"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
||Admin Leave for Labor Day|
R9 Engine Captain
I often wondered this as well. I found the following information on
Back in 2003 the AFGE Social Security Council won a case in which FLRA
announced that it saw nothing in federal regulations that barred an
arbitrator from granting admin leave to an employee who is otherwise not in
a duty status. In this particular case, AFGE, 58 FLRAS 630, management had
granted four hours of admin leave to any employee who had come to work on
Friday, December 23, the day before the federal Christmas holiday was
observed. However, when the union asked if all the employees who were on
annual leave on the 23rd would get the time as well, management said they
would not. It had the same position regarding those who were off on an AWS
day or who worked part-time.
A grievance was filed and the arbitrator agreed with the union’s claim
that the contract required the employer to treat all employees alike. He
imposed the following as a remedy: “[T]he Agency make those field office and
teleservice center employees whole either by granting them four hours of
administrative leave, or, if they are part-time employees, granting them
administrative leave equal to one-half their part-time tour hours, to be
taken at a mutually agreeable time. Alternatively, they may be made whole by
restoring an equivalent amount of leave to their leave records.” (It is
important to note that the arbitrator found everyone was entitled to the
admin leave because management portrayed it as a reward for working hard
throughout the year. Whether he would have made the same decision about
admin leave granted for inclement weather purposes is unknown.)
The agency filed exceptions claiming that federal regulations barred
granting admin leave to employees not scheduled to work and cited 5 CFR
610.210 as the basis for that claim. FLRA ruled that it could find nothing
in that regulation, which merely defined the concept of “tour of duty,” that
barred granting the leave to those in non-duty status. It went on to remind
management that , “The Authority has long recognized that agencies have
broad discretion to grant administrative leave to employees for brief
periods of time, such as the 4 hours involved in this case.” In other words,
nothing in government-wide regulation entitled the non-duty employees to the
leave; the parties had negotiated for the entitlement.
We wanted to remind the FEDSMILL.com community about this case because,
like so many others, it is easy to lose sight of. As far as we can tell, it
has never been cited again. So, tuck this valuable precedent (AFGE, 58 FLRA
630) away in your memory for the next time management grants admin leave.
I have asked the question to my Forest Supervisor, and HR says that the
verbiage in the early release says that it is for Fed employees who are at work
and can be spared from work duties. But my issue is that the release also says
that it is basically a gift for doing good work for the Feds. I think that if
you have to stay at work, then you should be able to use that 66 time at another
time. I have run this up the chain, but have heard nothing.
New and really easy to use and read fire behavior and prediction system.
Developed by some very talented and long-experienced wildfire personnel.
||To All: Re HR 2858
First and foremost thank you to all of you who have raised the awareness of this
legislation. It remains frustrating that there are still so many federal
wildland firefighters across the country unaware of the FWFSA or the Foundation
or even wildlandfire.com and what they are trying to do for the wildland
Secondly, please do not use government resources i.e. phones, fax machines,
Gov't email addresses etc., to spread the word. As much as I wish you could, it
is prohibited by law so please use your own resources. Sadly times have changed.
In the early '90s those that started the FWFSA happened to be in the upper
grades and you'd get a job offer from them...only after filling out an FWFSA
membership application! Ah the good 'ol days. I think that would be frowned upon
That said, while spreading the word about this legislation is critical, it is
also important to know that the ability for a modest-sized employee association
to even get legislation introduced is a remarkable accomplishment. Setting the
foundation for change and establishing our credibility in Washington which has
led to such legislation has only been possible by those willing to help "pay the
freight" through their membership. Advocating before Congress and the highest
levels of Government is stunningly time-consuming, stressful and above all
expensive. On any given day in Washington there are thousands of people
representing hundreds of organizations all seeking the same thing: access to,
and the support of Congress. Most have far greater revenue & resources than the
FWFSA so it remains a daunting challenge to compete.
Pay freezes, coupled with the ever rising costs of living means disposable
income can be a rare commodity for many of you. However I think few groups or
organizations can be successful at establishing their credibility and getting
legislation introduced in Congress for a mere $ 10.00 a pay day. Our dues
structure has not changed in over 10 years because rather than trying to buy our
access or buy support in Washington, we simply work harder and are more
persistent. That said, building our membership will obviously generate
additional revenue allowing us to be even more aggressive in working to ensure
our Nation's federal wildland firefighters get the recognition they have
deserved for far too long as well as the pay & benefits they deserve for facing
& meeting the challenges and complexities of 21st century wildfires.
Incident Name: Station Fire, a 160,557 acre fire
Date: 8/30/09, 1439 hrs
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: Los Angeles County Fire Department
Fire Captain Tedmund Hall, age 47, Superintendent 16
Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, age 34, Foreman Crew 16-3
Always Remember Station Fire Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones
||Admin Leave for Labor Day
I was told by a coworker that they once read in the Federal Employees
Almanac that whenever admin leave is authorized (like the 2 hour excused absence
this Friday for Labor Day) that employees that are not able to be excused are
able to claim the both the 66 time as well as 31 time (holiday worked). Fire,
law enforcement, and often the front desk personnel are required to stay the
full day while others get a little extra time off. I always thought this to be
unfair and those that had to work should be duly compensated. My problem is that
I do not have an almanac available and I tried looking through the CFRs to find
this information but have been unsuccessful.
Just curious as to whether anyone else out there has heard this same thing
and if anybody knows where in the CFRs, FSHB, MA et. I can find this info.
R9 Engine Captain
||Making the rounds...
Subject: FW: H.R.2858, Wildland Firefighters
I was just made aware of the attached email that is being forwarded
throughout the fire community, and is attached below. Please insure that your
employees are aware that this is illegal and that no BLM employee should
forward, transmit, copy, or otherwise forward this e-mail or anything of a
similar nature. It is considered as lobbying, and is not allowed while on duty
or on a government owned computer. Any Federal employee who "shares" it using
government equipment is subject to strict discipline, which could result in a
suspension without pay. It could also invoke the presence of the Office of the
Any employee who has a copy of this should delete it, and it should not be
forwarded to any private e-mail account, even if it belongs to the employee.
Please call me if you have any questions at all. Paul
Paul R. Merlin III
ER, Adjudication, & Ethics
BLM Nevada, Office of Human Resources
Please support h-r-2858: the wildland firefighters protection act
Sounds pretty official... Nice work on spreading the message so far and
wide. It's come in from everywhere that the warning and its link should be
posted. HAW HAW HAW! All you federal firefighters out there, use your own
computers to sign the petition, but be sure you pass on the message to everyone
you know that they should do it on their own dime and time. Ab.
I'm hoping you can help me find some gloves. I did a search on your website,
but I didn't come up with anything. I have been searching all day long, looking
for a good pair of WLF gloves. I am specifically searching for leather, outseam
- sewn gloves with a strap. Do you have any advice? Thanks in advance.
||Crossfit Training Fundraiser for Granite Mountain Hotshots
If I could again trouble you to post information for a fundraiser for
families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots being held
this Saturday, 8/31,
at 950 Calle Amancer, San Clemente CA.
It's a crossfit challenge/workout that also includes
food/music/entertainment. $25 to participate and 100% of all money goes directly
to the families of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Thank you so much,
||Let's get back to basics
We always teach our firefighters “the basics” not
only to keep them alive but also for better efficiency in order for all their
suppression efforts to be meaningful. The same is true when you apply geospatial
technologies to wildland fire management. As wonderful as GIS is and how
user-friendly it has recently evolved, the basic premise is that it will never
replace the paper map. The attached PowerPoint presentation was given by Dave
Blankenship during our last Wildfire Special Interest Group meeting. Dave is one
of the smartest GIS Specialists I’ve ever met. I put him right up there with
Pyrogeography! While it is easy to get excited with what current technology
trends and social media is offering, I suggest that all interested firefighters
take a look at what Dave has to say and discuss this with the developers who are
making mapping apps for their devices.
ESRI UC Fire SIG pptx.pdf (350 K pdf)
||Was there any change in how ADs were dispatched this season?
Still Out There as an AD
||I saw something very cool while on a recent fire assignment, and it is
worthy of note:
While out, I interacted with several different types of teams and crews.
Contractors, Federal, State and local agencies whether there as engine crews,
shot crews, etc., Everyone seemed to be teaching and mentoring their newer guys.
A few years ago there was a lot of chatter, (especially in my agency) about
turnover. We could see a wave of our experienced guys headed out, and a lot of
us were concerned about the loss of hard-earned wisdom, especially in our
So the talking points were all about training, mentoring, and growing the folks
we had, and trying to be super careful while we were transitioning.
How cool was it then to see such solid results of this push? I really noticed it
when I went through a division, and spoke to a few folks along the way. There
was an Engine boss teaching his new guy about land navigation while they were
posted on a holding assignment. Just up the way from them was a Shot crew (a
really professional group that impressed me on all levels), and they were
working one of their guys on his firing boss qualifications during some burning
I bumped over to the next division, and parked by a contractor engine whose crew
were outside the truck, with the engine boss teaching his 2 partners about
taking weather, and showing them all types of stuff about the engine. Just down
the road, I watched another contractor teaching his 2 new guys all types of good
And these observations just represent 1 day, in a trip that was filled with more
of the same.
Across the board I was very impressed with the almost all of the guys I
It was so prolific that I decided not to call out specific names, but rather say
to our entire community that if what I saw recently was an indicator, then we
very much seem to be on a good path.
Kudos all around.
||Mellie, Any reports on this ? it Is on tonight's KIEM-TV news (Eureka) and
CHP site yesterday.
Contract water tender Rollover 8/28/13 1630 HR.
McKinleyville Man flown to Redding after major injury crash (brief news
report showing the topography)
A McKinleyville man was airlifted to Redding Wednesday after a crash near
Hoopa. California Highway Patrol Officers say it happened around 4:30 in the
afternoon. They say 49 year-old Kevin Antonsen was ejected from the water
tender he was driving back from delivering water to a nearby wildfire.
Officers say he was coming down Big Hill Road when he took a curve too
fast. The vehicle flipped multiple times down a 200 foot embankment throwing
Antonsen from the truck.
