March, 2013

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3/31 R and other Vets

Just to let you know that vets were hired this year and the reason you might not have gotten a call is because you didn't qual as a GS-5, and well, e-recruit sucks. If you only qualified as a GS-3 or 4 then they never saw your application on hiring day because they only hired GS-5 for apprentices. If you didn't get picked up on the temp jobs, then more than likely its an e-recruit problem. Check your application and keep it in because we are hiring positions still to this day. If you think it's another problem, then get ahold of veterans affairs.


3/31 Re Traumatic Injury:


The Letter:

Facilitating Treatment of Traumatic Injuries, March, 2013 (30 K pdf)

issued by the Deputy Chief for Business Operations, (USFS) is yet another indicator that the US Forest Service has no business trying to manage an Emergency Services Branch (Fire and Aviation) in today's environment.


Visit fireleadership.gov

3/31 New hiring system;

Once again the USFS implements a program they don't understand. Supposedly there are supplemental documents that MUST be attached in order to clear so-called hurdles, however .. if you follow what is required of USA JOBS... the performance rating is optional, the OF 306 is optional. Why do current FS employees need to do this if they are already federal employees? I am looking at the application page now and It says on the right hand column that even the resume and SF 50 are optional. This is very discouraging for a lot of people I have talked to. I had to recertify my applications three times in one month. And the emails you are supposed to receive with change of status, as of today, have not materialized. There also needs to be a way to rank at a minimum the top three to five places one is willing to work to avoid being offered a like job at a different location after a job has been accepted somewhere else.


3/31 Re: Federal Direction on Treatment of Traumatic Injuries


So now as a "senior medical professional" I have to factor in the possibility that my decision to take a patient directly to a burn center based on 25+ years of experience may cost him or her their Workman's Compensation benefits? Thank you J. Lenise Lago.

Doc Smitty

3/30 Federal Direction Making the rounds among the IMTs:

Facilitating Treatment of Traumatic Injuries, March, 2013 (30 K pdf)

Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Feel free to use it or not. I am thankful that 99 9/10% of all EMS providers will transport burn victims straight to a burn center.... regardless of what the WO folks are mandating. I am speechless to their callous regard for their firefighters vs costs of the right treatment.


3/29 Webinar on April 4, next Thursday: Exploring fire behavior and wind flows in bark beetle-infested forests and woodlands using HIGRAD/FIRETEC
making the rounds...


Please join us for our upcoming webinar “Exploring fire behavior and wind flows in bark beetle-infested forests and woodlands using HIGRAD/FIRETEC,” presented by Carolyn Seig, on Thursday, April 4th at 1pm MDT. To reserve your seat go to gotomeeting.com/register/730916744.

Thanks and Take Care,


Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

A diverse team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service, Colorado State University, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been exploring the implications of bark beetle-induced tree mortality in several forest types on fire behavior and wind flows using HIGRAD/FIRETEC. Unlike the empirically based fire behavior models currently used in the field, HIGRAD/FIRETEC simulates the dynamic processes that occur within a fire and the way those processes feed off and alter each other. It is a physics-based, 3-D computer code designed to simulate the constantly changing, interactive relationship between fire and its environment. It does so by representing the coupled interaction between fire, fuels, atmosphere, and topography on a landscape scale (100s or 1000s of meters). We will show examples of insights gained using this valuable research tool about how changes caused by bark beetle-induced mortality can influence fire behavior.

Title: Exploring fire behavior and wind flows in bark beetle-infested forests and woodlands using HIGRAD/FIRETEC
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM MDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

3/29 Forest Service renews wildfire air tanker contracts

Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE — The U.S. Forest Service has renewed contracts to air tanker companies in Montana and Nevada to help fight forest fires this year. The two companies are Minden Air Corp., of Minden, Nev., and Neptune Aviation Services, Inc., of Missoula, Mont. Minden will fly one P2V air tanker for the Forest Service. Neptune will fly six P2Vs and one jet-powered BAe-146 under the contract renewals announced Thursday.


3/28 Some application advice for future rounds of hiring:

ATTACH YOUR RESUME as a separate document to e-recruit. E-recruit does not make your application look good if you built it in the system. It's not the applicant's fault, it is the system. Protect yourself and attach that other document so the SMEs and hiring officials can do their job and give you all the credit you deserve for your experience.


3/28 Hiring

So I am guessing that VRA veterans preference didn't apply to hiring this year? Coming from an agency that wanted to focus on hiring veterans! Or maybe use a hiring database that notifies applicants if they qualify or not! Mine says received applications but not one interest call or job offer. How the hell do I know if I qualified?


3/28 fire experience, education and hiring:

Down and Out, thanks for trusting me.

Your quals are absolutely STELLAR. I hope the Forest Service doesn't lose you due to some application technicalities! What a shame if they do...


PS. The National Park Service tries to cherry pick people like you. Any chance you'd be interested? I know my blood runs green too, but we need to keep people like you at least in the extended fire and natural resources family.

3/28 fire experience, education and hiring:

I've been calling various hiring officials trying to get info on this year's snafu regarding hiring and have learned that qualified individuals are being turned away due to technicalities. One example that was given is if you have work experience during the summer of 2012 and simply put "worked during summer 2012" on your application you will most likely be rated as unqualified, you have to provide specific dates so they can verify you have at least 6mo work experience for a GS3 position. If you're using education as part of your experience make sure you've got your transcripts on there, otherwise unqualified.

Update your ap! In the event certs are pulled again, make sure it's accurate - to the best of my knowledge if you update your ap but they've already pulled certs, they will not know any of the changes you've made - they have to pull the certs over again for that to register.

More info posted by folks below - this is a great forum btw, thanks for this.


Thanks for the info. Ab.

3/28 Jeffrey Scheuerer, a 35 year old NJ Forest Fire Service firefighter, was participating with the NJ Forest Fire Service on their prescribed burn this morning. He was struck by a car and killed as the wind shifted and blew the heavy smoke across the roadway near the Round Valley Reservoir in Clinton Township, NJ.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, coworkers and friends. Ab.

Always Remember Jeffrey Scheuerer

3/28 Hints around the new System" aka USA Jobs/E-recruit,

From a 20 year veteran Wildland Firefighter I'd like to help those whom had a tough time navigating our new hiring system...

At the bottom of almost every job announcement I reviewed read "Failure to submit a resume that clearly explains applicants information and qualifications will not be considered" or something close to that. Talking with almost all of my fellow firefighter friends that did not receive promotions or new jobs all said they included a 1-2 page resume with the application. Most of them have 8 plus seasons of PFT or seasonal experience in Wildland fire. One out of the 7 people I talked to clearly stated all of their experience, followed the KSA question format and matched their resume to the application. He, submitted all documentation requested, included supervisor names and supervisor contact information and had multiple people review his resume/package before he hit the send button. His resume was 7 pages not including master records, etc. The other not so lucky folks I talked with did not follow the format that he did, they turned in a 1-2 page resume that only covered basic information.

AVUE was the system that required all of us to write out our KSAs. USA Jobs asks us to check the correct boxes and then match our resumes to your answers on the application. I feel terrible for my fellow firefighters that didn't move up, get hired or get through this process. Just as most of you I have heard stories of firefighters not getting any consideration for jobs even though they turned in solid hiring packages. My heart goes out to those that put in so much time, blood, sweat and tears applying for jobs this Fire Hire round.

What I have learned from this new system are these Four points...





I hope this helps, I wish the best for all those folks that are applying in the Fall Fire Hire.

Good luck all,


3/28 USFS R-5 Air Tanker contracts let yet?


No news down here but that isn’t anything new. Has anyone heard which firms will be flying the fixed wing portion of Aviation contracts yet? The desert areas are already experiencing a unusually large number of wildfires. I think the summer portion of the season statewide is going to be busier than normal. I’m just concerned due to what I deem as “Lack of preparation” for the coming season. In my view money isn’t the only problem right now. Politics seems to be entering this esteemed profession in a negative manner.

Stay safe out there!


3/28 Seeking Storm King movie


I'm looking for the name of the TV Movie (or even where to buy a copy of it) about South Canyon/Storm King Mountain fire that was aired on one of the early anniversaries. please email me at eaglefirecrew at yahoo.com with any information.


3/28 USDA Logo visual standards guide (1,346 K pdf)

Making the rounds. Anon


Sad news, also making the rounds. Heart-felt condolences to the family and friends, Ab.


It is with a heavy heart that I share the following news from Diane Rendano Cross  (Ojai RD, Los Padres NF) and Lance Cross (Tahoe NF, retired).  Diane and Lance’s 19 year old daughter Leilani Cross passed away on March 20.  Sadly, Leilani had struggled with bipolar, depression, and anxiety, and took her own life during an extremely brief moment of hopelessness.  Diane, Lance, and their younger daughter <snip> (16) are grieving, taking each moment at a time.

A Celebration of Leilani’s Life will be held on Saturday, April 6th starting at 1 pm at the Ojai Valley Community Church (OVCC) located at 907 El Centro, Ojai (805-646-4324).  A potluck will follow at a location yet to be determined.

(Ab note: I'm not posting home locations for condolences but if you'd like to send condolences, contact Ab and I'll share the addresses or ask the contact people listed in the last paragraph. This is truly sad.)

In lieu of flowers, you may wish to donate to a fund that has been established to help with memorial expenses.

Leilani Cross Benefit Memorial Fund
c/o Wells Fargo Bank
202 E. Matilija Street
Ojai, CA 93023

Many people have asked how they can help. If you would like to prepare a meal for the family during this difficult time, please contact Bobbi Schildt@ nospam yahoo.com who is coordinating the effort. Bobbi can be reached at bobbischildt@ nospam yahoo.com or 760-458-0873. (For emails: take out the spaces and the nospam)

Susan K. Exline
District Ranger
1190 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, CA 93023

3/28 This document has resources:

Learning from a traumatic event -- suicide -- FLA report (973 K pdf)

Also this resource for wildland firefighters:

Wildland Firefighters Life Challenge Program

3/27 WC Advocate

I figured you'd respond to my post about how I perceive Dr.s visits due to my injuries. As usual you are correct in your advice, but I suppose it's perception of what's ethical. Like I said in my last post I got hurt at work, I'd be working not going to the doctor if I wasn't hurt, so I consider it part of my Wellness program. Should that be coded 66 or 01? As for the GOV we use them for all of us to go to the hearing tests, the WCT physicals, the CDL physicals, and assorted other medical visits. Why would it be a personal errand to go to a local doctors follow up because I got busted up at work?

You're correct that you can put in for reimbursement on I believe it's an OWCP 957 for your travel and expenses for doctors visits and it's one of the few things that actually works in the OWCP system. Most employees don't know that to avoid the time and personal costs of dealing with OWCP you can use government phones, equipment (faxes, computers, mail, etc..) to get this taken care of and you can do it on the clock. With my 2001 injury I spent two weeks at my desk loaded on Demerol, redialing the phone trying to get OWCP to accept my claim to get surgery. Thank God BlueShield jumped in and paid just before I committed suicide because of the pain.
They got reimbursed after two years of fighting OWCP.

You're also correct in that you should include your ASC WC case manager in whatever you do they are getting better. I know that there was a letter sent to Kirk Powell in Dec. asking about what was being done about some that haven't been that good. Have you heard anything about that? There hasn't been any response.

I'd sure appreciate it if you could get me some contact information so we could talk about some of these issues. I'm trying to get some senators involved to fix some of the problems I've encountered over the past fifteen years of dealing with them.


3/27 A couple of questions about the MP 66 incident...

Since I'm assuming the unit checked with MTDC on how to rappel safely with the approved equipment, what did MTDC say about all of this? Or were they just avoided and left out of the loop? Why would they do that? Isn't that partially why MTDC exists?

Also, someone earlier alluded to the "fact" that the rappel operations guidelines have this worked out already, if this is true why wouldn't the unit just emulate what they have as guidelines for PPE? They know that they will be within approved guidelines vs. just ignoring all the work and research that has already been done for just this purpose? I'm thinking that if you shortcut the system that is already in place, someone might get hurt. To say that a NOV related to PPE is wrong seems a bit shady to me. There are guidelines, so follow them. If I were going to start doing something that wasn't allowed (ground based rappelling) I would make darn sure that I didn't risk an injury.

The JHA that I saw a copy of didn't even have the word rappel or fire in it, to claim that it was for either of the two also seems shady.

Misery Whip: Your post about the chief's "safety" letter didn't go unnoticed by me, I'm just still trying to digest it's (his) intent and purpose of it. I find it hard to believe that he could actually submit something like this. Especially in light of the fact that entire units and line officers are ignoring its predecessor, the Safety Journey. I'll respond to this in a bit. Glad someone else found it curious and disturbing.

Two Cents

3/27 Milepost 66 - OSHA Complaint - Region 6 - Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) (NOV = Notice of Violation)

The CRGNSA did not have a JHA for high angle rope work, and the JHA which they used for the OSHA inspectors was for tree climbing. If they did have a JHA for the high angle rope work, why didn't they show it to either the OSHA inspectors or why wasn't it in the FLA?

RE PPE: How did they come to the conclusion that it was safe and acceptable to ignore what has been determined to be safe in the wildland fire rappelling world (full-face flight helmet) and go with the fire helmet? The reason it (fire helmet) is not used in rappelling is because it does not protect the head and face in a adequate manner. How are they able to just make up what is acceptable PPE?

This is all BS!

fed ff

For your review: wildfirelessons.net: Milepost 66 FLA (pdf)

Regardless how we got here, I'm sure that whatever PPE will be approved by the Forest Service for High Angle Ropes will be evaluated by MTDC or through some similar independent process. CRGNSA (the Unit) will need to mitigate OSHA's NOVs. As far as a JHA which is recommended, it seems the Unit should have one specifically for "high angle ropes". Maybe the FS could adopt the JHA employed by the National Park Service for high angle rope rescue. Hopefully there will be careful oversight by someone not on the CRGNSA, following the OSHA findings. Ab.

3/27 Making the rounds...

Milepost 66 - OSHA Complaint - Region 6 - Job Hazard Analysis (NOV = Notice of Violation)

Directors, Forest/Unit Supervisors, and Unit Safety Managers,

A few months ago, Federal OSHA received a complaint following an employee injury last summer during the Milepost 66 fire in the Gorge. OSHA completed their inspection of this complaint and levied five “Notices of Unsafe and Unhealthful Working Conditions”, hereafter referred to as “NOVs”, against the agency. The NOVs alleged the following:

  • Notice 1, Item 1: The agency failed to assess the workplace to determine if hazards were present…
  • Notice 1, Item 2: The agency failed to train employees on proper use, care, maintenance and disposal of PPE…
  • Notice 1, Item 3: The agency failed to provide employees a place of employment free from recognized hazards which were likely to cause serious harm or death.
  • Notice 1, Item 4: The agency failed to provide employees with safety and health training appropriate for the work performed.
  • Notice 2, Item 1: The agency did not properly classify work related injuries on the OSHA Form 300.

Although we contested four of the five NOVs, and OSHA agreed to retract three, this event provides a valuable opportunity for us to share information and benchmark from this event in order to strengthen our safety program throughout the region.

The reason we contested four of the five NOVs is that we felt OSHA’s depiction of events was simply not true. In this particular case, the CRGNSA had in fact developed a JHA for the activity in question (high angle rope work), had identified PPE for the task and had provided employees who were expected to perform the task with training. Although OSHA dropped Notice 1, Items 1, 2, and 4, the basis for these particular NOVs was that the JHA wasn’t adequate to cover, in detail, the scope and complexity of this high risk work. OSHA also felt the PPE we had identified was not completely adequate for the work being performed. After reviewing the NOVs, and the JHA, it was apparent the JHA certainly had room for improvement.

The lesson to be learned and shared with our supervisors is to ensure our JHAs properly outline the potential hazards of high risk work, clearly articulate what procedures and PPE are required to perform the task without injury, and ensure employees are thoroughly aware of the content of high risk JHAs. We must ensure JHAs for high risk work are prepared with participation from those employees expected to perform the work in order to obtain their rich insight and experience. We also need to ensure we’re assigning appropriate PPE and equipment for the job tasks being performed. The reason we agreed to let Notice 1, Item 3 stand, with some minor edits, is that we were allowing our fire folks to use nylon rope for high angle rope work in a fire environment when there were several other rope products available that were more suitable for fire environments. Nylon rope has a lower melting threshold than some other products on the market.

