"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
June, 2013

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6/30 I've gathered together what we know about the incident with a few images and links to media articles.

I posted it on the Always Remember our Yarnell Hill Fallen page. As more news releases, announcements and reports come out we'll add them to the page.

Please send any photos you have of the crew or the fire. We'll add crew photos when it's appropriate.

Thanks and be safe, hug your loved ones, kick some bucks over to our Wildland Firefighter Foundation! If all of us help, our families will be helped.

Ab.
6/30 Dear Ab.

It has been a long time since I added to this forum but I have just heard about the Granite Mountain Hotshots. I would like to offer my condolences to all of the friends and family of this dedicated crew. My thoughts and prayers are all with you and at the next meeting of my Community Fire Unit we will hold a minutes silence in memory of them.

To all who fight the dragon please be safe and return to your loved ones

Sincerely

Aussie CFU

Thanks Aussie. Ab.

6/30 AB, I am not one of your regular correspondents, but I am old. very old, FS firefighter.

I hope WildlandFire.com will remind your audience Vicki Minor and her crew will be doing everything they can to help the families, but I understand the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is short of funds. Many of us older people will be helping Vicki and I hope your followers with join us.

John F. Marker (USFS ret)

Thanks, John, for the reminder and for your contributions. I called Burk at the WFF to tell him this evening. He and Vicki were already moving into action. The task of helping so many seems beyond belief! We all rely on our "safety net", the WFF to help with arrangements and to bridge the financial gap in families lives. They do it on our behalf.  Please, Community, send some money to the WFF so they can support our firefighters' families. Unbelievable task! We all NEED TO HELP! Ab.

6/30 19 firefighters (at least 18 of them are Granite Mountain Hotshots) have been killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona this evening.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots are a City of Prescott Hotshot Crew. Our great condolences to family and friends and our extended wildland firefighting family.

Granite Mountain IHC
Prescott Fire Department
501 6th Street, Prescott AZ 86301

Duty location for crew: Prescott, AZ

The AZ-A1S-Yarnell Hill Fire was under the jurisdiction of the State of Arizona. It was reported on the Hotlist as an IA just after 11:30 this morning.

It blew up late this afternoon; the town of Yarnell and Peebles Valley were evacuated. To read more on the Yarnell Hill Fire: HOTLIST THREAD.

Inciweb on the fire

To read more on the LODDs and to share your condolences: HOTLIST THREAD on the LODDs.

Thanks to those who refrained from posting until the facts were made public. In the midst of the early chaos, it's hard to know what is real. Ab.

6/30 MAFFS 7

Lillian,

Thank you so much for pushing this out. Those Airmen were serving their country fighting forest fires. I remember this tragedy but until I read your post, I'd forgotten.

Thank you and God Bless those Airmen.

GP

6/30 Always remember MAFFS 7

So true, never to be forgotten, and a entire year later, still no FS official report, FLA, lessons learned, not even a safe com. Coincidence ?

M @ 2X4

Check Always Remember MAFFS 7 page for all info available from Northern Command / Air National Guard. Ab.

6/30 For Tomorrow's anniversary:

MAFFS 7

Always remember 7/1/12. Gone but not forgotten.

Lillian

Always Remember MAFFS 7

Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, of Mooresville, NC; Lt. Colonel in the N.C. Air National Guard & Evaluator Pilot
Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, of Belmont, NC; Major/Instructor Pilot
Maj. Ryan S. David, of Boone NC, Major/Navigator
Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon, of Charlotte, NC; Senior Master Sergeant/Flight Engineer

6/29 Subject: Loss of two Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Employees...  making the rounds. (Ab note: Mike Pena and Samuel Sanders were both helitack firefighters. Condolences to friends, family and co-workers. Sad losses.)

Gilbert Zepeda, our Acting Regional Forester, has asked me to share with you the tragic news from the Apache-Sitgreaves Forests:

It’s with deep sadness that I share the news regarding the loss of two Apache-Sitgreaves employees. Mike Pena and Samuel Sanders , both long-term seasonal firefighters, were involved in a fatal one-vehicle accident in the early morning hours of Friday, June 28. The accident is still under investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. A Critical Incident Stress Management Team will be convening very soon to offer help co-workers and affected individuals within the Forest. This is a tremendous loss to Forest Service employees and all those who knew Mike and Samuel. I want to remind folks help is always available through your Employee Assistance Program, either on the website at http://www.foh4you.com/ or by phone at 800 222-0364. We will send out additional information as it is received. On behalf of the region our sincerest condolences goes out to their family, friends and co-workers. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Clifford Dils, R3 FS

6/29 Japanese Gardens - Portland, Oregon ... and Paul Gleason

Earlier this week, Cate and I took a trip to Portland, OR to visit our daughter who lives there. On Wed we took a day trip to the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park. A most beautiful and peaceful place. As we were walking down the path to leave, we went by a memorial wall and noticed Paul Gleason. It made sense to me that friends would be sure to add his name here. The Zig Zag HS base is relatively close-by and I can see Paul wandering these grounds. It fit.

I attached the picture I took and would like to know if this can be confirmed as our Paul.

Paul Gleason - Portland

Don Will TNF-Retired

6/28 Old Sawyer and readers:

BURN -- a story of the Dude Fire, June 25, 1990 by Jamie Joyce

WOW! wow... What a fine piece of work that is! I felt like I was there and I've always wondered what followed. Thank you Jamie Joyce, Old Sawyer and those who stood up for our inmate firefighters. My best to the families.

Mellie/Ab.

PS. Feel free to donate to the author via the website. It's a worthy piece of work!

6/28 Ab: There is a new story about the Dude Fire by author Jaime Joyce,

Burn
The tale of a forest fire, the prison inmates who died fighting it, and the families who struggled for justice.

It is posted on The Big Roundtable:

The Big Roundtable

Old Sawyer

6/26 AB: The Bitterroot IHC is having their 50th Year Reunion, Saturday October 19th, 2013 at 1600hrs at The Bitterroot River Inn and Conference Center in Hamilton. Any pictures and historic information would be greatly appreciated. Check the link below for contacts and more info.

Bitterroot IHC reunion and alumni

TD

6/26 Always Remember the Dude Fire

Making the rounds, One message from Bequi Livingston Acting Region 3 Safety and Health Manager:

As we quickly approach the 23rd anniversary of the Dude Fire (June 26, 1990), I hope that you will take a few minutes to include some valuable lessons and talking points from that fateful day! Ironically, the next few days will also include increasing temperatures and low RH, much like that day in 1990. If you could take some time tomorrow to incorporate this into your safety briefings, that would be great! There were so many lessons learned that day, including LCES which was developed by Paul Gleason as a result of his experience as the superintendent of the Zig Zag Hotshot crew during the Dude Fire. Some great successes to share along with tragedy and despair!

Hug your kids, throw the ball to the dog and tell your spouse that you love them! Most of all, come home safely at the end of the day!

To your health, safety and wellness! Bequi

Staff Ride for the Dude Fire from the Lessons Learned Center
Leaders We Would Like to Talk To – Paul Gleason (559 K pdf)
Creation of LCES and Other Thoughts from Paul Gleason

6/24 Safety Alert: NWCG Heat Related Illness (HRI) Reporting Form Thread
6/25 Fireline Safety and Marijuana Cultivation Sites (making the rounds)

One page Lessons Learned internal operating guideline to deal with this event (256 K pdf)

6/25 Luke Sheehy Redding Memorial

AB-

Just want to say what a moving ceremony for Luke Sheehy at Redding Civic on Sunday. What great courage his family displayed. Healing their intense grief through music. The jumpers were tremendously supportive, respectful and obviously, still grieving. Great courage is all I can say.

GP

I added the info provided from the service organizers to the bottom of Luke's Always Remember Page. Ab.

6/24 Dear "I'm over it"

I presume Twin Falls, Idaho?... not that far away from Inkom, Idaho, home of the FWFSA whose goals and objectives through both legislative and Administrative strategies seek to address recruitment & retention by reforming archaic pay & personnel policies.

We don't have any members in Twin Falls. I'd be delighted to drive over and talk with your crew(s) about what we're doing and how you can help. In 2008 the FWFSA convinced Congress that retention issues was causing catastrophic consequences with retention which led to $25 million included in the Interior Appropriations bill to address retention.

While we would have preferred the Forest Service have used the money in a different manner, it did result in bonuses, conversions to PFT etc. If there are retention issues that close to the FWFSA HQ, then invite us out to chat to put a game plan together. Feel free to contact me any time at cjudd@fwfsa,org or by phone at 208-775-4577.

By the way spent some time with the Deputy Chief of Staff & OPM today on wildland firefighter classification/ hazard pay as base pay for retirement purposes and hazard pay for RX burns. Soon I'll be soliciting feedback from the field as to potential questions OPM may have on these subjects.

Casey Judd
President
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

6/24

Hey Ab,

I know you get TONS of views on wildlandfire.com and we're trying to raise money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation through a t-shirt drive, so I wanted to let the wildland firefighter community know about it here.

We have kids' "wild child" t-shirts and adult "it's a wild kind of love" t-shirts as part of the fundraiser.

I attached a press release with the information. (Images of the t-shirts and how you can order them.)

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If you could share and the wildland firefighting community could share this fundraising offer with their friends and family, that would be really amazing. The press release is easy to download and mail to friends and family. 100% of proceeds go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Thanks :)

Lea

They look great and it's for a great cause. Thanks to the wildland firefighters and their spouses who are doing this. Ab.

6/24 Soon Old Timer--

The Region 1/Region 3 Agreement needs to be audited for compliance with its own Agreement and Operating Plan.

