"THEY SAID IT"
Last Update: 03/06/2014 20:36 PDT
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WFF CFC #12544
Over the next few months,
Wildlandfire.com will be upgrading services and introducing new products to
include; Mobile Applications, Mobile Website, Live Weather and Mapping. This is
all part of the transition of ownership to FireWhat, Inc. The transition will be
a very positive move forward for Wildland Firefighters.
Reply to OFG
First question (the chain saw) - Has the firefighter been
qualified to use a chainsaw according to your agency rules? If not, shut down
immediately. If so, are there chaps available right there. If not, shut down and
get a properly equipped operator to finish the job. If so, direct the ff to put
on the chaps (and any other PPE needed) and continue the work. Consider a
counseling session at the proper time to determine why the ff was not wearing
gear, and to ensure that the proper gear will be worn in the future.
Second question - Do you mean that the fruit has replaced the fire shelter in
the case? If so, send the ff back down the line to the starting point, with
directions to report to the next level supervisor (DIVS, IC, etc.). Document the
failure to have the proper PPE and report the incident to your normal
supervisor. If the fruit in question was jammed in the case along with the
shelter, take the ff aside and strongly inform him/her of the problems that
behavior will cause, and why it will not happen again. Have everyone on the crew
open their shelter cases for inspection to ensure that the problem is not
widespread. When time permits, show your crew actual photos of burn victims with
the idea of what happens if you and your gear are not ready for the worst
On a side note - When I train people on fire shelter usage, I add in a little
extra exercise. The standard protocol is for the ff to be standing in front of
the instructor, shelter in hand, ready for the stopwatch. I prefer to have the
ff put the shelter case on the ground, and then reach for the actual shelter at
the onset. They are instructed to put the shelter on the ground and continue
with the practice shelter. I don't time them until they pick up the practice
shelter, so as to conform to the test policy, but it is a good way to show them
just how difficult extracting a shelter can be, depending on the location of the
case. Okay, post over.
Pack your bag's R-5, were going on a guilt trip!!!!
Firefighters say Obama admin failing to address sex abuse in the FS
Sounds like it's Lesa.
To echo the thoughts of DP, the shelter isn't the problem. I'm a
handcrew assistant, and I take extremely seriously the safety of my crew. But if
I were allowed to choose for myself, I wouldn't carry a fire shelter. Fast and
How about a couple of safety scenarios.
- You are headed back along the line and encounter a firefighter using a
chainsaw to clear brush. The ff is not wearing saw chaps. What action, if
any, do you take?
- You pass a group of firefighters having lunch and see one open their
fire shelter case....and pull out fresh fruit. What action, if any, do you
Whatever your position, crew member, squad boss, Division Supt. OSC, let's
hear from you.
What are your concerns? How would you address, and with what level of
Lassen IHC 40th Anniversary
On April 12th The Lassen Interagency Hotshot Crew
will be celebrating its 40th fire season this year! We are looking to get the
word out to all of our past crewmembers. Please email or call me to request an
DP / Fire Shelters
DP is correct.. as long time Hotshots, we went through our packs endlessly
looking for ways to cut weight.. ounces = pounds… Light and mobile is life.
Neither the Aussies or Canadians use fire shelters. Maybe there is a better way?
Maybe we need to do something differently? Both countries have conducted many
fire shelter tests and have determined that they will go without them.
That being said, if the US wildland fire agencies do opt to keep fire
shelters.. why we would not utilize the best is beyond me … Giving an individual
a "shelter" that only works to a point is ludicrous at best.. Criminal comes to
Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR)
The landscape is rapidly changing around us. Since 1960 when reliable
recordkeeping for wildfire statistics began, the National Interagency
Coordination Center (NICC) reports 8 of the 10 worst fire seasons in terms of
acres burned were recorded between the years of 2000 and 2012; and over the last
decade, at least 10 states, from Alaska to Florida, experienced wildfires of
historic proportions. To make an impact on the future, we need to look past the
current situation and into the future — 10 to 20 years down the road, to
identify the greatest challenges, risks, and opportunities that will define the
future of wildland fire management.
You have been identified as a key contributor who can provide insight into
this future through participation in the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR). In
a few weeks we will be asking you to provide your forward-looking thoughts on
four areas of concern and how will these future states affect wildland fire. The
four areas of concern are as follows:
- Changing Climatic Conditions and Effects on Landscape
- Evolving Risk in Public and Fire Fighter Safety
- Water Quality and Quantity
- Technology and Program Infrastructure
A fifth topic area will be available on the site to collect forward-looking
items that do not readily fit within the other four categories.
Your thoughts will be collected in an online forum called a crowdsourcing
site. Crowdsourcing allows for open dialogue among diverse groups of people on a
specific topic area and allows you to engage as much or as little as you have
the time and desire. It is a transparent, interactive way for a community to
share and comment on ideas, and for moderators to organize, sort, and rank those
The crowdsourcing site will launch in March for your ideas. In the meantime,
please start thinking about long-term challenges, risks, and opportunities in
your area of expertise as it relates to the four areas of concern above and the
future of wildland fire management in the next 10 to 20 years. The top
Frequently Asked Questions have been attached and explain more about the QFR.
We hope you will participate and look forward to hearing your insights and
thoughts in the weeks to come. If you have any questions, please contact me at
Sent on behalf of Tom Harbour, Director, Fire and Aviation Management, US
DP / Fire Shelters
I'd just like to echo what DP said.
20-25 pounds may not seem like a lot, but add that to what we already carry and
that is going to slow you down significantly as well as wear on you physically..
As a sawyer on a Hotshot crew I can tell when I've thrown an extra chain in my
gear, I cant Imagine another 10 pounds! Can we do it? Sure. I'd just say humping
around 80+ lbs is definitely not the right answer..
Are any other National Forests joining with National Parks and making such
Efficiency wave of the future?
Redwood National Park and Six Rivers National Forest "Service Agreement" for
fire (85 K pdf)
Re: Yarnell Hill Fire shelter performance
vfd cap'n and others,
With all due respect, I must give my perspective as a crew sup.
20 pound shelters are not the answer. "Light is fast, and fast is light" a wise
mountaineer once told me. Handcrews need to carry less weight, not more. All you
need to do is pick up any handcrew members' line gear, and consider wearing it
around for most of the day, and you will agree. This year it is the fire, last
year it was hyperthermia, heat injury. Crews cannot bear the weight of 20 pound
The job of suppressing vegetation fires has risks. 20 pound shelters only
transfers one risk, (Fire) to another (exhaustion).
Over the weekend the
March Edition of Running for the Fallen was published.
Check it out. Spread the link.
I'll be running in Moab, UT. If anyone is close I would love to meet you.
We'll be hanging around Moab a little bit post race so please let me know if
you're going to be there so I can make sure to try to tie in with you. I know
the finishing area and the park can get a little chaotic after the race!
Feel free to email me anytime to coordinate! :)
Feet for the Fallen
I'm hunting for info on another fatality from 1960 or 1961 if those
old enough would search your memories...
John Mac let me know about a death he hasn't seen in any database, but doesn't
know the name of the kid that died:
John did not remember the names but definitely remembered the incident.
- 1960 or 1961
- 1-Ton International 4x4
- rolled on the LPF, Santa Maria District
- 2 passengers:
- the driver named Mickey was not belted in; he was thrown out and
- the kid in the passenger seat was belted in and he died.
(He still has hopes that his memory will improve... :D)
Re: Yarnell Hill Fire shelter performance
Attached is “Appendix
C: Personal Protective Equipment Analysis” from the Yarnell Hill SAIT
report, with the performance data that MOC4546 is wanting. Tests by MTDC have
shown that the old generation shelter would have fared worse.
I am firmly convinced that modern science can engineer a fire shelter that
weighs about 20 or 25 pounds, costs around $1,000 per firefighter, and will
maintain a sub-300° breathing space when exposed to a flaming front/residual
heat exceeding 2,000° for 5 minutes or so. I know that can be done.
But, firefighters might be better served with a $4 box of Girl Scout Thin
Mint cookies in their shelter pouch. Or, like several of the surviving jumpers
on South Canyon, just let the empty pouch flap in the wind.
“Never get out of the boat,” is the classic line from “Apocalypse Now” – or,
to paraphrase for wildland firefighters: “Never get out of the black. Absolutely
goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way….”
Thanks, vfd cap'n. Ab.
Can you please help get word about the Great Basin Wildland Fire
Academy Courses / Program. Great Training Opportunity!
Attached is the link to webpage and a flyer they put together. (If you go
to the link below, you can find the flyer and more... Ab.)
Perks they are pushing for program:
Quality Classes and very low cost. They have housing onsite available at the
college for just over $100 a WEEK. They are offering a number of classes via
Distance Learning Projects to many places in Nevada at just cost of tuitions.
Quality Training at very good cost. Huge benefit to any Chief / Training
officer to stretch the $$ for the guys on the ground
If you need any other info or have suggestions where to get word out please
let me know.
fire shelter yarnell fire
We are the Turbyfills.
Travis my son was one of the 19… With that being said, we have started a fb
page called Yarnell Fire Realities. We are getting a lot of heat from other
family members for posting the photos and info but we are committed to change
and yes the photos are graphic but they were an epic fail. If you would go to
that fb page you will get more information. We have been in discussion with Jim
Roth whose brother perished in storm king mtn fire. He has developed a shelter
than can withstand direct impingement.
We are making a call to action for change. We are not involved in any of the
litigation claims as we believe that is not a fruitful way to go to save our
future fire fighters. We invite you to get involved with us if you see value in
what we are trying to do..
David and Shari Turbyfill
Yarnell Fire Question - Shelter performance
All shelters have performance
limitations. Seems I heard flames impinged directly on the shelters.
Speculation: Likely exceeded the heat specifications. Shelters probably
delaminated... regardless of the cost of purchase.
Yarnell Fire Question - shelters
Its been awhile since I posted to the TheySaid page, but
recently I have been looking at what has been coming out in the way of reports
and the investigation on the Yarnell Fire Incident where we lost 19 brave
Granite Mountain Hotshots last summer.
There has been a lot said about the first initial reports, the issues with
seasonal and temporary firefighters not getting full benefits for their
families, and the comments about the initial reporting.
In the way of safety for ALL OF US OUT THERE, Wildland and Structural, I have
not been able to locate any specific information on how well the new fire
shelters held up on this incident. I don't mean to be flippant or macabre in
regard to our 19 brothers, but in the mid-2000s there was a push to get the
new-model fire shelters (In the Blue Case) put in service over five years, and
by now we should all have them.
What I want to know is, how well did the new shelters hold up? Did they last
longer than the old shelters, or fall apart faster than the old shelters? I
can't find any information on that, and it has me bothered.
I was in San Diego for the Firehouse World 2014 Conference and met with a couple
of the Wildland Industry vendors, including the people from Storm King Mountain
Technologies, National Firefighter Corp., and Wildfire. I asked if any of them
had heard of any reports on the Yarnell Deployment shelters and none had. There
were some questions they were asking but no one knew anything.
I understand that there is litigation coming regarding this incident, but the
silence on the shelter issue is deafening to me. Looking back at wildland fire
history this is the only fatality fire I can think of where the new shelters
These 'new' shelters were touted as being twice as good as the old shelters, and
we all bought into them from $89.00 for the old shelters, to over $260.00 for
the new ones. Tens of Thousands of firefighters have these new shelters at great
I will be the first to say you should never plan on using the shelter as a
planned escape route, but the shelter is there if there is nothing else. I
understand that. But I, as a wildland and structure firefighter, want to know
how the new shelter held up.
It is understood that the fire conditions that lead to this tragic incident were
in the extreme range, but as a firefighter I have the right to know how well the
shelter held up, or did not. We all need to know if we have a tool that will
work when the time comes, and I have a doubt on the new shelters.
If anyone has information on the shelter performance report of the Yarnell Hill
Incident please pass it onto the rest of us. Right now I am considering removing
the new shelter from service and going back to the old one. Thanks for all of
your attention on this one.
re: boot situation:
Thanks for your update on the boot situation. Like most every other reform for
our firefighters, its remained a no-brainer and head-scratcher to me for years.
The irony is that Dept. of Defense federal firefighters get a boot allowance for
boots they normally take off when getting into turnout gear yet federal
firefighters from the land management agencies which actually use their boots in
the field in the course of their work, don't get a stipend.
Folks, it goes back to the fundamental flaw in the land management agency fire
programs: Land Managers with little to no fire experience & expertise or fire
management experience are making fire policy and deciding how the billion bucks
plus each year is spent.
That is why it is so important for all to get involved. Supporting & fighting
for this community, whether you are a private contract crew member, local Gov't
firefighter, State firefighter or federal wildland firefighter, IS NOT FREE & IS
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation relies on donations to do the fine work they
do for this community. The NWSA relies on revenue to represent contractors.
State & local Gov't firefighters have organizations fighting on their behalf and
of course federal wildland firefighters have the FWFSA fighting on their behalf.
I have no illusions of grandeur. I'm confident in saying that it is easier to
raise money and give money to a benevolent organization like the Foundation
where we see tangible returns on our donation & fundraising investments in real
Unfortunately for groups like the FWFSA who do political advocacy, we cannot
produce evidence of our efforts on a regular basis. Sadly, politics involves a
lot of behind the scenes action. All the thrill of clandestine meetings between
politicians who are supposed to oppose each other but meet secretly (yes this
really happens) to collaborate on issues. In fact such meetings are on-going now
and I cannot even outline them for our members yet!
Recognizing what has been accomplished at various levels for this community in
the last 10 years and what could be accomplished if more folks got involved and
supported these organizations is remarkable. In fact "wondering's" post the
other day about the 52 Club made me smack myself in the head and realize I
hadn't sent my contribution in yet.
Think if thousands more federal wildland firefighters joined the FWFSA from all
over the Country (we're in 32 states now) what we would be able to accomplish.
Those of us who fight for and support this community know there will always be
that segment who would rather ride on the coattails of those "paying the
freight" and benefit from what successes we produce without spending a dime but
that's the nature of the business.
But I caution them as I do all of you. We all know the fiscal struggles most
federal wildland firefighters face. Because of that I can guarantee you I make
less than every FWFSA member and have no retirement or health benefits.
I know because of the hearts of both Vicki and Burk and their staff they too
stress about funding and being able to continue the work they're doing. We all
have to be in this together. The FWFSA has attempted to reach out to the NWSA &
have collaborated with NFFE to find some common goals and objectives on
And speaking of legislation, and speaking specifically to federal wildland
firefighters and contractors, the fact that there is legislation at all to
address your issues within what is probably the most dysfunctional,
mean-spirited Congress I have dealt with in 20 years is a significant feat in
and of itself. Just imagine if thousands more were willing to part with 71 cents
a day (in the case of the FWFSA) to get their issues before the highest levels
Currently there is legislation introduced to reform a number of federal wildland
firefighter policies: H.R. 2858 written in its entirety by the FWFSA and
introduced by Congresswoman DeGette of Colorado. HR 1066, The Federal
Firefighter Fairness Act introduced by Rep. Capps (D-CA) which would establish a
presumption that certain cancers are job related. Although this bill has been
introduced for many years now and sponsored by the IAFF, I have spoken to the
Author's staff to confirm that such a law would apply to federal wildland
firefighters as well given the increased exposures they face in the field.
S. 1628, Fallen Wildland Firefighters Fair Compensation Act by Sen. Merkley of
Oregon whose office sought help from the FWFSA with technical text changes in
the bill. The legislation would extend PSOB to aircrews and contract
The development of such legislation and its introduction is the result of
tireless work. The comfort, help and healing the Foundation provides to Families
of those lost or injured is the result of tireless work. None of us can continue
to fight and support you if you don't support us and lend your voices to effect
positive change on your behalf.
Each of you out there, especially the feds need to know you can make a
difference. After all it is your career we're fighting for.
Casey Judd, President
Message from Doug Campbell on separating fire danger from fire
Why People have trouble accepting CPS
When first taking the fire courses that the Forest Service required for a red
card it seemed to me that a lot of data was offered. To make any sense of it
seemed difficult if not impossible.
It was like a large bag of material was dumped out and we were to make sense of
it without much help from the instructor.
The CPS set out to change the confusion. CPS sought to simplify the use of
relevant information and place other information separately.
CPS separated fire danger data from fire behavior data.
Fire danger factors are things that are conditions that the fire burns under
with all the fire behavior variations that the fire displays.
The problem is that this concept was a new paradigm and many people refused to
accept the new thinking, not accepting relationships as cause.
Firefighters are required to make predictions of fire behavior and to implement
tactics based on their prediction. This requirement requires firefighters to
understand when, where and what causes the variations in fire behavior.
CPS teaches what the true causes of variations in the fires behavior need be
Example: What do air temperature and humidity cause that changes fire behavior?
The readings must tell us something that is important. What?
Consider how air temperature is regulated. The air temperature is a reaction to
the earths heating and cooling. So air temperature is a reactive element and not
a causative factor. CPS looks at the cause that is the earth and the fuel upon
it and how it is heated and cooled.
CPS jumps to the conclusion that heated areas that include forest fuel should be
classified as heating or cooling and that heated fuel is more flammable than
cool fuel thereby relating fire behavior variants to the temperature of the
Air temperature can be relegated to fire danger elements and need not be
considered as fire behavior elements.
One by one of the fire elements taught are tested as to cause of fire behavior
changes. Some are listed as true cause and others are fire danger elements. The
clutter of information is reduced.
Dr. Ball took the argument on and below explained his thinking.
Understanding Fire Behavior
Pretty Cool and Pretty Hot
Is humidity important?
Is humidity unimportant?
Is fuel temperature important?
Is the difference in shaded and sunlit fuel temperatures more important than
average fuel temperature?
