September, 2013

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9/30 Yarnell Hill Final Report:

To L: I did read the report and found that LCES was mentioned but not highlighted. I feel that the problems that I had stated with the decision to move out of the black should have been emphasized more, as LCES and the 10 Standard Orders were what had lived by during my career (check out orders 2, 5, 7 and 10). Make no mistake, I don't think blame should be applied in this situation. There is a difference in applying blame and acknowledging that mistakes were made. There are 19 dead individuals that prove mistakes were made. I think exposing what those mistakes were can be very productive and be done without applying blame.

I have heard statements involving human factors and how the decision making process can break down during a stressful situation. I agree this could be the case, but to be honest, it is hard for me to imagine that the crew was that stressed out after being in the black all day long. On the contrary, I think there may have been pressure on them to leave that black and engage in suppression (in their willingness to be effective).

To Mr. S: I know that they had view of the fire while they were moving, but at some point they lost that view. I believe you may be accurate in your thought that the perceived urgency of structure protection could have prompted the decision to move... but we will never know for sure.


9/30 LCES

Saw a post on TheySaid today about LCES and the Yarnell Hill Fire investigation report. Anyone who actually reads the report will see that pages 50-57 contain an in-depth discussion of LCES. Thought you might want to point that out to your readers!



9/30 In response to DR's comment on LCES...

DR, your message was my first thought after hearing the crew had left the black and started towards the Boulder Springs Ranch, but after reading the report I had to question my initial assessment.

See the section page 30, titled "Granite Mountain Crew Movement, 1605-1642". While they were moving along the two track road (in the green) they could see the fire. Its direction of spread appeared to be away form the crew, or parallel (4th bullet, top of page 37). At this point, they still had eyes on the fire and it may not have appeared to be an immediate threat.

Once they dropped down from the two track road and started to bush whack through the chaparral, it's clear they lost sight of the fire. This is also when the outflow winds hit, changing the fire's rate and direction of spread. At this point, they may have been operating on outdated knowledge.

After reading the report I found myself asking two questions about the actions of the crew.

  1. Yes, the winds drove the fire into the opposite ends of the deployment bowl, trapping the crew. But, wouldn't they have noticed the winds and shifting smoke before the flames were visible? If so, why didn't they radio for an update on its location, and direction/rate of spread?
  2. Is it possible the culture of crew was more focused on structure protection than most IHCs? I can't imagine what another hand crew would have done to help protect the town of Yarnell. By all descriptions, it was not defendable.

BTW, I was on the same crew as you. I came on the year after the Dude fire, and moved on to another path a couple of years later.

Hope you are well, Mr. S.

9/30 Below is the link to the 24-Hour Preliminary Report for the Smith's Prairie Smokejumper 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

[Ab Note: The Lessons learned Center has migrated to a new server and setup. Unknown if that's the reason, but this link does not work.]

To view this Bulletin go to:

SB - 20130927 - 24hr Smokejumper Fatality.pdf (57 K pdf)

also, sadly, new page:

Always Remember Mark Urban

9/30 A reminder about radio programming for Wildfire. This summer I ran across quite a few people on Incidents not having Air Guard on the last channel in the radio, this is a major safety infraction. The Users also did not know why it was important or its use. It is located in the last channel so that in an emergency (without looking) you can turn the channel knob until it stops and it will be ready to use on Air Guard. It is monitored at all times by all aircraft on an Incident.

National Air Guard - 168.625 MHz - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency for government aircraft will be used for emergency aviation communications. Continuous monitoring of this frequency in narrowband mode is mandatory by agency dispatch centers. Transmitters on this frequency must be equipped with an encoder on 110.9 Hz. 168.625 is restricted to the following use:

Air-to-air emergency contact and coordination.
Ground-to-air emergency contact.
Initial call, recall, and re-direction of aircraft when no other contact frequency is available


9/30 The Senate just approved a "clean" Emergency Spending Bill. Now it goes to the House. Hopefully Boehner will put the clean bill to the House for a vote that would avoid midnight government shutdown (and continued checks for our wildland firefighter and our military families and stability of our economy) and would insure that the USA pays our bills in spite of any politics.


9/30 from the Ab account, making the rounds:

Another Yarnell report due by year-end

A second government report examining the Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 Prescott hotshots, should be completed by year’s end, but the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health is offering no insight as to what its report might reveal.

“This is still an ongoing investigation: ADOSH is unable to comment on ongoing investigations, which can take as long as six months to complete,” agency spokeswoman Rachel Brockway said in a statement issued Friday.

The agency is responsible for investigating workplace injuries to determine whether safety rules and regulations were violated. It can issue citations to employers whose safety violations result in worker injuries or deaths. Fines range up to $7,000. (Much more at the link...)

9/30 Ab note:

Federal firefighters and others (military, etc) do not want a shutdown of government, regardless of political party. This is an issue that is relevant to our wildland firefighting force. It important to contact our representatives, and be a part of the political process on issues relevant to federal wildland firefighters.

Speaker of the House contact info: 202-225-6205; or 202-225-0600; or Contact message page

9/30 Yarnell Hill Final Report:

Why is the 1000lb gorilla in the room not identified in the final investigation, or on the "They Said" website?


I was on the Dude Fire in 1990 as foreman of another IHC and Paul Gleason had said the best way to honor a firefighter who has died is to learn from his mistakes. I paraphrase of course, but that was the gist of it. He also, as we all know, developed the LCES as a result of the effect that fire had on him.

The Granite Mtn. Crew was in good black on that fire and after their lookout reached a "trigger point" to bail, whoever was calling the shots for the crew decided to leave that safety zone with the whole crew and travel with no posted lookout across unburned ground, during "trigger point" conditions to another safety zone that they had not walked to and therefore did not know how long it would take to get to.

This is what happened way back during the Loop Fire when the El Cariso shots decided to traverse a "short" section of fire to tie in their line...as opposed to hiking out the long way and constructing a more indirect route. We know what happened then in 1967. Paul Gleason was there as well.


9/29 Pay and Benefits for Federal Employees

If you can, please email the office of the Speaker of the House and ask him for a vote on a clean Continuing Resolution that funds the government at current levels, including sequester cuts. Tell him that due to the commitments of this job, many Federal Firefighters are one income families. After the CR is approved, he and his caucus can then sit down and negotiate their number 1 priority of taking health care away from 30 million Americans.


9/29 our stance on "fighting" wildfires

We have a discussion going on certain human caused ignitions and the push to limit these. And ultimately folks on both sides are sincerely trying to find a path that exposes people to less risk while maintaining the natural condition of the forests around us. This was on my mind very much as I sat at my desk this morning, and looked up to see the quote from John Muir "When you try to change any single thing, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

And it occurs to me that our efforts and energies would be better spent reconsidering our stance on "fighting" wildfires. Now, I know folks are discussing this already, and we can all agree that things would be better if we did more prescribed burning, and worked hard on other mitigation techniques. But I don't think nationally we have sold the idea yet. And I think if we want to see real improvement in firefighter safety, maybe we need to.

