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Over the next few months, 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.


SUBJECT Last Archive: Dec-13

"IHC or SJ-->Fire Manager" Project

Fire Acronyms

4/18 Thanks to those who sent in the info...

I got the list of ICs for the Type 1 Teams, the NIMO teams and the Area Command teams and entered them on the appropriate links pages. If anyone knows all the Type 2 team info and/or overhead, please let me know and I can edit that page as well (as soon as possible).

Type 1 IIM Teams (National) (ICs updated but not all team page links or other info)
Type 2 IIM Teams (Regional) (not completely updated on ICs and DPICs or team pages)
Area Command Teams

I hope all are having a fine Spring!


4/17 Hello All,

I am writing to tell you about my friend Travis Johnson. He is one of the best men I know. He is caring, sincere and would do anything for anyone. The kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back.

Travis is currently a Cal Fire firefighter at Station 20 in Nevada City, Ca. He had recently been promoted and was planning to attend the Fire Academy this coming June.

Two weeks ago (4/5/2014) Travis was involved in a horrific accident. He was badly burned from his ankles to his mid thigh, up his butt and lower back. He has undergone skin grafts and we are anxiously awaiting his 7 Day Post-Op to see if they took. If all goes well, Travis will be released from the hospital in +/- 3 weeks.

This accident could not have come a worst time. Travis was 3 weeks away from marring the girl of his dreams. I’m not sure how I got this far without telling how stubborn Travis is. That being said he is still getting married this weekend. Instead of the ranch wedding they planned, Travis and Alissa will be getting married at the UC Davis Medial Center this Saturday, April 19th.

The healing process will be a long one, and we are doing everything possible to help these amazing people. We have set up a donation site in the hopes to relieve some of the financial burden so they can focus on the healing process.

I was hoping that you could post the below link on your website. Over the last several weeks I have experienced how close the firefighting community is, and I would like to give everyone the opportunity to help a fellow firefighter.

Also attached is a photo of Travis and his soon to be wife, Alissa.

Thank You,

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, long life and joyous marriage! The photo of the happy couple is at the gofundme link. Chip in whatever you can. Ab.

4/17 Lyle,

You can come pound on Capitol Hill with me :)

Casey Judd, President
4/17 Work on the new website is afoot. Ab.
4/16 old guy jobs.

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

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

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

thank you


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

4/16 AB,

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

Thanks for your help.


4/16 Dear Ab:

More on the Swedish fire behaviour training courses.


Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

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

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

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

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

You can check out my experience of the race here!

thanks as always for the amazing support!

Two Little Feet

4/14 South Canyon

Ab & Community,

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

Vicki Minor

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

What the funds are for:

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

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

The website address is

4/10 Rapid lesson sharing from the LLC:

Fuel Leak Burn Injuries Incidents (536 K pdf)

More from the Lessons Learned Center.

4/10 Hi Ab,

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

Colorado mom


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

4/9 re Hiring procedures:


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

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

Good Luck

4/9 Question about performance evaluations

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



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

Better late than never!

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

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

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

Erin B.

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

4/8 Good day Ab.

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


Best regards,

Marty Alexander
Leduc County, Alberta

Rough translation from Ab...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fair Use Disclaimer

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

4/8 Just curious about hiring expectations

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

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

Can anyone give me some feedback on my situation?


4/8 Hiring procedures:

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

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

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

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


4/8 To All:

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

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

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

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


Casey Judd, President

4/6 re: age 37 limit

Just Wondering

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

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


4/5 Fire hiring problems

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

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

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


4/5 re: age 37 limit

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

Just Wondering

4/4 tips for resumes and the SME process

To: Bitter and Over it

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

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

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

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

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

Been there

Thanks for the info. Ab.

4/4 37-year old cutoff

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

Signed x-men

4/4 37-year old cutoff

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

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

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

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

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


4/4 37-year old cutoff

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

Signed beyond frustrated.

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



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

4/3 R5 Subject Matter Experts;

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

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

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

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

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


Bitter and over it.

4/3 37-year old cutoff

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

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

ember 88

4/2 37-year old cutoff

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

Something has to change!


4/1 OSO Mudslide Management

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

Tom Jones

4/1 OSO Mudslide Management

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

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

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


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

Shared Resources from NWCC webpage

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

3/31 OSO Mudslide Management

Good evening,

Do you know which Team is handling the mudslide in Washington? I heard some rumors of " Eastern IMT" nothing behind that.


