April, 2014

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4/17 old guy jobs.

I am a retired federal f/f, the 1`st half in wildland, the 2`nd half on military bases.

my question is what kind of jobs can an old f/f get, like in the rear with the gear type jobs ?

by the way i`m 60 !!! but my heart has always been in wildland fire !

thank you


Also, you can reply to Old guy, gear-type jobs on the Hotlist. Ab.

4/16 AB,

I was hoping you could help me out with a little project I'm trying to put together. I'm looking for info on a few disbanded hotshot crews and not finding much info. In particular I'm looking for Ozena, Converse and possibly a Monterey crew from 70's. I was in touch with Eddy Padilla from Ozena but have lost contact with him. If there are any former crew members or anyone with info please pass on my email.

Thanks for your help.


4/16 Dear Ab:

More on the Swedish fire behaviour training courses.



Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

4/16 Review of "The Sky Was on Fire" Book

"Further major advances in combating wildfire are unlikely to be achieved simply by continued application of traditional methods. What is required is a more fundamental approach which can be applied at the design stage ... Such an approach requires a detailed understanding of fire behaviour." -- D. Drysdale (2011, p. 1) - An Introduction to Fire Dynamics (3rd Edition)

Marty Alexander's review (1,867 K pdf)

4/15 On April 6th I had the pleasure of running the Platte River Half Marathon for Anne Veseth. The cool part was I got to run it with her sister Julia!

You can check out my experience of the race here!

thanks as always for the amazing support!

Two Little Feet

4/14 South Canyon

Ab & Community,

Please help so that there will be enough money for this 20-year commemoration. How have 20 years gone by?

Vicki Minor

Donations can be mailed to Alpine Bank, 2200 Grand Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Checks can be written to South Canyon Commemorative Event or Storm King 14.

What the funds are for:

Twenty years ago 14 firefighters gave their lives on Storm King Mountain fighting the South Canyon Fire outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The wildland fire service, community of Glenwood Springs and countless others have never forgotten their sacrifice. A number of local, state and federal organizations are collaborating on a 20 year commemorative event to honor these 14 firefighters on July 6 in Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs.

Donations are being accepted through Alpine Bank. Funds raised will be in support of the family members attending the event. Surplus funds will go to the Storm King 14 Scholarship Fund, originally set up 20 years ago for the families of the Storm King 14 and other wildland firefighters.

The website address is southcanyonfire.com

4/10 Rapid lesson sharing from the LLC:

Fuel Leak Burn Injuries Incidents (536 K pdf)

More from the Lessons Learned Center.

4/10 Hi Ab,

The federal 'National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy' (about 100 pages) was released yesterday. Here's the link if you want to post or share it.

Colorado mom



Thanks to Joe Stutler and many others for their work on this. Ab.

4/9 re Hiring procedures:


Well, I'd like to try and answer some of your questions and give you some things to do to help step up. First, where did you hear of the meetings between those people? You know that if it did happen there will be no one that will step forward, especially any upper management puppets. No one in the S.O. or R.O. will come out and say we are doing illegal acts in the hiring. Why do you think we aren't doing hiring on the district anymore? It's easier for the higher-up to manipulate our hiring if we have no say-so in the final hire.

Secondly, don't assume no-one is doing anything, and truthfully, you have to step up also if you feel something is not right. I know that after this last round of temp hiring and the illegal acts that were being done, a couple of us put in whistleblowers for the acts that we are seeing. I would recommend getting ahold of the Office of Special Counsel and put a whistleblower's complaint in also. The site is www.osc.gov/. If enough people start putting in complaints about wrongdoings, then maybe we can bring light on our situation and someone will start asking questions.

Good Luck

4/9 Question about performance evaluations

Would Ab or anyone know how I would be able to get copies of previous performance evaluations done on incidents. Specifically I am trying to get my evaluations from overhead position training spots that I have completed in the past. Yes, I was a bonehead for not making copies.



4/9 Honoring our firefighters Shawn Price and Thomas Marovich Jr:

Better late than never!

We are hosting the 4th Annual Shawn and Tom Firefighter Memorial Run at the Lava Beds National Monument near Tulelake, California on May 3rd . All proceeds go directly to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation in memory of firefighters Shawn Price and Thomas Marovich Jr.

You can register online for our 5 or 10K at shawn-and-tom firefighter-memorial 5k-10k-2014. Registration is $25, which includes a BBQ lunch, and you can purchase tees and hoodies until April 14th at teespring.com/ shawntomrun. Another campaign will be available and posted to our Facebook page after the 14th, but cannot guarantee delivery by race day.

Please like our Facebook page for more information and updates at facebook.com/ shawnandtomrace and you can always e-mail us at shawnandtomrace@gmail.com. Hope to see you all there!