Lastly, Notice 2, Item 1 highlighted a problem we experience throughout the region. When employees experience an injury that results in either lost time away from work, or restricted duty while the employee heals, we need to ensure those cases are entered into SHIPS as an “OSHA Recordable” event and that we accurately enter the total number of restricted or lost duty days. Supervisors need to ensure when employees are returned to full duty, or return to duty from a lost time injury, the supervisor goes back into SHIPS to enter the total number of restricted or lost duty days. If an employee has been injured and is expected to miss several weeks, but we don’t have a clear indication of how many days will be lost immediately following the injury, supervisors can project “45”, “90” or however many days we project the employee will be lost. When the employee returns to work, we simply go back into SHIPS and enter the accurate number of days.

Thank you,


Charles "Buddy" Byrd, MPA, CSHM, CHCM, CSMP
Regional Safety, Health, and Wellness Director
U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region (R6)

3/27 fire experience, education and hiring:

To Chick,

You clearly didn't read my original post. I have already been working for the USFS. I only mentioned my education because this is what the reason was given for NOT QUALIFYING. Well, that and "not putting helicopter experience on my resume" --- total Bull. I have worked (3) SEASONS with the USFS --- (2) in Recreation/Trails as a GS-3 then a GS-4 Crew Lead, and last season in fire as a GS-4 on a type-4 engine. So, not sure where exactly you are coming from with your recommendation. Also, as previously mentioned I have been a winter operations volunteer for (3) seasons (again with the USFS). So, yes this is total B.S.--- there is no other way around this fact. Anyone have any thing else they could add --- with knowing the whole situation?

Down and Out,

P.S. I swear this is my last comment I just couldn't let Chick's comment go without a response.

3/26 Re: Workers’ Comp Question:

R9 Captain, FISH,

Let me try to explain how COP works. First of all, there are 45 calendar days of COP allotted to a person who suffers a traumatic injury. You must file an injury claim (not an illness), file the claim in writing within 30 days of the date of injury and provide medical documentation of a disability or verification of treatment within 10 days of using the COP to be eligible. The other requirement is that you must begin using it with 45 days from the date of injury. You can use it continuously or intermittently within the 45 day timeframe, but the only way to use it beyond the 45th day is if the COP is used continuously beyond that day. If the disability is continuous at the end of the 45 day timeframe you can use whatever days remain of the 45 day COP allotment. The first time you return to work after the 45th day, your entitlement to COP ends, even if all of the 45 days of COP are not used.

Now that that’s as clear as mud I will confuse you further. The 45 days of COP are calendar days, so depending on the medical restrictions, you may have to count holidays and regular days off. Example: You work Monday – Friday. If you are injured on Wednesday and the dr’s restrictions say you should be off through Friday. You would not count Sat and Sun as COP days. But if the dr’s restrictions say you can return to work on Monday, you would need to count Sat and Sun as COP days even though you are not paid for them because the doctor indicates a disability on those days.


The other part of this is the use of a GOV and TC01 time for medical appts.

FSH 6109.11 Pay & Leave Handbook says:

13.61 - Time Spent Receiving Medical Attention.

  1. Consider time spent waiting for and receiving medical attention for illness or injury as hours of work only if all of the following apply:
    • The medical attention is necessary on a workday an employee reported for duty and subsequently became ill or was injured.
    • The time spent receiving medical attention occurs during the employee's regular working hours.
    • The employee receives the medical attention on the Forest Service premises or at the direction of the Forest Service at a medical facility away from the Forest Service's premises.

Treatment for an ongoing workers’ comp injury does not meet all of these conditions so TC01 is not appropriate.

The question about the use of a GOV for a medical apt. was recently answered by Jack Edward Fisher, Ethics Specialist in the WO. He states: “A Dr’s appointment is a personal errand. Government vehicles are to be used for official use (agency mission) only. Official Use” Under § 102–34.200: Official use of a Government motor vehicle is using a Government motor vehicle to perform your agency’s mission(s), as authorized by your agency.

The Department of Labor reimburses mileage and public transportation costs (and even a driver) for medical appointments. They also pay compensation for up to 4 hours for a routine medical apt. Please talk to your ASC WC case manager for information on claiming these benefits.

Sorry this is so long but I thought it was necessary to clear up some misconceptions about COP and medical appointment. I hope it helps.

WC Advocate

3/26 To All Forest Service Employees:

With passage by Congress last week of a funding resolution that will carry through the end of this fiscal year, we now have a measure of certainty regarding our budget situation.

The House and Senate have passed a year-long continuing resolution for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013, generally at the reduced levels directed by the sequester. The measure will be sent to the President for signature soon. In addition to the 5 percent sequester, Forest Service funding is reduced from FY12 at the appropriation level for National Forest System, Capital Improvement & Maintenance, and Wildland Fire Management. These additional reductions total $45.3 million, and we are reviewing our options for how to allocate the funding among programs.

I want to thank you for your continued efforts as USDA and other Federal agencies take steps to implement the sequester mandated by the Budget Control Act. I know that this has been an uncertain time, but you have worked hard every day to care for the land, strengthen the rural economy and help achieve results for the American people.

While the funding cuts for this year are significant, we continue to anticipate there will not be a need for furloughs of employees given the current estimates of the budget situation. There may be a need for some employees to shift their program of work based on priorities and we will need to reduce our seasonal workforce and contracts.

As we make specific decisions about how to implement our reduced 2013 funding, we will have a plan to communicate directly with affected employee units and external stakeholders. The Department has posted a general letter to all contractors on the FedBizOps website (www.fbo.gov) and on the website for the Office of Procurement and Property Management. Instructions regarding notification to grant recipients will be forthcoming.

Mindful of the reductions that have occurred in every program, it is important that we re-assess the nature of every outlay, to assure the expense is essential and aligned with priorities. For example, we have been directed by the Department to limit or restrict travel to only essential travel. I want to thank you again for your on-going efforts to reduce travel expenditures. As we have communicated numerous times before, in these times of reduced budgets, travel should be for reasons related to employee and citizen safety, mission critical work, maintaining requirements for certifications, wildfire suppression, critical meetings with our partners, and training and cultural transformation. If a meeting can be conducted virtually, that is the preferred way to have it. Employees should optimize the use of video conferencing, teleconferencing, webinar, live meetings, and other electronic means to conduct meetings.

Secretary Vilsack has been clear that we will continue doing everything we can to carry out USDA's mission critical priorities and to ensure that cuts are implemented in a way that is both equitable, and causes the least disruption. Thanks to your efforts, we are in a better position to do so. The Department has achieved more than $700 million in efficiencies since 2009 by cutting travel, reducing our office footprint, consolidating many IT services, and much more. We played a part in achieving these savings. Today, the money we've saved will help USDA continue getting the job done even in the face of across-the-board budget reductions.

Thank you for your patience. Please continue to work safely, and I appreciate your constant dedication to serving the public.


Thomas L. Tidwell

3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:

Not sure it's "total BS"... It's a hard time to get on with the forest service, and if you think it's difficult to get a seasonal job, wait until you attempt to find a career position. Your education isn't exactly practical experience in my opinion, maybe try a different approach. Start as a GS3 if that's what you need to do. There are ways In, you just have to do the leg work. Go shake hands, order pizzas, wash trucks, PT with overhead ect. Bottom line is you have zero Merritt at this point. Forget your education and military experience, the USA jobs website is very very simple to use, you've got it easy dude, you weren't around when AVUE was. Go unconventional, think out of the box. Good luck


Several HS supes I know have said "skip the pizza"... Maybe inquire first? Ab.

3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:

I am starting to agree with these hiring complaints. Every year but this year my phone rang non stop and email was blown up with interest calls and job offers. This year I haven't received anything. I put in for sr firefighter, apprentice, and afeo to a lot of locations. I am a fully qualified firefighter 1, S-290, CDL, tons of other classes, six years of fire experience, and to top it all off I am a veteran with a campaign ribbon. I hate to say it but bring back Avue, this erecruit is for the birds. I am really disappointed and about to throw in the towel myself.

Towel thrower

3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:

Down but hopefully not out...

There are tricks to applying for any job. You've got to know what they are and they vary from field to field, profession to profession. There are also glitches with new systems.

For professional education-related jobs, you don't list every course required for your lowest level degrees unless the application says ATTACH TRANSCRIPT for all levels of education. For academics, the fact that you have the degree in the field of expertise is enough verification if you've gone on to do graduate work. In fact you might be excluded in the "first cut" of some academic jobs for sending too much redundant, extraneous stuff or "padding". Similarly, if the application has check boxes, an academic would probably not expect to have to reiterate the information in a resume unless explicitly told to do so. I was taught to cram as much as possible on one page with a reasonable sized font and if it was stated elsewhere, don't repeat it.

Firefighting was a different environment with different expectations. I did the 56 hr (5 month) intro firefighting class with the Regional Occupational Program in nor-cal as I began working with wildland firefighters. I felt that as a scholar and researcher, I needed the hands-on experience that freshman  firefighters got before I could begin to really understand their safety training and culture. None of it was easy. There were lots of timed procedural tests from donning SCBA with very little practice, to knot tying, to shelter deployment and all those emergency medicine procedures. There was a kick-a** CDF fire captain chick that ran our class kind'a like we were an inmate crew, at least it felt like it to me at times. We practiced digging line and did some rope work, etc. Three fifths of our class dropped out, including all the other females... Then I went to the fire behavior training Doug Campbell taught in so-cal; he was training the Ventura County firefighters when I was there. Great course!

Down but hopefully not out, I hope you don't give up on getting the wildland fire career job. Persist. Figure out the application process. Education is increasingly required for professional firefighters as you move on up the career ladder. You have a good foundation. You have to be able to read and write and argue a position in a logical way. Academic degrees may not teach some things, but for most students, they do teach persistence and resilience if you don't already have those attributes. You have to figure out what is expected, to study and to pass tests on an incredible amount of information. Sometimes you need to retake a course you couldn't pass the first time around. The process teaches you something about yourself that you can use when the going gets rough.

Try to figure it out, get someone experienced to look over your application or hire someone like Bethany Hannah -- who knows the nuts and bolts of fire applications -- to review it. Pay her, happily. Persist. Of course if there are glitches in the system even that won't help.

Good luck! My husband's dad used to say "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

I've found that the creative magic of my life springs forth where opportunity meets preparation.

Carry on!


3/26 Skip down to THIS POST ON 3/19  if you think you were NOT considered for a job that you applied to and should have been considered.

There were problems with erecruit. Read the posts about R3 and R1 job offers.


3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:


I really am baffled here --- I attached my graduate school transcripts (which have all the courses I have taken as a grad student, with grades, credits, dates, and also at the top of this transcript it states my undergraduate degrees, the dates they were received and what University I received them from). Nonetheless the word I am getting back from the sup. who wanted to hire me is that "because I didn't attach my undergraduate transcripts I cant qualify using education".

The second part as to why the HR case manager is saying I don't qualify is that "I did not mention anything about working around helicopters on my resume". I checked the boxes on the application for work I had done around helicopters like, using saws to clear a helispot, setting up pumpkins and helping with dip-site operations, figuring out crew weights in case of flights, you know basic helicopter stuff I had done last season. But because I didn't put this info. on my resume and because I didn't attach my UNDERGRAD transcripts I am now disqualified.

This is TOTAL B.S!!! And also, I did apply to EVERY kind of module that exists --- in multiple states --- been calling people since October and still NOTHING. I am getting ready to throw in the towel in this ridiculous pursuit of a fire job and career. This is absolutely absurd and extremely disheartening. I am starting to understand why so many people cant stand the federal government --- and why others call the USFS the "US Forest Circus"--- it really is a joke.

last comment...

3/26 Re: research paper on IA fire history


I'm sure if the person doing research contacted the Eastern Great Basin Center they would find that info.

Jim Ott (Pathfinder)

3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:

If it makes you feel any better, we are doing hiring now and more than 50% of the selections we have made from eRecruit are coming back 'unqualified'. We do know that if you claim being qualified based on education, you have to attach transcripts or you will be considered unqualified, even for a GS-3. We are still trying to figure out what else is causing people to come back unqualified. As a result of this new system, we will likely not be able to hire the folks we need this year.

If you can figure out what you did 'wrong' in eRecruit, try to get your application 'fixed' ASAP. Since lots of hiring managers are having this issue, many of us will be cancelling referral lists and asking for new ones after we have advised those we want to hire. If you are out a job at this point with no other prospects, cast a wider net to include fire jobs other than helitack, such as engines.


3/26 fire experience, education and hiring:


That is exactly what the HR case manager is trying to claim, however, there are multiple issues with this claim:

  1. Every Helitack crew I am aware of only requires an applicant to have at least 90 days fire experience (I know many Helitack crews that hire people with NO Helitack experience and only a year in fire). In fact I am told many Helitack crews do this every single year with at least one new crew member and
  2. According to the USAjobs quals description for the position you can have a combination of job experience and education to qualify -- it specifically states 12 credits in courses like forestry, wildlife management, wildfire science, natural resource mgmt., outdoor rec. mgmt. etc. Now, I have well over 12 credits in these exact courses (Ecology, Fire Science, Land and Resource Mgmt, Parks&Rec. Mgmt, Environmental Assessment (Public Land Mgmt. course), just to name a few).

So, again I am COMPLETELY confused and a bit upset that I somehow didn't qualify for this GS-4 Helitack position ... something seems off here to me. This has been extremely frustrating and it only feels elevated when there is nothing I can do about it... aaaarrrrgggggg!

Down and Out

P.S. I am not complaining about this as someone who feels like they are entitled to this job, NO, I was simply really excited at the prospect and now left very confused as to the reason given for the lost opportunity.

3/26 fire experience and hiring:

Down and Out:

Is it possible that your time on the Engine/Handcrew doesn't amount to "6 months specialized fire experience"?

I went through this a couple times when I was in school, so my fire seasons were shortened - often late May-late August. I'd pull 800+ OT hours on a 'Shot crew in 3 months, but the next year I wouldn't qualify for the next GS level because my "time in grade" was counted on a calendar basis, not an hourly basis.

Just a thought why you didn't meet quals...


3/26 Work Comp ?

Group, first off let me thank you all for your input. Strangel, to answer your ?, I thought, and was told... The 67 was the right thing to do. Let me make something perfectly clear to the group/forum... (And I know your not accusing me of trying to milk the system) I am not looking for any other compensation other than my missed time from work. As stated, "I'd be working if I hadn't got hurt at work".... My sentiments EXACTLY!! I have also received some behind the scenes "advice" as well. All the info from everyone was greatly appreciated.... I guess the only thought from here is "How do we change the system?" (cause it sure seems to be screwing everyone) Then I think to myself.... "Good God!!? Isn't this what we have all been thinking for SO MANY YEARS!! On more than one issue! I have learned, questioned, contributed, and have wanted to throw my arms up into the air in this forum for about the last 8 years... All I can say at this moment.. If I stay or if I go.... My FIRE Brothers and Sisters have ALWAYS treated me well... I have a hard time saying that about the Forest Service as an agency.... But then again, I'm sure that's not anything new to most folks around here..


3/25 Re: serious kink in my life...

Down and Out-

You most certainly qualify for that GS-4 position. You need to drive it up the chain of command on the forest/region you are applying. Do not drop this issue, pursue it until you get the job you deserve. Someone I know in the pipeline told me that a Region 5 rookie jumper last year had a singular season on a hand crew and a bachelor's degree in a non-forestry related major, yet somehow through the miracle of back door dealings ended up with a GS-5 rookie spot. Go figure. She was lucky to get that job, yet your genitals may vary.

Best of luck,
Gristle McThornbody

3/25 Chief's letter and C-47 at Mann Gulch:

Ab & All,

Did anyone else feel queasy after reading the 3/18 Chief’s letter and documents outlining the new FS risk management strategy? At least I think it is supposed to be a strategy, but it’s hard to tell. My first reaction was along the lines of “oh jeez, here we go again with yet another poorly conceived and executed product from the WO.”

I find myself wondering, where does this stuff come from? Who is responsible for writing these documents? Whoever they are, they seem to be inordinately fond of numerical groupings of “principles.” After reading about the “seven standards” and the “five rights,” I half anticipated that this new “strategy” was also going to include three rings for the elven kings and the Ten Commandments.