His water tender was being contracted by the US Forest Service. Antonsen
was flown to Mercy Hospital with major injuries. The Highway Patrol is
investigating if he was wearing his seatbelt, and if a mechanical issue with
the truck was a factor
Here's the brief announcement from the Corral Fire PIO this afternoon:
Corral Complex Water Tender Accident (like a 24 hr report)
I hope he makes a good and speedy recovery. The video shows how steep our
country is here in the Corral Fire country.
||Fire line short haul
Another short haul was done on the Kelley fire on the
sawtooth. Luckily a nps ship was there. Wish the forest service would buy off
on the short haul program.
||H.R.2858 Facebook support group
There is a
Facebook group called 'Federal Wildland Firefighters for Pay Reform and Equality'
that is building support for H.R. 2858, 'Wildland Firefighters Protection Act.'
There are links to contact your representatives, other petitions and
information on the bill.
The information recently posted about FMAGs is accurate. As long ago as 2008 I
had conversations with several western Senators and House members all raising
concerns about the increased abuse of the system. There were several ideas
discussed including increasing the threshold of costs; reducing the rate of
reimbursement; reducing the eligibility for the grants to communities based upon
average annual wildfire expenditures and many others. However no specific
actions have been taken to date.
As for the federal wildland firefighter legislation, that has taken on a life of
its own as well. So much so in fact that I was recently contacted by the
President of a State Firefighter's Association affiliated with the International
Association of Fire Fighters asking whether they could partner with the FWFSA to
provide similar benefits to their firefighters. I respectfully suggested that it
was the IAFF who they should be talking to not us. In another instance I
received a call from the wife of a state firefighter from another state asking
for help with getting their state firefighters better state benefits.
Both the IAFF and this other state association have far greater revenue and
resources than the FWFSA and I would suspect that if they have firefighters
paying dues to them they would consider their member's needs. Besides, we are
having a tough enough time getting Congress to get off their "anti-federal
employee" soap box and to understand that maintaining the status quo with
respect to archaic pay & personnel policies encumbering their federal wildland
firefighters will do nothing other than increase costs to the taxpayer.
Anyway, in 2009 concerns were raised by some in the private contractor sector
who claimed that the bill was an effort to eliminate contracting crews from the
federal wildfire scene, or to put them out of business etc. They inferred that
because the funding mechanism for the bill called for the reduction of
non-federal suppression resource costs over the three year Portal to Portal
pilot program, they would be included as "non-federal resources" and thus the
FWFSA was "taking food out of their baby's mouths." That is an actual quote from
an onslaught of folks who simply did not care to understand the facts of the
bill but wanted to get on the bandwagon and complain about something. I did
everything humanly possible to calm their fears. I offered to address their
representative organizations and made it very clear where we expected the land
management agencies would look to reduce costs.
It has never been our intent to eliminate any non-federal entity from the
federal wildfire scene. In fact we have tried very hard to provide a number of
funding scenarios that would utilize existing funding streams. I am of the firm
belief that there is sufficient money to pay for the costs of this legislation
within the existing suppression budget. It is simply a matter of managing those
dollars more efficiently and effectively. If that means eliminating some
excesses on the fire ground or in the fire camps then so be it. The fact is the
delivery of a federal wildfire program, paid for by taxpayers, has become a
financial feeding frenzy for some.
Congress has failed to provide proper oversight and incentives for the federal
agencies to be cost effective. Add to that the fact that what is arguably the
largest fire department in the world and its appropriated dollars is managed by
land managers and "ologists" (no disrespect intended), who, in many instances
develop policy based on political pressure, and we have a program that needs
Should this legislation be enacted, I do not foresee any private contract firm
being put out of business because of it. In fact there are far more pressing
concerns for the contract industry relating to resources ordering than this
Those of you in the wildland firefighting business, whether you be federal,
state, Local Gov't or private, know what's going on. The FWFSA is not advocating
for the feds to do it all. Yes, there is a push from many for the Government to
take fire away from the land management agencies and create a separate &
distinct federal wildfire agency. However no one wants another FEMA either.
Maybe by implementing a few simple reforms to at least level the playing field a
bit will provide taxpayers with a more efficient & effective federal wildfire
response. After all that should be the priority...not how much someone can make
off the Federal Gov't.
Ready for the poison-tipped arrows...
Casey Judd, President
||Type 3 engine help:
I was wondering if you can send this out to any contacts you know we desperately
Hello all I am coming to you all asking for help Stevens Creek Volunteer Fire
Department is in need of a Type 3 engine. We have an old Squad type 2 that does
not fit our need or mission that we don't dare drive except for a parade
With the fire season currently as it is and expected to be, we need help! Does
anyone know where we can get such an engine? We are a 100% Volunteer Fire
Department in Northern California in the SCU. We don't get funding from the
county or outside to fund items like this so it is paid out of the Firefighters
pockets and donation from the community. Currently we operate 3 type 6 patrols
3/4 ton pickups with 125 gallon tanks and pumps. but not enough to accomplish
any real work.
If anyone knows of good resources or has one they know of please give me a call
Andrew R. Hall
Stevens Creek Volunteer Fire Department
Where to begin. You clearly have no concept as to the purpose or use of FMAG.
FMAG has very specific criteria for approval and use. These applications are
closely scrutinized so as to prevent your exact allegations.
"Audits performed have clearly shown agencies ordering excessive,
un-needed resources solely for the purpose of reaching the $1.5 million
threshold so they can apply for a grant."
Which audit specifically? If this was proven in an audit then an
investigation would have been initiated and charges brought forward for
misappropriation of funds.
"Ever wonder why, since California is supposedly in such dire financial
shape, Cal-Fire has the funds to contract with DC-10s and 747s at $24,000 an
hour, flying or not? The feds end up paying the bill."
CAL FIRE has not had a contract with the DC-10 in over three years due to
fiscal considerations. However, the USFS has an exclusive use contract with the
DC-10 this year. As well as trying to facilitate a contract with the 747 which
ended up failing due contract issue. I find it ironic that you accuse the USFS
of paying for CAL FIRE's bills. All the while CAL FIRE continues to subsidize
Region 5 Aviation with its Airtanker fleet on every fire in the Region due to a
lack of Federal aviation resources and program planning. State tax payers paying
for Federal incidents.
"So when federal wildland firefighters are told by their elected
officials and their employing agency that they can't afford to reform pay &
benefits for federal wildland firefighters it's because their own boss, the
Federal Government, is paying everyone else's bills."
Casey has to be applauded for his tireless efforts in attempting to negotiate
fair and equitable salary and benefits packages for your rank and file. The
truth of matter is until there becomes a one Federal Fire Agency. USFS,BLM,
USFWS, etc, combined. The USFS will not recognize the hard work and dedication
of their Rank and File brothers and sisters. So its not the Fed government
paying others bills. Its the fact they don't want to recognize you as
Firefighters because then they would have to pay you as one.
If you want complain about your agencies lack of fiscal management go ahead,
however don't drag agencies that try very hard to be stewards of the State of
California tax payer dollar into your argument with none factual information.
CAL FIRE Jake
||To: DB regarding hiring
Here is a great way to get your foot in the door.
Vegas Valley Hand Crew
The federal government has determined that the Rim Fire is eligible for the Fire
Management Assistance Grants administered by FEMA. I don't believe that there is
a dollar threshold to pass as the criteria include "threats to lives and
property' and so on. However the Rim Fire easily meets the definition for 75%
CALFIRE cancelled the contract on the DC 10 tanker years ago. It is being hired
on a call when needed basis and the federal land management agencies are using
it all over the Western United States. The 747 from Evergreen is not being used.
I can find no reference to it this year using Google.
Waste and fraud are part of any government programs whenever other peoples money
is being used. The scale of waste and fraud increase with the hierarchy or the
The federal government currently borrows over 40% of every dollar it spends. As
a simple example a $1million grant has $400,000 borrowed and so on to larger
FMAG and FEMA were created by the Congress of the United States and Administered
by the President, they are responsible for the management of the program.
The issue as to how federal employees are compensated has no connection to FMAG.
Sorry folks, it's all politics.
||Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of Wildland Firefighters (followup to Bill
Arsenault's post 2/14/2013):
I just wanted to let you know the Fall Edition of the Journal of the Special
Operations Medicine (JSOM) has 3 TBI related articles. It will be out mid- to
late-September. Subscribe to it now if you aren't already.
Michelle DuGuay Landers
Publisher & Editor, Journal of Special Operations Medicine
Lt Col, USAFR/NC (Ret)
Office: (727) 748-7141
Cell: (727) 409-8603
||A wildland firefighter Oscar Montano-Garcia died of an apparent heart attack
on 8/25 during a lunch break with his crew that was rehabbing the Nabob Fire on
the Oregon/California border. Here's the
Always Remember Page for Oscar Montano-Garcia. Our condolences to his
immediate and extended family. They asked early-on for privacy so little
information was made available to the media and we refrained from posting.
(Thanks, contributors for understanding.)
Also thanks to the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation for their support of his loved ones. Oscar's service is
on the weekend, but only for family. Engines and firefighters did offer to
participate, but privacy was requested.
Also, thanks to the FS for the CISM gathering provided to those who tried to
help Oscar; it was much appreciated.
It is reassuring and comforting to know we have a safety net of support from
our WFF -- from financial to travel, lodging, etc --and from our US Forest
Service management for the families and fellow firefighters that need us.
||There is a proposed bill that contains the language that "firefighters" from
federal land management agencies have been pushing for (creation of a
firefighter classification, inclusion of hazard pay in retirement calculations,
portal to portal pay...)
There are currently two petitions that you can sign in support of HR 2858, one
on change.org and one at whitehouse.gov. The White House petition takes an extra
second to sign because you must create a username (I think this is why it
currently has less signatures). The extra time is worth it, so we can get the
attention of the President and Congress. The White House is obligated to respond
to every petition that gets 100,000 signatures. Every firefighter, family
member, friend, and supporter should sign both.
Petition for HR2858, the Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
||Hooray for the Rim Fire. An FMAG is coming!
Let's talk FEMA Grants... also known as FMAGs (Fire Management Assistance
There is no doubt that the FMAG program, used as intended, is a much needed
boost to many local government fire agencies who find themselves spending a
considerable amount of money when a wildfire comes calling. This is great for
communities who are not necessarily prone to raging wildfires each season.
The program allows for reimbursement of up to 75% of the agency's firefighting
costs. To be eligible to apply for a grant, a fire agency must reach a threshold
of expenditures, I believe at present it is $1.5 million.
Those of you in the business know how quickly $ 1.5 can be spent... especially
with all the modern services provided to camp dwellers; the cost of large frame
aircraft etc. In fact $1.5 million could mean a day's worth of resources.
Now for the bad news. As with any federal program, it is abused. There is an
active dialogue in Washington DC among members of Congress regarding the abuse.
