August, 2013

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8/31 Admin Leave for Labor Day

R9 Engine Captain

I often wondered this as well. I found the following information on Fedsmill.com:

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.

Brad Widhalm

8/31 emxsys.com/

New and really easy to use and read fire behavior and prediction system. Developed by some very talented and long-experienced wildfire personnel.


8/30 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 firefighting community.

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 nowadays.

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.


Casey Judd

8/30 Always Remember:

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
Position: firefighters


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


8/30 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

8/30 Making the rounds...

Subject: FW: H.R.2858, Wildland Firefighters Protection Act

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 Inspector General.

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
775 861-6579

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.

8/30 Hey there,

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.


8/29 Crossfit Training Fundraiser for Granite Mountain Hotshots

Hey Ab,

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,

Dan Blaul


8/29 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)

Fire Geek

8/29 Was there any change in how ADs were dispatched this season?

Still Out There as an AD

8/29 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 front-line folks.

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 out.
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 fundamentals.

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 interacted with.

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.


8/29 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.

8/29 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.


8/29 H.R.2858 Facebook support group

Hi Ab,

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.

Thank you!

8/29 To All;

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 some reform.

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 legislation.

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

8/29 Type 3 engine help:


I was wondering if you can send this out to any contacts you know we desperately need help,

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 vehicle.

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 or message.

Thank you

Andrew R. Hall
Training/Operations Officer
Stevens Creek Volunteer Fire Department

8/29 FMAG:

Fedwatcher II,

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.


8/29 To: DB regarding hiring

Here is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Vegas Valley Hand Crew


8/29 FMAG:


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% reimbursement.

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 government program.

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 amounts.

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.


8/29 Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of Wildland Firefighters (followup to Bill Arsenault's post 2/14/2013):

Hi all,

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

8/29 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.


8/27 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


8/26 Hooray for the Rim Fire. An FMAG is coming!

Let's talk FEMA Grants... also known as FMAGs (Fire Management Assistance Grants)

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?

Fedwatcher II

8/26 Yarnell 19

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.


8/26 Sun Valley Benefit for the WFF, our 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!


8/26 FEMA provides federal funding for the Rim Fire in/near Yosemite NP.

News Release

from the hotlist...

8/25 Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act

Ab, please post this important petition for folks to sign: Please join this campaign: Please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act


Fighting the Good fight

8/25 Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act

Hi Ab,

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.

Colorado mom

8/25 Congress, please support HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act

Please sign the petition and pass it along to your friends. Petition in support of HR 2858 The Wildland Firefighters' Protection Act


8/23 Sickened by comments of the Division Chief (DC ) of Granite Mtn HS...

Morning Ab,

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

8/23 To All:

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.


8/23 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.

8/22 Congressional Disconnect:


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 spring.

Grumpy Professor Gumby

8/22 To Beth Lund and her wonderful Team

Dear Beth:

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

8/22 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 Travis Touchette:

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 1910 fire.

Excellent documentary!


8/21 Ab,

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 take them.

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.

8/21 GAO report says Forest Service failed to make case for firefighting aircraft:

Hotlist Discussion thread

8/21 text of PL 5 Briefing Papers, Talking Points and News Release

NIFC News: National Wildfire Preparedness Moves to Highest Level (News Release)
FAM Briefing Paper on Key Points -Steve Gage
FAM Briefing Paper on Key Points -Tom Harbour

8/21 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 Obligations (doc)
FS Chief's Letter: 2013 Fire Transfer Activity; Deferring Other Financial Obligations (doc)
Fire Transfer Strategy (htm)

8/21 Hey Ab,

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! facebook.com/ WFFoundation

Brenda Bowen
Deputy PIO
Rocky Mtn IMT1

Nice and thanks for the Wildland Firefighter Monument cleanup. Ab.

8/21 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.


8/20 On August 20, 1993, two firefighters lost their lives on the Glen Allen fire in socal.

You can read their story on Always Remember the Glen Allen Fire fallen.


Thanks, man. Ab.

8/20 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 WILDLAND  FIREFIGHTER  FOUNDATION.

Get your tickets at the Sun Valley Recreation Center 208-622-2135 or sunvalley.ticketfly.com

8/19 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 InciNotes™ Facebook

My words of wisdom to all Firefighters and Emergency Responders, Document Document Document.

Will Spyrison

Nice job, Will. Ab.

8/19 Bureaucratic issues

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.

Brad Widhalm

8/18 RMAC

Ha Rocky Mountain Coordination Center shows UTF on Engines sit owned by Contractors.

Region 2 Contractor.

8/18 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 where.

Here's the link if you interested:

youtube.com (2 min 25 sec)

Thanks for maintaining a terrific online resource for the pounders!



Wow, Ab.

8/17 Congressional disconnect:


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...


8/16 Congressional disconnect:

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.


8/16 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. Ab.

