"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland Firefighter
This is pretty cool.
This year Disney released the movie "PLANES", about a crop duster who wants to
be a race plane. This is the air version of Cars.
Disney has now announced a 2014 sequel called "Planes: Fire and Rescue". Which
is about wildland fires.
Check out the teaser trailer
youtube.com Planes: Fire & Rescue - Official Trailer (2014) [HD] Disney
Re: Casey's contributions
I am so sorry Mr. Judd is having health problems. I
have always admired his perseverance and dedication to the welfare of wildland
firefighters. His representation has been to the benefit of all of us, past,
present, and future. My best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Get well soon!
Furlough and leave
The way I understand it, our government has written laws when dealing with
furlough which make it incorrect/impossible to code timesheets with A/L or S/L.
It gets really sketchy when dealing with timesheets during a furlough. If you
are having trouble ethically with that, just think about all the employees who
were sent home for 16 days, but when they came back to work were told to code
their timesheets in such a way so they could get paid.
Stories and pictures are needed now. Ab.
!!!Time is running out!!!!
Sierra Hotshot Superintendent is Retiring!!!
40 years of service on the fire line!!
When: January 19,2014
@ 4:00pm/Dinner 5:00
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall
RSVP: By December 1, 2013 to
or 559-321-4182 Brian Grossman
$25.00 a person (payable to Brian Grossman)
Send to: 1150 3rd St
Clovis Ca, 93612
Blocks of rooms are set aside at the following hotels in Clovis CA. Make
reservations byDEC. 25th to ensure yours:
Homewood Suites 559-292-4004
Hampton Inn & Suites 559-338-0000
Comfort Suites. 559-299-9992
Fairfield Inn & Suites. 559-323-8080
Best Western. 559-299-1547
*PLEASE Share your stories and pictures by October 31,2013. Send
Always Remember these firefighters who died during Santa Ana wind
events around this date.
1961 10/30 CA Mike Rushworth Dalton HS on the ANF
1967 10/30 CA Frank Rios -Baliff on the BDF
1966 11/01 CA Loop -El Cariso Hotshots
1966 11/01 CA Camp Pendleton -military who were fighting fire on the same
1955 11/06 CA James Catlow LAFD engineer
also a young firefighter who died on an active night-time fire in Kentucky
1991 10/29 KY John Spangler
This is also an anniversary of the 10/29,1999 day that Dick Blood was murdered
in the Anderson CA fairgrounds staging area at the end of the Big Bar Complex.
Nice man. Crazy situation. His murderer was brought to justice.
Always Remember Richard Blood
Today is the anniversary of Steve Rucker's death on the Cedar Fire during the
Always Remember Steve Rucker
In southern California when it seems the season may be over, there are always
Santa Ana winds that may blow.
Hope you get well, Casey! Mellie
Response to Micki Judd
Thank you for letting us know about Casey's health
struggles. I will add him to my prayer list, and I am sure others will as well.
Please let Casey know that we are thinking about him and wishing for his
wellness. Also remind him that a good responder protects his own safety so he
can save others second. Whatever he needs to do to recover sooner, get better,
he needs to do. Even if it is turning off the tv. He isn't defaulting on his
calling, but he is taking the steps necessary to "get back to it full strength."
Thanks again for the information, and I will be wishing good for you as well
during this event.
Flash in Florida
Dear Ab and the wonderful wildland firefighting community,
I have hesitated sending this post in knowing that all of you have suffered such
a difficult season and you all have been asked countless times for thoughts and
prayers for so many that have been lost and injured this season but I hope you
can find enough in your heart for another thought & prayer.
My Husband, Casey Judd, president of the FWFSA has now been extremely ill for an
entire month. As many of you know in 2009 he underwent stress-related quadruple
open heart surgery and was told by his cardiac surgeon to stop carrying the
weight of the federal wildland firefighting world on his shoulders and dealing
with Congress. Obviously he didn't listen.
After test after test starting with internal bleeding, it is now believed Casey
is suffering from stress-related bleeding ulcers. He has no health insurance
through the FWFSA so has to rely on his VA coverage which won't "scope" him for
another 8 weeks while he's on medication. It has been heart-wrenching to see him
unable to spend more than a half an hour in the office maybe every other day. He
is visibly upset that he has been unable to personally call new FWFSA members to
thank them for their support.
Despite my objections, he watched C-SPAN during the entire Gov't shutdown and I
saw him in tears knowing that so many that he deals with in Washington had a
hand in causing so much turmoil in the lives of our wildland firefighters and
other federal employees.
I do want all FWFSA members to know that he has his cell phone and ipad in bed
with him and is in constant contact with the FWFSA's lobbying partners in DC,
Sellery Associates. The FWFSA office is "open" and I am helping to process new
applications and want to ensure new members that once he's on his feet he will
His devotion, affection, respect and admiration for all of you is contagious. He
will not give up on you: he's still doing what he loves and I think doing what
he was born to do despite the struggles of achieving success in DC.
So I hope that you will take a moment to offer a prayer and thought for him. For
members a reminder: PLEASE if you are a seasonal/temp FF going into a layoff
status, please let us know. You can still email Casey at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get the info.
Also, as many of you do, if you move during the off-season, please update your
address with us.
Give him a hug from me, Micki. I'll keep good health for him in
my thoughts. Please keep us in the loop. Ab.
God Bless the Boys of Engine 57, I think of them often.
I pray their families and fellow San Jac/BDF coworkers are blessed with fond
memories of them.
7th Anniversary Esperanza Fire.
Jason McKay's Mom here again. A day early because I'll be at the site
tomorrow for the BDF moment of silence. But I'm here today to remind all of you
to update your Emergency Cards. This is important for your family.
Don't put it off, do it now. Love all of you and please stay safe, talk to you
Thanks Bonnie, my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
Always Remember Mark, Jason, Jess, Pablo, and Daniel Ab.
I'll be out of the office for the weekend at a wedding! Ab.
Monument on National Forest lands:
If you wish to build a monument on National
Forest lands, you would have to obtain some form of authorization from the
Forest Supervisor or Regional Forester (aka a permit). It would need to be in
writing specifying what is authorized and where etc.