Some suggest the threshold ought to be increased while others believe the
percentage of reimbursement should be reduced. Audits performed have clearly
shown agencies ordering excessive, un-needed resources solely for the purpose of
reaching the $1.5 million threshold so they can apply for a grant.
Ever wonder why, since California is supposedly in such dire financial shape,
Cal-Fire has the funds to contract with DC-10s and 747s at $24,000 an hour,
flying or not? The feds end up paying the bill.
The irony in reviewing many of the audits is the fact that in many areas, the
overwhelming belief of the electorate (voters) and local & state government
leaders is of the mind-set that the Federal Government is too big, too intrusive
etc. Yet when it comes time to a hand-out, the Federal Government can't respond
fast enough and can't dole out enough dollars.
So when federal wildland firefighters are told by their elected officials and
their employing agency that they can't afford to reform pay & benefits for
federal wildland firefighters it's because their own boss, the Federal
Government, is paying everyone else's bills.
This is a simplistic explanation of the matter but I'm sure Mr. Judd could, if
he cares to, add something of value to this discussion?
There are 19, and only 19 that know why they left the
apparently safe area, period. The investigation will tell us what happened as a
result of being where they were and will likely cite systemic problems with the
crew, the administration of the crew etc etc etc. But only those 19 know why
they did what they did. Does it really matter if it was the sups first fire of
the season? Every sup in the country had a first fire of the season didn't they?
What matters is whether or not he was qualified as a sup. The entire crew went,
no one refused the assignment and stayed back so does that mean they all agreed,
we will never know.
There will likely be a long laundry list of findings and recommendations come
out of the investigation. To me the important stuff will be was in fact the crew
and its overhead qualified and properly signed off on. If not then why not and
who was responsible. If so, the rest is kind of moot in a way. Regardless a bad
decision was made with a horrific result and it pains me that we as a community
are going through another one of these.
||Sun Valley Benefit for the
wildland firefighter safety net:
Vicki Minor of the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation called this morning gushing with good feelings for the people of Sun
Valley (plus Ketchum and Hailey) who did a WFF fundraiser in honor of wildland
firefighters. She said the ice show in Sun Valley was spectacular. The
fund-raising dance, dinner BBQ and band were off the chart! It rained and people
were dancing in the rain! Everyone was so supportive and thankful and happy. She
felt very honored to have been invited to participate and share the festivities
in honoring the firefighters!
Kudos and THANKS to the people of Sun Valley for their generous way of saying
thanks to wildland firefighters!
||FEMA provides federal funding for the Rim Fire in/near Yosemite NP.
from the hotlist...
||Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
Ab, please post this important petition for folks to sign: Please join this
Please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
Fighting the Good fight
||Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
Could you please pass this on to They Said?
There is a petition that is making the rounds in support of H.R.2858, ‘The
Wildland Firefighters Protection Act.’ It would be really helpful if folks could
take a minute to sign the petition at this site:
Please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
Thank you for all that you do and please stay safe.
||Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
Please sign the petition and pass it along to your friends. Petition in support
HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act
||Sickened by comments of the Division Chief (DC ) of Granite Mtn HS...
You may or may not want to post this, your call!
I haven't commented in a looooong time, but I couldn't resist commenting on
this piece about the Granite Mtn HS.
This article goes into whether or not they should have been dispatched to the
fire that day due to R&R schedules if they currently met the standards of a Type
I & other staffing issues. And while those are important issue, as anyone who
has participated in managing, staffing & certifying of a wildland fire crew
knows, to me (and other old fire dogs who were cited in the article) the
comments from their immediate supervisor, the Prescott FD's Wildland Fire
Division Chief (DC), and his role on managing the crew are the most telling
about a much deeper problem.
While we all keep wondering why they left they black. The DC standing in
front of the press, at the fatality site in a Granite Mtn HS shirt & sunglasses,
says; "It was just one of those things that happened. You can call it an
accident. I just say that God had a different plan for that crew at this time."
What an unbelievably ignorant and repulsive statement!
He then speculates that they probably left the safety of the black as "They
were not satisfied, and no wildland firefighter is satisfied sitting there and
watching the fire progress without doing, taking some action.", and he believed
the Granite Mountain crew left its safe position in the charred area to protect
the ranch, then goes on to say. "You know, it’s all speculation at this point in
time," the DC said. "But in my heart, I would know they are not protecting
themselves … They are going to protect that ranch." WTF!
And there is talk about reforming the crew next season. WHAT!
Keep up the good work.
Just another old fire dog.
Scientific research shows that 1) People try to make sense of terrible
events using whatever attribution or misattribution they have available,
including God. 2) People want and need to feel good about themselves. It's
unfortunate we have such a public front-row seat to the Prescott Emergency
Services Wildland Division Chief's personal process. Beyond that, let's wait for
the results of the investigation. Condolences to all involved who still suffer
from this tragedy. Ab/Mellie
In a memo this evening to NBC Nightly News, the FWFSA urged the network to ask
Congressional leaders why they created the FLAME Fund for the express purpose of
eliminating the need for budget transfers then refused to provide adequate
funding for the Flame Fund resulting in the Forest Service Chief's announcement
that the Agency would resume budget transfers.
In a report airing tonight on NBC News, it was reported the "Federal Government"
was running out of suppression money and a representative for NIFC compared the
budget transfers (apparently in excess of $ 600 million) to what families have
to do with their budgets from time to time!
So for those of you planning on contacting your elected officials about our
current legislation, you might want to ask them the same question posed above.
You ought to either get no answer or a pretty interesting one.
||Esperanza fire movie: sent in by CT
Sean O'Keefe to script Tragic Wildfire Tale "The Esperanza Fire"
Legendary Pictures has closed a deal with Sean O’Keefe to adapt The Esperanza
Fire, based on the John Maclean book about a wildland fire started by an
arsonist that killed a tightly knit forest service engine crew that bravely
battled the blaze.
Don't expect much from politicians who are already willing to throw
firefighters under the bus for political convenience in March to come to our
rescue in August. When the budget games start here in a month expect to be used
as pawns once again... kinda tacky when their congressional districts are on
fire- but not surprising.
Without holding them accountable (and re-electing them because they are
snappy dressers) we get to enjoy the same show over and over again while we
complain and try to guess how many firefighters that we can budget for in
Grumpy Professor Gumby
||To Beth Lund and her wonderful Team
How to thank you for all you have done for Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley?
Please know our prayers, gratitude and awe are with you, your team and your
families. Thank you for your dedication, service and going more than the extra
mile to keep our homes, community and each other safe.
Thank you for your leadership at the community meetings and your calm and
reassuring manner. I am so grateful to all of your team for saving our beautiful
slice of heaven!
Gratefully, Rebecca Grace, Ketchum, ID
||I saw a link to the
Fires of 1910 Documentary (posted by Smokey307 and Sammie) on the Hotlist.
Watched the 30 min documentary and summarized it on the 1910 Big Blowup/Big Burn
Always Remember page.
The fires burned more than 3 million acres in 2 days, 8/20 and 8/21/1910, 103
years ago. For those who missed the 100th anniversary in 2010, it was an awesome
history lesson. For those fighting all the fires in ID and across the West, it
makes me say Stay Safe!
Here's the Documentary Summary and link:
The Great Fire of 1910 Documentary On YouTube (30 min 47 sec), created by
Summary: The story of Roosevelt, Pinchot and the early days of the Forest
Service, firefighters bushwacking cross-country in the vast roadless forests to
find the fires, lack of communication; culture war between the anti-public
conservation force in Congress and the pro-conservation President; creation and
future of land management and formation of policy, the 1910 fire season with
need to call on logginng and mining companies and pick-up labor, US Army called
in for assistance with discipline. Ed Pulaski's crew, John Bell's Crew,
Debbitt's Crew, Soldiers - Black Soldiers in Avery and Wallace ID saved the
towns amidst racism. Trains for evacuation. Lee Hollingshead's crew. Chapman's
poem. Surviving crews, how they survived. Pinchot and Roosevelt used the fire as
the launch point to save conservation. Pulaski tool, paramilitary command
structure to provide leadership, bringing in outside labor forces to fight
fires, debate of issues 1) do we want to fund firefighting, 2) do we want to
prevent fires with Rx fire, and discussion of other issues, all began with the
After spending a considerable amount of my FS career in Silviculture along with
many other fire folks I know, I was always amazed at the amount of KV funds
specifically collected for reforestation that were sucked off by Washington
during big fire years. KV funds to the FS financial management folks are like
the Social Security funds managed by our congress........ if you need some, just
The rules for spending KV funds are very specific as to what can be done with
them. They can only be used for the specific job they were collected for (site
prep, planting, thinning, so forth and so on). That's why I always wondered how
they could just be milked off the top when fire funding exceeded the budget. IF
there were more options available for the use of the collected funds (use to be
millions upon millions) a lot of that ground out there that needs fuel treatment
could be managed better, but the restricted regulations forbid that. Still seems
to me that it would be better to treat and manage the forest than to just dish
out the funds to pay the fire cost that could possibly be greatly reduced by
better land management.
Guess better land management with all the political influence is an
impossibility though....... so just keep on sucking off those reforestation
management funds till they're all gone and see what options are available then.
A note to all the '87 friends I know......... what does the Rim Fire remind you
of? Remember how many times the fire pushed past Groveland and Bucks Meadows,
firing off Hwy 120, Pilot Peak LO, three fire fronts headed for Cherry Lake
spike. Day of past return.
GAO report says Forest Service failed to make case for firefighting aircraft:
Hotlist Discussion thread
||text of PL 5 Briefing Papers, Talking Points and News Release
NIFC News: National Wildfire Preparedness Moves to Highest Level (News
FAM Briefing Paper on Key Points -Steve Gage
FAM Briefing Paper on Key Points -Tom Harbour
||Forest Service Financial effects...
We can’t use our purchase
cards for anything but p-codes.
FS Correspondence: 2013 Fire Transfer Activity; Deferring Other Financial
FS Chief's Letter: 2013 Fire Transfer Activity; Deferring Other Financial
Fire Transfer Strategy (htm)
The Rocky Mountain Type 1 IMT was staged in Boise last week. While
we were there we all made several visits to the WFF and the Wildland
Firefighters Monument at NIFC. Noticing that the Monument could use a little
sprucing up, a group of us spent an afternoon weeding the entire site and
clearing around the markers. We hauled away 2 pickup loads of weeds and tree
branches. Here is a link to our Facebook page (we are the IMT that has the
Facebook page dedicated just to Thank You’s to the firefighters on our
incidents) that contains some photos and a description of what we did.
facebook.com/ RockyMtn. Type1. IMT.PIOs
Vicki has also posted some of the photos on the WFF Facebook page as well!