It would be nice to know who the target audience is for this stuff. Is this "guidance" for line officers, or fire managers, or incident commanders? Or all three? Are these rules supposed to apply to all incidents, or just long duration fires? Is some kind of training in the works for the intended users?

The risk matrix seems like a hodge-podge of “everything you ever wanted to know about risk management on fires but were afraid to ask.” Note to the risk matrix designers; the Lists of Stuff in the IRPG are (can be) a deliberate risk assessment tool, but are definitely not a Time-Critical risk assessment tool. You left out the only Time-Critical risk assessment tools that really matter; the human brain, experience, and the five senses.

Oh, and those IAP requirements? You won’t see many IAPs on Type 4 and 5 incidents, probably because it’s hard to find a place to plug in the copier out in the middle of BFE.

BTW, the Mann Gulch C-47 is sitting in the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula. This is from their website:

“Our main pride and joy is our DC-3/C-47, N24320. this aircraft was ordered by the US Air Force in 1944, declared surplus in 1946, and was purchased by Johnson Flying Service (to whom the museum is actually dedicated, at least in part). She served smokejumper duty for most of her life, but her most famous, infamous, and tragic hour was on August 5, 1949, when she dropped 15 smokejumpers over a routine grass fire in Mann Gulch, near Helena, Montana. The Smoke Spotter, who reported the fire, hiked in to meet the jumpers. Tragically, 13 of these brave men were killed when the fire blew up and chased them up the mountain. Only 3 survived.”

I think we can stick a fork in that one.

Misery Whip

3/25 Re Worker's Comp question:


Code 67 is continuation of pay (COP). Cop can last for 45 days and can only be used in the first 45 days after the accident. After 45 days you have to use S/L, A/L, LWOP, etc, but only until you put in a claim for lost wages on a CA 7 for the period of lost wages. Then DOL pays you at either 66% of your wages if you're single or 75% if you have a dependant. It works out as more take home since nothing is held out and it is normally tax free, but that doesn't help towards medical or retirement if you have those things. Why are you using intermittent to go to doctors' calls. That's a negative for you. I've never been called on it, but my injury happened at work so I use GOV to go to my doctors visits and do it on the clock. After all, I'd be working if I hadn't got hurt at work.

One other thing, Tumbleweed has state industrial and federal workers comp confused in his advice. With federal OWCP you can't hire an attorney on a contingency basis. You have to pay them and hope you can get reimbursed if you are lucky enough to get a settlement. Under the FECA law there is no real forum for an attorney to help since we can't sue. It never hurts to get advice from a professional, but it's hard to find an attorney that handles federal OWCP since it is so adversarial, and the settlements are much smaller than state industrial so there's really no money to be made. Since the first of this year I got rated at 0% for 70% loss of hearing after thirty years of running chainsaws and 0% for approx. 50% use of my left leg since it was related to a back injury and the feds don't accept back injuries.


3/25 Re Worker's Comp question:


For your Worker's Comp question, I had the same thing happen to me. The way I read it was that you would receive a total of 45 days of COP for an injury. You could use those 45 days in one span or break it up as needed for doctors' appointments, therapy, etc. ASC told me that it was 45 days from the start of the injury, (or maybe when it the injury was accepted, I can't remember exactly). I argued that what it said in the CFRs as well, but was told it was 45 days straight, not 45 days total. I have been dealing with my injury since Sept. and used about 4 days of COP before my 45 days was up so I have had to use sick leave to cover mine as well. I don't agree with it, but since I had to send in copies of my pay for any pay period I used COP time, there is not much I could do. Good luck with this one, ASC and DOL aren't generally there to help you out with things like this.

R9 Captain

3/25 Frank Small is listed as the Mann Gulch copilot in "Trimotor and Trail"

Earl Cooley's book "Trimotor and Trail" includes a Chapter with details about Mann Gulch. Earl Cooley was the spotter on that plane. All 16 of the jumpers are listed, then it says:

"Elmer Bloom, Forest Service photographer, went along to shoot some film for a movie he was working on. Kenneth Huber was the DC-3 pilot and Frank Small was the copilot. Jack Nash was the assistant spotter. This made up the full DC-3 Load."

In another chapter Frank Small's last flight is mentioned. That plane was a Travelair. Mike Malone was the spotter on board with Frank.


Thanks very much, TJ. Ab.

3/25 fire experience, education and hiring -- Some guy in Albuquerque puts a serious kink in my life...

Hi Fire World,

Here is my dilemma. I was expecting to accept a job on a Helitack crew as a GS-4 seasonal/temp. I was put in for a quals check and it just came back as "Did not qualify due to not having (6) months of general work experience and (6) months specialized fire experience". The sup. who wanted to hire me was very surprised at this and told me that the case manager will not budge on qualifying me. So, there goes the job I thought I would have. To make matters worse I was all ready to re-locate back to my home state and was pretty excited...now I am just left with a knot in my stomach. Oh yeah, and I also turned down potential offers in the state I am currently living in due to not wanting to flake out on them once this quals check came back. I guess it pays to potentially screw others over?

Here is my question; how is this possible that I do not qualify as a seasonal GS-4 Seasonal on a Helitack Crew? My background is this, (2) seasons with USFS on a trails and recreation crew (went out on a couple small IA fires as part of a "militia crew", (1) season on a Type-4 USFS Engine (as a GS-4), with (2) details on a Type 2-IA handcrew. Saw lots of fire last season (obviously most did). I also will have completed a Masters Degree in Natural Resource Management come this May, and already have (2) BAs. I have also volunteered with the USFS for (3) winter seasons as a Winter Operations person (grooming ski trails, and other winter related work). Yes, all of this was on my resume in great detail. Yet, somehow I don't qualify for a GS-4 (which is what I was last season on an Engine) Helitack position? Any thoughts out there would be appreciated.


Down and Out

3/25 Work Comp question,

Thanks for the insight folks. Have one more question. I recently received a letter saying I was not entitled to use code 67 (injury leave) any further.. I had an audit done approx a month and a half ago and showed I only used 20 days of the 45 of Continuation of Pay and a gal in ASC said there is 25 days left (the 20 was used for most of December and part of Jan). I returned to work light duty and was using intermittent hours to go to Physical Therapy, Doctors Appts etc... (About 5.5 hours a week) So my question is are there limits to the 45 Calendar days? 20 C.F.R 10.20 reads (a)" the FECA provides that the employer must continue the employees regular pay during (key word here as I see it) ANY periods of resulting disability, up to a maximum of 45 calendar days"

I was told that I must convert all code 67 from PP 3 and 4 to LWOP and must now file with the DOL for whatever percentage they award me for the time lost.

I feel like I'm getting screwed here.

Any advice or comments are greatly appreciated


3/25 research paper on IA fire history


Im doing a research paper on Initial Attack fire history for the Grand Canyon Park and South Kaibab National Forest and am having a hard time finding a list of dispatched fires for the 09-12 seasons. Can you help?


I don't know of any records that are kept except perhaps at the dispatch centers themselves. Readers, any ideas? Ab.

3/25 Mann Gulch - C-47

Regarding the question relating to the smoke jumper plane on the Mann Gulch Fire, here is a selection of references from the Board of Review, September 26-28, 1949:

page 29

"HAND: I ordered the plane. That was at 1:52 p.m., two minutes after I gave the order to the loft. Order No. 179 for C-47 to take 16 jumpers and a radio to the Helena Forest."

page 31

"HANSON: Could you give us a brief idea what your volume of business was in the use of planes that day?

HAND: I believe most of this can be verified, although it is not in the log. As I recall, one C-47 had the motor out. Something had happened to it and it was torn out and wasn't in use until a day or two later. One Ford had taken some jumpers to the Kootenai. That is as I remember it. It was not due to return until pretty late, too late to give the Helena any help. Another Ford had taken off or was about to take off to bring some jumpers and equipment back from another fire. We were getting low, and while we still had jumpers, we were concerned about getting men and equipment back as quickly as we could. We have to do that in busy times. One Travelair was out, I can't recall where, but I am very sure we had just one C-47 and one Travelair on the line at the time, and we had other fires going. You understand that at this time we had no means of knowing that Helena was where the fire was going to blow up."

page 31

GUSTAFSON: What type of ship was used?


Unfortunately, there is no mention of Frank Small in the report, and at least two statements which would seem to indicate, though not definitively, that there was no assistant pilot.

page 29-30

"GUSTAFSON: What is the name of the pilot?

FITE: Ken Huber.

GUSTAFSON: Names of spotter and assistant spotter?

FITE: Earl Cooley, spotter; Jack Nash, assistant spotter.


FITE: Wagner Dodge.

GUSTAFSON: Who else was in the plane?

HAND: Elmer Bloom, Forest Service photographer, was the only one I know of."

"Fite" is Fred Fite, Regional Dispatcher, and "Hand" refers to Mr. Ralph Hand, who was acting as a backup dispatcher during the incident.

page 60

GUSTAFSON: How many men were in the ship?

COOLEY: There were sixteen jumpers, Elmer Bloom, the assistant spotter, pilot and myself.

Hope this is of some help.


Interesting, GM. Thanks. Frank Small worked for and piloted for the Johnson Flying Service. I wonder if he went along... Seems those writing books would have carefully researched who was on board. Ab.

3/25 Mann Gulch Fire:

Wikipedia mentions the C-47



3/25 R5 hiring follow up

As an applicant, what can one do to follow up on your application? If we must navigate this system how can we improve our apps? How can we get feedback from the people involved with the hiring? I am a current forest service employee, I meet the ifpm requirements.

Thanks in advance

3/24 C-47 vs Ford Tri-motor

Dear Ab,

I don't wish to get into a debate with M@2x4 ...... and I'll admit, I'm no expert on the subject... heck.... I wasn't there, nor was I born yet... but all research I have says that it was indeed a C-47 and NOT the Ford Tri-Motor which most people associate with early Smokejumping.

Both Norman Maclean of Young Men and Fire, and Dave Turner of The Thirteenth Fire ... describe a C-47 as the aircraft dropping off the smokejumpers that day on August 5th, 1949.

>From Norman Maclean's book, page 81: "a C-47 , could only hold sixteen jumpers...",  page 42: " The foreman who lay on the right side of the door of the C-47 was in many ways...",  Page 39: "The C-47 circled the fire several times before dropping the crew...."

>From Dave Turners The Thirteenth Fire, Page 15: "Moir is told that the only airplane available for immediate dispatch is a C-47, but that plane only holds 16 jumpers and their gear.", Page 16: "At 2:30 P.M. as the C-47 lifts off from Missoula Field...", Page 16: " On board the east-bound plane on its 40 minute flight to the Helena Forest are the Pilot Ken Huber, co-pilot FRANK SMALL, Forest Service photographer Elmer Bloom, spotter Earl Cooley, assistant spotter Jack Nash, and the 16 jumpers..."

Who knows.... maybe Norman Maclean, and Dave Hunter were wrong. I'm just going by what I've read.

CDF Fire Captain

Thanks for the clarification of the source. Ab.

3/24 CDF Captain

The Smokejumpers on Mann Gulch, jumped the Ford Tri-Motor, not a Douglas C-47/DC-3.


3/24 Re Workers Comp question,


I can only answer for what I have observed for State and LG in Ca, though I would think other states would be similar. Feds have unique rules but again I would think they would be similar.

In Ca, the employers workers comp carrier is responsible for all job related injury health care necessary up to the point you are considered Permanent and Stationary. i.e, where no further progress in recovery is possible (Either you are "fully healed" or ain't gonna get any better). At which point if you have a compensable injury they will rate you and compensate you. This is regardless of whether you are still employed with that same employer. Depending upon your employer, you might be dealing with them in house (self insured) or with an outside insurance carrier.

If you suspect that you might have a lasting injury, ie one where you "ain't" gonna get any better, I encourage all to seek a qualified attorney. Not because I have a fondness for them, it's just that the typical workers comp process is a labyrinth to make your way through and I prefer to have someone working on my side rather than the insurance carrier. There are a myriad of rules, paperwork, time limits that can really mess with your head if you try and figure it all out. Attorneys here typically cost 10%-12% of any award. I have had only one rated injury where I received less than $2000 (appropriate). The $200 to the attorney was more than fine with me after seeing all the paperwork they had to handle.


3/24 Pilot Frank Small


Back in late February of this year, there was some discussion about the Pilot Frank Small (1956), who had a heart attack, yet landed the plane and then died .....

Just for some further discussion ..... Frank Small was the Co-Pilot of the C-47 that dropped the Smokejumpers off in Mann Gulch on August 5th, 1949.

CDF Fire Captain

Here's his page: Always Remember Frank Small. If anyone knows more or where to find more, please let us know. I wonder if the jumpers he delivered were Grangeville SJs or others flying in and out of Grangeville. Ab.

3/24 follow-up on hiring,

I wanted to say thanks for the information that has been posted with regards to getting hired. It has been helpful and I wanted to follow up and answer some of the questions that were asked.

- I've applied to both OCRs and single vacancy announcements. In the fall I cold called a few districts/offices and expressed my interest to get started. After applying I contacted the duty locations that I was interested in working and they said they would keep a look out for me on the referral list. I was also told it that I could select duty locations that I hadn't made contact with -- no guarantee but it couldn't hurt. I've kept in touch with them as from reading this website and elsewhere, you need to be persistent and keep at it so you are remembered -- for the right reason.

- Unfortunately a natural disaster cancelled the red card class I was supposed to take last fall. I live in the northeast and I haven't found another one since. I am still looking, though, and when I find one, I will do everything I can to attend. I am aware that my landscaping experience goes further than my EMS experience. I have a professional, federal resume spelling out everything I have done. It has been looked over by several in the wildland fire community and they have told me it's good to go. I just can't seem to make it past that next step after submission.

- I know being a vet doesn't guarantee me a job or anything else. I'm several years removed from my service now. It was a great experience, I loved it and learned A LOT from my time served. But it is in the past and no one owes me anything for it. It was something that I wanted to do. As stated before, I'm currently employed and after several years of being interested in wildland fire and reading the posts here and on other sites, I've decided to go for it. I just wish I had done so years ago but hindsight is always 20/20.

- I am reviewing my selections for the minimum qualifications and assessment questions to make sure that I have selected the best answer and will be resubmitting if I change anything.

Thanks again. I'll be hammering away at this and hopefully I will be working with some of you this year.


If you run into me, don't hesitate to walk up and say "I'm DB." haw, haw and give the secret wlf.com salute. No seriously, with the website developments coming here whenever they come, it will be much easier to find friends on the road, in firecamp or elsewhere via your droid or i-pod.

3/24 Re Workers Comp question,

Yes they are obligated for life for that injury. Keep the nine digit claim number they sent you as that's the record they received your claim.


3/24 Workers Comp question,

Does anyone know if you have been injured in the job, I work for the FS, and you are still being treated for your injury and decide to leave, as in quit, your job while still being treated, Is the Gov. still responsible for your medical bills until you are fully healed? Any info would be great.



3/23 Stan Palmer,

If you're reading, could you please email Ab and get in touch with me?

Thanks, Mellie

3/22 Idaho - OSHA fine for CPTPA -- in Anne Veseth's death on the Steep Corner Fire in Idaho


Agreement reached in firefighter's death

After talks with OSHA, Idaho Land Board revises citation against CPTPA, authorizes it to pay $10,500 fine. Officials from an Idaho firefighting organization and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reached a settlement regarding citations and fines levied after a firefighter was killed on the Steep Corner Fire last summer ...


3/21 regarding hiring


There are some important differences between applying for jobs in the private sector and applying for federal jobs. The following items came to mind when I read your post:

1. Are you applying under open continuous vacancy announcements or single vacancy announcements? Open continuous announcements are the ones that have you pick your desired locations, and are usually open for a year. Single vacancies list one or two locations and are usually open a month or so. I ask because if you are applying under open continuous announcements, it is absolutely imperative that you contact the districts/offices where you want to work. Open continuous announcements list all the locations that have that certain position - it does not mean that the position is open at this time, and it does not mean that a given district/office will be hiring that position in the near future. If you have not been making contacts, you could have been applying for vacancies that do not actually exist. You will only "hear back" when someone starts the hiring process and pulls a list of candidates. If you are applying for locations where there are no vacancies, you will not hear anything.

