"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
March, 2014

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DATE
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3/31 OSO Mudslide Management

Good evening,

Do you know which Team is handling the mudslide in Washington? I heard some rumors of " Eastern IMT" nothing behind that.

anon

As far as I know unless something has changed, there is no Type 1 Eastern IMT. Anyone know who's managing? Ab.

3/31 From the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group:

2014 Interagency Themes and Supplemental Questions and Answers

3/28 To all:

There have been a great number of posts here lately about the Forest Service' hiring process. In order to intelligently discuss this and other issues like on-call/vehicle storage with the RO, it is imperative that we offer specific, detailed and accurate concerns about these issues.

Again I want to re-emphasize that it is not the FWFSA's intention to obstruct NFFE's efforts/actions as it relates to these issues. Rather, since our diverse membership allows us to have members that span the entire spectrum of fire positions, those in and outside of the bargaining unit, we believe everyone deserves their voice to be heard.

I am hopeful of arranging a meeting with the RO in the near future. As I've said before, they and others like Mr. Harbour have absolutely no lawful or contractual obligation to communicate with the FWFSA. We remain very grateful to them for the opportunity to communicate our member's concerns in an effort to create a more safe, effective & efficient fire program and one in which those who enter the program will chose to remain in it as a career.

Therefore, if anyone has specific, factual concerns about the hiring process, we'd be more than happy to articulate those concerns to the RO. Please understand that anonymity and privacy is very important to us and the origin of any information will be kept strictly confidential. Please feel free to email me at cjudd@fwfsa.org or phone me at 208-775-4577.

Respectfully,

Casey Judd, President
FWFSA

3/28 Obituary: Robert Charles Kersh 1923 - 2014

It is with great sorrow that the Kersh family announces the passing of Robert C. Kersh who passed peacefully in his home February 25, 2014. Robert (Bob) Kersh was born in Sacramento, California on January 3, 1923. He was a third generation California Native Son and a World War II Marine Corps veteran, serving in the South Pacific. He was on Midway Island during the Battle of Midway and after specialized training in demolitions, fought in the Battle for Saipan. Since it had been such a long peace time since World War I, the Marine Corps had no Drill Instructors with battle experience. Bob was included in a group of experienced Marines from Saipan sent to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina to provide the battle experience necessary to train Marines for the continuing Pacific Campaign. (more of this man's fine story HERE)

3/27 FOIA Requests

I was promoted in this last round of fire hire. I am a little surprised to see that they would release my resume and application (even redacted) in a FOIA request. I worked very hard on my resume and application. Would I help you with your resume if you asked me to? Absolutely. Would I blindly hand my resume over so you could copy it, and change the dates? Absolutely not – especially if we’re applying for the same position. These are COMPETITIVE appointments. Duty, Respect, Integrity. Don’t forget Integrity.

-FOIA’d

3/26 Re FUBAR Fire Hire:

I've been sending this information to folks who are in the same boat:

Region 5 FOIA Coordinator is Latanga Rush; (707-562-9193)
Send the FOIA request to her at 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592

The request must be very specific so give the Announcement # and ask for all applicants':
1. applications & resumes, including attachments
2. reference checks
3. strengths and weaknesses
4. interview notes
5. recommendation to fire hire committee
6. recommendation to selecting official
6. selecting official notes

This sample letter is what I use to get hiring documents. If you don't use the required language they will refuse your request.