Rocky Mtn IMT1
Nice and thanks for the Wildland Firefighter Monument cleanup. Ab.
||On August 21, 1937, fifteen firefighters lost their lives and 38 were
injured on the Wyoming Blackwater Fire. Most were teen-agers and young twenty-somethings,
members of the CCC.
You can read their story on
Always Remember the Blackwater Fire fallen. There's also a
Blackwater Staff Ride posted on the Fire Leadership LLC website.
||On August 20, 1993, two firefighters lost their lives on the Glen Allen fire
You can read their story on
Always Remember the Glen Allen Fire fallen.
Thanks, man. Ab.
||Sun Valley Ice Performance, WFF Fundraiser
We are pleased to announce a
special Sun Valley on Ice Performance this Saturday (Aug 24th). As a tribute to
firefighting efforts, all General Admission seats will be free to the public!
Donations for seats accepted with 100% going to the
Get your tickets at the Sun Valley Recreation Center 208-622-2135 or
||ICS 201 iPad
I thought it was time to chime in on the importance Incident Documentation on an
incident. InciNotes™ is an exclusive and the first of its kind ICS 201 & ICS 214
documentation application for the iPad™.
Here is a brief history out of the InciNotes™ user manual, it tells the story
how important Incident Documentation can be. My actions came under fire and I
would hope that one would have to go through what I went through:
The concept for InciNotes was conceived by Will Spyrison, a retired
Division Chief from the Los Angeles River Ranger District, Angeles National
Forest with 16 years of experience as a Type 3 Incident Commander and 13
years as Operations Section Chief Type 2. All of his experience was put to
the test when one of the largest fires seen by the US Forest Service in
California, the “Station Fire”, consumed 160,571 acres and threatened lives
and property in the Angeles National Forest in August of 2009.
Will used a handcrafted version of the ICS 201 document to capture an
unprecedented level of detail during the Initial Attack of the Incident,
proving his Leader’s Intent as a Type 3 IC, and allowing a step-by-step
analysis of additional problems or areas of improvement.
The document survived a thorough National Fire Review, Government
Accountability Investigation, and a Congressional hearing, where the
standard-issue 201 would have fallen well short. Having survived the reviews
and investigations, and receiving praise for the completeness of his 201,
Will began searching for ways to bring Incident Management documentation
into the digital age.
“Never in my Forest Service Firefighting career did I think my actions would
be caught up in a political firestorm”. This is a must read article, I found
this article about the time I started the InciNotes™ project.
ICS 201: How to Create Order from Chaos
Checkout incinotes.com or
My words of wisdom to all Firefighters and Emergency Responders, Document
Nice job, Will. Ab.
After reading all of Casey’s reports about his
meetings and conversations over the past few weeks and then reading the comments
from people responding to what he wrote, it just confirms the fact that Fed Fire
needs to become a reality. Maybe then, we can gain some respect.
Ha Rocky Mountain Coordination Center shows UTF on Engines sit owned
Region 2 Contractor.
||AK: Saw some interesting fire behavior the other day...
My name's Tim Whitesell, I'm an ATS for the State of Alaska Division of Forestry
on ASM Alpha 4.
We watched what I'd say is the largest fire whirl I've seen in over 20 years of
fire the other day (August 16) and managed to get some of it on film in between
gawking. We posted it on You Tube last night, thinking it might be a good
educational tool for whoever wanted it.
I thought I'd try to post a link here on They Said also, but I'm not sure how or
Here's the link if you interested:
youtube.com (2 min 25
Thanks for maintaining a terrific online resource for the pounders!
This is the very reason I hold ZERO faith in politicians. Mindless mutants
serving whomever brings them the most cash come election time. Do they actually
care about us? Hell no. This is why my money goes to the WFF and why I volunteer
my time there. We are family, and family takes care of each other.
Tired of the BS politics and a system that has failed miserably - led by
those who couldn't find a Pulaski if it was firmly planted...
Well we tried. I received a reply from the
Communications director for Sen. Wyden of Oregon indicating that I'd be hearing
from Sen. Crapo's (ID) office. I did. What I got was "didn't you see the Senator
just a couple of weeks ago? Sorry, they won't have time to see you they need to
get to another event in Sun Valley."
It isn't the first time that some have confused the FWFSA with the Foundation
but I guess I had placed a bit too much faith in our elected officials to know
the difference and to know that the Foundation existed in Boise. There can be no
question on anyone's mind why these politicians seem unable to accomplish much.
If they aren't aware of their own constituency groups (and I know the Foundation
cannot dabble in politics) right under their nose, then we, as those who support
the Foundation need to educate them.
Prescott takes the cheapskate approach to dead Yarnell firefighters
Land of the free, home of the brave -- town of the cheapskates? Say it isn't
so, Prescott, Ariz. In June, 19 firefighters from Prescott’s Granite Mountain
Interagency Hotshot Crew were killed fighting a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz. And
although the fire killed them all equally, the city now says they’re not: Six of
the dead men were full-time city employees, and thus their families are entitled
to full-time survivors benefits, including healthcare. The other 13, though,
were part-timers. The city has a special category for those families: out of
luck. (more at the link...)
This is a sad state of affairs all around. I hope AZ can get it resolved.
||Lightning fires from central Idaho:
nice images from Earth Observatory from space and and from the ground.
||Here's a sweet set of supportive text messages from yesterday afternoon. I
put them in touch with the WFF, Ab.
First text message: So my kids did a fund
raiser 2 days ago to raise money for the wildland firefighters and we dont know
where to take the money
Ab's reply: Please contact the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to
donate there. They are the best supporters of our fallen wildland firefighters.
Thanks so much for raising money for wildland firefighters. Tell your children
thanks. (and an invitation to tell me more to share with the firefighters.
Line by line reply from the fundraisers:
Thank you so much for the reply the kids decided they wanted to raise money to
by the firefighters the things they had been asking for like socks toothb
rushes and things of that nature. They made lemonade and they bought donuts and
sold them and also did face painting they raised 65 dollars when we were
told they were not taking any more donations. Kids were very sad but said they
wanted the firefighters to have the money because thats what it was raised
for so we were given your web page to see if you could help us get it to the
firemen since that was who it was raised for thank you again for the respo
nse the kids will be happy to read your e mail. god bless you and all the
firefighters out there risking their lives to keep us safe.
Ab question: What area are you in?
Reply: We r in grants pass oregon
Thanks, kids and parent! Ab.
||Let's get some Congressional attention to the WFF:
Hi to All,
I've been advised by staff of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
that Senator Wyden of Oregon and Idaho's 2 Senators Risch & Crapo who I just met
with two weeks ago in DC will be visiting NIFC (across the street from the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation) next Tuesday the 20th as the press release
states: "to thank firefighters..." Not sure how many firefighters they'll meet
at NIFC given the fact Idaho and most western states are burning up, but
nonetheless, there are wonderful people at NIFC.
That said, I would like to encourage those of you in the wildland community if
you are from Oregon to contact Sen. Wyden's State Communications Director Tom
Towslee at 503-326-7539 and as I did, suggest that the Senators also take the
time to walk across the street to see (as Vicki put it so well in a call this
evening with me) "the real cost of wildland firefighting" at the Foundation.
If you are from Idaho, since Congress is in recess, call Sen. Crapo's Boise
office at 208-334-1776 and Sen. Risch's Boise office at 208-342-7985. Let them
all know that you would like them to visit the WFF and the memorial during their
I plan on heading over to the Foundation Monday evening and it would be great to
see an outpouring from those who support he Foundation to help get these
politicians to see the folks who help our community sop much.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your
consideration of participating in this effort.
||Answer for Phill Dupree re tanker bases:
Go to “fire.ca.gov
and then click on “Contact us.” Then go through the North and South region units
lists. I can tell you there are many and all are long term tenants on the
following air bases. Redding, Chico, Grass Valley, Rohnerville, Ukiah, Santa
Rosa, Columbia, Hollister, Paso Robles, Fresno, Porterville, Hemet/Ryan, Ramona
and the use of Minden or Reno when the need arises. For copters there is
Intermountain (Bieber) Vina, Kneeland, Howard Forest, Boggs Mountain, Alma, Bear
Valley, Columbia, Prado, Hemet, Gillespie and Ramona. All are permanent
buildings and all are maintained year long. I hope this helps.
Ab thanks for this post.
Here's a Klump Pump. Set up by Gunner Johnson, Cal Fire
Captain Oakhurst Station 12 on Aspen fire, Minarets Heli-Spot for crash fire
rescue and dust abatement. This was the first time used in this capacity. It was
filled by an OES WT from the Bay area and staffed by H502 crew from Scott
Valley. Photos compliments of AJD (FS Retired) (0813)
Thanks, I put them on the
Equipment 19 photo page. Ab.
I check your site out often but have never written or posted
there. I'm not sure where this should go (theysaid, hotlist, etc) but I'm sure
you can help me pass this on.
First of all I just wanted to let you know what a great thing I think
Wildlandfire.com is. I am a former FS Type II hand crew member and use your site
almost daily to keep up with what is REALLY happening in the wildland
firefighting world these days. Thank you for all of your hard work to keep this
site up and running.
On to the real reason I am emailing you though. I just want to let the fire
community know of a fantastic product I recently found that helps prevent
chafing of the skin. The product is Gold Bond Friction Defense stick. It is like
a deodorant stick that your rub onto your skin at any friction points. I use it
everyday at my current job and it works wonders. It is astronomically better
than body powder because it does not turn into a gooey paste with a little
perspiration. I have found that just a little bit goes a long ways and it lasts
for the entire day. For about $5 a stick will last you a quite a while. My
suggestion would be to have 2 sticks though, one for the feet, underarms, points
where line gear straps rub, etc. and one for the more private regions of the
body. I am IN NO WAY associated with Gold Bond or any other company that makes
this product or something similar. I am just a former wildland firefighter who
knows how much of a problem chafing can be on the fire line, especially in a
spike camp where showers are not available. I just wanted to take a little bit
of my time to pass this information along to help keep my brothers a bit more
comfortable as they battle these blazes.
