April, 2013

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4/30 sk489,

Sent you the contact info for the video of the Johnson Fire, UT taken in 2002.

Thanks, All.

Maybe the video could get shared with the Lessons Learned Center as well.


4/30 Sad news: passing of Anthony Ricci

Obituary: Anthony Ricci

Story about deployment (with photo) and surfing

His funeral is on Friday in San Jose, CA.

Condolences to his family, his crew, his girlfriend and all in the wildland fire community who knew and loved him.. Ab.

4/30 GLEASON as coming from this not so hot shot

I'm not surprised Paul has lots of Hot Shot friends. I'm one of his Not So Hot Shot friends.

I found this site today, and found I had lost a friend. I lost touch with him in the mid eighties. I never had to go through the Flaming Jaws of Hell of a wildfire. I would follow Paul in.

I was one of his off season climbing buddies in Southern California and later in Oregon. I saw a lot of a side of him when we were just plain having fun. One stint, we went climbing or bouldering almost every afternoon together for three months. Then working on one arm, one finger front levers on his rings. He was a deep guy. Paul and Phil, his hard climbing Yang brother, talked about removing all ego from rock climbing. Not naming climbs, not rating them for hardness, not telling people what you knew. Not putting your name on it. Very Zen sometimes. Paul was, oh, so good a climber. In the truly elite of bouldering for a few years when I knew him. Hunkered down in the wind, smoking, arguing cosmology, mathematics, and Calabi-Yau manifolds. He saved my butt more than once. Deep guy.

I'd bet it was summer of 1969 when we talked about the Forest Service project he was doing incorporating thoughts from the Sun Tzu work "The Art of War". He crawled on the dirt explaining with a stick and drew a big chunk of it out right there in the dirt. He was fired up to work on the project, something he saw as revolutionary, while being anxious of the very conventional environment. I laughed like hell with him when he told me how well it was finally received.

Cro-Magnon strength in a Guru Hot Shot. He had an unforgettable chuckle. Like I said, (outside of what to do when we left a bar) I'd trust my life on his decisions, skill, and strength. You knew, and lost, the same guy. He lived, fully lived. He truly left me with a better life for knowing him. No sorrow.

I hear you laughin' Paul, I'll be right over...


4/30 CA Fire Weather 2013 - Red Flag


NWS LA/OXN just issued Red Flag for Wed 5am to Thur 5pm

4/30 Extreme fire behavior video

If it is the fire i'am thinking of, the fire was named Toms Tornado (well thats what my tshirts say), Suwyns IMT2 team was on that fire, as was I. i filled an order as a strike team ldr. an went to that fire, the whole hill side had alot of understory an there was lil smokes everywhere we decided to light it off with a ping pong machine and... ummm ya as u saw in the video it lit off nicely... lol i had purchased two shirts from that fire an still have them today, i believe that fire was in 2004 an yes it was on fishlakeNF. The firewhirl came off the ridge an we could see trees being ripped out of the ground, an the resources i had chased smokes from the fire whirl on that flat for three days. it was actually an awesome fire, an if i remember correctly we had to sanitize every resource on that DIV an the end of every shift cuz of the fish disease that was in the creek, there was a large air show as well on that DIV.

another engine slug

well here is the first correction...l ol sorry ppl i did a little internet digging an went through some old files an found my taskbook,  the fires actual name was the Johnson Fire an it was in 2002.

4/30 Good news,

The CAL FIRE Firefighter Matt Will Memorial sign that was destroyed in a traffic accident recently has been replaced at the same location on Hwy. 156, San Benito County, Calif.

4/30 Extreme fire behavior video

In response to the inquiry about the extreme fire behavior video, this was a fire on the Fish Lake NF in September, maybe 2006? The name of the fire escapes me, and I am not sure if the footage is available online. It was a late season fire, and the extreme behavior belies the fact that temperatures and humidity were moderate.


Ab added the link to the Fish Lake NF website.

4/30 Fire Community:

Thought this might interest you: Reservists ready for wildland fire season


Thanks, -S. Ab.

4/30 What happened to Chips, the Bobcat kitten rescued last August?

Rescued bobcat Chips returns to natural habitat

GA Peach

4/29 VRA hiring

We hired 6 vets on our district alone doing a VRA hire. It is easy and simple. For temps it was a no brainer. All that was needed was a DD-214 and a resume. Cut a 52 and viola, you have your new temp! I did look at their resumes to see what kind of experience they had so we knew whether to hire them as a 3 or a 4. After the debacle of the Pathways program (we finally got 4 of them approved, but 3 of them had accepted other positions because it took so long), the VRA hiring was a breath of fresh air.

Thank you to all our veterans who have served our country. I am glad that we were able to pay you back! I'm looking forward to meeting all of you.

Lori Greeno
Sent from my iPad

4/29 CA-ENF Star fire video 9/01


My name is Rush Alexander. NorCal2 DMOB. retired 06. LG CA-SAC. Just converted tapes to CDs. Have a CD of the Star Fire memorial for 9/11. Love to share it with the world. My videos are unedited. They are bad. But this is FS history. I would like to share w/ everyone. No copyright. Just share w/ the world. Send me your mail address. I'll send you a copy. & please share w/ Mellie.

Forget PC. God Bless America. Out.

Sent from my iPhone

Thanks, Rush. I'd like to see it. Go NorCal2! Amazing days you had in that Hells Hole area! Ab./Mellie

4/29 Great article on things to come in wildland fire:

This was just published in Wildfire and Fire Chief magazines:

Information Technology and Work Managing Fires

My only comment is the transceiver being used to transmit data by Philip Kacerik is HUGE! We started a thread on the hotlist years ago describing the Inmarsat BGAN terminal which has been in use worldwide on many disasters where there is no Internet connectivity or cell towers. The one I’ve used during the Queensland floods, Australia and Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico permits a dozen computers, cell-phones or PDAs to connect to the Internet through Wi-FI and not only does it transmit/receive data but also serves as a SatPhone for voice communications. They also make a smaller unit that can be carried in a fire pack that can be used with a single device. The attached photos shows how we were able to provide near real-time mapping from literally IN the Gulf of Mexico. These portable units are easy to set up just point it south… unless you’re on an Australia bushfire, then point it north… it even has a built in compass and emits a loud audio tone when you have the greatest signal strength I believe I was sending updates to Ab in one of the attached pics.

Tom Patterson | Wildland Fire Specialist | Esri

I added them to the Equipment 19 photo page. Thanks, Tom. I always knew where you were! Ab.

4/29 iPhone app:

I've been searching for an app that will keep me informed of fires in my area (Santee). Can you recommend one?

Thank you,


One is being developed as I type... It will be awesome! Ab.

4/29 Extreme fire behavior video?

I'm looking for a piece of footage of extreme fire behavior that was shown to my crew last season during our spring S-290 training. It lasted about ten minutes; it seemed to have been filmed in Utah or a similar area, I believe by a Hotshot crewmember. It's shot from a road looking across a long field of sagebrush into hillsides filled with conifers. I can't remember much about the fire behavior pictured, other than that it was truly extreme -- amazing firewhirls, intense spotting, the wind throwing entire trees as firebrands, and otherwise a great example of what fire can do under the right conditions. I also remember that at one point a moose emerges from the woods and is running full-speed across the sage, and the videographer is conflicted about whether to film the animal or the fire.

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone know if this video is publicly available online? Much appreciated!


4/29 Re T cards:


Here's a fire center research document on T cards from 1977 (403 K pdf)


4/29 End of an Era...

Later to Rick Cowell... an icon in Region 5.....There is a lot to complain about with the Forest Service in California, But Cowboy makes up for all its faults single handed. ...I never worked for him, but always saw his impact on every fire that we were on together.... Every time my hotshot crew was working around Hobart we'd work a little harder just because they'd raise the bar so much.... Rick you're the man, probably one of the best Hotshot Supts ever. We're all going to have to pick up a little more of the slack with you not around this summer... Have a good retirement thanks for all you've contributed over the years.


