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  • 08/28/2001
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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My condolences to the families of the CDF pilots who were killed yesterday evening on the Bus Fire in Ukiah. My heart just breaks when news like that is received. It has been a deadly summer once again
Sammi and all, I have said it before, but I just want to give you even more encouragement in your activism re the Roth Shelter/an improved shelter. Families of firefighters have made a difference in the past (and I’ll tell you an interesting story in a minute). But first, families are really the ones that need to carry firefighter issues to our elected officials for the simple reason that the firefighters themselves are otherwise engaged when ‘fire’ is in the forefront of everyone’s minds. There is huge media hype during the summer, prompting elected officials to make public statements about their concern for and about the firefighters, the land that is burning, and the houses that are lost. As soon as the first rains come, congresspeople are no longer concerned mainly with our forests but are on to the next crisis. The issues no longer carry as much weight until the next year when it starts all over again. In addition, the firefighters themselves can face reprisals if someone higher up the food chain doesn’t agree with their opinions. ‘Black balling’ still occurs today, don’t think it is a thing of the past. So…..keep up the good work! Now for the story, it’s been a few years so some of the details may be incorrect….
In 1987, 2 gentlemen were killed on a big complex on the Stanislaus NF in R5, while working under the old paycap that said you couldn’t work more than 110 (I think) hours of overtime in a pay period or you didn’t paid anymore. I DO know that these 2 firefighters had exceeded the pay cap and were killed in the line of duty while NOT GETTING PAID. 2 Hotshot Superintendent wives went live on the local news almost immediately and started a grass roots movement to get that changed. ‘Lo but the government moved fast on that one, within a year that system was changed. As I understand it, the federal paycap still exists in some form (I believe for those on salary) but it no longer occurs for FS or BLM regulars who work the fireline.
It is just terrible that a tragedy has to occur before anyone will stand up and listen. If families stand behind their loved ones, you CAN make a difference!
Old R5’er

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