As far as I know unless something has changed, there is no Type 1 Eastern IMT. Anyone know who's managing? Ab.

3/31 From the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group:

2014 Interagency Themes and Supplemental Questions and Answers

3/28 To all:

There have been a great number of posts here lately about the Forest Service' hiring process. In order to intelligently discuss this and other issues like on-call/vehicle storage with the RO, it is imperative that we offer specific, detailed and accurate concerns about these issues.

Again I want to re-emphasize that it is not the FWFSA's intention to obstruct NFFE's efforts/actions as it relates to these issues. Rather, since our diverse membership allows us to have members that span the entire spectrum of fire positions, those in and outside of the bargaining unit, we believe everyone deserves their voice to be heard.

I am hopeful of arranging a meeting with the RO in the near future. As I've said before, they and others like Mr. Harbour have absolutely no lawful or contractual obligation to communicate with the FWFSA. We remain very grateful to them for the opportunity to communicate our member's concerns in an effort to create a more safe, effective & efficient fire program and one in which those who enter the program will chose to remain in it as a career.

Therefore, if anyone has specific, factual concerns about the hiring process, we'd be more than happy to articulate those concerns to the RO. Please understand that anonymity and privacy is very important to us and the origin of any information will be kept strictly confidential. Please feel free to email me at or phone me at 208-775-4577.


Casey Judd, President

3/28 Obituary: Robert Charles Kersh 1923 - 2014

It is with great sorrow that the Kersh family announces the passing of Robert C. Kersh who passed peacefully in his home February 25, 2014. Robert (Bob) Kersh was born in Sacramento, California on January 3, 1923. He was a third generation California Native Son and a World War II Marine Corps veteran, serving in the South Pacific. He was on Midway Island during the Battle of Midway and after specialized training in demolitions, fought in the Battle for Saipan. Since it had been such a long peace time since World War I, the Marine Corps had no Drill Instructors with battle experience. Bob was included in a group of experienced Marines from Saipan sent to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina to provide the battle experience necessary to train Marines for the continuing Pacific Campaign. (more of this man's fine story HERE)

3/27 FOIA Requests

I was promoted in this last round of fire hire. I am a little surprised to see that they would release my resume and application (even redacted) in a FOIA request. I worked very hard on my resume and application. Would I help you with your resume if you asked me to? Absolutely. Would I blindly hand my resume over so you could copy it, and change the dates? Absolutely not – especially if we’re applying for the same position. These are COMPETITIVE appointments. Duty, Respect, Integrity. Don’t forget Integrity.


3/26 Re FUBAR Fire Hire:

I've been sending this information to folks who are in the same boat:

Region 5 FOIA Coordinator is Latanga Rush; (707-562-9193)
Send the FOIA request to her at 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592

The request must be very specific so give the Announcement # and ask for all applicants':
1. applications & resumes, including attachments
2. reference checks
3. strengths and weaknesses
4. interview notes
5. recommendation to fire hire committee
6. recommendation to selecting official
6. selecting official notes

This sample letter is what I use to get hiring documents. If you don't use the required language they will refuse your request.



USDA, Forest Service
Attn: Latanga Rush, FOIA Coordinator
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592


Ref: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Ms. Rush:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Request Act, I hereby request access to all applicant records under Job Announcement Number [Insert Ann. No.] Forestry Technician, [Insert Title] located on the [Insert Forest] National Forest at [Insert District, etc.] location, including:

1. Applications, resumes and attachments to said documents
2. Reference checks
3. Strengths and weaknesses
4. Interview notes
5. Applicant recommended to Fire Hire Committee personnel
6. Applicant recommended to the Selecting Official
7. Selecting official documentation and notes

I acknowledge that personal identifiable information will be redacted. I also understand that the first two hours of search and first one hundred pages are free of charge. Please supply the records without informing me of the cost if the fees do not exceed $15.00. If you deny any part of this request, please cite each specific reason that you think justifies your refusal to release the information.

Please notify me of appeal procedures available under the law. If you have any questions processing this request, you may contact me at [Insert ph. #].