Look at it this way: The tendency of fuel to dry out is a function of the
difference in vapor pressure between the fuel and the air right around the fuel
(= driving force, like a voltage). As the fuel heats up the air around the fuel
also warms: the water molecules in the fuel bounce around more (= vapor pressure
increase) while the warming air in the fuel microclimate can hold more water
because it is hotter. (The amount of water that air can hold [called the
saturation vapor pressure] is a curve that has an ever-increasing slope as a
function of temperature.) These changes in driving force are poorly indicated by
the relative humidity in the ambient air.
Relative humidity = actual vapor pressure in air divided by the saturation vapor
pressure at air temperature.
Increasing the temperature of fuel from 77° F to 93° F (∆ 16° F) at least
doubles the tendency (100% greater) of fuel to dry out even without considering
that the hotter air in the microclimate of sunlit fuels could hold much more
water (increased difference between actual and saturation vapor pressure).
That difference is called the vapor pressure deficit.
In contrast, the difference between warming fuel from 77° F to 93° F only gets
the fuel 2% closer to the flash point of cellulose 450° C.
That relationship continues to get steeper. Even warming the fuel 80° C only
brings fuels 18% closer to flash point, whereas that warming would cause fuels
to dry out many tens, if not hundreds of time faster.
So although ambient relative humidity has a tiny effect on fuel moisture, fuel
temperature acting through moisture loss is a better candidate to explain
increased fuel flammability than does an increase in air temperature or relative
This difference in shaded and sunlit fuel temperatures as compared to average
fuel temperature or air temperature is pretty hard to swallow at first glance.
But now apply what you heard above as you answer the question, "Do 1000-hour
fuel logs dry from the inside to out or does the outside dry out and the drying
move progressively inward???
Does a wet piece of firewood on your campfire have to dry to the center before
Here is the answer... The sunlit side of a "1000-hr log" acts much closer to a "1
hour" fuel than it does to "1000 hour" fuel.
It is the surface that counts in a fast moving fire.
The shady side of a "10-hour stick" may effectively be a 100-hour fuel.
The fuel moisture of the surface of sunlit fuels, driven to dry out as explained
above, is a primary factor in the driving force of a fire’s progression, and
explains observations presented by Doug Campbell in the Campbell Prediction
J. Timothy Ball, Ph.D.
Fireball Information Technologies, LLC
1240 Fairfield Ave
Reno, NV 89509
I rest my case.
pdf download of this above statement
Why Some People have trouble accepting CPS
Prediction System website and next generation CPS open source software
project by Bruce Schubert at
2nd Annual Wasatch Showdown Fundraiser for the WFF:
Check out an awesome
fundraiser for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Its called the Wasatch
This Saturday March 1, 2014 at Brighton Ski Resort, Utah will be a timed
ski/snowboard scavenger hunt. The top three winning teams win awards. Following
the race will be a BBQ, raffle, silent auction and after party.
We have a great range of prizes including skis, snowboards, headlamps and a
gift certificate for whites boots! Come on out and support the Foundation. Also
for all you powder hounds its going to be dumping!!
If you didn't see it, Marty Alexander and Steven Pyne and several
other authors have a new fire book out. Fire on Earth. Skip down to 2/15
to check out the
special offer order code for 25% discount and order form to our readers.
Good through June, 2014.
Thanks, guys. Ab.
Re: Fire Boots
Fire Committee Chair Joe Duran and Fire Committee members Terra Houska
(R2 Local 927) and Brad Widhalm (R3 local 376) have been working on the
proposal for reimbursement for fire boots. The Union, through Forest Service
Council (FSC) Negotiations Chair Melissa Baumann, served Management with an
Article 11 to negotiate this policy. Joe will be the lead on these
negotiations. The Union proposal includes all wildland firefighters and
militia personnel. (Permanent, permanent-seasonal, and temporary). Those
have qualifications that require light, moderate, or arduous fitness ratings
on their up-to-date Incident Qualification Card (Red Cards).
Before I retired I had been the NFFE rep. designated to negotiate over the
purchase of boots for firefighters by the Forest Service. After the DOI had lost
a lawsuit over the same issue FS management had approached us to let us know
that out of the kindness of their hearts they were going to give FFs a $100 a
year stipend for boots. We told them that's nice but according to Art.27 in the
Master Agreement they had agreed to purchase specialized PPE and that in our
opinion boots for firefighting fall into this category. We proposed that they
give a $400 reimbursement once every four years which works out the same
monetarily, but makes it possible for the employee to buy a decent pair of boots
and maintain them.
Just before the furlough management indicated that they were good with this
proposal, but after the furlough they changed their mind. They have gone back to
the $100, but they are proposing for all field-going employees. Since most
employees support fire our proposal would cover most employees anyway. As anyone
who's worked in the field knows, you can't buy a good pair of boots for $100
especially ones that meet the standard set by NFPA. New employees will try so
there'll be the inexperienced that buy the plastic Wal Mart boots. Management
needs to honor the agreement they made to purchase specialized PPE.
After I retired, management let NFFE know that the rep I had been negotiating
with didn't have any authority to agree to anything. This battle has been going
on for over 30 years now and needs to be settled. Management is trying to
implement the $100 and NFFE has issued an Art 11 for formal negotiations. There
is a huge file from the past that has opinions and cases that support our
position. Maybe all of you need to contact your managers and union reps to let
them know your feelings. The FS is one of the few agencies that doesn't buy the
boots. I spoke to safety reps from OSHA and the Dept. of Labor that support
this, but they were told by their supervisors to stay out of it. This is a
I have no idea how to post on They Said, but I saw the post regarding a
hardship transfer. I have been through a hardship transfer and known several
other people who have gotten one, so I know how it works. If you can pass my
email to the poster I would be glad to impart my information on how to get a
Thank you for your time,
Forwarded your message. Thanks. Ab.
Master Agreement Article 42 covers this for Bargaining Unit Employees. You are
permitted to be represented by the Union. Read it and know it. Knowledge is
guns 'n' hoses
Vista Grande Hot Shots 40th anniversary Flyer
Would you please post this?
VGHS Reunion Flyer (pdf)
Does anybody have any information regarding hardship
transfers? I put in for a hardship transfer because of a multitude of family
issues that are taking place back home. All of the stress has left me in a daze
and I’m scrambling around trying to find ways to get back home so that I get the
help that my family needs. So far I’ve called everyone and their Grandmothers;
only to have people tell me that I need to get ahold of their great great great
grand mother (Or so it seems). Does anybody have any experience with hardships?
I’m trying to figure out the best way for me to go about this but it seems that
this hardship system is a revolving door.
What exactly does an investigation entail? Who does the investigation? How do
you know that your supervisors put in the time and effort to investigate and
coordinate with other forests? Is there a reporting process. I was told to
contact HRM, but all they did was give me a ticket number and then directed me
to my union rep. From my understand, you can’t bring the union into this process
until it has already went past the 28 day review period.
Thanks for your time.
Bound and determined
(Enjoy the storm, challenge the wind and overcome the rain. Today's pain is
BLM Ranger Tom Sherman Retires
Tom Sherman is retiring from BLM Fire. Tom
started with CDF back in the early 60's. Tom's dad was Jack Sherman the Corona
District Ranger I.
Dave Larsen has passed:
Dave Larsen, former Superintendent of the Helena Hotshots and fellow charter
member of the 180 Club passed away February 12, 2014.
Dave Larson Photo and Obituary
Sad news. So unexpected! Thanks for sharing, Tim. Great loss. Ab.
Here's a chance for WLF readers to get a real break on the new book "Fire on
Earth: An Introduction" (wiley.com/go/scott/fireonearth).
(25% off) and order form (1,700 K pdf) is good through June, 2014.
Marty Alexander, PhD, RPF
Leduc County, Alberta, Canada
True North announces 2014 FDIC Scholarship
Seattle, WA (February 13, 2014) –
True North, a leading manufacturer of quality bags, backpacks and fire resistant
clothing, is pleased to announce the 2014 FDIC Scholarship. The scholarships
will allow a firefighter to attend classes and Hands-On-Training (H.O.T.) at
FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) 2014 in Indianapolis on April
In these especially difficult times with budgets being cut to the bone it’s
critical that firefighters continue to get the training to stay safe and ensure
the safety of others. In that spirit True North is offering its 2014 FDIC
Scholarship which will be awarded to a firefighter who demonstrates the best
qualities of the fire service. The scholarship will include up to 16 hours of
H.O.T Evolutions and/or Workshops, classroom training and general sessions and
exhibits. It will also include a five night hotel stay in downtown Indianapolis.
Please go to
truenorthgear.com/ about/true-north-fdic-scholarship to fill out an
application or nominate a firefighter. Applications are due by March 1, 2014 and
the scholarship winner will be announced that week.
The most enduring gift is the gift of knowledge - the tool you can never lose
and never wear out.
True North Gear
Thanks Lidia. Ab.
I was just checking out the WWF 52 club site and was sorry to see only 240
members sign for this year. The majority of these were from one Dept. (way to go
Ventura). I know it is early in the year and all but ............ really only
I suppose it's possible some donors haven't been entered yet. Also likely
people and organizations (Gold Members) sign up when they rack up some $$ on
fires, which we haven't had many of yet this year. Lifetime Members often send
in a donation every year. I understand your question, Wondering, but the year is
young and the donations will come. Please donate, everyone! Ab.
from NFFE Forest Service Council
Legislative News - Update and Reminder for
Leg Week - February 13, 2014
Please share the following updates with your Bargaining Unit Employees (BUEs).
On October 28, 2009, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2010 was signed. Why is that important today? The provision that unused sick
leave shall be used for purposes of computation of the FERS annuity was included
in this act.
As of January 1, 2014, 100% of your unused sick leave can be used for your
annuity computation upon your retirement. Before this law was passed, for
employees in the FERS retirement system, unused sick leave just
disappeared—POOF! The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) lobbied
for this on Capitol Hill on your behalf and won this benefit for you. NFFE
continues to fight for you on Capitol Hill today and every day.
This week NFFE National Vice President Mark Davis is attending meetings with
Congressional staffers regarding the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act,
currently HR 533 and S1120. You may find out more about this bill on the Forest
Service Council (FSC) Legislative Committee web page -
www.nffe-fsc.org/ committees/legislative /temp-hire.php.
REMINDER: Nominations for 2014 the IAMAW and NFFE Legislative Conference
Washington, DC, May 12-16, 2014 (Legislative Week) are due February 28, 2014!
Remember to get them in
/s/ Debbie Kaufman (for) Lisa Wolfe, Chair
NFFE FSC Legislative Committee
Forest Service: Chief's Letter of Intent: 2014 Fire Management
Chief Tidwell's Letter of Intent
Ten Questions Risk Decision Framework
Forest Service 2014 Wildland Fire Risk Management Protocols
Arkansas Forestry officials:
Missing plane found; pilot did not survive
The 12-day search for a missing Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot and his
plane ended Tuesday, with the commission confirming that both the plane and the
pilot have been located. The plane was found by a Civil Air Patrol plane in
Montgomery County north of Glenwood at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday, and Arkansas State
Police confirmed the plane is that of the missing pilot... (More at the link..)
Always Remember Jake Harrell
On Sunday I ran race #2 of 2014 for Two Little Feet.
I honored 9 guys killed
in the Iron 44 fire.
Here's my experience.
Ralston Creek Half Marathon
Feet for the Fallen
Little Feet on Facebook
"Running for heroes who answered the call."
Re: Keith Lemmons
I'm gratified that Keith's memory is helping keep
firefighters safe today. I worked with Keith in the early 1983 fire season when
I was detailed to the Alaska Fire Service as (what was then called) an "Air
Service Manager". He was very experienced in helitack operations in Alaska and
well respected amongst his peers. As the fire season heated up in the lower 48,
I went back to my hotshot crew on the Sequoia and he detailed to the Carson City
District. I was shocked to learn of his death through a newspaper article a
month or so later. He is not forgotten.
Latest R5 Class B drivers policy
There is something going on in ca regarding
if a class b commercial is the new standard for operating a fire truck. I think
they have taken the firefighter endorsement off of the license and replaced it
with a code 50 on the back. I am not on an engine but do have a full commercial
class B endorsement. When I took my physical a few weeks ago, I found out they
no longer use the green medical card AND I had to undergo a physical and written
questionnaire for sleep apnea.
I added the Mound House Staff Ride to Keith Lemmons' Always Remember page. Keith
died in 1983. Thanks for remembering and continuing to spotlight what our fallen
may teach us. Ab.
Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP):
Mound House Staff Ride - Remembering Keith Lemmons
Always Remember 1983 08/27 NV Keith Lemmons
Fire Followers: Dazzling display of plants to follow California wildfires
SanGabriel Valley Tribune
Act one of a Southern California wildfire features walls of flames, flying
embers, dense smoke and charred rubble. Most residents aren’t aware of the
drama’s delayed second act starring fire followers. These can be dormant
wildflowers resurrecting as rudimentary stalks, popping up from black ash and
turning into show-stopping pallets of purples, fuchsias and yellows. Or they can
be opportunistic black-backed woodpeckers, house wrens and flycatchers feasting
on a fresh array of insects, or furry-tailed mule deer grazing on new-growth
grasses sprung by a suddenly cleared understory. In short, the natural
ecology... (More at the link...)
More Disney fun : "Planes: Fire & Rescue" coming to theaters summer 2014!
Courage on YouTube
NWS Sacramento: This Storm vs The Drought
Thought we would share a great
visual that shows the expected precipitation of this weekend's storm compared to
the cumulative water deficit as we continue our third dry year. See attached
Rain between now and Monday will be substantial, and in any other 'normal'
year would add significantly to our water supply. Based on recent conditions
this storm will help, but not do much to decrease our existing deficit. As dry
as things have been, a large portion of this weekend's expected rainfall will go
to saturating the parched soils. The ground must be saturated before significant
runoff will begin.
Also attached is a
graphical 5 day cumulative forecast precipitation image, and two graphics
showing our current precipitation conditions for the
Northern Sierra 8 Station Precipitation Index and the
San Joaquin 5 Station Precipitation Index.
Monitor NWS Sacramento
Weather.gov for further
Technology Tracks Crews Through The Fog Of Wildfire
For crews fighting wildfires, the ability to get accurate information quickly
is crucial. A breakdown in communication was one factor in a fire that killed 19
firefighters in Arizona last year, and in the deaths of two Florida firefighters
in Arizona ...
Article in the media about Brendan at the WFF:
Brendan McDonough takes Wildfire Job in Boise at the WFF
If anyone has frequent flyer miles, Brendan needs to get back to AZ
periodically to see his little daughter.
Contact the WFF: contact info here:
info (at) wffoundation.org
vicki (at) wffoundation.org
Question - Spike out?
Any crew can spike out, some do not want to. I have even seen Cal-fire hand
crews spike out, takes a bit more work because you have to have CDC there, but
having them around and up all night can prevent nocturnal visits from bears to
your spike camp. The big issue I have seen with spike is logistical support,
some teams will not spike crews regardless of the reason if they cannot support
the crews logistically, which is OK they are looking out for the well being of
Been there done that
Question - Spike out?
Break your question/s down a little bit more so it's more clear.
I'm not sure where to start?
Brendan McDonough is working for the WFF -- Vicki, Burk, all
wildland firefighters, all of us -- at the WFF in Boise.
Question - Spike out?
Are type 1 hand crews the only ones who can spike out.
Is there regulations in place on who can and can't? Not talking about an
organized spike camp. But more of a RON due to activity and or logistics?
Re Lessons Learned:
As Paul Gleason said, “be a student of fire”.
Understand that our operational environment includes fire but also a complex
human element which adds a multifaceted component of danger, friction and
Know yourself, try to understand how you fit into the organization, and don’t be
Thanks to everyone who's working so hard to find pilot Jake Harrell.
Hotlist thread with updates. Ab.
Day 5: Search for Missing Forestry Pilot
ODEN, AR - More than 200 people
were involved today by land and air in trying to bring home missing Arkansas
Forestry Commission pilot Jake Harrell, who disappeared on Jan. 31 while looking
for wildfires. Fifteen aircraft were committed to the search, nine of them from
the Civil Air Patrol, four AFC planes, a State Police Helicopter, and two
National Guard helicopters. Some 75 hours alone were flown by aircraft on
Monday, not including hours flown by the National Guard. At a staging area in
Oden, a crew was on standby Wednesday afternoon waiting for searchers up in the
air to spot something they would then locate from the ground. The search got a
break from the snow and ice coming down and that's good news for the search
efforts in mountainous Western Arkansas terrain. It's the site of day 5 of the search for
Harrell, 34. As planes and helicopters look from above, teams from...
More at the link above...
Fair use disclaimer
Pilot Scouting Arkansas Forest Fires Goes Missing
Feb. 02--As 13 wildfires
ripped across Arkansas on Friday, state forestry pilot Jacob Thomas Harrell took
a small plane out to look for additional hot spots.
Late Saturday, search crews still had not found any sign of either Harrell or
the single-engine Cessna 210 Centurion since his last radio call more than 30
hours earlier. "We are going to be here until we find Jake," State Forester Joe
Fox said in a statement released Saturday evening. "Tonight and tomorrow's
efforts are already planned and we are aggressively covering as much ground as
quickly and safely as possible." more at the link...
If anyone hears more, please let us know. Ab.
Race week is here!
Running for the Fallen is up!
Take a look.
Honor these men.
Thank you for your continued support.
Two Little Feet
Re: Lessons Learned
The best way to protect your young firefighters is to make hard decisions
about what fires will be suppressed. You can't beat the base rate. SA, LCES, 18,
10. Designed to help us sleep at night doing a dangerous job.
Re: Lessons Learned:
Here are a couple more
This one was said by someone and I can’t remember who: Know your history or
you are bound to repeat it.
