May, 2013

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5/31 The one who kicked the hornets' nest

Just wanted to say that if the allegations are true and you feel that management did a poor job on investigating the allegations then the Capt. needs to report it. Here are two numbers to try, it's the Whistleblower Disclosure Hotline: (800) 572-2249 or (202) 254-3640. We've had to use these numbers a couple of times where I'm at and they actually do their job and look hard into issues. For quickest results, leave your name and they will give you updates into what's going on. But don't waste their time if you're just venting because of a perceived injustice. Tell your Capt. this kind of behavior has been going on with white males for years, welcome to the club.


5/31 Six Rivers N.F. Mad River Crew 4 passed their Regional Hotshot Crew Review yesterday and is now the newest R-5 IHC Crew, the Mad River IHC....



5/31 Re: Lance Winerich's retirement -- Shower Buddy???

Really!... Bro???... You had to put that out there for all of our fellow firefighting boys & girls to witness?... I thought everyone asked me about that incident before for the past 30-years... GREAT!!!...

Thank you Joel, I'll never forget all of our Wild land Firefighting over the years together, both, on the ground & in the air!... Thank you bro for the last couple of weeks of the career!!!...

& GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU OUT THERE!!!... Please be careful out there this season!... It's going to be a "barn-burner!"... It already has been!!!... Always have your Escape Routes & Safety Zones with you every step of the way!!! + 10 & 18 + LCES & 9 Downhills!... ("Look everywhere!")


5/31 AB,

In response to this posting, The one who kicked the hornets’ nest it right on point. We have a similar situation on our Forest, also in R5. A supervisor trying to do his job is called before the forest management because of a complainant filed by an employee he supervises. This employee, who really doesn’t know all of the ins and outs of the system is getting guidance from someone who has worked the system and won. The remainder of us employees are extremely unhappy and our morale is getting worse. Again, as in Hornets’ post only a few people were questioned, handpicked apparently, because none of the other employees supervised by this supervisor were questioned.

It just goes to show the sad state of affairs in our local forests and the lack of good leadership that’s not afraid to buck both the union and HR when it is appropriate to do so. There are always hidden agendas and it’s unfortunate when you guess at what they might be and they actually happen.


Disheartened and disgusted.

5/30 Some Peoples Children…

A recent chain of events on my local unit in region 5 has absolutely sickened me! From the time it was brought to my attention until now, I have experienced a wide array of emotions on the matter, ranging from different degrees of anger to downright disgust. It made me really sit back and think where did we go wrong as a forest, an agency, and even as human beings. Some of you will instantly know what I’m on about, and some won’t. But you will, I promise you that. I understand that this forum is about the what and not the who, so as much as I would like to publicly oust those involved, I will refrain. Lately it seems we have all but lost the very core values that the fire service stands for. I’m talking about “Honor, Respect, and Integrity”, to name a few. At some point in all of our careers there has been much dialog about what each of these words mean. The key word here is Integrity. So lets break it down for those of us who have forgotten along the way or for those of us who never learned in the first place.

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

So there it is. Got It? Sure anyone can go and Google what it means, but what does it really mean? Is it taking the hard right over the easy wrong? Is Integrity what you do and how you act when you think nobody is watching? And believe me people are always watching. Integrity is the fiercely rigorous moral code that I hold myself to as well as those around me. Is it naive of me to expect that of others? Maybe? Maybe not? Integrity involves the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and most importantly Responsibility for ALL your actions. I truly believe that some people need to be reminded why we chose this profession in the first place and what it really means to be a firefighter. I think I can speak for most of us when I say we are ultimately “public servants” here to provide a service to the general public. To ask “what can I do for you” or “how can I help you?” Not “what can you do for me” or “how can you help me”? We don’t become firefighters to fulfill any kind of selfish endeavors. Most of us never pursue this career to get rich, rather for piece of mind, knowing that what we do has made or will make a difference.

With the ever-broadening term “political correctness” looming overhead, it has slowly taken much of the power away from those in supervisory roles and placed in the hands of subordinates. In a perfect world this wouldn’t pose such a huge problem. However when you get a handful of misguided employees with an overwhelming sense of entitlement, armed with a few HR buzzwords (that they don’t know the meaning of), an HR backed warpath is the result. Mainly due to the fact that supervisors cannot appropriately discipline their people for fear of being slapped with erroneous grievances such as; “Hostile Work Environment, Reprisal or Harassment” (in one form or another) just to name a few, thus enabling a chain reaction of unacceptable behavior. All the while, these “supervisors” are just trying to do their job, which is after all to supervise, to correct poor behavior and to develop their employees. At this stage in the game it should not be anybody’s job to teach an “adult” what’s right from wrong. That is basic knowledge that should have been learned in adolescence. This has now snowballed to the point where any individual who is dissatisfied with their current position can manipulate the system in an effort to try and eliminate their competition or their superiors by way of filing a formal complaint. How could something like this happen? Well, when you live in a “moral grey area” or have a severely skewed “moral compass” as a select few of our so-called “brothers” and “sisters” in fire do these days, the sky is the limit. An old adage comes to mind; “if you want something bad enough, work for it and you will eventually get it” has slowly morphed into “if you want something bad enough you can take it from someone who earned it”. Truth be told people can go out and make wild baseless accusations with no recourse for their appalling behavior.

Case in point, it is now common knowledge that a situation much like the one described above has just happened on my home unit to a very well known, more than qualified Captain that just so happens to be female. Then without due process this person was removed from her position, taken out of contention for a detail that was soon to be flown, by recommendation of our forest supervisor. Much to the delight of the complainant(s), might I add? In a situation that carries as much weight as this, not to mention a laundry list of legal ramifications that could possibly follow, one might think that a “thorough” (now pay attention, I just said another key word there. Did you catch it? I said thorough) investigation of sorts, with any and all persons that may have born witness to the events leading up to said complaint(s) would be interviewed. Well one would be very wrong, because it seems that only a few “hand picked” persons were ever asked to give any kind of statements. By whom were these persons hand picked? That’s a very good question… Is it me or does this sound like it might be just a tiny little bit biased? In any case I for one, will be very interested to see how this all pans out, once all of the “real” facts have surfaced.

It really is disheartening to hear of those who have worked so hard for so long to make a name for themselves only to have their good name dragged through the mud, by those they brought up through the ranks. Not to mention the countless other “honest” hard working firefighters whose lives will be affected by the selfish pursuits of a few bad apples trying to manipulate the system to get ahead.

All I ask is that you take a good long look in the mirror, (you know who you are). Do you like what you see? Do you like what you’ve become? I truly hope not. Because you’re disgracing the uniform that the rest of us, so proudly wear. I’m not on here to tell people what to think or how to behave, I’m just here to shed a little bit of light on a very shady situation. You be the judge.


The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest

5/30 Lance Winerich

Today will mark the last day of work for Lance Winerich, AKA - Wino, AA-01, Shower Buddy, and many other names that probably not make this post. Lance spent the majority of his career on the ANF in R-5 with his last post as the Forest Aviation Officer on the Angeles. I first met Lance while he was serving as squad boss on the Chilao Hotshots in 1983, that first meeting was epic and I will always remember how you looked that day.

You will be missed my friend and thank you for your example in Leadership and above all, your ability to stay positive into the end. Love ya man.

Joel A Lane

5/30 Heads up on a possible new pandemic virus. Practice excellent hygiene in fire camp and elsewhere and be aware of illness. Ab.

New virus called ‘threat to the entire world’

The Lookout

The first death in France from a new SARS-like coronavirus brings the worldwide total for the disease to 27 deaths and 49 infections, CNN reports.

The 65-year-old Frenchman was diagnosed after returning from a stay in Dubai. According to CNN, the World Health Organization has said the disease was first seen in Saudi Arabia last year. The virus is "a threat to the entire world," Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's general director, told the network.

The Centers for Disease Control explains that coronaviruses can affect people or animals and, in worst-case scenarios, cause SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). And it notes there's currently no vaccine to protect against human coronavirus infection. The disease acts like a cold and causes upper respiratory system problems. Symptoms include fever and cough and can lead to kidney failure and pneumonia.

The WHO has not learned how the new virus spreads, making it difficult to prevent infections. The organization has named it, though: Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, according to CNN.