Signed,
TREE MECHANIC

~~~~~

USDA, Forest Service
Attn: Latanga Rush, FOIA Coordinator
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592

[Date]

Ref: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Ms. Rush:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Request Act, I hereby request access to all applicant records under Job Announcement Number [Insert Ann. No.] Forestry Technician, [Insert Title] located on the [Insert Forest] National Forest at [Insert District, etc.] location, including:

1. Applications, resumes and attachments to said documents
2. Reference checks
3. Strengths and weaknesses
4. Interview notes
5. Applicant recommended to Fire Hire Committee personnel
6. Applicant recommended to the Selecting Official
7. Selecting official documentation and notes

I acknowledge that personal identifiable information will be redacted. I also understand that the first two hours of search and first one hundred pages are free of charge. Please supply the records without informing me of the cost if the fees do not exceed $15.00. If you deny any part of this request, please cite each specific reason that you think justifies your refusal to release the information.

Please notify me of appeal procedures available under the law. If you have any questions processing this request, you may contact me at [Insert ph. #].

Sincerely,

[Name]
[Mailing Address]

cc: FOIA Officer
USDA, Forest Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Mail Stop: 1143
Washington, DC 20250-1143

3/26 Re: Hiring

I know it's the same every year, something "goes wrong"... What I can say is that a lot of really quality guys that I know received apprenticeships this year. Guys with experience, and everyone I'm aware of is FFT1 and usually also IC5 qualified (At minimum). It didnt matter what race they were or if they were a Vet or not, They hired qualified applicants. A small step in the right direction.

DullChain

3/26 Hiring

What ever happen to equal oppurtunity within the agency. The hiring process is a flat out joke. How did so many qualified employees not make the hiring/ referal list? Not a peep from the agency in regards to this. Im just another r5 employee that somehow didnt make the list. Class action suit anyone?

Fustrated r5 employee

3/26 FIRENADO:

On another note...I saw this and had to share.

youtube.com/watch?v=wcUnE0tHcaI#t=284

AnchorNFlank

3/26 Fire hire or should I say Fire throw darts at a list!

Yet another round goes by and vary qualified people are still watching people get hired around them. Let's keep are heads up and maybe next year or the year after.

Just angry

3/26 Hiring:

I'm another of many that is having problems with this unfair and non effective way to hire the right person for the job! I submitted my app in December for region 3 and got an offer. For unseen circumstances I had to decline. When it came to region 5 I didn't even get rated out / make the list. However, since the app is good for 60 days, I have proof that that it was on time and submitted due to the fact I received an e mail from USA jobs that said my app. will expire in February. Therefore, it was in and good on the deadline of 1/27/14.

I opened a ticket with ASC and then R5 HR and talked to union. No luck! No explanation from anyone. Gotta love the leadership. I understand I may not have gotten an offer but I would just like an explanation of why I didn't make the list and lost the opportunity to compete for the open job I've wanted for years now and so it doesn't happen again.

WTF

3/25 Hiring

I was reading the concern on the hiring and people not being on the list, well it's not just an R5 thing. I put in for a job in southern Oregon for a 8/9 DZAFMO and I called the FMO to ask him how I rated and he said my application wasn't on the referral list. It's the same OCR and I have made the list on two other jobs but it didn't show up on this one. This is a lateral for me and I've been doing the job for 7 years so they can't say it's qualifications. This system is ridiculous and I have a ticket in with ACS but I'm not holding my breath.

DP

3/25 in response to the R5 fire hire situation

This happened to me too. Although I thought I applied for an AFEO promotion but the way USAJobs wrote it was actually for an FEO. I also contacted HR & got a case number. I'm kind of stuck too!

Sent from my iPhone

3/25 Change is in the wind with one of the new Air Tanker companies.

M(at)2X4

Alberni’s Coulson Group signs deal with U.S. military contractor

3/25 M(at)2x4 -

Nice Catch! Note that said reference is an "Office of Personnel Management" posting.

Note the "warlord" theory in the FS, each National, Regional, Forest and District "warlord" interprets and applies the "rules" as they see fit.

Redbone

3/25 Hiring troubles

I've also had some issues with hiring, and am looking for advice. I was given an unofficial selection notice for a rookie smokejumper position, which has long been my dream. My name was submitted to Albuquerque for a qualification check, and my name was returned along with several others as not making the quality list which leaves us in a state of limbo. Foolishly I withdrew my other job applications, as I am well qualified for the position and assumed the qual check would not be an issue. I have 8 years experience, 5 years IHC, CRWB, EMT, FIRB, etc. All is reflected in my resume as well as my IQCS which I attached to my application.