This one is from a retired CDF guy: All fatality fires have one thing in
common, unburned fuel between you and the fire.
CPS Answer to the Yarnell fire
By Doug Campbell
How to read a fire.
Consider the level of fire danger indicators that are extreme.
At the onset of the Yarnell fire the fire was observed to be backing, burning
down hill at night.
Q. What is the fire telling you?
A. The fire is burning out of alignment with slope, wind and without solar
But it is moving. What are the implications of that fact? The fire will keep
Next question: Will it get worse or easier?
Daytime arrives solar preheating begins. The fire will get more active and will
eventually get to a trigger point where it will get into alignment
and make a run.
Mark the trigger point on your map or point the locations out to inform your
If the wind that is predicted impacts the fire it will become over the
threshold of control and dangerous. This affects the viability of the escape
route and safety area. Better have a plan for that situation.
The tactical decision is next: Extreme fire danger and wind direction and
velocity change predicted. The fire will change from a topography ruled fire to
a wind driven event. Spotting will occur and add to the danger.
Stay direct on the edge of the fire where you have the safety of a burned out
area or disengage and go to a safe area.
Without this logic the firefighters are at a major disadvantage.
If you are killed you will become heroes. The guys that do it right are
forgotten. It is your choice.
Thanks Doug. Ab.
Come join us at
Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, Nevada if you need to take
some Wildland classes for college and your agency credit. Fully accredited with
NFPA, NWCG and FEMA instructors. Call 775-798-5555 or surf our website. THANKS
for supporting TMCC.
Re: Lessons Learned
Stay at home. Seriously, if you want to be safe.
Re: Lessons Learned
Be aware always. Stick to the time-proven BASICS.
Re: Lessons Learned
Well said folks.
Old Fire Guy
Re: Lessons Learned:
The one that gets you; is the one you don’t see coming.
Re: Lessons Learned:
Trust your training, study hard, push yourself to learn
and always remember, the best part of incident response is going home.
Re: Lessons Learned:
Fuel between you and the fire
Re: Lessons Learned:
Make Your Safety and the Safety of Those around You the
foundation of every action you take, every decision you make, every challenge
you will face. Become a student of fire and continue to learn and train from
that very first day to the final day in the fire fighter's career you have
Re: Lessons Learned:
Pay attention to the little voice, the knot in your
stomach and the hair on the back of your neck. If it doesn’t feel right it
probably isn’t right and you should question it.
AMcM (CAL FIRE)
Re: Lessons Learned:
Don't be afraid to ask the question, because the one you
don't ask could have major consequences not only to you but your friends and
crew members around you!
Re: Lessons Learned:
I tell folks that everyone needs to be their own safety
officer because in the effort to protect life and property, you are the number
one life and your ass is the number one property!
NW (retired CALFIRE)
Re: Lessons Learned:
You have every opportunity to do the right thing as long
as you think your way through the actions.
Re: Lessons Learned:
When you’re out on the fire line, these are some very
important things you should understand. Always work hard and be productive in
what you are doing, but never forget to keep a keen eye on what’s going on
around you. In the end game, that’s what ultimately helps ensure the safety of
not only you, but those you’re working with or around you.
Re: Lessons Learned:
"Life's tough, wear a helmet, because experience is just
knowledge you gained right after you needed it.""
Boo (Texas A&M Forest Service)
Re: Lessons Learned:
1. Do the right thing.
2. A firefighter must have common sense and use it.
One more or VM would be disappointed. "Put the $!#/ fire out."
RL (CAL FIRE)
Re: Lessons Learned:
Dont be afraid to say (out loud)
'I don't get what you are asking me to do', I am not sure we can safely
accomplish this task, we are not ready to go yet........
VM (Ventura Co Fire)
Re: Lessons Learned:
“We are not inventing any new ways to kill you, learn
from the past”
Re: Lessons Learned:
We are going to put you in harm’s way and ask you to do
some dangerous stuff. I trust your ability to use what you have been taught to
do the right things while engaging in these dangerous activities. It is cool
with me if you do not engage in dangerous tasks if you feel you are not prepared
for certain tasks.
Re: Lessons Learned:
To be a student of the profession and never stop
This is my 10-10-10 rule I talk about to all recruit firefighters.
Your first 10 years be a student of the profession
Your next 10 years try to master what you have learned
Your last 10 years teach your passion and profession of the art of
firefighting. In that last 10 years, even though you are the teacher, you will
be learning from the new generation of firefighters.
Firefighter negativity: Don't get sucked in
Name: By Tony Vitalie
No matter where you work in the fire service you are sure to find personnel
at all ranks who tend to be negative or just can't help but talk bad about the
organization, it's leaders or their co-workers.
This can be awkward for you as new hires. It is importance to not allow
yourself to get sucked in to this kind of negativity.
Remaining positive and neutral at all times is the best way to assure a happy
and successful career and to maintain the best possible relationship with peers,
supervisors and subordinates.
Allowing the negative attitudes of others to not affect your attitude is not
always easy, but is important not only for yourself but for the betterment of
your entire organization because negativity is a cancer that can eat away at an
organization and destroy it from the inside out.
Stay positive and always remember 2 things:
- no person or organization is perfect, and as a firefighter you have the
greatest job in the world and
- there are thousands of men and women who would do anything to be wearing
Re: Lessons Learned:
It is only dangerous if you don't know what you are doing
All of our policies, rules etc. have to do with people without the ability to
recognize danger, Situational Awareness and litigation...so wear your gloves.
Re: Lessons Learned:
Mine would be similar to Chief H’s, keep your head on a
swivel and your situational awareness up. Changing conditions and environments
require constant SA evaluation
Re: Lessons Learned:
Mine would actually be a two parter. First you are not
immortal. Because you are not immortal, you need to remain situationally aware
at all time. Make sure to remove the distractions you may be tempted with when
engaged in fire suppression.
You number one goal as a new firefighter, is to have a long and productive
career and retire as an older and more seasoned firefighter.
BH (CAL FIRE)
My compliments. I am working on a project and need your thoughts. It won’t
take long; just a simply reply.
If you had the opportunity to tell a new fire fighter just one thing that
would keep them safe and sound, what would that be?
Fulton Hotshots sponsor the WFF fundraiser: Sporting Clay Shoot
Sporting Clay Shoot signup and informational flyer, page 1
(144 K pdf)
Sporting Clay Shoot informational flyer, page 2 (147 K pdf)
I was wondering if you could get this 2-page Signup Flyer up on Theysaid and the
Hotlist calendar. I believe it is a worthwhile event and raises a lot of money
for the Foundation. If you could get the flyer up, it would help the people
running the event a great deal, seeing how so many people use Theysaid It to get
Region 5 Forest Service Temporary Wildland Firefighter Announcements
Our best to Rita Yates who is retiring tomorrow after almost 39 years of
Thank you Rita! And thanks for the info. Ab.
To: BSB & all on the status of HR 2858,
As much as I'd like to say this bill is flying through Congress, the political
realities & hurdles in passing such a comprehensive agenda of reforms in a
dysfunctional, mean-spirited Congress can be overwhelming at times. That said,
it isn't anything we haven't faced before.
I would love to provide specific information on TheySaid with respect to the
bill and its progress. The sad reality in this business is that when trying to
reform long-standing policies of Gov't Agencies, not everyone wants to see you
The business of advocating for change before Congress is stunningly
time-consuming, stressful and expensive. As such, much of the details of our
tactics & strategy with respect to moving the bill and the specifics of the
hurdles I mentioned must be shared in an intelligent manner.
What I can tell you is that the bill was referred to the House Oversight
Committee, Chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). The irony is that Rep. Issa
co-sponsored our stand-alone portal to portal compensation bill in 2006... a
bill that had no "offsets" or "PAYGO" processes... in other words a detailed
explanation of how the bill would be paid for. Now with the partisan acrimony in
DC, bills that have a cost factor or which require additional appropriations
need to have language that spells out how the provisions of the bill will be
We've done that for the last 3 versions of the bill while still maintaining that
the costs can be absorbed within the confines of current fire budgets...as long
as the management of FIRE dollars improves. That's where it gets sticky...when
you have folks in the Agency with the power and authority to manage FIRE dollars
that, for the most part don't have a lick of fire experience.
What is most important for those who support the bill and support change to do
is contact their representative's DC office; ask for the name of the staff
person that would handle land management agency or federal wildland firefighter
issues; get their name & contact information and start and maintain a dialogue
about the bill.
The FWFSA has put together a number of "fact sheets" on the provisions of the
bill. I am not going to put those out publicly but if someone wants to contact
me and wants copies to share with these staff members we'll go from there. Of
course as we complete the re-building of the FWFSA web site these fact sheets
will be available in the Member's Area with the express hope that they be used
to educate staff and members of Congress.
Each session of Congress presents its own unique opportunities and challenges. I
can tell you that we have never had a better dialogue with the USDA and the
Forest Service & OPM on the issue of wildland firefighter classification than we
It is hurtful to see so many of our long-time members retire without benefit of
seeing all of our goals achieved. However that reinforces our resolve and
persistence to keep at the fight no matter how long it takes or, quite frankly
what toll it takes on me physically & mentally :) Again I have to stress that
while we have had some success over the years for our rather modest size, the
more members mean more voices to harness and greater revenue to utilize in new &
As always, if anyone has any questions about the bill or membership, I am more
than happy to talk your ear off at 208-775-4577 or by email at
With great respect and sincerity to all of you,
Casey Judd, President
Subject: Wildland Firefighter Foundation
I am writing this letter to ask for
your support towards a jacket I am designing for the Wildland Fire Fighter
Foundation. The Jacket will be used to help promote their cause and raise
awareness of what they do. The Back of Jacket will have the WWF Logo as the main
piece. I will also be including other art that is representative of our work
from air support to ground pounders.
In 2004 I sustained injuries while on fire assignment with Bitterroot
Hotshots, that have finally caught up with me. I am waiting on my third back
surgery. It was declined by the government and the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation has stepped up to help me fight for my rights as an injured
firefighter. I have seen first hand how much the organization cares and that
they are there to help all Wildland Firefighters should the need arise. I am
donating this jacket to help promote and raise funds for an organization whose
soul purpose is to help the families of fallen and injured firefighters.
If you have any patches or pins you would like to be include in jacket please
send to address below. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call.
P.O. Box 6481
Boise, Id 83707
Jacket Image 1
Jacket Image 2
Best thoughts to you on the surgery. Ab.
New name, same old crew... Pleasant Valley IHC --- renamed to ---> Mesa IHC
Congratulations Pat Moore on your name change. The NIHSC and I would like
someday to get an updated history from you and your crew. You are one of the
only crews in the SW that has not done so….. Blue Ridge is the other.
Thank you to all your other peers that have completed and updated their
New name, same old crew... Pleasant Valley IHC --- renamed to ---> Mesa IHC
After much discussion following the move of Pleasant Valley IHC from Young, AZ
(Pleasant Valley RD) to Mesa, AZ (Mesa RD), a decision has been made regarding
the crew name. The R3 naming convention generally calls for single crews on a
forest to be named after the forest, while a forest with multiple crews names
them after their district. In order to more accurately reflect where the crew is
now stationed, PV has been changed to Mesa IHC.
Update on Proposed National Saw Policy Directives:
This past June, new draft
directives for the National Saw Program (FSM 2358) and saw operations (FSH
6709.11, 22.48) were distributed to Forest Service employees for a 40-day review
and comment period. Members of the National Saw Policy Working Group reviewed
each comment submitted and discussed how many of the questions, ideas, and
concerns expressed could be addressed through revisions to the draft directives.
Deliberation on some of the comments led to draft policy revisions.
Prior to issuing a new final Saw Program directive (FSM 2358), the Forest
Service must publish notice of a proposed directive in the Federal Register. At
that time, the public will have an opportunity to review and submit comments for
review by the Agency. While we previously expected that this public comment
period would occur in 2013, the Office of Management and Budget recently
determined that additional interdepartmental federal review is needed prior to
release of the proposed saw policy to the public. As a result, we now estimate
that the public comment period will take place in late 2014.
In the interim, the Deputy Chiefs for National Forest System and Business
Operations June 23, 2012 “Forest Service Saw Policy” letter to the field remains
in effect. This letter is attached here for your reference. Regions should
continue to utilize existing policy found in current Regional supplements and in
FSH 6709.11 chap. 22.48 of the Health and Safety Code Handbook. As a reminder,
this 2012 letter states that “[T]he current policy, as written within Forest
Service Handbook (FSH) 6709.11 is applicable to all saw work by Forest Service
employees, volunteers, and partners and will remain as our direction until the
new policy is completed.”
Regions and forests are encouraged to continue dialog with affected
volunteers and partner organizations and resolve pending issues with training,
certification and re-certification. Regions and forests not actively certifying
volunteers and partners are encouraged to also begin evaluating their training
need and communicating with successful programs to build consistency and success
across the National Forest System once the new directives are issued.
The safety of our employees, volunteers, and partners is an important
responsibility we all own. Your continued patience and assistance as we move
forward with the development of this national saw policy is greatly appreciated.
Included below are a few key points that will hopefully assist in communicating
with employees and partners about the status of the new saw policy. For
additional information or questions, please contact Jonathan Stephens, Stephen
Chesterton, or Robert Wetherell, co-leads of the National Saw Policy Working
- The new proposed Forest Service Manual 2358 – The Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) has determined that the proposed Saw Program policy must
undergo additional governmental review outside the agency. Once this review
is completed, the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on
the proposed policy. A Federal Register Notice opening the public comment
period is anticipated in late 2014.
- While the Forest Service is unable to share copies of the proposed
policy externally prior to Federal Register Notice publication, some
expected components of the proposed policy include the following:
- The new proposed policy will describe a nationally consistent process
for sawyer training and certification for volunteers and partners that work
with the Forest Service.
- The new proposed policy clarifies sawyer and instructor/evaluator
requirements for employees, volunteers, and cooperators working under
- The new proposed policy will be consolidated so there is no division
between fire and non-fire use of saws. There will be one saw policy for the
- There will be no division within the new policy regarding the two primary
tools (chain saw and crosscut saw) except where necessary to address the
inherent differences in the tools.
- The proposed policy provides for partner self-certification by defining
consistent standards for training, knowledge and field evaluation.
The new proposed policy maintains the use of the historic A, B and C Sawyer
Your continued patience and support as we work to improve our saw program
guidance for all our employees, volunteers, and partners is greatly appreciated.
FS Letter regarding FS Saw Policy (77 K pdf)
Re: Fire On Ice Fundraiser Huge Success in Minnesota!
On January 18th the Minnesota Wildland Firefighting Community descended on
Walker, MN for the 3rd Annual Fire On Ice Hockey Tournament and WFF
Fundraiser. Hundreds of agency employees, friends, and family members had a
great time playing hockey and raising funds. Skate with Smokey Bear was a big
hit with the kids and families (see attached photo to be added soon).
The single day total going to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is $7,000!
Last year's event raised about $2,500.
After covering some expenses, the overall amount should grow to about $10,000
with continued donations and sales.
T-shirts and hats still on sale - We have pay pal set up for purchasing Fire On
Ice T-shirts.at the website link below or email:
Taking the title this year was the interagency team "MNICS" - topping teams
representing the DOI agencies, MN DNR, and Superior NF.
Readers can also hit the website for pics and more info:
Winning Team Attached photo: MN Incident Command System Team and Smokey Bear
photo will be added soon.
Great news! Ab.
HR 2858 status?
Has anyone heard any news on this? Subcommittee discussions?
Red Flag Warning
Joe Millar's Retirement Party
March 29, 2014, save the date!
Red Flag Warning / Fire Weather Watch San Francisco Bay Area through tomorrow
NWS Forecasts Text
Forecast Office Map
Race #1 for the WFF:
On Sunday I ran my first race!!
Here's the link to my experience.2014-01-20
Prairie Dog Half Marathon
Please read. Have the tissues ready. Its an emotional one!
Please share! And encourage people to donate!
Two Little Feet
Nice job! Ab.
response to BE: fight fire while in Marine Reserves
I was in the Marine
Reserves for my first 4 years in fire out of Camp Pendleton, and I was an
apprentice for the FS. As a reservist you're entitled to 120 hours of military
leave a year. I know some Fire units wont be excited about it but it's federal
law that they can't deny you or penalize for attending drills. And it’s a great
way to supplement your income!! I say go for it. If you need any help, feel free
to email me DCarrera(at)fs.fed.us
My name is Josh Quinn with Wasatch Helitack. I am writing to you to simply get
the word out about an AWESOME fundraiser going down in support of the WFF. It is
going down on March 1, 2014 at Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon
Utah! Myself and Jason Bullough and many more dedicated volunteers created and
built the first annual Wasatch Showdown last year 2013. And this year will be
the 2nd annual event.
Wasatch Showdown is an annual fundraiser that allows fellow firefighters,
ski/snowboarders, and especially the general public a chance to honor fallen
wildland firefighters. This event involves a ski/snowboard scavenger hunt,
music, BBQ, a large item raffle, and after party. All proceeds of the event go
directly to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF).
Where: Brighton Ski Resort, Utah
When: Saturday, March 1st, 2014
Timeline of events:
- 0800-0930: Registration
- 1030: Start time for competition. Teams of 2 or more are given name tags
indicating their unique team name and a map with designated checkpoints, trails,
lifts, start and finish lines. All members of the team must locate and "check
in" with a Wasatch Showdown volunteer at each checkpoint. Once the team has
visited every checkpoint on the map, all members must cross the finish line.
Awards are given to the top three winning teams.
