Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Home / WLF TheySaid / “The New WLF and TheySaid”

  • 01/31/2015
  • Sam, "The New Owner"

Hey All,

I just wanted to quickly jump on and send out a note to all the users.  Although, some are sending some comments that the site isn’t owned by Firefighters anymore, or that the old WLF Was better, I will answer a few of the comments and concerns.

First, FireWhat Inc, the company four Firefighters founded, is who bought WLF.  We, the founders, are all firefighters, with the exception of two of us now.  We stepped away to run the company and dedicate all of our time to building the best tools we could, and buying WLF, took so much time, that it was more important to me to step away from my 19 year career as a Wildland Firefighter, to help this community with the best tools and information that are out there.

On the TheySaid topic, there are two sides to this.  First, the new format…

Personally if you ask me, it is way more intuitive, and easier for us, the team at WLF, to manage.  Previously, the old way was only able to be updated on one single desktop.  Which made leaving for family, travel, or vacation, almost impossible for Ab.  The new system can be moderated from our smart phones, tablets, and any computer, anywhere on earth.  Thus making it an easier system to manage.

I know, change is tough.  I was a firefighter for many many years.  In the summers, I still respond to wildfire incidents.  With our GIS Trailer.  So, I am still just as involved, but almost even more so now.  Because we have to keep up on the latest news and intel coming into the site.

And, with the trailers, we are constantly seeing the tools that need to be created, and how we can better bring information to the site, to get more info out to the field.

As far as the talk about managers or administrators working out a deal with us.  That’s not the case at all, at least for FireWhat.  We try to stay as neutral as possible.  To be honest, I don’t like having a lot of the bashing on one side or another.  I was a Union Officer, so believe you me… I have had my own battles.

But, looking at the big picture, it is better for us as the community to share information that is helpful for our fellow brothers and sisters.  I would like to encourage posting.

Yes, your right, we don’t have an “Ab” who is starting conversations on here, but on Facebook, our Social Media guru does.  We will work on integrating the two systems together to get more of a voice going back here.  I will make that commitment to you all!

Please, don’t bash on us.  We are a team of folks who really truly care about the Wildland Fire Community.  I have got to tell you, getting our non fire folks out on the line last year, it turned their mind set.  They saw what we all go through.  What camp life was like. What working at 19 hour day after a 24 hour day, with less then two hours of sleep is like, while having a one year old at home they are breast feeding.

So, the team isn’t a bunch of tech folks, who have no passion for what the Wildland Community do.  They are just a new generation of the Old Ab and Ab. With the same exact passion to keep this thing moving forward.

Yes, we changed the website to have a better flow, and attract partners to help us fund the operations.  By doing that, we also added the first time ever, live map.  There is a constant struggle to get the lastest wildfire intel into the site, and through several agency partners, outside industry companies, and intel providers, we are working to continue building this site up, with the best tools possible.

This site was no easy feat by any measure.  It was built by you all, the community.  But, we have to make it easy to manage, which the old site was very cumbersome.  No, not everything is perfect, we get that.  We hear the frustrations, but also welcome help.

One area we could use some help, TheySaid.  Help “They” have a “Said” again.  Without the topics, it’s hard for us to keep the conversations going.

One thing I do want to let you all in on, TheySaid has actually grown it’s viewership.. We just need help from you to build the articles being posted.

It’s still anonymous, so there’s no issues on posting articles.

Here’s a challenge, one article a year!  That is 30 articles a day, if every member of this site posted!  That is a true representation of “TheySaid”.

It doesn’t have to be controlled by us.  We are very open to posting info.  Help us with this.  Let’s not shoot holes at the new owners, cause, here’s another little tidbit…

I gave up everything I had for this site.  I had to sign a pretty BIG deal to purchase the website.  I gave up my retirement, my wages, my benefits, the nice State of CA monthly paychecks, just to dedicate my time to you all, and help this team build the “Home of the Wildland Firefighter” to what it needs to be!

So, we are your team.  Help us help you.  Contribute articles, and if we look at “Is TheySaid Dead”.  There were 28 Comments, and over 1,800 views.  I would say, no, it is not dead.  Just needs the community to contribute and help us out!

The views expressed are not those of this site, this blog or its affiliated companies. By posting your comments you agree to accept our terms of use.

  1. Fire Geek
    February 1, 2015 Reply

    Very well written reply that that leaves no doubt as to the direction the website has taken. I really appreciate all your hard work and the passion of your staff, Sam!

  2. February 1, 2015 Reply

    Thanks very much Fire Geek!

    It’s folks like you who’ve supported us to push us to the next generation. Change is tough, we understand, but bare with us! It’s all in the best of intent to deliver state of the Art technology to the end user!

  3. Joe Hill
    February 2, 2015 Reply

    that said, it is still a shadow of it’s former self and lacks the substance of the original.

  4. Mt. Eddy
    February 2, 2015 Reply

    Hi Joe Hill,

    I would encourage you to contribute. We are not as versed in the Federal issues that were brought to the table. The only way to build the community is to help contribute to the community, and we always encourage this. Please send over your interesting topics, post them up, and help the community have the substance that is now lacking!

