"FAMILY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
June to Dec, 2002

 
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12/31,
2002
Guess that October 1 post was the last one of this year. Happy New Year in advance, fire families. Ab.
10/01 hello and welcome N........we are all here in the same boat. Either mothers, wife or significant other to a firefighter. (or all of the above)

I agree with you that the FF's have been doing this a very long time and it seems the public has started paying attention,,,,too bad the 9-11 is what brought it on. My hubby is getting a little tired (embarrassed) of being stopped in the stores and thanked for being a "hero". He just says "nope, not a hero, just doing my job but thanks". Last weekend he stopped on the way home and was buying a 1/2 gallon of milk and another man wanted to pay for it to show his appreciation for the job he does. (husband was in his nomex)

Of course we have to laugh sometimes, like when the clerk at Walmart flirted and asked would he take her for a ride in his firetruck. At that I said "sure but you will have to ride on the back with the grandkids." (she apparently did not realize we were together.) (and before anyone yells at me,,,,he has never taken the kids on a ride on the back of a truck)

We still have sons out and about on the lines...or staged some where. For the most part the work has slowed quite a bit up here in the northwest. They have had a few small incidents but really nothing major, excluding Oregon of course. still praying everyone returns home safely.

sammi

09/26 Friends & family,
What a great idea you have here.

As one of my relatives noted in a Christmas card last December, "PS: Firemen are BIG now!" Sad but true--9/11 spawned a huge wave of awe and respect for firefighters--glorified, and rightly so. That so many lives lost in an instant made Americans appreciate our ff's is not surprising; I only wish more folks would remember that they've ALWAYS been here, behind the scenes, quietly saving lives and property, doing their jobs, sacrificing themselves, relationships, milestones...

As a wife of 22 years, let me share a word about brotherhood. A couple of years ago, one of our two daughters graduated from high school. Her dad was on a wildfire, and wouldn't be released until the day after the event. One of his fellow ff's and a long-time friend called and said, "I know he can't be there. I would be honored to attend her graduation and be her dad for the evening." His own daughter was graduating the night before, but he was willing to sit through yet another long, boring commencement. His concern and thoughtfulness literally left me speechless.

These are the heroes.
N.

Welcome N. Ab.

09/25 Hi there all,

well he's at it again. He was shipped off to the Williams fire. It's HUGE! The smoke here in our home town is incredible, and we are not even close! And you know what is worse! my DH and I think 4 other guys have Poison Oak! I feel so bad that they are out there sweating and making it worse, they must be miserable, but of course they would want to be anywhere else :)

Hope everyone elses boys are safe.

Dawn
09/16 Your page for the date 8/4/02 for the McNally fire.... (www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia/incident/08-04-files/index.htm) is not working, why not? that picture is of my boyfriend, and I would like to have it, so, if possible, could you get the page running, or send me that picture?

Thanks. Stacy

Hi Stacy,

Those aren't our photos. They are on the federal website for the McNally Fire. I think you have the wrong
address (url). Try this one: www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia/incident/mcnallyphoto/08-04-files/Default.htm

If one of those thumbnails doesn't look like the photo of your boyfriend, you could look at some of
the other pages you get to from the links on this page:
www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia/incident/mcnallyphoto/McNalleyphotolink.htm

Good luck in finding your photo! Have fun browsing, too.

Ya know, the internet is rather impersonal and we all need to work to make communicating a positive experience. We have no cues like facial expression and tone of voice in this forum. From my perspective, your e-mail could have been a little less demanding... Just a little softer... more of a request. More likely someone will do you a favor that way. The thanks at the end was nice.

Please come again.
Abby

09/04 Received a couple of messages from 'ca wife', and 'sammi'. I thank you so much for them. I was surprised to see immediate responses . My husband has arrived from the Oregon area. We happened to be together reading the "Family Said" site. Anyway, the pictures he brought back were beautiful. I want to put out a "THANK YOU" for the availability of this site. Also, I do appreciate the people who visit it to make other people feel like a big extended family.

MDA

(Ab assigned these initials. You can choose your own moniker if you like.)

Glad he's home. Season's not over yet!

Scan a few and send em in! (600x800 pixels minimum and 72 dpi) Get him to say which Zone and date. We're going to have a Biscuit Fire page since so many people spent time there this summer. Ab.
08/26 Hey MDA,

Does your husband have a video camera? My husband takes our camera
(which is very small and lightweight) along, and videotapes parts of each
fire he is on....as time and fire behavior permit! It might be nice way to
get a "feel" for what your husband is doing-from the grubby faces waking up
at 5am to get ready for their shift, to watching some tremendously beautiful
backcountry and fire scenes.

ca wife
08/26 Ab,

Received an e-mail at 13:30 PDT from my sister re two fires, Fenton Lake and
Cerro Palato in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico area. She lives six miles
away and wrote:

"...it does not look good here. The smoke is bellowing over the mountain
ridge; I am preparing my stuff just in case....if you want to keep abreast
of the situation, log on line to http://www.kobtv.com ...."

Good info at www.kobtv.com/archive/2002/august/26/jemez_fires.htm
The area is a tinder box and immediately calls to mind the recent Los Alamos
fire.

Stay safe--everyone.

Shot's Mom
08/23 Ab,

I can't seem to get into the photo section of fires 2002, specifically the NcNally Fire. It keeps saying the page is not available.

My son is in one of the photos and I would love to see it.

Can you help me out?

Thanks,
Diana

Diana, This is the R5 fire url that our Fires 2002 page links to: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia/incident/McNalleyphotolink.htm .
Try this one instead. I'm changing the www.r5.fs.fed.us to the equivalent number addy. You can try this any time you have a problem with the R5 fire site. http://166.5.1.221/sequoia/incident/McNalleyphotolink.htm
If this doesn't work, e-mail me again and I will give you the solution provided us by the "hackers" among us who have written in. Nothing illegal of course, but conditions have stretched some of the people trying to get info from the R5 web to seek more creative solutions. This Ab has even learned a few things. Hopefully those in charge of the R5 fire web will come up with a permanent and consistent fix soon. Hmmmmm, wonder what the politics and personalities are behind this current and ongoing SNAFU... Ab.

08/23 Hi All,

I just discovered this site through a message on the Tiller fire web site. My boyfriend is fighting fire for the USFS out of Sisters. We have both been volunteers for our small town fire department for a number of years but this is the first time either one of us has made it a full time job.

I am an ICU nurse in my professional life. He is off saving the world while I am saving just one life at a time. Sometimes I think if I could fall a tree or two during my day like he does it would sure help the stress level!

I read back over several days worth of messages and I love what's going on here. I want to jump in and become part of this community. I watch the news religiously and log on to the BLM website several times a day to check the updates. One night there were three injuries listed for the Tiller fire. I had trouble sleeping that night because I was afraid it might be my ff. I live on the end of a dead end road and every time a car drives up I have to look and see if it's the State Police coming to deliver a death notice. Then I hear him on the phone and I can tell that he is LOVING this job. I know the adrenaline rush that comes with taming the beast and I've learned to breathe through "code 3 fever". I do feel a little left out even though I worry.

He's supposedly coming home this weekend. I can't wait to see him and I'm considering all the suggestions you have made to others on this site about welcoming him home.

Thanks for being here and for 'listening'
T

08/21 Just wanted to let my Father and Brother know how very proud I am of them.
My father William McD<snip> Sr. works for Region 5 in the Sequoia National
Forest and my Brother Willie McD<snip> Jr. has been a member of the Tatanka
Hot Shot Crew in South Dakota. He will be leaving again soon to go back out
on the lines, destination? I dunno yet hehe.

My father is currently on the McNally fire located in Johnsondale Ca. & will
be home soon, as he has worked past his 14 days. (Oh no.......more smelly
laundry for me and mom to dooo, haha) But pop I dont mind. Just gotta wash
em up and get ya ready for your next destination.

Anyhow in closing I am thankful for God's blessings and keeping my father
and brother in mind, along with many Firefighters throughout the United
States and beyond. You are very much appreciated for your dedicated and hard
work. May you be safe in God's hands as you are all in my prayers. Kick some
Flame Ass!!!! and get back home safely to yor loved ones....

Take care-
Rachel McD<snip> (Tule River CA)

P.S. Dad, thanks for the shirts!!!! Kizzy misses you, and hey......can ya
send me all your lunch bag goodies my way? haha

Welcome, Rachel. I snipped part of your name to protect the privacy of you and your family. Just a policy we have on theysaid and familysaid. Your dad and bro are lucky to have such a supportive family member. Ab.
08/21 Hi gang,

I have info on the crews at the Hope, Idaho fire. Its close to the Canadian border......personnel from East Hope, Northside, Timberlake Fire Dept. and Bankhead. Smokejumpers from Missoula, Mont. Idaho City and Logan Utah Hotshots. And a crew from the Blackfoot Indian Res in Montana. So far that is the personnel I know of.

We also have a large one going west of Spokane. Expecting dry lightening tonight with wind so they may take off again........for new people we still like to save and list any pictures found in newspapers so we might be able to pass them on to relatives......stay stress free and calm.

Sammi

08/19 Hi MDA....welcome to the list. We are all family here of one kind or another. Some are mom's, some wives and girlfriends etc. We are all in the same boat, waiting on word from the lines and hoping and praying our loved ones are safe. We know they love their jobs. It is really hard for us sometimes to be able to explain this lifestyle to other people.

I find that most of the time I keep my feelings and stresses to myself because no one can know how we feel but another one living the life. I can't tell you what they encounter because I have never been there and all I hear are the stories when they come home. (and I get to see the messy packs that are brought back full of ucky things) It is a job that is highly addictive, run on adrenaline, and a lot of down time so I guess they go from bored to mach10 within a few minutes. It is definitely another family to them, they eat, sleep, work and play together. I know they depend on each other for creature comfort and their safety. Nope, I can't explain it ,I just wait like everyone else. If you have specific questions I'm sure we will try to answer them...... usually someone from the They Said list will help us if it is a technical ??????........ stay safe and calm and we will be here also.....

Sammi

08/19 I live to see my husband go out to the next fire. He gets so much satisfaction from doing this type of work.
Right now, he's in Oregon working. I've seen him go to two fires thus far since last summer. I realize how
important a job is to a family and the pride my husband exudes when he comes home. However, I must find
others to be in contact with so that I can understand what the heck is out there. What do these brave men
encounter? Please contact to educate myself and my 4 and 5 year old.