4/28 Rick Cowell's retirement

What a great party. It took two days and 250 people to send Rick out in true Hotshot style. Numerous past and present Supt's were in attendance from crews all over California. Old friends, Lot's of laughs, memories, and story telling over campfires. Great BBQ food, cold beer, and one happy Rick Cowell. He introduced his large family and claimed the Klamath River is the center of the earth. Who can argue that!!

What a ride, Cowboy!! Thank you.


4/28 Hiring military vets


I just used the VRA authority to hire someone and it was easier than any other hiring I've ever done. It did take finding the right HR person to get me the straight scoop on it. Resume and DD 215, a vacant position, and a SF-52 initiated by the employer was all it took. Good luck.


4/27 Rick Cowell's retirement

Today, 4/27/13 is Rick Cowell's retirement party at Bullards Bar. Starts at 1100 with a 3 mile run, then festivities at 1300 to whoknowswhen. 27 years on the Tahoe (Hobart) Hotshots. Another legend, finishing a tremendous career.


Congrats to Rick! Ab.

4/26 Hiring military vets

I was just notified that a lot of Military Veterans didnt even show up on Referral Lists this Fire Hire, I was just told that it was a bug in the new system. I was told that once the investigation is done (if they even conduct one) that someone is going to be in a lot of trouble. Thats great and all, but what about us Military Veterans that didnt get a job offer because of this?

I have VRA eligibility and called some Forests and was told that they didnt want to hire VRA because of the hassle or were told not to hire VRA candidates and just fly the announcement. Isnt that illegal? What I really thought was funny is one of my apps did get through and ASC said I was unqualified, but the funny thing is that it was for the grade and position I last held. Maybe this is a sign.


There were also a number of non-vets that had the same problems with not showing up on the referral lists. We'll see what the outcome is. I haven't heard of an investigation. It is a new system for the FS but already used by the DOI. Anyone know the full story? Ab.

4/26 T Cards

Good afternoon,

Saw this page on the web Inquiring Minds Wan to Know (IMWTK)  and thought I'd try submitting a question. I'm preparing training for our Bureau in the use of ICS 219 Resource (T) Cards. Can you advise the history of the use of T card use in wildland firefighting? I've found some history on the use of T-cards for logistics and transportation efforts in the military in WW II and Korea, but no mention of when the use of T-cards started in the fire service. I'm retired from the fire service (urban and suburban 25+ yrs) but do not know the historical beginnings of the use of T-cards.

Thank you.

John D

Readers? Ab.

4/26 Photo of Faller from Mellie


The fella standing on the stump is CAL FIRE SKU Fire Captain Pat Bailey. Hell of a fireman and a good cutter.


Thanks for the confirmation. Be safe out there. Ab.

4/25 Webinar next Tuesday: The Use of Wood Mulch to Reduce Post-fire Erosion Risk


On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, Pete Robichaud will be presenting a webinar titled “After the Smoke Clears: The Use of Wood Mulch to Reduce Post-fire Erosion Risk” at 1pm MDT. To sign up to attend go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/423889032.

Thanks and Take Care!

Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

4/25 Medical practices:

Hey Ab and all,

I was able to find the episodes with Riggles' and Ab's help.

Combat Survival... episode #1 (youtube)
Rebuilding those lives... episode #2 (youtube)

You NEED to watch these...You NEED to push leadership to get on board with current medical practices.

Until next time....stay safe

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

Thanks, Bill R and Bill A. Crowd sourcing. Ab.

4/25 re West, TX:

The West VFD lost a considerable amount of their equipment in the explosion, and the Texas A&M Forest Service is coordinating with outside agencies that want to help. Equipment of all kinds (from engines down to SCBAs, hoses, ladders, nozzles and fittings) is being processed through the Helping Hands grant program. Anyone interested in helping this department can contact TFS at helpinghands@tfs.tamu.edu, or they can call the Emergency Services Grants Division at (979) 458-5540.


Thanks. Ab.

4/25 re Hiring

What is going on in region five? I've heard from colleagues that many seasonal returnees are being hired late this season and some have been offered jobs then took them away. I an no longer living in CA but we need to take care of these boys, what's going on?


4/24 Medical practices:

Hello everyone,

As you all begin to prepare for Fire Season 2013, I would like you to ask yourself, "Am I prepared to care for myself and my coworkers if something goes wrong?"

If you are relying on someone else on the crew to be your medical provider, what happens if they are the one injured by a tree, cut by a saw or Pulaski, or become incapacitated because of illness. Do you know what to do, how to do it, and where to find the appropriate medical equipment and supplies to care for your crew's medical provider?

I have attached an absolutely awesome web-link to a documentary done by Dr. Michael Mosley. He is a physician out of the UK who went to Afghanistan and followed the boots on the ground regarding the medical care that has been provided to soldiers in combat. Unfortunately, I cannot get it to open the video link, however there is also other great stuff from his postings that I have also attached including how they (the Brits) make sure for every 4 people in a team one of them is trained to do moderate medical care (EMT/Combat Medic style). He also talks about some amazing ideas out there regarding the "Platinum 10" vs the old Golden Hour" as well as using Progesterone for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

PBS-BBC Frontline Medicine

Platinum 10 minutes of care

Progesterone for TBI

I hope this helps provide you all some more information in regards to Caring for Our Own.

On a more personal note:

Folks, this will be the first time in a long time that I do not go out on large wildland fires to fight fire or provide medical care to you all (since 1994). No, I am not deploying to some far away land.

I have decided to accept a Senior Paramedic position with an EMS agency in the local area that has also decided to work on a consolidation of EMS and Fire services for their community. I could not be more excited about this awesome opportunity and the big picture plan that it offers its citizens as well as my own professional future growth. I could not be more excited to work with the Fire Chief/EMS Agency Administrator and have enjoyed the conversations he and I have had to make this goal become a reality. The people of the EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement community in that county could not be more exited to work with me and I could not be more excited to work with them. Some of them are former EMT students that I taught over ten years ago.

Often times over the last several years I have wondered, questioned, and been bewildered by the fact that I could not seem to secure a more fixed position within the wildland fire community and agencies as a true Wildland Fire EMS Development Specialist. I have talked with buddies of mine that are IHC Supts, district FOSs, FMOs, and other higher level FAM personnel on how to make a go of it with places and people who truly need this. Often I have heard, "something bigger out there for ya Billy". Now I know what that is. While I will miss sleeping on the ground for months on end, living in hotels, eating MREs, sharing a smile and a laugh with my buddies on some remote chunk of line, popping the occasionally knarely blister, or making the medical unit bobsled team... the thing I will miss most is simply meeting and hanging out with you all in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

My family could not be more excited... well maybe. With a wife, two teenage sons who are in every sport possible, two Labs, three chickens, and three acres, I am sure it will be an adjustment for all. Especially the three chickens and two dogs (Molly will now have to sleep on her pad and not my side of the bed.... and the chickens will have to be in the coop more so they stop crapping on my freaking sidewalk and driveway.)

I hope to see you all again in the future as the system I will be working in grows to meet the fire and ems needs of others. I will continue to support you all from the sidelines as best as possible with continued medical article posting and I still have on-going projects with medical care videos for wildland fire, Pulse Check (bimonthly IAWF WILDFIRE magazine), and supporting federal law enforcement as there is still a significant portion of federal land within the county as we also have MOUs with LEO agencies.

Until then, be safe, have a great fire season, and remember... Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You. (I am going to copyright that saying,,, so nobody take it: -)

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

Thanks, Bill, glad to hear your good news! Your informative posts here are invaluable in saving lives! Don't be a stranger. Ab.

4/23 Re West, TX:


Get hold of them directly.