Erin B.

Here's the wildlandfire.com memorial page we did on Shawn in 2008 and Always Remember Tom Marovich holds lots of memories. Ab.

4/8 Good day Ab.

Thought readers might be interested in the fact that Mark Heathcott (Calgary, AB), Stan Harvey (Prince George, BC) and I are currently in Sweden doing some fire behaviour training.

See www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/gavledala/utbildning-om-skogsbrander

Best regards,

Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

Rough translation from Ab...

Training on forest fires, almost 6 years after the large forest fire in Hassela raged

Now the Hassela Fire has become an interesting example for a training on extreme forest fires and their behavior.

The large the forest fire of Hassela ravaged the area almost 6 years ago. It's an interesting education about extreme forest fires and fire behavior, an education which is directed by Canada's leading experts in the field.

It's no coincidence that the Hassela Fire has been chosen as the example of and the location for the weekly training.

The rapid rate of spread and high flames mean risks. We have a lot to learn, which is why we chose Hassela, says Annie Johansson who is the organizer and one of the lecturers in education.

Marty Alexander is one of the architects of the Canadian fire risk management system, a system that has been used to combat fires in Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The development started about 75 years ago and it's built on looking at the effects of both weather and forest fuels, says Marty Alexander, one of the Canadian forest fire specialists who lectures during the training.

We have not, of course, had so many of the large forest fires and when they happen, we don't have this experience in dealing with them, says Tommy Lindgren from Medelpads räddningstjänstförbund (the management service whose specialty is emergency rescue).

After a week of training, we hope private landowners and the National Board of Forestry and Emergency Services know more about what affects a fire's behavior. The question is whether the Canadian system would have been able to predict or limit the fire of Hassela.

Yeah, I think maybe, based on the burning conditions, the weather, and the fuels we might have caught it on the day one, if you knew the potential was there.

Fair Use Disclaimer

Mange takk, Marty. Så svinger vi på sidelen igjen! Skål! Ab.

4/8 Just curious about hiring expectations

I have 5 seasons which include type 2 hand crew time and type 1 hotshot crew time. I am also fft1 and ICT5-qualified and have my faller B. Had some professional assistance with my resume and my app was perfect. Everything that needed to be uploaded was there and I never made the referral list either.

I am also cutting it close to 37, 1 year to be exact. What are the fire hire team looking for exactly? Would it help me out to perhaps get some time on different modules like engine or helitack? Or should I be putting even more time in on the hotshot crew? It's really hard to leave a crew that's become your second family but if it will help me out in my career, I'll do what needs to be done.

Can anyone give me some feedback on my situation?


4/8 Hiring procedures:

I'm sure there is someone reading this that has worked at Regional Fire Hire this year who has seen the real hiring process, or someone that works in Albuquerque who has been told to do such and such regarding hiring. There is some Forest Supervisor or Division Chief reading this who has been pulled aside and told to follow hiring guidelines that are out of line with anti-discrimination protocols. Does one or a few of you have the guts to come clean here on TheySaid and tell us how it really is?

Good, qualified folks are being passed over and feel-good diversity hires are being gifted jobs. While that is not the case with every hire, it's certainly happening enough clearly based on the response here on TheySaid.

So who is gonna step up and tell us all about the closed door meeting with Randy Moore, Jeannie-Wade Evans, Sharon Allen-Brick and Joe Millar? Who will tell all the details of the disgusting guidance being given to hiring authorities? Who is willing to risk their job to do right by the good people who give the USFS the only shred of integrity they have left?

When will we be back to hiring on a local level? How long until a reference is actually called to check on the quality of an applicant? How long until someone can call the Supervisor of crew and know that they are talking to the person who will be making the call to hire or not?


4/8 To All:

The R-5 Regional Office has been gracious enough to meet with me tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to discuss a variety of topics. We will attempt to get some clarity to a number of issues recently brought up here on TheySaid and via emails and phone calls to me.

I want to reiterate that while many may infer a disconnect between any RO and those in the field, it is important to note that no one at any RO has any obligation to the FWFSA to communicate with us on any issue. This goes along with the WO where Mr. Harbour and I have a fairly good rapport and frequent dialogue.

Can't say the same for the Director of Wildland Fire for DOI!

In any event, we have worked hard to ensure the Agencies understand we are not an adversary. We simply think it time to reform some outdated policies so that more of you who are federal wildland firefighters will be comfortable in making the honorable occupation a career.


Casey Judd, President

4/6 re: age 37 limit

Just Wondering

If they were to get rid of the FF retirement it would alleviate the need for many of the ADs that are now the major parts of IMTs nationwide. I think we have passed the stage where we can function at this point without the ADs. Many of the higher ups in the fire organization have planned on this as a supplement to their retirement which is part of the problem. If it weren't for my injuries I'd be earning $38 an hour for my quals when I was only earning $22 an hour before I retired.