Employees mobilized under this Agreement are to be ordered on Preparedness dollars, but some are converted to Severity (Federal Fire Fund dollars, same pool of money as wildfires) or wildfire dollars before they even reach their ordering office assignment.

This Agreement essentially bypasses the "closest resource" dispatch protocol that we have all worked under for years, and provides a method for name requests that bypasses resources that may be available and closer to the desired assignment.

It may also violate Length of Assignment and R&R rules that we all are expected to follow while on a fire assignment, as the assignments are termed as "Details". Unfortunately, those Detail assignments turn into Fire assignments, some while en route and still in travel status, providing for overtime during travel, and charges funded by Fire dollars, not Preparedness dollars..

I would suggest both an internal and external audit of travel payments, overtime while in travel status, and the limited, if any, actual use of preparedness dollars as described in the Agreement.

BarkR

6/24 I used to work for a very wise Fire Chief, who when once challenged because he sent half of our engines over to help a neighboring agency during a Santa Ana, had the juevos to stand up in front of the Board and tell them “Gentlemen, it has been my experience that there is no fire more important than the one that is currently burning”. And that was that.

Exjefe

6/23 PYG

You mention when is the agency going to have folks in place with a backbone to support the national effort.

Are you aware of the R1/R3 agreement?

R1R3 Intra-Agency Agreement (pdf)

R1R3 Annual Operating Plan (pdf)

(Ab note: Links to both can be found here at NRCC)

R1 currently has engines and miscellaneous overhead supporting them through this agreement. This may be the reason why your dispatch center is not getting any request for engines. Also request will come through for a certain type of engine, so if your dispatch shows type 3 engines and the request is for type 6 then the request will go back UTF.

I know it can be frustrating when you're setting at home and your fire danger is low and other places are burning up. Remember that your first priority is your local unit then your forest, region and then the National effort. My final advice is that if you don't want to be tied to a local unit, then go work on a National Interagency Hotshot Crew.

Soon to be old timer

6/23 Fish01

I understand what your saying but the problem I have is us fighting the "IF" fires. We get caught in that mode every time we get dry and we all get tired of hearing it. This was the same thinking we had in 07 when Montana and Idaho were burning and we didn't send out but a couple teams of Strike Teams and what happened that year? Nothing. We wasted a season of experience for our engines and crews while others worked their backsides off trying put fires to bed in their regions. Also sending more resources would definitely help out a big situation in Colorado and New Mexico because with that thinking we would never man large fires. We'd just wait for the weather to change.

Just my two cents

PYG

6/23 Resources:

# 1: PYG: If you look at the next 30 day forecast R-5 should burn up this summer if there is a lightning event. This forecasted short term wetting rain will do little to change the long term drought. It makes sense to keep IA here if more resource’s will do little to contain the already big situation in R-3 & 2.They need a change in their weather, and if the CPC long-range is correct, wetter weather HELP is on their side in the next month. Here in Ca. maybe not so much. Check it out.

Donate:

# 2: Troy Kurth request: It would be nice to see if some of our folks who ARE making BIG BUCKS OT could send a few of those OT $$to the WFF. I just did, and I am retired!!!! On a pathetic pension.. Let’s help our own.!! I cannot believe our WFF is short of funds. Give people…. Please!

Fish 01.

6/23 Good thoughts and prayers for everyone gathering at 1PM at the Civic Auditorium in Redding to remember Luke Sheehy.

Ab.

6/23 Thanks R5 Dispatcher for injecting a good dose of commonsense, logic and facts into the discussion without any name calling or personal attacks.

Blue Zebra

6/22 PYG,

There have to be requests from the fire and after all the closer resources have been mobilized to the fire and if there is still a need, then the NICC will send requests to NOPS and SOPS. Currently NOPS has offered up Equipment and Helicopters. Currently there were no open requests for either.

R5 Dispatcher

6/22 Retention? Yeah right!

Here on the Twin Falls district BLM they always talk about their concerns about the retention rate... well, more like the lack of it. There have been MANY good Firefighters leave in a hurry, and there is fixing to be another round of them leaving. The overhead ask the question of what can they do about it often. The problem lies in the fact that they only want to hear about things that they are willing to change, not about the things they NEED to change. They have a so-called "leadership" team that is more like a poker club. There are Firefighters trying to leave for a whole host of reasons, and I know of a couple looking just to get out of fire and the Government altogether because of the hostile, boot on neck environment TFD-BLM maintains. of course, most of this seems to never affect the locals who grew up here and have never worked anywhere but here... they are the managements' favorite children, the chosen ones. This is nowhere near as evident as it is up there in the Shoshone yard, the locals reign supreme and it's best not to cross them for any reason... or they will sic their overhead masters on you in a heart beat. How many others out there have encountered this type of thing on your districts? It has to be more common than one would think, I am sure of it. I think it produces a "Us vs. Them" theme, and that can lead to alot of safety concerns when it really counts.

Sincerely,
" I'm over it."

6/22 Still AD

Well here's a news flash for you. Northern Cali is supposed to be getting hit with a fair amount of precipitation starting today so there really isn't a reason not to release some of its resources. Last time I looked it said U.S. Forest Service on the side of our Engines, Not California Forest Service. These guys are a NATIONAL resource, not R5 only. Also the fires you are talking about are 75% and 85% contained and out of the 1300 resources you mentioned, how many are State? Right now there are no draw down concerns so really there aren't any reasons why we shouldn't be helping other regions.

PYG

6/22 Re preparedness levels:

News flash PYG:

Two or more regions are requiring major commitments of national resources so the requirements for Preparedness Level 3 have been met. Given that South Zone is at PP 3, somewhere around 1,300 people are currently assigned there, the early-season major fires, and current fuels conditions, I'm not at all surprised that Region 5 is holding onto its resources. In my five seasons in that region, I got plenty of fire assignments, but almost all of them were in-state due to various draw-down concerns.

Still Out There as an AD

6/21 support of Colorado citizens for firefighters - on You Tube

Ab,

Just wanted to say a lot of these same people were out at the ICP every day that we were at the Waldo Canyon fire last year in Colorado Springs. The community support was unlike anything I have seen anywhere else. Thank you to the folks in Colorado Springs, for all they’ve been through they still have an amazing spirit. Everyone stay safe out there!

WC Advocate

6/21 Making the rounds... Thanks John. Ab.

All,

Because of the importance of this advisory. Please read it, understand its importance and "POST IT". Thank you.

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

California Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory - 6/10/2013 (pdf)

Interesting discussion on the Hotlist about fuels in California and how visually to read their fuel moisture and what it means for fire behavior.

6/21 PL3

How can we be in a PL3 and Northern California doesn't have a single Strike team of engines out of region. There are forests that have every engine still on forest. When are we going to get some people in charge that has enough backbone to do the right thing and support the National Fire Program. We are expecting 1-3 inches of rain this coming week and we keep everybody home. I think it's time to make some phone calls and let some people in Washington know about the situation. But then again who cares about experience and morale when your a GS fantastic.

PYG

6/21 support of Colorado citizens for firefighters

If you haven't seen this already, here is video that captures the support Colorado citizens are showing the firefighters as they return for shift change.  Please share with the TheySaid community.  This is so wonderful to see.

Community Supports Black Forest Firefighters 06/15/2013

You Tube

Amanda DeShazo
Executive Assistant
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

VERY Nice. Ab.

6/21 To: All Region 5 Forest Service employees

This email, from the team organizing the Sheehy Memorial Ceremony in Redding, California, is intended to provide you with current information regarding the ceremony. We ask that you share this information with your staff and the firefighting community.

Regional Forester Randy Moore's direction to USFS Region 5 employees regarding attendance at the Luke Sheehy Memorial Ceremony on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the Redding Civic Auditorium located at 700 Auditorium Drive, Redding, California (note: the attached letter incorrectly references 200 Auditorium Drive - a correction is being emailed).

In honoring the family's wishes, the focus of attendance at the ceremony will be family, friends and others from the fire community. Priority seating will be provided to those mentioned above. Seating in the auditorium is limited to 2,000.

For those firefighters from cooperating agencies planning to attend, please be advised that, in-line with the Sheehy Family's wishes, attending Forest Service employees will wear field uniforms with short sleeve shirts, no tie and dark green Nomex pants. Smokejumpers will wear attire requested by the Sheehy Family.

If agencies are interested in providing engine equipment to be included in the ceremony, please contact Karen Kufta, Liaison Officer at 951-218-6812 or kkufta@fs.fed.us.

6/21 Smitty

Always remember…

It was on this day in 1995 that my former supervisor and Lead 56 pilot, Michael Ray Smith (Smitty), collided with the DC-4 Tanker 19 on final approach to the Ramona airbase while working the Butterfield Fire.

Smitty (48) along with the pilots for Tanker 19, Gary Cockrell (33) and Lisa Netsch (31) all perished. I like to think that none of them suffered.

I still remember where I was when I learned of it.

Always Remember Smitty

Stanley Bercovitz

6/20 Folks we have a pressing issue. Help is required...

The Luke Sheehy memorial is set for June 23, 2013 in Redding CA. The jumpers, family and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation have stepped up to the tasks at hand. They need your help.

As most of you know the Foundation always comes through to support families. Well, funds are very low right now and Vicki Minor is in need of financial help for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to continue.

Please consider helping out with any amount you wish.

Please mail your check to:

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, ID 83705

Troy Kurth-

6/20 Abused

Ab,

I know the federal gov is good at wasting money and now times are tough and everyone’s budgets are tight because of it. Over that last few years the Forest Service and our zone in particular has lost quite a few folks due to retirement. In response to the tight budgets line officers and staff have decided to not fill those positions to save money, well you know that equates to doing more with less. The older I get the more I realize that I am getting tired of being over worked and abused and still not making any more.