West Fire Dept. | City of West

4/22 Hi Ab,

I’m a dispatcher in Calif and keep hearing rumors on the web that the West, TX fire dept lost much equipment and some of the station (not to mention the terrible loss of life) in the fire there this week. Any way you can think of to verify this?


4/22 Thanks guys, it's not Chris.


4/22 The picture is of a CDF (CALFIRE) Captain B from Deadwood Camp in Siskiyou County. I am certain it’s Pat A.

Tom B

4/22 AB,

The photograph of the faller is Fire Captain Pat Bailey. Pat was the Leader of ST9262G with the Deadwood Camp crews and a "C" faller. He told me he cut down a whole bunch of trees on the complex.


4/22 Photo of Faller posted 4-21-2013

The guy in the photo is wearing the old CDF patch on his shoulder. Think it is a Fire Captain from Cal Fire San Diego but cant say for sure. Who knows if he fell the tree or not. Looks like the kind of tree a professional faller would tackle.


4/21 faller on a stump in a norcal photo?

I was poking around looking for a photo that shows our norcal extreme mountains terrain and I came across photos from 2006 by the Northern AZ Team on the Klamath NF, Titus Fire (part of the Happy Camp Complex). I know Hwy 96 through Hoopa, Orleans and Happy Camp, so I was recognizing landmark bridges, etc.

I found this photo of a faller: Northern Arizona Team faller photo

Does anyone know if this is Chris Seelye by chance, without his pipe? It's hard for me to tell without a higher resolution photo. Chris used to fell those HUGE hazard trees. Here's a photo of Chris from the Goff fire in 2012 (click the thumbnail under Photo credit Fillmore). This would be 6 years after the Titus Fire, before Chris' death. Chris' daughters grew up here in norcal near me. If it is Chris, I'm sure they'd like to see it.

Thanks for any help,


4/21 To all:

I am pleased to announce that the former Congressman the FWFSA has teamed up with in an effort to navigate the dysfunction in Congress will be attending the WFF's fundraiser next week in Sacramento at McClellan as our guest.

Since he did more for federal wildland firefighters than anyone in Congress to date, this will be a great opportunity for him to learn more about the wildland firefighting community and for some of our members to get to know him as well.

I'm certainly looking forward to a great night for the Foundation.


McClellan Fundraiser info on the Hotlist Calendar

4/20 Original Ab or New Ab or Just Plain Ab,

I know things are changing with WildlandFire.Com. This is just a short note to thank you for all you have done to keep the wildland fire community best informed. There is no other forum, real or virtual, that keeps the community as well informed. Every day, morning and evening, I check your various web pages. I have benefitted from your forum.

What you have provided with your commitment to excellence will never be forgotten or dismissed. We cannot even estimate in numerics how many lives you have saved or how many young, aspiring FF's you have helped find job placement or how many of us old dawgs have been best informed because of your efforts or all of the rest that you have done.

Please understand I cannot in easy words thank you enough. Best wishes. As I frequently tell our FF's, take care, be safe, have fun and live the FF dream...

John R. Hawkins, Unit & Fire Chief
CAL FIRE & Riverside County Fire Department

Thanks, John, and thanks for your help through the years. Carry on.

Ab/Mellie Coriell and Original Ab/Steve Myers.

4/19 Defining Fire(s) and lessons learned?

Over the years, specific, defining fires have contributed to changes in training, practices and wildland fire doctrine. So, over the last 10 years, what do you think was that defining fire? What's the fire that you would really want your crew to know and understand so the same mistakes aren't repeated?

Still Out There as an AD

4/19 Headline says so much...

'We got him!': Boston bombing suspect captured alive

Carry on, Ab.

4/19 Boston Marathon Bombing

One MIT police officer was killed as he sat in his cruiser last night. A car jacking of another vehicle occurred.

Re Suspects in the Boston bombing who are brothers.

One suspect is dead, the FBI (police, military SWAT, etc) powers-that-be know where the second suspect is. Boston and 5 communities surrounding it are on shelter-in-place orders. Two more persons from the home where the two suspect brothers live are in custody.

Watch your TV for news.


4/18 Boston Marathon Bombing

FBI releases photos and video of the 2 bombing suspects, supposedly on fbi.gov but I don't see them there.
I found them

fbi.gov Updates on Investigation into Multiple Explosions in Boston

Here's an article with the photos:

Here Are the Boston Bombing 'Suspects' — Photos and Video, but FBI Needs Help

Video on YouTube: youtube.com

The guy with the black ball cap followed by the guy with the turned-around white ball cap.


4/18 Red Flag Wind advisory from the NWS:

Southwest Cal: Moderate Santa Ana wind event with low humidity.

also for SW Texas (Austin, San Antonio) with higher humidity.


Prayers for our West, TX brothers, sisters and citizens.

4/17 TX Industrial Explosion

Condolences to firefighters, families and friends in Texas. Looks pretty bad.

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Rescuers Searching for Survivors, Missing People


4/17 Avian Flu

Heads up about a new avian flu virus: H7N9, that could go pandemic. This virus bears watching as fire season with firecamp approaches. Key is if it is transmitted human to human.

Home page of CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Prevention)

Article: H7N9 sickens 5 more in China; family cluster suspected

Apr 17, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – The number of people infected with H7N9 influenza in China grew by five today, with Shanghai and Zhejiang province reporting fresh cases, and news reports described an H7N9 family cluster apparently linked to one of the outbreak's first confirmed cases.

The five new cases announced today are all in adults. Three are seniors, two are younger adults, and all are hospitalized, according to official and media sources.

The family cluster of infections is reportedly connected to an 87-year-old man from Shanghai whose illness and death were announced on Mar 31 when China first revealed the detection of the novel virus and the first three known human cases. At the time... (More at the link...)

4/17 Good afternoon members of the wildland fire community:

Last week I sent you a notice that author John Maclean would be on our radio show, FEDtalk, to discuss his new book, The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57. The interview with Mr. Maclean has now been posted online, and we hope that you will share it with your networks. The show can be accessed by clicking here.

Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Jason Briefel
Legislative Assistant
Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. | Attorneys at Law
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 463-8400 | Fax: (202) 833-8082
www.shawbransford.com | jbriefel@shawbransford.com

Hi Jason. No email came into the Ab account. Given that this is a mass mailing, it likely went into the spam filter, which can collect more than 200 spams a day, more if it's tax time. That's where I found this message. Next time if you put theysaid in the subject line I might notice it there. Ab.

4/16 Boston Marathon Bombing Incident

Best thoughts and prayers for the survivors. Condolences thread on the hotlist if anyone wishes to contribute.

Congrats to all the agencies using the Incident Command System and working together based on Interagency Agreements to streamline and enhance the investigative response. I am very proud of our brothers and sisters who are "doing their jobs". Ab.

4/15 Boston Marathon Explosions

12:12 PM

2 Explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon, according to CNN; apparently at least 4 people are down and being given aid by first responder Boston Fire/EMS in view of the CNN producer who is reporting from the scene. Ab.

4/15 Thanks for 10th Anniversary of the Lucky Peak Challenge, Boise ID AND
The New Mexico Interagency Wildfire Awareness Week Fun Run and WFF Fundraiser!

Many thanks to Chad and Sara Fisher for bringing everyone together in celebration of the 10th Anniversary Lucky Peak Challenge, another successful WFF fundraiser, gathering, and memorial climb in memory of Roger Roth and others who have fallen or been injured fighting wildland fires. I heard it was a chilly/windy one, but plenty of warmth and spirit at the BBQ to make up for it! Wish we could have been there!

Thank you to Karen Takai (Sandia Ranger District) and the others that helped organize the New Mexico Interagency Wildfire Awareness Week Fun Run and WFF Fundraiser! Your support will help us continue to: provide immediate travel assistance to get an injured firefighter's family to their firefighter's bedside and assist with expenses for families while their firefighter is recovering, help an injured firefighter meet their financial needs until they receive benefits, or are able to go back to work, and network crews and families with information and support after an injury or fatality. We value our role in being the funnel to pass on financial assistance, ongoing emotional support, and recognition efforts to our fallen and injured wildland firefighters. Our efforts would not be possible without you! Thank you!