MDA
08/17 Cross posted from theysaid:

Concerning wildland fire vehicle accidents: the March 1999 technical report from MTDC "Wildland Fire Fatalities in the U.S.: 1990-1998" shows that 19% of fatalities in that period were from vehicle accidents, and 23% from aircraft crashes.

This year is way outside of the norm, and should be raising lots of "Red Flag Warnings" among firefighters and fire managers alike.

The report is available on the Web at the www.fs.fed.us/fire/fire_new/ref_material/content/fatalities.pdf

Mollysboy
08/17 Hi Folks,
Dawn wrote in with a question about whether this year is a worse year for vehicle accidents than other years. Does anyone know?

Ab.

08/15 I am trying to find a satellite photo of the smoke plumes from the Biscuit
(Florence) Fire to show my nephew. Anyone have any ideas for me?

Karen

Try this from NOAA
Oregon (smoke looks like a left hand print at botton left)
www.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/2km/Portland/VIS2PDX.GIF
Parts of OR and CA with the smoke from the Biscuit plumes reaching down into Del Norte Co CA
www.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/1km/Medford/VIS1MFR.GIF
Compare those smoke plumes with this NIFC map of the large fires:
www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/firemap.html
Any guesses on the other "smokes"? Ab.

08/12 Dear Ab,

It has been 26 days since I last heard from my FF. I am worried sick, particularly because of the R&R policy of 21 days on to 2 off. Is there anyway to know if they are actually enforcing this policy? And am I overreacting to this lack of communication? I am getting one call every 3 weeks if I'm lucky.

Nailbiting,
IvansGirl
08/12 Robbie,
Thanks for that website. My fiance is out on the Florence fire now. It's nice
to be able to see what he's up to and what's it's like out there.

Darc
08/10 There is a good slide show at Yahoo. My sister is in OR on the Florence. She says there are lots of firefighters working to contain it. She says it's very hard work, but she's up to it. Here's the link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?g=events/ts/042502colowildfire&a=&tmpl=sl&ns=&l=&e=1&t=

You can look at a group of small photos or at single larger ones by choosing at the top. The 141 photos are mostly from CA and OR fires.

Robbie

08/05 The mule fire photo site (July '02, North Carolina DOF) has photos of a number of different crews from around the US. Not my sister, but maybe someone's family members.
http://www.dfr.state.nc.us/hot/mule_gallery_3.htm
NY State crew
PA crew
Western NV crew

Robbie
08/05 My FF is feeling the itch! The itch to go back on the fire line....He says he feels like he left a job undone, since it is still burning. I am so glad I had already found this board, and you all warned me that he would miss it so much.

On a lighter note, we got to go out for our first date in over 2 years...ALONE...all day! We went and checked out Californias Adventure. It was great! But not some place I would take my young children.

We have had so much fun while he has been home, I really like being apart again...I like the anticipation that our reunions bring! Absence makes the heart grow much fonder :)

Glad to have all of you!
Dawn and girls

08/05 Mellie and Ab,

Thanks for bird-dogging the R5 Web site difficulties, and to bb and Ab for the info on They Said re getting into the site. Now that I can get in, I'm disappointed with the data.

Tracking my ff is still a top priority. After the SitRep, I go directly to the GACC intelligence reports because they list the resources, i.e., Smokejumpers, Type I and Type II Crews by name and fire they've been committed to. But some GACCs (Alaska, R5, and...I forget the other one) don't post such resource lists or if they do, they don't list Type I or out-of-area crews. Or else, I don't know how to read or find resource lists on those sites.

Can you help by sharing how to get access to those resource lists through other online sources? Or better yet, can you two or someone else working the business influence the lagging GACC's to put their resource lists online? Alternatively, can this site develop a current tracking page for Smokejumpers and Type I and II crews?

We've generally nixed the idea of calling dispatch offices to find out location of our ff's. I know we can still ask: Anyone know where Chena is today?

This site offers ff and their families much support and vital information. I've learned a lot, and keep learning because of your flexibility in accommodating our needs.

Thanks,
Shot's Mom

Shot's Mom, that info is not online. We will not be able to get the GACCs to put the info on the Type I crews on the web, nor should we, truth be told.

The Teams who keep the records need to focus on the task at hand. That kind of recording is very time consuming and computer resources at fire camp are limited to critical tasks. Some regions listed that info on the web as they could in the past. It was not very accurate. Lately fewer have done so. Crews go from incident to incident after leaving their home forest. Over time overhead teams come and go. Records may be a pile of papers in a box in a tent in firecamp and then go into storage - at least that's my experience. Ab.

08/05 My introduction: Hi gang, I am Sammi. Got that nick name because when I first got married and would be upset and cry, my husband would say "oh damn Sam" because he had no idea of how to handle the tears. Now he mostly ignores them. We have been married a very long time. Have a bunch of kids, 3 are FF this year along with hubby. They all work for different agencies so that makes the coming and going and keeping up a bit confusing. It was a riot helping put packs together this year because we had a new girlfriend and a new wife added to the frey. Have another wedding in Sept. Last one, I hope.

I work every day investigating child abuse/neglect cases so I am very busy. That helps with the worry meter. I do real well during the week but on week-ends things get a little stressful for me, espically if all of them are out on fires. I have pictures of all my guys in my date minder book so People ask me quite often about the FF in the pictures. The public at large are facinated by the FF lifestyle and seem to really admire them (or flirt with them) for the work they do. I have to really be attentive in Walmart. (kidding)One checker ask dear hubby if he would take her for a ride on his fire-truck. (he was in uniform) Said it with me standing there writing the check. I just laughted as his face turned red.........

Tell a little funny here: a few weeks ago my hubby was out doing trainings on an Engine.....I was going to town to spend HIS money and I stopped at the local gas station to fill up my rig. I heard on the scanner there was tones and I knew when he answered up he would be coming thru the intersection where I was at. (he was driving) well sure enough here they come thru the intersection, lights and sirens going. As I walked in to pay, there was two women standing there watching all the fire trucks go by. One of them said.."wow aren't they sexy, I said Naw, I sleep with the driver every night" that lady looked at me like I had lost my mind. At that point I figured it was better to leave it alone so I walked on and paid for my gas. I sure hope she was from Canada or someplace far away from here. believe me a sense of humor is mandatory for significant others of FF....whether structure or wildland, we have a lot to put up with and without the humor it would be very difficult.

We also have two ff/paramedics from the Seattle area and everyone will be here in Sept for the wedding. Everyone just back from fires etc,,,,,guess what the topic of conversation will be????? and they wonder why I had rather swim with the kids....... So lets have some more introductions........let us hear from you and what you are about. Will make the list more friendly don't ya think?
Sammi

08/03 Northzone 5,

Thanks for the boot input. My FF got new boots yesterday! The thing is the boots that got burned were QUALITY FF boots. That is definitely one thing my man knows about....his feet and how to keep them from becoming as he calls it "hamburger" We spent an unheard of amount on socks for him, he has the best, thickest socks you can find, and I believe he was he only one in his crew without a single blister or sore spot! After being a Marine, and doing 50 mile humps for FUN, he knows that he is NOTHING without his feet :)

Thank you though...he actually chose an alternative to Whites...I think they are Carolinas. The whites did not fit his feet correctly. Anyway, Thank you so much for the input :)

Dawn

08/03 Dear Robbie,

I know exactly how your sister's boyfriend feels. Maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but being the one waiting is a terribly difficult position, at least for me. It's frustrating to be put so low on the one you love's priority list, let alone for 3-6 months.

I am afraid that the patience and faithfulness, and the loneliness we endure is often underappreciated, as well as downplayed in comparison to the rough life our Fire Fighters are living. As I'm sure that you have seen on this site...everyone is so quick to defend them in their choice to "Fight the good fight."

Please let him know that he is not alone and that its okay to feel neglected...but that these feelings of neglect will cause him nothing but resentment if not talked about and dealt with with his girlfriend. Everyone has needs. Even the ones left at home waiting...if both peoples needs aren't met...thats where the big problems develop.

Dawn, no offense but just the fact that you are there, holding down the fort and longing for your husband, should make the homecoming special enough. He's a lucky man...I just hope he realizes it.

We all make choices. We choose what we do, and how we deal with it. But you don't have to justify your emotions. In the wise words of my boyfriend's sister "Feelings are never right or wrong, they just are."

And I offer you my support.
IvansGirl

08/03 Hi All,

Firefighters certainly have some unique relationship things to work out. My sister has been home several times this summer already. Seems her boyfriend just can't believe that he's sitting at home (doing his job, having his regular life etc,etc) waiting for her. Few phone calls. He agreed she should do this but feels neglected and like he didn't know what she was getting into. She's happy as a clam being so busy, so physically active and feeling so needed. There's a photo on one of the Crew pages that makes me think of her, it's called cohesion. It's like she's in love with the world and her crew - and yes she's absolutely tired and dirty and her head is in with her crew when she comes home. She can't wait to get back. Hope they can work this out... Guess they will one way or the other.

Ab, thanks for familysaid and theysaid and the firenews page. I check the news articles every day for the fire I think she's on.

Robbie

You're welcome. Photo is here on Crew 5. Ab.

08/03 Hi all,
I am new to this board and just wanted to say hello. My fiance is on the
Jackson Hotshot Crew. We will be married in Oct. and I can't wait Right now
they are out on a fire in NV and I haven't heard from him for a week. I only
know he's out there because it was posted on the Jackson website. It's been
tough...this is only his third fire he's been on so it's been a tough
adjustment to his new career but I'm making it. Anyway, just wanted to
introduce myself and say hello.

Darcy-NH
08/03 C'More and Roamy you gave excellent advice to Dawn. BUT, after reading the latest post, I have to add my 2
cents: BOOTS and SOX. They just might be the most important things for any FF (aside from training and common sense).

Dawn, I can only hope that your man talked with folks in fire camp about QUALITY boots.... It used to be Whites
were considered the best for wildland firefighting - serviceability, guarantee, repair, etc. now there are other
brands that equal or surpass them ... doubt that they are offered at the local shoe shop.

BE SAFE OUT THERE KIDS! no more tragedies!!!
Northzone5
08/03 Well he's home safe and sound :)

I guess mine is definitely not the norm, probably stems from being a Marine for 8 years of his life! He had such a nice evening with the girls, playing and reading stories! We even got a rare few minutes of alone time, while our friend and housemate took the girls and went to pick up dinner (whoo-hoo!)

Anyway, I really appreciate all of you on this board, it really helped get me thru our first fire. It looks like he will be going back to Sequoia in a few days, I know he can hardly wait! Tomorrow we have to get him new boots....he melted his! Oh well, I guess this is my new life of a FF wife! ( not too much different from a Marines wife).