- 1230-1500: BBQ, hang out, purchase raffle tickets, ski/snowboard
- 1530: Raffle, awards and after party
Event cost: $25 per person; and
Discounted Lift Ticket: $55 (if you have a season pass, you don't need this)
Donations are also welcome (participation in the scavenger hunt is not
mandatory, you can always volunteer!)
Links to the web site and Facebook page:
I am emailing you to help get participants and sponsors and anyone that wants
to come out and have a blast! I have attached the flier as well. Let me know if
you have any questions. Thanks for all the help you do.
The Hotlist Calendar would be a good place to post this. I'll look when I
get a chance., Ab.
Fire Hire/eOPF Issues
I’ve been trying to get an SF-50 to attach to my R5 firehire application for a
few days now and thought I would share what I’ve come up with. We’re supposed to
be able to get them via the internet – using the connecthr page (forest
service). There should be a link for eOPF on the left side of the screen. After
this is where things can go awry.
First – eOPF does not seem to work properly with Google Chrome or Mozilla
Firefox. Nothing drops down if you click on the A to save. I’m not sure about
Safari since I don’t have a Mac. If you’re working with an FS computer, just use
the version of Internet Explorer that we’re supposed to use. If you’re on your
own computer, you’ll have to use IE, but you’ll also have to add
to your ‘Compatibility View Settings.’ To do that, find the little gear at the
top right, click compatibility view settings, and copy/paste the site (this is
for IE 11).
Second – if you click on the eOPF link from connectHR and nothing happens,
disable your pop-up blocker. A different window opens up to authenticate, and
the browser might ask if you want to allow that page to close (which you do).
Third – once you get into the eOPF/my eOPF, to print one out click on the little
A, drop down to view file. Your browser should ask you if you want to open or
save the document. If you want to attach it to your app – click save or save as.
After you save it, find it and try to open it. If it doesn’t open, redownload
it. Click save as, and add .pdf to the name you give it. For some reason it was
not adding the extension even when I had adobe pdf file highlighted. Then you
should be able to open it and attach it to your app.
I don’t remember having these issues last year, so after I figured it out I
thought I’d give all you the secret. Good luck guys!
Making the rounds, from several sources...
Subject: 2014 IRPG
The 2014 E-version of the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) is now
Take note of the medical section and the Medical Incident Report (p108)
I will get the word out as as soon as hard copies are available
Fire Operations Risk Management Officer (Acting)
Pacific Southwest Region, USFS
Wildland Fire Resource Compilation Project
So, I been trying to locate a list
of all crew and engine resources in the US. A grand task indeed. After calls to
NIFC and other areas, a call to my own FMO yielded a semi-result in the form of
wildweb. From there, I decided to attempt to create this list myself.
My intent is to have a searchable list that would enable easier location of
certain crew or resource types to speed up the job search process. For example,
if I wanted to find all the Fire Use Modules in the US, I could simply go to
this spreadsheet or list and locate them based on duty station.
Please check out the attachment for more detailed information and a link to
what I have so far. I am wondering if it would be possible to harness the "hive
mind" of wildland firefighters on forums to help complete the list, especially
the "common unit name" section.
Wildland Fire Resource Compilation Project
Great idea! Lots of work unless many participate. Readers, when you
open the spreadsheet, there are additional tabs at the bottom (Engine, Handcrew,
etc) that weren't initially visible on my browser. They're there. Anyone with
the link will be able to view and edit the spreadsheet. Nice work, Rand. Ab.
More followup. From Rand:
There should be a first (README), second (Engine) and third (Handcrew) SHEET
that you can view and access.
It is open editable, meaning anyone can edit. Any fields that need correcting
can be corrected. Obviously, I am still trying to refine things, so there is
plenty to do.
Again, the main focus that other FF should have is to add "common" names to the
dispatch coding. For example, say your crew was categorized as "Misc. handcrew"
by my dispatch. This could be changed to "Fuels Module" and the name to
"specific location Fuels Module". Anyone with the link will be able to view and
In Military Reserves, is it possible to be a wildland firefighter?
I just have
a quick question. I'm currently in the Marine Corps Reserve stationed out in
Denver, CO and live in Colorado Springs. I was wondering since I have one
weekend a month duty training and two weeks of training in the middle of June or
July if it was possible to get a job as a wildland firefighter considering I
would have those obligations that I can not get out of. Or should I just wait
until my military contract is up and pursue a job opportunity then when I don't
have to worry about my training. Thank you.
2014 Fire Budget
I've been hearing about the need to reduce the fire
organization due to declining budgets. The numbers are in response to a 5% to 8%
decline each year for the next five years. I've seen a proposal to cut 167 FTEs
in R1 by 2016 and one in R6 where they cut engine modules, only leaving the GS 7
and GS 6. I don't know how they propose filling in for the worker bees,
temporaries? Contractors? They are proposing reducing the organization at the
W.O. to 273 positions. Of course most of them are GS 13 and above.
I had seen where two of the three proposed budgets (W.H., Senate, Congress)
asked for increases, so I was confused. Now I see the following from one of the
First of all, yesterday the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for 2014 was posted
and it was big news for Fire & Aviation. You can google that yourself and get
the 1,300 page document from the interwebs (good reading!). The sections
relevant to Fire budgets can be found starting on page 793. Here’s the reader’s
- There is an overall increase nationally of about $25 million in
hazardous fuels over the 2013 actual appropriations
- The suppression account increased by $171 million
- The preparedness account increased by $109 million dollars
We’re fortunate to see roughly + $ 300 million coming into the program
nationally although what will actually filter down into regional appropriations
remains to be seen. If our fire season and the resulting investments in
suppression are similar to what we experienced in 2012 and 2013 we will still
exhaust our suppression accounts (we went in the hole between $400 and $500
million in the past two years, requiring the fire transfer exercise) but the
increase in suppression dollars would at least alleviate some of that strain,
possibly delaying the onset of fire transfer. We are aware that most of the rest
of the agency did not experience an increase in other BLIs in 2014. We expect to
see our Regional budget within about 4 weeks.
They are also talking about a different way of funding fire overruns, kind of
like they used to years ago, where when the budget is used up they appropriate
more money rather than taking it from the other functions.
When are they going to look at the way fire funds are spent? They aren't
meant for funding Deputy Forest Sups. or Rangers. Fuels money isn't meant to use
in IRR projects regardless if the fuels targets are met or not!
This all needs to be discussed using the true numbers, before the drastic
cuts take place. Of course this will be of greater consequences to the regions
other than R5 since your season now runs year around, but we all need to work
together as it affects us all.
The previous posting of "America
Burning: The Yarnell Hill Tragedy" (from the Weather Channel) & the
"Wildland Fire Associates Report" (ADOSH
Report) add additional perspective in an objective & comprehensive manner.
Moreso it seems than the other reports released on the Yarnell Hills Fire.
The Yarnell Hill Fire is another example of the wisdom of immediate
aggressive direct air & ground attack by competent forces in sufficient numbers
to contain a wildfire ASAP anytime escape potential exists. Sadly, this was not
done on the Yarnell Hill Fire and led to the loss of 19 firefighters.
Fuel & ignition reduction fire prevention programs, strict clearance &
building code requirements & enforcement, & state of the art remote sensing
detection systems including satellites are areas that need further development &
implementation. Agency leadership in establishing proper policies & protocols in
support of the these principles must take place if future Yarnell Hill
Fire tragedies are to be avoided.
Additional research into the human factors that cause otherwise experienced
and competent people to occasionally make disastrous decisions, such as in the
Yarnell Hill Fire, is needed.
The 2014 Fire Season ahead could be severe if the current dry weather cycle
continues & will be a test of how well agencies adhere to the above principles.
From: Retired USFS
Book: On Fire, about a career in wildland firefighting and Incident management
Hi there: I don’t know if this is OK or not, so I’m asking. I
would like to post this on your web site. I am a retired NIMO IC. I recently
published a book addressing the ups and downs of a 39 plus year federal wildland
fire and IMT career. The book contains chapters addressing the Consent Decree,
Hispanic Settlement complaint, several assignments that include the 911 Pentagon
terrorist attack, Katrina, the 2000 Montana fires, Cerro Grande, what IMTs
really do for a living, wildland fire budgets, fire contractors, how to succeed
as a federal employee and much more. I think it would be of interest to many
People can view the book and read a bit about it at
Thanks for your consideration,
Thomas C. Cable
Former Portland NIMO IC - Retired
Hi Tom, I'll have to get it and read it. You always were a good writer and
I've known you to have an interesting perspective. Ab./ Mellie
NO deployment or burnover on the Colby today. There was a burned civilian
(unknown severity) this morning. Please lay the firefighter deployment / burn
rumor to rest. Ab.
Please post this Ab, Thanks, Mellie
2014 Six Rivers Temporary Fire Outreach and Announcement
Fed Flag warnings over much of socal. Newest fire:
Apparently spotting into areas with structures, now 125 acres. Evacuations
in progress. Areas haven't burned since 1960s. Thick veg. Ab.
Dear Strider and Ab,
I opened up "They Said" yesterday looking for something
else and was completely surprised to see your entry addressed to our family. I
spent time today reading about the incident last Father's Day and I applaud all
of you for integrating the Dutch Creek Protocols and having this incredible
success on the Big Meadows Medevac 2013. It has taken dedicated efforts by many
to develop and implement these standards and the result is wonderful. May this
success encourage everyone in the industry to reach for the goal of rescue
within the 'Golden Hour".
To your continued success,
Vicki and her staff at WFF always amaze me with all the thought and caring that
goes on around WFF. They were buried with tons of work last year but still
always seam to find time to do little things for supporters of the cause. I was
extremely surprised today to receive my 2014 11year membership pin along with
another 52 club patch AND a New Purple Ribbon Decal and a New Lifetime
Membership Pin. Was not expecting such a small little treat to cheer up the day.
Thanks ALL at WFF!
CA-RRU-Mission involves only 2 acres of grass at this time but
7-10 structures that are complete loses.
Making the rounds...
Subject: Legalized recreational marijuana in CO...
There have been many recent discussions in the region related to the new laws
in CO and how they affect, or don’t, federal employees. The attachments have
been sent to all USFS employees in the region, as well as one of them from what
is known as the Colorado Federal Executive Board - which is the execs of all fed
agencies in CO – to all other fed employees. Essentially they all describe the
requirements of Executive Order 12564, Drug-free Federal Workplace.
Assistant Director for Risk Management & Workforce Development
Fire & Aviation Management
Rocky Mountain Region, USFS
FS WO Letter:
Clarification to Drug Testing Policy for Recreational Marijuana Use (6 K
Colorado Exec Message:
Reminder of Drug-Free
Federal Workplace Requirements
(36 K pdf)
Request for nominations and ICAP Database Population for all 2014 California IMT
Due Date: January 29, 2014
2014 CWCG Team Announcements (1,475 K pdf)
2014 CA IMT Operating Guidelines (93 K pdf)
Here's an incident everyone should review. Big Meadow Medevac (2013) that
took place last season -- June 2013. Here's the
Inciweb News Release.
It is a success story made possible by the Dutch Creek Medical Protocols put
in place after
Andy Palmer's death in 2008.
There are 8 debriefing youtube videos from the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned
Center that will load and play as a playlist or you can play them one by one.
They are worth watching, thinking about and discussing.
Here's the LLC's page with the links to the videos:
Big Meadow Medevac 2013
Nice work hotshots, EMTs, paramedics, team. Thank you for being prepared,
working together so cohesively, and continuing to think ahead of the curve to
save a life. We should all strive to get one AED for each hotshot crew.
The death of your son and brother Andy has changed how wildland fire prepares
for and responds to medical emergencies. We will continue to miss Andy. His
death has not been in vain although it still was and is such a tragic loss.
Best wishes to you and your family. I wish we could have known then what we
know now and saved Andy. I'm glad some of the lessons have changed how we
prepare and train.
Abs – Please see the attached documents, if you have not already received them
from other sources.
Seems to me that both the
Schoolhouse ATV Learning Review Report, and the
USFS-WO Correspondence Cover Letter are important.
Note that there is a YouTube video link on page 11 of the report.
And ABs, as always, THANK YOU for what you do for our wildland fire community.
Best wishes for a safe and successful 2014.
Thanks Stumpie! I also added the Review Report and
correspondence to the
Always Remember Token Adams page. Ab.
Hi to All:
Just a reminder:
The www.FWFSA.org website remains under (I
hope I can say this) "reconstructive surgery" with a main page but no process
for making application to the Association and no "Member's Area" as of yet. We
have lost our web manager but are currently reviewing proposals to rebuild the
site and make it more interactive and mobile.
In the meantime if someone would like information on joining or if any member
has any question on anything, please feel free to contact me directly at either
email@example.com or by phone at
We are working to get the website up and running as quickly as possible but also
want to make sure we do it right.
Thanks for your patience.
Casey Judd, President
Federal Wildland Fire Service Assn.
Making the rounds:
Subject: Acting Regional Fire and Aviation Director
Today we said farewell to our colleague and Regional Fire Director, Joe
Millar. After 38 years of public service he is moving on to new adventures. On
behalf of the entire Regional Forester Team, I want to express our appreciation
for the leadership Joe provided to the region and the Forest Service. He has
accomplished so much during his tenure in this position. It’s has been an honor
to serve with him and he will be missed. Even though today is his last official
day, we will celebrate Joe’s retirement together on March 29th in Benicia. More
details will be coming on this celebration and I hope you will be able to join
While we work through the process of filling the Regional Fire Director
position more permanently, Jeff Power will take on the responsibilities of
Acting Regional Fire Director for up to 120 days effective January 26th. He and
Deputy Director Shawna Legarza will together provide regional leadership for
Fire and Aviation. Jeff is currently the Regional Aviation Officer and he has
spent the last four years providing leadership and technical oversight to the
Regional Aviation Program. Over Jeff’s career of 36 years, he has accumulated
extensive knowledge and experience in Fire and Aviation Program Management
including Regional Helicopter Operations Specialist, Division Chief on the Inyo
NF and Helicopter Superintendent with the Park Service. He has worked
extensively with our Forests, the National Office, cooperators, and many stake
Please join me in congratulating Jeff on this assignment.
Jeanne Wade Evans
!!Ken Jordan's Retirement Party!!
If you haven't RSVP it's not to late
Clovis Veterans Hall
25$ a person, make checks payable ASAP and send to:
1150 3rd st.
Clovis CA 93612
If you haven't RSVP'd yet please do so at
For questions please call 559-321-4182
Hope to see everyone there, to celebrate Ken's 40 years of service on the fire
Nice work on the new site. Don't know if you've seen this video yet.
Pretty good stuff.
Waldo Canyon, Black Forest and how wildfires are changing in Colorado and the
Not sure on the Fair Use stuff but it would be great to see it shared.
No problemo with sharing a link like that. Ab.
Thanks to the WFF and the fire community:
I just finished my Butter Toffee, my
gift from the Foundation in memory of my son Matt Taylor. There is something
special about being remembered at this time of year.
Those sweet touches of our Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Priceless.
Matt's daughter must be growing like a weed. Time flies... Ab.
Truck painting request for info:
That is a 1940's era International truck. 1 1/2 to 2 ton vintage, and would
have been used as a fuel truck, just looking at the tank package, and the
Flammable signage on the front bumper. Nice painting though.
They are back online. Seems like I had a few sites not
BTW At some point, Radio Reference became Broadcastify, or one bought the
other or something. So if you ever try
and it doesn't work, try
www.broadcastify.com and see if that comes up.
Either way, if you are trying to hear the "live" feeds, then you will end up
on Broadcastify's site.
Do you know what happened to this site? Was working a few
days ago, but now gone.
Thanks in advance for any info you may know.
Here is the latest update for the CA-LNF-Campellville Incident.
U.S. Forest Service, Lassen National Forest
For Immediate Release
Contact: Heidi Perry at (530) 252-6604
Fire crews make progress on Campbell Fire in Ishi Wilderness
Public reminded to use extreme caution with outdoor fires
SUSANVILLE, Calif., Jan. 4, 2014 – Hand crews and air resources continue working
to contain a wildfire in the Ishi Wilderness, north of Campbellville in Tehama
As of 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Campbell Fire is approximately 220 acres
and 35% contained. About 360 personnel from the Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and
the Bureau of Land Management and a half dozen air craft are assigned to the
Fire. Full containment is anticipated on Sunday, January 5.
No structures are threatened or have been damaged and no evacuations are
planned. More crews have arrived this morning, which will help reach the
containment date and keep the fire out of Deer Creek. The fire remains in rugged
country, making progress slow. Fire officials have checked the spread on the
south side, protecting the community of Campbellville.
The Campbell Fire was first reported at approximately 8:00 p.m. on January 2,
2014. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Fire officials are asking the public to stay out of the fire area so as not to
hinder firefighting efforts in this rugged country with narrow roads.
They would also like to remind the public to be extremely careful with any use
of fire outdoors due to existing drought conditions and higher than normal
Information may be obtained by calling the Fire Information Line at the
Susanville Interagency Fire Center at 530-252-6450 or by visiting the InciWeb
website at inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Wildland Firefighter Foundation fundraiser:
Would you please post our
Thanks for all you do ABS!
Sign us MN FIRE CREWS
Third year raising $$ for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Nice. Don't
ya'll freeze your bippies off up there! and ... If anyone asks you to lick
something, DON'T DO IT! Ab.
In response to Not quite retired yet…. and HJ.
I'm not sure what "South Zone"
has to do with tour changes but I work on the ANF and the only tour changes that
I know of is a postponing of a work plan that was communicated months ago and
the postponing was communicated 14-17 days in advance.