The kicker is this: those approved all answered the health and assessment questions the same as those not approved. The "all grades" assessment questions asked:
1) Which of the following tasks associated with parachute jumping are you proficient?
2) Which of the following best describes your highest level of experience making parachute jumps in order to suppress wildland fire?

This is for a GS-5 seasonal rookie position. These questions make sense for a perm 5 or GS-6, but are certainly absurd for a rookie spot. These also appear to be the questions that invalidated myself and several others. Those selected as "quality" also answered "none" to these queries, but apparently made the list by qualifying with education rather than experience. It seems the assessment questions are stacked as to be impossible to qualify as "quality" based on experience, as no applicants to a rookie GS-5 Demo temp vacancy will realistically have smoke jumping experience. This is a new announcement, not the OCR's that expired in December. The old OCR's did not have these questions if I recall correctly.

What do we need to do to make this right? Our applications are good, experience far exceeds requirements and is documented. Time at grade is not an issue, I've been a 5 for over a year already and was ranked as quality in other fire jobs at the GS 6 level...I've opened a case with HR which I have been told has been sent to Fire and Staffing. I have yet to hear a word from anyone. The jump base is also pushing our case but has been ignored by HR. The rookie class has essentially been cut in half by what appears to be a faulty system. What recourse do we have? Who must we talk to, as HR has done little?

Frustrated wanna-be jumper

3/25 R5 fire hire

R5FedFF
Dispatcher,

One thing that stands out about your issue is that SMEs are NOT supposed to call and tell folks if they are on a Cert or not. It breaks the confidentiality agreement that all SMEs sign. They are supposed to run it up to CR if they know someone applied and don't see the app, not tell the applicant. That SME could get inot a lot of trouble.

Now, it seems the issues with e-recruit are being worked on, and Open and continuous announcements (OCR) were supposed to go away.

Hopefully it all gets fixed, the qualified folks get on the certs, and it goes from there.

But, if folks get info early that may change, (what if the e-recruit issues got fixed that same day?) it takes all the confidentiality out of hiring and personnel issues.

-Former SME group lead

3/25 April is an extra special month for Two Little Feet!

April Edition of Running for the Fallen.

Please take a minute and remember the young lady I'm honoring!

thanks as always,

TLF

3/24 R5 fire hire

In response to
R5FedFF
Dispatcher

I believe this happened to me for the R5 WFAP. I called HR and got a case number but that's it. Don't know what to do now. How will they fix it?

L

3/24 Hiring

I find it odd and completely absurd how this agency, (FS) totally ignores their own rules and policy when it comes to hiring. "Do as we say, and not as we do."

If we only adhered to these posted principles that I found walking the halls in Boise one day.

M(at)2X4

3/24 R5 fire hire

If you applied to a OCR for fire hire and did not receive a call for interest or selections this may be the issue.

AB,

I don’t know if this is being mentioned or talked about on the forums but there is potentially a huge issue with USFS R-5 Fire Hire and the Erecruit application system. I only know the story from my perspective and this is just my conclusion based on what happened to me. Applications of eligible candidates were not referred to the R-5 Fire Hire group due to a glitch in the Erecruit system. I have heard of at least a handful of cases from selecting officials and SMEs that applications of eligible candidates were absent from the process.

I submitted my application to the OCR for a promotion position by the application deadline, however the R-5 Fire Hire group did not receive my application. It was first brought to my attention by a Subject Matter Expert that relayed to me that they did not see my application for eligible candidates in the 8/9 category. At that time I called Human Resources and requested the status of my application; I was advised by the Human resources case worker that they have not pulled referral lists but my application was in the system. Then it was confirmed by two different selecting officials that my application was absent from the candidate pool. As of right now I have a ticket open the Human Resources so that I can find out what happened to my application and why it wasn't referred to the R-5 Fire Hire group. Every time I have applied to a promotion position I have been referred to the selecting officials. I am inserting an email that was received inter-agency on 3/21/2014 about a issue in erecruit that the agency acknowledged, it could be much larger.

I advise anyone that feels like they were wronged by the system speak up now or forever hold your peace. If you applied to a OCR for fire hire and did not receive a call for interest or selections this may be the issue.

R5FedFF
Dispatcher

3/21 In reply to Anonymous Supervisor:

This might be what you are looking for:

Forest Service Fire and Aviation Qualification Guide, Chapter 2, pt 1

2.26 – Decertification