2. Not being referred is not the same as not being qualified. It means that other candidates scored higher than you, and only a certain number get referred. My big question when I look at you list of experience is, do you have S130/S190??? If not, you are probably getting beat out by those who do. If you can find any way to take an NWCG certified S130/S190 course, you will probably start getting referred. At the basic rating level, your other certifications and qualifications do not count for much. Look through the vacancies and the job duties, then highlight the experience you have that meets those duties. Rating officials are not allowed to guess, "figure it out", or make assumptions. If you have used portable pumps, you have to spell that out in your job experience. At the GS-3 level, your landscaping experience is probably more relevant to the job duties than your EMS experience. Make sure you are describing all your work experience.

3. Being a vet does not guarantee you a job, or a place on the referral list. There are just too many vets looking for jobs right now. There are plenty of vets out there that have wildland fire experience, and all of them will be ahead of you on the list. Have you looked into programs like the Green Corps that were designed to give vets some basic fire/forestry experience?


3/21 DB regarding hiring

Here is a great way for vets to get their foot in the door. BLM: Southern Nevada Fire Home Page, Vegas Valley Handcrew


Best of luck

3/21 Regarding home to work/take home vehicles

They are useful but also are at times a pain. I have one and there are a lot of issues on a personal level that arise.
  • Yes they do allow a quicker after-hours response. That is good.
  • No you do not get compensated for your commute.
  • If you want to go shopping before or after work, no can do. Have to go home, pick up your personal car, and go back.
  • Want to drive thru a coffee stand? Can't do it.

Have some of these basic ideas in mind prior to asking for the home to work authorization.


Word from the wise, be careful what you wish for. These are some points or expressions of my thoughts and experiences not knowing the specifics of folks knowledge in the area of this topic. It is not my intention to talk down so please take no offense.

3/21 TLD,

BLM Fire refreshers have ROCKED for the last 10 years... NIFC Refresher Video


3/21 10 and 18 Fire Refresher

Refresher is coming up this April, and instead of doing the same old corny, but important, 10 and 18 refresher training, I am wanting to spice it up a bit. As many of you can attest, after a few years of the same PowerPoint, most people lose focus during this segment, and it is TOO important to have that happen. So, does anyone out there have any ideas or suggestions? Or can you point me in the right direction to find ideas? My Google searches haven't revealed any new ideas....



3/21 Eldorado Hotshot Fundraiser info

Just a reminder that the Eldorado Hotshots Fundraiser to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and CASA Kids of El Dorado is about a month away. We are still in need of donation both cash and raffle/silent auction items. We encourage you to buy your tickets early for event planning. You can buy your tickets and get all the event details at eldoradohotshots.org, if you have other questions feel free to contact us at eldoradoihc@gmail.com

3/20 To: DB regarding hiring

If you do not show six months general experience with dates and duties, you will not make it through.

With the ability for folks to apply to an unlimited number of locations, you are fighting an uphill battle without wildland fire experience, including the basic classes listed on your application and backed up by certs or IQCS master record.

Keep trying, and don't get discouraged.

Sent from my iPhone

3/20 To: DB regarding hiring

Here's what we're seeing from the other side of the fence on the hiring side. We had a quality applicant (by quality, I mean good references, good experience, good quals all depicted in the application) we selected this individual for a "quals check" and they came back as NOT QUALIFIED with a note of DID NOT MEET QUALITY GROUP. After doing a little digging, it comes from the basic questions that you answer in the first part of your application: It's those basic questions that ask if you have experience using tools, pumps, saws, etc. So picking the FIRST answer isn't necessarily picking the BEST answer. Make sure to read through those and make sure you're selecting the BEST answer, not necessarily the first answer. Your answers assign "points" that will put you in or remove you from the "quality group."

It seems totally backwards that a candidate could make a referral list, be reference checked, interviewed and pre-selected, only to come back as NOT QUALIFIED just before an offer is made. All candidates must be "quals checked" before offers are made, which is a good thing, but the amount of time that we put into reviewing applications from the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of applicants is obscene. I've been doing it for nearly a month now. To find out what I believe to be the best-fit candidate is NOT QUALIFIED is making me tear my hear out.

So, for all of you applying, us supervisors/managers/module leaders are doing everything we can for you, but there are certain places in this process, where our hands are just flat-out tied. We deal with just as much frustration and that feeling of being in the dark too.

Best of luck, and review that application.

The guy you'll see on the fire-line with missing patches of hair

3/20 regarding hiring

DB- With your military time, if you had an honorable discharge and you included an electronic copy of your DD-214, then you should be at the top of the list. Don't let the black hole @ ASC just blow you off. Be persistent!

FS Green guy

3/20 Reply to "A"

Regarding the Home to Work Policy/On Call

Last year we had an issue on a Northern California forest that led to a Union grievance as well as a discussion I had with the Regional Forester on the issue.

The RF agreed that the on-call issue seemed excessive in the amount of time demanded of the employee to be "on-call" without pay and the limitations prescribed for being on-call i.e. not being able to use your time as you would if you were "off duty." Unfortunately the employee left the forest for another position without the issue being rectified.

It goes to the persistent question of why the FWFSA continues to pursue portal to portal compensation. The Agencies tend to take advantage of employees with the "on-call" aspect of the job as well as being taken off the clock while on an assignment. We firmly believe the correct interpretation of the FLSA requires compensation for those hours "on call" or those hours when you are on an assignment and taken off the clock while some cooperators are paid 24/7.

You raise some VERY valid points about response delays. The issue of no policy on the LP validates the persistent concerns raised by firefighters of all grades about the role LINE plays in these policies. Politics drove the night-flying decision and politics will continue to drive land management agency fire policy. What firefighters need to ensure is that those politicians understand & hear their ( the firefighter's) perspective and are informed if policies by LINE will adversely affect firefighters & the public.

Sadly, history has shown that firefighter concerns fall on deaf ears within the Agency. That is not to say a "line in the sand" has to be drawn between firefighters and LINE but, with all due respect, with the complexities of today's wildfires, firefighters need to be making fire policy, not non-firefighters.

It would be one thing if the Agency afforded firefighters the right to have their voice's heard on fire policy and provide firefighters in the hiring process the necessary tools to achieve the Agency's stated goals (for example what tools and resources will be required to do face-to-face interviews with applicants) but that hasn't happened.

Sadly the communication between the RO in R-5 and firefighters has not improved much since the "ED" days. I hope those of you out there know that people are listening. But changing a decade's old mentality of a huge bureaucratic government agency will take time. I can only hope the Agency leadership recognizes the need for change before we lose more firefighters.


3/20 Engine photo of El dorado hills fire California on a grass fire...


Thanks BC, I added it to the Engines 29 photo page. Ab.

3/20 Ab,

This is my first year applying for a wildland fire position. I've applied to multiple vacancy announcements with all of the land management agencies at the GS-3 level. I've only heard back from the Forest Service and I was "Not Referred/Not Among the Top Candidates". I've been trying to contact someone about why I didn't make the cut. I've called the 877-... phone number and been kicked around the automated menu system but haven't been able to speak to a human. My qualifications in short are:

  • two seasons as landscaper performing construction as well as lawn maintenance,
  • five years in the United States Marine Corps infantry,
  • volunteer at a local hospital after separating from the military, and
  • for the last six years have been working as an EMT in a major metropolitan city.
  • I am also a wilderness medicine educator at an ivy league medical school.
  • I was also a volunteer firefighter having attended the and passed the state fire academy (1999) before joining the military.
  • I have ICS 100, 200 and 700 as well haz mat operations.

I don't know what to do at this point and I'm hoping that you could point me in another direction to find out why I wasn't referred or try something else/changing something in my application. I'm all ears.

Thank you and respectfully submitted,


3/19 Fire Hire

If you think you were NOT considered for a job that you applied to and should have been considered, the one place to go to is the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) www.mspb.gov/index.php.

One thing ASC does not do is rate individuals based on the 5109 or the red book minimum qualifications for a position. They just rate individuals based on whether or not they meet the GS level. Big difference in those two. Erecruit needs to fix this glitch or it will become a bigger issue and headache down the road.

Erecurit only screens out applicants based on the answers made by the applicant. The are a series of questions and answered by selecting a radio button selecting the response by the applicant.

HR then manually checks the apps to make sure folks have documented backup of the responses, such as SF-50 for Merit applications vs Demo, and looks at the IQCS master record for IFPM JOBS. FSFPM jobs are not required to have IQCS master records yet until the October deadline.

Are mistakes made? Yes. Do things slip through? Yes. Does HR still need some educating? Yes

But it is the system we have. We either need to embrace it or change it from the inside. We bitched enough about AVUE, and the Agency listened and gave us the system the rest of the Department of Agriculture uses. We might want to watch what we wish for. Next we are losing GovTrip after it finally works.

For years people said we should be interviewing applicants.... Interviews start this year and folks are balking at it?

I am predicting a version of R5 Fire Hire next year with the Temps.

It is only the beginning. As I am a Casual observer who is educating myself on the process.

Sent from my iPad

3/19 To the individual looking for information on the R4 fire issues, you can always request your application from the hiring committee through the FOIA process. Assuming you made the cert and were in consideration for a position they have to release those records. By doing so, you can see what the issue was and where you were rated in the process. Maybe you didn’t have a qualification or didn’t meet R4 hiring specifications. One thing ASC does not do is rate individuals based on the 5109 or the red book minimum qualifications for a position. They just rate individuals based on whether or not they meet the GS level. Big difference in those two. Erecruit needs to fix this glitch or it will become a bigger issue and headache down the road.


tor, good observations and advice and could be the reason if all new systems had worked as planned; but this problem is not due to how a person rates out or is viewed, but has to do with names that should have been there not even showing up on the final list. Sometimes new systems have problems. Ab.

3/19 Medical issues

It'll Do

Gads, I basically agreed with you also and am now getting hammered again. So, just for drill I re-read your message and it does not come close to lining up with your rebuttal. Did you or did you not suggest a crewed ambulance on each district/forest/zone or whatever? Yes or no? So my question was what are you going to offset to pay for it? Another question is how many IHCs are not already carrying multiple EMTs? Everyone in my region has three or more. Could the land management agencies do better, sure. I think I indicated that in my post. But that does not stop you from jumping on me. Also, please point out where I came out against medical supplies on engines? All our engines have them, so I thought that was just a given.

It is disingenuous for you to suggest that the military or any other organization has all the answers for every situation. My son lost a leg in Iraq because of a military snafu as he lay on a secure extraction point with a TOURNIQUET on his leg for eight hours.

I find it almost hilarious that you left the county for the feds and are throwing rocks at the Feds, DP stayed with the feds and bashes them because he could have gone to the county. You two need to get together.

Dose of Reality

Everyone, please let's keep this about the what (the issues) not the who (the personalities). It's easy to talk past each other without any body language, tone of voice, or facial expression to aid in communication. Sorry about your son's leg, man. Ab.

3/19 re: Piute Forestry article


Great historical find! This is exactly what I was referring to in a previous post with the Light Burning Controversy. For nearly 40 years various land owners in California wanted to continue "light burning," which was also known as Piute Forestry (referencing the use of fire by Native peoples who were there), and resisted the fire suppression policies being pushed by the USFS. As you can see from this article the timber industry was the only concern and fire ecology (science) was completely ignored and discredited during this time; I have read numerous documents from the early 20th Century with this same sentiment. People very much resisted total fire suppression at the time, but the Dragon Devastation was continually perpetuated over time through publications such as this... until people believed it.


3/19 Region 5 Home to Work Policy?

Question of the day: Why are fires responded to differently on the east side of the I-5 freeway than they are on the west side? Their both in Los Angeles County, both responded to by multiple fire agencies, both have the same fuel type and both sides provide an equal threat to lives and property.... But, one is administered by the Angels NF and the other by the Los Padres NF.

That question has been lingering in the minds of many south zone fire employees for a long time. And with the onset of the night flying helicopter provided by the Angeles NF, and the training we all received in our annual fire refreshers on how to use this tool, and south zones 24 hr response to wildfires, there is still one very critical inconstancy that continues to be practiced.


It was made very clear by Supervisor Antonovich's office that this new night flying helicopter would be available to all four southern California forests; Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and the San Bernardino. Don't get me wrong, the fire community is welcoming this new tool with open arms. But what happens when the new copter beats the Incident Commander to the fire? What happens when the Duty Officer/Incident Commander has to pass the incident so they can get to their office and pick up a Chief's vehicle? What happens when the next elected official asks why we had a delayed response to that big fire?

This is a question that should/needs to be answered. Every single Forest Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, Division Chief and Battalion Chief on the Angeles, Cleveland and San Bernardino take their vehicles home 365 days/year. Not for a free ride to work, but to be prepared to respond to emergencies. The Los Padres NF Fire Chiefs are not permitted this same level of response capability. And for a good reason, there is no policy! The policy needs to be consistent -- either we all do it, or none. What if we all made up our own red card qualifications, or made up our own rules about what PPE to wear on the fireline or decided we didn't like the WCT? When are we as an agency going to learn that there has to be constant policy for these types functions.

Come on people... the Forest Service night flying policy has been reversed. Now let's set our people up to succeed!


3/19 Fire Hire

Latest News, Video interviews !!!!!! Are you kidding me? Also just heard that we are only hiring GS-5 for the apprentices after the vets. What is wrong with are R.O.? Wait, don't answer that.


3/19 Fire Hire

Dear Ab,

I read Barry's post on R5's Fire Hire Delay in hiring. I have been in search of information regarding (apparently and to the best of my knowledge) similar glitches in the R4 Fire Hire that has already taken place. Unfortunately, R4 Fire Hire DID NOT slow the hiring process and as a result myself and others were NOT considered for jobs that ASC-HRM is saying we should have been.

I am failing in getting any help from my overhead or the officials who conducted Fire Hire to even tell me exactly why I was not considered. They claim it to be an "HRM issue." But, as stated above HRM says I and others with the same problem, "made the referral list."

This does not seem to be the case in R5 where the Union was able to advocate for the failing process and act for its delay to correct the issue.

I am looking for information, help, advocacy so that in the future these problems will not be overlooked but taken much more seriously and rectified before REAL PEOPLE's careers get delayed/derailed by a broken system.

Thanks for considering and posting this. I am weary of putting my contact info on this site in fear of negative backlash. Perhaps someone, if interested, can respond with contact info so I can call/email them.

Thank You

You and others in R3 and R4 should have recourse for a problem with referral lists within a new hiring system. Both made offers had the same problem from what I'm hearing. Ab.

3/19 Spinal Injury Devices and the latest science

Hey all,

I have attached a youtube video link that describes some devices out there for patient packaging as well transport. It is a brief overview of things people should be thinking about regarding stabilization and transport for the ill or injured wildland firefighter.

This material is for all medical providers, supervisors, and leaders in wildland fire to use in preparing for that medical emergency.


I have also attached the recent articles related to spinal trauma care. Unfortunately I cannot get the JEMS article link as I believe they may have changed how they do article releasing, but I am still working on it. However, I did attach the EMS World article that I placed earlier on "theysaid" for those who have not seen it.

jems.com 2013 March (for $20.00 you can get unlimited access to the website for articles, information, and CE articles and credits.)

emsworld.com: Why We Need to Rethink C-Spine Immobilization 

Stay Safe....and remember, Risk Management starts with Self Preservation

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic
"Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You."

3/19 Medical issues

RE Dose of Reality

So right back to the old WLF Adage, how much safety can I afford today! I don't know who coined it but they should have a day named after them because they get it! I am not suggesting a hospital on every forest. What I am suggesting is a few EMT/Bs or P's on the Crews! We've already trained people to carry a saw, swing a pulaski, use a compass or GPS, why can't we have the tools and training to save a life if when needed? Some Forest have done a great job of acquiring some really key medical supplies, others have not!

The answer was first responder training! What a waste of money! EMTs are already so limited, how is a First Responder more efficient or economical? Why was that a good answer? I was told we wouldn't re-enforce our medical standards or institute a training regiment for EMs because we couldn't afford it! I was told this by a room of 4 AFMOs 2 DFMOs and 3 Forest A/FMOs LOL. It was an ironic moment to say the least! Here I am looking at almost 10 people to manage 10 engine captains, 2 fuels techs and 2 preventions. The span of control says we should be able to manage 3-7 people not 1 manager for each employee! WTF? Do we really need that many people supervising so few? I think it's evident where I stand with that!

As Mr. Casey Judd says,

"we are the largest Fire Dept. in the World being run by people that have never seen a tree on fire except on TV"!