No pre-approved leave that I am aware of has been cancelled except for those
that voluntarily came in off leave to help staff. I think staffing needs are
based on a condition... not a calendar date. I think if someone has an
individual grievance they should take it up the chain of command and not cast
HJ - I'm not too sure where your spouse was an AFMO, but i would bet it was
in a place with a shorter fire season and less expectations of your workforce by
your public and elected officials.
Re: Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
Not quite retired yet, and HJ
Here's the link.
The Master Agreement Article 18 work schedules (pdf)
Not quite retired yet, you covered it, the first half at least. The second
half identifies emergencies and unforeseen situations. This of course isn't a
permanent change in the TOD (tour of duty). Only temporary, like 24 hour
staffing. Also you don’t need a weatherman to know it has been dry in Southern
California. According to Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National
Weather Service, it’s been the driest calendar year since 1877. Only a precious
3.05 inches of rain fell on downtown Los Angeles since January 1 of 2013. A
normal year would deliver 14.93 inches, and 2012 saw 8.15.
Centrifugal pump pointed out the ANF has been doing their job! Kudos CP! I'm
sure the other Forests have been doing the same as well. If we want to be
recognized as Firefighters we need to act like it and stop whining!
Let's start this year off in the right direction. "If you aren't in over your
head how do you know how tall you are?" T.S. Elliot
T. S. Eliot
Not Quite Retired Yet
You're correct on the shift change, Article 18 2 d, ten working days written
notice in the MA.
I've got a question for the group on staffing level. In the old days when
they figured staffing level for an area that was in extreme fire danger they
only counted federal FF. An example is I went to Michigan in '98 because they
were in extreme and the staffing level was 42 FFs. They only had 22 on the
I was told by our DRF that they now count all resources, to include state,
volunteer fire depts, contract resources, etc... Sure lowers the need for
federal FFs. Is this what they are doing in R5?
P.S. Retiring on the 11th.
Need help identifying a fire vehicle:
I'm trying to identify the model type
and year of the attached fire truck/water carrier vehicle that I photographed in
Payson, Arizona in 2005. It was sitting next to an old abandoned fire station on
the main drag. The second photo is a painting I did of the truck this summer.
Anything you can tell me about it I'd appreciate it.
Barb Hurley Peterson, Peoria, AZ
Nice painting. Ab.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser:
I'll be running this month in honor of 4 of our fallen brothers!
Please take a minute to read and remember them. Say a special prayer for their
family. Celebrate them!
running for the fallen- january edition
Two Little Feet
PS: Have YOU donated yet?
Thanks for fundraising. Ab.
To: "Sign me living the dream"; Apparently this is within approximately
your first 5 yrs; come back to me after 15 yrs in SoCal, even if your
paychecks are 'phatter' then the feds.
Just so were clear this is my 20th year And I will stand by what I said. If
your husband cant handle the job maybe its time for him to look for a new
career. According to your logic we would need a a two week notice to work any
extended staffing. Sorry this isn’t going to happen. Again this is the nature of
the job, We always have unpredictable schedules, and we don’t work a 9 to 5.
Living the dream
Re: Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
HJ, in answer to your challenge below I am not sure how south zone is doing
this. According to the master agreement (I don’t remember which article) you
have to give an employee (bargaining unit member which is everyone one in fire
but a GS-11 is) 10 days notice of a tour change. So we give our employees a
letter 10 to 14 days in advance stating a tour change unless some unforeseen
event happens that could cause the tour change to happen sooner, but I don’t see
how they are giving their employees the notice unless every two or three weeks
they re-issue a letter or some other notification stating these tour changes
Not quite retired yet….
Re: Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
Generally speaking, I agree HJ that there are probably a few situations out
there that are less than ideal with regards to following proper standards, and
folks that are being called into work instead of taking their requested leave.
But to be frank, I believe the situation we are in is nothing short of
extraordinary and will require a response and level of commitment from our
personnel in order to meet the challenge.
Here on the ANF, fire management has surprised me and been willing to make the
resources available to ensure that modules are fully staffed and ready to
respond to fire. Personnel are being offered overtime, and 24 hour staffing has
been implemented as weather and other factors warrant. As a result, we have been
ready to meet the needs of our dynamic fire environment, and personally I think
the local communities and our fire department cooperators have noticed and
appreciate our presence.
Nobody's leave has been cancelled yet, but people are making sacrifices to make
ends meet. We are managing our employees within our engines and crews to ensure
that time with family and proper rest is being given out where needed. We are
taking care of our people, and meeting our mission. This is our forest at its
finest if you ask me, and I'm proud of the people I've been barracks'ed up with!
To: "Sign me living the dream";
Apparently this is within approximately your first 5 yrs; come back to me after
15 yrs in SoCal, even if your paychecks are 'phatter' then the feds.
The days of working on the station w/the family within 500 yrds are no longer
present here; we wish that was the case.
Sorry to hear about the repeated family issues, but glad to hear about the
preferred Christmas dinner as opposed to the 'Phat' CalFire check...$ doesn't
buy happiness or Time and you know better then most apparently how valuable that
Again I pose the question which I am challenged to find an answer....many
networks are being explored with this question across the nation here, so let's
put our thinking caps on and provide advice and insight for those who need it';
under what authority can management require employees to work 24 hrs
continuously, and under what authority can they change schedules without
adequate 2 weeks notice??? The person with the most accurate and quick answer
wins a 'Starbucks' giftcard. (I'll send it to u Abe to forward on to the
winner). Come on people, thinking caps and training manuals!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR !
May we all bring our dreams to
In Trust of Vision. Ab.
The year is fast winding down. Best wishes for the new!
Ab and all of us at wildlandfire.com.
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
Yes, more fire activity than reported-but you nailed it...it's general
emergency responses and Santa Ana conditions coupled with prolonged drought
conditions (typically 13"/yr; so far 3" for 2013-so 10" deficit going into
Folks are working back-to-back 24 hrs/no incidents specifically; no prior notice
of 24 hr shifts, not to mention changing schedules while failing to provide 2
Folks have submitted for leave throughout the year, however this year has been a
hot and dry and leave requests have not been signed or they have been ignored by
managers due to continually shifting staffing locations (rotations around
stations) and inability to manage the changes and needs of personnel.
Ironically, overhead is taking time off, but everyone else had their leave
Thoughts, suggestions, or advice to the folks who need some insight and
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
put 5000. Also – in the past more fire folks lived in Forest Service housing
right at the stations. Although there was not as much extra manning then - it
was less of an inconvenience as you could be at home with the family and still
be on 24 hour call.
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
I agree with HJ. You're comparing "forestry techs" to recognized firefighters (kinda
like apples and oranges right?). I guess when pay and benefits are commensurate
with expectation you will get the commitment from the personnel that you speak
of. How about they start with a series that reflects the nature of their work?
Might I suggest a wildland firefighter series? As of now the agencies these fine
people work for see them as the same as recreation techs who happen to put out a
campfire every once and a while. After two divorces, and in consideration of my
current pay in comparison with those other municipal and state agencies you
speak of I think I will enjoy Christmas Dinner with the family while those Cal
Fire guys fight fire and hotel up in the evenings. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
In response to fed up family member,
What proper work rest ratio are you
referring to? This sounds like a isolated incident to me as I know it's business
as usual here, (everyone getting days off, vacation time etc). If your
complaining about the 24 hour staffing I can tell you this: we are getting
better rest at the station than we ever get at a fire camp and getting paid for
it. It’s the job we all signed up for, and yes, that means working holidays, and
time spent away from our families. In regards to bringing in the national guard,
are you serious? I and my coworkers would take that as a insult; its like saying
we aren't good enough for the job. We are firefighters!
Sign me living the dream
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
Looking for a little more clarification.
Is there more fire activity out there than posted on the
gacc.nifc.gov/oscc/ predictive/intelligence/ news_notes/index.htm?
Are folks assigned to incidents working 16s? Or away from home on assignment?
Or are folks just staffing equipment, when the wildland culture is used to be
IMHO management was ahead of the power curve five years ago when the Region 5
Fire workforce became all 26/0 minus the temps and apprentices.
We have the workforce to fight fire all year long. However the culture has
not changed , and everyone wants to still take leave at the same time during the
holidays under the auspice of use-or-lose. Our counterparts at fire stations
across the nation including CalFire, and Federal Fire are working over the
There is a large call from the workforce for the USFS fire to become more of
an emergency management organization versus current archaic land management
agency that it is.
Staffing equipment, and having personnel on 365 days a year is on of those
consequences I am willing to accept. The culture needs to realize we need to
spread out leave throughout the entire year instead of everyone taking it at the
same time in December. Yes if you are on vacation you might miss that one off
forest assignment of the year, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
If I'm off point here my apologies. But the last thing we want to do is bring
in the National Guard. There are folks spread out through out the entire state
that are willing to come down for two weeks at a time just like the Lassen,
and Mendocino Engines that have been in South Zone for the past couple of weeks
away from their families over Christmas.
Fed up family member of a wildland firefighter in southern California...
As a wife of a wildland firefighter, a previous AFMO with an extensive
knowledge on how wildland fire management is executed, I'm challenged to
understand how national forest management in southern California can decide to
prevent over-worked and burned out firefighters from having the proper work/rest
ratios without any relief in sight. Why aren't southern California national
forests reaching out to the national guard for the extra help they currently
need in order for their firefighters to get some semblance of R and R before the
next fire season 'begins' or just rolls over into the next? Do you think this
could be WO budget issues (ie downsizing troops to provide the national guard
relief), or is this just very poor management decisions that really need a
strong union intervention? Would you suggest this is the time all the Forest
Service employees play their 'safety' card?
If you have insight or suggestions to empower these people to understand
their options in order to be the most effective employee they can, then PLEASE
share that insight with them. Many of these firefighters aren't aware they have
rights, and many are too intimidated to speak out in fear of reprisal or some
other type of negative perceptions created by speaking out.
Thanks for posting, listening and commenting.
Just saw this in an Arizona Newspaper about the Yarnell Hill Fire.
noted that federal officials denied state investigators access to interview U.S.
Forest Service employees who worked on the Yarnell Hill Fire. The Forest Service
provided some documents from a federal hotshot crew and air-support crews, but
names and “sensitive” information was redacted.
Looks like the USFS has learned a few things about this kind of tragedy in
the past 10 or 20 years. Good job USFS, thank you for having our backs, this
time. I would be very interested at what level the denial to interview decision
I briefly introduced myself earlier.
Please help spread the word! I have established a goal to raise for the WFF, but
I need your help in getting the word out!
Please check out my latest post:
Any little bit will help a fellow brother or sister in need!
Two Little Feet.
Merry Christmas to ALL!
The FWFSA web site will be transitioned to its new host on Friday the 27th. It
will be bare-boned for a little while until we get it put together.
If there are those interested in joining who might have issues during this
transition period (Geez, I sound like healthcare.gov) please just email me
directly at FWFSAlobby@aol.com or phone
me at 208-775-4577.
Most of all we appreciate your patience. I am admittedly technologically
challenged and my geek/nerd step son is working with a web person on the
transition so hopefully we'll provide our members with a better product.
If anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me in the manner
Best wishes to all for a safe, Happy and prosperous New Year.
With Much respect, admiration and affection,
Casey Judd, President
Found my copy of the
Wildland Firefighter Cookbook in the mailbox yesterday. My wife told me lots
interesting stuff in it, I was to busy cooking and prepping for Christmas Eve
dinner to look at it. I'll be eyeballing it later today, Christmas Day. We'll
have something prepared from it for dinner this evening.
It's been several years since we've had the joy of having both Daughter and Son
over at the same time for a Christmas meal. The additional blessing of Grand
Daughter and Grand Son. My 88 year old father-in-law (soon to leave this life
the doctors just told us) and his son. A house full for us, but full of good
spirit and joy..
In years of past, we'll always remember the many White Christmas days we spent
in our home at a Forest Service Work Center with family/friends and our extended
Forest Service family whom were to far from home to go home for the holidays.
There were a couple of Christmas years when we had big winds and fires rather
than snow, so instead of just family and a few friends, we had family and fire
camp at our house.
One Christmas year at the work center we had a stranger from Oklahoma over for
Christmas. He was unfamiliar with the area and made the mistake of trying to
take our road over the mountains (which was never plowed in winter). He had on
old Ford Pinto and got stuck in the snow about 100 yards past the work center.
He knocked on our door about 8:00 Christmas eve. There was no way to get him to
town and no other place to house him so he spent the evening in an extra bedroom
we had. Due to snow we ended up having him as a guest for a few days until we
could get him to town after the storm passed.
I wish all my fire family and friends a happy holiday and a very very good ----
From the All
of the Crew at
Wildland Firefighter Cookbook
Well I just got home on this Christmas Eve an
found my copy of the
Wildland Firefighter Cookbook in the mail that I ordered a while ago. One of
the first recipes I found was for Homemade eggnog. Can you say perfect timing?
Lots of interesting ideas in the book.
The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) proudly announces the
theme for the 2014 wildland fire leadership campaign: "The Resilient Team."
"The ultimate team result is resilience: teams that can bounce back when
problems or errors threaten cohesion and synergy." (Leading in the Wildland Fire
Service, p. 55)
This year’s campaign is dedicated to the memory of the 14 firefighters who
lost their lives on the South Canyon fire on July 6, 1994, near Glenwood
Springs, Colorado. This tragedy was one of the pivotal factors behind the
creation of the WFLDP.
“May we all be energized and inspired to be ever aware of the lessons learned
from their sacrifice.” (South Canyon Fire Investigation, August, 1994)
Task: Provide an opportunity for wildland fire service personnel to
focus leadership development activities on a nationally-sponsored,
centrally-themed leadership campaign and recognize local leadership
- To foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership across the wildland
- To provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership
development at the local level.
- To provide a mechanism to collect leadership best practices and share
throughout the wildland fire service.
End State: Creation of a wildland fire service culture that willingly
shares leadership best practices in order to maintain superior service-wide
Dates of Campaign: Between January 1 and November 30, 2014
Length of Campaign: Determined locally to meet the goals and the
objectives of the local unit or crew.
Audience: The campaign is not limited to wildland firefighters. All
members of the wildland fire service are invited to participate.
Implementation: Wildland fire leaders and/or managers at the local
unit or crew level devote time between January 1 and November 30, 2014, to
promote leadership development specifically targeted at “The Resilient Team.”
The campaign is flexible. Local units or crews may use or adapt any or all
materials contained within this document or develop a program or activity
spotlighting the campaign theme and the Wildland Fire Leadership Values and
Principles. Campaign coordinators are encouraged to think outside the confines
of the template and develop a program that meets local and individual needs.
IGNITE THE SPARK FOR LEADERSHIP - FROM THE FIELD FOR THE FIELD CONTEST:
WFLDP website for contest information.
Writer/Editor, BLM Fire Training Unit, NIFC
Logistics/Social Media/Campaign Coordinator, NWCG Leadership Subcommittee
3833 South Development Avenue
Boise, ID 83705
(208) 387-5318 – office
(208) 387-5378 – fax
In regards to your S-290 question, a bit of background. S-290 is a requirement
for incident meteorologists. The on-line version was designed for IMET
candidates where interaction with a real-live meteorologist is not a value. The
class then expanded into the firefighter world, which I think was unfortunate. I
am no longer in a hiring position, but if I were still in that role, the online
S-290 would be a strike against you. The interaction with IMETs and FBANs was
included by design by Gleason, and I feel it is an extremely valuable part of
One key thing to check is if your certificate has an NWCG logo on it. If not,
then it would not be accepted by some employers.
Good luck with the job hunt.
Vaya con Dios
Whether you took 290 online or in the classroom should not
matter. Although I have not seen nor heard of anyone who has taken the online
version, the bottom line is that you retain that information and apply it in the
field. Quality of classroom instruction is going to vary depending on who is
facilitating, but as long as the online version is the same as NWCG, you will be
getting the same info. What should matter to you, is that once you complete the
course it needs to show on your IQCS master record if applying to SFF jobs with
the Fed. If it doesn't show, you won't meet IFPM for the job (in addition to
FFT1), and could miss the boat. Lots of good firefighters get "the bone" by not
attaching essential information to an app. Make sure you do your homework and
know what you need prior to submitting.
Good luck and Happy Holidays!
Yarnell and USNG
Fwd: Comments regarding Yarnell Hill Fire reports /
Comments attached were sent to appropriate AZ parties. Your use & further
discussion by anyone is encouraged. MGRS has existed since 1949, now USNG,
functionally the same thing, since 2001; why are we not using it?
12S UC 364 880
From: FDE-USNG <usng08 @ nospam gmail.com> (take out spaces and nospam)
Date: Fri, Dec 20, 2013
Subject: Comments regarding Yarnell Hill Fire reports / recommended changes
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, etc
Please see attached files for comments on the reports and forward accordingly.
Al Studt, CFPS
Florida Fire Instructor III
US National Grid Advocate & Instructor
Brevard County, Florida, USA
Yarnell 1 Map
Yarnell 2 Map
Review comments from Al Studt
Ab note: the links in the attachments link to trusted websites relating to
the National Grid.
S-290 online and hiring:
I have a quick question about the S-290 online
course. Because of timing issues I have not been able to take S-290, and
consequently I cannot apply to perm positions. However, I recently was pointed
in the direction of the S-290 online course through MetEd----which I have now
completed. My question is this, will hiring officials care if you completed the
course online vs. sitting through the course with the USFS? Will your
application not be taken as serious---as far as the S-290 requirement is
concerned? I fear that the online course will be viewed with skepticism by some
hiring personnel---are my fears rational?
I like the way you think. I have worked almost every Christmas for my whole
career. It started because I was the rookie, and the others had the privilege,
then I just kept doing it so my coworkers could have their trips and time off.
My parents have been harder to get to understand than my wife and son. But then
I went to their place for lunch with the rig, and got a fire call while there.