Fair Use Disclaimer

5/30 To anyone in need of flying a portable tank into a remote area, here are 4 viable options from Fol-Da-Tank Company, in addition to our helicopterable bladders, "The Flyer".

Rol-La-Tank and Rol-La-Tank Type II have fewer parts and thus quicker assembly time compared to a Snap Tank or Aqua Tank and all store in a duffle style bag. A heavier duty bag may be made on request for long line transport.

Fol-Da-Tank also manufactures "Single Lane Tanks" for use on narrow roads. The tanks are rectangular in proportion to facilitate safer operation and traffic flow whether on a narrow county road or on a logging road into the hills. These tanks are available in both folding frame and self-supporting (frameless) styles.

Stay Safe!

Chad A. Christensen
Vice President
Fol-Da-Tank Co.

5/30 South Canyon Remembered.

Abs – powerful 32-minute video. A “must watch” for wildland firefighters, and the broader circle of our families and friends. ‘Nuff said.



5/30 Wildland Firefighting Video - South Canyon and Lessons Learned


The link below is to the Wildland Fire video produced by the NFFF illustrating our work.
Although it focuses on South Canyon story-telling - please keep in mind that 34 wildland firefighters died that year.
Thanks to those on the RMC and those from LLC, and the Prineville folks for making this happen.

The video is a tool to be used in many ways - introduction to CISM and Peer Support, FML, and Family as well as Safety Journey meetings.
It can also be used to segue into risk management.

And a special thanks to Vicki Minor and Burke Minor for hosting the video production at the WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER FOUNDATION.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has released the Wildland Firefighting: Everyone Goes Home video showcasing South Canyon. We are a learning organization, please share throughout your networks.


Thanks to all those who made this video possible.

Michael G. Apicello
NIFC - FS - Risk Management

5/29 South Canyon Remembered daily by many:

For the past few years I have been talking with Tom Shepard about giving a presentation to my crew about South Canyon. Tom had never spoken publicly about South Canyon and the aftermath of the fire. Well this spring Tom agreed to talk with Union/La Grande Hotshots. Tom spoke for about five hours and let me just say it was the best, most intense presentation I have ever been through. When he was speaking about the fateful events it was as if he was back up on the mountain. For most of the presentation I was on the edge of my chair and I am not afraid to admit I even shed some tears.

As the years pass more and more of our young firefighters have little to no understanding about how important of a fire South Canyon is to our history. It was such an honor for Union/La Grande to go through this process with Tom.

What struck me the most was after all these years this is still a daily event in Tom’s life. When I put myself in Tom’s shoes I wonder how I would survive and go on with my life. I still do not have the answer, I just pray I never find out. This presentation took a lot out of Tom and at this time he is not ready to do again for some time. Tom told me he hopes someday to be able to talk again as it is part of the healing process.

Jody Prummer
Union Hotshots

(Tom Shepard approved this message.)

5/29 I too have had the misfortune of being injured on a fire assignment. I had issues with support from my agency, Albuquerque, Department of Labor and so on and so on.

Injured my C6 and C7 vertebrae, both shoulders, and upper back....yuck. I was broadsided by a civilian and yes we did settle, but not for much. Doctor found evidence of previous neck injury. Not sure what it was but there were bone spurs developing.

I still have issues with all of the above but I have to either wither and die or move on. I sorta have developed a tolerance for pain and thus I still can function a bit.

Long story short , most supervisors do not have a clue on what to do if you are injured. Your claim representative will change frequently, your claims for treatment will be denied, and do not expect the agency to support you if you are pursuing legal remedy.

I have lost faith in the Forest Service and what it represents but still continue to fight fire because that is what I do.

Timex Firefighter.

5/29 Always lurking

AB, through out the years I have been following they said and remain in the shadows.

To my fellow firefighters out there I am ashamed by some of the response I see on they said.

I understand things are broken and some things do need to be changed. I understand there are people who should not be in the position they are in. Remember it is hard to get someone removed from their position and management will do whatever they want. I have had to learned this the hard way.

AB, thank you for all you have done to represent the wildland fire community.

To the firefighters, be thankful we still have jobs and yes some of us did not get hired or get rehired due to hiring processes. I too have lost good firefighters that I could not hire back because of the new hiring system or managers trying to meet some magical number that can not be quantified. I have or should I say had the diverse employees the agency is trying to hire and the new hiring system failed them and us.

This is the hand we are dealt, every year we adapt and overcome, we will move forward.

I am not giving up nor given in to what is going on with the agency these days. We need to be tactical in the ways we deal with things. I know we have good managers in the organization and some with no fire experience that need to be brought along just like we all did with the first year firefighter. This is the only way they can truly understand the job we do and if all they hear is the bad, they will think there is nothing they can do to please us. Remember it was not to long ago that engine captains were GS-5 1039 employees. We have made progress and things will get better.

Soon to be old timer
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

5/29 Hiring:

I am beyond frustrated with the hiring process of my local forest. Is this happening to just me or is anyone else getting multiple start dates that change every two weeks?? I really can't get any info other than being told to remain patient.

Sent from my iPhone

5/29 To all:

The FWFSA is finally getting on Facebook. I'm the first to admit my social media skills are antiquated at best so thanks to one of our members in Michigan...yes, we have members in Michigan and 29 other states. The page is still being developed but we'd appreciate it if you visited and offered a comment.

We are also working on making our web site a bit more friendly and interactive. The blame for the oft-delayed effort lands squarely on my desk as it has taken a significant amount of time working with key members of Congress to come up with our final recommended language for legislation to be introduced in late Spring or early Summer.

We will have the language up in the FWFSA's web site Members' area in a couple of days and then sometime in the near future here on TheySaid. In the meantime, my sincerest wishes for a safe season.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

Thanks, Casey. Ab.

5/29 Re: Lessons Learned Center webinar: Mobile Technology, Situational Awareness, and Emergency Response, An example from Queensland Australia.

54 min youtube of the webinar (It's not just a lecture. The Powerpoint shows up about 4 minutes into it.)

For those who missed it, the broadcast can be viewed here.

Tom Patterson

5/28 This spring's wild fire behavior

I’m an old guy and had my fair share of experiences with wild fires. BUT… in my career the only other season that could compare with the start of this one was in 1977. Remember, that August with the multiple lightning fires throughout this state and the outcome? Marble Cone and other fires? Almost all at the same time. Look ahead and think about how to pace yourself to stay alert, safe and aware. This right now sends signals we all should be listening too.


5/28 Re: Health, injury, OWCP, documentation


I suffered the same injury 7/1/2001on a fire in Alaska when I stumbled stepping off of a curb and my 100 pounds of gear slammed down on my shoulders. Within a month the pain down my right arm was excruciating and my right hand was numb and tingling. After a month of trying to get OWCP to accept my case, I called Blue Shield and let them know I was about to eat a bullet. I hadn't slept in nine days. They agreed to pay for my surgery and I had it done 8/9/2001. If they hadn't I wouldn't be here today as OWCP didn't accept it until 10/16/2001.

I hope your doctor told you that this is just the beginning, as when they fuse your vertebrae, most times it causes the one above or below to start sliding and you'll need more surgery in the future. You don't know how many friends you have until you let people know that you need to have your throat cut. They came out of the woodwork and volunteered to do it for me. Ha Ha!

Good luck and I hope the wait doesn't cause any problems. Because mine happened over time, it caused my nerves to my hand to be messed up and half of my hand is numb and tingling and will be for the rest of my life. I sat at work messed up on Demerol trying to get a hold of OWCP for days and nobody from the agency would help.


5/28 I heard CA-SRF Mad River Crew 4 will be going for their hotshot certification over the next couple of days.

Good luck gentleman and ladies.

Sent from my iPhone

5/28 Safety Advisory: Creation of Arduous Duty Line Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Positions
5/28 More on the Flying Folda Tanks!!

I noticed your file only has the first page. It may have been intentional? Just so there isn’t any guessing on how it’s done I’ve attached the whole file. Either way if it ends up in the air (daisy chain) or not, let’s do it right!

Hotshots N Helicopters

Thanks hotshot. Not intentional. I got the full docx from Bill, but it was so large that only the first page went through and I did not notice. It's a huge download for only 5 pages. HERE's the full document in pdf format. (6,126 K pdf; not all readers have docx, so it's in pdf) The last page is intentionally blank as was the original. (I also updated the link in the original post (5/12) from Bill. Ab.