[Mailing Address]

cc: FOIA Officer
USDA, Forest Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Mail Stop: 1143
Washington, DC 20250-1143

3/26 Re: Hiring

I know it's the same every year, something "goes wrong"... What I can say is that a lot of really quality guys that I know received apprenticeships this year. Guys with experience, and everyone I'm aware of is FFT1 and usually also IC5 qualified (At minimum). It didnt matter what race they were or if they were a Vet or not, They hired qualified applicants. A small step in the right direction.


3/26 Hiring

What ever happen to equal oppurtunity within the agency. The hiring process is a flat out joke. How did so many qualified employees not make the hiring/ referal list? Not a peep from the agency in regards to this. Im just another r5 employee that somehow didnt make the list. Class action suit anyone?

Fustrated r5 employee


On another note...I saw this and had to share.


3/26 Fire hire or should I say Fire throw darts at a list!

Yet another round goes by and vary qualified people are still watching people get hired around them. Let's keep are heads up and maybe next year or the year after.

Just angry

3/26 Hiring:

I'm another of many that is having problems with this unfair and non effective way to hire the right person for the job! I submitted my app in December for region 3 and got an offer. For unseen circumstances I had to decline. When it came to region 5 I didn't even get rated out / make the list. However, since the app is good for 60 days, I have proof that that it was on time and submitted due to the fact I received an e mail from USA jobs that said my app. will expire in February. Therefore, it was in and good on the deadline of 1/27/14.

I opened a ticket with ASC and then R5 HR and talked to union. No luck! No explanation from anyone. Gotta love the leadership. I understand I may not have gotten an offer but I would just like an explanation of why I didn't make the list and lost the opportunity to compete for the open job I've wanted for years now and so it doesn't happen again.


3/25 Hiring

I was reading the concern on the hiring and people not being on the list, well it's not just an R5 thing. I put in for a job in southern Oregon for a 8/9 DZAFMO and I called the FMO to ask him how I rated and he said my application wasn't on the referral list. It's the same OCR and I have made the list on two other jobs but it didn't show up on this one. This is a lateral for me and I've been doing the job for 7 years so they can't say it's qualifications. This system is ridiculous and I have a ticket in with ACS but I'm not holding my breath.


3/25 in response to the R5 fire hire situation

This happened to me too. Although I thought I applied for an AFEO promotion but the way USAJobs wrote it was actually for an FEO. I also contacted HR & got a case number. I'm kind of stuck too!

Sent from my iPhone

3/25 Change is in the wind with one of the new Air Tanker companies.


Alberni’s Coulson Group signs deal with U.S. military contractor

3/25 M(at)2x4 -

Nice Catch! Note that said reference is an "Office of Personnel Management" posting.

Note the "warlord" theory in the FS, each National, Regional, Forest and District "warlord" interprets and applies the "rules" as they see fit.


3/25 Hiring troubles

I've also had some issues with hiring, and am looking for advice. I was given an unofficial selection notice for a rookie smokejumper position, which has long been my dream. My name was submitted to Albuquerque for a qualification check, and my name was returned along with several others as not making the quality list which leaves us in a state of limbo. Foolishly I withdrew my other job applications, as I am well qualified for the position and assumed the qual check would not be an issue. I have 8 years experience, 5 years IHC, CRWB, EMT, FIRB, etc. All is reflected in my resume as well as my IQCS which I attached to my application.

The kicker is this: those approved all answered the health and assessment questions the same as those not approved. The "all grades" assessment questions asked:
1) Which of the following tasks associated with parachute jumping are you proficient?
2) Which of the following best describes your highest level of experience making parachute jumps in order to suppress wildland fire?

This is for a GS-5 seasonal rookie position. These questions make sense for a perm 5 or GS-6, but are certainly absurd for a rookie spot. These also appear to be the questions that invalidated myself and several others. Those selected as "quality" also answered "none" to these queries, but apparently made the list by qualifying with education rather than experience. It seems the assessment questions are stacked as to be impossible to qualify as "quality" based on experience, as no applicants to a rookie GS-5 Demo temp vacancy will realistically have smoke jumping experience. This is a new announcement, not the OCR's that expired in December. The old OCR's did not have these questions if I recall correctly.

What do we need to do to make this right? Our applications are good, experience far exceeds requirements and is documented. Time at grade is not an issue, I've been a 5 for over a year already and was ranked as quality in other fire jobs at the GS 6 level...I've opened a case with HR which I have been told has been sent to Fire and Staffing. I have yet to hear a word from anyone. The jump base is also pushing our case but has been ignored by HR. The rookie class has essentially been cut in half by what appears to be a faulty system. What recourse do we have? Who must we talk to, as HR has done little?