Prayers that everyone elses FF comes safely home for a visit!

Dawn, Girls and the stud of a FF husband!

08/02 When my FF comes home from any trip, I greet him with lot's of hugs, kisses
and lovin'. I have also learned to cherish each and every moment that he is
home.

MG
08/02 To Dawn who awaiting her man:

Speaking as the wife of a Fire Capt. I can tell you to let him come in the house, let him take a hot shower and make sure he takes the Comet with him as he will make a big black mess, but it is fun to be able to assist in scrubbing his back.. Give him hugs and kisses, but let him breathe as he has spent grueling hours cooped up with a bunch of people and the one thing he needs and wants more than anything is space and peace and quiet.

Feed him his favorite home cooked meal. Make sure you are stocked with some cold ones or cocktails. Don't take it personally if he goes to sleep on you the first night. Let him sleep. Hold him while he sleeps. Cherish every minute that you spend with him.

Never try to make him give it up as you may be surprised to find that once he has breathed the fire, it is a part of him. You can take the man away from the fire, but you can't take the Fire out of the man.

Once he is showered, fed, relaxed and rested, the next part of the welcome home will be a memorable one. Enjoy listening to his stories of his experiences. Be there to love him when he needs love. Give him comfort when he needs comfort. Give him support as he needs all of your support when it comes to this type of work. When he loses a friend or comrade, be ready to hold him up when he needs it.

It takes a very special kind of woman to live with a Firefighter. It also takes a very special man to have a wife who fights fire as well. One thing I have learned from my experiences with my hubby is just follow their lead, but make sure they know that you are there for them when they are ready. Wearing that something special might come in handy the night after he gets home... My hubby always wants a hot shower, a cocktail, love from his wife, kids and his cats and a long sleep in his warm, comfy cozy bed. Cherish this man. Let him know that he is not only a hero to others, but he is your hero always... If ya need a friend, you may get my email addy from AB.

HUGE HUGS and Take Care and May God Bless ALL FIREFIGHTERS!! YOU ARE ALL MY HEROES!!!

-C'More

I put the first part of your e-mail on theysaid. Ab.

08/02 When I get home all I want to do is sleep, well, shower first. Black boogers. Let him rest up if that's what he wants. Then food, etc is good.

Roamy

Those firefighters who lost friends, may be subject to wet eyes. Sometimes we can't let ourselves think on that til we get home and then we might not want to worry our moms.

08/01 Dawn,

It's really great that you're thinking about how to make his home
coming special. My suggestions - a favorite home-cooked meal, plenty of his
favorite beverage, a little quiet time on the couch...and maybe wear something
special.

hth
BLM Bob

hth = hope that helps

08/01 How to welcome them home? Lots of food, lots of sleep, lots of-----------

Sammi
08/01 Whoo~hooo!!!!

My FF called last night!! He will be HOME sometime today, not sure for how long. There is so much truth to "absence makes the heart grow fonder"....It has been so long since we had been apart, I actually forgot! I am anxious to get all the gossip from this fire.

Can you all pass some ideas along, for how you make their homecoming special....or am I being too corny?

Dawn
08/01 Hi Dawn and all,

Hope you don't mind if I join the discussion. I have two sons that fight fire, one is a smokejumper one is a fos and on an overhead team, I also have a future daughter in law that fights fire and a daughter in law that used to fight fire. The youngest to start fighting fire is our nephew. This is his second year. Also we lost a 22 year old son on Storm King. So, much of our family has been in fire over 10 years.

Why do they do it? They love it. Do I worry? YES but my kids are grown and we always told them to do what they loved no matter what it was. Our sons always tell us that their bro is taking care of them. You just have to learn to have faith and to trust their instincts, hope they have learned from the best and if they don't feel right about something, that they refuse to do it. I know of more than one instant since storm king that firefighters have refused do what was asked of them and because they did, they are alive today because the fire blew up.

If you want to find out about a fire beside the sit report and etc? You can always go on the internet and look up local newspaper and tv stations. They usually have a story on most big fires. Such as the Oregonian about Oregon fires also Channel 6 or 2. In Colorado the Rocky Mt, News and Channel 9 news.

Hope to hear from you again.
Hang in there.
kat
08/01 Dawn, be sure that in this business bad news travels fastest and no news is good news. Phones don't grown on trees and all fire camps do not have phones. BUT also, a crew is more likely to get phone access while traveling from one fire to another.. that's usually when I hear from my dh and it's usually a safe assumption that if I'm not hearing from him it's because he's still on the last fire I knew about (not always but usually). I'm on pins and needles today myself. It's day 14 and I might actually get him home tonight.. but who knows what the gov't is gonna think makes sense... so I try not to get my hopes up too high.. the crash from it is horrible... btdt just this season actually. So I'm trying not to hope and yet, you know you do. I've asked AB about passing along an email address for you to contact me if you'd like.

Mrs. RxFire

I passed on your e-mail addy. Ab.

07/31 Hi All,

I'm crossposting this from theysaid. We're getting questions from the public as well as ff family members about the Southern Oregon Fires. (Just put a new photoof the Florence Fire column up on Fire 12.)
Let's take the Biscuit Complex as an example, since M and others have asked. Here's how to start to research a fire:

Here's wildlandfire.com's list of all fires this season with website info by state:
http://www.wildlandfire.com/arc/firelinks02.htm

Here's the Biscuit Complex website from that page
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/siskiyou/biscuitcomplex.html

New vicinity map (yesterday) for the fire from the Siskiyou page
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/siskiyou/vicinity30.jpg

(You can also go to the sites at the top of the state listings including the ODF site that sometimes have other links and info.)

Southern Oregon Fire Weather Forecast (Red Flag means watchout for wind, etc)
Today's
http://nimbo.wrh.noaa.gov/Medford/PDXFWFMFR.html
Siskiyou Fire Weather links page
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/siskiyou/fire_weather.html

Wildfire news search engine on our site, takes 15 sec to load
Lots of articles on Oregon fires
http://www.wildlandfire.com/news.htm

If you really want to get into it, you can go to our Links page under News and look at situation reports by Geographic Area (GACC). If you go on down to Weather, you can check NOAA Satellite images for infrared and smoke patterns. If you go to Geographic, you can check the GeoMac site for topography and fire perimeter. Sometimes you can luck into extra photos of large fires on the Incident Management Team websites. The list of Team sites are linked under Federal Pages on the Links page.

Just a few ideas for people lookin' and hopefully save answerin' a lot of e-mails.

Hang in there, Dawn. I know it's tough at times, but your man is undoubtedly just fine.
Ab.

07/31 We, too, have homeschooled our three children for all of their schooling. The oldest is an
EMT, with paramedic school coming up and then Fire Academy....he was eyeing city fire
work, but after working ambulance in the SF Bay area, working in forestry is being mulled
over! He's lived out in the country all his life and being cramped in the city is proving a bit
taxing!! LOL!! Our middle finishes school this year, and works in town at a market (she's
the social one!) and the youngest works on a ranch and is thinking about firefighting, but
at 14, it's not high on his priority list right now.....he'd rather concentrate on the upcoming
deer season. All were taught with various curriculums over the years. It takes alot of work
some days, but we are closer for it.

As for dads...whether dad's are home or not, whether you homeschool or not, as long
as kids KNOW that dad loves them and mom, that he cares for them and mom, that mom
and dad are a TEAM, they say the same things, the kids will flourish. I speak from
experience! Don't think just because dad is gone, he can't play a role. A dad who is
home, but aloof and self-absorbed can be just as damaging as a father who is never home
nor heard from. It's up to us at home to keep him on the team (Yes, I know, one more
thing for us to do!). Send dad pictures they have drawn, school work done, pictures of the
family on a field trip, if it's possible to do so. Make sure the children talk to dad when he
calls, keep them informed about what dad is up to out there..here we call grandma to ask
if grandpa is on a fire, where he's at, we check on her (that gives him of peace of mind
because he can't always call her to see), we can leave voice mail messages on his phone
and we send emails to his computer so when he gets home, he knows we have been
thinking of him, that's he's not alone. This helps him recover when he gets home and
helps in that transition of fire to home (oh my!).

Homeschooling is quite a job and there have been days I have thought never again.
But here we are, three weeks from school and I am getting ready once again to teach the
two at home. With fire season the way it has been, we will be getting alot of geography in,
as well as fire science. The opportunities are only as endless as you let them be! I
wholeheartedly agree with Dawn about your emotional well-being being reflected on your
children. Take it from someone who has been through this and seen the end.....your
children are definite barometers of you. Plain and simple.

Keep checking into FamilySaid for support and find support from those around you, other
fire families, and you will enjoy (really!) these years with your youngin's!

Firemim
07/31 okay, now I am starting to feel a bit of separation anxiety! Even after being a Marine Wife, I am starting to wish I would hear from him. After hearing of the deaths in Lassen, and now in Colorado, I worry. It has been since Friday ( I know, I am whining...I am sure all of you have gone so much longer).....We have not been apart for nearly 4 years. It is harder than I expected. Any advice?

Dawn
07/31 Hi, could you tell me where I can get some cool wildland fire fighter
t-shirts? My son is fighting with the Forest Service out of Sisters,
Oregon. Also, any word on the 747 fire north east of Prineville?
Thanks!

LLV

Lots of info on the 747 fire at FIRE Links, 2002. (It has a permanent home above.) Poke around on the team website links once you get to the 747 site too. Ab.

07/30 Wow it's amazing how much we all seem to have in common. We also homeschooled our kids. The younger two never went to public school. They all turned out well. We have three FFactive now, one FF paramedic, and a couple in college. I wish we had homeschooled all of them but I never knew it was possible until later in their lives. It was hard at times and I fired myself plenty of times but always hired myself back. We did child led learning. Where the kids more or less choose what they want to study and I just sort of guided them along. We were even given the honor of being Library Family of the year several yrs ago because we spent so much time at the library. It is definitely worth it.....my theory was even if they didn't learn anything at least they were safe. And now look at what they are doing.....Sammi
07/29 I want to let our families know how much we love and appreciate them. Sometimes we can't call - but you all do matter a whole helluva lot.

Only takes an incident like this to make this old crust find a computer in firecamp and write in.

Mrs NorCal Tom, I love you!
NorCal Tom

07/28 Mrs. RxFire...