5/28 Re: LLC webinar: Mobile Technology, Situational Awareness, and Emergency Response

Ab note: Webinar registration 3 posts below. Gotomeeting.com... Webinar today at 2 PM PDT (3 PM MDT)

I just talked to Josh McDaniel from the Lessons Learned Center. There are a lot of folks registered for the webinar and they still have the bandwidth to accept more. I encourage everyone to listen to Mark's presentation. I'm leaving now for the airport but here are my thoughts for incorporating real-time mobile mapping into wildland fire management in this country. There are three barriers to progress that inhibits the implementation of geospatial technologies on the fireline; tradition, policy and perceptions.

Tradition - For this to work in the manner that Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) uses it, we have to get away from the 12-hour planning cycle mentality that has been drilled into us from our very first ICS training course. I've been on incidents in which Division Supervisors will not deviate from the IAP assignment even though it was obvious that things have changed since it was written the night before. QFRS is so effective because they have the means to adapt immediately and change priorities based on the current situation.

Policy - this can be a HUGE hindrance. Ever since the Cobell lawsuit in 2000, security concerns have reached a high state of paranoia. Federal agency personnel are not given admin rights to their own Gov't issued work computers and cannot interface with cooperator networks during joint operations. To work within the policy restrictions, I convinced the BLM CA State Director of Fire and Aviation to allow me to purchase Panasonic ToughBook laptops for all command vehicles, engines and helitack vehicles. They not only withstood the harsh CA desert temperature extremes, but the swappable hard drives permitted the crews to have one hard drive they use to perform real-world duties and another hard drive for use in the station to log onto DOI Net to check their e-mail. The IT managers were happy with this as long as the non BLM-configured hard drive never touched "THEIR" network.

Perceptions - There are many myths about the use of GIS by firefighters in the field. "It's too difficult to learn." "It's too costly." "You have to have a masters degree in geography and an $18,000 plotter to make it work." We'll, the QFRS firefighters have dispelled all those misperceptions and the use of geospatial technologies have been part of their SOPs for many years. ArcGIS Online now makes it possible to keep decision makers in the ICP appraised of current conditions on the fireline without the need for a large enterprise GIS system.

But here is the part that should concern you as an American taxpayer. All the Federal land management agencies and many state organizations already own ArcGIS Servers. They are not being utilized to their fullest during disaster situations to share information when there is so much at stake. Cost is no longer an issue, we now have the capability to map 40,000 acre wildfires on a cell-phone. In wilderness areas where there are no cell towers, the device will cache fire perimeter data and transmit it as soon as you enter coverage. The use of Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals like the one QFRS uses, enables field personnel the capability to stay connected anywhere in the world.

Real time GIS fire mapping info now possible anywhere (hotlist discussion tread)

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service is the model that all emergency service agencies should emulate.

Fire Geek

5/27 Health, injury, OWCP, documentation:

On 9/11/01 I suffered a back injury on a fire in Northern California. I walked into a stump/hole ash pit that I didn't see. I had on my line gear and a portable gas-powered pump and 5 gallons of fuel. The hole was only 8-12 inches deep.

It was what appeared to be minor. I went to the doctors, dealt with OWCP and they treated it as a first aid. I did not get X-rays or an MRI. Was just given some painkillers and returned to work.

I have had a few flare-ups over the years that have kept me down for a week or so.

I worked several more years in fire with the injury. What you can't see or feel may still be lurking. Opening day of salmon season 2013, I went to set the hook in a fish and I knew instantly that the injury was back... stupidity of me I went back out on the boat the next day in moderate pain to score more fish.

Tomorrow I have my throat cut open to have a disc removed, replaced with cadaver bone and to have vertebrae fused. It's finally going to be over, thank god.

The pain I have been in the past six weeks has been absolutely unreal. Morphine has not even touched it. Nerve pain is something you NEVER want to deal with, it's something you can't even describe. The only thing that's kept me going is my daughter. While the injury is in my neck, the pain is all in my right arm and hand, with some numbness. The other good thing is that I won't have any serious issues coming off the 7 different pains killers I'm on.

I am writing this to make sure you guys take extremely good care of yourselves on the fire and off the line. While injuries happen, they are preventable.

My surgery is 100% covered etc, however OWCP won't even touch it, as it's such an old injury. I get that and luckily, seriously, I don't need any help from them.

My recommendations:

  • Document your injury to the best of your ability.
  • Get a second opinion, even if it's out of your own pocket. It'll be worth it in the long run.
  • Rest as much as YOU feel you need to.
  • Take extremely good care of yourself post injury.
  • If you feel you have not gotten your point across to a doctor, ask for another one.

You are not invincible, I was in my 20's when this happened and I felt I was invincible. It catches up with you. I am very thankful that this will all be over tomorrow.


Best wishes for a speedy recovery, MG! Ab.

5/25 Memorial Day

A reminder to all fire stations throughout America. Thanks for adherence to Title 4, USC Chapter - The Flag.

As required on Memorial Day, all US Flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon. At which time the US Flag shall be raised to the highest point on the staff (full-staff) for the remainder of the day.

Full-staff shows that life goes on, the nation lives, for our flag is the symbol of the living nation.

American Flag Flying Protocols

Thank you........... ms

"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost" - Arthur Ashe

5/23 Greetings!

Please join us for a webinar titled “Mobile Technology, Situational Awareness, and Emergency Response: An Example from Queensland, Australia," presented by Tom Patterson and Mark Wallace, on

Tuesday, May 28th at

3pm MDT. (2 PM PDT)

To register go to gotomeeting.

Thanks and Take Care,


Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

Tom Patterson posts to the hotlist as Fire Geek. Great fellow, excellent friend, former FMO retired, enjoyable storyteller and holder of the firefighter history. I added it to the Hotlist Calendar.

Message from Tom Patterson On the HOTLIST THREAD. Ab.

5/22 Re Job offer:

If you are offered AD, I would take it.

If you are just working base hours for the first couple of weeks, you will make more $.

In the long run you rather be a GS, but being an AD is better than sitting at home on unemployment.

Get your refresher done, and critical 80 hours done.

Remember overtime is never guaranteed. And the AD rate for a FFT2 is $17.40 an hour.

AD Pay Plan: 5109.34.pdf

Sent from my iPad

5/22 Re Job offer:

CF: My guess is the local units are getting creative because the hiring process has been so fouled up. "Fire season is starting and we've got to get people hired somehow."

However, ADs are hired in certain specific situations and, if memory serves me correctly, can't be used in place of regular employees. At the very least, you won't be paid base 8 unless you are assigned, perhaps on standby.

If you want to see if this makes sense money-wise, find out what your AD rate would be, and plug it into a "normal" fire day for you. It might come out close to the same if you are on an assignment -- higher during your base hours, lower than overtime and HD.

Still out there as an AD

5/22 This got dumped on May 17, along with some others which have since been posted. My personal computer system updated and dumped stuff. My apologies, Casey. Ab.

To All,

Thanks for the posts to TheySaid and personal emails to me about the proposed legislation that would change OT/comp time rules. I perhaps second-guessed posting the question in the first place, absent sufficient information to determine if the proposed legislation would even affect the federal workforce. If more comes out of DC that warrants a post I'll do so.

"S" I can't speak to the specific hiring issue on the LP but referencing the term "LPF" in conversations with its firefighters conjurs up strong emotions. There are some Forest Supervisors in Southern California, that, in my personal opinion, have no business managing the Fire Program and sadly that's one of them. Given the complaints to the RO over the years regarding business practices whether it related to actual fire management or the housing issue, the common denominator was, and still is the Forest Supervisor.

What goes on at the LP is a microcosm of why firefighters believe the Agency, through the RO, continues to try to "reign in" FIRE treating our firefighters like some renegade, belligerent, teenaged step-child. Sad that well into the 21st century we still see that...a total lack of respect for the firefighters.

Anyway the Union has a presence on the LP. Let them know what's going on. The fact remains, when a Forest Supt. screws up in a SoCal Forest, history shows us they simply punish firefighters on another adjoining Forest by sending the Forest Supervisor to a neighboring Forest. The relationships between Line and firefighters is precisely why the Forest Service continues to rank so poorly in places to work in the federal govt.