Tony Bacon and Galen Warren...
“Double Doughnuts and Gatorade”… A story of two National Park Service
Structural Fire Icons
There are always those who have walked the fireground before us. What they
learned for the first time is now common knowledge. Tools they invented are now
as common as a blue sky in the southwestern United States. It was in the
National Park Service Southwest (SW) Region, as it was known at the time, where
the NPS Structural Fire Training Program began...
More at the link...
Hi Tree Mechanic.
The reason they cannot code their time sheets with leave is
because leave is not authorized or approved during a furlough. Its that simple.
You are either furloughed or not.
For someone to do as you call it " the honorable thing", and code there time
with leave after being instructed not to is: 1) insubordination based on the
direction we all received in writing on how to code our time and/or 2)
falsification of your time sheet and/or 3) against the law.
This has nothing to do with honor or getting something for free.
Guilty Plea in Oregon in 2008 Fatal Copter Crash
An Oregon man has
pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with the deadliest helicopter crash
involving working firefighters in U.S. history. Levi Phillips, 46, of Grants
Pass faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. As part of a
plea deal, he agreed to testify against another man, 42-year-old Steven Metheny
of Central Point. Phillips was the director of maintenance for Carson
Helicopters Inc., reporting directly to Metheny, a former vice president.
Prosecutors say that when the U.S. Forest Service solicited bids for
(More at the link...)
Are you aware of any formalized standards for establishing
a memorial on Forest Service lands? The family of Lee Collins would like to
mark the fatality scene where Mr Collins and Luther Rodarte perished in the
Sundance Fire in 1967. I’m told by Lee Collins’ daughter that Mr Rodarte’s
family would appreciate it as well.
Wondering if we can add the 1967 Sundance Fire fatalities,
Luther Rodarte and Lee Collins, to the Idaho Memorials roster.
We have marked the origin atop Sundance Mtn and are hoping to mark the fatality
scene on the east side of the Selkirks on the Sandpoint RD USFS.
Thanks for any help and or direction.
Pam, I added the sign images, etc to the
Memorials page under Sundance Mountain ID. Photos of signs at the
origin and to the
There used to be a page of Idaho Memorials on one of the
Idaho forest websites. I don't know if it exists anymore on the new FS server; I
lost track of it. The
FS Heroes Memorial Page for the entire nation has Luther's name on it since
he was a FS employee. (Thanks, John Miller.) Luther's name is also on the state
of California Wall in Sacramento since he worked primarily on the Los Padres NF,
CA but was dispatched to the Sundance, ID to fill a resource need. Their
Always Remember page memorializes both names and both men. Dozer operators
are critical to wildland firefighting.
Readers, can anyone walk Pam (who is Idaho Dept of Lands) through
the process? I'd be happy to share her contact info. Ab.
I found this article and thought I'd share with you, CB.
Pilot dies in crash while battling NSW bushfire
An airtanker went down in Australia killing its pilot, David Black.
Hotlist: Brushfires in Australia, 2013
Not a complete record, but let's remember Dan. Condolences to his family and
2013 10/17 WA- Dan Hall killed by a falling tree near the fireline of the
Furlough and leave
There's nothing honorable about coding your time to A/L when you are locked
out from work. That's what happened to all the federal employees that were
willing to work. It makes more sense if it doesn't feel right to you then you
should contribute your A/L to one of the many sick or injured employees asking
for leave contributions. You state that nothing's free, but yet management wants
you employees to work for free or to take credit hours rather than OT. Every
hour you do that they get 1/2 hour free from you. I can't count the times they
have made me spend the night on a fire in miserable conditions off of the clock.
More free time out of your life you're giving to them.
Pay for Performance plan and rating system:
It’s unfortunate the Forest
Service who negotiated a pay for performance plan in 2006 is now backing out.
The pay for performance plan included changing from a 2-tier to a 3-tier rating
system. If the Forest Service cannot live up to pay for performance that it
agreed to, then maybe we need the Union to negotiate again and go back to the
two-tier performance rating system (unsuccessful and fully successful).
Letter providing guidance on FY 2013 performance based awards (32 K pdf)
USFS Firefighter Joshua D. Raborn Passed Away on October 16
Joshua Raborn, Lead Water Tender Operator on the San Bernardino National Forest,
Mountaintop Ranger District died in a fatal motorcycle accident on the evening
of October 16th in Hesperia.
Joshua proudly served the American public, first as Lance Corporal in the United
States Marine Corps and then as a firefighter with United States Forest Service.
Joshua Raborn started his career with the US Forest Service in July of 2008 as a
seasonal firefighter with the Big Bear Hotshots. In 2009, he applied and was
selected as an apprentice in the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program.
Joshua attended Basic Academy #49, and the Advanced Academy in 2010, completing
the apprentice program and converting to permanent full-time in January of 2011.
Joshua spent the remainder of his career on the Mountaintop Ranger District as
the lead Water Tender Operator at Deerlick Station 12.
Joshua, age 29 is survived by his wife Kristen, and 4 kids, his mother and
Please keep Josh and his family, friends, firefighters and his brothers at USFS
Deerlick Station 12 in your thoughts and prayers.
forevermissed.com/ joshua-raborn/ for more photos and information.
Joshua's service will be at 11:00am on November 01, 2013 at Bobbit Memorial
Chapel 1299 E Highland Ave San Bernardino, CA 92404. This will be followed by a
1:45pm US Marine Corps Graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery,
Riverside CA .
Condolences, what a sad loss. My best to his friends, family
and co-workers. The slide show at his forever missed site is awesome. Ab.
Reply to the 10/16 response to my question about Furlough and Leave:
clarify what I meant in my earlier post.. if you worked during the furlough,
then you will get paid.. so if you had leave scheduled during the furlough why
not do the honorable thing and code your A/L as scheduled and any S/L if you
were sick or went to the doctor. I personally do not want anything for free
ESPECIALLY from the government. Somewhere along the line... somebody has to pay
for it ! Nothing is ever just free.
Parachuting, interesting article from the LA Times, from GA Peach.
(Ab note: I assume this is in the context of historical info related to
smokejumping... Anyone else with history of SJ stories or links?)