The other piece to this circus puzzle is why is Region 8 so far behind when it comes to fire, fire staffing and organizations.

I am a 26/0 Fire Engine Operator who is in charge of a type 6 engine as a GS 5. We pretty much staff year round as we have fires pretty much all year. This seems to be a common theme in Region 8. Some forest have a well organized structure for engines, but most do not. The Forest Service we as far as standardizing all types of engines, and hotshot sup vehicles, so why are different regions running different organizations. Should we not have a standard structure for High, Moderate and Low complexities across the board?

We have been working for 4 years on our forest to get all 8 engines staffed with a 7 captain and a 6 operator with a seasonal 4/5 firefighter. This forest is run by the FLT which is basically the Line Officers which equates to Rangers. None of them know anything about fire.

I enquired about a desk audit and my ranger and fire staff officer caught wind of this and I was sat down and told that they did not support that and would not stand for it and that I needed to be made to work within my PD. I supervise and maintain and run a type six engine as a GS 5, how do I work within my PD doing that? Further more I am one of 4 DZIAs on the forest, so when push comes to shove I have to operate equipment which should be a WG9.

The forest does not support us. Who knows if our region does because the link from the ground to the Forest S.O. is broken so I’m sure the link from the S.O. to the R.O. is as well.

Here we all sit and watch others do the same job we do plus more and get paid less and have no support to put us in the positions that we should be in given the complexity and workload.

The last stop I can think of is take it to Washington.

Any thoughts or advice?

Noname

6/20 Luke Sheehy:

These came... I added them to Always Remember and uploaded them here too:

USFS News Release (107 K pdf): Family, friends of the family and firefighters pay their respects for Luke Sheehy at Honor Escort

Alturas Arrival (41 K jpg)

Susanville Mortuary (32 K jpg)

6/20 Outside magazine article

The recent article in Outside magazine has stirred some familiar debate. Not being a federal resource, the local version of this is the attention structural departments get from the media while the wildland agency is deep in the woods actually suppressing the fire. Common sense tells us that since the "pavement queens" are more accessible then they will receive the lion's share of the photography and credit. But there is also the idea that these trucks are often staged around homes, protecting a very valuable asset, and also they are stationary and often quiet, and can be included in live broadcasts, while the tractor plows are loud, traveling through swirling dust and smoke, and are seldom parked when being used.

So we have these debates too. A few years ago a reporter did embed with the state agency, and wrote a series of very complimentary articles on the efforts of the wildland firefighters. Then the bickering became what and who the reporter covered and why not other aspects, etc.

It seems that when we get one thing we have been wanting, our next move is to start wanting more, and finding fault with what we received instead of appreciating what we did get.

It would be great if there was enough credit and appreciation to cover everyone involved. Shot crews are awesome. They do a heck of a job, and do it well. Engine crews work hard and achieve great things. Smoke jumpers go where others can't. Type 2 crews build a LOT of line. Pilots do a wonderful job of making drops. Water tenders keep the roads passable, and keep us from having head-ons with each other on the fire-line. etc.

We can chose to debate what else would have been good to see in print, and sort of see the glass as half empty, or we can celebrate the fact that SOMEONE in our industry received a well deserved pat on the back, and be glad for them.

I am not saying this to criticize anyone. I think some of the concerns are valid, and sometimes we need to voice them, even if it's only to each other.
But there is a long standing slogan in politics and theater "There is no bad press" (Even though we know this isn't totally true LOL). But in this case it applies.

This article was a good thing. And I am thankful for the guys getting a little shout-out.
I hope everyone sees it as a positive, and we approach this coming season lifting each other up, not tearing anyone down.

See you out there as soon as my phone rings!!!

Flash in Florida

6/20 I apologize for what might seem a self-serving indulgence for the FWFSA, but I want to thank those FWFSA members, and actually everyone, involved in the painful task of bringing Luke home. You know who you are and I couldn't be prouder.

It is a sad reality that I meet most of our members for the first time at either a funeral or memorial service. Yet I see their professionalism and heroism as members of the Honor Guard or the teams tasked with being a liaison to a family mourning the loss of their loved one, or accomplishing the monumental task of logistics seamlessly and flawlessly.

That same respect and affection goes out to the folks at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation along with Steve & Mellie. The first notion I wanted to be a part of this special community was while attending the memorial for Dan Holmes of the Arrowhead Hotshots many years ago. As the 5th District VP for the California Professional Firefighters, I was involved in the pomp & circumstance of the International Association of Fire Fighters but these wildland firefighters seemed more real than the Class A uniforms of structural firefighters adorned with all sorts of regalia, dozens of hash marks on their sleeves etc (yea OK, I had them too). The wildland firefighters that showed up at Dan's memorial looked like they'd been living in the mountains for years...even the women! These were real people who performed the most difficult work I'd ever encountered as I'd had the honor of taking an engine to the Oakland Hills Fire along with many other wildfires along the Highway 50 and I-80 corridor between Sacramento & Tahoe. These were, and still are some of the lowest paid, professional firefighters in the Nation but they are the best in the world at what they do.

My decision to bolt to the FWFSA completely was tattooed on me at the memorial for those lost on the Stanza Fire in Chester California and I knew this is where I wanted to be. These were the folks I wanted to do everything I could for. Sooo, there's my article. When I get frustrated to no end with those in Washington, the passion, respect, admiration and affection I have for our federal wildland firefighters gets me through the day. Thanks to all of you.

Casey

6/20 The post of Luther Larkin Sr. having a heart attack is incorrect as I was a witness to this incident. And it was the quick thinking of crew members of the Horseshoe Hotshots and the Arrowhead Hotshots that retrieved the AED.

TM

6/19 Rescue of firefighter who suffered heart attack at Big Meadows Fire highlights emergency planning

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. - It was early Father's Day morning when a 51-year-old firefighter suffered a heart attack while hiking with his crew to the fire line at the Big Meadows Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fire crew companions of Luther E. Larkin Sr. quickly started CPR and fire-line paramedics arrived in minutes with an automated external defibrillator (AED) that was critical to restarting Larkin's heart, said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

Members of Larkin's crew -- the Horseshoe Meadow Type I Interagency Hotshots based in California -- carried him to the nearest helicopter landing area just as the requested medevac helicopter arrived on scene. Larkin was airlifted to a cardiac care hospital in Denver. (More at the news link above.)

Hotlist thread with more info.

6/19 California Smokejumper Luke Sheehy was returned to Susanville this afternoon. Good thoughts and prayers for all.

His memorial service in Redding is planned for Sunday, June 23 at 1PM at the Civic Auditorium.

The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and the fire community are invited.

Ab.

Forest Service Update: Latest on Saddle Back Incident Support for more details.

6/19 Dear "Still out there"

With all due respect, after dealing with Congress on a daily basis for nearly 20 years on behalf of federal firefighter issues, the last 10 exclusively on behalf of federal wildland firefighters, if I've learned anything it is the reality that politics plays a significant role in wildland firefighting. The reality is that Congress is the "city Council" or "Board of supervisors" for federal employees. As such, in order to effect change we have to pay attention to, and be concerned with what politicians have to say or what they do with respect to the wildfire program. Politicians in turn are driven by their voting constituency...the Public.

While you may not be concerned with what politicians know about wildland firefighting, many of those the FWFSA represents are concerned because it is those same politicians that have the power to effect positive change.

I'd personally much prefer to not have to deal with politicians. Unfortunately we have to because the agencies themselves have done a poor job taking care of their firefighters. We have to because its politicians that authorize and appropriate the dollars for WFPR, WFSU and fuels. We have to be concerned with politicians because it is politicians that we have to turn to when the agencies waste & mismanage FIRE dollars that 1) adversely impact that same Public you're talking about and 2) adversely affect the health & safety of those same firefighters you mention.

Ideologically it should be about the Public these firefighters serve. It should be about the safety of our firefighters but that is simply not the reality. I recently sent a Facebook message of thanks to Kyle about his article posted on TheySaid. I thought it was great. We've been tremendously honored to have Rick Cowell as basically one of the Founding Members of the FWFSA since 1992. You can't possibly understand the frustration I feel to see our long time members retiring without benefiting from the reforms we have pursued for so long.

I too would rather spend my time with the crews, even if it is just an article. I wish that was all it took to securing the benefits these firefighters have deserved for far too long. But that's not the reality. I too wish I could forget the politicians but if you are trying to make things better and more equitable for a segment of the federal workforce, you cannot escape the influence of the politicians. I guess my point was that while I can yak and yak in their office about what these brave firefighters deal with, I think it would be great for them to actually experience what its like in the field; get a first hand taste of all the dynamics wildland firefighting offers in the hope it will get them to not only appreciate what these men & women do but cause them to work towards implementing reforms to the federal wildfire program that not only will benefit the firefighters but also those same taxpayers (the Public) you referenced.

I apologize if I didn't frame my point of view properly.

Respectfully,

Casey

6/19 I have known some fire reporters who have done the Basic 32 training and embedded with a crew.

One from the early 2000's is Al Golub, a fire photojournalist with the Modesto Bee, whose son was a Stanislaus Hotshot. Retired now, some of Al's fire photos are on the wildlandfire.com Creek Fire, Mariposa County, 2001 photo page. He told stories with his photos. He's building his historical galleries on his Al Golub photoshelter website, including the Acorn Fire, Merkleeville, CA of 1987 with the Stanislaus Shots with supe Greg Overacker "Racks"; and the Telegraph Fire, 2008. He hasn't entered the Creek Fire photos there yet (maybe he's too busy entering all the 49ers and other historical photos).

Mellie

6/19 Ab,

When it comes to the news, news reporters and what gets on the page or screen, Casey put it most poignantly when he wrote that they have their “own ideas of what they want to write about, who they want to hear from”. It’s not about the crews or engines or the effort.