On an unrelated note, USDA Secretary Vilsack recently did his duty, (The Administration taking shots at Congress for the sequester) through a recent press conference and commentary describing the impending doom of this session as a result of sequester cuts. Some of these comments ended up in the Washington Post. I have received a number of press calls this week on the subject matter and the Press quickly realizes that the management of the federal land management agency fire programs is far more complex than they thought. But, it is an opportunity to educate them on the issues facing our firefighters and how those issues also ultimately impact our Nation's taxpayers.

Sadly the federal wildfire response has become politicized to the point that sometimes its hard to determine where decisions come from.



5/22 Flying Fold-a-tanks

Perhaps instead of using a large FOLD-A-TANK, a collapsible style should be considered when needing to "fly" a tank in. Such as one like the Husky Aqua-Tank ( http://www.huskyportable.com/aqua-tanks_id123.phpl ). You just fly it out in a bag.


5/22 Fold-da-tank up!

Ok....... I just can't pass up this Fold-a-Tank thing going on. Wings or full of water, sounds to me like whom ever is asking the question or making the suggestion hasn't spent endless hours at night mopping with a fold-a-tank much less any time at all setting one up. Can you imagine someone actually trying hook the four corners of a fold-a-tank with water in it and fly it. Think you'd have a mess of bent pipe and torn rubber on your hands.

If you really want to fly a portable rigid tank....... or see one fly go to this link youtube.com

It looks similar to a fold-a-tank and works very much the same, but it's also has hose, fittings and pump on board. It's called a Klump Pump and it's made to fly.... made by a friend Jim Klump and for hire!

They fly those fold-a-tanks all the time.... they just don't try putting them together, filling them with water and then flying them to ovoid "THE WING EFFECT".

If you want to fly a whole assembled tank then check out uni-engine.com which is Jim Klump's portable tank. The page will tell you all about the Uni-Engine as it is called and show you the design and engineering that went into it to also make it flyable.


5/22 re promised job, AD job offer...

So it sounds like they are trying to bring seasonals on and pay us AD, no OT or Hazard pay.  I was offered to start tomorrow as a AD?  I was told I will start on the 2nd but was told three different dates.  Wanted to get opinions if this is a good idea or should I wait for my promised GS?


5/21 Writing about fire in China

Ah, life changes. I've been out of the fire business since 2006 and at age 61 couldn't jump back in now if I wanted to. In 2009, I started a work of fiction based on fire camp experiences and wrote 62,000 words before I realized I had no idea how to write good fiction. I've learned much since then and still hope to get the book out this year (and last year and the year before).

I've been spurred on to write here because I just edited an interesting abstract on wildfire in a province in northeastern China. The paper will be in Chinese, but I'm improving the English in an English abstract for the authors. Since it is unpublished research I don't want to provide details. But I do want to bring wildland fire fighter's attention to the changes in China where the Army does most of the fire fighting.

I now work as a freelance writer and editor and edit a wide variety of research papers from China, Japan, and worldwide. Some papers relate to fire and compare with other papers I've seen on many other subjects. My point? China is moving into the 21st century more rapidly than most people realize, and much faster than some other countries with a growth rate of 8-10% per year in the economy for the past 15 years. "20 years ago Shanghai had no buildings over 6 stories tall," a professor told me in 2006. Look at it now on the internet. That change is reflected in their approach to science.

I'd encourage folks to contact Chinese fire fighters to signing up to "China's facebook and MSN" combined as "QQ." Sign up free at www.imqq.com and you'll find thousands of Chinese people wanting to talk to you (they will then lead you to firefighters). Everyone in China under 30 has studied English since the 4th or 6th grade and as college students and young business professionals are dying to practice their English on you, so you don't have to learn Chinese!

I also chat in Chinese daily from my home in Arkansas using Lang-8. I have a group there for ecologists, Lang-8 for Ecologists, and am trying to general a global discussion on ecology, including fire. The group has about 60 members mostly from China, Europe, and western Asia, but worldwide (poor representation from the Americas currently, but mostly in English). If your interests match (ecology, fire, language) you might find it interesting.

China's moving forward and studying the role of fire, as well as other scientific topics. For example, they plan to get 25% of the energy from wind by 2050 and had to shut down a turbine installation last year because the infrastructure could not deal with all their generation capacity!

My point? Contact folks in China by whatever method and talk fire!

5/21 RE: Flying Fold-a-Tank


Saw your suggestion, but I have to say I question the wisdom here. Folding tanks to my knowledge are designed to sit on a solid surface, with lateral containment provided by the portable siding. To partially assemble and sling the folding tank with water aboard (even a small amount) would seem to put stress on the material and seams themselves, which were not meant for this type of loading. I understand your thoughts here, and logically it would work, but I would guess this type of use would void any warrantees and pose problems. Take a look at how a bucket is constructed vs. the folding tank material. As a “recovering SOFR” this would give me the willies to see it happen!


5/20 Los Padres Hiring:

There is really only one place to look when regarding the hiring situation on the LP. The Forest Supervisor. Selections for the seasonal positions were submitted to ASC three months after the hiring process began. This entirely due to a micromanaging approach taken by the Forest Supervisor, of which much of the legality would be questionable at best (separating applicants into piles by gender as one example of many). By the time selections were submitted to Albuquerque the one staff member tasked with processing the paperwork was already swamped. ASC is overloaded by the new E-recruit system and the conduct of the LP Forest Supervisor only compounded the problem. Currently there is a 4000+ acre fire on the LP and it's hard to find a LP seasonal employee anywhere.


5/20 promised job

I am on my 6th season recently had a kid and quit my last job because I was promised my job with my previous unit. I have been told three different start dates and now maybe a fourth? I'm not sure if anyone cares or what my options are. I am trying to get my old job back since it is better pay but not looking good. I will miss the forest circus but I can't take this BS.


5/20 Effective immediately, CAL FIRE is rescinding CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-01 and replacing it with CALF FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02.


Attached is the CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02 that rescinds the CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-01. As I briefed this morning on BoD call, CAL FIRE WILL NOT BE tone protecting CAL FIRE Air/Ground or AIRTACs 21 frequencies on initial attacks response.

Please give out wide-distribution. If you have any questions, please call me. ~Yo

Yolanda R. Saldana
Pacific Southwest Region
Aviation Safety Manager


Effective immediately, CAL FIRE is rescinding CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-01 and replacing it with CALF FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02.

Attached is CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02. Please provide appropriate documentation on an IIPP6 at the local unit level.


Brent Stangeland
Department Safety Officer

General Safety Communication 2013-2 (239 K)

5/19 Flying Fold-a-tanks

It is a very simple fix to fly in a fold a tank and avoid turning it into a Flying wing...simply fly it with a little water in it as you would a bucket.


5/19 Chips the Bobcat has been released back to the wild.



5/18 Remembering Daniel Davidson...

In response to many inquiries regarding donations, Daniel’s family has provided the following information:

1st National Bank,
Cloudcroft Branch
PO Box 168
Cloudcroft, NM 88317

“Daniel A. Davidson Memorial Account”


Loretta Benavidez
Lincoln National Forest
Public Affairs Officer

Nice memorial flyer from the Lincoln National Forest for Dan (pdf) from his friends and the wildlandfire community here and on the Lincoln National Forest... Ab.

5/18 Memorial Service for TR Hilton - Paramedic

Hi Ab,

Not sure how to send this, but wanted to let anyone in the wildland firefighter community who may have known TR Hilton, about his passing.

TR Hilton was the paramedic advisor for the Region -6 IMS (Incident Medical Specialist) program. TR has been involved in the Region - 6 IMS program and wildland firefighter community since 1994.

TR passed away May 9th 2013 after being on life support. TR was on a bicycle ride the weekend before, riding from John Day to Mount Vernon, Oregon and back, and was less then a 1/4 mile away from home when he went down unwitnessed with what was determined to be a sudden cardiac fatal arrhythmia. He was transported to the Blue Mountain hospital in John Day, Oregon then to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend by Air Link Helicopter, where he remained in ICU.

A memorial service for TR will be held Friday May 24th 2013 at Grant Union High School in John Day, Oregon.

Shelby Gales BLM Safety Manager - Fire Operations, will be speaking at the memorial service.