8/16 Lightning fires from central Idaho:

Some nice images from Earth Observatory from space and and from the ground.

8/16 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. wffoundation.org/ 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.

8/15 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 NIFC visit.

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 cjudd@fwfsa.org. Thanks for your consideration of participating in this effort.

Casey Judd

8/15 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.

8/15 IMWTK

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.

8/15 Dear 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 like.
goldbond.com/ friction-defense.phpl

Stay Safe Out There,

8/15 "hero" workout in honor of the fallen Granite Mountain IHC -- August 31, 2013

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.

Thank you,

Mike Ellsworth
BLM Fire Operations - Training
Assistant National Training Officer

8/15 IMWTK

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)

8/15 To all:

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 cjudd@fwfsa.org. Thanks very, very much.

stay safe,

Casey Judd, President

8/14 thanks for NOT remembering Caleb Hamm, LODD 7/7/11

Lynette Hamm

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.

8/14 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 cjudd@fwfsa.org and I will gladly provide you with additional information.


Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

8/13 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 a blaze.

“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 normal.”

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:

californiachaparral org


8/13 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 trainings require.
Thank you for any help you can give me in this matter.


8/13 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

Nice, Ab.

8/13 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 Welcome page 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.

8/13 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 myfirecommunity.net  and imtcenter.net  sites 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 site.

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

8/13 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 firefighters!

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!

Centrifugal Pump

Good idea! Ab.

8/13 CDF Airtanker home bases?


Is there a list of CDF home tanker bases during the season?


Phill Dupree

San Bernardino County Fire/ECS
Weather Support Division Chief
County Skywarn Coordinator

8/13 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 leg.

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.


8/12 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

8/11 Oregon Fatality

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 analyses (wildfirelessons.net/ main/ Reviews.aspx)

To view this Bulletin go to: SafetyAlerts/ Bulletin/ SB 24Hr GrassyMountain pdf

Always Remember Kevin Hall

8/8 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 codecarter@gmail.com.

Please forward this to announcement to anyone that may have been missed.

Jeff Carter

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 August 24th, 2013 at 10:00 am on the grounds of Durham Community Park, 1847 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 www.norcalweimrescue.org ;
Friends of the River, the voice of California’s rivers www.friendsoftheriver.org.

8/8 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 Council members.
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:
cityofprescott.net/ email.php?id=24,
cityofprescott.net/ email.php?id=4
and here cityofprescott.net/ email.php?id=3

Prescott Chamber of Commerce here: prescott.org/ contact.phpl


8/8 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

8/7 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.


Condoloences. Ab.
Always Remember Jesse Trader

8/7 Team composition

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 time.

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 don't!

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 stressful times.

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!


8/7 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

8/6 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.


8/6 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 Andrew Ashcraft

Dig deep. Spread the word!


8/6 Team composition:

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 employees.

W.T.F. (Where’s the Feds)

8/6 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 finger.

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.


8/6 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.


8/5 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 crew.

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!

Tom Patterson
Deputy Chief (ret.)
BLM CA Desert District

8/5 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 firefighting?

We are interested in making the wildfire fighting gear for GSA and need a broad estimate of the potential market.

Thank you,

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 experience.

I'll leave it to the good readers of this forum to draw their own conclusions about where this ship is headed ...



8/5 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.

Iron 44
Iron Complex
August 5th, 2008

Shawn Blazer
Scott Charlson
Matthew Hammer
Edrik Gomez
James N. Ramage
Steven Renno
Bryan Rich
Roark Schwanenberg
David Steele

Iron 44 Cross through Trees

8/5 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.


8/5 Request for Information

To All:

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 cjudd@fwfsa.org and I will provide them the specific questions. Time is of the essence. Thanks for your consideration.

Casey Judd
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association

8/5 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 past"

8/4 Response to Casey

Dear 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 fireman!

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.

Debbie DeBlois-Stewat
44 Neponset Heights Ave
Foxboro, MA 02035

8/4 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.


8/3 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.

Firefighter BC51

8/3 To All,

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 worthy achievement.

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 do business.

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 DOI representative.

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.



8/3 H.R. 2858

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: house.gov/ representatives/find

Steady pressure and educating our Congressman or Congresswoman is our only hope.

How many Co-sponsors can we get?


8/3 Fundraiser in Orange County CA for families of Granite Mountain HS

Hey Ab,

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!

hotshots19. crossfit.com

8/2 Abs..

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.

8/1 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 Forest.

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.

8/1 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 like the 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.


Ab Note:
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that is not contagious, but lives in the environment.
Center for Disease Control says Awareness is KEY It's a hidden epidemic.
Symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website
Valley Fever: 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know

8/1 Wildland Firefighter Legislation:

To All,

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.

8/1 Jerry Payne's comments:

Misguided, idiotic, amateurish, self serving... You pick.

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.")

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