Consider the public outcry if I wanted to build a hotel, and in order to fit the stables and outbuildings I wanted, I decided to move the natural bed of a river. My plan is to dam up one branch of this river, make it flow 2 miles farther East. How many permits, inspections, surveys, and plans would I have to file? And even when I did these things how many lawsuits would I face from the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and other groups? The outcry would be that I am destroying the natural state of things. Likewise, if there were an animal that was endangered on this land, who would have priority me with my hotel, or the animal?

If I had a 10000 acre valley that I wanted to stop allowing any rain in, (assuming that I had the means to control the weather), there would be no end to the criticism I would receive. Everyone would be talking about how keeping out this natural process will horrifically change the land. And that would just be due to the obvious changes like the plants dying. It would take years for scientist to fully understand what other impacts would follow. (Like sinkholes, landslides, etc.) Everyone can agree how outrageous that effort would be, and how strongly everyone would fight to keep it from happening. But that is exactly what we are doing with natural fire.

We have not yet convinced the public that fire is a natural part of the Earth's ecosystem. And we should. No matter how hard we try to limit sparks or sources of ignition, fires will still occur. And as long as we are limiting them, they will be more and more dramatic and dangerous.

So as to new initiatives that are focused on sources of ignitions, I still feel that it is not the best use of our energies. We should be pushing programs like Firewise, and prescribed burning that try to work WITH the natural cycle instead of against it. No matter how you try to stop it, a river will flow. If you dam it, it will flood around the bank until it finds a path to continue. Fire belongs in the woods. And no matter how we work against it, it is going to be there. So my stance is that we should be looking for those efforts that work with fire and not against it.


9/29 Yarnell Hill Final Report

Why they left the safety of the black is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, and this may well be unprecedented, there are exactly 19 eyewitnesses to this decision, and none are still with us to answer the burning question "why". We may truly never know.


Hotlist discussion thread with some excellent observations and comments. Ab.

9/29 Yarnell Hill Final Report

Why they left the safety of the black is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, and this may well be unprecedented, there are exactly 19 eyewitnesses to this decision, and none are still with us to answer the burning question "why". We may truly never know.


Hotlist discussion thread with some excellent observations and comments. Ab.

9/29 AZ-A1S-Yarnell Hill Report

I haven't had a chance to read through the whole report and I wasn't going to comment until I did, but I skimmed it and watched the briefing video. I really don't think they blatantly broke any of the 10&18's (also bearing in mind that on any given day on a fire we are probably violating at least one of them). In fact, I think they were following many of them quite well. They had established escape routes and safety zones, they were constantly re-evaluating the situation, they had placed a lookout and established trigger points, and they found a work around for the radio issue. They were fighting fire aggressively but providing for safety first, just like they were taught to. I happen to think too much emphasis is put on the "fight fire aggressively" part.

One thing that was alluded to was that they didn't heed the thunderstorm warning as much as they should have. Most SAI Reports on burnovers tend to point the finger at the deceased in the end, and this is actually somewhat different in that respect. I'm sure they all had been on a fire with thunderstorms before (like who hasn't?) and they made their decisions based on those past experiences. This report seems to put more emphasis on asking why they didn't give this more attention (human factors); rather than saying they simply ignored it, or that they violated X,Y, and Z of the 10&18's. There's quite a long list of folks from many Fed, State, and Local agencies, hotshot supes and various SMEs who were involved in the investigation.

I will take a wagered guess that they left the black because they knew the fire was picking up in intensity to the point where sheltering in the black was not an option. The report says that the fire burned through their location at roughly 2000 degrees. The black doesn't protect you from super heated gases and I'm guessing they recognized that they needed to get out of there. They were using their predetermined escape route to a safety zone but it was compromised. We say "keep one foot in the black" but this only safe under certain conditions, not always.

I'm sure once I read the full report and ponder it some there will be more to get out of this- but I think the point here is that they did everything by the book. They just didn't get lucky this time. I think more often than not it is luck that there are not more burnovers and entrapments. We like to think that it's because of our various learning tools and safety guidelines... but this was inevitable for a lot of reasons. I know I've spoken with a lot of people, or been in situations myself, where we recognized we simply got lucky that that there was no wind shift, or extreme downdrafts with those afternoon thunderstorms... or something. We have to accept that we're just simply not going to win every time, no matter how safe we think we're doing it. You can do everything right but s**t still happens. The only way to save lives under those types of conditions is to simply not be there- and think that's what we should learn from this.


9/29 Yarnell Hill Final Report

excerpt: Still puzzled as to why they left the safety of the black.


9/29 Sierra hotshot supt Ken Jordan is retiring

Please please can you post. I'm trying to get all the information out quickly!!!!
My superintendent is retiring. 40 years on the fire line, most all as a hotshot.
The attached flyer (670 K pdf) has all the info .


Thanks for the info! Here's the text that goes with the photo:

Where: Clovis Veterans’ Hall, Clovis CA
When: Sunday, January 19, 2014,
6:00, Dinner served at 7:00 PM
Cost: $25.00 per person
Send money: 1150 3rd St. Clovis CA 93612

RSVP: by December 1, 2013

Also, to share your war stories and pictures of Ken’s 40 seasons on the fireline please contact Brian Grossman by October 31 at: kenjordanretirement @yahoo.com or 559-321-4182

9/28 RE: Heart of a FireFighter thread...

Hey Jason!

It is wonderful to see someone from the USFS W/O actually use the term "Firefighter" when referring to those of us that either are in or have put in a career with the FS in "Fire"... Seems the FS W/O folks only do that when one of us gets killed in the line of duty...

Excellent work! Keep it up! Don't let "them" change the title to "Heart of a Forestry or Range Technician"...


9/28 Gary Sinise donation

Gary Sinise (of Forrest Gump fame) is reported to have donated $60,000 to the Black Hills Colorado area Fire Department to help with their needs. He is quite active in assisting veterans organizations as well. A true Patriot.


9/28 Subject: Yarnell Hill Final Report

The Yarnell Hill Fire Final Report is now available on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned website. Click to view the Final Report documents.

Travis Dotson
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

9/28 From MtEddy on the Hotlist:

Hi All,

Here is the official link to the Google Drive Document:

Arizona State Forestry Division Yarnell Hill Report

Please give this a thorough read through and help spread the word of the report. I will be posting this to Facebook page and twitter as well!

9/28 Mark, RIP.

Loss of a good man.