Wow, we have alot in common! We are also a homeschool family. You continued on my thought quite well :) We are always available for when DH/daddy comes home, to spend quality time with a HAPPY man! I actually am enjoying the time apart, just like the old marine wife times, I start to be more self sufficient, and really look deep inside to learn more about myself. My girls get a more independent mommy, and that is always a good role model. I really do think this was the best career move for him, I was quite disappointed when he chose to leave the Corps, but he had a nasty commanding officer that was a bitter, crusty old bastard, that was out to ruin his career for the heck of it! After 8 successful years without a bad mark on his record. It was a very hard decision, but I married him with the promise of always standing by him.

Anyway, thanks for the support :) I definitely will need all I can get.

Dawn and girls

07/27 Voice from the other side - you're right about fathers needing to be involved... but you're wrong that a father who's a firefighter is not involved. Yes, he's gone a whole lot in the summer time but very few fathers (that I know of) bother trying to get to winter fire areas for extended periods of time. They're frequently laid off and their being gone 24/7 in the summer is balanced by them being home 24/7 in the winter. You might find it a real eye opener if you started figuring up how much time a father spends at home when the children are home and awake with a regular 9-5, 5 day a week 50 weeks out of the year job (don't forget the unpaid overtime many are expected to put in as well as long commute times). And then figure out how much time a firefighter is home when the children are home and awake considering the time laid off in winter. Firefighter families get the extremes but that's not necessarily bad. My husband builds a very good relationship with the kids during his time off. And like Dawn's husband, he calls any time he has a chance for even a minute to let us know where he is and what's going on. And if at all possible, he always talks to the kids for at least a few minutes.

Dawn - I'm there with you... home with several small children. Some things that help us.. I have things we do.. story time every week, Church on Sunday, swim lessons etc. It helps shape our weeks and gives us something to look forward to.

Also, another thing I'm definitely planning on is homeschooling (don't knock it until you've really investigated it and not just gone with the standard assumptions of how hard it is or what you have to do). I can't think of anything more the antithesis of a firefighter's schedule than a public school schedule. Kids off in the summer while their daddies are out being the busiest, kids in school when daddies are home with time on their hands, no guarantee that daddies will have weekends off when they do get time off, kids only get weekends off. I figure homeschooling will maximize the time we do have with him... and frees us up, so that if we budget well the overtime paid in summer, we can do family trips and such in winter when we have very few time constraints by employers.

One thing I like to emphasize with the kids is not so much to downplay the danger of the job (though I don't highlight that for the kids either - mine are all under 5yr) but I tell them all the things daddy does to be safe. I worked one season as a firefighter myself which I think really helps and my husband is great about talking about how things go on the job so I feel like I understand what may be happening.

Dawn I also agree that firefighting is a mutual decision. If anything I have encouraged this occupation because it's what my husband is good at, and likes doing, and I'd much rather have a whole man coming home to me (and leaving on still another fire) than a down beaten man just trudging through a life he only puts up with. That may be the difference in marriages involving one spouse in firefighting... if you feel like you're being put upon and forced to endure the separations, it must be a much harder life to live than if you're freely sending him/her out each and every time, knowing that you're part of the decision making process and not just being put upon to endure it. And the kids will know this difference too... and those who's stay at home parent feels put upon and neglected will teach the children that that is what the firefighter is doing.. while the opposite is also true.. those who stay at home and gladly send the firefighter off, will teach the children to look forward to times together and to make the most of those times without any feelings of abandonment or neglect coming into play. And don't think you can hide those feeling from the kids... kids are not only smart, they are wonderful barometers for emotions going on around them... Just watch a mom with a baby.. a relaxed mom usually has a relaxed baby... one who is nervous and tense tends to have a baby that also reflects that (I'm talking overall, not just at one given moment).

Oh and one other thing Dawn - the media sensationalizes most stories they get hold of... practically lies many times... or written in such a way that you think something entirely different from the truth. I find checking the online situation reports often gives a clearer idea of what is really happening than the media. Though the media is good because they get the stories out so fast. And of course checking Theysaid will often have more information than the media... like the crew that were burned over this past week in OR. I heard about it the day after and the first thing I did was check Theysaid and there was a nice little summary for me.. with the welcome information that no one was seriously injured (I knew it wasn't my dh because I had talked to him the night before, but still any injury is one too many).

Mrs. RxFire

07/26 Wow! Thanks for all the response! I have to respond to "voice from the other side".....I have to disagree with the comment that he chose this line of work, not me.

I married a United States Marine, and everything that came with it....separations, heart-ache, and Single parent hood! He chose to leave the Marine Corps for personal reasons, but has always longed to be back in.

Anyway, when this opportunity came up, of course we jumped at it! I choose to have a happy husband, and if that means he is gone quite a bit, then so be it. Our children know their daddy is working to save our beautiful giant sequoias, where we camp every year, and they talk to him when he calls.

The girls do art work everyday, either for daddy, or about him. They paint pictures of him "drawing lines around the trees" and cute stuff. Over all I have very well adjusted children for only being 2 and 4 ( probably stems from the fact that we co-sleep, so their needs are always met)

Beyond that, I do let the children see the news, and we have a map out of where daddy is in relation to where we camp, and so on.

So far we have talked to him every other day or so, but only for about 2-5 minutes. SO i know we are lucky in that respect, over the year he has learned to call anytime he can, even if only for a minute to say, "hey I am okay"

I am so glad to have found this board! And so glad to be here!
Dawn and the girls

P.S. I am also not alone...We have a friend and her daughter that co-habitate with us, so basically it is us two moms and three girls 6,4,2. It is nicer than being totally alone, like I did in the Marine Corps!

07/26 Dear Dawn,

Let me start by saying that you have every right to worry. About your husband and especially your daughters. I can't imagine what it must be like for you to raise them alone. That is after all, what you are doing when he is away during fire season. Particularly if you only hear from your fire fighter once every few weeks by phone as some of us do.

I too have a loved one out in the woods somewhere fighting fire, however we are not married, nor do we have any children.

After reading the posts on this site for some time, and noticing how the other side isn't fairly represented, I will gladly play Devil's Advocate...

Dawn, do not feel guilty or let others make you feel guilty for the concern and frustration you do or may eventually feel. I know that its hard...and there are those that will tell you that you are being selfish for needing more from your husband...i.e. communication, and his presence in your home, family and life. You have every right to want these things for your family.

Yes, he has chosen a noble profession, and I'm sure that he is a wonderful, courageous man. However, its also okay for you to not match his enthusiasm. After all, you did not choose this line of work, he did.

I am curious as to how you both came to the decision that this career was the right move for both of you. Especially with the young children that you have.

There are many who say that a young girl's relationship with her father directly influences her feelings of self-worth, as well as her relationships with all men in the future. I absolutely believe this to be true. A child growing up without the presence of her father as a constant, may have more obstacles emotionally to deal with.

As for yourself, you will probably be able to come to some conclusion by the end of fire season on how well you are able to handle the responsibility of your arrangement. If you find that the distance is too painful, I suggest that you and your husband sit down at the end of this, his first fire season, and discuss other options. You two will both have to decide where your priorities lay, as partners and parents.

We take on a HUGE responsibility when we choose to bring a child into this world. We are responsible for giving our babies everything in our power, and depriving them of nothing that they need. The lack of presence of both parents in their day-to-day lives sometimes can not be helped, due to divorce, death etc. But, when you are in a position to choose...

Well, I think you get my point.

Stay strong, use this site as a helpful resource for much needed information, and make sure that your babies know how much they are loved. For their sake, don't allow yourself to become a martyr of sorts, because its an easy pattern to slip into, and it won't do any of you any good.

Keep your chin up, you are not alone.

A Voice from the Other Side

07/26 Children and fire season brings a whole different outlook on the news around here. We have grandkids and they all know what papaw and the uncles do in the summer. But I know they worry also, so we are very careful not to let them get too much TV fire news. The news show the scariest parts of the fires for dramatic content and for kids that can be very scary, heck, it scares me. Like 9-11, there comes a point where I turn off the news because it is just to much. Seeing the same clips over and over, and little kids think it is happening all over again. Seeing Dawns post about her children started me wondering how do we explain to them? I'm sure it is very similar to the military and their being deployed away from their home base. How do you handle the children?

Sammi

07/25 Welcome aboard, Tracy and Dawn,

Tracy, I think the Warm Springs Hotshots are working the Canyons Complex,
more specifically the North Hammond part of that fire. Check the Eastern
Great Basin Coordinating Center Web site: http://www.blm.gov/utah/egbcc/

I know what Sammi means about the pacing business. I imagine that FFs at
home tend to feel like caged tigers until they mellow into at-home routines.
My son either sleeps for the first few days, or does the grump, growl, pacing
thing.

I've worked on natural disasters myself, so I know what it's like to be away
from home for months and in an environment where everything is so rushed and
has so much importance. I know what it's like to make instantaneous decisions
with incomplete data, and hope to hell you've not hurt the people on your
team or those affected by the flood, typhoon or whatever.

It's hard to slow down when I come home, to see that everything still goes
about its snail paces with no adrenaline rush. I am always struck by the fact
that while I've been out there -- in pretty awful conditions -- saving the
world, everyone at home has been going about their business as if the most
important thing in the life is whether the newspaper has been delivered on
time.

Actually, once I mellow in, newspaper delivery becomes very important. The
point is: transitions take a few days. From my own experience, I know that I
need to talk about my deployments, and talk...and talk. So, I encourage my
son to talk about the season, and boy does he. I collect newspaper clippings
and such and learn as much as I can about the fires so that we can talk about
them. There is nothing better than to have a few key questions, like..."I
read about the so and so canyon, how did they get the retardant to the xyz?"
He loves it. I'm winging it. But hey, it makes us both feel better and eases
the transition. Another thing, learn some ff terminology (check out the
links) and sprinkle a word or two into your conversation--or just ask him
about the meanings. It will do wonders.

I listen to his stories, and they're wonderful tales. I hold off listing all
the tasks that I want him to do for me. I have a 3x5 card posted in the
kitchen with a list of jobs, like trim the tree, fix the back fence, etc.
Eventually, he gets to those jobs--and if he doesn't, I'm so glad to have him
home, it really doesn't matter at all.

As to the children, Dawn, ritual is a great coping mechanism. For you and for
them. Maybe you will set a plate for daddy every night with his picture and
let the girls tell him about their day. Maybe you will write their letters to
him or have the girls send him their drawings.

I have a feeling that you're a pro at this, so whatever you do or come up
with share it with the rest of us. We all learn from each other.