I have posted the link so you can quickly learn more about the product if you
Stay Safe Out There,
||"hero" workout in honor of the fallen Granite Mountain IHC -- August 31,
On August 31, 2013 the Crossfit community is going to do a "hero" workout
in honor of the fallen Granite Mountain IHC. In honor of this I have been
working with Arbor Crossfit (crossfitarbor.com/)
to host a workout and fundraiser for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Arbor
Crossfit (Boise) has so graciously volunteered their facility to host the event
on August 31 at 1200. We are working on what the workout will be, but it will be
scalable. Even if you are unable to do the workout, come cheer on those that are
and show support for the Foundation and everything they do.
The plan is to spread the word through NIFC, BLM, Forest Service, local fire
departments, and surrounding Crossfit gyms to see how many people we can get to
support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
I will send more information as we get closer. In the meantime, please mark the
date and spread the word.
BLM Fire Operations - Training
Assistant National Training Officer
Klump Pump set up by Gunner Johnson Cal Fire Captain Oakhurst
Station 12 on Aspen fire, Minarets Heli- Spot for crash fire rescue and dust
abatement. This was the first time used in this capacity. It was filled by an
OES WT from the Bay area and staffed by H502 crew from Scott Valley.
AJD (FS Retired)
Federal wildland firefighters, and for that matter anyone who reads TheySaid
have a unique opportunity to help Congress intelligently address the costs of
wildfire suppression. While in Washington I was asked by the Senate Energy &
Natural Resources Committee to come up with a list, preferrably from
firefighters in the field as to ways the Agencies can reduce suppression costs.
Yea I know this might sound odd coming from the FWFSA whose legislation has cost
factors but the issue is HOW to spend FIRE dollars, not that more is needed. So
anyone with any ideas, especially gleaned from what you see out in the field
that you think could be reduced or changed to be more effective & efficient,
please contact us.
Congress is in recess ( I guess out playing in the sandbox) and will be back
"hard at work" in September. Recognizing the stunning number of fires raging in
the West I know your time is valuable but again, if you have any ideas that we
can pass along it would be greatly appreciated. As always you can email me at
email@example.com. Thanks very, very much.
Casey Judd, President
||thanks for NOT remembering Caleb Hamm, LODD 7/7/11
Condolences for your loss. Caleb, by all accounts, was a fine firefighter
and a delightful individual. Please feel free to send in a reminder next year. I
only post what comes in when I am out of town. Ab.
||Dear MHS MOM,
Thanks for your post regarding reform legislation. The issues are complex and it
is clear that despite years of educating those in Congress, there are still many
there who do not understand or in some cases don't care to understand the issues
facing our Nation's federal wildland firefighters and how those issues also
adversely affect our Nation's taxpayers.
The fundamental premise for this legislation is to reform several out-dated pay
& personnel policies that have encumbered our firefighters to the point that
many are leaving the federal system. Not only is there a mandatory retirement at
age 57, but many are eligible for federal firefighter "early retirement."
Additionally those that should be coming up in the ranks are leaving for other
fire agencies where they can make more money.
Sufficient studies have concluded that federal wildland fire resources are
inherently less expensive when compared to many non-federal resources. Those
non-federal resources come not only with salaries that are often times higher
than federal salaries, they also come with lucrative cooperative agreements that
send the overall cost of such resources significantly higher. That said, and
with the expectation that some in this community will take exception to these
comments, not all non-federal fire resources are created equal. In some area of
the country they may even make less than federal firefighters.
However when you look at the overall costs including salaries and "add-ons"
included in many cooperative agreements, it is clear that in many cases, the
federal wildfire response has become a financial feeding frenzy for many (not
all) to the detriment of our federal wildland firefighters and the taxpayers.
The FWFSA has never advocated the elimination of non-federal resources from the
federal wildfire response. However, the land management agencies' refusal to
"take care of their own" has caused losses of federal resources resulting in an
over-reliance by the agencies on higher-priced non-federal resources. We believe
that implementing these reforms will have a dramatic, positive impact on
recruitment & most importantly retention and allow the agencies to begin to
reduce, NOT eliminate their over-reliance on some higher-priced resources and
thus level the playing field a bit. This in turn will save taxpayers money. The
key of course will be for the agencies to start to manage their FIRE dollars
more efficiently and effectively.
I would be more than happy to provide you and anyone else with bullet points and
fact sheets the FWFSA has put together on some of the bill's provisions. Putting
them all here on TheySaid would simply take up too much space. Anyone interested
in learning more, especially those who are friends and family to our federal
wildland firefighters, can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly provide you with additional information.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
||The southern California fire ecology debate plot thickens:
In June the
ubiquitous Dr. Richard Minnich said:
But Minnich, the fire ecology specialist and UC Riverside geography
professor, said the lack of rainfall may cause some fire predictions to fizzle.
Minnich said the drought has limited the growth of new grass that could fuel
“I just don’t expect enough fuel to carry a fire, except on a shady slope,”
Minnich said. “Since it didn’t rain last summer, the grass growth is less than
Additionally, he said, the region has a long fire history, which limits the
potential for new fires in areas such as the footprint from the 2003 Old Fire in
San Bernardino and Highland.
I think the Silver Fire and others this very active year have pretty much
proved his ideas to be wrong on their face value:
||Re Pay Reform and Equality... H.R. 2858, The Wildland Firefighter Protection
Act (see Casey's post on 8/1)
To anyone who could possibly explain all of this
to a non USFS employee I am asking for your help. I find reading this that not
having the background information it is difficult to understand what this Act is
really looking for. I have passed this on to my State Senator and State Rep
asking them to please vote for this act when it comes before them. I also
submitted a letter explaining why I am interested in this reform i.e. my son,
the Modoc Hot Shot. I believe that most members of the Senate and House have no
clue what an employee of the USFS actually does or what their qualifications and
Thank you for any help you can give me in this matter.
NPR on Jeanne Pincha-Tulley (Listen
to Story - All Things Considered (5 min 15 sec))
Firefighting's First Female General Makes Order Out Of Chaos
Always Remember Michael Gene Lewis, Lillian M. Patten, Monica Lee Zajanc and
Quin Stone who perished in the Krassel Helicopter Incident in 2006.
Always Remember Ernie Johnson, 2005 (got the annual remembrance message from
Julie several days ago)
Lester Shadrick, 2000
Bob Buc, Joe Johnson and Shawn Zaremba of Tanker 82, 1994
For other LODDs on this date, on the
under "Incident Lists", select "All Incidents" in the dropdown menu and filter
by 08/13. There are records going back to 1929 and the 1930s.
||Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Website Upgrades:
We’re Improving Our
Online Home for You!
The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center is happy to announce over the next
few months we will be upgrading and improving our websites—providing you with
one single, user-friendly platform.
Both our current
will be merged into one new, more convenient, central location. Enhanced
security will be one of the many customer upgrades/benefits provided in our new
We’ve been working behind-the-scenes the past several months to ensure that
this new home will best suit your— and our —needs. A major objective of this
upgrade will be to provide the many benefits of a “Connected Community”
platform. This new central feature will enable our online customers to better
connect, collaborate, and share information and resources. An easy and effective
search function will be another major improvement.
As we move forward with this significant website transition, we will keep you
posted on our progress.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Dave Christenson, Assistant Center Manager
The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
||Facebook: Federal Wildland
Firefighters for Pay Reform & Equality
Ab's and everyone!
For wildland firefighters, friends, family and supporters that are on Facebook,
we've created an open group that is dedicated to spreading information and
gathering support for pay reforms and equalities for all federal wildland
Here's a link to the group, "Federal Wildland Firefighters for Pay Reform &
Equality". I encourage everyone associated with federal wildland firefighters on
facebook to join and share with others:
Federal Wildland Firefighters for Pay Reform & Equality
We will be posting online links and highlights to H.R. - 2858, the Wildland
Firefighters Protection Act for everyone to see, talk about improving the
livelihood of federal employees and strengthening the federal wildland fire
agencies, as well as links to contact your congressional representatives and get
the word out to them. All of this can be easily shared, linked, and spread
within the Facebook community to get the word out to those who are not informed!
We welcome all who are interested in better providing for the well being of our
hard working federal wildland firefighters who have long deserved to be
classified and paid equally to the cooperators they have been working side by
side with during busy fire seasons.
Thank you very much, hope to see everyone on Facebook!
Good idea! Ab.
CDF Airtanker home bases?
Is there a list of CDF home tanker bases during the season?
San Bernardino County Fire/ECS
Weather Support Division Chief
County Skywarn Coordinator
Remembering Ernie Johnson 8/13/2005
And so during this season of sadness and difficult times, those of us who
remember will stop and think about Ernie Johnson. He was one of our most unique
individuals within the fire community and yet he stood with thousands of others.
He loved fighting fire. He loved being in the field. He was a wonderful Incident
Commander who always put the fire fighters first and foremost. He was creative
and innovative and yet he was “old school”. And when it came time to find
another way to contribute, he jumped on board and explored options. He would
have loved all the new technology of the past 8 years. I have no doubt he would
have been facebooking, tweeting and checking out aps on an I-Pad.
Each year the list of those we want to remember seems to grow. The grand babies
who were left behind have swiftly transformed from toddlers into young boys.
Time seems to march on swiftly with fire season after fire season. And we vow to
remember. As I comforted friends and colleagues at the Prescott Memorial, I
remembered Ernie and those idiosyncrasies that make a person special. His cry of
“yee-gads!” and his love for his family. His story telling with a twinkle in his
eye as you wondered if his stories were really true or if he was pulling your
Our losses become everyone else’s loss. We mourn as a community when we lose one
of our own. For we have lost someone with talent, passion, commitment and
devotion. And even when 8 years have passed, we still remember the circumstances
as if it was yesterday. I wish Ernie was still around. I know his family misses
him and still needs him. And when I sit and think about the fire seasons we have
had, I would have loved to have heard his perspective.
Memories are important as we cope with fire season day to day. It never hurts to
look backwards and remember as we look forward to the future……
Glad to have been Ernie’s friend
Julie June Stewart
Always Remember Anne Veseth. Ab.
Deaths in Idaho and elsewhere prompt agencies to reform how they protect
firefighters (Idaho Statesman, by Rocky Barker)
...A year ago this week, Forest Service firefighter Anne Veseth, a 20-year-old
from Moscow, died after she was struck by a falling tree investigators said no
one could have seen coming while battling the Steep Corner Fire near Orofino.
But the day before, a Forest Service hotshot team had refused to engage the
blaze when it found firefighters working under the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber
Protection Association - a cooperative loosely tied to the Idaho Department of
Lands - wearing blue jeans and violating many safety rules.
When the hotshots confronted the association's incident commander, he listened
to their advice, then said "they have a different set of values and do things
differently," the hotshot leader said in a report filed later. Those differences
include a more aggressive approach to fighting fires that agencies like the
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have evolved away from after
hotter, drier conditions that make fires more dangerous and unpredictable.