Frustrated wanna-be jumper

3/25 R5 fire hire


One thing that stands out about your issue is that SMEs are NOT supposed to call and tell folks if they are on a Cert or not. It breaks the confidentiality agreement that all SMEs sign. They are supposed to run it up to CR if they know someone applied and don't see the app, not tell the applicant. That SME could get inot a lot of trouble.

Now, it seems the issues with e-recruit are being worked on, and Open and continuous announcements (OCR) were supposed to go away.

Hopefully it all gets fixed, the qualified folks get on the certs, and it goes from there.

But, if folks get info early that may change, (what if the e-recruit issues got fixed that same day?) it takes all the confidentiality out of hiring and personnel issues.

-Former SME group lead

3/25 April is an extra special month for Two Little Feet!

April Edition of Running for the Fallen.

Please take a minute and remember the young lady I'm honoring!

thanks as always,


3/24 R5 fire hire

In response to

I believe this happened to me for the R5 WFAP. I called HR and got a case number but that's it. Don't know what to do now. How will they fix it?


3/24 Hiring

I find it odd and completely absurd how this agency, (FS) totally ignores their own rules and policy when it comes to hiring. "Do as we say, and not as we do."

If we only adhered to these posted principles that I found walking the halls in Boise one day.


3/24 R5 fire hire

If you applied to a OCR for fire hire and did not receive a call for interest or selections this may be the issue.


I don’t know if this is being mentioned or talked about on the forums but there is potentially a huge issue with USFS R-5 Fire Hire and the Erecruit application system. I only know the story from my perspective and this is just my conclusion based on what happened to me. Applications of eligible candidates were not referred to the R-5 Fire Hire group due to a glitch in the Erecruit system. I have heard of at least a handful of cases from selecting officials and SMEs that applications of eligible candidates were absent from the process.

I submitted my application to the OCR for a promotion position by the application deadline, however the R-5 Fire Hire group did not receive my application. It was first brought to my attention by a Subject Matter Expert that relayed to me that they did not see my application for eligible candidates in the 8/9 category. At that time I called Human Resources and requested the status of my application; I was advised by the Human resources case worker that they have not pulled referral lists but my application was in the system. Then it was confirmed by two different selecting officials that my application was absent from the candidate pool. As of right now I have a ticket open the Human Resources so that I can find out what happened to my application and why it wasn't referred to the R-5 Fire Hire group. Every time I have applied to a promotion position I have been referred to the selecting officials. I am inserting an email that was received inter-agency on 3/21/2014 about a issue in erecruit that the agency acknowledged, it could be much larger.

I advise anyone that feels like they were wronged by the system speak up now or forever hold your peace. If you applied to a OCR for fire hire and did not receive a call for interest or selections this may be the issue.


3/21 In reply to Anonymous Supervisor:

This might be what you are looking for:

Forest Service Fire and Aviation Qualification Guide, Chapter 2, pt 1

2.26 – Decertification

The decertification procedures in this section are intended to ensure safe and effective individual performance in assigned ICS, Wildfire Skill, Technical Specialist, and Prescribed Fire Skill positions. These procedures are also intended to provide supervisors and managers with an additional mechanism to ensure employee safety.

Decertification is the process of removing or reducing an individual’s fire suppression and/or prescribed fire management position(s) qualifications. Decertification is not an adverse action; an employee may be recertified according to the procedures set out in section 2.25.

  1. Performance Issues Outside Fire Suppression and Prescribed Fire Management. Different procedures are utilized to address individual performance issues in areas other than fire suppression and prescribed fire management. Refer to Agency Human Resources Policy.
  2. Causes for Decertification. There are three causes for losing certification (decertification):
    1. An employee who currently holds a certification does not meet the currency requirements as specified by this Guide.
    2. An employee voluntarily surrenders the employee’s certification of qualifications or requests to be qualified at a lower level of responsibility.

    3. As an individual or a member of a crew, incident management team, or prescribed fire team, an employee performs actions that violate recognized standard operational procedures or identified safety procedures that are determined to have been instrumental in the endangerment of fire management personnel or the public.