Amanda DeShazo
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

PS added later: Heartfelt condolences from all of us at the WFF to the people of Boston, families and friends and those who were injured and killed in the bombings.

4/15 Below is the link to the 24 Hour Report for the Driving Accident at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Please see that it receives wide distribution within your agency. When available, other investigation documents, specifically the 72 Hour Report and the final Factual Report will be posted on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center database for incident reports and lessons learned analyses
(Lessons Learned Incident Lookup).

To view this this Bulletin go to: 24 Hour Merritt Island Complex.pdf   (pdf download from NIFC's Safety Alerts Bulletins).

4/15 Matt Will's Memorial Highway sign was destroyed by an "errant driver".

Got this in the Always Remember email account. I don't know the replacement process, but it seems the driver's insurance should pay for a replacement. Ab/Mellie   Always Remember Matt Will for reference and a photo of the sign before it was hit and destroyed.

Hotlist thread on the replacement

Hi Mellie,

I have bum news, the friend that took the photo of Matt’s Memorial sign called me and stated an errant driver took out the sign and posts (destroyed) in an accident. At least the photo was captured. I am trying to find out what the replacement process would be, the sign was paid for with private donations.

Take Care,

4/15 Making the rounds in R5:

Aetna recently released a report on the success of their Employee Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Program.

Happy Monday everyone. I just had to share this with all of you as you know I have been going through Duke Integrative Medicine processional Health Coaching program along with Bequi Livingston, & Jim Saveland and with my clients it has been truly amazing.

Aetna recently released a report on the success of their Employee Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Program:

They previously worked with Duke to test a Mindfulness-Based, Mind-Body stress-reduction program.

Another affirmation of the value of our Mindfulness-Based IHC training program. Take a look.

Healthy Lifestyle Coaching

Be WELL! Be proactive… it is not just all about learning after, but how we show up, up front and care for our employees and provide the structure for resiliency & optimal health & Well-Being.

Michelle Reugebrink
Pacific Southwest Region Occupational Health & Safety Manager

4/15 Greetings everyone,

This past year I was made painfully aware that many people within the federal land management agencies, at the regional levels (and in Public Affairs), have very little knowledge of what actually happens day-in and day-out at the large and very busy air centers and airtanker bases, such as the Grand Junction Interagency Air Center. They only seem to know the results, either good or bad.

And as has been my motto and goal throughout my career as a public school educator, school administrator, wildland firefighter, Fire Prevention Technician, Public Affairs Officer/Information Officer and tour guide in Nepal: Using any available means, reach out to the public and while you have their attention... inform them as best as possible.

And that's my intention with this blog. Find it and follow it at:

airtankerbase perspective

This could be a very interesting season. Be safe.


4/14 Fish,

This doesn't surprise me as they always cut from the bottom up. It's popular to rant about cutting government, but nobody says how. Whenever they do across the board cuts, the agency does it from the bottom up. After all, the ones with the power to pick the cuts aren't going to cut themselves or their friends they work with so that leaves the field. We all know that the work that still has to be done can be done by contractors even though studies have shown it costs 2 to 4 times as much.

Years ago when I came from the state to the FS, the first thing I saw when I entered the fire shop was an article on the bulletin board that said Reagan cuts 10,000 federal fire jobs. Since he's their hero we know that this is the approach todays Republicans are going to take, although Obama didn't do us any favors with his budget proposal.


Please let's refrain from politics unless it's specifically fire-related. We each have our own opinions and preferences. Thanks, Ab.

4/14 Fish,

As a former 5th District VP for the California Professional Firefighters (the 5th district covering all federal firefighters in CA) I think it critical for the Vandenburg crew members to know what, if anything, the current 5th District VP of the CPF and the current 16th District VP of the International Association of Fire Fighters did on their behalf to prevent this cut.

We remain keenly aware that agencies will use the sequester as an excuse for the delay in hiring seasonal wildland firefighters and continue to manipulate FIRE preparedness dollars to fund non-fire positions and projects which in turn will increase the risks to the health & safety of our firefighters and those they protect and ultimately increase the cost of suppression.

Those of you on the LP need to support the Vandenburg crew and communicate to the Congressional representatives that surround Vandenburg and raise the issue with the RO & WO (we will follow up as well) that this is a serious action with serious consequences for the safety of our firefighters and their constituency.

This is not a "Chicken Little" response. It is a clear vicious cycle that occurs each season. Preparedness dollars are misused resulting in a reduction of inherently less expensive federal resources in place pursuant to the National Fire plan to keep fires and less costly. As the season bears down, the Agencies have no alternative but to fill in the missing gaps with expensive non-federal resources that needlessly increase the cost of suppression.

These gaps may, in many instances, continue for some time increasing the risks to the firefighters and Public. While we have gotten the acknowledgement of many in Congress that they understand these dynamics, it is an entirely different matter to get them to do something about it. As is typical, it will take a catastrophic event before they wake up and take some kind of action. In the meantime the Agencies will throw the dice and hope the season isn't a disastrous one that results in Public outcry, Congressional hearings etc.So much for MEL!


4/13 Vandenberg Hotshots laid off:

Major Bummer!!! Wonder if the FS is gonna start The "Massacre" again any time soon...Things just keep getting better all the time...(insert sarcasm)


14 Vandenberg Hot Shot Crew Members To Be Laid Off

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.- Central Coast News has learned 14 Vandenberg Hot Shot crew members will soon by out of a job. According to officials, a full hot shot crew is 21 members and 14 employees will be let go. Last year, crew members were sent to help fight fires in Colorado and Wyoming. Central Coast News reached out to officials from the Vandenberg Air Force Base for comment, but as of Friday evening we have not received a call back.

Fair use disclaimer

4/11 Interagency Dispatch Optimization Improvement Pilot Project (IDOPP) final report


The IDOPP final report that was completed in January is finally released to the public. While I'm still going through it, the glaring fault I see in the dispatch assessment is the complexity rating of ECCs.

How does anyone who has a clue believe that ANCC (Angeles ECC) and SIFC (Susanville Interagency ECC) are moderate complexity ECCs? How can any third tier ECC in California be assessed as anything but high? Considering the busiest centers as the high-water mark disvalues the complexity of the rest of the ECCs. Maybe those ECCs have a workload that is too heavy? It is a flawed assessment and it undermines the rest the recommendations, which is too bad because some of the recommendations are very good.

I feared this contrived conclusion when I heard a key IDOPP committee member refer to R5's current high complexity ECC assessment as a "Quintinism" in order to undermine the Region's current established decision. This biased assessment also opens up the possibility of downgrades of ECC staff on top of everything else. If this exercise was really about optimization and not consolidation, IDOPP would have evaluated and recommended splitting some of the large centers so they can provide optimal service. Consolidation does not equal optimization no matter how you phrase it.

Forest Service Management Efficiency Assessments

11. Interagency Dispatch Optimization Improvement Pilot Project (IDOPP)


4/11 Dear TheySaid and TheyWillTell EveryoneTheyKnowToHelpGetTheWordOutPlease,

Last day to register for the WFF Memorial Fundraiser is approaching:
The Deadline is April 17th. THAT'S ONLY 3 BUSINESS DAYS AWAY! Event is on April 23rd.

All wishing to attend must pre-pay at: http://store.wffoundation.org/prostores/servlet/-strse-104/Wildland-Firefighter-Memorial-Fundraiser/Detail

If you are a family member of a fallen wildland firefighter and are attending, please let the Foundation know, as we want to insure all families members receive (Hawaiian) leis.