An account has been set up in his name at Old West Federal Credit Union, and contributions to support his family can be sent by mail to the following address:

Old West FCU
650 West Main St.
John Day, OR 97845

TR was also the EMS Coordinator for Grant County and Blue Mountain Hospital Ambulance, as well as Paramedic/EMT instructor for many other agencies in Eastern Oregon and beyond. He will be missed greatly.

Thank You,

Lee Teague
Friend/Pastor of TR and also an EMT with Region 6 IMS.

Condolences. Ab.

5/16 Los Padres Hiring:

I'm not sure why nobody is discussing the horrible hiring practices that have been taking place. I am no longer in CA but I have heard some bad stories from past employees on how they are being treated this season. People have been guaranteed jobs then they've been taken away. Moved from out of state for a certain start date then given three more start dates while living on their own money. I'm not sure what they can do now but maybe talk to a lawyer? These are great workers who deserve better. Get it together paper pushers.


5/16 re: Comp vs OT


I understand your point of view but I must correct/educate you on a few details.

* First- to earn comp on an incident YOU as the employee have to approve it after discussing it with your supervisor.

* Second- the incident DOES pay for it, when you code COMP earned which is TC 32 I believe it goes to the P-code of the incident, when you USE the comp time you with TC- 64, you use the P-code from the incident once again. Even though the employee only gets 1 for one on hours, it makes up for it with retirement/time and grade ext. by keeping them "on the books longer". This works as long as your not a 26/0. Although even for 26/0's there are still a lot of benefits for some extra time off in the winter months.

Hope this clarifies a few things

Norcal AFEO

5/15 re: Comp vs OT

There are two kinds of comp time, comp for travel which if you don't use by the end of PP26 (pay period 26) you lose, and regular comp time which if you don't use by the end of PP 26 you get paid time and a half for. At least this is how it works in the FS.

So AD you just worked until it was done, like in the private sector? You didn't worry about it. As a professional I always demanded that they pay me for any work I did if it was for the FS or in the private sector. I had bills and five kids to feed, but I'm sure the agency would take any free work that I would do for them.


5/15 re: Comp vs OT

It is technically against policy for a federal firefighter to earn comp time on an incident. The reason behind this is to protect the employee - fair labor standards requiring paying an employee time and a half for work performed after 40 hrs. When Comp. Time is earned it is hour for hour, not time and a half.

But....that does not mean it doesn't happen. I know of many career seasonal federal firefighters that claim nothing but comp time all summer. They do this so that they can 'cash' in their time throughout the winter. This not only bank rolls them with 80 hour pay periods through out their time off, but allows them to earn: sick leave, annual leave, paid holidays off, time in grade towards additional steps, etc. This costs the agency a lot of money because the fire/incident is not paying for these benefits. Additionally I believe there are some ethical issues regarding earning time in grade, holiday pay etc. when the employee is on furlough. Continuing on the ethical discussion - most of these employees claim unemployment since the government isn't offering them a job until next spring and they are merely getting paid for work already performed. The best of both, or all three worlds for these employees as long as they are allowed to do it.


5/15 US Fires 2012:

Records maintained by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and NASA both indicate that 2012 was an extraordinary year for wildfires in the United States.

Here's a terrific map showing vegetation and fire intensity based on Modis satellite imagery, and a brief but informative article from NASA's Earth Observatory. Thanks to NIFC (NIFC year to date stats) and wildland firefighters.

US Fires 2012


5/15 re: Comp vs OT

OK, this goes back a ways, but at one point comp time was available instead of overtime, at least for PFTs. You'd think this would be budget-neutral, but somehow up the food chain, the local unit got dinged for comp time hours, so line offers were very reluctant to agree to its use.

For the most part, everyone's attitude went along the lines of: you work until the job is done whether it takes you 40 hours this week or 60. Since our counterparts in the private sector did much the same thing, we didn't worry about it. What was irksome was when meetings were scheduled where you'd pretty much have to travel on nights or weekends and you had no way of recovering that time (day really if you were going between coasts).

Still out there as an AD

5/15 re: Comp vs OT

I guess I am confused or missing something. As a USFS employee I already have the ability to choose between comp time and OT. We sign an OT/Comp auth at he beginning of every season and pick whether we want to earn comp, OT or both. This is for our hard dollar fire accounts (WFHF, WFPR, etc). This allows the employee to make the decision whether they want the extra cash or the extra time off. Being a 26/0 with kids and not enough leave built up to be the use or lose category, I often take comp time so I have more vacation days.

I know you really can't take comp on a P-code due to the p-code getting shut down after so many days after the fire closes, or how ever exactly it works, but we have always been able to choose between the 2 on our normal accounts.

R9 Engine Captain

5/14 The Coyote Fire of 1964:


I also remember the Coyote fire of 1964.. I was 11 years old and lived on Alisos Street just off DeLa Guerra on the lower east side. Some called it the "lower Riviera", lol..

Anyways a couple of things about that fire. The Coyote Fire ended up at 67,000 acres not 35,000. That fire was my first introduction to wildland fire .. When it was rolling into town, my dad had me up on the roof of the house with the garden hose wetting things down. I still remember the embers, smoke and "devil" wind!

I remember watching the local news on our old black and white TV set and seeing stakesides and military deuce and a half's trucking crews to and from the fire. The Native Crews from New Mexico and Arizona received quite the coverage. My dad also worked for the Feds.. he was a letter carrier here in town, a job he had held since his return home to Santa Barbara from Europe in 1946 after WW II ended.

I remember him telling me " whatever you do when you grow up, DO NOT work for the Forest Service!! That is the only lower paying job than the Post Office!!" Well fast forward to 1974... and where to I land a job after my 4 years in the military?? Yep... the Los Prietos (aka Los Padres) Hotshots.. What a great career I had with the crew and the fire service...


5/14 OT-vs-CompTime

The state of Florida has had this for a long time. Back in the day we would bank our time (at time and a half) and then use it when we came out west on assignments. Our bank closes out twice a year, in August (?) and in February. So when our season gets going March/April we were happy to bank time since we had a good use for it. It paid us much better to use the leave, and then come AD and make good Federal money than to take assignments that let us stay on state-time at our normal pay rate.

But the problem started when some of the guys were on OT for pay, and some were on OT for Comp. The supervisors would let the Comp guys make time, since it didn't cost them anything. The Pay guys got mad since they weren't allowed to bank any pay for cash, and in fact during times that we traditionally made overtime, the supervisors would twist schedules around just to use the comp guys. So the pay guys didn't just "not benefit", they had less chances to make Overtime.

This friction caused the state to make a rule that the supervisor wasn't supposed to know who was on which program. Of course that meant that the supervisors had to restrict everyone from earning any time that they couldn't justify as OT, and so everyone was back where they started, having to justify any extra hours earned.

So I guess my point is that it really doesn't benefit you to have this comp bank option. The argument will be that you will be allowed to earn more time since it will be offset and won't cost the paymasters any money, but eventually it will be just as restrictive.

The only real benefit will be folks who like long vacations or work a second "seasonal" job like running snowplows. For these guys they will be able to draw from another pool and not risk going leave-without pay. And this will only work out in their favor IF the timing of the bank "closing out" is good for them.

I do think the bank will "close-out" once a year at least, since if it didn't then someone could build a huge nest-egg of banked time, and when they leave or retire they would have to be paid for this as "earned time". Expect caps, and close-out days.

Good Luck with it.


5/14 Legislation to change overtime rules

As some may have heard, there is a proposal for a bill being considered by Republicans in Congress to offer those who exceed their assigned 40 hr workweek the option of comp time versus OT pay. Needless to say, compensation for federal wildland firefighters as it relates to their assigned workweek is akin to trying to put a round peg in a square hole. Such a change to OT rules could be impractical for occupations such as law enforcement and firefighting. it is unclear whether the law would extend to the federal employee workforce.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has any thoughts as to the consequences, intended or otherwise of such a law and how it could impact federal wildland firefighters. Obviously we'll be in touch with NFFE who I'm sure will have a thought or two. I can be reached at cjudd@fwfsa.org.


Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

5/14 The Coyote Fire Blackened 35,000 Acres in 1964

Santa Barbara Burning

I remember this fire well. When I was told it was at Mt Drive and Coyote Rd, I said it will never go far. The FS station is less than a 1/4 mile away. Three hours later I was there and changed my mind.