  5. Dan
    February 2, 2015 Reply

    Why not use new technology on the back end and keep a format that was more like the way it used to be. There are other forums (the hotlist for one) and blogs, which I frequent. I liked that TheySaid was different. If I want to keep up with every post, I don’t really want to have to go to each one individually, especially on a mobile device in areas with little cell service. I just want to load up one page and read everything at my leisure.

    Make the format less annoying, and I will accept your challenge to contribute.

    The live fire maps and many of the changes are great, but the format was part of what made TheySaid what it was. Yes, sometimes it was hard to track individual threads, but that’s what something like the hotlist is for. By making this just another place for threaded discussions, you have made it redundant.

    I think I have rambled enough. I do appreciate the work the new team has put into the site, and I fully support updating the back-end of the site to make running it easier. Also, I always thought the flames in the background was tacky. Your new coor scheme is much better.

    1. Dan
      February 2, 2015 Reply

      Make each post fully expanded (without having to click “read more”) and get rid of comments (if people want to add to the discussion they can submit a new post like in the old days) and you’re done.

  6. Contract County Guy
    February 3, 2015 Reply

    Sam, in order to protect your substantial investment and meet the needs of the community, it’s important for you and your partners to hear and be responsive to your customers and the many comments challenging you to improve the site. While we appreciate you and your staff’s commitment to providing this service, it’s also clear the format is not hitting the mark. The fact that it’s “easier to manage” for staff does not address this core issues. The site used to be THE PLACE to find contemporary and timely information on our trade. It’s not providing that service currently. Thank you for your continuing efforts, and best wishes with site improvement

  7. February 3, 2015 Reply

    Contract County Guy,

    Thanks for the comment. Again, the side of “Easier to Manage” is only a small portion of what I explained. It was stored on a computer, that had software that is no longer supported, or even available, and in the transition of ownership, that one sole computer did not come forward to FireWhat. Making TheySaid not able to continue unless we were to obtain that computer with the archaic software stack.

    One thing we have worked very hard for, is the agency support. As the Hotlist is the one place where teams, agencies, firefighters, and the public get the intel, it is also 90% of the site traffic, we are working on ways to improve the use of the Hotlist.

    WordPress is the way the new TheySaid was built. We aren’t neccesirally extremely fond of the format either, but, it is much easier to post content for the viewers, contributors, and readers. And a much more widely accepted platform, with a gigantic community of developers. Thus making it a platform that will be around and continue to be supported.

    Again, the thing we ask for, is contribution! The folks who contributed, stopped. For no reason really! And the way we improve on that, is ask for folks to contribute. I again ask the community, contribute the Contemporary and Timely information of the trade. And let the Voice be heard!

    If we had all of our registered users, contribute one story a year, that would be 10,574 stories, at about 30 stories per day, of the latest issues, topics, and controversies in the industry. I would like that support to keep this rolling forward for our community!

  8. LP
    February 3, 2015 Reply

    The fact that it has taken so long to acknowled the demise of ” they said” is symptomatic of a web site focused on profit rather than being a voice of the wildland firefighting community. wildlandfire.com used to be the place that the old goats as well as the new kids could read, talk about and share through out the daily station routine but sadly that day is gone. Yes the site is a great place for the ” links ” to everything everything else but ” they said” was what made wildlandfire.com stand out in a huge way with the community. It’s sad you let it go

  9. LP response
    February 4, 2015 Reply

    In response to LP,

    I happen to know the team at FireWhat is far from profitable, and the owners have up pretty much all they have to pay the previous owners a pretty hefty penny for the site. So the ones profiting are the ones we all talk about who were not about the profit. The FireWhat crew are out in the community on a daily basis.

    Take the Boles Fire for example. The team created a first ever mobile app that sped the process for damage assessment, and donated all their time to their local community. Which other Companies were making money. They didn’t make a dime for their efforts.

    The team at FireWhat are also big contributors of volunteer hours to their local schools, and hire high school kids to give them a future. I’m by no means an employee, owner, or contributor to the FireWhat/WLF team. But I am a huge supporter.

    For the first time ever, there is actually a face to the website. There’s no fake monikers. There’s a real address. A Telephone number and not a hidden team that no one has any idea of who they are. That to me says a lot for who this team is.

    Knowing the team has sacrificed being away from their families to be on the front line, and not just behind a desk proves they are dedicated beyond the harsh comments people are saying about them. These guys are trying to help their town rebound from a 64 year depression. They bring light to a place most have bailed on.

    I’d encourage you all to call them, or even better, stop in and see them. They don’t hide behind a fake name. They are real true firefighters who still to this day respond to the call and are in the trenches with us.

  10. Fire Geek
    February 5, 2015 Reply

    One thing Mellie would do besides starting a topic by asking a question and answering as AB (I once asked her if she was schizophrenic) would be to add her comments to the bottom of the discussion in italics. I made the discussion more personal in a way. So, Sam… I suggest that you respond to all your readers in italics and everything will be hunkey dory again! :)

  11. February 5, 2015 Reply

    Copy FireGeek..