My mom told me that as I drove away she realized how important it was that
someone be on duty.
Keep at it my friend. I will think of you when I check in my rig on Christmas
I personally want to thank those men and women that are out
there right now handling business for us. Let's start by doing that, not
berating our Chiefs. I know my Chief is working Christmas. Now, think about
those on the Pfeiffer Fire that don't have a home to go to for the holidays
because their house was lost.
Many of us have made that sacrifice many times, working the holidays, others are
doing it right now. Have you? Here in SoCal it happens every year! That's part
of the job. Take the time and explain this to your families and be proud of them
for supporting you when you're not there for the birthdays, anniversaries, and
As I drove home last night I thought about those we lost this summer and their
families. Think about them. That one got be a honk from the car behind me
because I sat there not paying attention to what I was doing when the light
changed. Then I drove by the fire station by my house and then the police
station. Those folks will always work the holidays for us, as we sleep at night,
and as we're away on fires, they'll be there!
Go ahead and cancel my leave. I personally told my Chief that! I'm good with it!
When people are having a bad day, it is an honor, and a duty to show up and make
their day better.
Well said! Ab.
Clover Fire arson, hat-tip to EA
Former CA firefighter charged with starting California forest fire
SAN FRANCISCO - A former firefighter has been arrested and accused of
intentionally setting a Northern California blaze that killed a 56-year-old man
and destroyed dozens of homes in early September, authorities said on Wednesday.
Zane Peterson, 29, was taken into custody...
More at the link...
Sad, sad, sad compulsive behavior. So destructive. No excuse... Ab.
Capitol Alert: Feinstein measure to double Forest Service firefighting aircraft
After a lengthy and destructive wildfire season in California, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, D-Calif., inserted language into a defense bill that will double the
size of the U.S. Forest Service's fleet of large air tankers. Feinstein said
that the amendment, which she cosponsored with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would
transfer seven surplus HC-130H Hercules aircraft from the Coast Guard to the
Forest Service. The planes can carry a combined 21,000 gallons of water or fire
retardant, she said. "This transfer is a critical step to help address our
ability to defend forests and communities from the threat of wildfires,"
Feinstein said in a statement. (More at the link...)
||Cancelled Leave... Staffing through the New Year...
FYI, due to Pfeiffer
fire and lack of rainfall, discussions are taking taking place about maintaining
drawdown staffing for Southern California Forests through the New Year. Staffing
will be maintained on both Christmas and New Years Day. Out of area resources
will be held thru the New Year. Some leave will have to be cancelled in order to
I trust that our leadership will join us in working through the holidays.
||Corrected Outreach Notification - Spring 2014 Fire Hire - R5/RO FAM/NOPs/Smokejumpers
- Redding, CA and How to apply for a Forest Service job (in USA Jobs)
Final SJ Fire Hire Outreach II (1,515 K doc)
FS CM How to Apply for a Job (854 K pdf)
Thanks, contributor. I rotated the pages 90 degrees in this second
document so the pdf text is more readable. If you want to read any print that's
too small, hold down the keyboard Control (Ctrl) key and simultaneously
hit the + next to the backspace key. You can make the text smaller by
hitting Ctrl and - keys simultaneously. Ab.
||Interesting youtube video of the Forest Service Enterprise Team's research
Behavior and Ecological Restoration
Published on Dec 9, 2013
As part of its fire research, the Forest Service captures video footage of
actual wildfires in progress. By employing specially designed heat resistant
camera boxes, the agency has been able to document surprising fire behavior.
Dr Jo Ann Fites is a true intellectual resource in this research area. She
saw where technology could take the research field and hopped right on it 10
years ago. Visionary! Kudos to her team, too!
She and her team each certainly embody the description "Student(s) of Fire"
and allow us to see fire changes up close and personal moment by moment.
||Re: New positions in Region 5 Fire Hire are being flown:
My post reflects vacancy records posted on the fam
cat site map. If you are on that Forest, or have anything to do with the vacancy
site, please update. FYI- Dorsey’s position is not listed vacant nor occupied
and I believe the Lassen is missing a GS-7/8 & 7 position out of Chester as
well. This should be corrected to reflect the vacant and potential vacant jobs
||converse hotshot crew.
If anyone is interested in crew history, I may be able to help.
Email Ab for his phone number.
||Ab - Good reminder posted on the WFF site today. Brian Austin is Asst. Supt.
on the Logan IHC on the Logan Ranger District in northern Utah.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation on Facebook shared
26.2 miles of the annual South Pole Marathon and a whiskey toast in
memory of the greatest yeti to ever fly a smoke jumper canopy. Followed by a
toast for Mike Kelly, Token Adams, Granite Mountain IHC, Luke Sheehy, Scott
Wikland, and all the others from the wildland fire community who lost their
lives this year.
Now... open your wallets maggots. I didn't jiggle around in the snow for
5 hours and change at the bottom of the world for free. It's time to give a
little more help to our injured friends and the families of those that lost
their loved ones doing the job we love.
I don't care if it is $262, $26.2, or $2.62, or some completely random
amount. Send it to the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
||Re: New positions in Region 5 Fire Hire are being flown:
GS-7 Hand crew
The post from Worn Boots may be confusing.
The 10-person INF - Mammoth hand crew is high-complexity. The Supervisor is a
GS-8 and the Assistant will be a GS-7.
Interagency Fire Planner
||New positions in Region 5 Fire Hire are being flown,
I would like to get the word out to folks that may be interested in
promoting. The Klamath, Lassen, Inyo, Eldorado, Stanislaus
and Sequoia National Forest hosts 10 Person Modules in which will be following
the Standard Module Configuration for High Complexity Hand crews (Either a
Wildfire Module (WFM) or T2IA) and is flying multiple positions on each Forest.
This will be a GS-07 Assistant Hand crew Foreman Position.
If interested go to the FAM CAT site at
http://famcat.us/trackingdb/ and click on the Forests listed above to
view the duty locations. Some of the announcements are incorrect and listed the
OCR for the Moderate Hand crew Complexity Supervisory GS-07. This may be the
case for the Inyo. For the rest of the Forests you need to apply for the High
Complexity Non-Supervisory GS-07. Click the following link to view the
Announcement on USAJOBS.
www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/352763900. This job is also flown Demo
Good luck during Fire Hire!!!!
My name is Ashley and I have this campaign that I will start in 2014. I hope to
raise money for the
Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Please check out my website.
twolittlefeetforthefallen.com and follow my journey.
Please spread this far and wide!
forwarded to me by a good fireman…..
"They are getting smarter….."
Idaho Editors Respond After Reporters' Probe Tragic Wildfires (editorial)
||Hotlist: Big Sur, 15 houses burned...
CA-LPF-Pfeiffer Questions and Discussion
Not to sidetrack from the Yarnell discussion, as we need to learn from it as so
many have already said, but having just read the suit and the ADOSH report, I
think they both missed the jurisdiction and regulations piece. Looking at it
from the point of view of what regulations they were really under, being a City
of Prescott fire crew on a State of Arizona wildland incident, they did not fall
under the Federal regulations where the 10 & 8, length of assignment and other
key regulations, guidance and policy reside.
In fact if you read the cover letter in the Red Book you find only the NPS,
BLM, FS and FWS signed off on it (the Redbook), and then only as an
advisory document, not policy
Redbook/ 2013/ CoverLetter.pdf , leaving the States and other federal
wildland firefighting agencies to follow their own guidance, or not. Yes, they
would have to have met the guidance if this was a Federal incident, but it was a
State fire so what we need to learn is what the State of Arizona Forester's
regulations are and how they are implemented.
As a follow on, the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation
Operations, NFES 2724 (Jan. 2013) is cited heavily as the 10 SFO reside on the
last page, is again, a Federal standard, and can be ignored by a State or even
another Federal entity if they are not signers stating they will follow this
publication. Maybe somewhere the State of Arizona has a page signed by the
Governor that says they will follow the 10 & 18, duty days, length of
assignment, etc. on State incidents and they will follow the Federal guides or
again not, that will be the question to be answered as we don't know the state
regulations they were engaged under at this point, only the standard they
trained under to meet qualification policy on interagency incidents which was
discussed in the first report.
Anyway, maybe some food for thought as one of the lessons to be learned?
The Lookout, special edition:
NAFSR presents fire position paper to the chief (379 K pdf)
Attached is a special edition of "The Lookout" presenting National
Association of Forest Service Retirees' position paper on Fire Management.
Have a great holiday season.
||Holiday Greetings to All:
Just wanted to apologize in advance for my belated start in sending out our
FWFSA Holiday greetings this year. Being ill for all of October & November put
me behind the power curve but fortunately Smokey stopped by to lend a helping
Thanks for your patience and much affection to all,
I would like to respond to your "interest to know" in regards
to level of experience of Richard Leak and myself.
First you have to go back to a time before Computers, cell phones and all the
other gadgets that make up your world.
My first experience in fire fighting came in the summer of 1951 with the Del
Rosa Hot Shots. While on the crew, we went to five fires. That was the year I
fell in love with the world of Hot Shots. Other things got in the way be fore I
returned to the Hot Shots. In the spring of 1958 I became crew foreman of crew
one under Superintendent Bob Caffey. Most of our Training was done in the brush,
Bob would show us how to build a fire line and where to build it. We learned how
to use our fire tools, how to look out for one anther, and above all how to do
it safely. On fires we not only worked the fire but gained experience. Each fire
showed us something new. That is how we came by our knowledge. In the summer of
1961, I became the crew foreman of Crew two, on the El Cariso Interregional Hot
Shots, under Superintendent Doug Campbell. Over the years I worked my way up to
Superintendent of the Hot Shots. It was not easy. There was not a lot of
Training material available to us in those days. In the off-seasons I spent a
lot time in the Riverside library reading everything I could get my hands on
that pertained to fire and the behavior of fire. I spent a lot of time studying
about weather patterns, wind and anything else I could get ahold of. Most of the
books on fire at that time where written by Clive Countryman. They where written
in the scientific form, a little hard for me at first to understand but with
every fire, understanding came easier. I went to 80 wild land fires while with
El Cariso; some where small some where large, but all added to my learning
Rich was selected as a crew leader on the Hot Shots, not by looking at a
training record but by looking at the individual. Warren, my assistant, and I
liked the way Rich showed leadership skills, leaned how to lead his crew. Rich
was well qualified for the job.
R4 Hotshot I hope this puts some light on our training and experience.
One other thing, things that happened to fire fighters in the past has
influenced what you are learning today. Fighting fire today is just like it was
in the past, the tools may have changed but the principles are the same.
Gordon H. King
Nice job on the Eureka Truckers' Parade, Arcata Fire
Incident Command and Six Rivers NF Engine. Eureka's hook and ladders were pretty
impressive but it was EXCELLENT to see ya'll there all decked out. All of you
did us proud! Some amazing lights on some amazing vehicles!
You have been one of the FWFSA's most ardent supporters on TheySaid.
No smoke blowing from here. The only smoke blowing comes from those in DC and I
think I've developed several diseases from that second-hand smoke whether I get
it blown in my face or...
||SANTA'S HELPERS NEED YOUR HELP
During the holiday season, our thoughts are
drawn to the losses suffered in the Wildland community. In 2012, we provided an
extra helping hand to nearly 20 children who have lost a parent. This year, we
have many more that will use Santa's Helpers. Helping these smallest survivors
have a Merry Christmas is our mission!
Have you ever thought about what you could do to make a difference in the
live of a child? A donation from you to our Santa's Helper program means a
brighter Christmas morning for a family that needs a little extra love and
We know there are a lot of requests this time of year for your donation - our
request meets a very special need in the Wildland community. Help us show how
caring this community really is. Send your donation today by
DONATING (Ab's caps) or mail your donation to 2049 Airport Way, Boise ID
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Good day folks
See Fire on
Earth: An Introduction
LOL… while I appreciate the kind words there is no need to blow
smoke. Regarding the link to the Government Executive article on the health
care, I realize it was written last year after the long fought battle to get
admission to the federal health care system for ALL federal wildland
firefighters regardless of federal appointment status… After all.. the date is
written on the link as well as the on the article.
The reason it is important is due to the recent passage of the Affordable
Health Care Act… commonly called Obamacare. I just figured that the connection
was pretty obvious.
||10 and 18:
There's wisdom in the 10 and 18. The problem is that lawyers
use apparent "violation" of the ambiguous 10 Standard "Fire Orders" to ream
firefighters after the fact. They were never meant for that but rather as
another appraisal tool in the tactical toolbox. They should be renamed from
"orders" to "guidelines". We need to teach our inexperienced firefighters using
the process of Recognition-Primed Decision Making in my opinion. No one seeks to
make decisions that get anyone killed.
||Loop Fire Discussion:
I wanted to thank those individuals personally
involved with the Loop Fire who chimed in with their experiences on "Theysaid."
It's good to hear perspectives on tragedy fires from those involved in a
Two big things I took away from it are the communication aspect (ie-radios
handed out one per crew, but there were not enough for El Cariso) and the
experience levels (Mr. Leak's account states that he was a Captain on the crew
at the time, this during his SECOND season in fire; from the account it seems as
if he was 19?) I am unaware of how much experience Mr. King had, but I would be
interested to know? These are some of the same issues I see looking at the
Battlement Creek fire; I believe Mormon Lake IHC's superintendent at the time
was 22 years of age. In today's age it is unbelievable to look back and see the
communication differences as well as the fact that IHCs were often led by very
young, inexperienced men by modern IHC standards. It is sad that given our more
experienced leaders and technological advances, we still manage to kill
Thanks again for the personal accounts of the Loop Fire that current Hotshots
can learn from.
||Re: Yarnell Hill and 10 and 18:
The reason it is important to find the
reasons for accidents and disasters is so we can prevent them from occurring
again. There may be scapegoats and witches but there is also 19 young men who
will never go home again.
And if we can prevent an occurrence such as this from happening again we
should do all we can to do so.
If you think the 10 and 18 are archaic and old school and to hard to follow
you too will have an increased chance of perishing in a wild land fire. The
lessons are there to be learned, or should I say reiterated.
Please I would request that all of you read and re-read the 10 Standard
Orders and The (now)18 situations they can and will save your life. I started on
El Cariso in 1969 and they hammered us on these orders and situations and the
incidents behind each item.
||Re Yactak's links:
Yactak has played an integral role in TheySaid for
many years and I admire him/her immensely. However it is important to note that
the article regarding the access to health benefits for temps was written during
the Summer of 2012 shortly after NFFE, the FWFSA, OPM, Change.org and Rep. Diana
DeGette and others got together to discuss the issue.
I will be perfectly candid. While working that issue I always felt it was
putting the proverbial cart before the horse... i.e. providing health benefits
to firefighters that aren't...well...firefighters according to OPM.
Since starting to feel a bit better over the last week or so I have sent a
few "Bring it to Jesus" (no disrespect intended) emails and phone calls to some
folks in DC about getting this issue resolved sooner rather than later. It makes
absolutely no sense for all parties (well maybe with the exception of the guy
running wildland fire for DOI) to support creating a wildland firefighter
classification series and then everyone waiting for someone else to take the
This is about as epic a no-brainer as I've ever encountered. Don't know that
we need to start its own Change.org petition but if someone wants to please do.
In the meantime we are trying to ID the White House staff involved with the
health care for temps issue last Summer so we don't have to reinvent the wheel.
OPM's Policy Director has said OK; FS Chief Tidwell and NFFE too. So let's find
a way to get this done so that our Nation's federal wildland firefighters can be
more accurately recognized for who they are and what they do.
||Statement from ADOSH director
The following statement seems like a bit of
a conflict to me.
“Investigations to determine whether occupational safety and health
violations have occurred are critical to the protection of employee safety
and health. There are lessons that can be learned from this horrible tragedy
and we owe it to the firefighters who died, and to those that risked their
lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, to do so” said Bill Warren, ADOSH
Since my name came up, I wanted to emphasize that in our aviation
investigations, we focus first on the factual events teamed with information
that may help the reader decide for themselves the multitudes of responses and
lessons that can be taken from these. We try to avoid conclusive statements,
leaving that to the NTSB. However the most critical part of the investigation is
that we do not look for violations. We will however state what happened and
refer to any policy, guidance, direction, etc that may govern the situation,
again, the reader determines for themselves if errors occurred (the term
violation itself infers an intentional deviation from rules and most deviations
made in our line of work happen under unusual circumstances or distractions that
may result in unintended outcomes). That is not to say that someone may create
an issue regarding deviation from policy, but this should be done with equal
consideration for human factors.
In short, there are two kind of investigations that should not be mixed – one
that looks for violations (hunting for blame) and one that identifies how we
could have done it better and by sharing, all learn from one event. We at the
safety system enterprise team use facts to understand the what and why, and then
we work with the USFS safety team to develop the lessons that are learned. Once
that is done, both the Safety and Training team works to disseminate that
information through training and safety bulletins.
Gary E. Morgan
USDA Forest Service
Safety System Enterprises
Does anyone know when the new OCR-TEMP FIRE positions will be put
back on USAjobs for seasonals to apply? I am hearing from various hiring folks
that they want to get seasonal hiring started early this year, but how can we
get this thing going early if the seasonals cannot even apply yet?
||Two things that need to be shared with the Federal Wildland Fire folks…
If you have never written to your elected representatives, now may be the time
regarding your benefits that are on the bargaining table…
House of Representatives Directory
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
Congratulations on your impending retirement, you’ve certainly earned it.
I’ve followed your posts here over the years and admire your efforts to improve
working conditions in the Forest Service. I will also be retiring next summer,
and am very much looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life.
Since I mentioned my employer, I want to clearly state that the opinions I
offer on They Said are my own, written on my own time and my own computer, and
are not sanctioned or approved by the Forest Service.