Many don't know this, but the law that allows the age discrimination of the FF/LE retirement also allows an employee to go to 60 years old to get their 20 years if they somehow are able to get the appointment. I saw this come into play a couple of times when the limit was 35/55.


4/5 Fire hiring problems

After last years problems with hiring they had AARs to discuss them. I sat in on the one for fire hiring and there were many promises made of what they would do so it didn't happen this year. Sounds like they didn't do it.

One example from last year was a temp with 12 years experience on helitack crews put in for a new one that was being formed. He received notification that he wasn't qualified for the same job on this new crew. Since the supervisor knew that the guy was qualified he contacted the HR person who was handling the entire region's fire applications. She was reluctant to discuss the application with him, but he was persistent so they went through it together. They discovered she didn't know to punch the qualifications tab to see his qualifications. They discovered this in time to get this guy the job, but you have to wonder how many she had deemed unqualified before she was educated. After all she said she was doing it for the entire region. This was brought to ASCs attention, but they didn't see any major problem with it and assured us on the AAR that they would educate them better in the future. This was also done on a no fire application which we tried to get OSC to do something about, but they wouldn't.

I don't know what the answer is, but somebody needs to band together and force them to fix it. Regional fire hire is not the answer, it's part of the problem.


4/5 re: age 37 limit

None of this was a problem until the advent of fire fighters retirement. Just like having to retire at age 57. So maybe the solution is to get rid of fire fighters retirement and then all those folks will have a better chance of getting a permanent position and those that want to continue to work after age 57 can.

Just Wondering

4/4 tips for resumes and the SME process

To: Bitter and Over it

Here are some hints for your resume and how the SME process works. First, your master record is now required on all fire jobs, so you do not need to put in your resume that you took all these classes, it is on your master record. If you do have a degree, attach your transcripts when you apply in USA jobs. The only class work I would put in a resume is something that does not show up on transcript or a master record.

As for the SME (Subject matter expert) stuff:
A SME reviews the application to determine the applicant's KSAs (Knowledge, skills, abilities) in different areas. As an example at some point -- one of the KSA in your career will be "the ability to communicate in writing". So what does an SME look for to document this strength? The first thing I look at is your application. Did you show any writing skills in it or is it all bullets? Was the application professionally prepared, yes those professional ones stick out. Have you ever written a burn plan? Provide input to a NEPA document? Did you take any writing classes? Did you help write a lesson plan? A shift plan? Did you write a contract, JHA for a project, or a SOP for your station? These are all examples that an SME would document as a strength, demonstrating that you have the ability to communicate in writing.

Most panels I have been on as a SME have 4-5 KSAs that we look for in application review to document the specific strengths. Those KSAs are stated in the application. Read those KSAs and make sure they are addressed in your application. The best thing I have found yet for how to improve your resume is to be an SME yourself – even for a non-fire position, it will teach you what the process is and you will learn from other people's mistakes.

The other KSA that is getting applicants included or excluded is the KSA on supervision. That KSA is not about ability; you have to demonstrate you've supervised in your application - for example, one way I demonstrated it is 2 days a week I supervised the crew and I did timesheets. When the supervisor was gone for two weeks at a time, I supervised the crew and dealt with staffing, timesheets, travel, and problems etc.

Anyhow, I hope this helps and if you have any more questions let me know thru ab.

Been there

Thanks for the info. Ab.

4/4 37-year old cutoff

I've been reading a lot of these posts and have seen first hand that something has to change with the way the forest service does business and the way that fire hire picks its applicants... I was running out of time as well and got lucky this time around. There are people running out of time and that are very qualified and are not making the referral list. These guys work hard and put their lives at risk on the fireline every season and hope the agency they work so hard for will give them a shot at a permanent position.. The process causes a great deal of stress and worry season long and months before fire hire. Its time for the agency to start looking out for its employees.

Signed x-men

4/4 37-year old cutoff

I'm surprised that there haven't been any challenges to the age requirement recently since the court found they couldn't use it as a reason to not hire vets. Of course that was in a LE case, but they are all connected. I know of three temps that actually hired lawyers in the past and were victorious in getting appointments. Posting on Theysaid will get you sympathy, but not much else.

I lost my fire job at least twice when I was a temp and they went perm. The last time was in 2000 and the next month I worked with a contract crew we brought from New Hampshire that had a crewmember that was 76! Then a week later on the front cover of Wildfire magazine there was a picture of an 82 year old lady on a contract crew!