    We’ll do our best!

  12. helishotfirefigt
    February 10, 2015 Reply

    Decently writing rebuttal of the complaints but please don’t put the pity me cause i spent all of my money on the site. You chose the bed you lay in and a good business owner ( which this has turned into a business) does not mention finances with the consumer.
    Obviously many people are unhappy but generally the unhappy people are the ones who chime in.. The happy people are content and usually dont voice or share their concerns.
    I wish you the best on the new endeavor of They Said. I for one turned from an every day looker and sometimes poster to maybe checking once a month if that.
    The content has changed the players have changed.. not my can of worms and it sounds like its the same for most.

    1. Mt Eddy
      February 12, 2015 Reply

      Hi All,

      As far as the old They Said coming back, unfortunately, the old format won’t be coming back around. But, we are working on a better format to meet your requests. Things take some time to get designed. The feature will be a custom design, unless, here’s an idea, if you guys see a current blog that you participate in that has a better format, shoot us the URL, and we can have some better ideas of the direction to head. As far as not listening to the Customers, and saying it’s the end, thats not the case or point we are trying to make at all.

      We have taken the advice of the users on a regular basis. We are working on a better format to meet the requests of the users. But there has only been, we like the old way. Again, unfortunately, the old way was created on a software stack that is no longer available.

      1. Fire Geek
        February 15, 2015 Reply

        Sam, this is another website that I participate in quite often:


        It does place the latest post at the top of the page and doesn’t require you to click anything to read more. One feature I like is the ability to edit your post after submission for up to 10 minutes. I use that to correct typos.

        1. February 15, 2015 Reply

          Thanks for the feedback. We are looking a few various blog themes that change the read more issue and newest posts to the top issue.

  13. styxfire
    February 10, 2015 Reply

    The new format isn’t meeting the needs of the users. Nobody wants to click “read more” on every single post. Nobody wants to have to click to see extra discussions. Perhaps things are easier for the administrator now, but if nobody wants to post on your site now, well, ahem…..

    I DEFINITELY miss the old TheySaid. I feel really sad that these comments from the users seem to be falling on deaf ears. Users DID like it before, and they DON’T like it now.

    The new format is NOT USEFUL for the community. People who formerly posted on TheySaid are your customers. If you won’t listen to your customers, then it’s the end.

  14. Linden McNeilus
    February 12, 2015 Reply


  15. Lucky Lindy
    February 12, 2015 Reply

    They Said Administrators

    I am getting a little salty at 52 years and nearing retirement, I too missed the old “They Said” format and the discussion that seemed to be present with the old site. I also have visited some newer sites and after playing around with these new sites I can see that the old They Said may have been a little out dated.

    Here is a question I have for you that I think would make They Said much easier to use and therefore get alot more input/participation.

    How about when a topic is replied to, that topic would go up to the top of the screen in time stamped order?.

    With the current “They Said” if I have been following a topic that I have been interested in and I want to see if a recent reply has been posted to it, I have to scroll down though all the topics, open it up and scroll to the bottom to see if a new reply has been sent in. If the replies were time stamped from newest to oldest with I would know instantly if they had or had not been replied to and therefore not have to go through the previous steps.

    I know the firefighter creed, “Don’t complain without offering a sulution” so here it is.

    Copy this link in the search engine of your choice.


    Open up the BWCAW Message Board.

    It will take you to many topics with “Trip Planning being on the top”.

    Click on Trip Planning and it will bring up many topics with the most current one being placed on top with a time stamp of its last reply.

    If you wish to reply to a specific topic you can do so easliy and also enter a web-link that you can paste in your reply and use it for reference. You can also edit your post easily.

    Food for thought, but see if you have the Computer Nerds working for your company who can do this and I think it will make alot of us They saiders much happier and you should expect alot more dialouge and use.

    So here goes with my first new post on the new They Said with my old Moniker

    Lucky Lindy

  16. February 12, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Lucky Lindy!

    We will take the idea forward!

  17. Olive
    February 17, 2015 Reply

    This is going out to Styxfire. This whole discussion/ comments is not falling on def ears. That’s the point. This thread is a great opportunity for the community to provide useful suggestions. Yes, TheySaid changed, stuff like this happens. Windows updated to Windows 8 and I don’t like the new interface. Do I throw my PC out the window? Maybe, but at least I give it a try. And before I know it I’m a wizard at Windows 8. Change is good. The great thing about this website is that “issues” can be changed but regardless of anything it needed a new look. When I first discovered this site, 15 years ago, I thought it was a full on joke.

    1. February 18, 2015 Reply

      Thanks Olive! Your right, it’s not falling on deaf ears. It’s a constant work in progress. Activity has picked up quite a bit. We’d really like to move TheySaid to be a progressive sounding board to bring about ideas and issues to the forefront.

      That said, activity has picked up quite a bit and we appreciate the assistance with posts!

  18. krs
    June 6, 2015 Reply

    Are you guys going to update the hotlist, and combine the Eastern Great Basin and Western Great Basin, to fall in line with merge from 6 months ago?

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