When was the first parachute jump? 1797, when Andre Garnerin got dizzy
When was the first parachute jump? Google poses the question with a doodle
that spotlights French parachutist Andre-Jacques Garnerin. On Oct. 22, 1797 --
216 years ago today -- in a Paris exhibition, Garnerin rose to a height of 3,200
feet, then made a dizzying descent to Earth by parachute and took his bows.
Others had parachuted before Garnerin, but he's credited as the first to jump
using a parachute without a rigid frame. In the aeronaut's jumps, ... (More at
Making the rounds
Subject: EIM Update and Briefing Paper
Folks – Attached is an update and briefing paper on Evolving Incident
Management. Now that fire season has abated the EIM work groups will be rolling
up their sleeves to get moving on identified tasks and recommendations.
Kim A. Christensen
Deputy Assistant Director, Operations
FS Fire and Aviation, NIFC
Evolving Incident Management (EIM) Update (590 K pdf)
Evolving Incident Management Leadership Briefing, Oct 2013 (137 K pdf)
News Release NRCS Announces Assistance for Catastrophic Fire Recovery
(California) (204 K pdf)
NRCS Announces Assistance for Catastrophic Fire
DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 18, 2013—The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) today announced that applications will be accepted to assist private
landowners in California affected by wildfires in the last 18 months.
Financial assistance for implementing conservation practices may be available
through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications for
this initiative can be submitted for primary consideration and ranking through
Nov. 15, 2013.
"I encourage landowners who have private forestlands and rangelands that were
damaged by the recent catastrophic fires to visit with their local NRCS field
office about how this initiative can provide assistance to protect their natural
resources," said California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez.
The purpose of the Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Initiative is to provide
immediate resource protection in areas burned by catastrophic fires in the past
18 months. Priority concerns include immediate soil erosion protection,
minimizing noxious and invasive plant proliferation, protecting water quality,
fish and wildlife habitat, and bringing back forests and restoring livestock
infrastructure necessary for grazing management.
Priority applications will include practices that are implemented within one
year and provide immediate erosion protection, adequate livestock water, and
Participants interested in implementing practices beyond the scope of this
special and limited initiative are encouraged to apply under the regular EQIP
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's
private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural
resources since 1935.
I have heard this morning that the Washington DNR is treating Dan Hall's death
Inmates Death Marks Second Fatality in DNR Prison Work Program
say 47-year-old Daniel J. Hall died Thursday afternoon while working to clear
DNR-owned land south of Springdale following a recent timber harvest. Peter
Lavallee, communications director for DNR, says several agencies are
investigating the fatal incident.
"We're looking into exactly what happened," Lavallee says. "The crew was
working on an area where there had been a timber harvest and sale. ... The crew
was preparing the land for an eventual replanting." (more at the link above...)
Fair Use Disclaimer
Thanks to WC Advocate for the link. Ab.
In brief: Airway Heights inmate dies while clearing state property
An Airway Heights prison inmate died Thursday while clearing land for the
state Department of Natural Resources.
Daniel J. Hall, 47, had been serving a sentence for drug and auto theft
convictions since January 2011, the state Department of Corrections said in a
news release. He was due to be released in September 2014.
The minimum-security inmate was clearing debris after a timber harvest in
Stevens County, said DNR spokesman Peter Lavallee. The agency hasn’t disclosed
what happened to Hall to cause his death. (a little more at the link
Fair Use Disclaimer
article on Oct 17, 2013)
Thanks to Tom J. Ab.
If anyone has a name and/or details on the Washington Inmate firefighter who
died when hit by a snag last Thursday, October 17, 2013, please let us know. Ab.
Hotlist thread: Inmate firefighter died 2 days ago from a falling tree in
Yarnell Hill Report discussion
Message received from FS HR:
On Oct 1, the ASC/HRM released 28 new vacancy
announcements to fill 14 different fire positions ranging in grades GS-06
through GS-12. Any of your outreach notices should be updated to reflect the new
vacancy announcement #s. See attached list for positions and vacancy
Applicants can apply now!! Please make sure R5 employees within the fire
community are advised of these opportunities!! Vacancy announcements can be
located at usajobs.gov
Current permanent Federal employees with competitive status (career or
career-conditional status), those with reinstatement eligibility, VEOA, VRA, 30%
disabled Veterans, etc. should be encouraged to apply first to the vacancy
announcements ending in G, and second to the vacancy announcements ending in DP
(which are open to U.S. citizens). This is because certification and referral
processes are different.
28 New Vacancy Announcements
Position Title, Series, Grade, Vacancy Announcement #, now open
Australia is burning:
Hotlist thread: Bushfires in Australia, 2013
You need to check your info a little closer…
The President didn’t get unlimited spending for 4 months. Unlimited?
Seriously? The budget is at the Republican’s low number, including the
You think disaster relief for Colorado is stuffing some politician’s pocket?
How about helping the people who lost everything? You don’t think the federal
government should honor its commitment to pay back the states for covering
operating expenses of Fed parks during the shutdown? Boy, that is being a good
trustworthy partner in a business deal.
You think it is wrong to pay the employees laid off by something totally out
of their control, due to some whacky BS going on in DC? Seriously? Including the
many employees that worked without paychecks for this time? Wow.
The money for Kentucky was simply money to finish a project. It was already
approved in both Houses of Congress. But as I am sure you must know, I takes two
approvals from both houses to actually spend money approved by budget or other
authority. This was simply the second approval.
I don’t know all the details about the benefits to the widow. If it is a
benefit that goes to all widows, that sounds like a contractual commitment, just
like the government has to many of us, and we expect them to honor it, no matter
the case, or the net worth of the recipient. However, again, I don’t know all
the facts in this case, so I will refrain from illogical and uninformed rants.
From: Office of the Chief [mailto:Office_of_the_Chief.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us]
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 07:49 AM
To: ALL FS <ALL_FS.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us>
Subject: Chief's Message for All Employees
We're Glad You're Back!
After three tumultuous weeks, the vast majority of our workforce-more than
25,000 of you!-have finally returned to your offices and work units today to
resume your jobs as stewards of our nation's forests and grasslands.