It’s about ‘if it bleeds, it leads’.

Flame, fire, destruction, chaos, pain and sorrow, and ‘flash’. That’s why there will be repeated shots of helicopters dropping water, airplanes throwing red stuff, smokejumpers under silk, houses burning but not a line crew going vertical on a hillside with a foot in the black. It doesn’t matter that the super-soaker DC-X only managed to make one pass all day and it missed the fire, it’s a colorful 18 second shot that will make the news because it shows up well.

The public and politicians don’t see a crew building line, they see farm workers hoeing a field – in their minds eye there isn’t any difference. They think the fire gets put out by airplanes and helicopters using water, not by the physical labor of hand and engine crews.

Having worked at in TV news carrying the camera, I can also say – if I had to walk very far, it didn’t get taped. It’s too much ‘work’ for too little ‘flash’. And then there were those two guys showing up in the tanker that dropped red stuff making great TV……

My heroes have always thrown dirt.

LCES COMT

6/19 Mr. Judd,

I'm sorry but what politicians see or do is the least of my concerns. Wildland fire is not all about politics. It's about the public we serve. It's about our co-workers and their safety. It's about the resources we're trying to protect. Don't get me wrong. I understand the political picture because I've worked in that arena. But even if it's just in a magazine article, I'd rather forget politicians and spend an afternoon on a hillside with a hotshot crew (engine crew, helitack crew, situation unit, you name it).

Still Out There as an AD

6/18 New Maps on Wildlandfire.com

Hello Community and Friends,

Today we are happy to demo the first version of the new Wildlandfire.com and ESRI Project, the Wildlandfire.com Map.

Please check it out on the Home Page for likes/don't like and give us your feed back. It isn't done, and there is a lot of work to get the final product, but getting this first product out is a big step forward behind the scenes!

We will continue to improve the map over the next few weeks to get more info on it. But please check it out and give us your feed back!

Mt. Eddy

6/18 M@2X4

It seems you have the wrong impression of my post, if you read it you will see that I called the article 'great', that ' I am aware of how great shot crews can be' and that the recognition of Hot Shots is 'well deserved'.

I merely pointed out that other assets deserve recognition too.

Are we so short on kudos that we don't have enough to go around?

Just wondering...

P.S. This sort of re-enforces why I rarely pay much attention to this site anymore.

6/18 The media and Hotshots, smokejumpers, engine crews, helitack and everyone:

Just a suggestion that maybe focusing on what/who the media sees, discusses, talks about etc., could/should be replaced by what politicians see, discuss, talk about etc. It is politicians that will drive progress or blissfully maintain the status quo.

Since Colorado blew up again I've had no less than 10 press calls and all do have their own ideas of what they want to write about, who they want to hear from etc. However the press that know me know that before I answer their questions, they have to have a working awareness of what is going on in the field which might not involve the answers to the questions they have sought.

We also all know the periodic ramifications of speaking directly to the media and how the Agencies, particularly the FS sometimes frowns on that. Let's get some Washington politicians out to some fire lines when they are in their districts. Let's have them cut some line, experience camp... experience those well documented meal breaks to clearly understand the dynamics of what all of you are up against.

For those of you that might live and work in Oklahoma, I would suggest inviting Sen. Colburn to cut some line. He recently spouted off about federal employees and stand-by time and made numerous ignorant comments that clearly indicate he's clueless.

For those of you in SoCal, invite Rep. Darrell Issa to cut some line. He's cosponsored portal to portal legislation before but now, as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he has his own partisan agenda and seems to forget what he's supported in the past.

All of you are critically important and valued to this community. While those in the community may have spirited competition about recognition etc. from time to time, I hope all of you know that the recognition of the press can be fleeting but the respect & admiration from those who know what you do without asking is never-ending.

Casey

Casey Judd
President
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
208-775-4577

6/18 link to Prescott Daily Courier article and pictures

Prescott fire

Hotlist: AZ-PNF-Doce

6/18 Just wondering…..

I agree that the work of the engine crews is something that we can work to highlight better. Besides stopping a lot of fires from getting large, once there are large fires, they are involved with important operations such as structure protection. I try to look for opportunities to highlight different firefighters and will keep this idea in mind. Unfortunately, when dealing with media they come to us with specific ideas in mind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer other opportunities.

Hope to be out soon,

PIODiva

6/18 Just Wondering -

Having spent 8 years in one of the most busiest Engine Stations in So Cal, and having over 12 years on Type 1 FS Hotshot Crews, both North and South Zone, trust me when I say Hotshots crews deserve any and all recognition given to them, and if there is one crew with one retired Supt, and a reputation that is completely 110% deserved, it's Cowboy's crew.

I ended up on the front page stringing hose way too many times, just because I was roadside and very reachable to the media vans. IHC's do contribute to IA and do it well including structure prep and protection, Hazmat and EMS.

Enjoy the article and try to appreciate the content, which by the way, is very well done. The FS did well on all fronts allowing this to occur.

God speed THS, and thanks Rick, you are truly the man.

M@2X4

6/17 Engine crews:

I almost never post on They Said anymore... reasons are not relevant now.

I want to chime in on the great article about hotshots, while I am certainly aware of how great shot crews can be, I want to stand up for another asset in our tool bag that rarely gets kudos, Engine crews!

Think about this, when our engines do there job correctly fires do not get so big that we need to call in the 'elite' crews. In SoCal our initial attack success rate is something like 97%, that is because dedicated, well trained and aggressive engine crews stop these fires before they get big.

The media almost never lauds the efforts of these folks. They continually trot out articles on HotShots (well deserved), and even on Inmate Crews (you decide), but when was the last time you saw an article articulating the backbone of our initial attack efforts in SoCal (at least)?

Just wondering...

6/17 Details on Luke's Services are posted here on the Region 5 Support Page.

The memorial service for Luke Sheehy is planned for June 23 at 1 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif.

The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and the fire community are invited.

Flowers, cards and donations to: Doug and Lynn Sheehy or Sheehy Family, 2850 Main Street, Suite 12, #386, Susanville, CA 96130.


Always Remember Luke has been updated as well.

Ab.

6/17 re: paid meal breaks:

To sent from my iPhone,

If you are required to monitor your radio then I would say you are engaged in a inactive work related activity. As I read 29 CFR 785.19 that would mean you or at least one member of your module who is required to monitor the radio should be compensated for that time, unless you could stagger your meals and take turns monitoring the radio. I believe law enforcement brought this same issue forward and prevailed and are now paid during their meal periods. STRANGEL brought up a good point if we don't challenge this obvious disregard of the law than it is our fault. I would also challenge our agency administrators who have instilled the core value of integrity into our guiding principles to show some of it by choosing to abide by federal labor law and to pay its workforce according to those laws. I imagine this will become a union issue at some point and in regards to firefighters on the fireline that have been instructed by team members that they must show a lunch I am surprised it has not already become one. I realize my interpretation my be flawed and I welcome other opinions on this matter. As of yet I have only heard one cricket and the rest was just tumble weeds in a ghost town. I assume that means I'm correct or they don't care or maybe they just are not listening to the guy on the ground because it does not affect them. Maybe someone from the NFFE could give the federal firefighting community advice as to what would be necessary to fight this perceived abuse. Is it grievable. Does NFFE or FWFSA have an opinion? I know you're reading this.

rtn

6/17 FYI,

France looking to replace their S2T airtankers..

FireHog

There's a pdf article from Aviation Week and Space Technology, June 17, 2013. We'd be in violation of copyright if we posted it here. Holler if you want direction to seeing it. Here's their website aviationweek.com/Awst.aspx Email if you can't find it. Ab.

6/17 Flight Nurse --> Firefighter?

I am currently employed as a flight nurse in Arizona. I have never had any fire fighter training but was wondering if there are any positions that would be able to utilize my experience and expertise as a flight nurse with 13 years experience ER/CVICU and 8 years of flight.

Sent from Windows Mail

6/16 Preparations are underway to support the family of recently deceased firefighter Luke Sheehy. The 28-year-old perished on June 10 as a result of injuries received on the Saddle Back Fire on the Modoc National Forest in northeast California.

Those interested in showing support for the Sheehy family can send flowers, cards and donations to:

Doug and Lynn Sheehy or Sheehy Family, 2850 Main Street, Suite 12, #386, Susanville, CA 96130.

Details on the Memorial Service are currently pending. The service is planned for June 23 at 1 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif. The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and the fire community are invited.

6/15 The memorial service for Luke Sheehy is planned for

June 23 at 1 p.m.
at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif.

The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and the fire community are invited.

6/15 From Don Ferguson, Ashland, Oregon

It is in times of crisis that you find out who your friends are.

With the recent passing of firefighter Luke Sheehy on the Modoc National Forest, family members and friends are coming from throughout the country to show their support at a Memorial Service planned for later this week.

With so many expenses and other stresses related to a family member’s death, it is nice to know there are community businesses that are willing to go above and beyond to show their support for the family.

The Marriott Town Place Suites in Redding and the UPS Store in Susanville are two such friends. Their generosity both with their time and money shows how much they care. With such a tragedy it is wonderful to know there are those you can count on and those who do care. Kudos to these businesses for being willing to step up.

6/15 Paid meal break

I'm a engine captain in R5. I have to listen to the radio and be ready to respond at a moment's notice. So my question is does that rule stand for staffing at your station as well?

Sent from my iPhone

6/15 Forest Service to do "More with less"

Several nights ago, Tom Harbour, Fire & Aviation Management Director for the Forest Service appeared on NBC Nightly News and stated, with respect to the impact of the sequester and the start of this year's fire season, the Agency would "do more with less." Mr. Harbour has also been apparently tasked by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to respond to a letter I sent the Secretary recently. A link is provided to that letter.