5/13 Kind of a weird conversation about LPF MPRD going on, (and plenty of speculation) so since I work on MPRD, I'll try to clarify. The MPRD district office is at Chuchupate Ranger Station near Frazier Park. Engine 371 and H-530 are stationed there. The station off of Smokey Bear Road @ I-5 is an ANF station where ANF E-336 is stationed. This is called Los Alamos Station. Los Alamos actually sits in the congressional boundary for Los Padres NF but the area around lake Pyramid including Los Alamos is "administered by Angeles NF". During the MEL build up, LPF added an engine (E-74) and placed it at Los Alamos. So there is both an ANF and LPF engine at Los Alamos. Hope that clears it up.


5/12 Flying fold-a-tanks via long line (6,129 K pdf); folding them in such a way as to remove the "wing effect".

Bill Arsenault

5/11 Low Angle Rope Rescue Operations


Track down the Alpine IHC Superintendent , He can assist with your request.


5/10 Important Information from NFFE making the rounds:

May 8, 2013 - FEHB for Temp Seasonal, Firefighters, Fire Support Personnel

Union Officials,

Employees should send any questions or comments they may have on this to the NFFE FSC Communications mailbox (NFFE_FSC_Communications@ nospam fs.fed.us).

FS FEHB Fact Sheet for Temps - Final.doc
FS FEHB Interim Guidance - Final.doc
FS FEHB Identification and Certification Form - Final.doc
FS FEHB Sample Letter to Employee - Final.doc

5/10 JHAs and gear lists for Low Angle Rope Operations

Does anyone have any JHAs and gear lists for Low Angle Rope Operations geared toward wildland fire operations? Our crew is starting a program to enhance our fireline medical evacuations (carry outs on slopes, etc). During our refresher we will be going through a 24-hour basic course, but wanted some JHAs to base ours off.

Ab's has my email or maybe you can post on theysaid.



5/10 Thanks to Fish:

I worked at Oak Flat back in the days of the Templin Highway and the Red fire engine. The LPF never had any engines stationed in the ANF but that was before the days of air tankers and copters.


5/10 We’re Back!

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center’s website server went down leaving wildfirelessons.net and myfirecommunity.net inoperable for three days this week—Monday through Wednesday.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this gap in our website service may have caused you.

We’re happy to announce that we’re back up and running—though not at 100 percent capability, we will be soon. Throughout today, we will be making any additional necessary repairs. If you have any questions please let me know.

Thank You for your patience!

Brenna MacDowell
Communications Specialist

Thanks, Brenda, glad you're back up! We did get some enquiries from firefighters, but had heard of the USDA Agency-wide slow, intermittent, to no internet/intranet network access. Simultaneously there was an attack on large banks... We live in a new world! Ab.

5/10 Discussion of bag failure on Next Generation Fire Shelters -- with photos...

Hotlist: Next Generation Fire Shelters, Bag degradation, costs, carrying

5/9 Service arrangements for Dan Davidson, the firefighter who died of a medical emergency in NM on May 5th:

Funeral service will be Saturday, May 11, 2013, at the First United Methodist Church in Martin at 11:00 A.M. Burial will follow in East Side Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday, May 10, 2013, at Murphy Funeral Home (207 Central Avenue, Martin TN) from 4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M., or after 9:00 A.M. Saturday at the church until funeral time.

Dan has a son Tyler Davidson. His fiancé Terrah Eads of Martin TN is expecting their daughter about July 4. If anyone wishes to contribute to help with Terrah's expenses, donations can be sent to

Savings Account 504-08453
Routing # 084304243

Checks can be sent snail mail:
First State Bank (attn Nancy Varner for Terrah Eads)
126 University Plaza
Martin, TN

Thanks, Ab.

5/9 Reminder to get your radio's annual Maintenance done so it operates correctly (handheld and mobile). Especially if you carry your radio in the field and have to depend on it. The only radios I find that don't need tuning are those that stay in a desk, the more they are used, the more they need attention. Shots and Engines, especially heavy iron have the most maintenance needs from vibration and dirt.

There are several reasons radios need Annual Maintenance; All the King radios coming from the factory or back from repair have the transmit audio set too low (TX audio will be too quiet) and need to be adjusted before issuing. There are changes in the Frequencies almost every year. Wear and tear from being used, being dropped and vibration are killers. Some radios just have common problems that need to be checked. In the Forest Service Handbook or Manual there is a regulation that states that every radio requires Yearly Preventative Maintenance to make sure it is working before Field Season. (FS Rules have been made to prevent accidents with some Written in Blood).

I'd make sure the radios have been checked. Recent budgets and manpower shortages should not affect Safety. Get your yearly check-up, you never know when your Life might depend on that radio.

FYI EPH/EMH radios are BANNED from Federal Fires for 2013! EPH Safety Issue (55 K pdf)

5/8 Re Smokey Bear Rd


Few corrections to your post... Yes Smokey Bear rd is off the I-5 but it does not house the Piru engine. It is a joint station with the ANF and the LP... LPF E-74 Los Alamos from Mt Pinos rd resides there... I forget the ANF engine # . Additionally the Temescal fire station next to Piru lake is Engine 53 it is the most eastern Engine on the Ojai Ranger District. Also LPF Engine 54 Sespe, Is in fact housed by VNC at station 27.

Just thought if clear the air of any confusion


5/7 Thanks everyone! And thanks for the call Old LPF.

I'm working at trying to understand what may be a mistake or an injustice.


5/7 RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD

I am pretty sure it's on the LP, not ANF

In Frazier Park, CA

Mt Pinos RD

Sent from my iPad

5/7 Re Smokey Bear Rd

For Mellie,

I did some sleuthing. The Smokey Bear Rd is the I-5 off ramp into the Oak Flat office and GS of the ANF. BUT… it now houses the Piru Canyon (LPF) engine and also an address for this facility. The mail address is Castaic, CA and both Forests are sharing the office. I hope this may help to answer her question. The LPF engine was moved from the Ventura County station at Fillmore due to increased space needs by VNC.


5/7 RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD

I believe you are going to find it on the LPF web site. Not sure with all the new ranger districts names, but Mt. Pinos was up by Frazier Park back in the day, and I'm not sure if they changed the name, but it was Chuchupate (sp?) Ranger Station by Lake of the Woods and Lockwood Valley Road.


5/7 Mt Pinos District, ANF?
Isn't it on the Los Padres?

Mt. Pinos Ranger District
34580 Lockwood Valley Rd.
Frazier Park, CA 93225
Phone: (661) 245-3731
5/7 RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD

Been a long time since I worked for the FS, but I was stationed on the Mt. Pinos RD which was (is) part of the Los Padres NF, not the Angeles NF.


However, I see there have been significant infrastructure improvements recently…

fs.fed.us/...nepa project

Guess I need to take a trip and revisit the old stomping grounds.


5/7 Mellie

Look on LPF site for the Mt. Pinos RD


5/7 Mellie,

The Mt Pinos RD is on the LP. The office # is (661) 245-3731

Couldn't find the address in my contact list. Hope this helps.


RE: Mt. Pinos RD


The address given on the LPF map is 34580 Lockwood Valley Rd., Frazier Park, CA 93225 (about 5 miles west of Frazier Park).   That’s on the 2008 map.


5/7 Mellie,

Are you looking for Los Padres, Mt Pinos Ranger Station? Chuchpate Helibase is at the station and lat long is 34 47 00 119 01 12 , with and address of 34580 Lockwood Valley Rd Frazier CA. Hope that helps.


5/7 Does anyone know where the Mt Pinos RD office, Angeles NF is? I don't see it on this page: Angeles forest offices Anyone know the address?

I'm actually trying to find a lat/lon, but google earth doesn't know how to find Hwy 138 and 110th W, Angeles National Forest or Interstate 5 and Smokey Bear Road, SoCal at least not that I can help it find. Am I missing some LA bedroom community? I don't have a clue!

Any help would be appreciated.


5/7 In case you're looking for DOA or FS information on the internet/intranets and getting error messages, there is some problem with DNS/Internet traffic out of Washington DC. originally put out by DOA's National Information Technology Center (NITC). Ab.