Where? McClellan, CA at Lionsgate Restaurant Club Ballroom. We will be remembering those who lost their lives fighting wildland fires from the air and on the ground.

Cost? Admission is $50.00 per person, includes dinner, non-alcoholic drinks and live entertainment by “Hawaiian Dancers" Aloha Polynesia!

Goodies? There will be a silent auction and you may win great prizes from our raffle contest. You're encouraged to bring an auction item from your company or crew.

Theme? Hawaiian attire or not, wear what you want………

Event starts at 1730 (that's 5:30pm) and goes until....

Amanda DeShazo
Executive Assistant
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

4/11 Diversity

Ab and Fire Folks,

OK, this horse is being resurrected so we can all beat it once again. Can someone please explain to me what is LEGAL and ILLEGAL in the diversity hiring practices. I have heard that it is LEGAL to hire diversity based on a particular region's demographics. However I have heard that it is ILLEGAL to hire diversity based on the entire country's demographics. For example, and this a real life one to boot, the demographics in Southwest Montana look NOTHING like those say in Southern California--- or even the USA, for that matter. Yet I am hearing that folks in these areas are expected to churn out diversity applicants nonetheless. Some are saying that they have to match their workforce to look like the country--- well sorry but some parts of this country (say Montana) just don't "look" like the rest of the country, so why then are USFS people expected to hire folks who: a.) don't live in the area/region, and b.) would have no real interest in living there even if given the opportunity? Why are local, quality, highly skilled and experienced applicants being pushed aside in order to meet some unrealistic diversity quota? Also, why is it so dam* important that the USFS hire diversity? This is the FOREST SERVICE, an agency that should be made up of PROFESSIONALS, you know people who have experience working and living in the woods, people who have FORESTRY degrees and RESOURCE MANAGEMENT degrees --- its not some government outfit that just exists to give everyone a chance --- give me a break. If candidates who fit this bill also happens to be diversity then great!!! If not, well sorry you don't qualify, come back when you do!!! I think I need to start looking at the private sector; this agency really is spiraling down into a big ball of pc irrelevancy.

Horse Resurrecter

4/11 Hiring


It sounds to me like the referral list you were on expired. Its only good for so many days and if they don't request to extend it, it will expire and they will need to pull a new one and then start the leveling process all over again.

When requesting a referral list, one can select a specific area or town where a particular crews station (district) is and, there is a 50 mile radius, too. On my forest we pulled both! On our district we had over 900 applicants to level. This took five weeks with 1-3 people. We had four vacancies! You don't have to request the 50 mile radius, too, but our forest supervisor does his own thing, and might even be pressured to do so?

I personally want to hire a good veteran. They deserve it! They were told when they signed up and returned home they'd be offered a job. I have some great veterans working for me now and have had some great ones that have moved on. I have had some that couldn't cut it either!

I'm glad you had a spot to go back to!

Hotshots and Helicopters

4/10 Hiring


Get a permanent position. That would help things a lot, not to mention the benefits of intermittent status during the winter and training. That aside, the folks that told you that you had a job made some mistakes, because they must clear the vets off a hiring list before offering anyone else a position. (If your story is true.) It is a big mess this year with the integration of eRecruit, Temp Hiring, Lotus Notes (thought we got rid of that), and USAjobs. You are not the only one, maybe ask the question, "Why did you offer me a job before clearing the Vets?" on second thought, don't ask, if you ever want a chance to work there again. Just shoot for that PSE position


4/10 R5 Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement -- Diversity

Communication from Randy Moore, Regional Forester (30 K pdf)

4/10 The president is proposing $74 million for improving the FS wildland aviation fleet. See pg. 68.

White House Budget


4/10 Thanks from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation:

"A big thanks goes out to Darla Theisen, Anne Connor, Rebecca Metcalf, and others at the AK Division of Forestry, Alaska Fire Service, and USFS in AK who organized another successful fundraiser for the WFF at their 2013 Dispatch Workshop! We appreciate your support! Thank you!"

Amanda DeShazo
Executive Assistant
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

4/9 Reply regarding NJ SEATs:


In 1995 I was on the Sunrise Fire on Long Island, New York which utilized 7 Ag Cats and two helicopters (State of NY and Maine) to help fight that fire. The Ag Cats all had reciprocating engines back then and did a great job for us. Given the proximity to wealthy communities and WUI concerns, this fire became political very quickly. President Clinton's office, in addition to FEMA and other state and local officials, were on hand to 'help' with the coordination efforts. You may remember that high level DC officials ordered two C-130's to assist. It quickly became clear that the aircraft we had on site were adequate to contain the fire since the winds that initially pushed the blaze had subsided. Given the politics at work though, the C-130 order stood.

Unfortunately, due to a top level ordering snafu, the aircraft and support personnel were about 24 hours behind schedule. Numerous media outlets were onsite waiting for the airshow. Given the potential political fallout from the President's office, they were directed to drop water (not retardant) on the environmentally sensitive land where the fire was now being mopped up.

It was one of the more interesting fires I've been on politics wise. Here's a link for the Downstown Aero story including info by Walt Darren at airtanker.org:

Downstown Aero, Vineland NJ -- oldest surviving airtanker operator


Interesting. Nice piece. Ab.

4/9 Fire history maps?

Do u guys have a link that shows fire history maps for areas u might be going to?

Sent from my iPhone

Not yet, but as I understand it, that feature will be coming. Ab.

4/9 Heat related illness and the consumption of energy drinks


Good info in the heat illness prevention pocket guide and some interesting recommendations. (Safety Advisory: Heat Illness Prevention Pocket Guide (pdf))

In addition, I have noticed what I perceive to be an increased trend in heat related illness in those with less experience related to energy drink consumption and believe this is an issue worth discussing.

I would be interested to see what the data would show if we tracked energy drinks as a contributing factor to heat related illness in SHIPS for the FS or by other means.

Any nutritionalists out there with facts worth sharing during upcoming refreshers related to energy drink consumption?

Any safety officers out there with thoughts on tracking nutrition/hydration as a contributing factor to heat related illness?

Anyone out there with a lesson learned/near miss experience related to energy drinks to share?


4/9 USDA does about-face, won’t jettison Forest Service’s shield logo

A plan to drop a recognizable logo in this part of the country — the Forest Service’s iconic shield — generated so much outrage among the agency’s retirees that the idea has been dropped. (Read the rest at the link.)

4/8 Re Resignation Memo from Under Secretary Harris Sherman:

Wow, 4 whole years! Pretty lengthy resignation letter for such a short tenure.

To be fair, that is twice as long as Sarah Palin lasted as Alaska's governor before she resigned.

Harris, we hardly knew ye.

Misery Whip

4/8 FS Memo making the rounds this morning and  passed on to R5 via the Public Affairs and Communications director, Sherry R; It's the same message circulating last week from the FS Retirees group. Ab.

Subject: Guidance on Forest Service shield

Good morning, colleagues. Per USDA, we are cleared at all levels to provide only the following comment when queried about the FS shield. If we get further guidance, we will let you know.

FYI… this is likely ALL that they will say on the topic at USDA as well.

"The US Forest Service shield is exempted from the One USDA branding directive."


Oh and here's another offering mentioned by Sherry that looks interesting:

Green Fire is coming to PBS stations across the nation beginning in April.  Click on greenfiremovie.com to check the listings in your area. Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

4/8 Fires in New Jersey:

New Jersey - Bi-Plane SEAT! NJ's warming weather prompts caution on wildfires

Click on the link on the Hotlist for the photo and various articles.

Has anyone seen a biplane acting as an airtanker before?