You wrongly assume that I support the “whitewashed reports that come out now
ignoring the mistakes in the name of doctrine.” I agree that there have been
some really bad FLAs produced in the past few years, but I wouldn’t necessarily
characterize them as whitewashed reports. I would say instead that we are in an
interim period where we are attempting to leave behind a vindictive,
person-based approach to investigations such as the Cramer investigation, and
are trying to establish an approach that puts more focus on human factors and
organizational contributors to accidents.
Unfortunately, the rollout of the new approach to investigations has had some
notable failures, including the Steep Corner investigation you mentioned. In my
opinion, there are several factors that are hindering the new approach to
The first problem with the new investigation style is that many of the
well-intentioned people who are conducting FLAs do not have a deep understanding
of human factors or the ever-growing body of science on accident causation and
organizational contributors to accidents. I believe that the land management
agencies that conduct wildland fire investigations will continue to struggle
with this problem unless they establish highly trained investigation teams that
not only understand the wildland fire culture but are also empowered to deeply
probe the human and organizational contributors to accidents. If you want an
example of how this could work, look at how the NTSB conducts accident
investigations. They are the gold standard by which accident investigations
around the world are measured.
I should say at this point that the Forest Service is not completely
deficient in this area. Gary Morgan’s highly skilled accident investigation
Enterprise Team is a great example of where we should be headed.
The second barrier that currently impedes effective accident investigations
is related to scope. When investigations are restricted to looking only at the
actions of those at “the sharp end of the spear,” they will continue to miss the
more important organizational contributors to accidents. This has two major
negative effects; the first is that it makes the people at the “sharp end” more
fearful of reprisal and damages the culture of the organization. For examples of
this, look at what happened to Alan Hackett after the Cramer Fire, and to
Ellreese Daniels after the Thirtymile Fire, which caused large numbers of very
skilled Type 3 Incident Commanders to give up their qualifications. The cultural
ramifications of these investigations were huge, and still afflict our
firefighting culture today.
The other problem with narrow-scope investigations is that they usually do
nothing to fix the organizational shortcomings and conditions that contributed
to the accident, which practically guarantees that there will be repeats of the
accident down the road. The science of accident causation and prevention clearly
shows that organizations cannot ignore the role of senior management if they
really want to prevent future accidents. Books by such notables as Sydney
Dekker, James Reason, Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, and many others all
extol the same concept; accidents are rarely caused by the willful misconduct of
individuals, and usually have direct ties to cultural or organizational
shortcomings. But you will never find the organizational roots of accidents if
you are unwilling and un-equipped to look for them.
I think the biggest problem I have with the ADOSH investigation is related to
the striking one-dimensionality of the investigation team. They appear to have
deep wildland fire experience, but displayed virtually no recognition or
appreciation for the science of accident causation or human behavior. It does
not appear that any of them had any formal training as investigators. And they
committed the cardinal investigation sin of assuming that the personnel on the
Yarnell fire should have known and seen what it was so easy for their
investigation team to see in hindsight. This quote from the Discussion section
sums it up quite well:
“We examined the decisions that were made through the lens of the
outcome, and, where appropriate, suggest where different decisions could
have been made based upon current policy and guidelines.”
That is about as good a description of hindsight bias and Monday-morning
quarterbacking as one could hope to find. The entire discussion section is
riddled with examples of blatant hindsight bias. In my opinion, it clearly
demonstrates that the investigation team was in over their head, that the
investigation’s findings are fatally flawed, and that the report should be
discredited and forgotten.
Whatever other shortcomings the Yarnell SAIT investigation may have had, they
pale in comparison to the ADOSH investigation. I suspect that ADOSH subscribes
to the archaic idea that when something bad happens, someone bad person or
persons were responsible and must therefore be punished. Like after Cramer and
So, Ron, with regards to the ADOSH Yarnell investigation, I suggest you
re-read it again carefully. This time, try to be aware of how many times they
use examples of hindsight bias to make certain points. Notice the almost
complete absence of human factors analysis, and pay attention to how localized
in scope their organizational analysis was.
Best wishes for a happy retirement,
||RE: ADOSH Yarnell
I would like to discuss a thought about the idea of an
investigation -vs- a blame-hunt.
And no, I don't know what to make of the difference in the two
investigations. I know there are members of the team who did the formal
investigation that I know and respect, and most importantly, trust.
But when there is a horrific event, it is normal for folks to come out
looking for "who's to blame?" And one danger of this mentality is to micro
analyze small discrepancies and find fault where there might be none.
So when I saw the post about the refusal to turn over the fire, I saw it a
The post read:
Pg. 13 of the SAIT report:
“At around 1730, ICT4 requests an ICT3 and a State of Arizona
Incident Management Team (IMT) to take the fire in the morning, voicing
concerns about potential threats to Peeples Valley and Yarnell if the
fire burns to the northeast in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Yet here is a differing account:
Pg. 8 of the WFA report:
“Near the time the fire jumped the two-track road, approximately
1730, the BLM representative who was a qualified ICT3 made an inquiry to
the ICT4 whether the ICT4 wanted the BLM representative to “take over
the fire.” The ICT4 declined the offer.”
I admit to suffering from woulda-coulda-shoulda of hindsight bias, yet
the failure to transfer command after the first big run (when initial attack
failed) seems to have been a key opportunity missed in real time.
I can only speak for my agency and protocol, and I do not know what the rules
and policy was for the IC involved in Yarnell, but we have a set procedure for
transferring command. It is possible that both statements above are true, and do
not conflict with each other. The ICT4 both requested a STATE team to take
command in the next operational period, and turned down the BLM rep who offered
to take over right then. If I was running a fire, and had asked for a team which
was scheduled to come in at a set time, I could see me turning away someone who
is not with a team, would only be running things till the team I asked for got
there, was from a different agency, etc. After all, wasn't the fire was still
the state's? And it was a BLM ICT3 right? Should he have turned the fire over to
someone who came as an agency rep from a different agency, if he knew the state
team was already ordered?
*I am asking these questions sincerely, because I do not know how this would
normally be handled with these other agencies.
I am in favor of finding as much truth as we can, primarily to learn, and
when appropriate to "blame or punish". What remains unanswered by both reports,
and what is at the crux of this issue is "why did they leave the safe black?" We
will probably never know this, but the other factors are all secondary to this.
For any of the other criticisms in any review of this fire, I would ask "But if
they had stayed in the cold black would they have been okay?" Ultimately this is
where the rubber meets the road. Just my opinion. And in no way am I criticizing
folks who are seeking the truth.
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
I haven't gone over the ADOSH report in
depth, but most I've heard from think it is more representative to what actually
happened. From reading your response to it Tim, I'm a little confused. It sounds
like you support the whitewashed reports that come out now ignoring the mistakes
in the name of doctrine. The Steep Corner report is a prime example of this. I
do understand what you're saying about the witch hunts of the 90s as I was on
the investigative team for the Cramer fatalities in 2003 and that's what it was.
As a matter of fact it was the prime driver in the creation of the Doctrine and
I assigned the union rep. to the Pulaski Conference where they created it.
I think we've gone too far the other direction now and there's nothing
productive or useful coming from these investigations.
I've followed some of your comments before and have the upmost respect for
your opinion, so I know I'm missing something or not understanding where you're
going so please set me straight.
On another note, I'm retiring in 35 days so I'll be oozing off into the
sunset. All of you out there be safe and keep doing the great job that you have
NFFE R1 C.V.P.
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
My prediction is the wildfire community will embrace the Wildland Fire
Associates report along with the ADOSH narrative/citations as useful learning
tools and will mostly disregard the SAIT report as either an agency whitewash or
just too touchy-feely for line firefighters.
Tim Lynch is correct that the 10 & 18 have fallen out of fashion for agency
investigations. However, that is not because the Fire Orders and Watchouts are
an unattainable standard of performance on the fireline. It’s because agency
management got butt-hurt after finally being held accountable for not following
or enforcing their own rules.
It was fine all those years to use the Orders to blame dead firefighters.
Some folks just can’t abide their use to say that agency decision-makers failed
the groundpounders on the line.
On another note: one key discrepancy between the SAIT and WFA chronologies is
what happened on the afternoon of June 29th, the day before the fatal blow-up:
Pg. 13 of the SAIT report:
“At around 1730, ICT4 requests an ICT3 and a State of Arizona Incident
Management Team (IMT) to take the fire in the morning, voicing concerns
about potential threats to Peeples Valley and Yarnell if the fire burns to
the northeast in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Yet here is a differing account:
Pg. 8 of the WFA report:
“Near the time the fire jumped the two-track road, approximately 1730,
the BLM representative who was a qualified ICT3 made an inquiry to the ICT4
whether the ICT4 wanted the BLM representative to “take over the fire.” The
ICT4 declined the offer.”
I admit to suffering from woulda-coulda-shoulda of hindsight bias, yet the
failure to transfer command after the first big run (when initial attack failed)
seems to have been a key opportunity missed in real time.
||Obviously many mistakes were made at Yarnell.
Was one of those mistakes not refusing an unsafe assignment?
||Press Release ADOSH document relating to Yarnell:
The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health Issues Citations to the
Arizona State Forestry Division (137 k pdf)
||Re: Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Abs & All,
The ADOSH Yarnell report is something I would have expected to read in 1990, not
2013. I feel bad for the Wildland Fire Associates folks who got suckered into
writing this document by ADOSH, but they were obviously in over their heads and
lacked the requisite experience or training to conduct an investigation of this
magnitude, in this era. I don't question that members of Wildland Fire
Associates had pretty solid fire qualifications before they retired, or that
they tried to honorably fulfill their contract obligations to ADOSH, but I feel
this report is nothing more than an illegitimate opinion piece that deserves to
be dumped on the ash heap of history.
The number of presumptions, hindsight observations, and judgments that come
across in this report are staggering and disturbing.
The investigation team's emphasis on the 10 and 18 is archaic and misguided.
Many firefighters already realize that the 10 and 18 are very subjective
cultural relics that should never be used after an incident to judge a
firefighter's decisions or actions. At best, the 10 and 18 should be used as
training tools, but not as operational rules for engagement, and especially not
as a means to judge the actions of firefighters after someone dies on a wildland
Dr. Ted Putnam explained the 10 and 18 paradox quite well in his 2002 article:
The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders: Can Anyone Follow Them?
www.google.com/#q=ted+putnam+10+and+18 (Ab note, here it is:
The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders: Can Anyone Follow Them? doc file)
Jennifer Ziegler also did a very good job of explaining the contradictions in
the 10 and 18 "The Story Behind an Organizational List: A Genealogy of Wildland
Fireﬁghters’ 10 Standard Fire Orders."
Many wildland firefighters still feel the 10 and 18 are the "bible," but a close
examination shows they really don't work very well as operational guidelines or
as investigational tools. Hindsight is 20-20, but it does little to explain what
the participants of an incident like Yarnell were actually thinking or basing
their actions on before they died.
BTW, kudos to Forest Service leadership for refusing to allow their employees to
participate in ADOSH's witch hunt.
||Making the rounds... I've included Liz's trailer email... I made the xlsx
into a pdf. Ab.
Subject: Update to the Fire Hire Letter
The 5100 letter sent through the correspondence database titled: “2014
Centralized Fire Hiring - Grades 6 through 10 and Developmental Senior
Firefighters” includes a sentence in the document stating that updates to the
OCR listing will be forwarded to the R5 Units and Recruiters.
“Several Open and Continuous Recruitment (OCR) announcements listed in USA
Jobs relevant to Fire Hire were reissued October 1, 2013; others will be posted
after November. Applicants need to ensure they apply to the correct OCR(s) in
order to be considered for the Certificates of Candidates (formally known as
Referral Lists). Enclosure 2 includes a list of the current OCR announcements.
Updates to this enclosure will be made as they occur and forwarded to R5
Units and Recruiters.”
Since I’m not sure what pdl that would be, could you mail the update out for
me? I would like it to go the all the forest fire chiefs, recruiters. I will
take care of the Planners.
Regional Fire Planner, Fire and Aviation Mgmt.
Region 5, Forest Service
2014 OCRs for Region 5
||Reaction to ADOSH Yarnell Report
As Hotshotforlifefirefighterforever says,
this report is very different the first report. The points I found to be
different in this one:
- This accident, like South Canyon, could have been even worse: Several
additional people barely escaped.
- The confusion over the location of the crew was profound. The lead plane
flew an intended retardant path right over the crew (and was informed of the
fact by the crew), but only minutes later did not know where the crew was.
In the first report it states that the VLAT was on station ready to drop if
the location of the crew could be confirmed. There is a major disconnect
here that hasn't been fully explored.
- The conclusion that the overall strategy/tactics, given the fire
behavior and weather, were not appropriate to achieve the goal.
- The retardant drops that extinguished the crew's burnout test fire,
which led to them changing tactics and going direct on the fire.
Thoughts: In an emerging fire, especially one that is running at structures,
communications and operational control are strained. Add the fact that this fire
was burning near the end of a very active SW fire season, that resources were
stretched, and that there was a ICT4 -> ICT2 transition going on, and this was a
very complex and messy situation, even under the best of circumstances.
I have theories about what happened based on my experience, but I do not want to
speculate, as I was not there and did not know anyone involved. I do find,
however, the implication that selecting an inadequate/inappropriate strategy is
not just counter-productive, but actually dangerous, to be an interesting one.
All of us have constructed line we strongly believed would not hold; some fire
assignments are purely shift after shift of building and losing line. We all
know that this can be demoralizing, but do you considered it to be dangerous? I
admit I have not, not beyond the dangers inherent to firefighting.
More Confused Than Before
||Another Loop Fire Clarification:
I would like to add some additional
clarifications about the "Loop Fire", which Smokey 307 said on 12/3/13. I was
with the El Cariso Hotshots in 1965 & 1966, a Foreman in 1966 and a survivor of
the "Loop Fire". I have first hand knowledge of the crew and the Loop Fire.
Smokey 307, I don't know where you obtained all your information but additional
research should have been done before you put to words criticizing El Cariso and
not stating facts accurately. You stated that you and Paul Gleason were crewmen
and that Paul had two years more experience than you. Paul started his career in
1964 which means if I am correct, that you were a rookie the 1966 season and at
this point I am not sure how much knowledge you had about El Cariso.
The accurate facts are:
1. El Cariso wore "Green Berets" not black berets. We recorded the name of fires
we participated on, on "Fire Sticks" not war sticks.
2. You stated that El Cariso had a swagger based on "fight fire aggressively",
but tended to leave out the part about Safety First. That's totally absurd. That
is only your personal opinion about El Cariso but it is not factual. The
original 10 Firefighting Standards back in the days, had "fight fire
aggressively but provide safety first" as number 10. El Cariso changed number 10
to number 1, and that is how we trained and how fought every fire we were
assigned. We never forgot about safety first as you think we did. Our
Superintendent Gordon King always stressed to us Safety First. Back in those
days there were only two IHC crews, El Cariso and Del Rosa. We were an elite
highly trained professional crew, highly respected throughout Region 5 and the
U.S. Forest Service Nation-wide and that is why we were given the ranking as an
3. You also stated that El Cariso had a swagger but also had an aloofness about
them. It sounds like you thought El Cariso crewmembers were just really arrogant
and thought they were above all other hotshot crews. What you should of observed
was a profound "Esprit De Corps". El Cariso had a feeling of pride and honor, a
common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and a devotion to being an elite
Firefighting Hotshot crew. This was what our Superintendent Gordon King
encouraged our way of thinking.
4. You also stated that Crews did not refuse assignments back in those days.
Obviously that was not a true statement because your Superintendent Chuck
Hartley did refuse the assignment. Don't get me wrong, I highly respected the
decision Chuck made that day and from what I have read and after talking to many
Angeles Forest Fire Officers about Chuck, they all considered Chuck as a well
qualified and respect Fire Leader. Chuck made the right decision that day. Chuck
saved your crew that day. You stated in your comments that Chuck refused the
assignment because it was dangerous. I never knew what dangers Chuck was
referring to, but John Moore the other Foreman on El Cariso went back to work
for the Angeles as a Patrolman a few years after the Loop Fire. John told me
that he had the opportunity to talk to Chuck about why he refused the
assignment. Chuck stated he was not worried about the fire, but that it was too
dangerous because of the falling rocks created by the Crews working above. That
was true because John Moore observed rocks coming down on him from Del Rosa
What really offended me about you citing Chuck's refusal of the assignment was
your statement of "I think when they heard we turned down the assignment, they
were spurred on even more to show us up and were not as alert as they might have
been." Are you serious? That is total crap. I don't understand why you would
make such a statement or where or how you got that information. Your problem is
when you thought. You made an assumption without any factual evidence. Be
advised Smokey 307 that no member of El Cariso were even told or knew that any
hotshot crew refused the assignment that day. Our reputation speaks for itself,
we don't need to show anyone up.
5. You also stated that Gordon King might have been better served if he were at
a higher location and he might of seen the impassable drop off into the bottom
of the ravine. Gordon was aware of the deep ravine, that is why he made the
decision to cut an indirect line and tie in the line with the County Crew across
the ravine at a different location. Gordon was aware of the ravine because he
observed it was not safe to cut line into the ravine. As far as Gordon not
seeing a fire below him, he has stated on several interviews that there was no
evidence of fire or smoke below him. He only observed light smoke on the West
side of the ridge line into what was called the Deep Canyon.