Unless you have packed somebody out of the woods bleeding to death, why would you care about medical kits on a buggy or engine? Its really the same justification as carrying a fire shelter! It's not a fix all silver blanket, it's a tool in a tool box that when and if needed and when properly deployed prescribes the well-trained user a fighting chance to LIVE!

We can do better, we can make a difference, our Brothers and Sisters are counting on us to do what's right by them in their time of need while serving the Country and they deserve our best effort!

Signed: It'll Do

3/19 medical issues and budget


I am trying to figure out what I said that set you off. I thought I was basically agreeing with you and was trying to make the point that the military has a virtually unlimited budget and the land management agencies do not. I guess the fixed budget thing was an unfortunate choice of words.

Now as a matter of rebuttal, if you will go back and re read your post did you or did you not say it was a matter of dollars? You did not say anything about operating within existing budgets and cutting red tape. I thought I had agreed with you but something must have got lost in the translation. I do not know where you work or for what agency but your portrayal of first aid training, facilities, commitment is not even close to the places I have worked.

Finally, I accept your bet. Just need to know the amount of my soon to be windfall.

Dose of Reality

3/18 A Dose of reality, re your post on 3/15 on medical issues

You said,

" The land management agencies total budget probably approximates one B-1, and many years to come up to the level of a nuclear carrier."

Probably approximates?? What are you talking about? Fixed budget? What is that? Mine goes up and down and down and up, nothing fixed about it. I am not asking for paramedics waiting at every dogleg in the fireline. I believe, if we put them (firefighters, eh em forestry techs) in, we ought a have a way to get them out. I am talking about SHIPS being broken. Not the USS Missouri. Are you familiar with Eauthentication? You can link SHIPS from there, if you have a computer with internet access. And if you can provide the information required, like the attending doctor's email. That is not easy to get depending on the hospital's or clinic's policy.

I am not talking about things that require cutting into our fire budget, I am talking about things that cut red tape, and ASC BS

A dose of reality, I bet you work for a county FD or Cal Fire, good for you, glad you are taken care of. I should have gone that way when I had the chance years ago.


3/18 Forest Service Chief's Letter of Direction and FS Wildland Fire Response Protocol

The Letter of Direction for Fire from Chief Tidwell (30 K pdf) is out, as is the FS Wildland Fire Response Protocol (21 K pdf).

Of the Seven Standards for Managing Incident Risk, the Standards 1, 2, 3 and 4 should be completed Pre-season Phase (I), and that can be done through the WFDSS, dialog with stakeholders (especially in #3 & #4), and taking into account goals and objectives in the Land Resource Management Plan (LRMP)  (See the FS response protocol document linked above for greater detail). It also has detail on managing risk in the During Incident Phase (II) and the After Incident Phase (III).

  1. Complete an Incident Risk Assessment:
    Develop an assessment of what is at risk (from preseason work or input from key stakeholders for boundary incidents), probabilities of harm, and possible mitigations.
  2. Complete a Risk Analysis:
    Consider alternatives (objectives, strategies and tactics) against desired outcomes, respondent exposure, probability of success, and values to be protected.
  3. Complete Two-Way Risk Communications:
    Engage community leaders, local government officials, partners, and other key stakeholders associated with the incident to share the risk picture and enlist input.
  4. Conduct Risk Sharing Dialogue ( using “Red Book”, Chapter 05.11 framework’s 10 questions):
    Engage senior line officers and political appointees (as appropriate) in dialogue aimed at understanding, acceptance, and support for the alternatives and likely decision.

  5. Make the Risk Informed Decision: Develop a time frame to revisit the decision.
  6. Document the Risk assessment, analysis, communication, sharing, and decision in WFDSS.
  7. Continue Monitoring and Adjusting as necessary or as conditions change.
    Monitor incident situation; revise the risk process as warranted by changing conditions. Reengage
    stakeholders and senior officials as appropriate. Significant changes will likely
    require updates to the published decision and risk support work.

Here's the Risk Management Level Matrix for the 7 Combined Standards (82 K pdf). (For some reason opening this does not work well in some browsers, for example, Firefox. Try Internet Explorer or download and save it, then open in Adobe Acrobat.)


WFDSS = Wildland Fire Decision Support System
LRMP = Land Resource Management Plan

3/18 Thanks for the info Mike.

I googled it and found this link about the museum... Siskiyou Smokejumper Base (SSB)


3/18 Large hot fire burning in TN-TNS-Cabin Fire

News article with video from CNN

The destructive fire in South Carolina seems to be contained, after damaging or destroying 26 buildings. A Google Map link. or Google Earth: Fire Carolina Forest, South Carolina.kml  Comment from a western FF: Interesting to see so much water available and lose some many structures.

3/18 Milepost 66 PPE

Why were flight helmets not required when rappelling on the Milepost 66? Maybe that's what OSHA thought too.

Fire helmets don't provide face protection.

The firefighter was not in contact with terrain, that's rappelling in my book. Even if they call it high-angle ropes you should have protection.

I thought MTDC had to approve new gear for something like this. It's hard to believe the hotshots in the FLA would agree to rappel unless a injured person needed extraction.


3/18 Mellie,

The location shown on your linked document is correct. The old base is now a smokejumper museum with pretty much a self-guided tour. Several of the old jumpers meet there each summer for a week and refurbish buildings and the grounds. The old business/dispatch office has been fully restored to its original condition. We covered the old bathhouse in cedar shakes last year to make it look like it did in the old pictures. Considerable work was done on the loft. There is currently work afoot to purchase and refurbish an old Twin Beech aircraft for display.

Tommy Smith drowned before I got to SSB, and do not really know the details other than he was trying to cross the river, lost his footing and his rope snagged on a rock and kept him under.

Mike Mann

(SSB = Siskiyou Smokejumper Base)

3/18 Ref Prescribed burning article:

I am pretty sure Greeley thought the world was flat, too.

A dose of Reality

3/17 Control burning

Interesting take on this.  Enjoyed reading the article.


3/17 Need location information and here's a lesson you might want to review...

Hey, Mike Mann or any other old oregon or norcal jumper, if you're reading could you please take a look at this location for the old Cave Junction Jumper Base. We often stopped to visit when heading up 199 Redwood Highway. Also, do you know what stretch of the Illinois River is called Illinois River Canyon where Tommy (Smitty) Smith died in 1967?

Geez, my oldest kid who is also a strong swimmer, tried swimming across the Trinity River (norcal) in a calm section near the gorge (where New River flows in near old Al's place) with the same idea of hauling the rope across to ferry gear. He didn't have the rope tied on tightly and he ditched it. What strong swimmer would think the rope could cause you to drown?? Who would think a calm stretch of river could be masquerading as a bath-tub when it really has powerful jets just below the surface?

There are a number of firefighter deaths by drowning in the Trinity River, the Klamath River, the Illinois River... and probably other western rivers. Please do not consider our powerful NorCal and Oregon Rivers as "swimming holes". As far as river or stream crossings go, keep in mind that you're potentially entering a dangerous environment....

Phew, now I feel better.


PS. One more Q: to those on the Shasta-T, Big Bar District. Does anyone know where the Oak Creek drainage is? Always Remember Tom Reginnetter, Redding SJ

3/17 Here's a 1920's "take" on Prescribed burning from foresthistory.org 1999.

It's a reprint of Asst Forester William Greeley's 1920 article "Piute Forestry or the Fallacy of Light Burning" March 1920 (pdf download)


3/16 Ab,

Deanne Shulman retired a year ago. They could try Dale Dague FAM in the WO.


Thanks, Scott, I sent him the contact info. Contributors, thanks for the other suggestion as well. Ab.

3/16 Ramus E Hinge, DEMA

The best person to contact for international firefighters would be Deanne Shulman. She is in the International Program at the Office of the Chief.

/Dwayne Mortenson
Phoenix Interagency Fire Center

Thanks, Dwayne, I'm forwarding her phone number. A bit of history... IMWTK First woman hotshot. First woman smokejumper, etc. A life well lived!Ab.

3/16 Learn from wildland firefighters.


I'm a firefighter and in Europe and I am an instructor for the firecadets in the Copenhagen fire brigade and I work for DEMA (Danish Emergency Management Agency).

Who should I contact to get to visit and learn from the wildland firefighters in USA?

/Rasmus E. Hinge

3/15 Re Fire Hire:

This message is making the rounds behind the scenes:

I spent time with Jeanne Wade Evans (Deputy Regional Forester with oversight of Fire and Aviation Management) on the phone yesterday regarding the delay in Fire Hire selections.

Here is what I have learned:

  • The reason for the delay is NOT tied to budget cuts related to sequestration. Those positions that are to be filled via Fire Hire were planned in anticipation that sequestration would occur. Forests were told to plan on a 5% reduction in overall 2013 budgets (from 2012 levels). As long as the positions they intended to fill through Fire Hire were in line with that budget advice, sequestration cuts are not a factor since they were already factored into early budget advice.
  • The delay is NOT driven by a concern about lack of diversity in the qualified applicant pool. I’m told that Civil Rights is tracking on overall diversity and the numbers are good in the qualified applicant pool. Remember, nobody in the Fire Hire process is privy to applicants RNO (race, national origin….) information. Civil Rights tracks that information. If they see trends or concerns that indicate a lack of diversity in the applicant pool, they speak up before selections are made. In this instance, Civil Rights reports good diversity in the qualified applicant pool from which selections would be made.
  • The reason for the delay IS it has been noted that, of the overall numbers of applications received, there is a significant percentage of applicants that didn’t make it through e-recruit filters, and thus were considered non-qualified. Given that we are dealing with a new system (e-recruit), management though it prudent to pause in order to determine if there is a problem and, if there is, what the fix needs to be. The concern is that we want all qualified applicants to be considered properly for hire. If there is a system problem that is not filtering correctly, we could have other-wise qualified candidates not making it into the qualified applicant pool. Region 5’s concerns were relayed up the chain to Deputy Chief Lenise Lago. Ms. Lago quickly assigned high level staff to work with Region 5 staff to review the matter, and that review is full-steam ahead. The intent is to resume with the selection process as soon as possible.

I’ll provide updated information as I have it.


/s/ Barry L. McDonald
NFFE Forest Service Council Vice-President, Region 5

3/15 To all,

Although the FWFSA is blue in the face from explaining to members of Congress the consequences of sequestration on the preparedness of the upcoming wildfire season, it is imperative that if anyone has valid, factual information about delays in hiring etc., by any Agency, anywhere in the U.S., claiming that such delays are a result of the sequestration, feel free to let us know.

We assume that NFFE has Rights to "bargain" the "impact & Implementation" of policies as a result of the sequestration and it is not our intent to step on anyone's toes. That said...and with all due respect to the leadership of the USDA & DOI...

Since we already know historically that even without the sequestration some Line folks do funny, non-fire things with FIRE preparedness dollars, we want to make sure that sequestration isn't a "tool" used to fund non-FIRE projects or positions at the expense of delaying the hiring of firefighters. There are already unwarranted delays as a result of Forest Supervisors having a say in FIRE hiring despite not necessarily knowing much about FIRE or possessing any quals and there are enough friends on Capitol Hill that would not take kindly to the preparedness of the Agencies being impacted as a result of such shenanigans. See, I can use nice words!

We've already heard from a few folks and will confidentially pass along any information we get to NFFE and of course key members of Congress if necessary.


Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

3/15 Tourniquet /bleeding


That's a great question and guess what.... I have a great answer.

Yes leaving a tourniquet in place for that amount of time is not as dangerous as one thought and combat operations have shown that. The longest recorded time is 5 hours with no adverse affects.

If you have ever had some sort of orthopedic surgery for a limb then surgeons often apply a pneumatic tourniquet while in the operating room.

With today's surgical abilities and prosthetic repairs the ability to retain a limb or add a prosthetic that compensate for the limb lost are unbelievable.

I hope this helps answer your question. The other part I would look at is self preservation. Loss of limb or loss of life?! You choose.

Thanks for the great question.

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic
"Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You."

3/15 Re: Medical issues

DP/It'll Do.

To compare the military with the land management agencies is an exercise in futility at best. The land management agencies total budget probably approximates one B-1, and many years to come up to the level of a nuclear carrier. Our budgets are smaller than their petty cash drawers.

So, in the arena of a fixed budget it is all about priorities. If you could have everything you wanted. to be prepared for any medical emergency, what would you cut out of the fire budget to finance it? I am not saying you are wrong or disagreeing with you, it is a risky business and we should do all we can to mitigate those risks. You are totally correct, it is about dollars, but, unlike the military we do not have a virtually endless supply of them to buy buy every bell or whistle we may want.

A Dose of Reality

3/15 There are Red Flag warnings in Florida


East Central FL

Southern FL

Those of you that went to help in the 90s know that Florida can burn and it burns GREEN!

GA Peach

3/15 Re Bleeding control for wildland firefighters:

Does the tourniquet recommendation to control bleeding hold true even in a wildland situation when it can take a long time to get someone to a helispot and lifted out? It seems that loss of a limb would be a high risk if a tourniquet is left on for as long as it can take to get someone off the fire line. I realize, it's better to lose a limb than a life, but it seems like it would take some tough decisions to use a tourniquet.

Still out there as an AD

3/14 Re Medical issues arising out of Bleeding control for wildland firefighters:

Signed: It'll Do! You said,

" So why not the Forest Service, Park Service, BLM, BIA, Fish and Feathers Etc. In the big scope of things is it really that out of line to have a forest service ambulance with 2 paramedics on a Forest, District or Zone working under the medical direction of a local or Regional Doctor? "

In regard to the fed land management agencies lack of ability to take care of their own. The simple answer, $$. All the folks who do want make some positive changes do it at their own expense and risk. Lots of captains are shut down and told that it is not a priority for anything beyond basic first aid, the requirement for USFS. Usually first aid training in the USFS is more of a check the box, we have that completed exercise, than any real learning about what to do in a emergency.

Sorry, I wish it was not that way either, but for now seems to be. Have you ever tryed to get medicine, for say altitude sickness victim on a type 3 incident, when you are out of region, on the weekend, and the Doctor's receptionist has a policy of not giving out the Doctors email (required in SHIPs)? BLM and NPS are a little better.


3/14 The budget situation is beginning to be felt in BLM fire hiring.

From: <jarcher@ nospam blm.gov>
Date: Thu, Mar 14, 2013
Subject: BLM Status


Thank you for your recent application for the position of Lead Range Technician (Fire), GS-0455B-06, NM Merit-2013-0041, in Roswell, NM, US, with the Bureau of Land Management. The vacancy has been cancelled due to a departmental hiring freeze. We appreciate your interest in employment with Bureau of Land Management and the time taken to apply for this position. We hope you will consider future employment opportunities with us.

Jake Archer

3/14 Airtanker photos

Bill Barr from the Hazleton (Pennsylvania) Tanker Base sent in a bunch of 2012 SEAT photos. The fires they were flying on occurred between March and April. I posted them on the Airtankers 37 photo page. Wikipedia on Hazleton PA.

Thanks Bill! Ab.

3/14 Social Media and Fire Information

Having worked at multiple levels in communications for the interagency wildland fire community, in duties ranging from simple PIO fire questions to Communications policy - I have noticed a significant change in the culture of wild land fire information reporting. From written correspondence to web-site postings. All in all, the They Said site has proven to be the most accurate and least instigating rumor, or pardon the pun - "drama" disseminator of fire related information. The Hot-list is a terrific source of dialogue which helps bring forth important issues, trends, and concerns - through the homepage discussions, that help our federal agencies discern the most appropriate response venue. I know for fact, that when info comes into the "AB" site that it is verified through a number of agency sources. There is no BS, rumor mongering, etc. The site is tracked for what it is intended to do - reach the wildland firefighting community at all levels.

Now that wildlandfire.com has changed management does not mean it has changed its core values of integrity with handling information.
I need to say no more.

Remember that the intent of this site has always been to give a voice to all - and it will remain so. And thru state of the art technology, it will still "compete" and most likely "out best" most of the federal wildland fire World Wide Websites.

Keep up the good work AB's. A fruitful and well balanced transition is occurring.

As the old jumper saying goes: "Maintain, you 'modickers' - Maintain."

History Buff too

3/14 Re Bleeding control for wildland firefighters:


Great Video! Its funny how we go back to the tried and true methods of life saving medical procedures. Makes sense that after long periods of combat operations we learn what is working in the field and what is not! Sometimes its the most simple, basic / fundamental procedures that make the difference!