Be safe at home, too,
Shot's Mom
07/25 Hi Sammi,

thanks for the warm welcome. Well the DH is actually on a college Type 2 crew ( a bit old though! he just turned 30!)...anyway, we are pretty much used to the separations, he is a former Marine Grunt ( machine gunner), so being apart is nothing new. We now have 2 daughters, ages 4 and 2, and I worry how they are taking missing daddy.

I guess the biggest shock to me is how worried I am getting. I knew it was dangerous, but the sequoia fire is huge! I imagined his first "real fire" to be a little brush fire. Don't get me wrong, he knows what he is doing, they used to call in the Marines whenever they ran short on hand crews.

anyway, that is us in a nutshell. any tips, advice, etc, is more than welcome!

Dawn and the girls
07/24 Hi Dawn and welcome to the list.

We are the people left at home waiting. It is hard when we don't know where they are. We have posted earlier some of the quirky things we do to stay connected. (check previous posts)

One of the things we recently decided to do is save newspaper pictures and list them here so maybe we can hook the pictures up with family who will appreciate them. So if you see any pictures with ID information we would love to hear abt them.

I know how being at home and maintaining the kids, house and dog can be overwhelming when you have no idea where he is or what is happening. Believe me, he will walk in one day with 40 pounds of the smelliest, dirtiest stuff that went out with him as clean socks and clothes and comes back to you looking and smelling like you should call the Haz Mat team. Just hug him anyway and leave the mess on the porch till you get around to sorting it out. When my guys do a fire close to home and they come back here directly from the fire, I make them strip on the porch......yes we live in the middle of ten acres of trees.

I laughed at myself a few days ago. I kept noticing a smoky odor every time I walked by the stairs. Nothing awful just whiffs of smoky something. I had looked several times to see if we had a cord getting hot or maybe something against a lamp. Yesterday I realized it was coming from one of my son's alternate packs he had hung up on a gun rack in his room. The pack is empty but it is still holding on to that smoky odor that is unmistakable. So it went out to the pile on the porch for later attention. We have to have a sense of humor and a lot of patience to be involved with these gals and guys. They are a very special breed of people and we really are proud of them. (even tho sometimes I feel a little neglected if I don't hear from them like I think I should)

If he comes home for a break between fires, don't be upset if after a good meal and some sleep he starts looking out the window and pacing....,that's the FF itch. They go thru smoke and dirt withdrawal. Is your husband with a Hotshot crew? Tell us a little abt yourself. And any of the others looking in I would love to know a little abt you? No identifying stuff but maybe just enough to let us know who we are. I will start on another post........any questions don't hesitate. We have gotten some wonderful responses from the people on the They Said part of the list. No dumb questions here,,,I have already asked them all.

Later Sammi

07/23 How do I become part of this? I am new to being a wildland firefighters wife! He is out on his first fire and of course they send him to Sequoia National park!

I was used to being a Marine wife, but this is all new to me. We also have 2 young daughters, how do I help them cope with this?

HELP!
Dawn

Welcome, Dawn, just write in as you have and ask your questions and I'm sure there will be some answers. Ab.
07/23 you people dont have any thing on Warm Springs R6 Hot Shots -- like where are they at?

Tracy

We may not know where they are, but we may be able to point you to other info on the net about them and someone might find a reference to them in a local paper. Ab.

07/23 Have a picture of FF Quentin Peterson,, using a drip torch on the Winter Fire out of Summer Lake Ore. Does not have his home town.

I have a good picture of DNR FF Striketeam leader Jim Moe on the Deer Point Fire, Manson, Wash.

Later, Sammi
07/20 Hi, Ab -

I've been saving newspapers with pictures since Sammi's post a couple of weeks ago. I have:

Denver Post - Denver and the West section - July 11th - picture of Travis Lesmeister and Seth Brewer - identified as members of the Wenatchee Valley Rappellers;

Denver Post - July 19th - picture of Jered Hogansen - at a Hayman burn area in West Creek - the accompanying article quotes David Storms from the Skookum 102 crew in Eugene, Ore; Steven Davis, also of Eugene; and Regis Elrod, also on the Skookum crew. There are also US Forest Service personnel quoted from various parts of the country. If more than one person wants this, I have a scanner and will send copies wherever you want.

People can access these by going to www.thedenverpost.com. The Post archives articles and you can search and print free for 60 days; after that, you can still search, but it costs, I think, $1.75 to print the article. Pictures and graphics don't print after 60 days is what I understand.

I'll hold on to everything I find until the end of fire season in case families want the originals.

I don't know if families of the pilots killed here at the Big Elk Fire want them, but there are pictures of both pilots in the Rocky Mountain News today (July 20) with several articles. They can be accessed through www.RockyMountainNews.com.

Do we have any information on where to send donations yet?

Thanks, Ab, for all you do.
Colorado Mom

I'm posting that info below. Ab.

07/20 I was with two families when they were presented checks from the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation. These people step in and fill a need ($) when
things are tough. The money comes with no strings attached. Vicki and her
folks do good work.

6
07/20 About donations, here's some information on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Ab.

====================================================================

A wildland firefighter killed on the job often leaves behind family members who are not only overcome with grief and loss, but also bewildered by the prospects of surviving financially in a confusing world of financial disarray. No dollar amount of assistance can make up for the loss of a family member, but benefits that honor the service provided by firefighters can help.

That's what we're here for.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides cash payment support to surviving family members. New to our website is a collection of additional resources available to survivors. These include lump sum death payments, workers' comp, funeral benefits, pensions and retirement programs, scholarships, and other non-profit and/or private support. Federal survivor benefits (for firefighters employed by a federal agency) and benefits under the Department of Justice's Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program head the list; recent changes in federal law have exempted many line-of-duty pension and retirement benefits from federal taxes.

CHECK OUT OUR SURVIVORS' RESOURCES PAGE AT:
http://www.wffoundation.org/survivors.html

We have a system online where you can make donations directly to the foundation:

http://www.wffoundation.org/donations.html

For more information, contact the Foundation staff:
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
1310 Vista Avenue #22
Boise, Idaho 83705
(208)336-2996
Email: vcikim@aol.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vicki Minor, Director
http://www.wffoundation.org
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ab asked a few more questions about administrative costs and earmarking the donation for airtanker crew families (or other specific families of firefighters) and found out the following:
Only FIVE PERCENT of all donations income last year was used for
administrative expense, and that administrative expense even includes the
cost of shipping to send memorial statues to families of firefighters.

How can this be so low? Because nearly all the work is done by
volunteers. And pretty much everyone connected with the foundation is or
was a firefighter.

And yes, you can specify where the donation goes.

07/20 Seems like we have a plan on the picture idea...so. Will you post on they said and our list that if anyone spots a FF picture that has ID, hometown or employer to cut it out and let the list know as many details as possible. We will try to start a picture recovery detail. Just a start...thx for help and support...

Sammi
07/16 Response to Sammi: Thanks for your idea about the possibility of posting
names of Hot Shots we see in our papers and then sending the pictures to
family members. I've thought that same thing when I've seen a firefighter
identified here in our papers, but haven't known how to get that article or
picture to his/her family. Ab, I know that would involve confidentiality
concerns since we all email you and you post them without our being able to
contact each other - how could it work to share articles and pictures? Maybe
even posting the paper, date and name(s) referenced so we could access it on
the web?

Thanks, Sammi, and thanks to all of you who share on this site -
I've found it really helpful.
Colorado Mom

We could set that up any way you like. Send in the publication info and I'll post it. Could create a table with a link to it at the top of the page if you want -- summary info in one place, like the FF terms on theysaid. Maybe you could hang onto the paper until the season's over and maybe someone will write in wanting a copy. It's fine if individuals get in touch with each other through us Abs. We actually do quite a bit of note passing behind the scenes on theysaid. Sometimes we cut and paste content so e-mails stay private. Often we are asked to forward e-mails on. Whatever folks feel comfortable with, we try to accommodate if we all aren't off on fire. Ab.
07/16 Greetings to all from MT. Things are definitely heating up here. Weatherman predicting thunderstorms for the next 3 days. Is there any news from family on Springcreek fire in CO? We had a crew dispatched to there Sunday but all I can find says the fire is 75% contained.

Thanks.
Squirtboom
07/15 Ab,
Is this where we send messages for post? Or did I miss that address? (Entirely possible!) Just let me know..thanks for the great site, it enables me to keep up with my dad..he does logistics for Us Forestry out of El Dorado Nat'l Forest, California.
Thanks,
Firemim

Sure, tell him to check FamilySaid and you can send him messages that I'll post here. Ab.

07/05 To Ab, and to those in the FF community that find wildlandfire.com to be unique and valuable:

I’d like this site to be around for a long time, and want to send money to support it, now. I expect that others feel the same, but even if we wanted to, there’s no mailing address on the site that I’ve found to send a check.

In fact, 2 years ago in “Ab speaks”, it was clear that Ab has an aversion to accepting contributions or donations. I want to change that, because even if it’s all volunteer labor, the enthusiasm and “calling” can wither when there’s a shortage of cash for the essentials.

If there are others out there that feel the same, respond with an e-mail offering to send money if Ab will just give us an address to send it to. I’m thinking maybe a couple of hours of overtime pay, more if you can handle it, less if you can’t. And, if Wildlandfire’s privacy is an issue, Ab can use some East Coast bank to receive the money and transfer it back out West to <snip!>.

So, there you have it, Ab. If you can accept sponsorships and commissions from your alliance businesses (July 4 in
Family Said), surely you can accept heartfelt thanks ($$$) from your individual supporters. How ‘bout it?

FFr’s Dad

Readers,
FFer's Dad wrote in yesterday with a question, which we answered here. Having just had a much-needed day off, this Ab really enjoyed answering the question... Trying to characterize what I do made me realize how much I love this work.

Now, to answer this question... Thanks for the offer. In the past, others of our community have offered to help out - for which we have been grateful. However, then, as now, we have declined, although we know you all make such offers with an open heart. Partly the reason we are so averse to accepting donations is that we feel a need to maintain absolute independence in a world where influence can be a subtle thing and money can be a powerful influence. (On the other hand, maybe we just have a big Ab ego ...)

We still have plans to sell mugs and hats when fire season is over and we have more time. You could support us then by purchasing some. In the meantime, if you know of any worthy fire-related businesses, organizations, associations, consulting individuals who might like to advertise with us, let us know and we'll contact them. And if you purchase products from vendors on our classifieds page or from those having a banner, please let them know that you heard about their products via wildlandfire.com.

Again, the Abs say thanks for your offer. It's such offers that make it so rewarding to be a part of this community.