The decertification procedures in this section are intended to ensure safe and effective individual performance in assigned ICS, Wildfire Skill, Technical Specialist, and Prescribed Fire Skill positions. These procedures are also intended to provide supervisors and managers with an additional mechanism to ensure employee safety.

Decertification is the process of removing or reducing an individual’s fire suppression and/or prescribed fire management position(s) qualifications. Decertification is not an adverse action; an employee may be recertified according to the procedures set out in section 2.25.

  1. Performance Issues Outside Fire Suppression and Prescribed Fire Management. Different procedures are utilized to address individual performance issues in areas other than fire suppression and prescribed fire management. Refer to Agency Human Resources Policy.
  2. Causes for Decertification. There are three causes for losing certification (decertification):
    1. An employee who currently holds a certification does not meet the currency requirements as specified by this Guide.
    2. An employee voluntarily surrenders the employee’s certification of qualifications or requests to be qualified at a lower level of responsibility.

    3. As an individual or a member of a crew, incident management team, or prescribed fire team, an employee performs actions that violate recognized standard operational procedures or identified safety procedures that are determined to have been instrumental in the endangerment of fire management personnel or the public.

Examples of instances that may warrant decertification include:

(1) Deliberately disregarding identified safe practices.
(2) Taking insubordinate actions that lead to unsafe conditions.
(3) Intentionally misrepresenting fire qualifications.
(4) Ignoring prescriptive parameters identified in approved burn plans.

JW

3/21 Can anyone out there cite USFS chapter and verse with regard to the circumstances under which an individual's Red Card qualifications might be reviewed with an eye towards returning them to trainee status?

Thanks,

Anonymous Supervisor

3/19 FWFSA to meet with Romney & Idaho Republicans on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act

To All;

As you know in the business of politics it is imperative to try and work with those on both sides of the aisle. Recently the President included in his budget proposal a change in how the Gov't pays to fight wildfires.

Additionally Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho and Senators Crapo (R-ID) and Wyden (D-OR) introduced versions in the House & Senate.

Some of you may recall that Congress passed the FLAME Act in 2009 at the request, primarily of the Forest Service which complained about routinely having to make "budget transfers" from non-fire budgets to pay for fire. The FLAME Act was a way the Secretaries of Interior & Ag could access additional funding over and above that which is already appropriated, so as to avoid such budget transfers.

Of course those in-the-know realize that those same money managers rake preparedness dollars right off the top before it gets down to the firefighters where it is intended to go. In other words they use fire money to pay for non-fire projects. Fortunately some in Congress are now starting to understand that.

As is typical for Congress, the FLAME Act has never been properly funded. Thus the introduction of the new legislation which some congressional staffers refer to as FLAME Act 2.0. They also allow the Secretaries access to additional funds; funds which exceed 70% of the average costs for suppression over the previous 10 years.

Our concern is that these same Republicans introducing this open-ended legislation with absolutely no incentive for the agencies to be cost-effective and absolutely no congressional oversight whatsoever on how the money is spent, are the same folks in DC blaming our Nation's fiscal crisis on the federal workforce, the same folks freezing our federal firefighter's pay and the same folks demanding across-the-board/slash & burn/meat cleaver cuts to the budgets of federal agencies. It simply defies logic.

On a separate matter, the FWFSA is soliciting information for each Forest in California with regards to its "on-call" and "vehicle storage" policies, if any. We are trying to create a composite of what we believe to be an inconsistent, arbitrary policy by some Forest Supervisors which has already led to delayed federal responses. With the potential for another deadly, record-breaking season, such policies could increase the risk to the health & safety of our firefighters and the Public. Additionally it will needlessly increase costs as cooperators will have to remain on scene until the federal duty chief arrives.

I want to make it clear that we are not intending to step on the toes of the Union (NFFE) on this issue. However many firefighters involved in this matter are outside the bargaining unit and need to have their voices heard as well.

We'd prefer to hear about the Forest's policies from FWFSA members but I'll take information from anyone who shares our concerns. I'd also like some additional information from Forest Service FFs across the nation about such policies in different regions as well as those in DOI agencies that can explain their policies on the subjects...if any. Please feel free to email me at cjudd@fwfsa.org or reach us by phone at 208-775-4577.

Thanks in advance,

Casey Judd, President
FWFSA
3/18 Clay Springs Burn Over