9/28 Death of SJ Mark Urban:

To the Overwhelmed Wildland Fire Community,

I need to get air miles donated so we can help get Mark's friends to Boise to be with his family and jumper family.

Call, text, or email the following:
Your name
Your phone number
Your airline
Your amount of points
Also any hotels points

Thanks you for helping with this labor of love.

Vicki Minor

Wildland Firefighter Foundation

9/27 Death of SJ Mark Urban:


Bad news. SMJ fatality today. I was Dave Liston's rookie trainer and was there when he died in AK in 2000 -- jumped the load prior to his jump. I can't believe that this happened after all the changes that were implemented after Dave's fatality. I'm speechless...


Condolences to his crew, other coworkers, friends and family... Ab.

9/27 from the hotlist:

Death of SJ Mark Urban:

OMG, not again:

ktbv.com NIFC Boise smokejumper dies after parachute malfunction

BOISE -- A Boise BLM smokejumper died on Friday, in a parachuting accident near the town of Prairie. The National Interagency Fire Center said it was related to some sort of failure with his parachute system, but they don't yet know exactly what the problem was.

40-year-old Mark Urban of Boise worked at the Great Basin Smokejumper Base in Boise. The accident was reported near Prairie, about 45 miles east of Boise. (more at the link)

idahostatesman.com - Boise BLM smokejumper killed in accident friday

A Boise BLM smokejumper died Friday afternoon in a training accident near Prairie, about 45 miles east of Boise.

Mark T. Urban, 40, was killed after his parachute failed to properly deploy during a training jump.

A serious accident investigation team is being assembled in Boise and will begin their work over the weekend, said National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson Don Smurthwaite. (more at the link)

Rest in peace, my brother.


Condolences thread: Hotlist

9/27 Re: Guns and wildfire:

I still feel that the quote that gunfire is the source of 20% of human caused fire is an exaggeration at best. I know I am biased to defend shooting, but I still think it is not as large an issue as was made out in the first post. In the conditions that would make gunfire a huge danger, other human causes would also dramatically increase, so it wouldn't make a huge leap in percentage, as all human causes would increase

Further, we are still attacking the trigger, or the spark and not addressing the larger issue which is the fact that our woods need to burn. If you remove the gunfire, you will still get starts from other human causes because... people are in the woods. And if you restrict the other sources you will still get fires because it is the natural order of things.

Instead of focusing on side elements like what starts a devastating fire, let's focus on why the fire is so devastating, and get more active prescribe burning. I could actually get on board if that was the goal here. But I think instead, we are focusing on this one human cause because it also suits other agendas and sensibilities

At the end of the day I am thankful for your passion, and desire to mitigate the danger of wildfire, but I think you are focusing on a tree and missing the forest

*And I hate the quote that "if it prevents 1 fire it will be worth it." That type of sentiment is thrown around on a lot of arguments "if it saves one life...

Bulldozing the forest en-mass would prevent this too, but hardly worth it right?

Sometimes the juice is NOT worth the squeeze because it is either too high a cost or simply because you are not dealing with a simple enough equation.

I respect the fact that your posts in this area are full of well intended passion, but I simply do not agree that the problem is as large as was asserted.

20% of human caused fire was stated in the first post. What study or reference may we have to see how this was concluded? Thanks for the discussion.

JG (original poster who replied, no moniker signed on this one)

9/27 Heart of a Firefighter teaser video making the rounds:

Subject: Heart of a Firefighter teaser video

I’ve been working with USDA Photographers to produce a 5-8 minute video on Wildland Firefighters. They went out this summer on a few fires and got some great video and interviews from firefighters and we are in the process of creating a video called” The Heart of a Firefighter”. The Heart of a Firefighter video will show what we do as USFS firefighters and also the drive and passion of the people that fight fire.

Attached is a link to the two minute teaser. Feel free to share it far and wide.


Jason Steinmetz
USFS Washington Office
Fire and Aviation Management
Disaster and Emergency Operations Branch

9/27 Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation Report coming out tomorrow at 10AM, AZ time


You are someone we feel is able to help with the release of the Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Report on the June 30, 2103 deaths of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in Arizona.

We will be using a new social media tool called Thunderclap (thunderclap.it). Once the report is released on September 28, 2013 10:00am, Arizona Standard Time, this tool allows us to utilize other people’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to push out the link to the report, nationally, all at one time - like a Thunderclap! To make this work, we need people to know about the campaign we have built on the Thunderclap website and we hope you will be willing to get involved and let people know via your email lists and social media sites.

This link, thndr.it/1h02FPX, will take you and others directly to the campaign page. Our hope is that you will post/email this Thunderclap link to your contacts. We encourage you to go to Thunderclap and sign up as a supporter with your personal or organizational Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Supporters are asked to sign up with their Facebook/Twitter username/password to allow Thunderclap to post the campaign message. Thunderclap cannot see your account password; please read the privacy policy on the Thunderclap website for further information.

We hope you will find time to share this link with others and post support for our campaign to your social media sites.

Thank you,

The Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation Report RolloutTeam

9/27 Guns and Fires

First ever comment on this site.  I just had to add my two cents to the topic.

CJ and FINV are absolutely correct.  Among my duties on fire is FINV here in WA.  I have never been involved with a hunter's gunfire starting a fire, but "target" shooting?  Absolutely.  From tracer rounds to exploding targets.  I think promoting the every spark mindset could be very helpful.

For FINV the process IS a methodical scientific process of elimination combined with burn indicators.  I can say when you are able to narrow down to a very small area (several square feet) which then only has evidence of bullet strikes, or the actual tracer round (did this on a 10 acre fire), the conclusions are pretty clear.  Also, and this is some speculation, but tv shows such at "top shot" are creating an "explosion" of excitement for exploding targets.  I now see hyped up marketing at the local sport shop for these targets, and despite the claims, they do start fires and I've determined the cause and origin for these.

Mostly in western Washington we are the "asbestos forest" but there are times when even we dip down to some lower moisture levels.  LOTS of "target shooting" happens here, but we get a break with moisture most of the time.  This also leads to complacency during dry periods.  No doubt about it in my experience - this activity causes fire starts.

Some prevention work in this area is the right way to go.

Another FINV

Thanks for your post. Ab.

9/27 Fireline rehab

I've started an article on Fireline rehab for the Rim fire, including before and after photos.  This important work doesn't see much press.

Rim had over 150 miles of dozer lines which left untreated would cause enormous resource damage.  I have interviews with key people including DIVS, TFLD, READ , and heavy equip operators.  At one point I had 5 excavators, 4 dozers, 3 crews, 2 engines and a grapple skidder in our task force.

Sent from my iPhone

Rim Fire (and other fires) rehab issues and actions: Hotlist General Discussion

This is an important topic. Please contribute on the hotlist if possible. Ab.