Examples of instances that may warrant decertification include:

(1) Deliberately disregarding identified safe practices.
(2) Taking insubordinate actions that lead to unsafe conditions.
(3) Intentionally misrepresenting fire qualifications.
(4) Ignoring prescriptive parameters identified in approved burn plans.


3/21 Can anyone out there cite USFS chapter and verse with regard to the circumstances under which an individual's Red Card qualifications might be reviewed with an eye towards returning them to trainee status?


Anonymous Supervisor

3/19 FWFSA to meet with Romney & Idaho Republicans on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act

To All;

As you know in the business of politics it is imperative to try and work with those on both sides of the aisle. Recently the President included in his budget proposal a change in how the Gov't pays to fight wildfires.

Additionally Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho and Senators Crapo (R-ID) and Wyden (D-OR) introduced versions in the House & Senate.

Some of you may recall that Congress passed the FLAME Act in 2009 at the request, primarily of the Forest Service which complained about routinely having to make "budget transfers" from non-fire budgets to pay for fire. The FLAME Act was a way the Secretaries of Interior & Ag could access additional funding over and above that which is already appropriated, so as to avoid such budget transfers.

Of course those in-the-know realize that those same money managers rake preparedness dollars right off the top before it gets down to the firefighters where it is intended to go. In other words they use fire money to pay for non-fire projects. Fortunately some in Congress are now starting to understand that.

As is typical for Congress, the FLAME Act has never been properly funded. Thus the introduction of the new legislation which some congressional staffers refer to as FLAME Act 2.0. They also allow the Secretaries access to additional funds; funds which exceed 70% of the average costs for suppression over the previous 10 years.

Our concern is that these same Republicans introducing this open-ended legislation with absolutely no incentive for the agencies to be cost-effective and absolutely no congressional oversight whatsoever on how the money is spent, are the same folks in DC blaming our Nation's fiscal crisis on the federal workforce, the same folks freezing our federal firefighter's pay and the same folks demanding across-the-board/slash & burn/meat cleaver cuts to the budgets of federal agencies. It simply defies logic.

On a separate matter, the FWFSA is soliciting information for each Forest in California with regards to its "on-call" and "vehicle storage" policies, if any. We are trying to create a composite of what we believe to be an inconsistent, arbitrary policy by some Forest Supervisors which has already led to delayed federal responses. With the potential for another deadly, record-breaking season, such policies could increase the risk to the health & safety of our firefighters and the Public. Additionally it will needlessly increase costs as cooperators will have to remain on scene until the federal duty chief arrives.

I want to make it clear that we are not intending to step on the toes of the Union (NFFE) on this issue. However many firefighters involved in this matter are outside the bargaining unit and need to have their voices heard as well.

We'd prefer to hear about the Forest's policies from FWFSA members but I'll take information from anyone who shares our concerns. I'd also like some additional information from Forest Service FFs across the nation about such policies in different regions as well as those in DOI agencies that can explain their policies on the subjects...if any. Please feel free to email me at or reach us by phone at 208-775-4577.

Thanks in advance,

Casey Judd, President

3/18 Clay Springs Burn Over

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. Here is an unusual “Lessons Learned” video. The re-creation is very professional. If you’re on an engine or a volunteer you need to watch. These three men told the real story and I believe these are the kind of things we can truly learn from. It will be coming out on CD soon. You’ll just have to overlook the narrator. He’s kind of old and decrepit… (20 min)


from youtube

Published on Mar 10, 2014

A burnover event from the 2012 Clay Springs Fire in Millard County, Utah. Firefighters from the Oak City Fire Department escaped tragedy through decisive thinking and quick action. Learn from their experience.

Thanks Rowdy and others involved in creating this. GRIPPING! So glad they survived to share the story. Ab.

3/18 On Saturday I was in Utah running my 3rd race of the year for Two Little Feet!

Please check it out. It was an amazing experience!

Canyonlands Half Marathon

Thanks, as always, for the continued support!

Two Little Feet

3/18 The Quadrennial Fire Review Crowdsourcing Site is ready for Your Contributions

Dear Partners and Stakeholders:

Please share this information widely with your employees, partners and stakeholders.