Ab.
07/04 Just a thought: In our newspaper last night was two close up pictures of Hot shots. One from Ariz and one from Oregon. Maybe we could come up with a way to post the names of the people in the papers we get and then if any family members are on our list we could send them the pictures. I know my kids pictures have been printed in papers far away and just by accident we found out and got copies. Since the names and pictures are in the news it is public anyway.and we know the news people love to do pictures of these FF....ideas?
........sammi
07/04 Ab,

I've made it to most of the corners of your site, and find it just fascinating. My son is a first year USFS engine crew member, and has yet to be out. So, I'm surfing every site I can find.

The one hot link in your FAQ that I couldn't get is "Ab Speaks". I'm curious what the background is of the site, what type of financial support you get/need, and what drives you to keep up such a great site- there is a lot of effort into it and it takes time to keep up, too: is it just a full time hobby??. No need to send me long reply, just send the text of "Ab Speaks"

Regardless, keep up the good work- especially bringing rationale perspective to some of the e-mails you get!!-

Thanks again-
Steve- "FFr's Dad"

Hi FFr's Dad. Fixed the link on the FAQ page. Thanks for the heads-up. We appreciate hearing about broken links. We check often, but sometimes sites change faster than we can keep up. This one was our error - simply a capital letter slipped in by mistake... FYI, there's also an AbSpeaks link at the top of theysaid.

As far as financial support, until recently we Abs have footed the bill entirely. In the last 6 months, expenses have skyrocketed as readership has "blown up". We went in search of support and now have sponsors on several pages and classified ad links to some businesses that came well recommended by wildland firefighters. We believe it's a mutually beneficial relationship. We appreciate their support - and hope our readers will check their websites and order supplies from them. Tell them you saw their ad on wildlandfire.com.

It does take time to keep up this site - lots of it. Day in and day out, 365 days a year; morning, noon and night. Wouldn't call it a hobby. <HAR> More like a "calling" - something needing to be done. We feel it's necessary for our extended wildland fire community. As you have probably found, we share information, thoughts and ideas across agencies, contractors, and vollies, play and grieve, talk about equipment and gear, entertain ourselves, vent a little, compete occasionally, learn from our mistakes, talk with our families and raise safety and other issues. The community is strong and the voices many and varied. Welcome. Ab.
06/27 Greetings:
For those that have loved ones on crews from the east, the EACC has the
IARR Crew Status Reports online now at http://www.fs.fed.us/eacc/iarr.rtf
Shep
06/27 Hi Lee...not sure if you are looking for the shirts sold at the different fires with the fires name as the logo or the generic sort. Not sure how to get the on scene ones unless you are there. As far as the other type there are several places you can get shirts and sweat-shirts. "Our Design.com" has lots of different type shirts also kids stuff. Galls has the more official clothes. There are several on line shops such as Smokey Bear.com that have items also. Anyone else have sources. good luck, sammi
06/26 i am looking for wild land fire fighting t shirts. can you help???

Lee and the boys

06/26 Jen,
I would suggest you contact one of the district supervisors on the District
that your son works for. They should readily know your son by name and
should be able and willing (if they dont already know) to contact the
dispatch office and find out the current location and status of the crew
your son is on. Typically (at least our organization) does not give out this
type of information with the exception of family (parents/spouse).

At times I have seen on the GACC (geographic area coordination sites)
sites (www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/geomap.html) lists of crews that are assigned
to their area but this has been a hit and miss thing, lately I havent been
able to find this kind of list.

With the proliferation of the web it is much easier for family and friends
to at least keep track of the fire that they are on or at least the fire
activity in that area. Quite often is it very difficult if not impossible to
call home on a routine basis when they are off on a fire. I would suggest
next time your son is home, buy him one of those phone cards that he can use
anywhere to make a quick check-in call home when he gets a chance.

Pulaski
06/25 Hi Jen and welcome.......our list here is mostly the loved ones waiting at home for our FF. Bar none- the most asked question is how to keep up with the FF and keep track of where they are. If you have time scan back quite a few posts of Family said and you will find recent suggestions on how some of us manage. Wish I had a quick fix to this problem but reality says there isn't one. Is this your son's first season?

We all have our own quirky way of coping with the "big one" "where is he" (she) Technical and policy type questions are easily answered because we draw on the expertise of the "They said" list. There are some really great, experienced guys, gals, there that have gone out of their way to help explain things to us.

Please stay with us and believe me we do understand your concerns so don't be afraid to share them.......
Sammi

06/25 Ab and families, here's some more fire shelter info for familysaid that one of my sister's friends e-mailed me. (Do you think it's ok to post this?)

Message from the fire people
Points to emphasize
Frequently asked questions

What it looks like.

Robbie

Robbie, thanks for the info. I think it probably will answer a lot of questions. Ab.

06/25 Hello Fire People,,,

I have a son who with the usfs, he is stationed out of sierraville, ca. I dont know when and where he is at on fires.
With the current Co. fire and AZ. I dont know where he could be,,,,

I was wondering if there would be a way your site could list their names and maybe where they are deployed during fires.

How's a mother to know,,,
Thank you, if you would respond to my mail. my address is <snip>,,, thank you again for your time to read this.

Jen

Hi Jen, the detailed information is not available to most of us. If it were, we would not post names and locations. Often we do not even have crew information available. People who are working on the fireline are working and they deserve their privacy just as you and I do. Anyone else wish to comment?

Anyone can send Jen a message thru Ab. Just protecting her privacy on what we call the world wide web.
06/25 Ab
i wanted to say thank you for keeping up this site. I also wanted to say thank you to every one that writes in. I am a daughter and wife of firefighters and i come to this site to get comfort and information from this site.
thanks Genia

You're welcome. Ab.
06/24 The news of the wreck and the loss of those precious lives is just such an over whelming feeling. I had a feeling when the news came on and they hadn't released Graybacks name, who it was. One of our sons worked for Grayback last year and so we knew Grayback sends crews out of LeGrande and John Day, Oregon.

I hate to see someone trying to put blame on this. Seems to be premature, yet maybe it is just so overwhelming they need to vent some. Our son was home last night and he said his experience with Grayback was good. He was in the Pendleton, John Day area. He said they traveled in the vans alot but he was always comfortable with the safety issues.

The few times I talked to staff at the John Day office they were very polite and helpful. Once went out of their way to help because ----------- had left something at a restaurant. I would imagine Grayback will be very caring to the families and supportive to staff and crews involved.

It only takes a second to change our lives so completely. Give lots of pats and hugs and show them every way possible how much their support system at home cares for them.

More... Isn't it ironic.......in May I was down in Ariz. We went to Payson then up to Grand Canyon. We came back thru the meteor park then to Snowflake, Showlow and Pinedale back to Payson. I have some fantastic "before the fire pictures". And now we have family down there fighting the fires.......

We stopped at a home west of Showlow for a yard sale and bought several crocheted blankets. I wonder if she lost her beautiful place they had bought for retirement. So sad for them. Does anyone know if the resort called the Buffalo Ranch was burned? It is a new community of small log cabins and touristy shops. This is probably one of the few times we know exactly what the area looks like when we see it on the news.

Sammi

06/22 Hi all,

My sister is again fighting fire again this summer and is in Colorado right now.

When she came home last fall and said she was going back next year, I decided I would continue to follow the fire shelter issue through the winter (and keep reading theysaid and educating myself). I did. Even called Boise a few times. It seems to me we (familysaid) did well at letting our views be known and production of the new fire shelter is well underway. Fire shelter testing standards were created and set last summer/fall. The testing process proceeded as expeditiously as possible, I think. The new fire shelter has been chosen. It is going through manufacturing stages. I'm not sure but I thought I even heard that Rob Roth was going to be involved somehow. (I could be wrong about that. If he's reading, maybe he will comment.)

I pulled this out of the theysaid archives from last month.
Fire shelter history and update:
Fire council selects shelter made in Missoula

If you want my opinion on the Denver Post editorial, it seems to me it's designed to inflame and to sell papers/advertising space. The author of the "editorial" doesn't know what he or she is talking about. Heck, there's not even a name on it. By the way, this is not true with their other editorials. Makes me wonder. Maybe some marketer on the paper wanted to publish some inflammatory rhetoric without having to be held accountable by putting their name on it. Well enough cynicism. (Take a look at theysaid this last week, many firefighters don't trust the media... Most journalists don't know enough about fire to report fairly.)

OK, stepping down from my negative-on-journalists soapbox. Maybe there is someplace better to put our efforts than on fireshelters. I know we mostly have groundpounder family members who are fighting fire (at least my sister is), but what about sending some letters out to legislators in support of the air tanker guys and their families? Or we could see what the firefighter issues are at the national level...

Check this out: www.airtanker.com/wwwboard/messages/7884.html and then read the followup messages with details of what you can do.
I don't know how many of you are from CA, but I'm going to contact my CA legislator today. The 26th is next Tuesday.

Also, visit the FWFSA website www.fwfsa.org. Some of the firefighter reps went to Washington last winter and met with congress people to advocate for change with some success... One of the next issues is paying firefighters from portal to portal (when they leave home to when they get back home) -- means our guys and gals might not get so tired, which means the clearest and safest decisions are more likely to get made. That's only one of several issues. My sister joined the organization. She says it can be a powerful voice. (Looks like she might make a career of the fire stuff.)

Ok, truely signing off now,
Robbie (short for Roberta, in case you don't remember)

06/22 Friday's Denver Post editorial page had one about the need for good
decision-making and management for our firefighters, as well as an improved
fire shelter. To access it, go here: (Ab simplified this, sorry for the delay...)

www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%257E417%257E686669,00.html?search=filter

Because we all wrote and emailed our legislators last summer - and then 9/11
happened and the fire shelter discussion was tabled - I thought you might be
interested in knowing that someone out there is apparently still wanting to
make it happen for our guys and gals on the fire lines. This is the first
article I've seen here in the Denver papers. What are others seeing where
they are? I can't speak to the opinion expressed there that said that the
investigation into the reason the air tanker in California crashed needed to
be speeded along; I don't know how those things go, but I suspect that we'd
want a thorough investigation and if "speeding up" causes things to be
overlooked, that wouldn't help our firefighters in the long run. I could
sure support an improved fire shelter, though. What do those of you more
knowledgeable about all this think?

Colorado Mom
06/20 From Fire Etyr for those following fires in AZ.