With immense respect to Tom for the job he does, and more importantly the position the land management agency puts him in, and for his willingness to communicate with the FWFSA, the "doing more with less" line is consistent with that Agency's reply to similar questions about its preparedness over the years. In other words, regardless of what Mr. Harbour may think about certain aspects of the fire program, it is his responsibility to tow the company line.

Many of you remember 2008...when the FWFSA challenged then Forest Service Chief Kimbell and USDA Under Secretary Mark Rey before Congress about their "preparedness" which in turn led to a $25 million funding for wildland firefighter retention. In fact, the line "we are as prepared as we were the previous year" has been a staple of the Agency with regards to its testimony before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. As our members know, the FWFSA has challenged that preparedness since 2006.

This year's commentary will likely result in two scenarios. One, the Agency will have to address the annual pay cap pursuant to 5 USC 5547 if they are going to work their firefighters to the max (oddly the Agency reaffirmed the guidance pursuant to the law in a May 14, 2013 in a memo entitled Annual Premium Pay Earnings Limitation). As most know the FWFSA eliminated the OT pay cap for biweekly earnings for firefighters in 2000). This will no doubt be a financial blessing for many but it will also increase the risk to the health & safety of these firefighters and those they protect.

The agencies will also continue their MO of simply filling in the gaps of missing federal resources with expensive non-federal resources included with very lucrative cooperative agreements (not very lucrative to their own federal employees!) This of course will increase the costs of suppression as we inform Congress on a routine basis.

I want to reiterate that neither I nor the FWFSA has anything against non-federal fire resources. They are an absolute vital necessity on many assignments. At the same time the parameters of some cooperative agreements leave federal wildland firefighters scratching their heads when their own employing agency tells them there is no money to reform archaic federal pay & personnel policies.

Additionally, and again with all due respect and honesty, those who believe the federal Government is too big and too intrusive in their lives won't care how much that same Government spends if their home is in the line of a wildfire. They'll be the first in line to see what that same over-bearing Government will give to them.

Our current legislative draft eliminates any cap on the earnings of federal wildland firefighters. It makes absolutely no sense to push our firefighters to the max under the current law. Does that mean more assignments but also more non-pay hours away from home? Why not institute PTP, get the job done and send folks home. The fact remains, until Congress provides oversight into the use by the agencies of FIRE dollars for non-fire purposes and implements some incentives for being more cost-effective and efficient, the Agencies will continue to use appropriated fire dollars in a way that benefits everyone...except their own firefighters and militia personnel.

There has been a great discussion on TheySaid about camps, compensation etc. We have documents from the Forest Service dating back to 1985 that outline the benefits of portal to portal compensation for its employees along with proper classification. From a personal standpoint, not an official standpoint of the FWFSA, until the organizational structure of the land management fire programs change to remove Line from the control they have over fire policy and budgets and place that responsibility with those with the proper fire experience & expertise; until Regional offices stop hijacking the budgets of Hotshot crews; until Forest Supervisors stop considering Preparedness dollars as their own personal stash and consider it "saved" when their FFs are on assignment and then spend those preparedness dollars on non-fire positions, projects etc., taxpayers will not get the best "bang for their buck" and the program will remain inefficient.

The federal land management agencies have the best wildland firefighters in the world. They are coveted by organizations such as Cal-Fire which likely would have continued their raid on FS firefighters if funding allowed. Yet the very nature of a land management agency managing the largest fire department in the world, precludes our firefighters from being treated and compensated as they should be. During a fire season such as this, they shouldn't have to be preoccupied with hiring nuttiness, diversity issues etc.

It truly pains me that in 10 years of working on behalf of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters, I have seen little change in the Agency's treatment & respect of its firefighters. That's why we continue the fight. If the agencies are unwilling to do what's right for their firefighters, at some point Congress will force-feed changes. All our firefighters want and deserve, and what they should'nt have to beg for is some semblance of support from their employer. Here we are well into the 21st century and these brave men & women are still Forestry Technicians and Range Technicians. Can't get much more disrespectful than that.

Respectfully,

Casey Judd, President
Federal Wildland Fire Service Assn.

6/15 Fire Accommodations

I remember the days when I was supposed to rest between night shift and didn’t get any rest at all. I’d lay on top of my paper sleeping bag because it was too hot and then I’d go in the sleeping bag to escape the bugs, Ideally, the best thing is to voucher fire control folks in motel rooms. Good idea but motels are expensive and there usually not as many rooms that staff need. A more modest solution that is a lot more comfort follows. Frequently there are temperature controlled large buildings near fire camps. That facility could actually be turned barracks by placing bunk beds in in a standard arrangement spacing 5’ spacing between beds. If it has showers, so much the better. Crew members would sleep much better and would be easier to keep track of. Ideally, the feeding facility would be next door. Other direct service facilities Then crew members wouldn’t even need to go in the main camp.

  1. Crew would be able to sleep more comfortably and longer.
  2. Crew members would be contained and be more easily be sent to an emergency.
  3. The place might have washing facilities.
  4. There would be fewer distractions in the main fire camp.

OK. This idea must have a flaw since it generally not being used. Let me know.

BW

6/14 One of the best articles, and tributes I have read in a long time... JSE

In the line of Wildfire
outsideonline.com

Drought and climate change have turned western forests into firebombs that go off every summer. Even with new technology, the essential weapon in the fight against flame are the Hotshots, an elite group of wilderness first responders who head straight for the heat...

More at the link...

6/14 Just wondering if we have any R5 strike teams out of region right now? Just curious if anything has been sent to Colorado or New Mexico.

PYG

I posted your question and some answers may show up here... Hotlist

6/13 Saddle Back Fire 24-hour report is up at the Lessons Learned Center

Saddle Back Fire 24 Hour Report (357 K pdf)

Thanks to those who sent it in. Ab.

6/12 Date: 6/12/13
From: Jeanne Wade Evans
Deputy Regional Forester,
Pacific Southwest Region,
USDA Forest Service

The Forest Service is still working with the Sheehy family to understand and honor their wishes for a memorial service for Luke.  When the details are worked out with the family we will provide that information.

Always Remember Luke

6/11 Luke Sheehy's passing in Northern California,

When the 24-hour report comes out, would someone please send it in. If anyone has photos of Luke with family or the crew, please share.

Thanks to everyone supporting the family, the crew and each other.

Ab.