Thank you for your patience! And to employees who performed excepted work
activities during the shutdown: Thank you for your service!
On behalf of the citizens you serve, on behalf of your fellow colleagues, and
on my own personal behalf, I am so glad we are all back! This recent furlough
represents one of the most perplexing experiences I have witnessed in my 35
years of service. The idea of stopping our work and largely neglecting our
mission just goes against our core values, and I fully share your frustration.
The shutdown came at a time when most of us were gearing up for a new fiscal
year of work. It took enormous discipline to be able to focus on matters related
to the shutdown while the rest of our work was going undone. The hardships
created by the shutdown for the personal well-being of our employees were and
continue to be enormous.
Despite what you have endured, please know that Americans value your public
service. The vast majority of your fellow citizens empathized with you during
the work stoppage, as evidenced by unanimous congressional approval of
legislation to restore pay for furloughed federal workers. For some, that might
be meager comfort, considering the backlog of work we now face or worries about
missed payments for tuition, mortgages, and car loans. In this tough economic
climate, however, it's reassuring to see such widespread support for public
service and for the work we do.
The shutdown reminded the nation that all of us are essential to fulfilling
our mission, to providing stewardship for our nation's forests and grasslands,
and to furnishing so many critical services that Americans want and need. To be
sure, some of our employees were able to continue performing excepted activities
allowed by law, despite the lapse of funding; but the shutdown showed that it
really takes all of us to fulfill our mission and to meet our responsibilities
to the American people.
Now is the time for all of us to get back to work-to show the value of the
U.S. Forest Service in caring for the National Forests and Grasslands and to
demonstrate the critical role we play in helping to sustain all of our nation's
While there is an urgent need for us to quickly get back to work, a
successful start-up must also be a safe start-up. Fortunately, many of our units
continued to have our fire and law enforcement personnel on the job throughout
the shutdown. Nevertheless, please take a few simple steps as you get back to
- Take the time to assess your vehicles, your office settings, and your
entire work environment to ensure that you are safe to begin work.
- Set and follow priorities. We cannot catch up on three weeks of missed
work overnight. I know we will be able to make up some of the work we
missed, but I also recognize that our accomplishments for the year will be
reduced. In the short term, we need to focus on mitigating impacts to
communities and helping our contractors get back to work. Please follow the
start-up guidance that you will get from your units.
- We will be posting on the Intranet and providing through email
information related to many of your questions, for example regarding
computer password expirations, timesheet reporting, back pay, and so forth.
Please be patient! It will take us several days to provide answers to all of
Once again, thank you for everything you do! And welcome back!
THE WHITE HOUSE
October 17, 2013
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United
Two and a half weeks ago, on the day that much of our Government shut down, I
wrote you to
express my appreciation for the work you do on behalf of the American people
every day, and to
convey my commitment to getting you back on the job as quickly as possible.
Today, I am writing to simply say: Welcome back. Thank you for your service.
Whether you have been working without pay, or you were forced to stay home
without pay, I
know it has been a frustrating and stressful few weeks for you and your
families. It should
never have happened. You should never have been treated this way. So I hope it
some solace that you will be paid in full for what you should have earned since
I want to remind you, again, that the public service you perform-the role you
play in the life of
our country-it is important. It matters. You defend our country overseas and
benefits our troops have earned when they come home. You help folks after a
guard our borders and protect our civil rights. You keep our food and our
workplaces safe, and
protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. You help businesses expand
and enter new
markets. You push the very boundaries of science and space, and guide hundreds
of people each day through the glory of America's natural wonders.
I know that some of your efforts and hard work have been halted or harmed by
But now that the Government is open for business again, let us throw ourselves
back into it. We
have work to do, and the American people are counting on us to get it right.
Those of us who have the privilege of serving this country may come from
different parties, but
we are Americans first. Each of us has specific responsibilities we are charged
with carrying out
on behalf of the American people, and we have an obligation to do it the best we
can. I look
forward to working with all of you to make sure we meet the high expectations of
You forgot to add all the little expenses and PORK our representatives threw as
soon as they knew the bill was going to be passed and signed last night, that's
why it was late being signed. They tossed I believe $400,000,000 to fix the
flooded roads in Colorado. A payment to all the states that kept some National
Parks open. Legislation to pay all the government workers for their unplanned
time off. There was a Congressional leader that died last year (had a net worth
of $66,000,000), they felt his wife needed a little help so they gave her a
$174,000 for some unknown reason. Then the top 3 leaders including, Mitch
McConnell, that turned the vote got $5,000,000,000 to support their states. The
president got unlimited no cap spending on the deficit for four months. Those
were just a few I could remember. That's why they can afford to pay fire folks
what they are worth, they are still too busy stuffing their own pockets and
showing little concern for our national debt.
This is a historical day...
I'm glad the self-imposed and EXTREMELY COSTLY
Fiscal Cliff debacle was averted, at least in part, and that the Federal
Government Shutdown is over, at least for 90 days. To put it all in firefighter
terms, what a self-inflicted CLUSTER this was, costing 24 BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
To all our federal government employees who were furloughed or worked
without pay and suffered during the shutdown, please accept my apologies on
behalf of the American Public. You do good and necessary work. THANK YOU!
I know it will take a number of you some time to recover financially. Working
without pay or the assurance of basic safety net procedures in the case of
injury or death is stressful to say the least.
To our private sector contractor supporters in fire and otherwise,
please accept my apologies for the shutdown and threat of a fiscal cliff on
behalf of the American Public. None of us realize how widespread and deleterious
is the ripple of suffering until the government is shut down as it was.
What else is there to do moving forward from here? Oh yes, check how
congressional representatives voted and if it wasn't to your liking, make a
big noise in your communications to them via email, comments on their website or
via telephone message. Be involved and get them to work toward a budget NOW.
It's time to reassert that we live in a democracy and that democracies can
Several surprises for me...
Can you explain to me why you would want them to credit A/L or S/L that would
have been used during the furlough? If they vote to pay the furloughed employees
then they will all get admin leave (66) and will still have their A/L and S/L to
use at their choice. It doesn't make sense to me to have them use their leave
when they are going to get paid anyway. We have an employee that had his leave
scheduled for Oct. 1 through Oct. 14. He went on the planned vacation, but
because of the furlough will be credited as admin leave because of the lockout
caused by our dysfunctional government.