Some local Phoenix TV websites are :
www.kpho.com/ cbs
www.azfamily.com independent
www.phoenix360.com abc
www.12news.com

and the newspaper is the Arizona Republic. http://www.azrepublic.com/
06/19 Shot's mom and all: rituals I do.

Actually never put a name to it until I read this post. I also do the answering machine thing. Do not erase the last message until the next one comes in. Actually I miss very few because I also have a cell phone and they call home and then the cell. My "babies" always start out with "H i------ m o m m y" in a VERY exaggerated way to put emphasis on my over protectiveness. I always smile at that,,,,,,,,,I have their first helmets lined up on the top of the entertainment center. Probably would be the first things I would go for if I had a fire here.

I absolutely cannot cook their favorite foods while they are out. So no roast and gravy, no peas and corn bread, no spaghetti, no lasagna and no chicken pot pie. Don't know why just something I realized made me cry.

I make sure every year to have portraits made of each of them in dress uniform and in greens or turnouts. (This year I also had them do shots with their packs) I also got portraits of all of them together. it was a riot. The girls at Sears were arguing over who was going to take the pictures. (and the guys were really playing the part of studly firefighters) people shopping stopped to watch them. Someone suggested doing one without shirts but thank goodness dad vetoed that quickly. I just tried to blend in with the walls. I have their pictures in my scriptures and every time I see them I smile to myself.......these are MY guys and I am sooooo proud of them. They work hard and play hard and when we are together they drive me crazy, but I would not change a second.

I put a little smiley face on their toothpaste.....no one knows its there but us. (long ago I use to put cardboard hearts in their dads sandwiches) Just a small way to connect every day. I also have a gold FF pendant that was a Christmas present I wear constantly. Oh, each of them has a St.Florian pendant they wear on a chain. For info: St Florian is the Protector of FF. You can get a lot of merchandise for FF out of the Our Designs Catalog. They have a web site. (our daughter has a locket with one of the tiny pictures of them in it and she puts it on when the first one goes out and takes it off for winter when the last one comes home.

I'm sure there are many other things we do that we don't even think about. Habits, rituals, etc don't happen immediately on their first time out. What ever makes you comfortable and feel close, do it.........no one even will realize you are doing it unless you tell.

Please if there is any new family members or friends out there reading but nervous about joining in. Please do so.....I wish I had a list like this all those years ago when I was thrust into this lifestyle to ask questions, vent, just have someone to talk to that understands how hard it is for those of us at home waiting. Some of the tough, burly, studly guys will snicker at us and the "silly" things we do-say but that's ok. My guys do. But you know something, when no one is looking they read our notes, "Aw mom!!!!!!!!!!" then smile that cute smile because they really do want to know how much we care, just as long as we do it discreetly. hang in there families, things are heating up and it gets scary but we are here to support each other...

Sammi

06/19 Ab, seems we have several new-to-fire relationships this season; maybe someone needs to suggest they go to
NICC: Frequently Asked Questions for additional info (Ab adds: for reading the daily Situation Report that contains the fire news from all the fires around the country... and can be found via our links page.).

Folks, there are lots of websites and links to specific fire information, if you have the time. Hope your loved ones are safe and remain so throughout this nasty fire season.

Sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives on the Cannon fire last Monday... the entire wildland firefighting community is mourning.

NZ
06/18

FIRE Links, 2002 at the top of familysaid is updated. This page contains links to all fires, 2002 that have pages on the www. Many sites also have photos. This is one place you might go if you know what fire a family member is on. Who knows whose photo you might find there.
Ab.

06/18 Hi guys, wow look what I have missed, you people have been really busy posting. My old computer slowed down to turtle pace then died so I have been unable to do anything but peek in via daughters computer for a while.

Hope you all saw the news release about the new shelters. We had such a great team (asking for new shelters) going last year and were really getting attention from press, political people etc and then Sept 11 took all the attention away. Well, now apparently they (?) have decided they have one they agree can be used so we will see how things progress. (see link on They Said)

To the moms and girlfriends: And everyone else concerned with firefighters: (I have 3) they are well trained, gain experience everyday. They are so proud of what they do. One of the most important things you can do is listen to them when they call or come home. They need to know we support them and they do not need to go into that experience feeling guilty because they are not with us and we resent their being gone so much. (that is also for community FF, pavement pounders, (also have one of those). I try to keep up with their whereabouts every year. I keep big maps on the frig and freezer and put little stars where they have been.

Also cut out paper articles, look on TheySaid News, excellent for newspaper articles. After the season I put the info in scrapbooks. Some of the books are slim depending on the amount of info I find but I try. No reason to feel obsessed or overbearing because we care. We gave birth to these people and put in more hours than anyone to get them old enough to go out and do this....why feel funny, guilty etc.....your his (her) mom, his wife, his girlfriend. No matter who you are, if you care thats all they need to know. Please try to not be a doomsdayer and tell them all the horror stories you will hear from associates who will try to scare you. Our FF need to have confidence and be able to confidently depend on training and their leaders. They need to use their minds clearly.

If you have questions ask the list. Every question is important. There is a wealth of info here and we all continually learn. I do constantly.....

I would not advise calling dispatch or the headquarters they are out of. They are very busy and would be overwhelmed if all the families called checking on each FF. All my guys have cell phones, even tho they don't work well in all areas. Seems like they do work better to call girlfriends sometimes. (So check with them) Just remind them to call when they get the chance and don't panic when the phones rings at 2am and he wants to chat. Thats ok with me, and I know with you. Even if you can't keep up very well when he is actually out, probably you will be able to trace his trail by the t-shirts he brings home and then you can go back and look up the information to document his summer.......oh and make sure they have a camera. Amazing the pictures they take sometimes. (girls, cars, squirrels, birds, trees, hummers, two FF sitting in the black eating MRE's from 50 ft away) Just keep your sense of humor.......and pray a lot.

I remember the first year our "baby" came home after his first trip away. He came in dragging his stinky messy packs, plops the pile in the den and went to the frig for a drink. He saw "his" collection and just beamed. He spent quite a while standing there reading the articles and looking at the maps etc. He didn't say too much but I knew it meant a lot to him. So now they always wander in to look at "their map". I do the same thing for my husband, the pavement guy. (He started this whole thing.......why shouldn't he have to do the wash?) hang in there families and friends, it seems like every summer is very long and lots of lost sleep but they are worth it. Every one of them.........glad to be back (super new computer)

Sammi

06/18 More.... Shot's mom:

I remember doing the list for fire sites but lost all my "favorites" when my computer died so have to start over. The links page on They Said has a great amount of good sites. I also look at the national forest sites where I think they are. Some have excellent info, some none at all. Also, look for newspaper sites in the area where they are.....I have managed to get lots of info from the on net newspapers. Lots of pictures and twice some personal info (and pictures) on two of our sons. Who had no idea they were in the paper.......maybe we all could work on a list.....Sammi

06/17 does anyone know where i can see a list on the net of all the available
or unavailable crews per region/forest? and is there any way to find out
where a certain crew may be sent?
trying to find friends
meko9

Sometimes such info is available at the regional level, but often not. (Check the Links page and look under News and Reports then Situation Reports by Geographic Area for the places to start exploring.) Here's the reason why the info you want might not be available. Say a resource is assigned to a fire and the fire is contained before their 2 week work period is up. Or say another fire starts nearby. The resource is now needed to fight the new fire. It may get reassigned there without a record of the reassignment being sent to the home unit. This has been happening in Colorado as new fires start and as priorities change based on values at risk. Ab.
06/16 v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^

...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY.....HAPPY FATHER'S DAY.....HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^

06/16 Hello, Marlene,

I hope your son has had a break and called since your last post. I found this
Bakersfield Fire Program site, which might give you some information. There's
a nice photograph of the Kern Valley Hotshots.
www.ca.blm.gov/bakersfield/fireweb.html

Don't minimize yourself as "just" a worried Mom. Be proud. You've given the
world a invaluable gift.

My son is a full grown, strong, agile man with hair all over his body, who is
doing what he loves more than anything in the world. Yet he is still that
special person who came from my womb, the boy I raised from his first breath,
the kid who wanted to explore what fire did to plastic, wood, glass, etc., in
a galvanized tub one spring day a long time ago. I'm proud of this grown man,
salute him for fighting a "noble" fight, and revere him as a kind of
warrior-saint with a special calling.

My love or worry is not lessened just because he is an adult. I'd worry if he
were 70 and I were 90. When you give birth to someone, the thought of that
child being in danger generates a primordial reaction--species instinct
perhaps--to see to his safety.

Do we grow out of this? No. Do we learn to cope? Yes. It helps me to have a
ritual or two. When my son calls and leaves a message on the machine, I don't
erase it until I hear from him again. I write to him, send him notes, funny
newspaper clippings, "care" packages. I read the sit reps every day--because
it makes me feel as if in doing so I can send him some energy to trudge up
that steep terrain fully loaded when he's exhausted.

Silly? I suppose so, but these actions help me to balance the fear and let me
go about my life during the fire season without that heart-crushing anxiety.
Why, I can even go dancing and sing while doing the dishes! So, hang in
there, Marlene. Be safe. Love him and worry--you can't do otherwise.

Shot's Mom

P.S. I'd be interested in coping rituals that other families and friends use.
06/15 Attn; Mike Shore as regards your request for info re: 555 {Triple Nickel} air asset/crew, you might try prowling around the following site. I believe @ the moment they are assigned to the Boreal incident on the Sequoia.

If you are out in Bakersfield travel east to the area of Hwy 178 {Kern Cyn Rd} and Comanche Drive {east of the Jct w/Hwy 184}. just past Comanche on the right hand side of the road you will seen BLM's Kern Heliport facility, home of the triple nickel/crew.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/bakersfield/
Danny
06/14 for Ivan's Girl

I've heard that AK has one good website (dunno. I haven't tried it, yet). try:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/fire/rmacc.html

Northzone5

Ab note: This is the Rocky Mountain (R2) website. Alaska is in R6, but has its own website that I think we've linked to below. This is a good site for the Fires burning in Colorado right now. By the way, you can get to all the regional sites from our Links page under News and Reports, "Situation Reports by Geographical Areas".

06/14 have a friend on the BLM - California Helicopter 555 "Triple Nickel" crew, I think out of Bakersfield. Do you have any information or suggestions as to how to get any information on the crew's activities or how to track them? I cant seem to find anything on the web.