6/11 As a number of you probably know through the "nomex underground", we lost a Redding Smokejumper yesterday evening. Three jumpers jumped a small lightning fire in the South Warner Wilderness Area on the Modoc National Forest, about a mile and a half SE of the Soup Springs Campground . Luke Sheehy (28) died from injuries received when he was hit by a limb that fell more than 60 feet. Our condolences to his family, his crew, his friends and fire family.

~~~~~

From: Office of the Chief
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:18 PM
To: ALL FS
Subject: Region 5 Firefighter Fatality

All FS Employees:

It is with a very heavy heart I write to inform you of the loss of a firefighter, a smoke jumper, and one of our Forest Service family. Luke Sheehy, a 28-year-old firefighter from Susanville, Calif., died Monday afternoon as a result of injuries received on a wildfire on the Modoc National Forest in northeast California. Luke, a member of the California Smokejumpers based out of Redding, was struck by a dead tree on the Saddle Back Fire in the South Warner Wilderness about 15 miles southeast of Alturas, Calif. The incident occurred just before 5 p.m. Efforts to resuscitate him were not successful. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Alturas where he was pronounced dead. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this brave young smokejumper who lost his life yesterday working with his team to control a blaze on the Modoc National Forest. We are launching a full review into the cause of his death to learn everything we can to prevent future tragedies like this.

Chief Tom Tidwell

Always Remember Luke Sheehy

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is helping with arrangements as they do. I am thankful for their "safety net". Ab.

6/10 Lightning Strike Google Earth KMZ and screen captures of it

You need Google Earth. June 9-10 KMZ of lightning strikes (this will ask you to save the file or open it in google earth.)

Screen capture of google earth lightning strikes - terrain (jpg)

Screen capture of google map lightning strikes - states outline (png)

from Normbc9

This could be a real problem when it soon warms a and dries out. Think about Lightning “Sleeper” fires.

Thanks, Norm. Ab.

6/10 Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters

Rtn,

I used to be on an IMT and I'm a union rep. so I feel like you were talking to me. First you're correct about a lot, kudos to RM for doing the right thing, yes the CFR says what you say it does, and yes unless they are released from all duties they need to be compensated. Those are the reasons I haven't shown a meal break in over twenty years while on an assignment. I just justified it in the remarks section of the CTR. Just because some people can be intimidated or coerced into giving up time that doesn't make it someone else's problem. If the rules are there and for what ever reason you decide not to make a stand like RM did who's fault is it? I hear from many dispatchers complaining about being forced to stay at their desks during lunch because of a bust but not being able to claim time, but yet I know of four dispatchers that challenged it and won. They get paid so whose fault is it the others don't? Duty officer is another one. If you can be held accountable then it' standby, but if you don't fight then guess who loses?
Hear any crickets chirping?

STRANGEL

6/10 Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters

RM

Kudos for standing up for what is right! It's funny that IMTs have been knowingly violating Federal Labor Laws for years. When you look at 29 CFR 785.19 you will discover that the employee must be compensated (paid) for the meal break unless they are relieved of all duties, whether active (answering a radio) or inactive (maintaining LCES) while eating. The CFR says nothing about the status of the fire (whether it is controlled, contained, or neither). Policy should not override the law but our agencies have pretended as though it does. Of course anyone can take a stand against this obvious abuse but I suspect retaliation will be in the form of DEMOB from the assignment. I would love to know how our agency administrators, IMT team members, and Union Folks would weigh in on this or if they would. I hope I don't hear crickets chirping, seems like an important subject.

Rtn

6/10 Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters

For the past several years IMTs are trying to save a buck by making line going personnel show a 30 min meal break while on the fire line. They tell you to show the break but add the 30 min to the end of shift, which is not only dishonest but technically illegal. One particular incident I had enough and decided to try a different approach. I documented the CTR, LCES NOT IN PLACE FOR 30 MIN DUE TO MANDATORY MEAL BREAK ! The ops chief actually flew out to our spike camp and talked to me and Supt. Asking us to submit another CTR -- don't show the break and tear up the old CTR. Oh, the remark was added after the original CTR was signed. Why do they penny pinch at the expense of the people getting the job done ?

RM

6/9 Re Line Construction:

You should contact the Kern Valley HS, Bakersfield Ca. BLM.

Ask for their "Scrape Training" info.

They have done a well thought out, effective way to approach line construction.

We have adopted it for training our T-2 Crew, Roadrunners, here at Rio Hondo College.

John Bennett

6/8 Base camp

Good post STRANGEL. This is an area that needs to be cleaned up as it puts both the employee and supervisor in a tough and distracting position, during a time when the last thing you want are distractions.

Outside of portal to portal legislation, the one thing that would fix this situation immediately for most situations can happen with a signature from the Chief of the Forest Service and or Regional Forester. All employees should be guaranteed 16 hours of pay, with paid breaks for meals when committed to an incident, everyday, for the length of the commitment. When you get back to camp or other lodging accommodations after a 13-14 hour shift, all will remain on the clock for a total of 16 hours, and available for call back. If you think about, even under the current fire business practices, who isn't available to be woken up in the middle of the night for an emergency change of plans in fire camp, with 2;1 mitigation occurring at a later time?

Alternative #1) Pay Federal Wildland Firefighters portal to portal.
Alternative #2) Pay them from 0600 to 2200 hours daily. What do you think everyone will do with the 8 hours off that starts at 2200 and ends at 0600? Good night...

ms

6/7 Thisbasecampsux –

Some food for thought:

Not sure what type of crew you work on (Shot/T2, Engine or Helitack) but….

How would your co-workers feel if they had to stay in base camp while you got to go home to a nice comfy bed, hot shower and a home cooked meal?

Personally…. crew cohesion/morale is of upmost importance…. even if it means sacrificing the above.

Former R3 Shot

6/7 Base camp Info

The person that responded to you from their iphone is correct. The IIBMH does say all of those things, but the Master Agreement (MA) which is a negotiated contract with national agency management says under Art.28

3. Restricted Facilities:

Management will not restrict employees to facilities while in a nonpay status.

The MA trumps the IIBMH, but before you celebrate you have to ask yourself how important is it to you? The MA is like any other piece of paper in that until someone forces them to abide by it, that's all it is, a piece of paper. They have the choice of paying you portal to portal to control your time or you can do what you want during your off time, as long as you're fit for duty at the start of your shift and you don't do anything illegal. If the camp has over 300 people, there should be contact info for a union rep.

If you truly think you'll get better rest at home that's where I would go, but remember this could just be the start of a fight if you have a bad manager.

STRANGEL

6/6 Thisbasecampsux,

Couple of things regarding your post;

I totally agree most of our fire camps do not provide adequate sleeping arrangements.

I would like the folks who come up with these policies walk for 14 days in our shoes, and then be expected to follow the policies.

Especially on night shift, sleeping in a park or a dust bowl in 90 plus temperatures.

Below are a few excerpts from the Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook (pdf)

Bottom line: unless it is a closed camp you can go home and sleep in your own bed.

But do not drive a government vehicle to do that especially off the clock!!!

Have someone pick you up.

But realistically I’ve done both, and I got better sleep at the office, or in fire camp than at home.

  • I lost time from camp to home.
  • She made me shower before I got into bed,
  • I had to get up early to meet the crew at briefing time.
  • The kids wanted to say hi.

It wasn’t ..."done work", and into the bag like at fire camp, it was the semi-regular routine of home life. And that equaled less sleep.

Remember Firefighter Christopher Paul Carroll was taken from us on July 2nd, 2012 while assigned to the CA-LPF Hill Incident. Chris was an AFEO on LPF Engine 74 at Los Alamos Station. The Hill Fire was a local fire that was transitioned from a Type 2 team to a local Type 3 Organization. Engine 74 was going back to their station each evening after a 15 hour shift, and Chris headed home. On the way back to work on the morning of July 2nd Chris was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

I'm not saying fatigue played a part in the accident, as I’m not privy to the CHP report, but fatigue might have played a part, and one must be mindful of that.

Excerpts from the Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook (pdf)

Off-Shift Time

The degree of control to be maintained over regular government employees and casuals during off-shift hours is dependent upon location, the individual's work function, and the urgency of the emergency situation.

  • At the IC’s discretion, regular government employees and casuals may be released during off-shift periods from the incident base or camp.
  • At the ICs discretion, regular government employees and casuals may be restricted to an incident base and all other camps during off-shift periods. This is usually referred to as a “closed camp” (45 FLRA No. 120, 0-NG-1958, Decision and Order on a Negotiability Issue, September 18, 1992; Office of the General Counsel, Authority to Close Fire Camps Opinion, March 28, 1990).
  • Time spent restricted to the camp where personnel can rest, eat, or, to a limited degree, pursue activities of a personal nature is not compensable. Such time is compensable only to the extent needed to complete the guaranteed base hours. Time spent in ordered standby is compensable.
  • The same policy applies to mobilization and demobilization facilities.
  • Regular government employees assigned to an incident at their home unit should be given their regular scheduled days off when the situation permits. Regular scheduled days off are considered off-shift time and are not compensable.

Work/Rest Guidelines

Work/rest guidelines should be met on all incidents. Plan for and ensure all personnel are provided a minimum 2:1 work/rest ratio (for every 2 hours of work 4 or travel, provide 1 hour of sleep and/or rest).

Work shifts that exceed 16 hours and/or consecutive days that do not meet the 7 2:1 work/rest ratio should be the exception, and no work shift should exceed 24 hours. However, in situations where this does occur (for example, initial attack), incident management personnel will resume 2:1 work/rest ratio as quickly as possible.

The intent of the guidelines is to manage fatigue

and provide flexibility for IC’s and AA’s managing initial attack, extended attack, and large fires. The guidelines are designed to ensure that for every 2 hours of work or travel, 1 hour of time off should be provided within a 24-hour period. It does not matter when the 24-hour period starts; all time recorded on the clock is counted as hours of work; time off the clock is counted as hours of rest, including meal breaks.

The IC or AA must justify work shifts that exceed 16 hours and those that do not meet 2:1 work/rest ratio. Justification will be documented in the daily incident records. Documentation shall include mitigation measures used to reduce fatigue. The Excess Hours Log or the Extended Work Shift Authorization Sample found in Appendix B – Tool Kit is an acceptable method of documentation.

The work/rest guidelines do not apply to aircraft pilots assigned to an incident. Pilots must abide by applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, or agency policy if more restrictive.

Other Pay Provisions

  • Inadequate Food or Lodging – Inadequate food or lodging situations should be the exception. When nonexempt regular government employees and casuals do not receive adequate food or lodging, they shall be in pay status the entire time they are working, sleeping, or eating (Comp. Gen. B-230414, 1/10/90).

    Adequate food is defined as: meals ready to eat (MREs), sack lunches, military-type rations, hot can, or similar meals.

    Adequate lodging is described as: a sleeping bag (paper or cloth) or a blanket or equivalent covering to provide protection from the elements for sleeping.

    Regular government employees must be in nonexempt status to qualify for compensation. There is no authority to grant compensation for these conditions to exempt employees. Exempt employees can only be compensated for on-shift time.