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. Here is an unusual “Lessons Learned” video. The re-creation is very professional. If you’re on an engine or a volunteer you need to watch. These three men told the real story and I believe these are the kind of things we can truly learn from. It will be coming out on CD soon. You’ll just have to overlook the narrator. He’s kind of old and decrepit…

youtu.be/qe7nl1tqclk (20 min)

Rowdy

from youtube

Published on Mar 10, 2014

A burnover event from the 2012 Clay Springs Fire in Millard County, Utah. Firefighters from the Oak City Fire Department escaped tragedy through decisive thinking and quick action. Learn from their experience.

Thanks Rowdy and others involved in creating this. GRIPPING! So glad they survived to share the story. Ab.

3/18 On Saturday I was in Utah running my 3rd race of the year for Two Little Feet!

Please check it out. It was an amazing experience!

Canyonlands Half Marathon

Thanks, as always, for the continued support!

Two Little Feet

3/18 The Quadrennial Fire Review Crowdsourcing Site is ready for Your Contributions

Dear Partners and Stakeholders:

Please share this information widely with your employees, partners and stakeholders.

Today, we are beginning the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR) Crowdsourcing effort. The site is available for stakeholders to share forward-thinking ideas about the future of wildland fire management—looking out 10 to 20 years what will our greatest challenges be? Many of you have been an important partner in the Cohesive Strategy and understand that the challenges we face in managing wildland fire across our Nation are bigger than any one agency or organization can handle alone. For the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review we are inviting a broad array of stakeholders and partners to participate in an online dialogue on future challenges, risks, and opportunities regarding wildland fire management.

The crowdsourcing effort is a user friendly and efficient way to collect information on specific topics and increase dialogue among diverse groups with an interest in the future of wildland fire management. Recently, you may have received an email introducing this new process; now, we are asking for your help both as a participant and as our partner to help us spread the word regarding the importance of participation by any organization or person with an interest.

Crowdsourcing facilitates the sharing of ideas in a virtual way, so stakeholders can post new ideas, and see what others are saying and comment on those ideas at any time of the day! We value the input from all of our stakeholders and partners as their perspective will help us work together to better plan effectively for future challenges. Through your long-standing relationships with many of these stakeholders, you have been privy to their viewpoints; now, is an opportunity to share those perspectives to help build a plan for future challenges.

Please assist us in facilitating high participation by sharing the information regarding the QFR Crowdsourcing process with your various networks and partners. The site address is http://qfr.ideascale.com  and will be available throughout the month of March and early April. At the end of March, we will ask for your thoughts on specific strategies and resources needed to help manage opportunities and mitigate challenges or risks.

We hope to seek thoughtful input from a diversity of stakeholders and need your help to make sure they make it a priority. We encourage you to send the attached message (or customize it as you see fit) and the attached Frequently Asked Questions to your contacts. Your support is critical in helping our partners and stakeholders engage in this process and is much appreciated!

Regards,

Sandy Burnett

Sent on behalf of - Tom Harbour, Director, Fire and Aviation Management, US Forest Service

3/17 Sand Table Toys...

Does anyone have a source for them?

Hotlist thread asking for a source

Thanks, Ab.

3/15 Utah Fire Rescue Academy Wildland Fire Magazine Edition Great Reading. a review of Innovative ICS 201 Incident Documentation System InciNotes™ Version 1.1.2. and Yarnell A Cry For Help, other great articles to read. 

www.uvu.edu/ ufra/docs/ straight tip/Straight Tip April June14.pdf

Will Spyrison

3/13 Officer Down Memorial page: Jason Crisp
3/13 Officers Crisp and Maros

May we never forget both of their sacrifices to protect our Nation! May peace be with the Wife and Children who lost 2 Family members! May peace be with the Officers who leveled swift justice!

This is just another tragic reminder of the price paid by Federal Law Enforcement, Firefighters and their families everyday!

"Greater Love hath no one than this, to lay down ones Life down for another"!

Never Forget!

3/13 reply to odg 2014

This is a great place to ask questions-

Welcome to the world of seasonal wildland firefighting. I am familiar with the Incline Crews and the people who do their hiring, they are all professionals with mucho experience. A lot of people typically apply for a relatively small number of positions for summer employment. The "weeding out" process is lengthy, and the next step is an interview, usually followed by a physical. Each one is a step and not all applicants move through the entire process. If your friend is hired after completing the process, he will receive training at the seasonal academy. All new hires get a specified number of hours of training- regardless of what outside classes they may have taken. Your application may not have provided specific information or skills that the evaluators were looking for. As an applicant, they are not required to inform you why you did not move on through the process. "Rules" don't apply until you are "hired" (an employee) by an employer (aka "the boss"). An employer provides you with: an agreed upon compensation for your hours, training and a "safe" working environment. North Lake Tahoe Fire (Incline) is very good at providing all three.