A series of firefighting deaths since 1994 and the recognition that fire has a
place on forest ecosystems also has federal wildland fire managers focusing on
saving lives and property instead of trees. But the state and the protective
associations were still tied to the tradition going back a century in which
loggers and others in the forest became firefighters - trained or not, equipped
or not - when fires broke out. (more on this interesting topic involving
potential Lessons Learned at the link...)
Fair Use Disclaimer
Below is the link to the 24-Hour Preliminary Report for the
Grassy Mountain Fatality. Please see that it receives wide distribution within
your agency. When available, other investigation documents, specifically the
72-Hour Report and the final Factual Report will be posted on the Wildland Fire
Lessons Learned Center database for incident reports and lessons learned
To view this Bulletin go to:
SafetyAlerts/ Bulletin/ SB 24Hr GrassyMountain pdf
Always Remember Kevin Hall
||For those who didn't know Craig
personally, great man. Craig was an FBAN that worked with most of the R5 IMTs at
one time or another.
Memorial for James Craig Carter - aka cafban here on wildlandfire.com.
He is sorely missed! Jeff, I am so sorry we lost him! Ab.
Dear Family and Friends of Craig Carter,
On July 29th, 2013, we unexpectedly lost my dad, James Craig Carter, to an
airplane accident in Red Bluff, CA. He was a great man, loved by many people,
and we all miss him terribly. Through our sorrow, we must celebrate the
wonderful life he led. He never hesitated to grab his life and direct it where
he wanted to go. Whether you knew him as family, as a friend, through work, or
as part of his many adventures, everyone that was fortunate enough to be a part
of his life was blessed to have a tremendous experience with him. Those lives he
touched will be forever grateful for his positive influence, his strength, his
knowledge, and his love left in our lives. My success in love, family, and all
aspects of life are greatly attributed to his outstanding work as my father.
On August 24th, 2013 at 10am, we will celebrate and honor the life he lived. The
memorial will be held at the Durham Community Park located at 1847 Durham Dayton
Highway, Durham, CA. If you plan on attending, or have any questions, please
contact us at email@example.com.
Please forward this to announcement to anyone that may have been missed.
James “Craig” Carter
In Loving Memory
James “Craig” Carter, 65, of Durham, CA, consummate adventurer and generous
soul, left this world on July 29th, 2013 in Red Bluff, CA while enjoying his
passion as a longtime avid pilot.
Raised in Paradise, CA, Craig was born December 26, 1947 in Medford, Oregon, to
Jean Catherine McPherson Carter and Wilmer Hershel “Boss” Carter. He is survived
by his much-loved son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Tanya Carter of
Sacramento, CA; the three wonderful grandsons they gave him: Travis, Justin and
Ryan; his loving companion and best friend, Jenny Marr of Chico, CA; his sister,
Shelley Carter and family, of Albuquerque, NM. He is also survived by his former
wife of 35 years, Judith Helen Evett Carter of Paradise, CA and many friends
around the country.
After graduating from Paradise High School, Craig earned his Bachelor of Science
degree in Forestry at The University of Idaho, Moscow. He served in the US Air
Force as a First Lieutenant, a Commissioned Officer and a Deputy Missile Combat
Crew Launch Officer. In his military service he was awarded numerous honors,
including National Defense Service Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and a
National Defense Service Medal. His career in forestry included positions with
Diamond International Corporation, Sierra Pacific Industries, and 26 years with
Cal Fire until his retirement. As a private consultant, Craig continued to offer
his expertise as a Fire Behavior Analyst throughout the country.
Craig was a loving, caring person with a strong desire to help others. He was a
skilled problem solver and a gifted craftsman, having built two beautiful homes,
largely with his own hands. There was nothing he wouldn’t attempt to fix or
create if he or a friend needed it. Craig took great pleasure in exploring the
adventures this world has to offer. He loved flying, white water rafting,
locating hot springs throughout the western states, hiking, backpacking,
snowshoeing and gardening. He recently floated the Alsek River in Alaska.
He is profoundly missed.
Services, with Fireman’s and military honors, will be held
24th, 2013 at 10:00 am on the grounds of Durham Community Park,
Durham Dayton Highway, Durham, CA.
Donations in Craig’s memory would be welcomed by: North Valley Blood Source
Chico, CA 555 Rio Lindo Ave, 95926 (530) 893-5433
www.bloodsource.org (NV Blood
donations should be accompanied by Donor Club number 0733 for Craig Carter) ;
The Weimaraner rescue in Northern CA
Friends of the River, the voice of California’s rivers
||Granite Mountain Hotshot Widow and 4 children denied benefits, what you can do. Ab.
Send a strong message to the City of Prescott
I read the note about the widow of one of the Granite Mtn. Shots not getting equal benefits as some of the firefighters.
Tonight I saw the story on NBC evening news.
I took a few minutes and expressed my displeasure to the Prescott Mayor, City Manager and City
And I cc'd the Prescott Chamber and let them know I wouldn't be spending any time or money
there until and unless they changed their stances with regard to equal benefits.
All in public safety jobs will hopefully do the same!
contact the city officials by e-mail, here:
Prescott Chamber of Commerce here:
Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer -- exclusive interview of Brendan McDonough,
Granite Mountain Hotshot
Exclusive: Sole survivor of Arizona hotshot fatality says "Why not me?"
Five weeks after the worst day of his young life, Brendan McDonough still
hears the cell phones that were ringing in the back of his fire truck, the
agonizing peal of loved ones desperate to reach his 19 missing buddies in the
Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fighting a raging wildfire on a
scorched Arizona mountainside.
"Whoever didn't bring their phone, I could hear phones ringing, knowing that it
was their wives, their family," McDonough recounted in an exclusive interview
with ABC News to air on "Good Morning America" today. Additional portions will
be broadcast tonight on "World News With Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline". But by
then the 21-year-old elite wildland firefighter -- whom his fellow Hotshots
affectionately called "Donut" in a play on his last name -- knew the horrible
truth that their own families did not yet know, as he sat in the seat absorbing
the magnitude of what was happening.
All 19 of his brother Hotshots had just been killed by the ripping Yarnell Hill
blaze in the largest loss of life among firefighters since the 9/11 attacks. "I
sunk. Sunk into my seat, I sunk into myself," he said in the ABC News interview,
finally breaking his silence over how the terrible incident unfolded, in which
only he survived. (more at the link above...)
Fair Use Disclaimer
Name released of driver killed at Big Windy Complex of fire
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office released the name of the water truck
driver who died in a crash Tuesday morning at 7:20 on Bear Camp Road.
Jesse Trader, 19, was returning from the Big Windy Complex where he had worked
the night shift.
Trader hit an embankment and rolled near Soldier Camp, near milepost 10,
according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
Firefighters in vehicles directly behind Trader immediately assisted. An
ambulance was also quickly on the scene, and a helicopter flight launched.
Sheriff Gil Gilbertson responded to the scene and confirmed Trader had died.
The water truck, owned by Ace Earthmoving, was being used by County Fire, a
private fire suppression company serving the Merlin area, and contracted to work
the Big Windy Complex.
Some more sad news for the fire world.
Always Remember Jesse Trader
Try to find feds that can get the commitment from their home forest/ district/
supervisors to allow them the time away from the home unit when working with a
team! On a type one team in region 5 some years your lucky to get a week or two
week assignment. Other years, even with 4 or 5 rotating regional teams, your
lucky to get a full rest period in between assignments. In region 5 now with
regional rotation and 4 teams that can field, a team is only off call status
(2hr, 4hr, 8hr) once every 3 weeks. Type 1 teams field normally less than type 2
teams so think about how much time they spend away from their home unit.
I know this is not the answer to the question you ask, feds over local agency,
AD, etc., but has a lot to do with it.
The next killer is what the agencies have done to themselves. Not a real real
long time back the Forest Service believed that basically all employees were
part of the firefighting force. The Militia as it was known back when the
agency believed fire came first not only fielded hand crews and filled the the
missing engine crew folks, but they were also the radio operators, supply unit
folks, drivers, lunch makers, camp crews, drivers, so on and so forth.... The
Militia became all those folks that filled out a team the agencies no longer
have. The Militia was the time unit, logistics unit, facilities unit,
supply unit, com unit, transportation. When the agencies started the slashing
the boots on the ground folks, during the start of the "rise of the ologist" and
"get it done by contracting evolution", they shot themselves in the foot big
If you can think back to those days, a team was a forest unit, and some forests
had several teams. As time moved on and forest lost Militia and fire
personnel to state, other government and local agencies due to cuts and poor
pay, in order to field a fire team we had to start using folks from several
agencies (the beginning of interagency teams) and also regions (or zones) of the
Forest Service, back then called provinces, such as the Sierra-Cascade. It
became harder and harder to field teams in region 5 because of the lack of
administrative support and loss of Militia.
Current situation (my opinion of loss of federal team members).... lack of
administrative support/ commitment, rapid deterioration of the team family unit,
poor contracting decisions by management making it impossible to get things
done, extremely conflicting agency directions, damned if you do, damned if you
I personally worked on teams the greater portion of my career as a fed. Started
in the late 80's, retired in '05 and it took another almost 7 years to find a
replacement that would fill my position on a national team and it wasn't a Fed.
As a fed my best dollar year was $50,000 and that was with 1000 hrs overtime
primary working fires. That's a real hard wage to raise a family on. I had left
a 40 hr a week job in the bay area that paid $50000 a year in 1974 20 years
prior. What's the starting wage for CDF now, I'm sure it's considerably more
than $50000 ( actually know, but do not want to say, nor wish to say what my
wage was working for local government after federal retirement). Until the feds
can figure out how to balance the pay issues they have compared to equal
employment in other agencies, I think they will continue to have issues finding
folks that will live in the dirt away from their families in some of the most
deplorable conditions you could wish for sometimes long periods of very
Hey, I know.... I still didn't answer the question of how many feds are required
on a team,,,, but those are a few of the reasons why there is a lack of federal
members on teams. I still remember the days when our team was made up of folks
from the local forest ONLY.... no Fish and Game, no National Parks, no BLM no
local agencies.... hey it didn't make it better by any means, but it's where it
all started, and all the folks involved were considered fire fighters or fire
militia for the GREATER GOOD of the land entrusted to us to manage!