    ICs are responsible for determining when an inadequate food or lodging situation exists. This must be documented on the CTR, SF-261, in the remarks section. Hours recorded for an inadequate food or lodging situation count as hours of work for computation of the 2:1 work/rest ratio.

Subsistence and Lodging Provisions

Subsistence and lodging are normally provided to incident personnel.

  • Food at Official Duty Station. This is considered a personal expense, and the regulation prohibits receiving compensation in addition to the pay and allowances fixed by law. (5 U.S.C. 5536). Federal funds cannot be used to pay subsistence or to provide food to regular government employees at their official duty station or casuals working at their point of hire, except as stated below. Similar state regulations may apply to state personnel.
  • Conditions to Provide Food at Official Duty Station. Agencies may provide meals to personnel at their official duty station at government expense during emergency operations which pose a threat to life and property, if both of the following conditions are met:
    • Emergency personnel are in the field engaged in 4 emergency operations (e.g., search and rescue, firefighting activities – fireline personnel), and
    • The operational period prevents personnel from taking meals at home or in the normal office/work station environment.

      Agencies may provide meals to personnel engaged in support of emergencies, if they are unable to sufficiently provide their own subsistence, due to long shifts or lack of preparation time. The cost of the meal(s) will be deducted from their payroll through agency procedures.

Sent from my iPhone

Thanks, iPhone wielder. Ab.

6/6 I have a question.

If my module is assigned to a campaign fire on my home district and not on per diem can I be told I have to stay at camp. I live minutes away from fire camp and believe I would get much better rest if I could go home at night. Last time I checked I was getting paid 16 hrs and not 24.

-Thisbasecampsux

Based on decisions made on one of last year's socal fed firefighter fatality, it seems that even if you're assigned to a fire and your engine is assigned to a fire and there's no camp to sleep in, if you die in a vehicle accident in your POV returning to duty from home the next morning, you will not be considered a LODD and your family will not be eligible for PSOB. Seems unjust, but a consideration... Ab.

6/6 Firefighting Community:

I am closing the comments on the "Some People's Children" thread. I feel that the people have had their say. An investigation is ongoing; it should take its course. I still do not understand what happened or who was involved. I do know that the issues are not about diversity per se, so the thread is getting off-topic and may unfairly portray some individuals.

If anyone would like me to forward a message or cut and paste a message to anyone who has posted, let me know their moniker and I will do it. Please continue to email from blind accounts and with monikers. Communication behind the scenes sometimes helps, but please do not violate any terms of the investigation if you're involved. I will not reveal any poster's identity (not that I know who is who even now). I remain fairly clueless... Ab.

6/6 AB

I would like to add on to fish01’s comments about where did we go wrong as an agency. I recently completed reading “The Tinder Box” by Christopher Burchfield. It provided a very comprehensive overview on how we got to where we are today. Although I had only worked for the Forest Service in Region 5 very briefly in the past, having watched from the outside what went on and knowing many of the people talked about in the book, it all rang true. For anyone interested in how we got to where we are today and why it continues, the book should be required reading, regardless if you have ever worked for the agency or not. Maybe we can learn from the past, but in this case, I doubt it as evidence by the continued hiring practices and an agency that has great difficulty making good policy decisions in a timely fashion.

Cafban

6/5 In reply to “proud to work with righteous individual’s” response to “Some Peoples Children”…

We are in agreement on much of what you have said in your response to my post, however I see what you are trying to do here and there are a couple issues I have with it. Yes, I am aware of “No Fear Act” training, and yes, I do fully understand what it is and why there is a need for such a program. I’m sorry that the truth I speak of “saddens” you, but I am here to “nip it in the bud” as you said yourself. I am going to quote you here

“I am a firm believer that if you witness something illegal, or immoral, and you do not say anything, you are in a sense, CONDONING IT... you are allowing it to take place, and since you didn't say anything to correct the action, who's to say it won't happen again”?

Well there it is. I have done exactly as you asked, I have brought it to the attention of the masses via this forum. I am in fact doing what is right and hopefully lessoning the chance of a situation like this in the future.

Firstly, I will not stand by and watch as people maliciously manipulate the system and try to destroy the careers that others spent their entire lives building. The fact remains that there is a “loophole” in the system that people are time and time again taking advantage of, for their own personal gain. Until this problem is mitigated, we will continually allow some of our most valuable and revered employees to be scrutinized, discredited, humiliated and in situations like this, ostracized.

Secondly, I’m not trying to sway people one way or another on the matter of reporting EEO issues in the workplace. That is a non-issue, so long as accusations are truthful and correct. In a case like this, where false allegations have been made in the interest of undermining your coworker and intentionally trying to damage the reputation of another, the system is a total failure and is detrimental to the agency as a whole. Individuals need to be held accountable for their actions! Upon discovery that erroneous claims have been made, immediate action should be taken to correct this type of injustice. Well, that remains to be seen. I too encourage people to stand up for what is right and I wouldn’t be placing blame on those who stood up for what was right, and said something to correct a situation, IF those whose integrity is in question were in fact speaking the “TRUTH”, not half truths, not partial truths, the whole truth.

Tertiary, in situations lacking “Honor, Respect and Integrity” or in situations where “Immoral and Illegal” actions were taking place, all parties present at the time of incident should be given a chance to tell their side of the story. But that’s not the case and that seems to be one of the main problems with the system in place today. That, and that alone is why you get what we have here; a strange case of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, or better yet, Guilty Until Proven Guilty, and someone’s “good” name is being slandered. From the first year seasonal, to the upper echelon of the Forest Service food chain, we cannot afford to come to a conclusion after hearing just one side of the story. We have to get the other side as well. By getting both sides of the story early, you can avoid making a “knee jerk” reaction to a perceived injustice or further complicating an already delicate situation. This is easier to acknowledge than to do, but it is something we, as an agency, must recommit ourselves to if we are to lead ourselves and our organization to the best of our abilities.

Sincerely,

The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest

6/5 Diversity Hiring Hornets' Nest:

You asked where did we go wrong as an Agency?

My personal opinion of where the Forest Service in R-5 began its march towards inefficient hiring and chaos began as early as the mid 70’s. That is about the time individual Forest lost hiring control and all applications began to be “submitted & screened” at the RO level. Before that, people submitted applications to the Forest they wanted to work on and most of the workforce was local to that Forest. The 1st yr. of Regional hiring, many returning seasonal employees found themselves not being offered positions or being offered positions at lower grades. I was one of them, but got real lucky in finding a job in R-6 where you could still apply to the local Forest. Others did not fare as well.

Then in the early 80’s, R-5 attempted to settle a discrimination complaint by entering into a Consent Decree. The FS management pretty much agreed to hire a percentage of women found in the private workforce. (46%). The Consent Decree resulted in discrimination against not only men, but if you think about it, even women employed in R-5 might have been left out, as promoting women in R-5 did not increase the percentage of women, just moved the same number around.

Finding Qualified candidates was a challenge at best, and the agreed upon 46% was hard to achieve. Judge Conti grew impatient with the FS excuses, but the Decree was binding. Whether it was legal or moral, I can’t say. After all Quotas had been ruled illegal. The pressure was on to keep Line management out of jail.

One of the most brilliant?? decisions was to advertise jobs with the selection criteria being,” MUST Not Meet OPM –X118 standards. In a nutshell the person who would be selected could NOT meet the job qualifications. It also was the start of widespread discrimination towards a select group. ANYBODY QUALIFIED could not be considered. HMMM

The late Jerry Levitoff and others fought this in court as the Male Class Complaint, but we lost our case on technical grounds. If we had They Said and current technology back then to shed light on Line Officers actions, I believe our outcome may have been different, and today’s environment may have been different.

The hiring tactics and PC rhetoric and grievance procedures have been ingrained into the HR. culture, and seem to be the Standard in most public service employment. It is going to be hard to change.

Keep speaking up.

Fish01

6/5 NorCal Fire Season

The Sale Fire 6/3/13, which occurred along I-5 and the Sacramento River in Red Bluff should have been a wake up call...the river jungles usually don't dry out enough to get hard running fires this early...they are mostly green fuels and lots of 1000 hour fuels which should act as a heat sink and slow spread. It didn't happen.

In the Sac Valley PSA which covers the area from Whitmore to Stonyford, the Energy Release Component stands at 72, breaking the record for this time of year. The Stonyford 1000 hour Fuel Moisture is 9% which is critical FM in that area. That means the green and 1000 hour fuels are adding to the intensity, not slowing it.

I'm reading some talk on the net about dry conditions, but I don't hear anyone suggesting any solutions other than LCES. Situational awareness is important for sure, but Crew Leaders and Initial Attack IC's can make a difference.

Fighting fire is combat and the only good fight is one you win. Don't give the fire a chance, overwhelm it. This is a year when you should lean toward the Blitz Attack strategy. This season's fires have already demonstrated a strong resistance to control. Anticipate that; expect retardant burn through and lots of spotting. Review and revise your run cards.

Don't be afraid to augment the dispatch if you think you've got a working fire. Its a lot cheaper to return the crews to quarters than it is to staff a major fire.

This is a year when the fire will give the exam and the lesson at the same time. Be safe.

viejo

6/5 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Webcast Event

From: Beason, Rachel (HHS/OASH) [mailto: Rachel.Beason@ nospam hhs.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 8:20 AM
Subject: National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Webcast Event

We can all play can important role in suicide prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. On June 27, 2013, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Region V is hosting a live event and web cast on the tools and resources available to support the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention that will include participation by the U.S. Surgeon General, SAMHSA, and other partners in suicide prevention. Please share this webcast information with others in your community or consider hosting an echo site with a group in your community.

For registration and additional information on this event, please go to blsmeetings.net/ everyone plays a role

6/5 Diversity

I work in Region 3, and unfortunately the same situation has occurred at my District. Those with so called 'diversity status' have essentially filed grievances after being asked to be at work on time or input their time correctly. Their 'complaints' have been investigated at the highest levels, and all the scrutiny has been put on those who simply asked their employees to do their jobs! The Agency has given carte blanche to all those with 'diversity status' to challenge anyone who asks them to perform at a professional level of competency. Now I see what they mean by 'Cultural Transformation'.

-Dobro

6/4 Ab Note: Firefighting community, thanks for the personal inquiries. I haven't been able to read them or reply.

I've been offline for the last 5 days with a DSL failure. I have one of the oldest high-speed internet systems in my town and it finally gave up. The technician just came and fixed it. Last week the tech came and fixed the phone portion of the system.