4/8 Trampus Haskvitz Golf Tourney

Dear Wildland Fire Community,

The 2nd Annual Trampus Haskvitz Golf Tournament is coming up and I'd like everyone in the wildland community to pause a moment and consider attending this year. The Haskvitz family strength is amazing. Last year, they were able to pick each other up out of the dust and organize the inaugural event only months after the tragic fire that took Trampus' life. We have seen here at the WFF that each family grieves differently, and this family grabbed their grief by the bullhorns and pulled together to remember and honor Trampus with such fierce beauty. Please share with our wildland fire community, and if anyone can make the 2nd Annual Trampus Golf Tourney this year in South Dakota, they should go. Its another great chance to be surrounded by wonderful people as the Haskvitz's. swing4firefighters.com.

In love and light,
Amanda DeShazo
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

This information is also posted on the Hotlist Calendar. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to gather, to play and to remember Trampus. Ab.

4/8 Resignation Memo from Under Secretary Harris Sherman

April 8, 2013

Dear Forest Service Family:

I want you to know that today I have tendered to the President my resignation as Under Secretary for Natural Resources & the Environment at USDA. As you know, I am a Westerner at heart and, after four years, I am feeling a strong “tug” from that direction, particularly from my family in Colorado and California. Although this has been a difficult decision for me, I think it is a good time to make a transition. My plan is to remain at USDA until May 8, 2013 to assist in the transition.

I cannot tell you what a rare privilege and honor it has been working with you on so many critical fronts and knowing how much we have accomplished. I marvel that in the face of declining budgets, record fires and temperatures, and challenging forest health conditions, we have achieved so much.

Think about the following successes during the past four years:

--A new National Planning Rule that sets the framework for all future on-the-ground decisions.

--Conservation of vast landscapes and watersheds across our national forests as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

--Accelerated restoration of millions of acres within national forests to combat bark beetles, invasive species, and address climate variations which in turn will reduce the threat of wildfire.

--New public/private partnerships with water utilities, electric utilities, recreation interests, ski resorts, major corporations, and NGOs to assist in forest and watershed restoration.

--Expanded recreation opportunities across national forests and ski areas.

--Protection of Native American sacred sites and comprehensive consultation with Tribes.

--Creation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to work with partners to connect thousands of young people to the outdoors through targeted internships and career opportunities.

--Collaborative efforts with diverse stakeholders reaching consensus on forest restoration, resulting in fewer appeals and less litigation.

--Streamlining the Forest Service permitting and environmental review systems, thereby reducing costs, eliminating inefficiencies, and improving environmental outcomes.

This is in addition to the great work we do every day to protect communities from catastrophic wildfires, support state and private forest landowners, conduct critical forest research, manage and conserve our natural resources, and connect millions of people to our public lands.

These are only a few of the many milestones reached by the Forest Service — all of which are a testament to why the Forest Service has continued to be critical to the Nation’s future.

While these jobs are about policies, programs, and the good work we are doing in communities, they are also about our relationship to each other within the agency. The Forest Service is a special place: rarely will you see more talented, hardworking people at every level. The Forest Service has a well-deserved, proud reputation. Wherever I have traveled these past four years, I have heard of our good deeds, extra effort, and exceptional results. You have every reason to take pride in your role and contribution to caring for the land and serving people.

While I will miss all of you, I know our public and private forests are in good hands and that you will devote your talents and energies to the work ahead. I wish all of you good fortune, health, and success in the years ahead.

Harris Sherman

4/8 Safety Advisory: Heat Illness Prevention Pocket Guide

Below is the link to access this document:

To view this Advisory go to:

To view all Advisories go to:

4/8 looking for photos or video of the Viejas Fire January 3, 2001


My name is Ian Hay and I was a fire fighter with La Cima Camp in Julian Ca I was with Crew 3 On the Viejas fire. I was wondering if you had any of those pictures or any videos of the news that day? I was one of the ones that got smoke inhalation and was interviewed by the news. I am looking for some Pictures from that Fire. I took a bunch myself with a disposable but they have all since been lost. I'm hopeful you might be able to point me in the right direction. Thank you for your time have a great day.


4/7 Several days ago on the hotlist, Firescribe posted a link to an article about the FS being at odds with OSHA on the Steep Corner Incident in Idaho in which Anne Veseth died. Hotlist

Here's the beginning of the AP article:



GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — The US Forest Service is contesting a citation issued against it by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the death of a 20-year-old Forest Service firefighter last summer. OSHA spokeswoman Deanne Amaden told the Lewiston Tribune in a story published Friday that the two agencies are negotiating after each conducted investigations and reached separate conclusions. Anne Veseth of Moscow died Aug. 12 after being struck and killed by a falling tree...


4/6 Mellie, what is the status of your "Always Remember" project ?

Is there a place where we can access a list of fatalities that have occurred over the years ?

thank you


Hi Viejo.

Still working on it as time allows. It's here: wlfalwaysremember.org/.

If you hover your pointer over the Incident Lists in the menu bar, different options will drop down: by Date, by Cause, by Employer, and All Incidents. If you click on All Incidents, you'll get all the incidents we have done at this time (20 incidents by 25 pages or so). If you want to see all in one list, you can find the Display # option and click All. There should be about 478 incidents right now, ordered by date, going back to 1871. It's easy to filter by last name, by year, by 2-letter state abbreviation, or by day of the year (xx/xx) if you want to know who died on that day -- who's also included in the database so far.

Today is April 6. Filter on 04/06 and you'll find the anniversary of the burnover deaths of Kevin Smith and Ken Allen on the Island Fork Fire in Kentucky and the heart attack death of John Murphy in Massachusetts. Both incidents have NIOSH Reports.

I haven't had time to go through all records to correct the USFA links. They changed their system some months ago and it's a huge, time-consuming  job to correct the records.

If anyone has a person to add, I need the name and a death date or at least a month and year and any other information you can find. Thanks, Ab./Mellie

4/6 FS vs USDA logo


Someone just has toooo much time on their hands thinking about stuff like this. The agency has been loosing its core values for some time and it's this kinda stuff that shows it.

Back when we were developing the Region 5 web and National web site, this new branding logo was part of the action at that time. The big issue..... the pushers of the New USDA brand really were not part of the old guard. Not really part of the boots on the ground force that formed and held the agency together. Cool simplistic designs are good and their designers have their place in life, but not when it comes at a cost of removing a 100+ year piece of history. What are the heads of the agency thinking???

The Shield was something I wore proudly and was always well received by all those visitors to the forest (with the exception of a few). It was even a cool thing to show those kids in the classrooms, pointing out that there was a tree on the badge making us caretakers of the forest and their lands.

That's my two cents worth...


4/4 Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour Changes


Since it's a violation of the MA you'll probably have to file a grievance so you should get a hold of your union rep. I told your R5 C.V.P. Barry McDonald and the chair of the NFFE Fire Committee Joe Duran if your local rep. needs some direction they can probably help.

Ron Angel

4/4 FS vs USDA logo

This may be old news by now but the USDA has apparently relented on its "head-scratching" plan to eliminate the Forest Service shield and other logos.

I'm not sure how the powers that be thought such a move would improve the Agency's ranking among places to work in the federal government; or help fill in the chasm that continues to exist between the Agency leadership and those in the field; or be cost-effective in the era of the sequestration but the plan certainly ranks up there with the beauties offered over the years.

Hmmm, now would be a great time for the USDA to finally recognize that it employs professional wildland firefighters and classify them as such!

And if I might, a word about Lance Cross and his family's loss. Lance is the 2nd FWFSA family member to lose a child in 2013. Mike Alarid being the first. I grew up with Lance and his brothers Kevin and Matt in Hawaii where we lived just a few houses from each other. Our families spent an inordinate amount of time together and I was shocked to learn he had followed a similar path in life and became a federal wildland firefighter. After over 40 years we reconnected at the Castle Rock Fire in Idaho several years ago.

As with Mike, I know our FWFSA Family and all those who know Lance and his family have their thoughts and prayers with Mike & Lance as they deal with an unfathomable loss. Much Aloha Lance.


Our best to Mike's and Lance's families as well. Ab.