I was a GS 5 temp. that was a Division sup. a C certifier, a T 1 Burn Boss, but was to old for an appointment. There's a GS 5 temp that lives in Missoula, MT. that takes a GS 5 temp job in Priest Lake, ID every year so he can fight fire. From the first fire of the year he gets calls from both T1 IMTs and T2 IMTs begging him to take assignments with them. He's 65 and has 29 years as a temp.

There are two non fire temps on the IPNF that work in trails that have 37 years in and are 65 years old. NFFE sent one of them to speak to Congress about it. Didn't help.

Back to age requirements, they have never made any sense and are just a way to limit the applicant pool. Hiring is subjective and they are not following the Merit system. If those of you that are being cheated don't challenge it then it will never change. It doesn't affect me anymore. I retired.


4/4 37-year old cutoff

Being proactive, willing to move to remote areas and having a good resume are not the issue. The resume is the best its ever been and I have applied everywhere and I am very proactive. The problem is that none of this does any good if your app never even gets pulled and reviewed. Something is not right with fire hire! Its like trying to win the lottery or like someone else previously said in a thread, its like they throw darts at a list of names.
Had my app and resume legitimately been reviewed by someone who has any knowledge of what qualifications and experience are required for the position then there would be no issue with rating out and making the referral list.

Signed beyond frustrated.

4/3 I've been in Federal Wildland 9 years between R3/ R5 and have recently come across some threads on "They Said" that struck a chord with me. All be it a sour note, nevertheless I feel compelled to share in current discussion on a matter affecting myself and fellow firefighters on both a regional and national level. If you know how I might go about this please do tell. I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to network with my peers and gain some perspective on matters while sharing some of my thoughts as well.



Hi FireLake7, all you have to do is send your post in as you did and I'll post it. Readers, we welcome the sweet, celebratory notes, too. Ab.

4/3 R5 Subject Matter Experts;

Can anyone tell me what you are actually looking for when a resume comes across your desk?

First off I’d like to say that I feel the whole process can be a bit subjective depending on who’s reading a resume and even what time of the day they pick up that packet of papers.

I feel this year my resume was the best it’s ever been, I tailored it to the exact positions, I included all pertinent information, and I feel it shows my 15 years of experience rather well. My supervisors have even told others to have me help with their resumes.

The only reason I ask is because I’ve talked with people who say to write it all out, all the way back to S-130 and taking out the trash. I’ve also talked to people who say to only show your most recent accomplishments, but I’ve never heard it from you guys.

I like many others have once again been passed over for jobs that were offered to people at a much lower level, I’m just trying to figure out how I can do better next time, only because quitting before I get a pension just doesn’t make sense.


Bitter and over it.

4/3 37-year old cutoff

You have to make your own opportunities. This might mean moving someplace you don’t particularly want to go, or taking a job that might not be your first choice. This will get your foot in the door and then you will have more options. I started looking for permanent jobs in the early 90s, when most jobs were not flown as demo and we could not even apply if we were temps; the cutoff age was 35 then. Friends went to the IRS, Post Office, and Peace Corps to get permanent status. I finally got in at 33. I had to uproot a spouse and move to a remote place, but it was worth it.

Since then I have supervised many temps who got on as permanent; most of them went places that they didn’t see as particularly desirable, but it got them their status and they were able to move around. Sometimes this meant living away from their families for a period of time. If you have constraints where you absolutely can’t move, look at your skills/qualifications honestly and ask yourself what you can improve on to make yourself more desirable to hiring managers. Look at your resume: I’m constantly seeing subpar ones even from people applying at the GS-8 level. You have to be proactive; don’t expect the agency to step in.

ember 88

4/2 37-year old cutoff

What's the agency going to do for its employees that are getting close to the 37 year age deadline to become a permanent employee? Season after season being denied an opportunity for an interview because supposedly they never made the referral list; qualified hard working and and dedicated folks are missing out on the opportunity they deserve. Thanks for your hard work and dedication but sorry about your luck, seasonal with no benefits or retirement?

Something has to change!


4/1 OSO Mudslide Management

As of March 30th, a Washington DNR type 2 team assumed management of the Oso, Washington landslide.

Tom Jones

4/1 OSO Mudslide Management

SR530 Slide (OSO mudslide) is being managed by a Type 2 IMT - WA Team 4, Larry Nickey, IC. They took over from a Type 3 team last Friday, the 28th.

From IAP, looks like about 400 folks there. Lots of Local resources, FEMA, large numbers of K-9 teams, many Geologists and Engineers, etc

ICP is in Arlington. I know they have team PIOs there, but doesn't look they are using Inciweb. Maybe all the information is going through Snohomish County?


4/1 0SO Mudslide Management, today's info:

Shared Resources from NWCC webpage

Type 2 WA Team 4,  Nickey/Gales is on the mudslide.

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