State of Alaska Firefighters seek reclassification:
Hello fellow firefighters,
The following article was in the Fairbanks, AK newspaper regarding how State of
Alaska wildland firefighters are classified and given benefits in the State
system. It was written by one of our firefighters. We have a number of the same
issues that our Fed brothers have and are fighting to change things.
newsminer.com: Reclassify wildland firefighters
Please help us by posting a comment in support of our efforts to gain the
classification and recognition we all deserve.
ASC contact for medical emergencies: MESSAGE THREAD
To: Steve (Schlientz),
There have been no catastrophic injuries reported. Our OWCP staff do not
normally work 24/7 because employees do not need HRM or OWCP approval for
immediate treatment of injuries. Injured employees who need medical attention
should seek medical attention as per previous FS-wide letters and our web pages
regarding the injury reporting process. Employees should seek medical attention
from an ER as they take all insurances which will bill DOL-OWCP.
Lynne is receiving and responding to calls for injuries of excepted
employees. She is currently half way through the calls that came in this morning
and because it was a long weekend, the inbox on the gov’t cell phone did fill up
but has since been cleared. Calls are being addressed in the order they are
When an injury occurs, the employee and supervisor complete the CA-1 claim
for traumatic injury form in SHIPs, which must be printed and sign by both the
employee and supervisor and faxed to our office for processing to DOL-OWCP.
The only difference during
furlough is that the CA-1 form must be emailed to Lynne Smith.
Once the CA-1 has been processed and submitted to DOL-OWCP, it is currently
taking about one week to be assigned a claim number. The employee and/or
supervisor will be provided a claim number to provide the medical provider.
CA-16 Authorization for Examination and/or Treatment does not have to be
provided at the time of treatment. A CA-16 can be requested and issued to
medical provider within 48 hours or the first business day after an injured
employee sought medical treatment. Also, a CA-16 may be issued to a medical
provider up to seven days from date of injury should employee need to seek
I hope this explanation is helpful. Unfortunately, we are limited as to what
work can be done during the shutdown. Just hope that we'll be back in business
MARY BETH LEPORE
Director, Human Resources Management
U.S. Forest Service, USDA
To: Larry (Sutton),
Please see the trailing email
from HR Director and get the word out to the Fire Directors.
- Our OWCP staff do not normally work 24/7 because
employees do not need HRM
or OWCP approval for immediate treatment of injuries.
- When an injury occurs, the employee and supervisor complete the CA-1
claim for traumatic injury form in SHIPs, which must be printed and signed
by both the employee and supervisor and faxed to our office for processing
to DOL-OWCP. The only
difference during furlough is that the CA-1 form must be emailed to Lynne
- Attached is
April 2010 policy announcing the cessation of OWCP after
hours cell phone (57 K pdf)
Can someone explain to me... If we are keeping track of overtime and
hazard pay to be paid retroactively...then why wouldn't you use A/L or S/L
The same way ?
Yarnell Discussion on the Hotlist
Yarnell and 10 Standard Orders:
It's unfortunate that the vaguely defined
10 are called Standard Fire Orders and have been classified by
lawyers, and as a result of 30-mile, as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),
violations of which can then be used to put firefighters in jail. LCES
are not so classified and can be more easily discussed.
How do we develop a Just Culture, a Lessons Learned Culture, if
experienced and inexperienced firefighterfollowing tragedy
must fear they will be jailed for something occurring in a quickly changing and
uncertain fire environment or falling snag situation?
People are human with different levels of experience, of innate
"situational awareness" and ability to react in a fire environment. They can't
notice, perceive and react quickly enough to avoid death EVERY TIME, even if
Communications are completely clear. Remember the wedge of decreasing options
over time that's taught in Leadership Classes? Options decline over time and
time is of the essence.
Monday morning QB analysis ALWAYS shows that one or more of the ambiguous 10
Fire Orders have been violated. (This is always true if lawyers are trying to
find someone to blame.)
We're in a fix. How do we redefine the 10 as Standard Operating
Guidelines (SOGs) and not cause for legal suits or placing blame, but
guidelines for what wildland firefighters can learn for the future.
The 18 Watchouts are Guidelines, not Procedures.
Why not just rename the 10? 10 Standard Firefighting Guidelines
(but qualify that they can still allow individuals and crews to decline an
After reading the Yarnell report, I too agree with Reality Check. As
sad as this event was, I felt the report danced all around the 10 and 18! I
understand why they would do this for the firemen, there was no need to assign
blame it was a tragedy, but it doesn't help current and future firefighters
reading the report, as far as lessons learned goes to avoid the basics.
When, where and why did the 10 an 18 come from and why is so much emphasis
placed on them! To try to save lives. Think of your personal close calls on the
fireline and why it was a close call. I bet every time it will have something to
do with not paying attention to the 10 and 18.
UI and excepted employment
You are going to get paid for your work along with those that are not working.
There is a question during applying for UI that says “did you work?" (
whether you were paid or not). You will answer yes. That will throw a monkey
wrench into the process and things will get balled up.
For those who have filed UI and are on furlough they will have to pay any UI
$$$ UI back, if they get a check, that also will be a headache. Is this not
UI and excepted employment
555 - Per your unemployment question, here is what
I was told today when I went to file unemployment. Disclaimer: This is for
Michigan only and only based on what I was told at the UIA office. I saw nothing
in writing to confirm or deny this.
I was told that when I do the weekly certification saying whether or not I have
worked, looked for jobs, etc, that I had to tell them how many days/hours I
worked and how much I earned. I was told that it did not matter when I was going
to get paid, if I worked and earned money I had to report it. I explained to the
unemployment employee about the furlough, back pay, etc and if I had to report
the days i was eligible to receive back pay. She said specifically, if I report
to work and physically work X number of hours, I had to report those X hours and
how much I earned. IF you say you didn't work then they can/will come after you
for fraud should they ever find out.