9/27 Re: Gunfire as a major source of wildfire???

Ask anyone who works in Lytle Creek Canyon or Bee Canyon on the CA-BDF or Steele Peak or the Old Banning Idyllwild Road in CA-RRU. Gunfire starts fires every year, sometimes weekly. I have been to two shooter-caused fires this week, the Sierra in BDF and the Gilman in RRU. The Morgan in SCU was shooter-caused. What more do you need to know?


9/27 Guns and fire

first I must say that all shooters are not hunters or sportsman.
FLASH your first line "I heartily disagree that there is much correlation between shooting and wildfires." How much is required? 1 bullet in 10,000 in 1 million . ??
Can you find out how many bullets are sold a week in the US

Line 2 yes shooters drag very nicely built STEEL targets to dry grassy fields and shoot away. They shoot at fire extinguishers , propane bottles, paint can, bottles filled with flammable stuff, old cars, giant rocks , small rocks,
There are targets supported by rebar driven in the ground to prop up the target. This one started a fire 57 feet away from the target, Quoting shooter " I was just firing off 10 rounds before church and the fire happened just like that" SKS in the back yard. 90 acres in about 20 minutes. this man is a believer!

Flash as "as an outdoors man and avid shooter". you are the guy I need to spread this word.
Real shooters: say they are sportsman, drag a 50 inch flat screen (yes) into the dry pine needles and shoot away with a 22 long rifle , 44 mag, a black powder slug something, SKS, a 30-06, and a mac 10 all in the back of one Durango, 2 guys and a girl.
One fire caused by shooting at a fire extinguisher, a fire started on the hillside beyond the Target perfectly lined up from shooter to target to fire 800 feet beyond
one fire, shooting a Barret 50 Cal at a rock the size of a car. That Rock looked like a moon scape. Arrived to investigate. I ask the "bystanders" if the saw anything. Why yes we were shooting at that rock and the fire started right in front of it. We did it "never thought it would start a fire" . 1300 feet away 400 acres in 1 hour

Guns vs campfires since 1910 fires have been attacked aggressively, a bear with a hat has told the world only you can prevent wild fires and showed you how to be careful with a campfire and a match.
This has a pretty straight forward connection. A well spread message.
Bullets and fire this is new research spawned by anecdotal observations. How many bullets are fired for each campfire built? Does each bullet get a bucket of water poured on it where it hits.
back to " one spark one fire " prevention this is whats important. Firefighters DIE every year.
Flash even you acknowledge the slim chance that a bullet may cause a fire. So knowing that when a fire occurs that requires firefighters to come and go in harms way and one of them dies is it an accident, or are YOU negligent?
For a long time shooting related fires have been dismissed as accidental. This will change. Catalytic converters on cars start fires. your are negligent if you do it. you Can be held responsible for the costs of suppression or injuries or deaths related to that action.

Regional yes for sure. I work in the Great Basin. That bullets can cause fire is beyond a doubt. Read the report it takes a very fertile fuel bed, the right conditions. It happens

This is the first public forum I have soapboxed with. My hope is to prevent just one fatality with this knowledge. I ask all of my fire fighting family to be as imagintive as they can to have this awareness spread.
How many years of denial that smoking caused death by saying the study is ongoing. This subject does not need more study. The information is clear. There will disention that this is an infringement on 2 amendement rights. I do not want that. I want every fire fighter to come home.


9/26 El Cariso Hotshots Disbanded

Hey Ab,

I read this article earlier on wildfire today. Pretty sad, and unfortunate to hear, however I wasn't sure if it had been discussed recently on the forum, or if it was too much of a sensitive issue to post a new topic on, or if it was one of those don't ask don't tell things as I'm sure there are some pretty emotional feelings toward the decision. I'm sure there are several reasons it may have been disbanded and that is why I hesitated to start a thread, although it was news to me, it may have been common knowledge elsewhere. Anyhow, here is the link, and if you see it appropriate, maybe it can go on they said or the wlfhotlist for discussion.

these guys were a top notch crew with a lot of history and nostalgia to go with they're fantastic work ethic and attitude. gonna miss seeing them on the line till it gets resolved. Lets hope its temporary as stated.

hotlist member

Hotlist thread

9/26 Wildfires from shooting

I beg to differ with your opinion due to being witness to several fires caused by shooting. Speaking of non-organized shooting areas, some of the many targets that are popular are old electronics, old appliances, old furniture, old vehicles, heck old-anything is hauled to the forest and used as a target. Apparently the shooters like the “ding” sound it makes when it hits the metal. So until the metal scrappers haul the metal off to the recyclers we stand the chance of more fires from this cause.


9/25 USFS S-61 Helicopter Accident 2008

Forwarded message making the rounds... The entire text is not republished here because it would violate copyright. If someone has the link to the article, please send it in. Ab.

To all:

A very good friend of mine and many CAL FIRE pilots and ground firefighters was on that accident helicopter. Jim Ramage had worked for CAL FIRE as a contract pilot, State CAL FIRE pilot and Manager of the CAL FIRE Helicopter Program. Jim had 20+ years with CAL FIRE. Our outstanding helicopter program success can be attributed to Jim Ramage, Bob Fisher, Art Trask, Chris Boyd and many other great pilots , aviation maintenance technicians and great support from the from office. Jim had retired from CAL FIRE and went over to the USFS to help them with their helicopter program and was just weeks away from retiring from the USFS.

The accident had many causes and today the Director of Maintenance for Carson Helicopters plead guilty on several felony counts.

See below.

(Reuters) - A former aircraft maintenance director has pleaded guilty to misleading the U.S. Forest Service to help his company win a $20 million contract in a case linked to the deadliest helicopter crash involving on-duty firefighters in U.S. history. The 2008 incident near Weaverville, in Northern California, killed seven firefighters on board the helicopter as well as the pilot and a U.S. Forest Service official.

Levi Phillips, 46, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiring to defraud the Forest Service by creating false weight, balance and performance information for firefighting helicopters while he was employed as head of maintenance for Oregon-based Carson Helicopters Inc, according to court documents.

As part of a plea deal entered in U.S. District Court in Medford, Oregon, Phillips will testify against the company's vice president, Steven Metheny. Prosecutors say Metheny led the defrauding scheme. Phillips, an Oregon resident, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 14. <snipped rest of article>

God be with you Jim.


Dave Wardall

fair use disclaimer

Always Remember Jim Rammage / Iron 44

9/24 Re bullets make wildfires:

With all respect to Finney and friends, I heartily disagree that there is much correlation between shooting and wildfires.

I think the basic premise of the study involved shooting at a steel plate. Seldom do hunters impact anything hard enough to create the friction/ shearing that would cause this type of reaction.