In a similar realm but different subject; I went to the Federal side after 15 years in County Fire. It was the hardest thing in the world to adjust to the fact that medical treatment of wildland firefighters was still in the dark ages. No medics, no airway kit, no defib on and on. It literally makes the hair on the back of the neck stand straight up just watching someone fall trees and thinking about that what if moment! Or hiking in 6 miles and thinking about the kid who's going to go into anaphylaxis if he sees something with a stinger.

I always wondered why the Federal government denies wildland firefighters the benefit of a high level of care but will allow its benefit elsewhere. For example, an Air force base has ambulances and paramedics, hell on most bases they have Doctors and Hospitals. The Secret Service has Medics and Ambulances, Dept of Energy has Paramedics and Ambulances, Dept. of Reclamation has them! So why not the Forest Service, Park Service, BLM, BIA, Fish and Feathers Etc. In the big scope of things is it really that out of line to have a forest service ambulance with 2 paramedics on a Forest, District or Zone working under the medical direction of a local or Regional Doctor? I know i am diving into some gray area and i dont want that to become the focus, rather the fact that we've been left out and people have suffered because of it.

Our job is dangerous yes, that's not going to change! We're only going to be able to mitigate so much. But, we can do more to provide our own crews with first responders. How about every Engine with at least 1 Firefighter EMT/B, Every IHC with 1 Firefighter Paramedic and 2 Firefighter EMT/B's and the equipment to do the job worthy of our peoples well being!

Ladies and gentleman our Number 1 Mission out there is.......

The preservation of LIFE #1 and Property #2.

Sorry Chief! Taking care of People and the Land (Same thing)! I feel like we should do more to fulfill that commitment to the first part of that statement!

Thanks again for the great video lesson Bill!

Signed: It'll Do!

3/14 Re Fire Hire:

Allen York Frank Kody Mike

People who earned the right for consideration get passed up every year. Grousing about it won't change anything. Let it be known there are multiple ways to play the game. I hate saying that but it happens everywhere, not just fire. Sorry about your luck.


3/13 Bleeding control for wildland firefighters

I have attached a weblink to a youtube video that outlines some basic thoughts on bleeding control for the wildland firefighter.


The current IRPG reflects old practices for bleeding control measures and from recent military conflicts and research, I would suggest that all interested wildland fire professionals review this video as we need to be doing what's in the here and now and not what's been in the past.

While some will say, "It's agency....or not agency policy", I would counter by saying its high time we start doing what is a currently accepted and supported medical practice for this type of injury.

Please note, it is not anything fancy, but it is a message that needs to be out there.

Stay safe.... and remember, Risk Management starts with Self-Preservation.

Bill Arsenault
Wildland Firefighter/Paramedic
"Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You."

3/12 Remembering Shane and Jeff - Cramer Fire

Angeles Helitack created a Helispot Checklist shortly after the Cramer Incident (ID, 2003). We were married up with Indianola Helitack leading up to that incident. We wanted to put something together to help prevent future accidents and honor those gentlemen we spent time with.


Thanks. I added it to the A;ways Remember Shane and Jeff page. Ab.

3/12 SoCal

Ramona Air Traffic Control Tower Could Close

Sequestration could claim the back country airfield.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed to close the Ramona tower because they said it is not considered crucial to national use. The tower was built in 1995 after three people died when two forest service planes collided. This airfield serves as "ground zero" during fire season and CAL Fire needs the runway for air tankers that fight wildfires. Fire chiefs and county supervisors... more at the link.

Hotlist Discussion

3/12 OSHA

Looks like the link goes to a general PPE violation

If the FLA outcome is that the PPE of the ropes program gets in line with some recognized or approved standards, that would be one good thing.


3/12 Let fires burn!?


You may have already realized it by now, but just in case... you are agreeing with what I said. My example from the "living room" was an example of how people will incorrectly misinterpret the situation and falsely accuse the wrong people. People incorrectly think that it is being allowed to burn because of what the press release said. The point being that it gave an incomplete batch of information to the public. And just so you know, it is quite the topic among some of us in the PIO world and calls have indeed been coming in to many districts because people misinterpreted it, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that was going to happen. Apparently I wasn't clear enough.

Anyway, to repeat, you just echoed what I was saying. And yes, I am familiar with the history. In fact myself and another person actually went through, sorted and put to sleep all of the original files from the South Canyon Fire ICP and aftermath a couple of months ago, ALL of them. They are now in long-term storage, but not after I copied some of the original photos. Being an apparent history expert I'm sure you went through the files too and have the same photos, but for everyone else... This is the original photo of the South Canyon spot fire that started it all.

Be safe out there

3/12 From the Ab account:

Record of OSHA Report on Milepost 66, doesn't say a whole lot... yet

3/12 Something fishy

I guess I should have stated up front that my concern is that no matter what I do it will get swept under the rug and I will still damage my career. If I say something I will be told it was a mistake, they will take that experience off my fire and falsify another fire record. End result I show myself as "not being a team player" and nothing changes. I would be far more likely to say something if I thought it would do some good. Unfortunately I know how my unit is run, and all I would be doing is tilting at windmills. I'm stubborn enough to raise holy hell about this anyway, so maybe I'll change my name to Don Quixote!


3/12 Same ol' budget games

It warms my heart to know that, after being laid off for an extra month, all of the BLM FMOs are on their way to Boise to discuss HROs which could have been done via computer and saved tens-of-thousands of dollars.


3/12 Steve and Mellie - retiring from management...

Congrats on your semi-retirement.. since I know it won't be a full-time retirement.. Still wander into the site once and a while to catch up and see how the rest of the world it going. I too am feeling the need to slow down a little, but the mind won't let me, it still thinks I can do more than the body will allow. But, that's life...

Be looking forward to still hearing from ya all..


3/12 Video on Vimeo: Wildfire, Forest fires in the American West (about 5 minutes)

Script and narration by Walter Gallacher
Produced and photographed by Steven G. Smith

3/11 Let fires burn!?

Russell, and Be safe out there,

It is not that I don't agree with you, because I do in theory, but here is my problem with your theme. We do not have the resources to fight the big fires. So Fire Management is just that. Resources will always be most effective when " It is the right resource at the right time, in the right place" ,once said by a wise fireman.

So my point is... It is not let burn, not fire use for benefit. Simply once a fire escapes IA, and there is no backup, due to budget cuts, liability (afraid to engage), or just everyone is already out and engaged, we have to make tough choices regarding priorities. Priority usually involves low elevation before high elevation due to proximity to people and homes.

Be safe out there, you said, "We called the Forest Service when it was just a little smoke four days ago, but no one did anything! Dang, they could've put it out with a bucket of water and a shovel. Now we are being evacuated! Why do I pay my tax dollars?! Those firefighters aren't doing their jobs and this is their fault!"

Interestingly enough, That is almost exactly what some of the good residents of Glenwood Springs, Co said about a little duffer up on Storm King Mt. Before the blow up on the South Canyon Fire. I would encourage you to study a little history. They were not letting it burn, they were stretched to the max and had no one else to send until it became a priority (enough phone calls). And that is how we end up not being safe out there.

Prescribed Fire and doing the best you can with what you have are completely different things.


3/11 Fire Hire:

Thank you, MS

For the update concerning the R5 Fire Hire postponement of selections this week. Please keep the community posted on when selections will resume, if you can, as many of us are anxiously awaiting our fates. Also, if you are privy to the conversations taking place that caused the stall in the first place, perhaps you can share what the problems are... just curious.


3/11 RE: ROCK! Firefighter Extraction Success Story

First off let me say that it is fantastic that this injured firefighter not only survived, but also had a full recovery was made! Kudos to the EMTs on the hotshot crew and the NPS short haul crew!

That being said, over two hours to get an injured firefighter to advanced life support is ludicrous.

One of my biggest worries as a long time Hotshot captain was and is our continuing inability to extract one of our own in a timely manner in the event of serious / life threatening injury. We have been extremely lucky and sometimes not so lucky in the past....

As an ATGS, I regularly process orders for ground crews for lunches, batteries, etc.. for air tankers, helicopters, etc… but when it comes to medical aide, the reality is that it is not done (thank goodness?) on a regular basis. That being said, training on what to pre load the order with is not at the tip of most firefighter tongues nor in the “second nature” of our ordering process… How many times has the “cookie cutter Medical Plan in the IAP been tested? This is definitely an incident where training paid off, from the Hotshot crew's readiness to the NPS short haul module being there. Excellent decision making both during and pre incident!

In this day and age of technology and information, there is NO reason we should not have the ability to quickly respond to medical trauma for our firefighters.. whether it be ground (EMTs/ALS on the crews) and air (dedicated Medi-Vac) on EVERY incident from IA to project. If the land management agencies cannot pony up and do this then it is time for them to get out of the emergency services business.

As a good friend of mine says “The Agencies are only as safe as they can afford.”


3/11 Something Fishy

R 1861, and hopefully you are a bargaining unit employee and can use that to help protect you. But even if you aren’t, there are safeguards in place for your benefit. (In theory)

If you are a BUE and have not already contacted your local union steward, I would do so. If you don’t know where to go for that, you can contact me through Ab. Good Luck.

Brad W.

3/11 Big thanks to the community:

Wasatch Helitack, Bonneville IHC, and Lone Peak Conservation Center members were just a few of those that came out for music, BBQ, sunshine, skiing/snowboarding, and an epic snowy scavenger hunt at Wasatch Showdown on March 1st. Not only did they raise over $2000 for the WFF, but they rounded up some AMAZING prizes for those lucky raffle winners! Thanks to Brighton Resort for helping to make this day possible as well, because it was great seeing all of the wildland firefighters smiling and laughing together on such a beautiful mountain. Thank you for rallying everyone together and supporting each other!

Be sure to check out the pictures on our Facebook Page Wasatch Showdown 2013 and on our WFFoundation profile on the wlf.com Photo Album.
See you there next year!

Amanda DeShazo
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Nice use of the photo album option! Between posting the fundraisers on the Hotlist calendar and following up with thanks and photos, you ROCK! Ab.

3/11 Something Fishy,

I've seen this very thing happen many times in my years with the Forest Service. The Task Book system is supposed to prevent this type of falsification. With the many many signers the Task Book requires to ultimately qualify someone, there is alot of accountability. I guarantee that if you confronted any of these "qualifiers, signers" with the threat of exposing this fraud, somebody will withdraw their signature before it goes to the Red Card Committee for final blessing. It is your duty to do everything you can to expose this. Somebody could get hurt or worse, killed. You will sleep alot better and night knowing that you did the right thing for the organization we take such great pride in. Don't forget, there's always your Congressman who may not look the other way.

Good luck.


3/11 2011 Las Conchas Fire (New Mexico) Injured Firefighter Extraction Lessons Learned Video

ROCK! Firefighter Extraction Success Story from Lessons Learned Center

VERY interesting 22 minute lessons learned video about an injured firefighter on a 2011 wildfire and what his crew members did to get him extracted out of the incident and to a hospital within 3 hours (moral of the story – train, train, train, practice, practice, practice).


3/11 Let fires burn!?


I think you have summarized it well and that's probably the way it will go down.

When reading the announcement I was surprised that more attention wasn't being directed towards how this might be interpreted by homeowners living in one of the many WUI zones throughout the country.

And why would you release something like this without a contact person for questions from the public? Was this really well thought out? I often wonder why more things like this aren't first reviewed by people who deal with the front line situations and the public.

I think I can quite safely say that if there aren't members of the public with confusion and questions about this now, there will be when the small fire they can see from their living room with binoculars has grown, become much larger, created its own weather and then advanced a lot further than it was thought possible! I can hear the news report now... "We called the Forest Service when it was just a little smoke four days ago, but no one did anything! Dang, they could've put it out with a bucket of water and a shovel. Now we are being evacuated! Why do I pay my tax dollars?! Those firefighters aren't doing their jobs and this is their fault!"

One wonders how this release will be referred to mid-fire season this year.

And there might be even more questions asked (shouted) when the air tankers don't seem to be available because the same scenario is playing out in multiple areas across the west.

Just saying...

Be Safe Out There

3/11 Fire Hire-

I got into a discussion this week with a fellow fire fighter/good friend. The topic was about a certain position in North Ops that has come available. I will not mention what crew or what position it is for but for those of you in the loop, I am sure you will pick up on what I am talking about. This job has clearly been pre-selected. I know of over a dozen people who are applying for it. These qualified individuals will not even be given a fair shot at the job. I do understand this in some respects.

Let’s just say you started out on a Hotshot crew as a GS-02, Then through the years you busted your hump to lead saw, senior fire fighter , squad leader, foreman than ultimately Superintendent. I would say you earned your job and put your time in. Doing all the jobs and patiently stood in line for the chance to break out of your “glass ceiling”. This is understood through the fire community and typically the candidate is rather respected and well sought out for. Now….. that being said, the person we all know that is getting the job did not do any of that. This person is hand selected by the powers above and has told this module they will hire this individual. HAHA- what a joke. If this person gets this job over some of the other folks that I know that personally put in, that just lets me know that as supervisors we are slowly getting our spine chipped away. Earth to supervisors! If your spineless than you can’t fight fire!

Signed- Allen York Frank Kody Mike.

3/10 Let fires burn!?

Let's see, fires are great for the ecosystem when they are in a controlled environment like prescribed burning in late fall and early spring when humidities are higher and fuels are wetter. Letting fires burn in the middle of the summer when we have low humidities, dry fuels, and less resources sounds like flirting with disaster. Fires are great when they are in the middle of nowhere and not threatening anything. However, fires start to do what they want and create their own weather when they get a lot bigger and get a lot hotter. We humans have no control over Mother Nature, especially when a fire has been cooking with little or no control over it.

I would like to see these higher ups explain to home owners their reasoning for letting these fires burn that could end up burning homes. I personally think we should focus more on the prescribed plan and hit them hard when they're not. Small fires are a lot cheaper to fight than big ones.

What do you guys think?


3/9 Fire Hire postponed in Region 5

Deputy Regional Forest Jeanne Wade has announced a postponement of R5 Fire Hire recommendation and selection week. This was scheduled to start Monday, March 11.

Wade said:

After discussions with Regional Forester Randy Moore this afternoon, we have decided to postpone Fire Hire selections until we can better understand the barriers we face this year in hiring and the impacts to our applicants. We look forward to conversations early next week to get this hiring process moving forward as soon as possible.

We appreciate everyone efforts on preparing for this significant hiring event thus far. We are optimistic that after our discussions next week we will find a successful way forward quickly.

What's up?


3/9 Let burn is cheapest in the long run...

I was making a fuss this summer about when you attack a fire, the goal should be; out by the next day at 10'.

If the goal is to put it out, the "old" policy worked "too well".

But when a prescription plan is in place, and it's right to burn, you have backup plans in place ... let the snow put it out!

The problem I see, is turning a problem wildfire, into a "fire use" fire; without a plan, and making up the prescription as you go.

Forest Service May Let More Fires Burn


3/9 Found this FS study to share "Learning from a Traumatic Event -- Suicide" (974 K pdf) that touches on a subject that is difficult to discuss.

One cannot know what others are thinking, but we each have our own battles and way of dealing with them. We also need to realize what our own bodies might be telling us, that we need more/better rest, exercise and diet to help maintain our Health, both Physical and Mental. Beware of Accumulated Fatigue, it is a killer. Here are some more resources from the past archives:

Personally have had experience with Friends and Relatives doing themselves in, and it hurts and is hard to understand. Life can be a challenge, especially when there are Family or Money problems, then adding Stress from Work does not help.

And There I Was

Thanks, good information! Other resources: Bill Arsenault's brochure on the Watchout Situations for Post Traumatic Stress and How to Help is excellent for PTSD. I also highly recommend the Wildland Firefighters Life Challenge Program, begun by Shawna "Legs" that helps firefighters prevent suicide and deal with its aftermath. Ab.

3/9 Thanks:

We recently received the exciting news about the changes and developments taking place at wildlandire.com and wlfhotlist.com. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize all that Mellie, Steve, Casey and others at both wildlandfire.com and FWFSA have done for us and express our appreciation for all of your support. The wildland fire community has been through some tough times and your involvement and efforts have never gone unnoticed. As we look forward to the changes and technological advances brought about by the talented and ambitious FireWhat firefighting team, we want you to know how thankful we are for your dedication, commitment, and personal sacrifices to bring necessary, and often critical, information and changes to the firefighting community.