STATUS 05/07/2013 08:00

ˇ Multiple Agencies & Users are still reporting “Web Page Not Found” errors.
ˇ Duty Officer reported that all Internet/DNS traffic has been redirected to San Francisco TIC
ˇ The UTN team is currently working a Sev1 Critical outage with AT&T

5/6 USFS NextGen AirTankers

Abercrombie –

Text from official USFS news release on Next Generation Airtankers, from USFS website. As an old, (I mean long-time) militia (I mean not primary fire), USFS groundpounder, guess I can’t quite cipher how the BAe-146 can be both a “NextGen” aircraft and a “Legacy” aircraft….. but then, much stranger things have surely happened and continue to happen every day …..

And Abs, as always, THANK YOU and all involved, for TheySaid, and Wildlandfire.com.


Thank YOU Stumpie! Ab.


USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

USDA Forest Service badge

Contact: Contact: (202) 205-1005; Twitter: @forestservice

U.S. Forest Service issues notice of intent to award “Next Generation” airtanker contracts

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013 -- U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced today that the Forest Service has issued a notice of intent to award contracts to five companies to provide a total of seven Next Generation airtankers for wildfire suppression.

“We are moving ahead to modernize our fleet as part of our overall strategy to secure the best, safest airtankers available for fighting wildfires across the country in the years to come,” said Tidwell. “It is critical that we complete the Next Generation airtanker contracting effort as quickly as possible as we face the prospect of another challenging wildfire season with a dwindling legacy airtanker fleet.”

The U.S. Forest Service intends to award exclusive use contracts for Next Generation airtankers to:

Minden Air Corporation; Minden, Nev., for 1 BAe-146
Aero Air, LLC; Hillsboro, Ore., for 2 MD87s
Aero Flite, Inc.; Kingman, Ariz., for 2 Avro RJ85s
Coulson Aircrane (USA), Inc.; Portland, Ore., for 1 C130Q
10 Tanker Air Carrier, LLC; Adelanto, Calif., for 1 DC-10

These companies were selected because their proposals were determined to offer the best value to the government based on a technical evaluation of their airtanker concept, organizational experience and past performance, combined with pricing. The contracts are for a base period of five years with five one-year options (a total of 10 years if all contract options are exercised).

The Forest Service is transitioning to the Next Generation airtankers to replace its aging airtanker fleet. “Legacy” aircraft are those that have been used as part of the Forest Service aviation program for years, and in some cases, decades. All of the Next Generation airtankers are turbine powered, can carry a minimum of 3,000 gallons of retardant and have a cruise speed of at least 300 knots when fully loaded. The companies that are providing them are required to comply with stringent safety requirements in their contracts.

The agency is working to bring all seven Next Generation airtankers into service over the next year. The contracts allow these companies to provide additional Next Generation airtankers in future years, contingent on funding and other circumstances, to reach the total of 18 to 28 recommended in the Large Airtanker Modernization Strategy that the Forest Service submitted to Congress in February 2012.

The Forest Service issued an initial notice of intent to award contracts for Next Generation airtankers in June 2012. However, protests that challenged the announced awards were filed with the Government Accountability Office and consequently those contracts were not awarded. The list of intended awardees announced today differs from last year’s intended awardees because each company was given the opportunity to submit revised proposals, and the Forest Service based its “best value” determination on those revised proposals.

Large airtankers acquired through legacy exclusive-use contracts will continue to be part of the Forest Service’s strategy to maintain capability and response until there are adequate numbers of Next Generation large airtankers. The agency recently awarded legacy exclusive-use contracts for airtankers to Minden Air Corporation for one P2V and to Neptune Aviation Services, Inc., of Missoula, Mont., for six P2Vs and one BAe-146.

In 2013, the Forest Service expects to have available for wildfire suppression up to 26 airtankers, including seven Next Generation airtankers, eight Legacy aircraft, up to three Very Large Airtankers through contracts and eight airtankers through an agreement with the Department of Defense. The agency will also have up to three water scoopers, dozens of single-engine airtankers and hundreds of helicopters.

Fire activity during the 2012 wildfire season resulted in about 9.3 million acres of private, state and federal land burned nationwide, the third highest amount since at least 1960, the earliest date with reliable records. Significant fire potential is predicted to be above normal in 2013 in much of the West, including almost all of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon and Idaho, as well as parts of Colorado, Utah and Washington.

5/6 R3 fatality: Wildland Firefighter Daniel Davidson

From: Jeanne M Higgins -FS
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 12:52 PM
To: FS-pdl r3 all employees
Cc: DeCoster, Tim -FS; Tidwell, Tom -FS; Wagner, Mary -FS; Hubbard, James E -FS; Harbour, Tom -FS; Weldon, Leslie -FS
Subject: Fallen Wildland Firefighter Daniel Davidson

It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share the tragic news of the death of Fallen Wildland Firefighter, Daniel Davidson.

Davidson, age 26, was working on project work near Mayhill, NM, on Sunday afternoon with two other engine crew members, when he collapsed. CPR was administered immediately, however when emergency personnel responded with the Life Flight helicopter, Davidson was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The cause of Daniel Davidson’s death is under investigation.

Davidson, a U.S. Army veteran had served two tours in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Infantry Division.

Following his tour in the Army, Davidson became a crew member of Engine 621 on the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.

Our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of Daniel.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Jeanne Higgins
Deputy Regional Forester
Southwestern Region

Condolences. Ab.

5/6 Vehicle accident on CA-VNC-Springs Fire on May 3rd involving R3 employee:

From: "Schuler, Nick@CALFIRE"
Date: May 3, 2013, 10:13:06 PM PDT
Subject: Vehicle accident on Springs Fire

Tonight strike team 6634C (leader) from AZ-TNF was involved in a moderate traffic collision while coming off the line. The collision resulted in injury to the strike team leader and one civilian both transported to pleasant valley hospital.

SOF Rick Griggs will be responsible for the IWI and Rick does not believe a SART is needed.

Nick Schuler

5/6 Performance by professionals in difficult circumstances:


I know it was early but none of us were caught by the Red Flag appearances so early. BUT… we all had a chance to see the best out there doing what they were trained to do. Being safe, being aggressive, knowing what the fire is doing at all times and most of all watching the weather signals constantly. A well earned break just arrived but remember. This isn’t even the middle of May yet! We really haven’t even got started yet! My prayer (yep, I pray every day) is that all of our wild land firefighters will come home safe after every assignment. But doing that this season is going to be a difficult task. My kudos those who kept many communities safe in this first blast. More to come. Stay tuned.


5/6 Lightning tracking

Vaisala Lightning Explorer

Other lightning trackers... on the Links Page

5/6 Smokey 307

With regard to I Zone (now WUI). Firescope has adopted the new CAL FIRE Wildland Urban Interface guidelines. Most agencies in California will be adopting across the board. I'm unsure what mutual aide issues you are attempting to address. We have the most robust M.A. system in the world. The Summit (Banning) and Springs (Ventura) fires we experienced last week can attest to that.

With regard to the Esperanza tragedy. There were many challenges everyone from the IC to the FF1 on the ground experienced that day. Jurisdictional authority (who's chunk of dirt did it belong too) would have many absolutely no difference in the outcome.

We are seeing fire season 2013 showing its hand, and it looks like a stacked deck against us. We need add an extra measure of safety and make decisions with the intent of survival in a worst case scenario. Deceased Firefighters don't come back. Real Estate signs and newly framed homes always do. Remember this when setting up for Structure Defense on a residence.

As a Chief Officer or Company Officer, if the residence you're setting up on has a great view, this should shout watch out!! Lastly, no matter who has jurisdiction, no matter what agency gives you an assignment, you always have the right to refuse an order if you feel it is unsafe. How to do this is clearly outlined in the IRPG. It is everyone's responsibility (IC to FF1) to see that we all come home to our families.


5/5 This quote in the linked article just busts me up!! “There are four branches of government,” he reportedly snarled, “the executive, legislative, judicial and the Gawd-dam* U.S. Forest Service.”

Don't mess with the Forest Service

M @2X4

Haw Haw Haw! and good job, National Association of Forest Service Retirees! Ab.

5/5 Making the rounds on another norcal forest -- the Mendocino National Forest -- originally the message came from the forest's Fuels Planner.

Here are the BIs and ERCs for the last 20 years (average) compared to this year alone.  As if we couldn’t tell already.  Anyways, share with your folks if you like.  This e-mail is for area 170 (front country). Daly (fuels planner)

Energy Release Component

Burning Index

Lightning Forecast for norcal

5/4 Wildland Firefighting Community:

As our thoughts and prayers are with all of you on the fires lines of fires typically seen in October, we want all of you to know that despite the dysfunction in Washington, there are those preparing to demonstrate their respect for you and pride in you and what you do.