Thanks,
Mike
06/11 Hello,
I am in Virginia Beach VA and my son is a Kern County Hot shot. I know that I am just a worried mom, but I haven't heard from him in two weeks. His name is Joshua <snip> from Bakersfield CA. I would really love to hear if he is ok and about what fire he is at.
Thanks from a worried mom...
luvmycop2@juno.com
Marlene
06/10 Dear Ab,

If any girl/boyfriend/spouses of FF want to chat about their experiences, I'll be in FireChat on Wed. evening 8pm PDT.

Keeping the "home-fires" burning,

IvansGirl

Ab Note: We suggested to IvansGirl that she might want to set a FireChat time for those missing their firefighters. Looks like Wed at 2000 PDT is the first time for discussion on firefighter relationships. This Ab will be there.
06/09 To RxFire:

BLESS YOU! Thank you for the web site you mentioned in your email! I had been checking the sit report and the Southwest site page, but, as you well know, those only give fire information and even though our son has been terrific about calling, as I said, this fire season has been a bit tougher to track his crew's whereabouts. Thank you so very much -

Ab - this site has been so very helpful to our family. I don't write much, but I read lots. Thanks for your hard work!

Colorado Mom

06/07 Glad to see Family Chat is up and running' again

It's been a long time since I had a "SHOT" kid (especially the GIRL) on the line to wonder and worry about.

I must say, I am glad to see someone post from a dispatcher's point of view. Folks, read all the links this site offers, do NOT inundate their home base with calls, and remember, in the old days there were NO phones at a spike camp, showers were non existent - they were lucky to get day old sandwiches via an air drop, and they slept in fake sleeping bags!

Of course you are worried, as all good, caring folks should be. Kudos to those who have the time and resources to track their loved ones, do it, and share the factual info in here. Never forget, cell phones won't work when there is no cell site available in wildlands! The only savior for you is to keep the faith! oh, and for the person who wrote in to ask about "non relatives": you are no diff than any of us who sit at home worrying; the big diff is AK is worse for current news except, maybe for the NICC sit reports' watered-down info (you have to remember, that sit rept is written for the bosses in Washington DC)... but it is better than NONE.

Pray that your loved ones are safe as can be (remember is was their CHOICE) and no serious injuries or lives lost this fire season anywhere (engine slug/ground pounder, type I or II/rapeller/jumper in timber/mountain/brush/grassland) type of firefighting situation! Hopefully if your kid is a "ground pounder", he or she has knowledgeable sups and has received appropriate training and the resources necessary for the situation at hand this day! AND, never forget those structural FFs, or the guys in the AIR who just might drop slurry on your kid! kudos to them too. (gee, Ab did I miss anyone? lol)

Everyone: keep the faith! Your loved ones will come home and tell tall tales next Thanksgiving, or C-mas!

ex-shot parent

06/06 Dear Ab,

Just yesterday I found your site with the help of my boyfriend's Mom and was comforted by the sharing of questions and information. But I feel a little awkward joining the forum of "FamilySaid" or "TheySaid." You see, I am not family of a Firefighter, nor am I a fire fighter myself. I'm the girlfriend. My boyfriend is a Chena Hotshot in Alaska, and I am involved in the other half of his double life. This is only the second fire season that we have faced apart, and it is unbelievably difficult. Frustrated by the lack of specific information about the location of his crew and the difficulty of communication between us during fire season, I am always looking for some way to feel more connected to what is going on with him during this time. I am wondering if there are wives and girlfriends out there feeling the same way. Is there a support group for the lonely significant others? "Hello, my name is ______. And I'm in love with a Wildland Fire Fighter," etc. ;) I checked out Fire Chat...but everytime I go in I am the only one there.

Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,
IvansGirl

Hey, we should rename this forum familysaid/girl/boyfriends!? Sure, you fit in here.
Before this page was created, we had girlfriends, partners, and spouses writing in to theysaid -- and a few parents. Often you gals and guys in relationships with firefighters are living in remote and isolated communities with no others you can talk with about your difficult situation. Here's your chance. Have a question, write in. Others will share their experiences, their frustrations, their loneliness, their solutions. I'm sure some of the firefighters who have struggled with relationship themselves will offer a few words as well.

FireChat is another good place to share, when folks have time to get together. Often a party happens on a Thurs or Fri or Sat evening between 1900 and 2200 Pacific Time. I should put an announcement on familysaid and theysaid next time it's happening. Right now the "forests" of many of our socal chatters are burning. They are off fighting fire.

But hey, there's nothing to stop you from sending in a post that you'd like to gather in firechat at a particular time and date. If you show up and lurk there, all logged in, we will come, especially if it's in the evening with a little announcement. If a group of girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, and husbands evolves, you all could also set up a regular meeting time. One way or the other we can all support each other. Just need to invent it! Welcome!

Ab.

06/06 Colorado Mom,

According to the SW area fire intelligence page for resources - www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/webdaily/sit300.htm - Blue Ridge is on the Bullock incident in Tucson.

The link above is updated daily.
RxFire

06/06 Shots Mom’s Son,

I read your response to Shots Mom and felt a need to respond from a dispatcher’s perspective. You made some very good points in your message and I do agree that a family should keep up to date on where their son/daughter is during fire season. The best bet would be to track them via web searches or to ask their child to call home more frequently. What I need to disagree with are the following statements you made: “feel free to call dispatch during business hours or call the home unit FMO” and “what is important is your peace of mind and not whether someone is put out by a 3 minute phone call”.

Under your advice, let me tell you what could happen. Take two 20-person crews (at least where I'm from), a 3-minute phone call from each concerned Mom or Dad, and well, you can do the math. That’s about 2 hours of time that I don’t have to be reassuring folks that their children are okay. I cannot speak to calling the FMO, but I’d guess that the same thing applies to them as well. Time spent on non-emergency type phone calls is time taken away from a dispatcher who may be working an initial attack desk, trying to keep their initial attack resource needs met, and trying to manage resources from a safety perspective. (If you have any doubts, try sitting on an initial attack desk for an afternoon during or following a lightning bust.)

We (dispatchers) are more than happy to receive calls of an emergency nature (i.e. there was a firefighter injured on a fire, was it my child or there's been an emergency at home, please have my child phone home ASAP), but routine calls to find out where the crew has gone next should be avoided. To be honest, once a crew has left the forest or region, it is often difficult for the dispatch office to keep track of their every move as well. Crews get reassigned all the time and we’re only as good as the information we receive from the crew itself. Experience has shown that you cannot rely on reassignment information being sent to the home unit through dispatch channels in a timely manner if at all.

So, to Shots Mom, please keep the inquiry calls to a minimum. If there is an emergency contact that needs to be made, feel free to call us and ask for assistance. And last but not least, please remember that we all do appreciate your care and concern for your child. As Shots Mom’s Son stated, knowing that you love and care for your child can make a positive impact on morale and safety. Keep up the support and know that we are all praying for and working towards bringing our firefighters home safely this season.

- I.A. Dispatcher

Dispatcher, I agree. Part of the reason for having this familysaid forum is so spouses, moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and partners can more easily follow their firefighters without disrupting the important work of firefighting. As we all know, dispatchers on IA are as important or more important than ICs in getting the fire hooked. (Sometimes they are defacto ICs.) Mellie is compiling a running list of fires on the web to help with making the info-seeking process easier. She could use any help you all want to provide. Maybe there are other things we could do to help with unraveling the maze of the web for those new at the process. Family members and readers, if you have any ideas or tips, please send them in. Ab.

06/05 Thanks to all of you who help to keep us connected!

Does anyone know where the Blue Ridge Hot Shots (they're out of the Coconino
in Arizona) are this week? I felt as if I were reading my own thoughts when
I read the Shot's Mom's email. Our son has always been wonderful about
letting us know where his crew is; this year, it's been harder to keep track
of where he is. I did a scrapbook last year, too, and am, this year,
printing information I find on various sites to add to it. It's almost funny
sometimes because I'll print what I find from one fire only to find he's been
sent to a different one!

I don't email often, but I very much appreciate reading what all of you offer
in way of information and support to one another. Thanks for all you do!
God bless you all and know that all of our firefighters are in my prayers.

Colorado Mom

Welcome back Colorado Mom. If anyone has this info, send it in. Ab.
06/05 Hello All,

I started a new fire links 2002 page that will accumulate "wildland fire" sites for this fire season. Last year I did one that you can visit on the Links page under Miscellaneous --> California, some Washington and Oregon fires, 2001. This year I'm going to try to do more (all?) and keep a running list, hopefully with a little help from the rest of you all. Maybe we can help each other track the fires where family members tackle the dragon. Given the way the season has started, we're already a little behind, but many fires do not have websites. The Southwest, R3, has great info, as do Alaska and Rocky Mountain, R2. Last year Sammi suggested checking the forests that the fires were on for additional info.

So, a request... If you find a web fire site (wildland fire - fed, regional, state, county no matter how small) that has information, maps, photos, news releases, whatever, send in the url and I'll add it and the pertinent stats to the new page "2002 Fires on the Web". FIRE Links, 2002 at the top of theysaid, familysaid and on the Links page under Miscellaneous.

Here's a unique thing I found this eve... Turn on the sound on your computer. Here's the sound of a 2002 fire on the Carson National Forest NM. Hear the wind?

Be Safe Everyone.
Here's to a good and safe season for ourselves and our loved ones...
Mellie

06/03 Shots Mom,

You are a big asset to your son and his crew, more than you know. You should not feel guilty or as if you are out of line in wanting information as to his and his crews location throughout the season. Feel free to call dispatch during business hours every now and then or call the home unit FMO/Duty Officer if you feel the need. It is your peace of mind that is what is important not whether or not someone in the organization feels put out by a 3 minute phone call.

Most everyone on the crews has access to a cell phone either their own or someone else's on the crew and although we are not always in a location where there is service, as when we are on a wilderness fire in spike camp or way out in the hinterlands some where, there are times when we are in the rigs on the road between assignments when contact can be made.

As a long time Hotshot as well as doing other jobs in fire over the last almost 30 years, I can tell you that knowing someone cares where you are and what you are doing can have a very positive impact on morale and ultimately our safety as individuals and crews.

I only wish all the families of our firefighters were as interested in their firefighters as you. My wife, kids and folks have been real supportive over a long career in fire and it really makes a difference. However, my Mom stopped doing my fire laundry about the middle of my first season because she contracted Poison Oak from my fire clothes, sorry Mom.

So go on and keep making your calls, searching the web and keeping your scrap books as up to date as you can, I know your son will appreciate your efforts, there will be allot of great memories stirred when he sees them and he will know he is loved.

Pray for all our FFTR's safety it is gonna be along season.

God Bless all you FF Moms out there.

A SHOTS MOM'S SON