Your Friends at FEDS

Thanks! for the thanks. It's great working with you! You FEDS folks provide a very necessary safety-net service for federal wildland firefighters. I'm so happy to know your passion for and dedication to our federal wildland fire community. FEDS for Professional Liability Insurance. Ab.

3/8 "Only as $afe as we can afford"

DOI APB 13-01 Budget Reductions and Risk Management

"Possible cuts to training, proficiency, and maintenance budgets"

Really? what will the next prevention bulletin from "$afety Management" tell us next, we no longer require Fire Shelters? just think of the millions we could save there.


3/8 Milepost 66 and Job Hazard Analysis, training, PPE for rappelling, when OSHA report?

This direction says JHAs are highly recommended: FSM 6700, R6 Supplement No.: 6700-2012-2

The JHA referred to in the FLA was for tree climbing not for high angle rappelling. Does that mean you can locally create some kind of high risk program, roll your own non-approved, non-agency training and say its official? Can you use whatever PPE you're able to throw together and say it's agency approved?

Can you say Swiss Cheese?

Anybody know when the OSHA report comes out? I am looking forward to it since Region 6 chain of command seems to be failing with safety.

Will the Region 6 Safety and Occupational Health Officer step up?

~ ~ there will be some F/F up the Columbia without a paddle ~ ~

3/8 Re: Something fishy

That's a tough situation to be in, I know because I've been there. It really highlights the fact that to be ethical and do what is right is not supported in the agency (and for me it's the FS). And who can you go to for help? No one, we have no system in place for people to voice concerns such as these. And anyone who says otherwise is either talking about a smaller unique area, or is completely out of touch.

Unfortunately in my case we don't have a strong union rep and he's a buddy with our line officer so it's not a reliable or trustworthy situation.

And what's really sad and scary for your situation is the fact that this person is now going to "qualified" to be in charge of a lot of resources in (likely) dangerous situations. The system is pretty much broken if you ask me.

I hope you have been diligently taking and keeping notes and trying to cover your a$$ as much as possible. But you may never get a chance to defend yourself and none of this will come out until someone gets hurt.

Maybe it's a good time to pull that Safety Journey card. After all we're supposed to be free to discuss anything that is a potential safety risk right? Without threat of retribution from a supervisor... Don't believe that for a second.

So what would I do? Hard to say. I wish you good luck though. Maybe someone else here will have better suggestions than mine. I doubt it would do any good to write to someone higher up unless you have some strong documented and provable information. Maybe be careful to not play all of your cards at once and never ever assume that everyone will be honest and tell the truth - even line officers. It just isn't so.

And just in case anyone has forgotten what the Safety Journey card is, here is what it says on it:


Side 2: Safety Empowerment Authority

I am responsible for my own safety, as well as that of my fellow employees and the public we serve.

I have full authority to call a halt to any activity that looks or feels to be unsafe.

I will use this authority with confidence because Forest Service leadership fully supports me taking this action so I can protect myself and others from harm.

It's shameful and not very realistic, isn't it?

Afraid to talk

3/8 Re Something Fishy:

First, DP offered some sound advice. Second, read it again and sleep on it for a day or so. I'm really not sure what you think is going to happen here?? You know how many times I heard my boss say "deny, deny, deny"? Me neither, but I've heard it enough. Either way, it could just be a mistake? How about just approaching your boss and letting them know? I agree with DP and try to keep it low if possible. Now, if they were giving themselves experience as an IQCS administrator and they didn't perform that particular role, then there is a problem. I still think approaching your boss first is the right thing to do. Remember, sometimes you have to pick your battles to fight another day. Like you said you don't want to damage your career!

Take it from me, this is nothing compared to the bigger issues that are out there, and the daily battles some of us fight just like this. Look below the surface before you jump in.


3/8 Something Fishy,


Just by posting this, I think you already know what you have to do, and you're right, you can't, nor should you let it slide. If you're that concerned that there will be that much back lash, then file a SafeNet, you may do so anonymously and if you are in a Region like mine (5), the Regional Safety Officer will address it, ours happens to be a stand up individual who would take this on with the utmost professional manner.

Accountability cannot be checked out of supply, and you cannot order it from a GSA catalog, but it is free, and you will sleep great at night.


3/7 Re R5 2013 perm job offers:

Response to SNS,

Line officers and other officials are headed to Sacramento next week to begin the recommendation process. Offers could be made at this time or in the week to follow. Best of luck.

Old Crane.

3/7 Re Something fishy

To answer the most frequently asked question, yes this person is my supervisor and yesX100 there will be retribution if I speak up. And I can't go to the next level because that person and my boss are buddies. To answer other questions I'm a fed, and the position listed was ICT3 (a qual this person needs to keep their job) I'm thinking about taking this to the next level anyway, just out of pure spite. But knowing it could damage my career (and paycheck) is making me think long and hard.

Sent from my iPhone

3/7 Ab or those that know about FOIAs,

Is it possible for OSHA to FOIA the ORIGINAL Milepost 66 FLA?



3/7 The SME work is still going on at McClellan rating perm apps. it's taken 13 days so far.

The selections are supposed to be either next week, or the week after that. Be patient, nothing is going fast this season.


3/7 R5 2013 Perm Job Offers:

Can any R5 Fire Hire folks estimate when PERM FEO (7) and AFEO (6) job offers will come out?


3/7 Message from Abercrombie:

Hi DP,

Good question "What gets posted?"

Steve's and my rule of thumb has always been "Treat others in the way you'd like to be treated." and that leads to Duty, Integrity, Respect.

As much as possible,....

Keep your post about the WHAT, and

  • the question,
  • the issue,
  • the gripe,
  • refuting or clarifying the distracting rumor
  • the wildland fire alert or heads up about most anything,
  • facts
  • the instant safety news,
  • the information,
  • the policy,
  • the lessons learned...
  • the agency structure that brought us here but could be improved... or what works well,
  • how to make things better,
  • the answer to a question,
  • the insight,
  • solutions,
  • the logical, informative discussion embedded within each firefighter's style,
  • offer insights or provide info on mitigating circumstances that might allow us to understand human factors, among other things

not the WHO.

  • the other "personality" that might have created your emotional knee-jerk negative response,
  • the poster you feel you must know and DO NOT like,
  • the poster on the other side of the issue,
  • the poster that used a buzz word, etc.

It's well known but worth reminding people that

  • Anonymous posters may tend to say things that they wouldn't say to someone's face, or about someone to other's faces.
  • Information shared by text only is devoid of facial expression, body language, tone of voice and a myriad of other clues that inform as to the poster's meaning.
  • The internet has evolved in the last 13 years and posting styles have changed on professional forums.

Since they-said-it has existed and firefighters have raised their issues, the Forest Service Fire Organization has responded and fostered

  • Firefighter Leadership and other training,
  • Safety, as evidenced by

DP, It might be easier to answer "What doesn't get posted?" or "What doesn't get posted without editorial (Ab) interaction?"

  • Firefighter deaths or accidents. They are not posted as they occur. We know that immediately after, it's a time of chaos, facts are uncertain and family members have not yet been notified. We do appreciate a "heads up" email so we can pass the info on to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to arrange family support, and to the Hotlist Mods to prevent premature auto-posting.
  • Untruths we know to be untruths about people, agencies, etc. But we don't fact check every single post.
  • Posts that need to be clarified or written differently to keep them about the what not the who.
  • Posts that could be considered whistleblower that might get the poster unfairly fired or blacklisted, especially if they're addressing a safety concern and have had no success via the chain-of-command. Before posting, we make suggestions on how they can protect themselves and I may help them network behind the scenes.
  • Posts that need editorial help. If someone has an important point or points but needs help writing, I've helped. I also spell check, and to some degree, grammar check. If grammatical changes are substantial, I run them by the poster to see what they want Ab to do before posting. Often I tell them one option is post as is.
  • Repeated rants against a public person or agency with no specifics offered.
  • Rants against private individuals not filling a public role.
  • Copyright infringement is not allowed. Fair Use may be invoked as minimally as possible. (Do unto others... And we don't like rip-offs either.)
  • Posts with overt emotion-laden buzz words, whether or not related to fire issues.
  • Posts signed with an inappropriate moniker.
  • Posts where one poster asks a question and answers himself using another moniker.
  • Posts from the same poster who just won't let go of their issue, although no new point is made and no new information is shared.
  • Posts about religion. People have their own preferences, passions and truths.
  • Posts about sex (er,um, not gender, but the other regular meaning of sex). People have their own preferences, positions and passions. (Not so much an issue in recent years, but in the beginning of the forum, definitely an issue.)
  • Posts about politics and political parties unrelated to fire and firefighting. People have their own, and often emotional, opinions. We do encourage responsible citizenship, voting in elections and educating policy-makers on fire issues. We do appreciate and encourage FWFSA and Casey's education of Congress on behalf of federal wildland firefighters.

On this moderated forum, we have worked with people to make concerns and decisions known or understood behind the scenes. Many people in FS fire circles in Region 5 and in the West have known our identities. A number of them we have met. Steve and I talk with each other multiple times a week; we're on the same page. DP, there was a time when we started getting lots of spam and some posts ended up in our server's new spam filter. I hope one or more of them weren't yours.

Ab, some old Ab, going on as always.

3/7 Re: Something Fishy

R1861, My eternally skeptical personality wants to know a few things before recommending a course of action. When I say skeptical, please understand the devil is in the details. First of all, What agency do you work for? Fed, State, or City/County would suffice. Chain of command and LEADERSHIP presence would be serious considerations before proceeding with any sort of complaint.

Second, You said "3 days on a fire I ICed." so are we talking about a Type4 incident? What kind of OPS position are we talking about? CRWB, TFLD? On a Type3, OPSC position description equals DIVS on a fire experience record.

Third, Is this person equal, above or below you in the chain of command? Should not matter, but it does. Don't think for a moment that if this person is your boss and you, "bring up an issue" that you won't be punished. ( in one way or another ) It sucks when you are not supported. I did not make the rules, but I have to live by them.

Last consideration for now, Is what do you have to lose, and what do you have to gain??? Risk/Benefit

Can you live with yourself if you just bite your tongue, not all can.... Duty, Integrity, Respect Not all can do it but YOU should.

By the way AB or new AB, whatever you are going by, quick question... What does it take to get a post, not posted? A few of my more emotional replies were not ever aired. I thought maybe the group would like know what would kick their thoughts out. No one ever responded and said "TOO MUCH, CALM DOWN" or "WE CAN'T SAY THAT ON THE INTERNET" It just never showed up. Just wondering?


3/6 Re: Something Fishy

Sadly, your first reaction of shrugging this off was probably the correct one, especially if this person has diversity status. However, only you know the context in which you work, and whether those above you on the food chain will think of your actions entirely in a positive light. IF you do have really solid leadership above you and that is a big IF, you may consider telling your immediate supervisor or their supervisor. However and as I said before, you may end up attracting unwanted attention to yourself. I'm sure you've heard the saying "no good deed goes unpunished". Only you can make the final decision about what to do.


3/6 Agent Orange

Making the rounds in CAL FIRE circles and more widely. Ab.

Please give this WIDE distribution for Ray. Don't worry if there is a duplicate of recipients. I just want to make sure we touch as many as possible.
Thank you,
Paul Duncan - District 1 VP CALFIRE Local 2881

forwarded message:


The attached article (linked below) was brought to my attention by some sharp eyed members in Southern California. The article ran in the Riverside newspaper a few days ago.

Over the past years, since the Viet Nam era from the early 60's to the final pull-out around 1973, many of our members served in Viet Nam and and it is very likely many of those that did serve were exposed to Agent Orange. The exposure could have been through the shipping, preparing and/or application process. And, it could have been our members were under the canopy of spray when it was applied.

It has also been well documented Agent Orange was used by our personnel, mainly in the conservation camp system as a defoliant for fuel breaks and truck trails. I have heard several stories of our camp personnel actually stirring Agent Orange using just the arm and hand directly as a "stirring stick".

This message is intended to go far and wide to not just our members, most of whom have retired from that era, but the surviving spouses and children that lost their spouse to some form of cancer as described in the article. I know there are many; no study has been completed at least that I know of today.

While I don't know if we could be successful, it may be a worthwhile project to identify all of our members that served in military and were assigned to Viet Name during the entire conflict. And also attempt to identify our members assigned to the camps that used Agent Orange to treat the fuel breaks and truck trails. Finally, we would need to determine those that died of some form of cancer that is identified by the federal government tied to the used of Agent Orange.

This would be a monumental project but it could bear fruit for those surviving beneficiaries who lost their spouses/parents, our members, and did not receive anything except a standard service retirement or not even a service retirement if the member who did not attain the minimum retirement age of 50 for retirement.

At the very least, if you know of someone that may meet the criteria, please forward this article to them.

Ray Snodgrass
CDF Firefighters
State Retiree Director

referenced article from the Press Enterprise

REGION: Veterans Affairs office seeks Agent Orange beneficiaries

The San Bernardino County Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to find Vietnam veterans and their survivors who are unaware they are eligible for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. In 2010, the U.S. government began paying benefits to Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange and later developed certain heart ailments, B-cell leukemia and Parkinson’s disease, said... (more at the link)

3/6 Re: Something Fishy

I had a similar experience a few years ago. I was inadvertently given a coworker's IQCS transcript (we have the same first name) and saw that he/she had received credit for shifts as an IC3 without ever leaving the station, on what was determined to be a water dog soon after the initial report came in. I reported this to my BC who expressed concern with the situation but was not surprised since the individual had been close to losing IC3 currency at the time, and that would mean overhead would have to stay in district to function as duty officer. I did not know how to properly pursue the issue, nor did I want to get blacklisted, so that was the end of my involvement.

I feel this happens a lot more than people realize in areas without a heavy fire load, and it will only increase as funding cuts escalate and people are held on district more to maintain minimum staffing levels. I've seen a couple Safenets filed over forged WCT results the last few years but nothing about forged fireline experience. Would that be a viable option? To end on a positive... thank you very much to the Abs for making this site an invaluable resource.

Please sign me, Just a member of the fishing club

3/6 NWSA Conference Auction and visit to the WFF from Peter Cecil, Australian Wildfire Instructor

NWSA Conference:

Vicki has a lot of old friends from her contracting years and got to spend time with them at the NWSA Conference in Reno last week. The auction there netted over $14,000 for the Foundation and fun was had by all! Vicki says that as far as her social life goes, this is the highlight of the year for her. She also told me how grateful she is for this auction because the money that we get in here from the contractors year after year has always been the money to go out first every year to the fallen and injured. And to all those people, we are grateful for what you do for our Foundation and we are grateful for what you bring to the fire community.

Thank you!
Thanks private sector firefighters! Ab.

Thank you Peter Cecil for visiting with us today at the WFF!

We also want to thank Diego Calderoni, pilot for the BLM Boise Smokejumpers, for the tour he gave Peter and I of the base today. I want to go back again soon and watch those burly smokejumpers working on those sewing machines before fire season kicks off up here!

Mr. Cecil is an Australian Wildfire Instructor currently touring the States and on his way to Academy in Prescott, AZ. We spoke about the 3 LODDs in Australia this year and ways that Australia can continue working towards starting up a foundation there similar to the WFF. I also learned today that they don't have smokejumpers in Australia due to the types of fuels there; a burning piece of bark can travel over 20km (12.4 miles) and ignite dangerous spot fires.

Thanks for learning this cowgirl today, mate! Cheers and safe travels!

Amanda DeShazo
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

3/6 Re: Something Fishy


It could be just a mistake or a typo and mentioning it to someone could be a way to get it fixed. Or, it could be someone trying to pull a fast one. Either way, it seems kinda scandalous. Whether you say something is going to depend on your comfort level. Is it a co-worker, or a supervisor? The book says to try and handle it at the lowest level, so I would start there. If that doesn’t work, then you can elevate it to your Ranger and/or Forest Supervisor. (If you work for the Forest Service).

Hope that helps.

Brad W.

3/6 Something fishy

Yesterday I received my IQCS transcripts to review for the coming year. Our dispatcher messed up, and I received a couple pages from another employee. As I looked at them I was shocked to see this employee had down 3 days on a fire I ICed. This person never left the office but was credited with time on my fire in an operations role. Normally I would just shrug this off, but I'm concerned this is being done to maintain this persons quals even though this person hasn't performed in this position since being signed off. Now I'm in a dilemma as to what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


3/6 North Carolina LODD:

We just got the 24 hour Report on the Mackay Island WNR fire fatality.