In a conversation with an old supt. buddy over the perfect seasonal employee his reply was--"Give me a guy with linebacker build, a sprinter's speed, doesn't need to drink water OR beer, smart as a whip and will hug a burning tree when I tell him to".

I asked if he ever found one. Reply- "Nope, well not yet".

Good luck with your job search. Just remember--"Head low, ass high, eyes and ears open, mouth shut".

Willy

3/13 Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:16 AM
To: ALL FS
Subject: (All Employees) Message from the Chief

Today the Forest Service family is mourning the tragic loss of one of our own, Law Enforcement Officer Jason Crisp, who was killed in the line of duty while pursuing a suspect in Burke County, N.C., yesterday. His K-9 partner, Maros, was also killed during the pursuit.

In honor of Jason's service, we will be sending out information to have flags flown at half-staff at all Forest Service facilities. We have an incident team en route to North Carolina to assist his family and coworkers in this difficult time.

Jason was an outstanding officer, coworker and friend, and words cannot adequately express how deeply this loss is felt throughout our agency. His selfless devotion to duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of our law enforcement program, and his life of service for the greater good should serve as an example for all of us.

Please keep Jason's wife and two children in your thoughts and prayers.

Chief Tidwell

3/12 Hi guys,

I heard this was a good place for questions. My friend and I both applied to incline village fire dept to be on a fire crew. I was told I didn't get an interview because I didn't have the fire school classes but he doesn't either. They are going to give him the classes and not me. Are they allowed to give just him the classes and not me too? I was hoping someone could tell me what the rules are.

Thx,

Outdoorsguy2014
3/11 Exertional Heat Illness, Compartment Syndrome, and Rhabdomyolysis webinar

Greetings,

Please join us for our upcoming webinar titled “"What is Exertional Heat Illness, Compartment Syndrome, and Rhabdomyolysis: Is it One, Two, or All Three, and Why Should I Care?" on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 1pm MST. In this webinar, fellow wildland firefighters will tell their story about how these conditions affected them and what they wished they would have knew then. To register, please go to www1.gotomeeting.com/ register/972714840.

Thanks and Take Care,

Brenna from the Lessons Learned Center

A must-see/hear presentation. Ab.

3/11 Looking for Lewis Miles Robinson

We served together in 2007...in Winnemucca, Nevada. Where are you? Are you still working in wildland fire? Would like to touch base with you.

Contact: Nancy at wyldfyrnomad(at) gmail com

3/11 hello Ab,

Im not sure if this is They Said worthy but I am in need to find out the steps to take if one's name did not show up on the referral list for a certain GS level for R5 fire hire in Sacramento.

thanks

DLS

3/11 I'm searching for a photo that was posted many years ago (maybe on a hotshot site?) of firefighters posing with a large saguaro - I think Arizona but could have been New Mexico? I believe it was 3 firefighters? If you've seen the image you'll remember right off the photo I'm talking about.

In-depth google searches didn't turn it up. Would love to find it again!

Kelly

3/10 Spencer,

Maybe I am losing my sense of humor, but there is nothing funny about 20-25 pound shelters, that cost around $1000.

I will try to be more humorous in the future How about a joke.

What does a rain cloud wear under its pants??

Answer to follow
DP

DP, Like Spencer, I also believe vfd capt meant his post about the heavy weight (cost) and high money (cost) of "very safe" fire shelters with tongue in cheek. It's not humor haha but irony to focus on some of  the limitations associated with fire shelters and their development. In my opinion you restated his points quite directly in your post. Thanks. Without body language, raised eyebrow, inflection or chuckle in your voice, it's hard to read the true meaning of some written communication. Ab.

3/10 Arizona: Life-or-death lessons: Hotshots were vital to Wildfire Academy

PRESCOTT, Arizona - The 12th annual Arizona Wildfire and Incident Management Academy will instruct a near-record 708 students from 29 states and Australia on March 8-14, but some of its biggest supporters will be missing.

Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew members would have been over at the academy's office housed in one of Prescott's fire stations about now, offering to help move equipment to the academy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University during the school's spring break. More at the link...

3/9 From Roadrunner:

Arizona firefighter dies during training exercise

An Arizona firefighter died during a training exercise on Saturday.