Likely by early summer, a comprehensive wildland firefighter bill will once again be introduced in Congress in an effort to reform archaic pay & personnel policies and provide our Nation's federal wildland firefighters with recognition, pay & working conditions they have deserved for far too long while at the same time providing our Nation's taxpayers with a more effective and efficient federal wildfire response.

The FWFSA and members of Congress are currently crafting the final language. Additionally, with the many new faces in Congress, our new partner and former Congressman and former Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and his firm are working not only on a schedule of visits with key Congressional members for us once the bill is introduced but they also continue to work with OPM and the Agencies to find administrative solutions.

All of this takes an immense amount of time, effort and money. That said we must continue to build our membership and convince those considering membership that it is a great investment in their future; that they do in fact have a say in the future of their career and they can in fact participate in an endeavor that will make their careers a more prosperous and rewarding one.

There are still some in Washington who have arbitrarily placed a target on the backs of the federal workforce. One such Senator has recently complained about standby time and other activities surrounding federal employees that he obviously is ignorant of and must be educated. Educating these members of Congress requires a geographically diverse membership. So if you are a valued member, please share with your coworkers what we are trying to do on their behalf and encourage them to participate. If you have questions about joining or what specific reforms we are pursuing, please feel free to contact me any time either by email directly at cjudd@fwfsa.org or by phone at 208-775-4577. I offer this with the caveat that most of our members are aware of...I don't have an "off" button when it comes to federal wildland firefighter issues and what I think they deserve.

I also want to thank those who participated in the Wildland Firefighter Foundation's fundraiser at McClellan last week for their warm welcome of the former Congressman. Stay safe and please know that there are those busting their tails on your behalf as you bust yours on the fire lines. God Bless you All.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

5/4 Re: social media for notifications:


Many don't know that the USFS is behind BLM and DOI agencies in the use of social media. FS only just allowed Forests and Districts to use Twitter for official use, and Facebook is NOT allowed for official use. People have gotten in trouble for trying to use it that way. The Honor Guard had to get W.O. Permission from the Chief of the FS to have a Facebook page. I agree it is time to get inboard with social media, but for now, be very careful unless you have been authorized by Washington Office level for this kind of use.


5/4 As many regular readers and participants know, we have major fires burning in California, even at this early date. Increasingly there are wildfires burning across the western states. For you who are finding this website for the first time, please visit our Wildlandfire Hotlist forum for the most recent crowd-sourced firefighting community information.

Thanks to all Wildland Firefighters, Incident Management Teams, Dispatchers, Public Information Officers, and other support staff -- on forests and state ranger units and in local firefighting communities -- for the good work you're doing. If you've come to help from out of the region, thank you. Please be safe!

Carry on -- safely --. Ab.

5/4 mb's Social Media as a Prescribed Fire Notification Tool & Smokey's Perspective on Esperanza

mb: if you are not already using an established public notification system, your best bet is to ask people how they want to receive info. You are likely to find a pretty big age divide between those who would love to receive messages via Twitter versus those who'd rather get an email. A small percentage won't want any electronic communication, and I can almost guarantee that's where your complaints will come from: "We had no idea they were going to fire this thing off!" You could reduce the work load by using a platform that lets you hit multiple methods at once, say a blog that automatically feeds out to Facebook and Twitter. Then you can use a more traditional method to hit those who'd rather a call or letter. Just make sure the message is exactly the same. You might also check on legal requirements for notifications.

Smokey307: thanks for your perspective on Esperanza. I think you are right, especially about the interface issues.

Still Out there as an AD

5/4 Some norcal fire season trend graphs 1993-2013 for the Six Rivers National Forest: Amazing! Dry lightning is predicted almost every day next week.

Energy Release Component

1000 hr Fuel Moisture

Burning Index

We had fires in Willow Creek (Hwy 299, Humboldt Co), Pecuan (Hwy 96, n of Hoopa) and there was a fire inland near Stringtown (near Redding CA) in the last 3 days.

It's not just socal that has the early season. All you new firefighters who have been hired, be safe!


5/3 Memorializing Paul Gleason:

I wanted to share what was done here at Dalton to memorialize Paul Gleason. This project was spearheaded by Branden Davis and was dedicated on our 60th anniversary. We are proud of our rich history, and we have had many great leaders contributing, and Paul is one of them. There were many many stories shared and many were about Paul.

Training is something we have taken very seriously. Which is why we dedicated our training room to Paul Gleason.

training room plaque || close up of the text

Have a safe season,

Scott Gorman

Thanks, Scott. Ab.

5/3 Defining Fires

There have been a lot of significant fires over the last 10 years but I think the most defining fire has to be the Esperanza Fire. An entire engine company was lost.

  • We need to learn how to handle fires in the I-zone more safely.
  • We need to address mutual aid issues and responsibilities.
  • Fire managers have to be very clear what they want. For example, did the Bat Chief ask or tell E-57 to move from the Octagon House? Who had responsibility for the fire when E-57 burned? I believe it was CALFire. I think we are just beginning to understand the lessons from the Esperanza Fire.

I think significant fires are those where lives were lost such as Loop, South Canyon, Cramer, 30 Mile, and others that don’t come immediately to mind. Others would be significant loss of watershed such as the Station Fire and loss of property such as the Oakland Hills Fire.


5/3 Social Media as a Prescribed Fire Notification Tool


I'm curious as to how parks, forests and individual districts may be using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to keep their neighbors informed of prescribed fires and wildfire events.

Also, is anyone using any mass notification systems like Nixle or Send Word Now?

AND, is anyone also sending notifications for contractors or neighboring agencies that don't have the means to spread the word themselves?

Looking at possibly establishing a "clearing house" for prescribed fire info in an area that doesn't have lots of wildfire, but does have lots of smaller prescribed fires.


5/2 Hello Valued WLF.com Users,

Yesterday we experienced a high level of activity in Region 5. As most of you are aware, Wildlandfire.com is in the process of building a new website and moving all servers to more of an Enterprise solution, so yesterday's slowdown will not occur.

This is all part of Wildlandfire.com transition of ownership. To dispel any rumors, the website is not going to change drastically, or even have sections removed. The main difference you will notice is speed, function, tools, and a much more positive user interface.

Fire Season hit unexpectedly, and as I am sure most of you are in the same boat, we are ramping up on our efforts to support the Fire Service. On a side note, I am sitting at the So Cal Fire Warden and Foresters 83rd Annual Safety Conference, and the winds are blowing like it is October.

Please, stay safe out there!


5/2 The wildlandfire.com Hotlist is poppin'... Ab.
5/2 Idaho Gives- A one day annual event during May 2nd to benefit Idaho NonProfits (all online)

Please share/forward to your contacts and help us promote this today only.

Help us make Idaho aware that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is based here through Idaho Gives TODAY ONLY. On this one day, Idahoans come together for a day of giving to support the nonprofits in communities across our state. From midnight -11:59pm a share of every dollar raised by Idaho nonprofits will be matched with funds from the Idaho Gives award pool. In addition, the top five organizations with the most unique donors (nonprofits are divided by size) will receive bonus grants of $3,000, $1,000, $500, $250, and $250 respectively.

The homepage is idahogives giving_events

Wildland Firefighter Foundation Giving Page

Please share and promote this today. And support the WFF, giving levels for all income brackets available. Everything helps. Thank you!
Amanda DeShazo
Executive Assistant
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

5/2 Greetings!

The Spring 2013 Issue of Two More Chains has arrived! We hope you enjoy.

Two More Chains - Spring 2013 (pdf download)

Take care, Brenna

Previous issues of Two More Chains at wildfirelessons.net archives

Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

5/1 I am hearing reports like this poetic one:

The Sacramento Valley is blowing like none other right now. And smoke fills the air breaks like the season is upon us...

Nice, be safe!


5/1 Found the video online.
It's a zip file (76 mb) that unpacks as a .mpg video.

Great Video! Never seen firewhirls like this shows.

ftp download: firewhirl on the Johnson Fire 2002 Fishlake National Forest UT.zip

Bill Riggles

Many thanks, Bill. Ab.

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