Those that do not report to work and end up getting back pay (assuming the bill
passes) do not have to claim those hours/pay amounts on their unemployment. One
other thing to remember, all unemployment paid out for days/weeks that one does
get back pay for will have to be paid back. So, what this means is that if you
are excepted and report to work, you have to report all those hours and will
most likely not get any unemployment. A pretty raw deal for those of us that
have to keep working and not get paid.
Paid leave, etc
Q12. May excepted employees take previously approved paid
leave during a furlough caused by a lapse in appropriations--i.e., a "shut-down"
or "emergency" furlough? May excepted employees be granted new requests for paid
leave during the lapse in appropriations? A. No. When an employee is not at work
and performing the duties determined by the employing agency to be allowable
activities in compliance with the Antideficiency Act, he or she cannot be in a
paid leave status. Therefore, agencies must take one of the following actions:
(1) cancel any approved paid leave during the furlough and/or deny any new
requests for paid leave; or
(2) furlough the employee for the period of the employee's absence from duty. An
agency may subsequently terminate the furlough whenever the employee's services
are required for excepted activities.
In other words (or at least how I am interpreting this with my employees)...Paid
leave is not an option while furlough is in effect. That does not mean there can
not be excused absences. Each absence is approved or not on a case by case
basis. TC 74 is entered for the time absent and in remarks actual hours worked
or not worked are entered as well as the reason for absence. When this is all
over we will do corrected T&A's. At that time you can enter 61 or 62.
Technically, an excused absence during a furlough is furlough (TC 74) and if the
absence is unexcused it is AWOL. Remember, management has the ability to tell
you when you are excused from work. Even during normal times. They also have the
ability to furlough you even though you are part of the fire group. READ #2
Each time I went back to re- read the Yarnell report I felt like a
hound returning to eat its own vomit, the report was non committal, vague,
subjective and obviously written to avoid any legal issues that would have
arisen… say if the investigation team were to have come up with some real
conclusions and solid recommendations. Did the team ever consider that at a
minimum the fire orders and eighteen situations were based on the untimely
deaths of firefighters, and to disregard those proven engagement protocol in the
report might dishonor those firefighters? Did they ever think that the Granite
Mountain Hotshots and their families might be honored to have their deaths
prevent the deaths of fellow firefighters in the future…. I believe so.. why?
Because as firefighters, that is the way we roll! ……Yarnell investigation team.
I’m hoping that there will be a second investigation, a real one. In the
meantime I’m hoping that each fire module does their own investigation and
really learn something from this horrible tragedy, I plan on posting ours on
this sight when it is complete, and we aint pulling no punches//./,;l. I for one
won’t let these young hero’s or hero’s past die in vain.
I (as a manager) have people asking me questions about the furlough and I
cannot not answer them. Can anyone out there help out with this question?
As an ‘excepted’ employee during this furlough (working but not getting paid),
are we entitled to unemployment?
I don't know anything about this organization, but was sent this link from a
feea.org/programs/ emergency-assistance/ furlough-aid-information
They supposedly might be able to help with emergency loans to Fed employees hit
by the furlough.
Status of the Furlough Compensation Bill 3223:
The House passed
HR 3223 (41 K pdf) for back pay by 407-0.
They listened to us in 2008 to the tune of 25 million to bring up our
retention rates. We were right and it worked. Feinstein, the rest of the Senate,
the House and POTUS all agreed to retention funding. They did this even though
on April 1, 2008 the Forest Service said we didn't need it.
They listen, MJ. They listened last year with health benefits for temporary
Fed Wildland Firefighters. The examples over the years are there.
We just need to pick our battles correctly and this is the right battle.
So Cal Ridges.
Remembering Ace Barton
One of the high points of my 45 fire seasons was one afternoon I spent with Ace
at his home in Riggens Idaho.
It was July of 1989 and I was a three year FBAN
on a fire team that was assigned to a complex of fires in Hells Canyon. The
Nezperce forest dispatcher recommended a forest retiree (Ace) as a source of
information about fire behavior in the canyon. Our finance section was able to
hire him as a consultant for the complex.
He was a very gracious man, showing me through his home with the many
mementos and telling the stories from his time growing up on the Sheep Creek
Ranch and his career of over 30 years on the old Salmon River Ranger District.
Most of that time as the Fire Control Officer.
There were a lot of other fires going in the region and our complex was at
the bottom of the priority list because it was in wilderness. We did not have
any helicopters assigned and looked like it was going to be awhile before we
would get one. One of the most remote of our fires was going unstaffed until we
could get a helicopter to shuttle a crew in to it.
Ace was a wealth of knowledge about everything that works and doesn't work
fighting fire in Hells Canyon. It had been several days and we were still
waiting for a helicopter. I told him about the unstaffed fire and his reply was,
"Well, when that burned in '51 we walked the crew in from Riggens and it only
took three days".
Thanks for the memories. Ab.
Bottomline. There is no leave. If you're sick, you code
transaction code 74 in paycheck. Same for AL.
I had the fortune of reading
Ace Barton's obituary this afternoon, and I encourage anyone else who has
the opportunity to do the same. Though I did not know him, I found his story
especially poignant given the current situation in Washington. Mr. Barton served
his country and community with bravery and integrity, and without the promise of
fame, fortune, campaign donations, or even public recognition.
This is undoubtedly a depressing era for public servants. In recent years,
government employees have been a frequent target of the media, the public, and
even our own leadership. At a time when many employees have been deemed
“non-essential” or have been forced to work with no promise of timely pay, Ace’s
story was a pleasant reminder of the impact that exceptional civil servants can
Hear, Hear. Ab.
cartoon / poster of Smokey Bear came in on 10/4:
Hi Ab, been awhile since
you've heard from me. But I thought you might like to share this photo, in light
of the current furloughs.
(just a WFF wife)
Sad statement. Ab.
66 Q&A about govt shutdown
What do you think about the answer to #63?
63. Would federal employees get paid retroactively, even if they didn't work?
Maybe. Congress granted retroactive pay to furloughed workers after the
shutdowns of the mid-1990s, but that wouldn't necessarily happen again. "I
believe this time is going to be much different. This is a much different
Congress than the 1995 Congress," said Cox, federal employee union president.
"I'm not sure that they'd even want to go back and pay the people who worked."