Scott Morrison died. He was Chief of the Knotts Island Volunteer Fire Dept., NC.

Condolences to friends, coworkers and family. Ab.

3/6 Hi Abbie,

It has been a while since we talked. Again I want to thank you for the help you gave me in the past. I hope that all is well and Enjoy what is to come.

Gordon H. King

Thanks Gordon. All is well. I think of you often. You're an inspiration to many of us:F your Loop Fire talk at the Hotshots Meeting in the early-2000s, our interactions later. I made an Always Remember page for the Loop Fire. Doug Campbell contributed to it, along with David Westley who has an El Cariso website with photos. Be safe and be well, my friend. Abbie, aka same old Ab.

3/5 Hello Wildlandfire.com community,

Over the past few days, since the transition announcement came out, we've been flooded with inquires. Some great, some concerned, and some upset!

I'd like to take a moment to address a few concerns:

1-They Said

They Said is a very valuable portion of the website. We don't intend for it to change!

2-Hotlist Forums (IA Fires)

The Hotlist Forums are also a very vital tool to every Wildland Firefighter! The forums will see a few positive changes, transitionally. Most folks won't notice the change, except the added Live Radio Feed, and Integrated Map showing the location of the incident, live weather, satellite imagery, and changing conditions.

The folks who this mainly affects are our moderators, and contributors of Fire Info. The new additions will speed up the ability to publish info, and also automate several current practices.

One of the exciting additions that comes from this upgrade is the info entered in forum, will power the new "Wildlandfire.com Mobile Application". The Mobile Application will provide live weather, mapping, historical fire data, NFDRS Fire Severity, Hotlist Forum Posts, and Agency Verified Info.

The main thing I want the community to know is, we are Wildland Firefighters who know the challenges you all face. We know how important this site is, and the specific benefits this community continues to bring. We have been users of the site for many years.

Please know, we understand the fear of change. And we are going through several very strategic steps to make sure we don't degrade the value this site brings to you, your family, and your crews.

Rest assured, you will be extremely excited to see the new additions to the site. Nothing's going away, but things will improve with the input from our community!

Thanks for the comments and we look forward to building the tools you need!

The Wildlandfire.com Team

3/5 good luck and thanks

Hello Mellie and Steve! I just saw that you're passing the wildlandfire.com torch and I just wanted to say thanks for all you've done and good luck with your future endeavors. Enjoy some of the relaxation you've earned.

I'll never forget Sammie's advice to be "strong enough to bend". It's been a great help through these last years.

Live well!


3/5 Transitions...

Hey Mellie ....and Steve.

I was just thinking about you guys the other day. My son who is now a freshman at Iowa State majoring in biology, took me by surprise by asking me how I got into wildland fire (he has never really shown an interest before). When I asked him what made him ask he said he is thinking of trying it next summer. Of course as our conversation progressed one of the things I pointed him to was WLF.com.

Congratulations! Im sure this was a very difficult decision to walk away. The contribution you two have made to the wildland fire community is nothing less than exemplary. Your replacements will have big shoes to fill.

Best of luck to the both of you!!

Pulaski (Jim G)

Thanks, Jim! Ab.

3/5 Thanks to Steve and Mellie,

Just want to say Thank you from the private Wildland fire services for a job well done over the years! I have had the honor to meet Mellie in person and admire the job you do on this sight. Wishing only good thoughts for all involved.

Deborah Miley
Executive Director
National Wildfire Suppression Association

The pleasure was mine, Deborah Miley. Also really enjoyed meeting the others. Ab.

3/5 Original Ab and Ab

Thanks for your years of service. Best wishes in your future endeavors.

Old fire guy

Thanks, OFG! Mellie

3/5 Thanks -

We in wildland fire would like to THANK YOU for a great job well done - the articles, responses and information that you keep flowing to the world of wildland fire are great.

Thank you for your time and effort you put into keeping everyone informed.


3/5 Thanks

Well I knew Steve was the Original.. and enjoyed working with him when he was in dispatch.. but not about Mellie. Thanks for everything. I'm a retired type now and will try to follow the new changes. With all the talk of new tools, I will say that then and now the best tool we all have is the one in between our ears, and you Abs have used yours well. Thanks from the bottom of my retired heart.

Retired FF and They Said It reader

HAW HAW, Steve trained me up in 2000 and we two have been at it ever since, adding in some fine Mods for the Hotlist. Ab.

3/5 Thanks

Now we know who the Abs really are, thanks Mellie and Steve for all you have done for our fire family.

Terry T

You're welcome. Thanks for the thanks. It's much appreciated. Ab and Original Ab. [Mellie & Steve]

3/5 Hey All-

So spring is almost here. Everyone is looking to hire folk, get the gang back together, get everyone trained up and ready to head back out on the line right?
Well, if you are willing I have something to say during that training.
I've already said it quite a few times- Without putting too fine of a point on it (or "blowing my own horn" too terrible much) it's very likely you or someone in the room with you has heard of me, actually heard me, or wants to hear me.
Wait. You don't know who the heck I am?
I'm the former Plumas IHC Sawyer who was hit by that tree back in 2001 and now will ride a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
Who have I talked to? Just off the top of my head:
Entiat, Plumas, Lassen, Tahoe, Ruby Mountain, Lone Peak, Union & La Grande, Carson, Flagstaff, Mormon Lake, Laguna & all the folk on the Descanso Ranger District, Mendocino, Ron Marley's Fire Science class of a few years ago.... Plus a myriad of District meetings, Operations meetings.. Everything from 500+ folk at the Huge Blingy Conference Center to a single crew with a sheet duct-taped to the engine-bay wall.
Still not sure? Why not give Ron Marley or Rick Cowell a call and see what they say about me.
I don't care where you are. Want to see & hear me? Figure out mileage from Corvallis, Oregon & reimburse me at the Fed rate and I'm there. Oh. And if I need a place to sleep if you'd hook that up as well that would be Awesome.

So far I only have one engagement this year- 18 April in Klamath Falls for the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership. I'd like a few more.
I am in school so we'll have to work around that, but usually it's fairly easy- I come out the night before, talk in the morning (the presentation takes about an hour and a half) & then head home so I'm only missing one day.
If you'd like me to talk to your guys shoot me some email ( heykrsATgmail ) and we'll figure it out.

If I see you or not, Hope your season is a good one-
Krstofer Evans

krstofer.org & crew13.com

3/4 Hello and Welcome,

First off, I would like to express what a honor it is to know we will be leading an amazing community of Firefighters, Responders, and Family Members. What started as an idea, has now become a reality. As the head of our team at FireWhat, Inc. I want each of you to know how important carrying on Steve and Mellie's dream is to us.

Over the next few months, we will introduce several new technologies and opportunities to share information about incidents and the whole idea of Wild Fire. We have spent several hours working with Steve and Mellie to understand the importance of certain areas of the site. The site serves many purposes, which we will not change. I have had the recent opportunity to be part of one of the less known, and extremely important functions of Wildlandfire.com. The support network that has been established through the relationships with the FWFSA and Wildland Firefighter Foundation is something we plan to enhance, and carry on for our community.

If you are unfamiliar with FireWhat, Inc., we are a small company based out of Dunsmuir, CA. We started our company with the intent to allow the sharing of tools and resources amongst firefighters. It was always bothersome to us that the same issues occurred to multiple departments across the Nation, yet very few resources are available to share the information from the lessons learned.

The entire team at FireWhat, Inc are firefighters, and know what an impact this job has on our personal lives. Our goal is to build tools and share information that helps keep firefighters safe, and gets them home to their loved ones after each assignment.

Again, I am truly honored to take over the ship, and lead on with the dream Steve and Mellie set out on so many years ago. We are excited to be part of this journey, and wish to welcome you all aboard!


Sam Lanier
Co-Founder and CEO
FireWhat Incorporated

3/3 Yactac,

That investigation was done and sent out to the regions RASM, so R5 should have it as you've said.

I was looking for some info for training and came across this Region 8 2009 Safety Management System statement on risk management, just culture and the learning environment . I appreciated the statement below in bold.

At the time of this writing the aviation authorities are trying to piece together the facts surrounding the French Airbus crash in the Atlantic between Rio de Janerio and Paris. The facts emerging are pointing to a break-up in flight due to weather. The flight path took the airliner through an area of the world’s strongest storms. One writer characterized the crash as a plane in an unequal fight with Mother Nature. If I were contemplating a flight in that area a simple Risk Assessment would yield the information needed to help me make my mind up on whether to fly or wait for better weather.

I know the situation with the Lead Plane and the MAFFS is not the same, or maybe it is,,, but how do know what to watch out for if regional "leaders" holding the reports do not foster the learning environment? Has their Safety Journey has gotten us anywhere? Do you think that management feels like once they know what happened, no one else needs to know?


3/3 Re Job Offers:

When should I be worried about not being offered a seasonal position? This year sounds slower than previous but I would think I'd get an offer by mid-March maybe?


3/2 Hi Wildland Fire Community,

There are important and exciting new changes and developments afoot at wildlandfire.com and wlfhotlist.com. As we have mentioned to a number of you behind the scenes and alluded to in posts over the last year, our plans and the process of upgrading and implementing new features on our websites this winter are well underway. It’s been exciting to get a glimpse of the mapping, photos, and IA options that exist to bring breaking wildfire news to you where you are, as well as more globally. New opportunities for gathering information abound.

In conjunction with development operations over the last months, we have also been working closely with an organization to transfer the ownership and management of wildlandfire.com and wlfhotlist.com. Every organization especially one such as “the home of the wildland firefighter” has to plan for upgrades, remodels and continuity. As we’ve gotten older and have been at this for a while, remaining cutting edge has become more important and more difficult with only two of us Abs and our great Moderators. We’re happy to say that we have reached an agreement with our successors, a younger generation, and the transition to new ownership is also progressing.

This moment is bittersweet. Original Ab and Ab (Steve Myers and Mellie Coriell, respectively) have been at this for 13+ years, 24-7-365. We get up in the morning, Steve at 0400, Mellie at 0630, checking our inboxes, and beginning on our course of work for the day, some routine and some totally unexpected. In a way, it’s been like Christmas every morning working with all of you -- our firefighting community, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the FWFSA, our supporters and advertisers, and the extended wildland fire family across agencies and across the USA and beyond.

We’ve all tried to keep the public discussion “about the what (issues) not the who (personalities).” Thank you for that! Thanks also for the education, for the inspiration, for the reason to research strange and unusual topics, to write, to support and feel a part of such a great brotherhood/ sisterhood. Priceless!

As most of you know, there’s more going on than what occurs publicly on the “forums”. There’s networking and research and educating each other behind the scenes, alerting the Moderators or Abs to accidents and fatalities so our wildland firefighter support network can get into action to do the things only the WFFoundation can do. Privately and publicly we’ve banded together to support Casey and the FWFSA as he and all of us educate Congress and exercise our responsibilities as citizens. There’s been laughter HAW HAW and tears, tongue firmly in cheek comments, sharing memories, sometimes gossip, striving for Just Culture, striving for Lessons freely Learned and calling out whomever needs it on issues that relate to firefighter safety.

Through all this and especially through the last few years, it’s become increasingly clear that the World Wide Web has morphed into a more dynamic style; delivery of information and social networking have changed (although we’ll always be the first wildland fire social network); and the communication devices we use to inform each other have grown in delivery capability while many have become smaller in size. It’s time to let a new generation with newer web architecture skills and energy step forward.

Carry on,
Mellie Coriell (Ab.) and Steve Myers (Original Ab.)

3/2 What a great post in the Hotlist General Discussion

Joe P,

Remember one very important concept regarding any flight mission's with the USFS. "The Forest Service is ONLY as safe, as it can afford"

Also, I'm sure their was no question or comment period allowed with Mr. Hanks, as this would have produced more sweat then swinging a Super P midday in August.

The following is straight out of the 2013 Red Book, Chapter 1, last page, last paragraph, titled "Cost Effective Fire Operations" -

Accomplishing fire operations objectives safely and efficiently will not be sacrificed for the sole purpose of “cost savings”.


3/2 Sequester and AD Firefighter hires

Does anybody know if, or how this government sequester will impact AD hires? I know that agencies are looking at furloughs, shortened workweeks, etc. but being an AD, I'm not sure how it will impact us during this upcoming fire season. Any and all comments or info would be appreciated. Thanks.


3/2 reference checking

Hello again fire folks,

Speaking of reference checking, if you are aware that your former supervisors are getting reference check calls, does this mean a job offer is coming??? I have been waiting to hear ... but nothing. Anybody know how this works? I would be SUPER excited if I indeed get a job offer from the people who are apparently inquiring about me -- just dont want to get my hopes up if I shouldnt be. And also, should former sups be informing people if they are getting reference calls from others? Thoughts?


3/2 FireHire:


No, we're not done with all the ref checks at R5 FireHire.

We are here @ Mc Clellan working all weekend and into next week to get the rest.

If you have a supervisor thats not sending one back, please get him/her to do it.


3/2 Good Evening, Or Morning......

Attached is a picture we took at our RT-130 Fire Refresher this week. Tanker 48 Staged in Porterville, Also Inyo National Forest R-5 Packers. Old Vs New , We still need both.

And of course the OC Crews .....


Just Me

Thanks, nice ones. I added them to the Handcrews 29 photo page. If any of you crew folks want the very large crew photo, please let me know and I'll attach it to a reply email. Ab.

3/2 Just finished reading John Maclean's "The Esperanza Fire." Definitely a hard read knowing many of the involved individuals.

That being said... this book should be a mandatory read for anyone who leads / supervises / manages ANY wildland fire resources... As should his "Fire on The Mountain", "The ThirtyMile Fire" as well as his fathers "Young Men and Fire"....


3/1 FireHire

Does anyone know if R5 is done making Reference checks?


3/1 Readers,

AVUE has a new fairly anonymous flyer that has gone out to all of you who applied for federal fire jobs over these last years. They're using your email addresses that you used to apply for firefighting jobs to spam you.

We have gotten lots of enquiries from our community asking if it's from wildlandfire.com. It's not. We don't spam.

Apparently the AVUE Mailing about fire jobs is causing some confusion to those applying for federal fire jobs. We got this message below from USDA Forest Service, ASC-HRM in Albuquerque, NM.

Be sure you apply for Forest Service firefighting jobs with www.usajobs.gov.


3/1 From ASC-HRM

This is a reminder that all Forest Service jobs are posted on the U.S. Government’s official website for employment opportunities at www.usajobs.gov. You must apply through www.usajobs.gov to be considered for positions in the Forest Service that you are interested in.

3/1 In response to the Region 4 Fire Hire question:

They are not behind the curve. Job offers have been coming out this week. They started offering on Monday and I heard from some friends who are applicants that they received interest calls today for some backfill positions.


3/1 Re: Steep Corner Fire


In addition to the SafeNet report by the Flathead Hotshots, there were aviation issues reported in SafeCom, as noted on page 36 of the Steep Corner investigation report:

“Air-to-ground communications, target descriptions and general use of aircraft were not in accordance with what pilots used to working on federal wildland fires would expect.

This led to high stress levels for some pilots working the fire and resulted in a SAFECOM being filed by the manager of a heavy helicopter on August 11.”

As for the Human Factors Analysis, I agree that pay structure can be a disincentive to firefighter safety. The advantage for a national resource like a hotshot crew is that they’re pretty sure to get sent to another fire if they disengage/turn down an assignment. But a federal engine on a district might not get another dispatch – and the chance for hazard pay/overtime – if they continue to turn down a local assignment.

It’s worth remembering that Steve Uptegrove was the USFS firefighter killed in 2009 for which OSHA gave the Forest Service the repeat violation in the citation for Anne Veseth’s death. Steve Uptegrove - Always Remember

vfd cap’n

Thanks, vfd cap'n. I don't have a record of that SafeCom. If anyone has it, please send it in. Ab.

3/1 Dalton 60 year Hotshot Reunion:

Here is a copy, please get this on your site to help get the word out!!

Dalton Hotshot Reunion Flyer (840 K pdf)

The flier itself has printable tear offs to pay by check or you can click this link that will bring you directly to PayPal !!

Hope to see you there!

You can also get additional info about the event on our blog @ daltonihc60.blogspot.com

Dalton Hotshots

I added it to the Hotlist Calendar. Ab.

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