Most shooting ranges are landscaped and mowed to the point that it is a non-issue.

I am willing to concede that it is possible in an area where ranges are less common, where shooters go to the woods to train, maybe then this could happen. But speaking as an outdoorsman and avid shooter, Seldom would I lug a steel target on such an outing.

Now, if you were making the case that outdoorsmen were careless with campfires while on hunting trips, or while out practicing in the woods, I might be more inclined to agree.

And, I can understand that some issues may be regional in nature. It is possible that this is simply not a problem on the Eastern part of the country.

But I do not thing that the experiment to see if bullet splatter off of heavy steel CAN start fires proves that this is any significant cause of the fires I respond to. just my opinion, and offered for debate and discussion.


9/24 AB,

Can you please post the following flyer for those EMTs, AEMT, EMT-P, EMTF, AEMF, EMPF followers who would like to access some continuing education for their EMS re-certification.

This conference is not only for paramedics, but all levels of EMS provider. There will be vendor exhibits, skills verifications for those that need so, and all content is CECBEMS approved for 27 hrs of National Registry eligible CEUs.

Please share appropriately.

2013 Paramedic Refresher.pdf

There is also a EMT Refresher hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.

November 2013 EMT Refresher Flyer.pdf


9/24 Inciweb on CA-ANF-Madre Fire


Azusa brush fire grows to 190 acres, officials say

Evacuation orders issued for several homes in Azusa brush fire

9/23 CA-ANF-Madre Fire

Hotlist: Initial Attack

WLF Map, the link is in the initial IA Post.

9/23 Defensible Space

With heart felt respect and deep appreciation to all WFFs, we wanted to share a few online sites/links related to Prescott's long-term and on-going commitment to Defensible Space:

Carrying on a firewise legacy prescott ponders future fire safety goals.phpl


Facebook: Prescott Area Wildfire Expo 2013

And, available grant money is funding a small fuels management crew for now, in the wake of the tragic loss of our 19 fallen GMHS:


With the 2002 Indian Fire, and the June 18, 2013, Doce Fire, in our recent history, our community continues to partner to help manage fuels and create more defensible space.

Signed with respect and much appreciation,
Prescott, AZ Residents

Thanks, residents. Ab.

9/23 Structure Protection

Don't Thank Us, Help Us.

Spot on Sir.

If your setting up for Structure Defense (new WUI term) on a structure with a great view. Question if you should be there.

You and your crew should remember, dead firefighters never come back. Real Estate signs and wood frame construction does.

My organizations executive management has sworn that we will no longer hurt or kill ourselves over inanimate objects. Regardless of the political consequences we have been told to recognize situations where home and landowners have taken little or no effort to help us, help them. We are moving on, to a time and place on the fire line where we can engage tactically with a high probability of success. We stress agility in movement.

Below is the link to the IAFC and a PDF of our new WUI guidelines. I hope it offers some alternatives to traditional tactics that will be helpful.

We are getting into Santa Ana wind season in So. Cal. Keep one foot in the burn and the wind to your back.

iafc.org: Tactical Standards for Operation in the WUI.pdf


9/23 Wildfire caused by shooting

I am a wild land fire investigator. More than 20 years. The following study supports what anecdotal conclusions have come in that time. Shooters cause fires with bullets. An evaluation of human caused fires showed that more than 20% of the fires were caused by shooting. That is 4 times more than campfire, smokers or equipment use, each.
What needs to be done !!!?

This information needs to be shared as widely as possible.
Gun safety courses, shooting media, vendors for guns and ammo, banners next to the ones that encourage defensible space, by fire safe councils, local government postings of restricted shooting areas, NRA publications/ website, shooting clubs, youtube.

WHY? because it is such a preventable ignition with a modest effort. When shooters know about this potential they will modify where and when they shoot. The same way shooters do to prevent bodily harm. Choose a safe area for preventing injury and FIRE.

No one wants to be responsible for hurting some one when they shoot. Now they must think about the fire they will cause. Will it burn homes? Will it ruin sport by destroying hunting areas. Will it take the life of a fireman?

I am just barely able to email. I hope others can spread this however it will help.


fs.fed.us /rm/pubs/ rmrs_rp104.pdf

RS-RP-104: A study of ignition by rifle bullet.

Citation: Finney, Mark A.; Maynard, Trevor B.; McAllister, Sara S.; Grob, Ian J. 2013. A study of ignition by rifle bullets. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-104. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 31 p.

Abstract: Experiments were conducted to examine the potential for rifle bullets to ignite organic matter after impacting a hard surface. The tests were performed using a variety of common cartridges (7.62x51, 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and 5.56x45) and bullet materials (steel core, lead core, solid copper, steel jacket, and copper jacket). Bullets were fired at a steel plate that deflected fragments downward into a collection box containing oven-dried peat moss. We found that bullets could reliably cause ignitions, specifically those containing steel components (core or jacket) and those made of solid copper. Lead core-copper jacketed bullets caused one ignition in these tests. Ignitions of peat also occurred with a small set of tests using solid copper bullets and a granite target. Thermal infra-red video and temperature sensitive paints suggested that the temperature of bullet fragments could exceed 800C. Bullet fragments collected from a water tank were larger for solid copper and steel core/jacketed bullets than for lead core bullets, which also facilitate ignition. Physical processes are reviewed with the conclusion that kinetic energy of bullets is transformed to thermal energy by plastic deformation and fracturing of bullets because of the high-strain rates during impact. Fragments cool rapidly but can ignite organic matter, particularly fine material, if very dry and close to the impact site.

9/22 Making the rounds:

News Release: Fire Season ends Tuesday 9/24 on ODF-Protected lands in Southwest Oregon

Several days of rain across the southwest Oregon region has brought fire season to an end effective Tuesday, Sept. 24, on Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties. The public regulated use fire danger level drops to “low” (green) after midnight tonight, and all public and industrial fire prevention regulations will be lifted.

It was a busy summer for firefighters across southwest Oregon. Crews responded to more than 330 fires, 126 of which were caused by lightning. More than 43,000 acres of forestland burned on the district, much of it in the Big Windy and Douglas complexes in northern Josephine County. People caused more than 200 fires this fire season, which started June 3, and human-caused fires burned nearly 800 acres. Lightning caused the summer’s biggest wildfires.

Southwest Oregon residents are urged to use caution when burning debris this fall. Many structural fire protection districts require a permit to burn piled debris or to use burn barrels, and both counties issue daily air quality advisories. Call your county’s open burning line before burning to find out whether open burning is allowed. In Jackson County, the number to call is (xxx) 776-7007. In Josephine County, call (xxx) 476-9663.