Fed and other employees on teams
Yes WTF... the number of Federal employees on Teams has been steadily decreasing
in recent years. Most of this is due to the fact that within the Federal Govt.
we continue to do more with less. With a "continuing resolution" being our
budget for the past several years, our budgets are shrinking and there are fewer
employees to go around. Supervisors are often reluctant to have an employee
committed to a team knowing that they will leave at a moment's notice for 2
weeks and there is no one to fill in behind them to do the work. When they
announced the Federal sequestration, even more fed. employees moved away from
team commitments. Knowing that IC Teams will still be called out and that fire
doesn't take a holiday or a cut in pay, ICs are often forced to look outside the
federal workforce for people to fill important positions on teams.
There is a process for employees to apply for Team positions every year. Every
year, there are fewer and fewer nominations submitted. ICs, and for that matter
all incidents on Federal Land, require the jurisdictional agency to always look
for agency personnel first, then cooperators (other fed. agencies and then fire
depts.), THEN ADs and lastly contractors. That's the priority list. The fact
that more and more ADs and contractors are filling vital team positions tells
you that there are fewer people available in the upper priority positions. In
addition, none of the financial type positions can be filled with
other-than-agency people since they are representing the government in monetary
actions. Those people are touching "the King's money" and therefore can not be
the common people. These positions are getting harder and harder to fill also.
These people work in budget and finance during non-IMT times and are usually
vital to government work progress. Fire season in the West is also notorious for
continuing through the end of the Fiscal Year when all the budget types are
desperately trying to finish all the end-of-year tasks.
I believe it is for the reasons stated that more non-feds are showing up on
teams. Teams are always looking for trainees to accompany them on assignment so
we can get more qualified Feds on the teams. I have not met an AD or non-fed
unwilling to teach trainees for sake of keeping their job. If you are a Fed and
want to be on a team, look for local teams to advertise and submit your
nomination. Geographic Coordination Centers are usually the focal point for team
assignments, so watch their webpages. And thank you for allowing me to help you
understand the situation.
- Fire Lady
I'll be posting theysaid remotely on the Hotlist for the next days. If you email
me, I'll post your message there for the time being:
They Said It on the Hotlist.
Everyone should read this! Ab.
Ariz. Hotshot widow Juliann Ashcraft fighting for denied benefits
(CBS News) PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Five weeks ago, 19 men were killed fighting a
wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz. They died together. It turns out, however, their
families may not receive the same compensation. (more at the link...)
Photo: Andrew Ashcraft, 29, seen here with his wife, Juliann Ashcraft, was one
of 19 elite "hotshot" firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire this week.
/ Courtesy Juliann Ashcraft
To donate to the family, please visit this website:
For the Loved Ones of
Dig deep. Spread the word!
I am not trying not to kill the Golden Calf but does anyone
out there know if there is a restriction on the number or ratio of AD , local
fire department sponsored employees or even portal to portal County employees to
the number of current Federal employed incident management team members? This
year I have noticed a decrease in the number of existing Federal employees and
Federal trainees on teams. I would calculate close to 50%. My question is this;
is there that much of a shortage in current Federal employees who are qualified
or a trainee for IMT positions that this is occurring? Or is it possible that
the Incident Commander of these teams are not held accountable or expected to
hire Federal first. I know that there are a significant number of Federal
trainees currently working toward Team positions. I recently was asked this
question; “What would the incentive be to train a Federal employee for a Section
Chief or any team position when the core of the team is mostly contract/ AD
hires?” The AD’s or the other than Feds members would be training someone to
replace themselves and away goes their supplement income. The impression could
be given that when there are a few Federal employees on a team they are becoming
the “token Feds”. The Federal government has come so far to get away from the
“Good Ole Boy” ways of conducting business in our day to day jobs I just have to
ask, shouldn’t we be just as diligent in our efforts for IMT’s. Not to mention
the positive impact on our Federal budget it is to staff teams with Federal
W.T.F. (Where’s the Feds)
iPad ICS 201
I found InciNotes for iPad it is a great application for Incident Documentation.
I found that InciNotes documents all aspects of incident management and even has
an easy to use ICS 214. InciNotes even has a cool sketch map feature with ICS
Symbols; I was able to create a nice incident map with just the use of my
I really like the spot weather request feature, which is built into the
application you can get your spot weather forecast directly with National
Weather Service by passing dispatch. Another cool feature in the application is
I can send real time reports out.
Another nice touch is all the Risk Mitigation tools that are built into the
application. Definitely worth checking it out.
Here is a link to their website
incinotes.com where you can find more information and screen shots.
Response to Casey, DOI OWF and Debbie D-S
Each time I hear a bureaucrat talk
about “agency mission” and attempt to minimize the focus of the federal
firefighting community, my blood boils and I become even more cynical towards
resolving the issues surrounding how our federal brothers and sisters are
compensated and treated! I have never been employed by the NPS, BLM or FS but I
am proud to say I have fought many blazes alongside of them and would NEVER
hesitate to engage with them again!
To those that begrudgingly hire talented and trustworthy people to engage in
firefighting for these agencies, how can you consciously deny that firefighting
is the primary reason for their hire? The only reason I can come up with is this
gives you a convenient and time-tested reason for minimizing their importance
(hence, also their pay, benefits and lack of permanent employment). When I was
first hired as a fireman (yes, that long ago), the majority of my duties were
station and equipment maintenance. I was not called a janitor or mechanic
although I was expected to carry out those duties when not fighting fire. I was
hired and paid to fight fire, and yes that paid more than working for Public
Works. But I was expected to be an excellent firefighter by my agency.
So to these bureaucrats I ask you one question: When is it “convenient” for
you to hire these experienced people? DURING YOUR AGENCY’S ACKNOWLEDGED “FIRE
SEASON” for crying out loud!
To the good people who continue to work as non-acknowledged firefighters
(that means you, Forestry Tech, Range Tech and Ranger) continue to keep your
heads down, ears perked, eyes wide open and fight the good fight! During the
years when I was involved in hiring new recruit firefighters, a season or two
always gave you a leg-up on hiring in my agency.
Response to Casey
As long as you’ve been around, I’m surprised that you didn’t know how things
are done in certain Government agencies within DOI. I have worked for two of the
four DOI land management agencies, one had a very solid fire management
organization (CA BLM) and the other displayed many of the characteristics you
described (NPS). I once worked for a Chief Ranger who had a sign on his desk
which read, “If you ain’t a Ranger, you ain’t s___”! He also had a postcard
tacked on his bulletin board showing a mounted Ranger on horseback. The caption
read, “One riot… one Ranger”. I was a law enforcement Ranger for the first 16
years of my career and I thought it was cute. One day the Chief calls me into
his office and tells me that I’m too specialized in Search and Rescue and Law
Enforcement. This was back when there was a push to “generalize” the Ranger
series because the NPS Director at the time believed we were perceived by the
public as being too cop-like. “If you want to be a police officer, go work for a
County Sheriff’s Dept. or municipal PD”. Sound familiar? So to help me “broaden
my background” he asked what my weakest area was. I had to think real hard for
an answer J and because it was a desert Park with few wildfires, I came up with
“wildland fire suppression”. He got me a six-month detail onto the Redding
Hotshot Crew for the 1989 fire season. Redding is one of three Forest Service
training crews in the country whose original purpose was for inexperienced
Foresters to obtain about five years’ experience in one season.
If you recall the political fallout from the 1988 Yellowstone fires, one of
the recommendations created 96 additional fire management positions within NPS.
When I returned to the Park, the Chief offered me the new Fire Management
Officer job because I had thrown more dirt and squirted more water than any
other Ranger on his staff. True story, I kid you not! I accepted the position
because that one season on the Hotshot crew got me hooked; you know how fire
gets in your blood? When I told my crew buddies what happened they all
congratulated me but pointed out this can only happen in the Park Service; one
day you’re a Hotshot and the next day you’re the Fire Chief… go figure. You talk
about respect, yes I have seen the fire crew being treated like the red headed
step child by other Park employees but the attitude from the public was always
positive. I experienced it first hand when I replaced my patrol car with the
green stripe for a Fire command vehicle with the red stripe. Rock climbers in
the campgrounds would wave to me with five fingers instead of one!
Casey, I’m afraid that you won’t find many Chief Rangers today with any
significant fire qualifications even though they are responsible for all
emergency services within the Park. The sad part is they don’t believe they need
to have any. That’s what FMOs are for. The proud tradition of the National Park
Service (Americas Best Idea) and its mission of preservation and conservation
will always perceive wildland fire management as only a component of the purpose
of National Parks. It will never achieve the vision that you work so hard to
achieve as long as it is under the ultimate authority of Chief Rangers and
Superintendents who never got to learn from five years experience on a Hotshot
It was so refreshing when I transferred to BLM and worked with true fire
professionals who had the experience to support their decisions and were not
restricted by the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. I was
permitted to explore the use of GIS to provide real-time information from the
fireline back to the ICP so that fire officials could make better informed
decisions. That experience landed me the best job in the private sector after
retirement. Just think, all because I had a boss who once thought I was too
specialized, now I’m the Wildland Fire Specialist for Esri. Funny how things
work out sometimes. Casey, if you ever get tired of all the Washington
bureaucrap, there is life after the Government. Everyone loves a map!
Deputy Chief (ret.)
BLM CA Desert District
Number of Wildlandfire Firefighters in US
Could you give us an estimate of the
total number of firefighters in the US who are involved in wildland
We are interested in making the wildfire fighting gear for GSA and need a broad
estimate of the potential market.
Robert R. (Bob) Sarratt
Sarratt Acquisition Management Inc.
Phone: 703-850-9756, FAX: 866-532-6904
In follow-up to the recent posting in "They Said" about the DOI's Office of
Wildland Fire, here's the current 'leader' of that organization discussing what
he sees as the key issue meriting our time & attention:
The caption of the video reiterates his primary point, which is:
...will be a document that we can use as fire managers in all of
our agencies to start looking at improving collaboration and
coordination across of fire management activities across the nation.
According to this
web site, the acting director of the DOI Office of Wildland Fire made a
salary of $175K in 2012 -- all without an ounce of Wildland firefighting
I'll leave it to the good readers of this forum to draw their own conclusions
about where this ship is headed ...
Iron 44 Remembrance
As always, we attempt to never forget their names and memories, but none the
less, it is a bitter sweet remembrance due to the fact that it is because we
have lost brothers-in-arms to a tragedy.
August 5th, 2008
James N. Ramage
Iron 44 Cross through Trees
Ipad ICS 201 form ipad screen shot.
Here is a very
quick rendering/ screen shot of the "type in iPad" free app. You can type and
draw on it.
