Outside Agency Donors must submit form OPM 630B and make sure Part B is filled out by their Agency Human Resource office.

I believe the docx would also be available on the Forest Service intranet. Ab.

If you would like to view a complete list of all FS recipients, you can navigate to the FS Intranet here:
Select “Leave” located on the left hand side of the web page
Select “Leave Transfer” in the middle of the web page
Select “Leave Recipients By Organization”

12/4 Re Hood River FLA on the Rappel Accident:

According to one of my contacts, the FLA has been done but he was not sure if it had been posted anywhere yet.


Hopefully it will be posted soon. Ab.

12/2 Abs & All,
We have to deal with some pretty rotten stuff in the fire world at times. Many of us have followed what happened to Krs Evans and wondered how we would feel if we were in his place.
Jody Prummer and the Union Hotshots have provided a great example of how a small group of dedicated people can have a huge impact on the lives of others. Jody told me about the car project this summer when the Union crew was in Missoula between fires, and I'm happy to say that my small contribution was a part of this noble effort to help a brother firefighter. It doesn't surprise me that Jody would be involved in something like this, he was my assistant when I supervised an IA crew on the Deschutes many years ago, and I know what a big heart he has.
The pictures of Krs and his car speak volumes. The precious gift of mobility is one that many of us take for granted, and the Union Hotshots' generous campaign will insure that Krs will be able to travel with a reasonable measure of comfort and safety (and economy) for many years to come. Who can put a price on a gift like that?
To the Union Hotshots, good on ya. You make me proud to be a firefighter at times like this.
Tim Lynch
12/1 Excellent set of learning incidents in the latest issue of Two More Chains, Fall Issue (1,649 K pdf), posted on the Lessons Learned Center website. Ab.
12/1 I'm getting inquiries about the FLA for the Hood River Cliff Rappel accident.

Does anyone know when that will be released?

Nothing at the Lessons Learned Center that I've been able to find.


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