After over 47 years since the Loop Fire and all the interviews, stories, and all
the investigations that have been done I truly regret that I had to write this
Smokey 307, I don't know what your firefighting career was or if you are still
in the Fire Service, but I wish that you would read my personal account of the
Loop Fire on the El Cariso Hotshots 1966 web site. My account is about my
observations on the fire line, my actions and my detailed explanation of all the
factors which caused the explosive fatal flare-up. The web site is
www.norwegianwest.com/elcarisohotshots1966. Just click on Loop Fire, A
Personal Account. I hope everyone who reads this on "they said" would read it
also. I have witnessed what the factors were that caused this fatal fire and
lived to tell about it.
Many thanks for highlighting your first-hand account. Ab.
||Re: Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Just finished reading all of these documents. A few items not covered by the
first report were covered in this report. Items pointed out on critical
decisions made were pointed out and were addressed... BUT, we must also remember
sometimes they way things work in the real world are not the way we have it down
in black and white.
One item that stood out to me in this report that I thought the other report
really blitzed was actually going over the "10 standards" and saying what was
right, and where they fell short. The 10 standards were created for a reason and
whenever there's a tragic ending usually one or more of the 10 orders fell
short. It was pointed out how the standards were followed, and as we know it,
These are a few of the items they addressed from my past world, that felt a
little sticky to me because, yes they are right, but it does not always work
- Short 2 team versus Long 2 team order. - Think of the big $ push and
cost cutting issues and how fast SOMETIMES an incident can escalate. The
manager has to take a best guess under the current situation which could be
completely different in less than an hour. In this specific case, first
guess was short 2 team which rapidly changed to long 2 team and then type 1
team. On the forest I worked on the dispatch center was often making the
team type call because they knew how fire escalated in certain portions of
- People filling other positions than what they were ordered for. - Often
the case especially in the initial build up. In the incident world you adapt
and do that you need to do to accomplish the task as best you can.
I guess my question about this report when talking about team positions
having to be filled by others would be, was this team on call? was it 2 hr? and
if so why did the team take the assignment if they could not fill out the key
required positions? Sounds like a dispatch and team blow there.
The report also leads one to believe ALL positions need to be filled in order
to be a cohesive working group. Basic ICS starts with "1". I understand this
reference made thinking a cohesive working team, but more often than not, during
the first initial size up of a large incident things are changing fast and we
have to rely on the information and the people we have at the time. We ask
carded qualifications and do with what we have. Most teams have members that are
highly flexible and can fill several positions so it's not unusual for Ops,
Finance, and Plans folks to bounce around.
I visually understood more by the fire progression map presented. My original
belief was that the fire was progressing in a SE direction towards the town and
not towards GM.
This was one of those tragic events that happened that we only hope future
firefighters will read about, learn from and never face a similar situation.
We'll never know why they followed the path they did, but they ALL did it
together as the dedicated team they must have been.
||more on your application at fire hire:
Almost Retired gave some really great information.
I would add to spend some time making sure your information is well organized.
The easier you can make it for the hiring officials (or subject matter experts)
to find the information they need, the better! Organizing your information
allows you to put your best foot forward, too. For example, one good technique
is to place your distinctions and accomplishments near the top of each work
experience block (instead of buried in the middle or listed at the end).
I’m a big proponent of using comprehensive bullet points, but if you choose to
write your application/resume in a paragraph style, I would recommend using
shorter paragraphs that are easy to read and (again) well organized. Almost
Retired listed a very important item – the recommending officials/subject matter
experts/hiring officials can’t read minds (if it’s not on your application, they
can’t consider it). It is very important that you provide thorough descriptions
of your work experience that demonstrate you meet qualifications and specialized
experience requirements. Be thorough, but be concise!
I would also caution you to be accurate and honest with your information but
don’t forget that applications and resumes are opportunities to explain why
you’re the best candidate for the job. Don’t just tell them what you do/did, let
them know what you are good at, where you excel, and how you can contribute to
their module (or to the District/Forest/Agency as a whole). For example, if you
feel that you are particularly good at teaching, make sure to highlight your
skills and experience instructing NWCG courses and refreshers (or whatever it
is…). If you really excel at coordinating firing ops, let them know. If you
spearheaded a special project around the station, use that to demonstrate your
initiative. You can do this without bragging, embellishing, or being conceited -
just honestly showcase your skills and, wherever you can, provide specific data
I commend you for the networking you’re doing – it’s a great strategy. Also,
don’t be afraid to ask other folks to take a look at your application or resume
and give you feedback. It often helps to have a second set of eyes to catch
those typos and/or remind you of additional skill sets to include.
Hope this helps. I wish you the very best!
Bethany E. Loomis-Hannah, owner
Thanks, Bethany, as always I appreciate your contribution of your
expertise here. Ab.
||Thanks for the clarification, Gordon.
I recall your presentation to the hotshots at their meeting in Reno in the
mid-2000s -- the first time you spoke publicly of the incident and took
hotshots' questions. Thank you for doing that: Pieces of the puzzle, increasing
I recall you said that having your crew cross the rock slide extremely slowly
and carefully was, in part, a result of the heightened FAM and El Cariso crew
focus on safety. You said the crew rockslide crossing took much longer than
expected. Time-wise, this pushed you and your crew's presence on the cliff-face
into the more dangerous afternoon burn period of peak fuel flammability when
wind and very steep, hot south slope might align to create and channel a blow-up.
I don't have my notes in front of me, so I hope I represented this part of your
Always Remember those who fell on the Loop Fire. and on the
Camp Pendleton Fire on the same Nov. 1 day in 1966. (Great Loop Fire
Analysis and first-hand report by Rich Leak. Thanks Rich.)
Let me add a psychological note: when bad things happen, human beings
try to somehow make sense of it, in part to reassure themselves it is
unlikely to happen to them. I don't believe Smokey's comment was based
on jealousy but on the unconscious human impulse to find understanding and
meaning as many do, so they could continue to function in a dangerous
profession. This same meaning-making process following firefighter
deaths and near-misses has occurred through wildland firefighting
history. Here are some milestones:
Report of Fire Task Force to the Chief of firefighter deaths drove the creation of the
Fire Orders and 18 Watchout Situations.
The Loop fatalities drove Doug Campbell former supe of El Cariso to
develop the Campbell Prediction System.
The Dude fatalities stimulated Paul Gleason to
create LCES (Lookouts,
Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones).
The lessons-learned power of stories of firefighter deaths and seeking Just
Culture have driven Steve Holdsambeck to work so hard on the
Facilitated Learning Analysis
Search) and Just Culture.
The power of stories has also caused Tim Lynch to advocate for funding for a program of Recognition-Primed
Decision Making (see his post of 11/6/2013).
The need to make sense of and understand lessons following the 1994 South Canyon losses and the Tri-Dat Study led to the creation of the
Lessons Learned Center and the
Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.
The need to make meaning also inspired me to get involved with the Wildland Firefighting Community working with Steve Myers on this
wildlandfire.com website and on Always Remember.
For 13 years I've been looking for the story and names behind the 18th
Watchout because I was that tired in 1999. Last night by chance I found it.
Always Remember the 1954 Tunnel 6 fallen.
Thanks to all of you who have taught and inspired through the years. You've
demonstrated quite a Learning Culture legacy and done much to inform each other.
||Further Loop Fire Clarification:
This post is in response to a letter that
disturbed me very much. That letter was posted on12/3/2013 on "they said" and it
was signed "Smokey 307".
It started out by stating that he wanted to clarify a few things that "DR" said
about the Loop Fire, so far so good.
At this point he began to ramble about his experiences on the Loop Fire. I do
not intend to go into the first part of the letter, only the last part. Not
knowing are caring who or what Smokey307 is, I will impart some facts, not
speculation or hearsay.
When the crew arrived at Contractor's Point it was mid- afternoon. Warren and I
met with the Line Boss and Division Boss, both of whom I knew well, having
worked together on fires in the past. The Line Boss told us that he wanted us to
go out the line and cold trail it to the bottom, tie in with LA crews. Our
trucks where going to be brought around to the bottom, and at that time we were
released to go home. The Division Boss told Warren and I, that he had just come
up from the fire line and it was cold. Due to the steepness of the area we
should travel as light as possible.
When we got to the fire line we were on the east side of a rock slide. I was
told by the crew that was in the area, it had been active up to about an hour
ago. I then told Warren to bring up the rear of the crew. Ray Chee was standing
right behind me, I told him that I was going to go across the slide, watch for
any rocks coming down.
When I got to the other side about twenty yards, I told him to come across
with one more crewmen. I would watch for him. When Ray got to where I was, I
told him to have two more crewmen come across, and keep it up until all were
across and when about five are a crossed, start down the line. At that time I
started down the line looking at what was to done.
The fireline was to the west of me and only burned stubs were visible. The
going was slow but workable. To my right (west) and below me was the L.A.
county with two dozers, hand crews and hose lines, they were working east to the
bottom of our location. Ray caught up to me and we talked about the work to be
done, and tie in with the L.A. crews. I went down a little further when I
noticed a small smoke in the bottom of the drainage west of me .I heard the
county crews, talking about it. In the position I was in I could hear a copter
but could not see it. Just a few seconds later all hell broke loose.
Now let me start to set you straight about a few things.
- First I was not standing in the brush as you stated and I was very aware
of what was going on.
- Second, our berets are green not black as you stated.
- Third, we did not go into fire camp and hear that Chuck had turned down
the assignment. The first time I heard that was in 2006, I did not believe
it then and I do not believe it now.
Now if my Crew seemed to have "swagger" in your eyes so be it. I sense a bit
of jealousness there. I too Had "swagger" for this was the finest Hot Shot
crew, that I had the privilege of leading, I was proud of them before the Loop
Fire and more as each year goes by.
Smokey 307, I hope that you man enough to apologize to my crew and too me,
but I do not think so.
The next time you start to blow smoke, do your history and get the facts right.
Gordon H. King
||Bugz Safety Goggles for 2014
Can anyone out there tell me if the Forest
Service is allowed to use “Bugz Goggles” to cut with? Is there a difference in
the mesh size that makes them ok to use?
Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Abs and all...
I read this attached report detailing the occurrences and
recommendations to be made regarding the Yarnell Hill Incident that some of
my friends perished in.
http://sites.google.com/site/yarnellhillinformation/ It is MUCH
different from what we read a few months ago and it goes into the detail
that most of us want to read it in. I will never forget my friends and hope
that a bridge can be built to bring about change, healing and growth... It
made me feel some relief in light of the first report published. We are all
big boys and girls and should be able to handle this kind of report. I want
answers to why, I want closure in knowing that is someone or multiple
someones will be held accountable to the families of my lost co-workers and
friends... This may not be new news to some of you, but it is to me. Ctrl +
left click on the highlighted site above to read for yourselves.... There are
4-5 subsections that go through the incident, penalties and
I only do this out of respect for my friends I lost and the Fire Service as
a whole... We need to be transparent in all we do and learn from our past.
No disrespect for any person involved with this terrible tragedy or their
precious families... CHRISTmas will not be the same when I return home to
Arizona as some of my friends will not be there to greet me because of this
horrendous accident. As a Arizonan, Californian and human I ask that we read
this and remain moving forward as our fallen would have wanted us to do...
With Much Love,
I am humbled and honored to announce that yesterday, one of our Vice Presidents
and his wife were interviewed by Anne Curry of NBC's Dateline for a future
Jim Huston is Superintendent of the Laguna Hotshots on the Cleveland National
Forest. His wife Trish received great publicity this Summer after the Arizona
tragedy when it was learned she was the author of the Hotshot Prayer.
While we don't know precisely when the segment will be aired, it dealt with the
family life of a Hotshot and centered on the issue of climate change and
I will be in touch with the show's producer's in the hope they will be
interested in capturing the "big picture" as it relates to issues facing our
Nation's federal wildland firefighters and how those issues impact our Nation's
taxpayers. Suffice it to say some of the information provided to Ms. Curry and
the production staff as it relates to the land management fire programs came as
a surprise to them so we are hopeful the Forest Service will allow the broadcast
of candid comments that reflect the concerns of all our federal wildland
firefighters and not try to suppress the facts.
The FWFSA is truly proud of Jim and Trish...and in fact all our members who risk
their lives each season.
Casey Judd, President
Here's the Hotshot's Prayer, reprinted from her submission to
theysaid on 7/7/2013
The Hotshot's Prayer
When I am called to duty, Lord
To fight the roaring blaze,
Please keep me safe and strong
I may be here for days.
Be with my fellow crewmembers,
as we hike up to the top.
Help us cut enough line,
For this blaze to stop.
Let my skills and hands
be firm and quick.
Let me find those safety zones,
as we hit and lick.
For if this day on the line,
I should lose my life,
Lord, bless my Hotshot Crew,
my children and my WIFE.
~~ Patricia Huston, IHC Wife ~~
Desert Stomper some hints for your application at fire hire:
- One, attach your own resume in a word document. The resume builder at
USA jobs is horrible, it may look good on the computer but the printed
reality is something else. Hard to read.
- Attach a document answering the KSAs for the job you are looking at,
they are not required but your application is rated on those KSAs. Make it
easy for the person reading your application to find the KSA stuff.
- Expand your job search beyond south zone. There are a lot of jobs in
California, many go unfilled in the north part of the state and that may be
your way to get into region 5 and then work your way south. There are a lot
of people in south zone waiting for jobs to open up that cannot move, if you
are mobile and can make several moves, go to north zone first, then network
and work your way down south.
- Make sure your references and supervisory information is easy to find
with correct phone numbers and emails. E-recruit or the resume builder
messed those up on the last fire hire.
- Make sure your master record is attached also.
- If you have any college attach a copy of your college transcripts.
- Any specialized training? Make sure you include that information.
- Include any award information. Remember in the federal resume world if
you did not put it on your application, you get no credit for it. We cannot
read minds at fire hire.
- Make sure your application is well written, no typo’s or spelling
- Tell the reviewing panel what you did, do not put your opinion on your
- The last item is interviews. Rumor has it there will be more
interviewing done in the future… if you are doing it in person or VTC, make
sure you are appropriately dressed, ie dress shirt and tie at a minimum.
Good Luck in your search for a job.
Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
From TFDFF on the Hotlist
Here are the links to the ADOSH Report that was released today:
Speak amongst yourselves...
Loop Fire Clarification:
I want to clarify a few things DR said on 9/30/13
about the Loop Fire. I was there, on that sector of fire line, on the Dalton
Hotshots with Paul Gleason. We were both hotshot crewmen, he with two years more
experience than I. It was a different time and crews operated under different
guidelines than crews do today. There was no active fire front. We were cold
trailing with one foot in the black a fire that had burned very quickly earlier
that morning under the influence of a Santa Anas but died down to almost nothing
when we engaged the fire. I took pictures of the header as we were responding
and the fire line we were cutting. The pictures show the difference. I
occasionally went into the black to check for hot spots but could find none. It
wasn’t a clean black though. The upper leaves of the brush, primarily ceanothus,
hadn’t combusted yet but could have burned very quickly if reignited. The Line
Boss told the Sector Boss to order us to cold trail that stretch of line between
Contractor’s Point and LA County Fire. Our Superintendent scouted that sector of
line before engaging us and refused the assignment because it appeared to be too
dangerous. We then cut a back-up line down a spur ridge to Pacoima Reservoir.
In those days we had the 10 and the 13. The 13 grew to the 18 because of the
Loop Fire. Crews did not refuse assignments in those days. Many hotshot crews
developed a swagger based on, “fight fire aggressively…….,” but tended to leave
out the last part. El Cariso tended to have that swagger kind of thing that was
encouraged by their Superintendent. When an El Cariso worked a certain number of
hotline shifts, he was awarded a black beret. He also recorded the events of the
season on his “War Stick,” a Pulaski handle. The crew maintained a certain
aloofness in fire camp. I think when they heard we turned down the assignment,
they were spurred on even more to show us up and were not as alert as they might
have been. Mr. King was in the brush where he couldn’t see the fire below him. I
don’t think he even knew at first that there was fire below him. Perhaps he
would have been better served had he taken a higher location where he could have
seen the entire line. He might also have discovered the impassable dropoff
toward the bottom. Just because fuel had been burned once doesn’t mean It
couldn’t reburn. An additional element I believe, was that just before the fire
took off, a helicopter flew in to the area and attempted to fan the hot spots
Among the things that resulted from the fire was the directive to tone down
the hotshot attitude because it tends to add fuel to chance-taking behavior.
R5 Fire Hire:
Hi I was wondering if you or any of your followers of the wildland fire
website would be any help to me in regards to making my app standout from the
others in this upcoming fire hire for Region 5. I have emailed a few batt chiefs
letting them know who I am and asking if they would be able to meet face-to-face
with me so I could talk to them about their forest and district they work on. I
am trying to make the move from Nevada to SoCal on an engine and I am very
determined to make it down there; my qualm is that ENGB, CRWB, ICT 4, and HEMB
(T) the positions that I have applied for were AFEO, FEO, and Eng Capt spots. I
understand the competitive nature of obtaining a position in SoCal and any help
that you could direct my way would be much help!
USAjobs and USFS Seasonal Positions
Yes, all the OCRs changed as of 11/29 and
should be updated here pretty quick.
Is the NIFC SAFENET website down?
Seems to be. Maybe for maintenance? Ab.
USAjobs and USFS Seasonal Positions
I have a quick question for those in the
know about USAjobs and seasonal job postings. I just received an email that said
all of the USFS seasonal positions I planned on applying to CLOSED. Those were
GS-4 and GS-5 TEMP jobs with (ENGINE, HANDCREW, HOTSHOT, HELITACK) as the
different modules. Now when I go into USAjobs I CANNOT find these seasonal job
positions in order to apply. I didn't miss any deadline I was never aware of did
I???? Or is the USAjobs system simply updating the job postings and the new ones
will be posted shortly??? Any answers would be appreciated.
I also posted your question on the
Hotlist Jobs discussion subforum. Ab.