For more information about wildland fire prevention, contact your local Oregon Dept. of Forestry unit office:

• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd: (xxx) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr: (xxx) 474-3152

Fire danger regulations are also posted online at swofire.com.
Brian Ballou
Fire Prevention Specialist
ODF Southwest Oregon District

9/22 I'm posting this because we do need to learn from our losses, however, let's wait for the report to come out. If residents and communities would make their homes Firewise, it certainly would help. Ab.

What happened in Yarnell, AZ has to change wildland firefighting. Since that horrible day I have waited for some explanation as to how this could happen, and the Outside article is a plausible explanation.

Our culture must change. "Structure Protection" as a concept needs to be abolished. For years we have said that "structures are just another kind of fuel" but that statement has not changed the fact that when structures are threatened we act differently.

The Mountain Fire this year was my first opportunity to see the town of Idyllwild. After the loss of BDF E-57 and Granite Mountain IHC, seeing a town so hopelessly indefensible from wildfire was almost offensive to me. I thought, "When will firefighters again die trying to save this firetrap?" We have known about places like Idyllwild, and Malibu Canyon, and the CO Front Range, etc. etc. etc. for decades and we still demand nothing of landowners and try to act heroically to save threatened property. This MUST change.

Sign me,
Don't Thank Us, Help Us

9/21 Impact of state computer problem grows wider, delaying unemployment checks for about 185,000 Californians - Capitol and California

This will eventually affect those among our ranks who will have to depend on this. In my opinion the fault is system wide and due to outdated systems being “Serviced” by incompetent technicians. Meanwhile those in need go without.


9/20 ICS 201 iPad Discussion

Some of you have contacted me directly about InciNotes Exclusive First Of Its Kind ICS 201 iPad. Here’s the latest, we are close to releasing InciNotes™ Version 1.1, which will have some new exciting features to assist ICT3’s with Incident Command.

InciNotes™ 1.1

Transfer Incidents from one iPad to a nearby iPad also running InciNotes
- Download Spot Forecast Requests and view them any time
- Set an assignment for multiple resources with just one touch
- New section for Management Objectives
- Improved Objectives, Plans, and Hazards User Interface
- Many, many other small improvements

InciNotes™ takes you the through a step by step process of ICS 201 documentation and allows you to document “Clear Leaders Intent” for your incident.

If you have any more questions contact me at incinotes.com for more information on InciNotes™.

Thanks for sharing

Will Spyrison
InciNotes™ Co Founder

Nice job, Will, and much needed. Ab.

9/19 Making the rounds in an email trail:

Sharing Health & Safety Officers. As we appreciate October and Santa Anta season to still come this is a very important message. BE WELL. Michelle


Region 5 Forester on management of firefighter fatigue (59 K doc)

Text below:

Subject: Fire Suppression Activity Fatigue Management
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors

As anticipated by the Chief, fire management in 2013 has provided many challenges. We have shared in the tragic loss of too many firefighters and suffered too many close calls.

Since early spring our crews, fire managers and Agency Administrators’ have been fighting fire at home and assisting others across the country. Many forests within California have been actively engaged in fighting fire since early June. During this difficult time we have maintained a remarkable initial and extended attack success rate. Please thank our firefighters and those who support them for their dedication in the service of our mission and their fellow citizens.

I expect us to continue to successfully manage fire while fully evaluating risks with a broad perspective and consideration for the people we serve and landscapes we protect. Success continues to be defined as safely achieving reasonable objectives with the least firefighter exposure necessary, while enhancing stakeholder support for our management.

Our success is, however, dependent upon us ensuring our most valuable resources; our employees are fit for duty. This requires us all to be keenly aware of fatigue within our workforce and to skillfully address fatigue management for ourselves and our employees.
Forest Supervisors have the authority to mitigate risk for employees and grant administrative leave for additional time off when fireline and support personnel require more than the standard two-days off in fourteen. The duration of assignments and back-to-back assignments for crews, overhead and support personnel can make it difficult to get restorative rest. I ask that you also consider other assignments such as refit and refurbish days as a means to provide necessary time for resources to prepare for new assignments.
I ask that all Forest Supervisors and Directors be personally engaged in assisting their employees assess fatigue and authorize additional time off between assignments where warranted. You have my support to take appropriate action to ensure you and our employees are well rested and prepared to continue to safely accomplish the important work of fire management. It appears we may have a lot of fire season to go. Please continue to position us and our employees for success.

/s/ Jeanne Wade Evan (for)
Regional Forester

9/18 Before i climb up on a stump - i'd like to express my thanks to all that work behind the scenes to create/foster and contribute to this forum - while some of the posts are baffling and downright frustrating at times, the majority of what is written and expressed is fantastic and thought provoking... Thank you!

On 9/17/13 a statement was posted that contained the following;

"Despite their dedication, temporary seasonals are not eligible to compete for permanent jobs like other federal employees. In many instances, they are ineligible to apply at all. This bureaucratic barrier does nothing but increase training costs, kill efficiency, and deny temporary seasonals the fair shot at permanent jobs they are highly qualified to perform."

It is my opinion that this statement is not entirely accurate and is a bit misleading. Let me explain.
Each year the US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Management and to a much lesser extent National Park Service & Fish and Wildlife Service, advertise and fill Wildland Firefighter Apprentice positions from the temporary seasonal ranks you speak of. In fact, those temporary seasonals combine to make the largest pool of applicants, and as a result fill the majority (well over 80%) of apprentice positions across our country each time a round of hiring takes place. ALL hired Apprentices occupy permanent positions of varying tours of duty. Some are 13/13 (permanent seasonal) and others are 26/0 (permanent full-time).

Again, more of my opinion here;
It's our temporary seasonal wildlife biologists, timber markers, archeologists, and recreation technicians that truly face an even larger "wall" to climb just to get a foot in the door. The windows of opportunity for these folks to gain that 13/13 tour are very much shorter and less frequent than they are for other temporary seasonals. And keep in mind a bunch of these troops annually fill in on engines, crews, and are very active militia members with collateral expertise and ICS skills. I realize that these individuals comprise the other roughly 40% who are not primary fire - nevertheless, they have the same aspirations, desires, reasons to be permanent federal employees, but they have far less opportunity.

Seeking a Just Culture...

9/17 Tell Congress: Temporary Seasonal Employees Deserve a Fair Shot at Permanent Jobs

Year after year, thousands of temporary seasonal employees join the land management agency rolls to work for their country. Many perform these roles for years, even decades, on end. Despite their dedication, temporary seasonals are not eligible to compete for permanent jobs like other federal employees. In many instances, they are ineligible to apply at all. This bureaucratic barrier does nothing but increase training costs, kill efficiency, and deny temporary seasonals the fair shot at permanent jobs they are highly qualified to perform.

In the Forest Service, roughly 60% of seasonal temps are wildland firefighters.