61-year-old Bobby Mollere worked with the Hellsgate Fire Department in Star Valley, Arizona, near the city of Payson. Mollere was taking part in a wildland fire training exercise in Payson on Saturday morning when he reportedly collapsed. His fellow first responders were not able to resuscitate him.

More at the link...

3/7 Heavy fire shelters...

C'mon guys, lighten up! Vfd cap'n was kidding about the 20 lb shelters!

Spencer

3/7 OFG question thread

OFG…

Crew boss / module captain issue. Pass the info. to the correct crew boss.

yactak

3/7 aero union air tanker in the 1980's

My name is Robert Chestnut and I flew co pilot on the DC-6 air tanker 16 in the 1980's.

I'm looking for anyone that would know the whereabouts of aero union mechanic Jerry Blowet who flew on at least one fire with me and Walford.

I wanted to thank him for saving our lives in a close call on a fire on Mt. Hood.

My email is bob6wendy6(at)gmail.com.

3/6 Reply to OFG

First question (the chain saw) - Has the firefighter been qualified to use a chainsaw according to your agency rules? If not, shut down immediately. If so, are there chaps available right there. If not, shut down and get a properly equipped operator to finish the job. If so, direct the ff to put on the chaps (and any other PPE needed) and continue the work. Consider a counseling session at the proper time to determine why the ff was not wearing gear, and to ensure that the proper gear will be worn in the future.

Second question - Do you mean that the fruit has replaced the fire shelter in the case? If so, send the ff back down the line to the starting point, with directions to report to the next level supervisor (DIVS, IC, etc.). Document the failure to have the proper PPE and report the incident to your normal supervisor. If the fruit in question was jammed in the case along with the shelter, take the ff aside and strongly inform him/her of the problems that behavior will cause, and why it will not happen again. Have everyone on the crew open their shelter cases for inspection to ensure that the problem is not widespread. When time permits, show your crew actual photos of burn victims with the idea of what happens if you and your gear are not ready for the worst possible outcome.

On a side note - When I train people on fire shelter usage, I add in a little extra exercise. The standard protocol is for the ff to be standing in front of the instructor, shelter in hand, ready for the stopwatch. I prefer to have the ff put the shelter case on the ground, and then reach for the actual shelter at the onset. They are instructed to put the shelter on the ground and continue with the practice shelter. I don't time them until they pick up the practice shelter, so as to conform to the test policy, but it is a good way to show them just how difficult extracting a shelter can be, depending on the location of the case. Okay, post over.

Tool Pusher

3/6 Pack your bag's R-5, were going on a guilt trip!!!!

Firefighters say Obama admin failing to address sex abuse in the FS

M(a)2x4

Sounds like it's Lesa.

3/6 Fire Shelters

To echo the thoughts of DP, the shelter isn't the problem. I'm a handcrew assistant, and I take extremely seriously the safety of my crew. But if I were allowed to choose for myself, I wouldn't carry a fire shelter. Fast and light.

anonymous

3/6 Safety issues:

How about a couple of safety scenarios.

  1. You are headed back along the line and encounter a firefighter using a chainsaw to clear brush. The ff is not wearing saw chaps. What action, if any, do you take?
  2. You pass a group of firefighters having lunch and see one open their fire shelter case....and pull out fresh fruit. What action, if any, do you take?

Whatever your position, crew member, squad boss, Division Supt. OSC, let's hear from you.

What are your concerns? How would you address, and with what level of urgency?

OFG

3/6 Lassen IHC 40th Anniversary

On April 12th The Lassen Interagency Hotshot Crew will be celebrating its 40th fire season this year! We are looking to get the word out to all of our past crewmembers. Please email or call me to request an RSVP.

fbrewster@fs.fed.us

allenschultze@fs.fed.us

kbetty@fs.fed.us

Thanks

Allen Schultze
Lassen IHC
Captain 9-2

3/6 DP / Fire Shelters

DP is correct.. as long time Hotshots, we went through our packs endlessly looking for ways to cut weight.. ounces = pounds… Light and mobile is life.

Neither the Aussies or Canadians use fire shelters. Maybe there is a better way? Maybe we need to do something differently? Both countries have conducted many fire shelter tests and have determined that they will go without them.

That being said, if the US wildland fire agencies do opt to keep fire shelters.. why we would not utilize the best is beyond me … Giving an individual a "shelter" that only works to a point is ludicrous at best.. Criminal comes to mind.

yactak

3/6 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR)

Hello All,

The landscape is rapidly changing around us. Since 1960 when reliable recordkeeping for wildfire statistics began, the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) reports 8 of the 10 worst fire seasons in terms of acres burned were recorded between the years of 2000 and 2012; and over the last decade, at least 10 states, from Alaska to Florida, experienced wildfires of historic proportions. To make an impact on the future, we need to look past the current situation and into the future — 10 to 20 years down the road, to identify the greatest challenges, risks, and opportunities that will define the future of wildland fire management.