66 questions and answers about the government shutdown
And this from October 1, 2013: iPhone guy, this might answer some of your
FS Questions & Answers on Furlough
About leave and the shutdown:
Read the OPM 'Guidance For Shutdown furloughs". September 2013 version.
It just came out before this furlough. It explains all about why Annual, Sick,
comp, and religious leave are shut off in furloughs.
It sucks, but these are the rules set by OPM and the Govt. The FS is not
"threatening" you with the law, just explaining it to you.
I need to take leave myself in the next week, as I'm trying to move. OPM doesn't
care about that, either, and I have over 25 years in myself.
As for the FS pushing back, it doesn't work when it's Congress and the POTUS.
They don't listen to us.
Im a Angeles National Forest, forestry technician employee (Firefighter).
Wondering if other permanent and seasonal fire employees are being threatened
with personnel action if they take pre authorized A/L (annual Leave), sick
leave, or ask to be furloughed to seek outside employment to get a check.
What does "excepted employee" mean? We're not getting paid either (pay
stopped OCT. 1st) we just have to come to work and hit the fire line in the peak
of Santa Ana season for free with the assumption we will get paid eventually.
I am a dedicated employee to the USFS. I have given this agency everything I
got in the last ten years. I would like to see/or hear that upper management is
pushing back to the Washington Office, and let them know exactly what is being
asked of use.
Hope Govt. comes to a decision sooner than latter.
Sent from my iPhone
Appears federal shutdown delaying widows ability to start applying for benefits;
it will be more than a week before she can start to apply for benefits due to
kob.com/ article/ stories/ S3182761.shtml? cat=504 (watch the video)
Fundraiser helps family of fallen firefighter when updated on 10/5.
On Saturday night, people in Jemez Springs organized a spaghetti dinner
fund-raiser for Hiedi Adams, the widow of fallen firefighter Token Adams,
and her family.
They cooked up food for hundreds of people -- who all came together to help
the Adams family heal.
Some who came knew Token Adams, the Forest Service firefighter who died on
the job in August.
Others knew his line of work.
They donated ten dollars for the dinner.
Some made larger donations. There was also a silent auction and a bake sale,
and people brought gifts for the kids.
"My wife and I have been wildland firefighters and a loss like this affects
us too and were all part of the same family," attendee Robert Baron.
Proceeds will help Hiedi Adams and her two young children move to Maine to
live with relatives.
"It'll help her heal because [here], everywhere she looks she sees him,"
organizer Sue Anderson said. (more at the link...)
Ace Barton Memorial
Please post for those who knew AceBarton.
Ace served as FMO on the Salmon River RD of the NPF for many years. He was
Incident Commander of the River Rat Team which was used exclusively for staffing
fires in the Snake and Salmon River Breaks on the Nezperce, Payette and
Wallowa-Whitman NF's. He was ahead of time recognizing fire as a natural
process rather than an emergency and prescribed burned thousands of acres
annually with just a few firefighters.
I have met a few old timers over the years who tell the story of being assigned
to fires in the breaks and having Ace ride up the fireline on his mule with a
cigar in his mouth. He would stop to encourage crews, complement their work and
ask if there was anything they needed.
He was a humble leader of firefighters, war hero, and served three terms as
Mayor after Forest Service retirement. He did not run for the last term but was
a unanimous write-in candidate.
Thanks, Ken S
Ralph (Ace) Barton Tribute
Sierra Hotshot Superintendent is Retiring!!!
40 years of service on the fire line!!
When: January 19, 2014
@ 4:00pm/Dinner 5:00
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall
RSVP: By December 1,2013 to
or 559-321-4182 Brian Grossman
$25.00 a person (payable to Brian Grossman)
Send to: 1150 3rd st
Clovis Ca, 93612
Blocks of rooms are set aside at the following hotels in Clovis CA. Make
reservations by DEC. 25th to ensure yours:
Homewood Suites 559-292-4004
Hampton Inn & Suites 559-338-0000
Comfort Suites. 559-299-9992
Fairfield Inn & Suites. 559-323-8080
Best Western. 559-299-1547
*PLEASE Share your stories and pictures by October 31,2013. Send to
Any questions please contact:
Re: Child Support Deductions
This question points to my most recent
experience, 27 years as a child support administrator. First and most important
for both the payor and receiver of child support: Call the Child Support Officer
assigned to your case and explain what is going on. State agencies know about
the furloughs and may even have policies to deal with. However they may not
automatically know who is affected. The standard legal line is that the NCP is
required to meet monthly child support obligation regardless of what the govt
does because the child support order requires it. However, your state may have
developed some work arounds so it is important to call. If you are to receive
child support, you won't receive it until your state does. If there is nothing
to take it from, such as a pay check, you won't receive it. License suspension
won't result in child support and neither will liens. Again, you ought to call
your assigned child support officer too. I am familiar with Washington rules and
policies but each state is different.
Travel Reimbursement and Govt Shutdown
Don't know how many of us are in this
situation, but as one who accepted a fire assignment back in August I now am
still waiting for my travel reimbursement, only to find it is stuck in the
government shutdown. Got home Sept 6, turned in my "travel information sheet"
(the USFS doesn't let us ADs prepare our travel vouchers ourselves) on Sept 9,
and was finally told Sept 29 my reimbursement had been delayed because of an
"obligation problem" and would be processed after Oct 1 when they would again
have access to the government travel system. When your friends and family talk
about how the government ought to get rid of all those "non-essential"
employees, remind them that many important support positions are, in fact,
needed to support the "essential" employees.
Still an AD, but not sure how much longer!
Photo gallery of Mark Urban's memorial service:
www.kboi2.com/ news/ local/ Mark...226520531.phpl
Unintended consequences of Federal Government Shutdown
on the Hotlist
CA - Darin Steffey has died:
I am sorry to report that we lost one of our own
last night. Darin Steffey, Senior Firefighter - Engine 45, Descanso RD, was
fatally injured off-duty. We understand that Darin was on his way home after
work when he was struck by another vehicle while riding his motorcycle along
Buckman Springs Road. Please keep Darin in your thoughts and hearts; as well as
his family, friends and co-workers. Information regarding his services will be
provided when available.