4/4 FS vs USDA logo


Re: FS logo replaced with USDA?

The article dated today (April 4th) says the USFS logo/shield has been exempted from the new USDA logo regulations. Given my strong feelings of mistrust of the USDA, I think all FS employees still need to maintain good S.A. for another sneak attack from our "parent" department.

USFS badge dodges bullet


Great news! Ab.

4/4 Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour Changes


Good luck. I was actually charged by ASC/NFC when I coded it the correct way. I had to pay it back, which meant that I received phone calls from a payment person during my off-tour time. I was confused and pissed because everyone else on the fire (also FS) did not have to pay it back (and I checked). I complained, even wrote a note to the newly (and worthless in my opinion) deputy chief of business operations at ASC and she never even responded. I tried contacting my union rep, but after not receiving a response from him (and consequently my quitting the union), I gave up. If you figure out a solution please let me know. I had to pay back a nice chunk of change - and I was working hard for it the entire time.

It may not be enough to tip the deficit in our favor, but it was a lot for me.

FS Owes Me

4/4 Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour changes


Thanks for the reply... Sooooo... For all us folks for the last few years who have been told it is not overtime.... how do we go about getting what is owed to us... Mass audits from ASC?? Mass corrected time sheets??? Contact our Union Reps??


4/4 Making the rounds... FS logo replaced with USDA?

The new standards for the USDA logo were making the rounds on 3/28/2013.

"The use of agency and staff logos in Signature Lockups is being phased out and replaced with a signature model that features only the USDA symbol." from page 7 of the Standards.

Here's the link to the standards: USDA Logo visual standards guide (1,346 K pdf).  Ab.

Photos of Historical FS Logos from MOC4546 on Logo Photos 6 and a few on Logos 7.


Why Is USDA Stripping the Forest Service of its Pine Tree Logo? (opinion)

As official badges go, the Forest Service's is pretty plain -- but very much to the point. At its center, a lone pine tree splits the letters U and S, letters that serve doubly to denote the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organizations whose names are emblazoned across the top and bottom of the shield. It is a deft, clean, legible, and historic symbol, having been the agency's central logo since its establishment in 1905.

For many current and past employees, it is also a badge of honor, a reflection of their deep and abiding attachment to their one-time or present-day roles as stewards of America's national forests. So you'll understand if they get a little testy when someone proposes to mess with this sign of their lifelong devotion to the public good...

More at the link...

Attempted Murder on the Potomac (editorial)

On January 8 of this year, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, quietly put a gun to the head of the 108-year-old U.S. Forest Service and pulled the trigger. But if he thought he could kill the venerable agency that easily, he was wrong. More on the Attempted Murder on the Potomac in a moment, but first some background from the crime scene.

The U.S. Forest Service has been the designated caretaker of the nation's 193-million-acre federal forest estate since its creation in 1905. It is the brainchild of two of this country's greatest conservationists, President Teddy Roosevelt and the much revered Gifford Pinchot, who was the agency's first chief and its principal architect. Their goal was to transfer the last of the nation's public domain timberland into forest reserves - national forests - for their conservation and use by the American people...

More at the link...

4/4 83rd Annual Wildland Fire Safety Conference, Southern California Association of Foresters and Fire Wardens

The Southern California Association of Foresters and Fire Wardens is hosting its annual wildland fire safety conference at the Irvine Outdoor Education Center in Yorba Linda, Ca on May 2-3, 2013. The association is made up of federal, state and local government fire professionals, including So Cal Edison, who come together to present and discuss issues related to the challenges we all face. Featured this year are noted wildland fire author John Maclean and Risk Management expert Gordon Graham. For more information on the Association and Conference attendance, please visit our website at scaffw.org .

We hope to see you there.
Tom Plymale
Southern California Association of Foresters and Fire Wardens

4/4 Making the rounds:

NM Congressman Steve Pearce Releases Fire Report

Contact: Eric Layer
Tel. 575-517-7382
Email: Eric.Layer@mail.house.gov


Ruidoso, NM (April 2, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce released a report he requested last summer on recent fires in New Mexico.

“Today’s report is a step toward the transparent, locally-driven approach to forest management that New Mexico needs,” said Pearce. “New Mexicans have expressed anger and frustration over the handling of recent fires, which needlessly cost hundreds of millions of dollars, destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat, and killed countless plants and animals. By understanding thoroughly what has gone wrong with fire management in past summers, we can work to improve our fire prevention and forestry policies, starting now.”

The report was sponsored by the National Institute for the Elimination of Catastrophic Wildfire, and authored by Bill Derr, who retired as special agent in charge of the California Region for the US Forest Service. The report, which was completed at no cost to taxpayers, details what went wrong with the suppression efforts of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex and Little Bear Fires last summer. It recommends that the Forest Service manage our nation’s forests in accordance with the Organic Act of 1897, review the National Fire Policy, calculate the total cost of wildfires beyond suppression, and that Congress should reform the Equal Access to Justice Act to prevent special interest groups from dictating forestry policy in an unscientific manner at taxpayer expense.

The full text of the report is available HERE.

4/3 Rod Duff, a member of the 1952 Oak Grove Hotshots, passed away on March 30 after a short illness. Rod lived a full life that included wildland firefighting for the USFS and CDF, working as a Disney Imagineer, owning an animation company, and serving as an interpretive ranger at Bodie State Park in retirement. He was an 19th century mining and railroading expert, a lifetime Land Rover enthusiast, a model railroader and a member of the Bodie Chapter of E Clampus Vitas. Rod considered his time as a hotshot one of the highlights of his life, and thoroughly enjoyed himself at the Oak Grove Hotshot reunion in 2012.

Services will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 6, at Joshua Memorial Park, 808 East Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, CA.

Condolences can be sent to Rod’s wife Cindy Kline at 7229 West Columbia Way, Quartz Hill, CA 93536.

Best thoughts and prayers for family and friends. Ab.

4/3 Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour changes


Read the Master Agreement Article 28 section 4 a. it says “ This means that initial attack hours worked after midnight until the individual’s regularly scheduled tour of duty begins will be considered overtime.”

Ronald C. Angel

4/3 Facilitating Treatment of Traumatic Injuries- Clarification

Regarding the letter being commented upon- as your readers have noted the letter states:

After on-site medical response, initial medical stabilization, and evaluation are completed, the decision to refer the employee to a regional burn center is made only by the attending physician. WC benefits may be denied in the event the employee is transported to a burn center without a referral from the attending physician.

As it turns out, we have had patients with relatively minor injuries (small hand burns treated with salve, then released) transported to burn centers via life flight. Thus the need for a clearer protocol. A life flight EMT/Paramedic could make the call in the field to proceed directly to a burn center after conferring (via radio) with the “attending physician”. The letter does not preclude a burn victim from being taken directly to a burn center, if necessary. The letter (which was developed with assistance from a licensed EMT Union representative) allows the flexibility to provide every patient with the appropriate necessary care and burn patients may be transported immediately from the field to a burn center if directed by the attending physician (via radio) to the attending life flight EMT/paramedic.

J Lenise Lago
Deputy Chief, Business Operations
USDA Forest Service

Thanks for the clarification. Ab.

4/2 Hiring

This season's hiring has been an epic tale of failures. And now this???

On my unit (no names here), we pulled a GS-4 cert with over 350+ names and were directed to select a dozen 'random' candidates to rate. Where is the sense in this??

Fairness? We were told to look for strong diversity candidates.
Equality? We were also to look for 'locals' as best possible.
Experience/quals/etc? Thats up to the rating system...

Despite all the talk of federal 'transparency', it seems thats all it was... talk.
I've never felt so conflicted over my agency's hiring policies. I couldn't sleep a wink last night. Anyone else receiving this kind of direction? I'm open to PMs for help, I'm sure Abs will forward on.