You have been identified as a key contributor who can provide insight into this future through participation in the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR). In a few weeks we will be asking you to provide your forward-looking thoughts on four areas of concern and how will these future states affect wildland fire. The four areas of concern are as follows:

  1. Changing Climatic Conditions and Effects on Landscape
  2. Evolving Risk in Public and Fire Fighter Safety
  3. Water Quality and Quantity
  4. Technology and Program Infrastructure

A fifth topic area will be available on the site to collect forward-looking items that do not readily fit within the other four categories.

Your thoughts will be collected in an online forum called a crowdsourcing site. Crowdsourcing allows for open dialogue among diverse groups of people on a specific topic area and allows you to engage as much or as little as you have the time and desire. It is a transparent, interactive way for a community to share and comment on ideas, and for moderators to organize, sort, and rank those ideas.

The crowdsourcing site will launch in March for your ideas. In the meantime, please start thinking about long-term challenges, risks, and opportunities in your area of expertise as it relates to the four areas of concern above and the future of wildland fire management in the next 10 to 20 years. The top Frequently Asked Questions have been attached and explain more about the QFR.

We hope you will participate and look forward to hearing your insights and thoughts in the weeks to come. If you have any questions, please contact me at SandraLBurnett@fs.fed.us

Regards,

Sandy Burnett

Sent on behalf of Tom Harbour, Director, Fire and Aviation Management, US Forest Service

3/6 DP / Fire Shelters

I'd just like to echo what DP said.

20-25 pounds may not seem like a lot, but add that to what we already carry and that is going to slow you down significantly as well as wear on you physically.. As a sawyer on a Hotshot crew I can tell when I've thrown an extra chain in my gear, I cant Imagine another 10 pounds! Can we do it? Sure. I'd just say humping around 80+ lbs is definitely not the right answer..

DullChain

3/5 Are any other National Forests joining with National Parks and making such agreements?

Efficiency wave of the future?

Redwood National Park and Six Rivers National Forest "Service Agreement" for fire (85 K pdf)

Norcal Tom

3/4 Re: Yarnell Hill Fire shelter performance

vfd cap'n and others,

With all due respect, I must give my perspective as a crew sup.

20 pound shelters are not the answer. "Light is fast, and fast is light" a wise mountaineer once told me. Handcrews need to carry less weight, not more. All you need to do is pick up any handcrew members' line gear, and consider wearing it around for most of the day, and you will agree. This year it is the fire, last year it was hyperthermia, heat injury. Crews cannot bear the weight of 20 pound shelters, period.

The job of suppressing vegetation fires has risks. 20 pound shelters only transfers one risk, (Fire) to another (exhaustion).

DP

3/3 Hey guys--

Over the weekend the March Edition of Running for the Fallen was published.

Check it out. Spread the link.

I'll be running in Moab, UT. If anyone is close I would love to meet you.

We'll be hanging around Moab a little bit post race so please let me know if you're going to be there so I can make sure to try to tie in with you. I know the finishing area and the park can get a little chaotic after the race!

Feel free to email me anytime to coordinate! :)

Ashley Powell
Two Little Feet for the Fallen
3/2 Hi All,

I'm hunting for info on another fatality from 1960 or 1961 if those old enough would search your memories...

John Mac let me know about a death he hasn't seen in any database, but doesn't know the name of the kid that died:
  • 1960 or 1961
  • 1-Ton International 4x4
  • rolled on the LPF, Santa Maria District
  • 2 passengers:
  • the driver named Mickey was not belted in; he was thrown out and survived.
  • the kid in the passenger seat was belted in and he died.
John did not remember the names but definitely remembered the incident.

(He still has hopes that his memory will improve... :D)

Mellie

3/1 Re: Yarnell Hill Fire shelter performance

Ab,

Attached is “Appendix C: Personal Protective Equipment Analysis” from the Yarnell Hill SAIT report, with the performance data that MOC4546 is wanting. Tests by MTDC have shown that the old generation shelter would have fared worse.

I am firmly convinced that modern science can engineer a fire shelter that weighs about 20 or 25 pounds, costs around $1,000 per firefighter, and will maintain a sub-300 breathing space when exposed to a flaming front/residual heat exceeding 2,000 for 5 minutes or so. I know that can be done.

But, firefighters might be better served with a $4 box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in their shelter pouch. Or, like several of the surviving jumpers on South Canyon, just let the empty pouch flap in the wind.

“Never get out of the boat,” is the classic line from “Apocalypse Now” – or, to paraphrase for wildland firefighters: “Never get out of the black. Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way….”

vfd cap’n

Thanks, vfd cap'n. Ab.

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