* * *
Forest Fire Chief - Cleveland NF
Firefighter's Child Support Deductions from the
For any firefighters supporting their children via a payroll
deduction, you may want to contact your governing agency.
Since there is no guarantee of being paid at this time, your child support will
also not get paid. In many states this could result in a suspension of your
drivers license which to some is required for their employment.
Our local agency is working with us on the issue, but if we hadn't contacted
them it could have been an unforeseen problem.
I hope this information is helpful.
CA - Fire Weather 2013 on the Hotlist
SoCal Santa Ana Winds...
MAKING THE ROUNDS
From Chief Tom Tidwell:
USDA Forest Service National
Closure Order (502 K pdf)
DOI Contingency Plan Fact Sheet
Plans for Operations in the Absence of Appropriations (~BLM,
Appreciation for what you do: Thanks Forest Service, BLM, NPS, FWS. BIA
making the rounds...
Message from the President to U.S. Government Employees:
October 1, 2013
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United States Government:
The Federal Government is America’s largest employer, with more than 2 million
civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military who serve in all 50 States
and around the world.
But Congress has failed to meet its responsibility to pass a budget before the
fiscal year that begins today. And that means much of our Government must shut
down effective today.
I want you to know that I will keep working to get Congress to reopen the
Government, restart vital services that the American people depend on, and allow
public servants who have been sent home to return to work. At my direction, your
agencies should have reached out to you by now about what a shutdown means for
you and your families.
Today, I wanted to take a moment to tell you what you mean to me—and to our
That begins by saying thank you for the work you do every day—work that is
vitally important to our national security and to American families’ economic
security. You defend our country overseas and ensure that our troops receive the
benefits they deserve when they come home. You guard our borders and protect our
civil rights. You help small businesses expand and gain new footholds in
overseas markets. You guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the
glory of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Statue of
Liberty. And much more.
You do all this in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has
treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay
freeze, harmful sequester cuts, and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet,
you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion,
professionalism, and skill.
None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more
difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans
to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of
Public service is noble. Public service is important. And by choosing public
service, you carry on a proud tradition at the heart of some of this country’s
greatest and most lasting achievements. In fact, more than 50 current or former
Federal employees have received the Nobel Prize for their efforts. It was grants
from the Department of Energy that helped businesses unlock new sources of
renewable energy, and from the National Science Foundation that helped
entrepreneurs like the founders of Google change the world. It is your efforts
that will help this country meet the great challenge of our time—rebuilding an
economy where all who work hard can get ahead.
So while the budget fights in Washington are too often partisan, your service to
the country must never be. As one of my predecessors, President George H.W.
Bush, once said, “There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country
and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that is what our system of
self-government depends on.”
This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened. And the
House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and
funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly
controversial and partisan measures in the process.
Hopefully, we will resolve this quickly. In the meantime, I want you to
know—whether you are a young person who just joined public service because you
want to make a difference, or a career employee who has dedicated your life to
that pursuit—you and your families remain at the front of my mind. Your agency
leaders and I will continue to defend your work at a time when that work has
rarely been more important. We will continue to work with your agencies to keep
you and your families apprised and informed of what is happening. And I will
continue to do everything in my power to get the House of Representatives to
allow our Government to reopen as quickly as possible, and make sure you receive
the pay that you have earned.
Thank you, again, for your service, your sacrifice, and everything you do every
day for this country we love so much.
As Senator McCain said, "Elections have consequences". In 2012 the majority of
Americans voted to keep the man whose signature accomplishment was signing into
law the Affordable Care Act. The signer, the president, won by 5 million votes.
Americans decided to keep the majority of Senators who supported it as well.
After a hard and difficult summer where House Members spoke repeatedly about our
hard work on behalf of this nation, they throw away our ability to work, like we
Email moderate Republicans today who don't approve of what their party is
doing and ask them to stand with us or go stand with the extreme elements of the
Republican party. Tell them hard-working federal and non-federal employees are
not working today due to the actions of the House of Representatives. Elections
Not just Federal employees.
Across the nation, non-federal employees in the private sector are being laid
off as federal contracts come to a halt during this shutdown. The food and
souvenir stands next to the Statue of Liberty and other federal sites throughout
America. Timber and other forest related contracts throughout the nation. My
guess is on my Forest alone, 12 private businesses have had their contracts
stopped and laid off employees, including our janitor contractors.
Email The Speaker of the House and tell him how this shutdown is affecting
private businesses and hard working Americans everywhere. Demand that he have a
vote on a clean, rider-less, CR at current funding levels.
Tell him Tuesday November 4, 2014 will be here soon.
Republicans are trying to fund the National Park Service and not the Forest
Service this evening! Huh, that seems odd? Oh that’s right, they’re Republicans.
NWS Offices / Websites in light of shutdown & Predicted Santa Ana Wind event
late Thurs, 10/3.
Hotlist from Wx_Guy
DOI Contingency Plan for operations in the absence of FY 2014 Appropriations
All fire and fuels employees in R5 have been ordered to stay at work,
they will not be getting furloughed at this point. However at 1200 hours today
we have to watch our friends and non-coworkers leave the building and not return
until this is over.
It is my hope that those furloughed employees receive back pay for this is no
fault of their own. They should not be punished due to partisan battles in DC
that have nothing to do with Forest Service funding levels.
Talking points for supervisors (23 K pdf)
Contingency plan for FS close down procedures (131 K pdf)
Direction for operation of rec, forest mgmt, etc (18 K pdf)
OPM guidance for shutdown furloughs (827 K pdf)
Our national parks, forests, wildlands, monuments that are shut down:
123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park from Google (jpg)
Wow I guess ppl are more worried about other things.... than getting furloughed?|
But I know most of state I'm in is getting furloughed and it's the
firefighters among the regular government employees that are getting
furloughed ... Ohh ya were just " Range Techs"... so guess we are deemed
nonessential ... sure would be nice if we had a correct "Job
Classification"... after all we train like fire fighters, wear fire gear,
drive firetrucks, use fire lingo, and we the wildland fire community, as fire
fighters, die in the line of duty ... while fighting wildfires. Sorry about my
rant ... just wanted to express my feelings.