This link allows you to send letters to your Congressional representatives asking them to support the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, a no-cost, bipartisan bill to give these employees the hiring and promotion opportunities they deserve.

send letters to your Congressional representatives

Mark Davis, Vice-President
National Federation of Federal Employees

9/17 EMT recertification

SoloEMT – you have several options. One, as you mentioned, is to join a volunteer fire or EMS agency that will provide your CE and patient care time. EMT Services Recert Info  has all the details, but you can recert by getting your required refresher and CE hours, which are not just available through employers – a local community college that has EMT classes may let you audit them for hours (perhaps for a cost), a local EMS or fire agency may let you attend theirs even if you don’t work for them, etc. You can also recert via examination, if you don’t have the hours but are able to pass the exam again. In terms of working for an EMS provider, they also say “or have performed the duties of an EMS provider” for six months. If you function as an EMT for your crew, that may qualify. You’d have to get their signature, but even though BLM isn’t an EMS agency per se, if you’re doing that job for them, it should qualify as long as you’re actually doing patient care. If you have further questions, contact NREMT and they’ll help you work through it.


9/16 Airtankers: Air Spray signs contract with CalFire

There are several P-3’s (or the civilian equal L-188) ready to fly. Many are already on missions as air tankers on the North American continent.


9/15 EMT recertification

I was wondering how everyone gets their recert. for EMT; since I work for the BLM I don't get CE's nor do I work for an EMS based program (required for National Reg). Not sure what the easiest way to get my National Reg recert is or how everyone on here does it. Thought about joining a vol. fire dept this winter anyway..maybe that will help?


9/14 Strange Fire Names - Hotlist

Remember when...? Hotlist

Weather patterns and fire activity - Hotlist

How astrophysics affects weather / climate

9/13 Several people have sent this link in including CAL FIRE Jake and M@2X4.

Would Firefighting Planes Have Helped Doomed Firemen?


Transcript of beginning of video:

We think of firefighting we most often think in the -- boots on the ground heading in neighboring buildings are perilous terrain to save lives and extinguish flames. But for the biggest -- the ones that threaten entire communities and swaths of land. Help -- to come from the air as well. (more at the link)

9/13 Re Osha Fines and PPE:


I cant speak to the OSHA fines, but from a Forest Service contracting perspective, if a private contractor arrived at an incident without proper PPE and/or new generation fire shelter (if they are required to furnish their own), they would be considered noncompliant with the terms of their agreement/contract. This may trigger administrative considerations, such as rejection, reduced travel payment, suspension, etc. Most VIPR agreements require the contactor to arrive with proper PPE and shelters and, in fact, explicitly prohibit loaning or exchanging at the incident. So from a compliance perspective, even loaning PPR/shelters would be considered non-compliant.

Ben McGrane
Supervisory Contract Specialist
Region 6 Fire & Aviation Contracting Team

9/12 Calif. wildfire more destructive than thought (CA-SHU-Clover)

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Crews assessing the damage from a wildfire in Northern California have now determined that 68 homes were destroyed, up from the earlier tally of 37, a fire official said on Thursday.

The count of outbuildings destroyed by the Clover Fire in Shasta County also went up from 74 to 128. Additionally, five homes were damaged, one more than previously thought,... (More at the link above, including photos.)

Hotlist CA-SHU-Clover- IA, now in Continuing

Hotlist CA-SHU-Clover- Questions and Discussion

9/11 Re Fire Shelters:

It depends... Basically as an employer, you are tasked with performing a risk assessment of duties performed by your employees. The selection of controls (PEE, SOP's, Engine equipment etc.) Is based on your risk and lowering the risk to an acceptable level as determined by the employer.

So the question of old vs. new shelters is the cart in front of the horse... Your risk assessment and your acceptance of risk will result in your specification for a shelter.

Your Dept. may be well served to use the nationally recognized standards that everyone else is using... There was a change to the new style for a reason.

Injuries... In the absence of a risk assessment, the Department leadership is libel for suits, as there is a lack of due diligence. Search for CA Labor code 6423 also know as "Be a Manager, go to jail"

Lastly, if you have injuries, one of the questions is why? Was PPE lacking, training lacking? Your employment must be free of recognized hazards. Since fire is hazardous, what did you do to reduce/prevent risk?

Fines and the cost of non compliance are the wrong question, sure, budgets play into implementation timelines, but the issue of fines should play a back seat to the safety of your team.

- Fussee

9/10 I've been photographing wildfires for years as a staff photographer at National Geographic. I always wondered what it was like to be in the middle of a crown fire so we built FireCam, a specially designed housing that will protect a still and video camera from fire. We put together a video of the footage here: Surrounded by fire

I thought your readers might find it interesting.


Thanks, Mark. Ab.

9/10 This morning around 7:00 AM, we received notice that the Hotlist website was being hijacked to be redirected to another website that contained information about the Syrian Army. As soon as we found out about it, we had our team quickly resolve the issue, and direct traffic back to The Hotlist. The hackers were able to gain access to the backend of wlfhotlist.com's server and redirect traffic to their website. We found the issue immediately, and were able to block entrance from this happening again, and from outsiders gaining access to vital server information.

We do not have any evidence of any information being taken from the website as far as sensitive information goes. We have required that all registered users reset their passwords. When you first log in to the Hotlist, you will be prompted to change you password.

We want to assure that everyone's privacy is our top priority. We do not sell, nor use your information for any reason, and we especially will not allow any outsiders to have access to it either. If you have questions about what has happened, or need assistance you can contact help@wildlandfire.com, or call to our office at 530-235-4419.

Thank you for your patience!

-The Wildlandfire.com Team-

9/9 Good thoughts for the Klump family. When lost Kellie in 2007, we lost a fine person. Mellie
9/8 Osha Fines and PPE:

I have a question to the wildland community out there regarding proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I am looking for some facts or experiences that can help me solve a PPE problem.

First, does anyone know what the OSHA or Cal-OSHA fines would be if a government operated engine (federal, state or local) were to respond to a wildland fire and the proper PPE was not on the apparatus, either lack of Wildland PPE or Fire Shelters?

The older fire shelters have been retired some time ago, but what if some agencies are still using them for front-line wildland firefighting.

What are the fines if a private fire contractor were found to not have the proper PPE or the newer Fire Shelter?

Thank you.


9/6 Sadly, Capt. Token Adams was found deceased Hotlist thread for Condolences.


News Release

Sad... condolences... Ab.

9/6 I'm posting remotely again. Send me an email and I'll post it on the Hotlist Theysaid. Thanks!