Prior to that and concurrently with that, I was helping a formerly fit and healthy son who suddenly developed and almost died from acute pancreatitis from unknown causes (not alcoholism, not kidney stone, which account for 80% of acute cases; might have been scorpion bite; currently listed as unknown cause). Some of my most satisfying recent moments were watching him sleep in the dimly lit hospital room between 2 and 4 AM. He went back to work today with orders from the doc to come home for a nap if he needed to. We take our health and our family's health for granted. Please take every opportunity to show your appreciation and love to those who matter. Strange things can happen to good and fit people.

I'm back around, trying to keep on keeping on. I have just filled in posts with their arrival dates as they came in since May 30. There are several communications I did not post at the community member's request and one book I did not post or link to since I haven't read it. As for the rest, I do not know the validity of any communication or reply. I have definitely been "out of touch" and trust the firefighting community will use this forum appropriately. To those of you who sent in the fantastic photos, thank you! I'm not sure I'll get them posted. In the not-too-distant future you'll be able to post your own photos. Ab.

6/4 The Terrible Beauty of California's Powerhouse Fire
theatlantic.com

Last Thursday, a wildfire started in California's Angeles National Forest, north of Los Angeles, near a hydroelectric plant called as Powerhouse No. 1. The Powerhouse fire was pushed by erratic dry winds, destroying at least six homes near Lake Hughes, damaging many more, and leading to the evacuation of several thousand residents. Cooler weather has now allowed the firefighters to reach 60% containment of the fire, and some residents were allowed to return home. [28 photos]

Hotlist thread

6/4 Forest Service News Release today

US Forest Service adds night-flying helicopter to its suppression efforts in California
Effort adds additional helicopter to cooperators’ Southern California assets

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2013 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced today that the agency will begin night helicopter wildfire suppression operations this season in Southern California.

“The re-introduction of Forest Service night helicopter firefighting operations in Southern California further establishes the agency’s commitment to protect lives and property in the region,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “California has already experienced challenging wildfires this season, and is projected to continue to have a severe summer. Night flying operations will provide an aggressive agency initial attack while better ensuring public safety, minimizing overall fire costs and lessening impacts to communities.”

The program will begin this month, following the completion of aircrew and aircraft certifications and will support suppression efforts in the wildland urban interface areas within and adjacent to the Angeles, Cleveland, and San Bernardino national forests, and the southern half of the Los Padres National Forest.

The use of the agency’s night flying helicopter program will be determined by the Angeles National Forest and in coordination with local, county and state partners and will be assigned to incidents through normal dispatch protocols.

The Forest Service will also implement a night aerial supervision fixed-wing program to support the helicopter night flying operations. The program will include an agency-owned aircraft, agency pilot and an agency air tactical group supervisor. The aircraft will be equipped with technology to support night ground and air firefighting operations including an infrared camera and command and control avionics equipment.

The agency’s helicopter night flying operations will be consistently evaluated to determine if there is a benefit in terms of containing fires, preventing new starts from becoming large fires and potential cost savings in fire suppression. These benefits will be weighed against the safety, risk and costs of the program. If there is a measurable benefit and a documented need in other areas of the country, the Forest Service will evaluate expansion of the program.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

6/3 Always Remember Tanker 11 Todd Tompkins and Ron Chambless

Ab/Mellie

6/3 Blue skies forever Tanker 11.

6/3/12 1245 MST

Lone Peak IHC

6/3 Hello. Is there a site where an old hotshot can go to lookup old crew members.79/80/81 Texas canyon ?

Thank you for your help
James R Thomas

6/2 AB would you be able to post the FWFSA'as facebook link for us? Really trying to get more "likes"

facebook.com/FWFSORG

6/2 Cramer Fire

I was wondering if you had any recent follow up on the Cramer Fire. Did Allen actually serve jail time? In my brief review of the Cramer Fire, it appears that no one else (Ranger, FFMO etc.) where held accountable? Of course Allan was found operating outside the scope of his employment! He was doing everyone's job because leadership couldn't do their job! I think it would be worth highlighting the lack the actual fire experience our line officers have... Again.

Thanks

Sent from my iPhone

6/1 In response to "Some People's Children"...

The Core Values that we, as Firefighters are to uphold... such as "Honor, Respect and Integrity", I'd agree should be of the utmost importance, seeing as how we are considered to be Public Servants. People speak of Integrity... well, yes, let's cover the word Integrity, in depth. The dictionary defines Integrity, as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. But I would love to write Webster, and ask them to add on, "when no one is watching" at the end of that definition. Because one can show or have "Integrity", in front of others, but boom, the minute they are on their own, or by themselves... everything changes. It is important, that each and every one of us, holds ourselves to a higher standard, for the simple fact that we are entrusted BY the public, to do a greater good, than the average Joe Citizen.

As for Honor... it is defined as... to show respect. We must Honor (Respect) ourselves, our fellow firefighters, and the public, by always performing in a professional manner, with Respect and Integrity... and I hate using words, that I am already trying to define, but these three words, Honor, Respect and Integrity... they go hand-in-hand, at least in my eyes... Respecting ourselves, our supervisors, our subordinates and everyone else we may come in contact with, is a MUST!!

In regards to "The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest" last post... Supervisors are held, to an even Higher Standard, or Code of Conduct, wouldn't you agree? Supervisors should be Leading by Example, and should be the models for future supervisors to look up to!! After all, most supervisors in the Forest Service, are generally Responsible for their firefighter's lives and safety, so it is Imperative, that they act in accordance, with the title of Supervisor... meaning... they should have, almost to say... the most Honor, Respect and Integrity out of the 5 or 20 lives, they are responsible for... If a supervisor is lacking in these common standards, Honor, Respect and Integrity...then maybe the Agency can tailor make, an Ag-Learn Class for them, as opposed to removing them from their duty... but as you so relevantly put it, we all should have Honor, Respect and Integrity...and at this stage in our lives and careers, should've had that instilled in us, as we were growing up as adolescence.

It saddens me, to hear someone, who works in Region-5, blame the subordinates who only stood up for what was right, and said something to correct a situation, be labeled as a whistle-blower, or be accused of abusing the system in order to get what they want. After all, don't we, in the Agency, teach our junior firefighters, that if they see something wrong, to speak up?? If they see something unsafe, no matter the ridicule they feel they may face, if found to be safe after all... to go ahead and speak up??? Without fear of Reprisal??? The Agency mandates training, in this matter, YEARLY. It's called "Fear of Reprisal" for this simple fact, that if you see something that is unjust, or an act that is lacking Honor, Respect or Integrity, shouldn't you speak up, to "nip it in the bud"??? I am a firm believer that if you witness something illegal and you do not say anything, you are in a sense, CONDONING IT... you are allowing it to take place, and since you didn't say anything to correct the action, who's to say it won't happen again?? The incident or situation that you are referring to, regarding the Captain being removed from their detail, bears no matter to the fact of gender. Do research, in the matter, and you will find that there were actions taking place, that LACKED EVERY BIT of Honor, Respect and Integrity. And as a supervisor, don't we hold each other up to the highest levels of conduct?? Shouldn't we correct illegal actions?? Or should we just brush it aside, with maybe a slap on the wrist or a stern talking to?? There is PLENTY of History, here... and it is a sad day, when our junior firefighters, our up and coming leaders, stand up for what is right and speak the truth, for it will all come out in the end, after the investigation... that we try and crucify them, for doing what we in fact, are teaching them to do... the RIGHT THING.

"Whistle-blowing" and speaking up and saying something, when malicious events are taking place, has been all over the media these days. From Benghazi, to Region-5... the old days, of  "keep your mouth shut, head down and keep working"... are a thing of the Past! Yes, at times, it may be a little frustrating, conforming to the "Kinder, Gentler" world, but in the end, I feel it is for the Better! Treating everyone with Respect, Honoring our fellow human being and having Integrity, especially when entrusted with the Title of Supervisor, is a MUST on all forefronts. It is a privilege, to be trusted with the Title of Supervisor... that being said, it is Imperative, that if a Supervisor is NOT acting accordingly, they need to be looked at... thoroughly.

We EMPOWER our juniors, to do what is RIGHT. Even if it means, speaking up despite their initial fears of being made fun of, being ridiculed or chastised. The "Hard Right, Versus the Easy Wrong". I agree... take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you saw something immoral or malicious, taking place... could you or would you speak up and say something to correct it? Or are you the kind of person, that would look the other way, and hope it doesn't happen again? On my District, we once had a sheet of paper, that we all had to read and sign, every year. It was a District wide, Code of Conduct... and for the life of me, I cannot find it anywhere... (coincidence??) But it simply stated that we, as firefighters, are to treat everyone with Respect. We are not to bad mouth or spread rumor, of other individuals and that we are to act with Honor, Respect and Integrity. I am, still to this day, trying to track that piece of paper down... but in the event I cannot find it... I think I will write up a new one... one that covers the basic fundamentals of Honor, Respect and Integrity, and that covers how we are to act, towards one another, especially while on Duty...

I am PROUD to wear this uniform... PROUD to call myself a FIREFIGHTER... and PROUD to work for this Agency... but it breaks my heart, when people are criticized for doing what's right and standing up for themselves... for as an adolescent, I was taught to do what's right and to stand up for what I believe in. I am PROUD to work with other Firefighters who must have been brought up the same way as I was. Tough as it may be, if you feel, in your heart of hearts, that you are doing a righteous deed, and standing up for what is JUST... then have at it...!! I just hope you have other fellow Firefighters who will have your back, instead of stabbing you in it! It is often hard, to do the Right thing, especially when it feels like you're all alone on the matter... but you mustn't lose sight of the Greater Good...

I have FAITH in Today's Society, and I might even be alone on this one... but I think we are indeed, creating and modeling Leaders, that will surpass our Great Leaders of yesterday.

Respectfully,

"Proud to work with Righteous Individuals"

6/1 To: The one who kick=ked the hornets' nest."

You are one of many who have finally showed to me you are “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” You have finally brought forth the truth. “Truth is word no longer espoused in the management of the top tier of the US Forest Service. Now the buzz words are “Get it done, regardless of the costs!” We no longer see professional foresters and wild land firefighters. Now we get to see political hacks at work dismantling what they are led to believe is a “money waster.” WHAT? An organization of their making now failing? The personal payoffs under the table must be immense. Think about the results of s decision to abandon a team your group built? An open display of Bi-Polar Disorder or simple political expediency at one’s own personal gain. I admire your courage! The Tom’s must be laughing all the way to the bank. This just shows all of us in this esteemed fraternity what the real meaning on the word “Abandonment” means. Political expediency knows no bounds.

Normbc9

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