- Anonymous in R5

4/2 Hello,

I know there has been a lot of fuss about this new hiring system not working out too good for folks. I have really been hearing a lot of it. I can tell you from first hand experience that I did not find one problem with it and actually thought it was better and easier than Avue. I literally had to turn down jobs. So I know it works. I am guessing that people not being to familiar with the system made errors of some sort on there applications and this is the main reason for the troubles. Ok so with all that being said here are some tips for using e recruit.

  1. Make sure you up load your own resume a word document for example. If you use there resume builder the format will be all screwed up.
  2. attach EVERYTHING you can if there is a spot for it. ( SF-50, OF-306, IQCS, etc )

Now when you write your own resume, you have to include certain key words. You can easily look at the job description and see what kind of key words you need to include in your work history description. (JUST key words. write your own description ) You also need to give dates of how long you worked at what grade. This is very important now. My understanding is it is up to you now to prove and reflect that you have the experience and time in grade on your resume. Avue made it easier in that sense.

Moral of the story do your homework put together a top notch application. Take your time on it. (the more info you put the better.) Do exactly what it asks. Have some one who knows what they are looking at check and double check it before you submit it. I know its a little too late now, but hopefully this can help someone.

- Pond bear

4/1 Fire in Australia

Hey just found this on Yahoo thought everyone might wanna know how bad it was last year down under…. This pic is from Astronaut Chris Hadfield in space.


Thanks Robert for reminders about our friends in Australia. I put it on Fire 48 photo page. Ab.

4/1 Hiring ands Application

PYG and others,

How can you check on an application when it doesn't say if there is anything wrong with it or not? At least AVUE let the applicant know if they qualified or needed to attach supporting documentation. Here is my story..

I resigned from an engine operator position from the Forest Service three years ago due to some immediate family issues at the time. Since then I have regretted my decision, but have kept current as an engine operator with my local county volunteer department. So after a having a long talk with my wife I decided to get back into Federal wildland firefighting this year. I watched USAJobs like a hawk for the announcements to come out. When they did, I made sure to put locations that were showing vacancies. I also made sure to attach all documents like my DD214 and my last federal IQCS Record. I was like a kid waiting on Christmas for fire hire to begin. I also made sure to call around and network for positions. When fire hire did start expected phone calls and emails to start rolling in. When it was AVUE, I practically needed a switchboard. One day went by, a week went by, two weeks went by, and nothing. I figured being a war veteran, fully qualified since it was a position I left as, an EMT, and a cdl that the offers would be coming in like crazy. Today I found out by a fire management officer from a local forest that I put in for that I didn't even show up on their cert. I made sure I applied to that location due to my wife and I wanting to stay as local as possible because we are expecting our first child and we want to stay close to family and keep the same doctor. The funny thing is when I go into USAJobs it just says applications received. It would have been nice to know that I wasn't making certs at least a month ago.

If anybody has a position open and willing to Hire under a VRA Appointment, please let me know. I am a four time Middle East War Veteran, fully qualified engine operator, Class B CDL License, and an EMT with BLS.

Always Remember, I still promise to paint the Kingsbury Fire Memorial even if I don't have a crew this year. I will try to get my voly engine permissed off district for it. Thanks everyone for your time in reading this and a huge thanks to the site for allowing me to write this. Stay safe out there!!!


4/1 Re: Federal Direction on Treatment of Traumatic Injuries

In response to Yactack Re: Traumatic injury response. 3/31

I guess I'm curious how a policy written by the Deputy Chief for Business Operations disqualifies the FS to manage fire. It's a government agency and as such needs from time to time write and update standard policies. If the letter was taken as a how to for managing a medical situation, I think that the first sentence may have bee missed. The letter was written as a guideline. As someone whom has seen what the costs are when someone does not follow the procedure for getting Workers Comp to cover an injury, I'm pretty glad that this directive is updated and circulated each year. It cuts down on the confusion and costs to employees that seem to sneak up in December when no one is around the office to help out


4/1 Making the reounds:

R5: Celebrating Women’s History Month

Region 5 recently celebrated Women’s History Month by recognizing members of the Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team. Several women were honored for their groundbreaking discoveries in the field of fire behavior. Jeanne Pincha-Tully was acknowledged for her outstanding accomplishment in fire management and being the first female Incident Commander for a Type 1 Team.


Barbara Leach
Civil Rights Officer
Mendocino National Forest

4/1 Re: Federal Direction on Treatment of Traumatic Injuries

Another Take

I offer this, not wanting to upset anyone. But, isn't Workman's Comp for the feds administered by the Department of Labor? So possibly that may have precipitated the memo? Maybe the DOL wants it done that way? I don't know just throwing that out there.

Here are two antidotes that happened here last year that perhaps play into this memo.

Middle of the night, EMS helicopter responds to a remote incident helibase to evacuate a burn victim to a burn center. EMS helicopter has to refuel in route so time from dispatch to delivery to the burn center approx four hours. There was a full service medical center within 45 minutes. Turns out the "victim" had a softball size 2nd degree burn on his calf. Burn occurred during the morning of the shift and was not reported until the crew got in that evening and had eaten and showered. Burn victim returned to the incident the day following his evac.

The other incident occurred in the afternoon, Forest exclusive use contract helicopter picked up the victim and had them to the burn center in 90 minutes. First degree burns about the size of a football on a hip. Again, full service medical center with in 45 minutes flight time.

My point is any policy that is an absolute is bound to have holes in it. I fully support getting our burned, or otherwise injured personnel to the best available medical care post haste. I also believe common sense must be part of the equation.

Dose of Reality

4/1 mileage rates?

FS 5109.34 (Interagency Incident Business management Handbook Chapter 10) Expired on March31,2012. Is there a new edition to this document, also what will be the mileage rates for the upcoming season?


4/1 Initial Attack Spot Tour changes:


On October 3, 2012, Angeles National Forest personnel received a letter regarding Initial Attack Spot Tour changes. I have not heard anything else on this subject.... On the LP they have always paid us reg. time after 2400 and you did not receive OT till 0800 after 8 hours of base pay... If I am reading this memo correctly that is illegal and many folks should be receiving compensation for working all night into the next day.



4/1 Milepost 66 Accident:

So I pulled up a lot of the MP66 postings and looked them over. My forest is using the situation as an example (not a good one). I have a few questions I can't figure out, although I think I know the answers.

Is it true that they weren't using flight helmets? I didn't ever see that spelled out crystal clear.

I have ALWAYS known and been told (2 shot crews, engine, rappel) that it is not an allowed activity outside of the clearly defined rappel operations from a helicopter. How did this unit get permission to just do it? Or is that the whole point, they didn't ask permission. And did they "not ask permission" all the way up to the line officer? Our district ranger or forest supervisor would enforce some serious repercussions on us if we did it without his permission, and heaven help anyone who did it without their permission. That's just plain dishonest.

I would really like to see a copy of the JHA they claim to have. How did they get something like that past a safety officer?

Someone said that there was a search to see if rappelling wasn't allowed policy. Really? Aren't we smarter than that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but policy manuals, fireline guides, etc. don't so much as tell you what you can't do, they tell you what you can do. Then we have to rely on common sense, honesty and integrity to ensure that the right and safe thing is done. There are lots of things that the manuals don't tell you can't do. And if you are unsure, check with higher ups.

I agree with someone who said this was all shady. I'm thinking it's a bit more than shady.

When we used to see unsafe situations taking place we'd say that it was "an accident waiting to happen." Well, apparently there was a history of stuff going on at this unit and this was an accident waiting to happen. The accident happened. And now I'm guessing people will begin to erase it from their memory until the next batch of people realize that it's an accident waiting to happen. On our unit we are going to use the situation as a teaching opportunity. Basically how not to do something, and now thanks to this unit I've got the perfect reason for why not to do it. Someone will get hurt.

Again, if anyone has the JHA they claim to have used, some of us would love to see it.

Teachable moment

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