9/3 Hotshots vital in many ways, experts say; crew helped Prescott become the leader in national Firewise efforts

PRESCOTT - On the fateful late afternoon of June 28 when lightning ignited the now-infamous Yarnell Hill wildfire 20 miles south of Prescott, lightning also sparked a relatively unknown blaze on the outskirts of Prescott called the West Spruce wildfire.

It was on the dangerous southwest side of the city, a few miles... (More at the link)

9/3 Here's the latest update on the missing firefighter on Inciweb from this morning at 1000 hrs: I'm posting the text... (I'm getting a number of questions about updates.)


Incident: Holiday Incident Search and Rescue
Released: 10 hrs. ago

Holiday Incident - Search Continues for Missing Firefighter
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - The search for Jemez Ranger District (Santa Fe National Forest) wildland firefighter, Token Adams, was hampered again yesterday by heavy afternoon rains. The steep, rugged, dense terrain has also challenged efforts despite the over 250 personnel involved in the search. The terrain in the vicinity of the search is described as extreme topography with steep uphill and downhill trails and sheer cliffs.

Token, the engine captain on a Jemez Ranger District engine has been missing for four days. The last communication from Token was received on Friday afternoon from Holiday Mesa. He and other firefighters from the Ranger District were responding to a smoke report and searching for the 25-acre School House Fire located near School House Mesa.

Despite the NM Search and Rescue grid pattern being used by the professional and dedicated personnel on the incident, search efforts have not been successful. Personnel are using GPS as part of this grid pattern and are being asked to report their locations hourly. Searchers will focus today on determining that certain areas have been fully searched.

Weather predictions for today and tonight are for a 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms which will once again affect both air and ground operations.

The Southwest Incident Management Type 1 Team, Incident Commander Joe Reinarz, will assume command of search efforts as part of a unified command along with multiple Federal, State, County and local agencies, on Wednesday morning at 6:00 a.m.

The family continues to ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.
Please direct all information requests to the Holiday Incident Information Center at the Jemez Ranger District (575) 829-3535. Holiday Incident information is also being posted to www.inciweb.org/

9/3 HR 2858- Classification as Wildland Firefighters

I've had the pleasure of sharing emails with Lindon before and appreciate his commentary and his passion as well as that of so many others. But I again have to reiterate that while we sincerely appreciate the interest and awareness the legislation has raised, if it were not for the men & women from all five land management agencies and from all fire positions from entry-level to FMO who "pay the freight" by being honored dues-paying members of the FWFSA, this bill would not exist.

If not for these same men & women, Congress would have far less understanding of the issues facing our wildland firefighters. If not for these men & women, some of whom have been members for 10, some even 20 years, those of you who routinely use code 1121 would not be able to do so as it took the revenue of those men & women to help pay for the effort to eliminate the OT Pay Cap so many years ago.

I am reminded each and every day that the potential for membership in the FWFSA across the Nation is enormous. However only a fraction of our Nation's federal wildland firefighters have made the commitment to support the FWFSA through membership.

You all read and hear stories about how 'big money" buys politics. With even House races costing millions of dollars, it is a sad reality that money is an absolute requirement of any organization hoping to advocate before Congress and to seek access to its members and secure their support. What the FWFSA has accomplished over the last decade is, for its modest size, remarkable. However as I've said before we compete each and every day with other organizations for that access and support, most of whom have far greater revenue and resources than we do.

The committee to which this bill was referred has a membership whose majority of members represent areas East of the Mississippi and thus have far less understanding of wildland firefighter issues or how those issues affect our taxpayers and even less understanding of how the land management agencies manage their fire programs and utilize fire dollars.

In order to educate those members of Congress in such committees, it is imperative that the FWFSA have members from those districts to help facilitate our access. In the last 5-6 years, the number of DOI employees joining the FWFSA has increased dramatically. At the same time while we increase membership, we also lose revenue to retirements and those simply leaving the federal system.

Folks, writing a bill and getting it introduced in Congress isn't free. Educating Congress isn't free. Yet some think $10 a pay day is too much to invest in their own future even though passage of this legislation would result in an enormous return on that investment. I guarantee that without the FWFSA and those who support it, there will be no legislation, there will be no efforts to effect change both legislatively and administratively and there will be no one to push the agencies into recognizing you for who you are and what you do.

I apologize if this sounds self-serving but maybe it's time for a reality check. The fact is that greater revenue allows for greater diversity of tactics and strategy to achieve our goals. And, quite frankly, it is unfair to those who are supporting the FWFSA to know that so many others who aren't supporting it will also benefit from our efforts without "paying the freight."

There is strength in numbers and also we've had a modicum of success over the years, think of what could be accomplished if we had a louder voice across the Nation. We'd be honored to have you visit our website at www.fwfsa.org and join to make an investment in your future.



9/3 Admin Leave for Labor Day

R9 Engine Captain

In 28 years of service I never saw Admin leave granted by the Gov for Labor Day, but there were several times during the end of the year use or loose leave periods for a lot of permanent employees where Admin was granted Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always just scheduled an extra day off to cover the time rather than donating the time to the Government. Everyone had to change their time sheets from leave coding to Admin leave coding whenever this happened. Tells me that there must be something in the books somewhere about what's good for one is good for all.


9/2 Lolo Creek Complex article for Greg Poncin:

Greetings from Lolo, MT:

Would you be able to email this link to Greg Poncin, Northern Rockies Type 1 IMT? It's been posted at InciWeb as an additional link at the Lolo Creek Complex fire, but that's no guarantee that the right people will see it. No big deal if you can't, but figured it was worth a try. 

Gratitude for those who worked Lolo Creek Complex

Many thanks...


Nice. Would someone please get this to Greg and his team? Ab.

9/2 Pay Reform Legislation: H.R. 2858 the Wildland Firefighter Protection Act


This editorial is dead on. It's from yubanet.com. The word needs to be spread. Please post...

Lindon Pronto: I am a Federal Wildland Firefighter, Not a Forestry Technician


9/2 Firefighter missing for 3 days on the Santa Fe NF:


from ABC:

Photo of Token Adams and article

9/1 Search resumes for firefighter missing in forest in northern New Mexico washingtonpost. com

AP. JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. — Crews were back on the ground on Monday searching for a Forest Service firefighter who vanished in the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico on Friday while sizing up a wildfire’s perimeter on an ATV.

Forest Service spokeswoman Karen Takai said 100 searchers were scouring mesas and canyons amid heavy timber, brush and grass for 41-year-old Token Adams in the area of Jemez (HAY’-mus) Springs.

Search resumes for firefighter missing in forest in northern New Mexico

He failed to return to a pre-arranged meeting point Friday afternoon with two other firefighters who were also riding ATVs around the 25-acre wildfire southeast of Fenton Lake. Forest Service spokesman John Helmich said the lightning-started wildfire was fully contained late Friday. More at the link...

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