Request for Information
The FWFSA needs your help. We have been asked by a key member of Congress for
information on the resource ordering process for a particular fire in his
state... New Mexico. I know enough just to get me in trouble which isn't enough
in this case so if anyone out there familiar with the resource ordering process
(you don't have to be an FWFSA member but it would help if I know who you are)
and can try to answer some questions so we can get this information to the
Congressman, I'm confident it will pay dividends since he chose to reach out to
the FWFSA for the information.
Anyone interested in assisting can email me directly at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide them the
specific questions. Time is of the essence. Thanks for your consideration.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
Response to Casey
With all due respect, you are just figuring that out?? As we have said many
times in the last two decades..
The Land Management Agencies have no business trying to manage an Emergency
Services Division, Fire and Aviation, in today's environment.
"Hope resides in the future, perspective and wisdom are found by looking to the
Response to Casey
I just finished reading your piece on your meeting with the DOI. Furious does
not even cover how I am feeling right now. I am a mother of a Modoc Hot Shot
Crew Boss. My son has been a firefighter for the BIA out of Cedarville, worked
for the BLM in Cedarville and landed with the Modoc HS almost 8 years ago. He
stuck through thick and thin, good times and bad and they have come through the
other side of their struggles. I am proud of the job my son and many others do
each day to protect our land and the homes of many people. How dare this
bureaucrat minimize their importance?
My son has made so many sacrifices for his position over these past 14 years as
a firefighter. His marriage fizzled, but we won't go into that as his role in
the demise of that was minimal. He is a single parent now of a beautiful smart 7
year old that he has complete custody of. His daughter spends her summers here
in MA or I come to CA for 4 months during the summers. Last year she saw her Dad
exactly 8 whole days from June 18 till Oct 22 when I returned home to MA. Let me
tell that DOI member about the sacrifice these men AND women and their families
make!!!! Let them go be regular firemen!!!!! I could only pray my son would
decide to do that for the sake of his daughter. Firemen here in Foxboro, MA are
Union and they work 2 24 hr shifts in a row! Yes you just read it right! Most of
them have side jobs that they do on their "off" hours. I have a great deal of
respect for the jobs they do and I sure know I want them there when I or my
family needs them. However, I would stack up any WLFF against a city or town FF
any day. The shear amount of stamina and strength needed to endure the obstacles
that present themselves each time one of our fine crews attack a fire is beyond
my wildest nightmare. I have seen the tapes, I have seen first hand videos that
were taken of several fires over the years by a crew member and now I know the
danger my son and every other firefighter faces each time they step out of those
buggies or helicopters. I wonder if the families of those lost 19 men were to
speak the that DOI member if they would agree with him ~~~~ let them be a
I am sorry I have rambled here. Truth be known I would wish my son would
leave the FFS or take a different position so he does not have to leave his
daughter for long dangerous amounts of time. But I know he loves his chosen
profession. He loves his "band of brothers" and he will only make that decision
when he is ready. For now he does what he loves.
How can we the families or just the public in general change the minds of
these narrow minded DC bureaucrats? I am all in just let me know who to contact
and I will do it. Hell, I will contact the President if need be, but something
has to be done for these men and women and it needs to be done now.
Thank you letting me rant. I appreciate reading THEY SAID as it allows me to
feel connected to the heartbeat of the WLFFS.
44 Neponset Heights Ave
Foxboro, MA 02035
Re: Seeking ICS 201 application or solution for Apple's iPad
Why don't you take a PDF off the web and get one of the type on / write on
applications? I use them in my field and they work quite well.
Seeking ICS 201 application or solution for Apple's iPad
Does anyone one know
of a ICS 201 application or solution for Apple's iPad? I am still using my
homemade excel forms. I really think such a solution would help when documenting
incidents as an ICT3.
As I sit in the Washington-Reagan National Airport waiting to go home, mindful
of yet another death, this time in Oregon and even more mindful of the honor of
working on behalf of so many of you, I'm leaving DC with an utter nauseating
feeling after meeting with the representative for the Dept. of Interior's
Department of Wildland Fire whose respect & admiration of his Agency's wildland
firefighters was at best... non-existent.
Granted, it has taken a number of years to beak through the facade of those
managing the fire program for the Forest Service to get them to realize the
value of their firefighters, but the attitude demonstrated by DOI was, while not
necessarily surprising, genuinely heart-wrenching given the sacrifice so many of
their firefighters make each season.
The rigid, out-dated mentality of "we are a land management agency, we are
not a fire department" and "if they want to be firefighters go join a fire
department" demonstrated a lack of respect which I wasn't prepared for.
Perhaps most egregious to me was the position that those who choose to make a
career as a wildland firefighter are somehow less worthy of respect and
admiration because in "his" Agency these young people should be moving up into
management in a land management agency and becoming "ologists" (certainly
nothing wrong with that) because being a career firefighter is somehow not a
While the Forest Service has demonstrated its fair share of disconnects between
the leadership and their fire folks in the field, I have never gotten such a
sense from the likes of Tom Harbour that their firefighters are somehow less
valuable than other agency employees.
It was very clear that the two agencies, DOI and the Forest Service are worlds
apart in how they approach their fire programs. In fact it was also clear that
the DOI representative wasn't very fond of the Forest Service and they way they
No, I am not in any way creating an "Agency war." But I do think it important
for everyone to know what the leadership of their employer truly feels about
them. DOI has a new inexperienced Secretary who will likely follow the lead of
her people in key positions such as FIRE.
That's OK. The important point to know is that despite all the valid criticisms
of Congress and their inability to accomplish anything, I did not meet one
member of the US House or Senate that in any remote way shared the views of the
The fact I attempted to convey to the representative for DOI was that often
times, outside factors influence the lead to change with respect to the mission
of a federal agency. The increase in the wildland urban interface, the
population growth in the area as well as the business growth all will demand
different priorities than what the original mission of the DOI may have been
with respect to "managing" fire.
We all know that the public could care less what color engine responds to an
emergency. They expect the same actions from either a local government fire
agency, a state fire agency or a federal land management agency fire program. We
all know that when that 100ft wall of flame starts its march towards a
community, the last thought on the minds of residents is "fire management for
the betterment of the land."
The FWFSA has never gotten into the debate of land use, logging, timber sales
etc. But the reality is politics is playing an increasing role in wildland
firefighting policy and those politics are a direct result of elected officials
responding to the concerns of their constituency.
So, if you are a DOI wildland firefighter, regardless of the opinions of at
least one bureaucrat in a cushy office in Washington DC as his firefighters risk
their lives, please know that this community has the utmost respect, admiration
and affection for all of you and we will continue our efforts to ensure those
wanting to make a career as a federal wildland firefighter are afforded the pay,
benefits and working conditions, along with the respect and admiration of a
grateful Public and wildland firefighting community to make that career a more
rewarding and prosperous one.
OK, something's smoking and its not my computer.
From the Hotlist:
To implement reforms to the Federal land management agency fire programs in
order to address the complexities of 21st century wildfires in a more
cost-effective and efficient manner.
Casey has gotten the ball rolling, but its in our hands now...
Have you contacted your Congressional Representative yet?
If you do not know who they are:
Steady pressure and educating our Congressman or Congresswoman is our only hope.
How many Co-sponsors can we get?
Fundraiser in Orange County CA for families of Granite Mountain HS
If you could please post this link and
flyer attachment into They Said would greatly be appreciated. It's a
fundraiser for the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots being put on by
OCFA Fire Captain Jeff Hughes through crossfit. Thank you in advance!
Good read in the Rolling Stone by author Osha Gray Davidson. Nice
observation about the Granite Mountain shots too.
The Great Burning; How Wildfires Are Threatening the West
Nice article. Thanks! Ab.
Faller and wildland firefighter John Hammack was killed today by a falling snag
while fighting fire in the Mount Washington Wilderness on the Deschutes National
Always Remember John Hammack
Our thoughts and prayers for his family, friends and co-workers at R & K
Water Services. Thanks to
Burk at the WFF and to the wildland fire community who refrained from
posting until Jim's family could be notified. Ab.
Valley Fever on the Los Padres
Just wanted to give everyone that was on the
Branch Fire this season on the Los Padres. There have been 20 or so confirmed
cases of Valley Fever. This is really not a issue to be taken lightly. Looks
forest doesn't want to help pay for a test (43 K doc) but I told my
guys to get it and I will pay for the seasonals.
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that is not contagious, but lives in the
Center for Disease Control says
KEY It's a hidden epidemic.
Symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website
Valley Fever: 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know
Wildland Firefighter Legislation:
I am humbled and honored to announce the introduction of H.R. 2858, The Wildland
Firefighter Protection Act in Congress yesterday. OK granted, we're not all that
jazzed about the title as we had hoped one that focuses on the cost
effectiveness of the Legislation would be used.
That said I can tell you that every member of Congress and every Senator agrees
that it is time to reform a number of pay & personnel policies in order to help
retain our inherently less expensive federal Wildland firefighters. Getting them
to take the plunge can be a challenge.
I will be having a critical meeting today with OPM in a continuing effort to
find administrative solutions to these issues and after having the. Pleasure of
meeting with Mr. Harbour of. The Forest Service on Monday will be meeting with
his counterpart at DOI Mr. Jim Douglas tomorrow.
I am truly honored to be here in Washington DC on behalf of he FWFSA but caution
that achieving these goals will require a commitment from all federal Wildland
firefighters and those that support them. Text of the bill will be up shortly on
the FWFSA web site and will follow here on TheySaid soon thereafter.
This is an astoundingly stressful, time consuming and costly business but you
have deserved these reforms for far too long. I will also tell you that we are
exploring strategies to stick non-controversial provisions like classification
on a"must pass" bill such as the Farm Bill.
More to follow. Respectfully,
Casey Judd, President
Casey, Great job! Ab.
Jerry Payne's comments:
Misguided, idiotic, amateurish, self serving... You
Have people not learned anything?
My view is that this is what you get when non-fire 'professionals' are allowed a
voice in what should be handled by fire professionals.
Kinda like what is going on in the Forest Service, eh?
Get a Clue
(For clarity and history's sake: Jerry Payne is an Arizona State Forester
and the Deputy Director of the Arizona State Forestry Division who several days
ago made statements assigning blame in the loss of the 19 firefighters. He did
this while the investigation is ongoing. Scott Hunt, Director of the AZ State
Forestry Division has issued a full and total retraction of all information
issued by the Deputy Director: "This person was not authorized to speak for the
Division on this incident.")