Today, we are beginning the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR) Crowdsourcing effort. The site is available for stakeholders to share forward-thinking ideas about the future of wildland fire management—looking out 10 to 20 years what will our greatest challenges be? Many of you have been an important partner in the Cohesive Strategy and understand that the challenges we face in managing wildland fire across our Nation are bigger than any one agency or organization can handle alone. For the 2014 Quadrennial Fire Review we are inviting a broad array of stakeholders and partners to participate in an online dialogue on future challenges, risks, and opportunities regarding wildland fire management.

The crowdsourcing effort is a user friendly and efficient way to collect information on specific topics and increase dialogue among diverse groups with an interest in the future of wildland fire management. Recently, you may have received an email introducing this new process; now, we are asking for your help both as a participant and as our partner to help us spread the word regarding the importance of participation by any organization or person with an interest.

Crowdsourcing facilitates the sharing of ideas in a virtual way, so stakeholders can post new ideas, and see what others are saying and comment on those ideas at any time of the day! We value the input from all of our stakeholders and partners as their perspective will help us work together to better plan effectively for future challenges. Through your long-standing relationships with many of these stakeholders, you have been privy to their viewpoints; now, is an opportunity to share those perspectives to help build a plan for future challenges.

Please assist us in facilitating high participation by sharing the information regarding the QFR Crowdsourcing process with your various networks and partners. The site address is  and will be available throughout the month of March and early April. At the end of March, we will ask for your thoughts on specific strategies and resources needed to help manage opportunities and mitigate challenges or risks.

We hope to seek thoughtful input from a diversity of stakeholders and need your help to make sure they make it a priority. We encourage you to send the attached message (or customize it as you see fit) and the attached Frequently Asked Questions to your contacts. Your support is critical in helping our partners and stakeholders engage in this process and is much appreciated!


Sandy Burnett

Sent on behalf of - Tom Harbour, Director, Fire and Aviation Management, US Forest Service

3/17 Sand Table Toys...

Does anyone have a source for them?

Hotlist thread asking for a source

Thanks, Ab.

3/15 Utah Fire Rescue Academy Wildland Fire Magazine Edition Great Reading. a review of Innovative ICS 201 Incident Documentation System InciNotes™ Version 1.1.2. and Yarnell A Cry For Help, other great articles to read. ufra/docs/ straight tip/Straight Tip April June14.pdf

Will Spyrison

3/13 Officer Down Memorial page: Jason Crisp
3/13 Officers Crisp and Maros

May we never forget both of their sacrifices to protect our Nation! May peace be with the Wife and Children who lost 2 Family members! May peace be with the Officers who leveled swift justice!

This is just another tragic reminder of the price paid by Federal Law Enforcement, Firefighters and their families everyday!

"Greater Love hath no one than this, to lay down ones Life down for another"!

Never Forget!

3/13 reply to odg 2014

This is a great place to ask questions-

Welcome to the world of seasonal wildland firefighting. I am familiar with the Incline Crews and the people who do their hiring, they are all professionals with mucho experience. A lot of people typically apply for a relatively small number of positions for summer employment. The "weeding out" process is lengthy, and the next step is an interview, usually followed by a physical. Each one is a step and not all applicants move through the entire process. If your friend is hired after completing the process, he will receive training at the seasonal academy. All new hires get a specified number of hours of training- regardless of what outside classes they may have taken. Your application may not have provided specific information or skills that the evaluators were looking for. As an applicant, they are not required to inform you why you did not move on through the process. "Rules" don't apply until you are "hired" (an employee) by an employer (aka "the boss"). An employer provides you with: an agreed upon compensation for your hours, training and a "safe" working environment. North Lake Tahoe Fire (Incline) is very good at providing all three.

In a conversation with an old supt. buddy over the perfect seasonal employee his reply was--"Give me a guy with linebacker build, a sprinter's speed, doesn't need to drink water OR beer, smart as a whip and will hug a burning tree when I tell him to".

I asked if he ever found one. Reply- "Nope, well not yet".

Good luck with your job search. Just remember--"Head low, ass high, eyes and ears open, mouth shut".


3/13 Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:16 AM
Subject: (All Employees) Message from the Chief

Today the Forest Service family is mourning the tragic loss of one of our own, Law Enforcement Officer Jason Crisp, who was killed in the line of duty while pursuing a suspect in Burke County, N.C., yesterday. His K-9 partner, Maros, was also killed during the pursuit.

In honor of Jason's service, we will be sending out information to have flags flown at half-staff at all Forest Service facilities. We have an incident team en route to North Carolina to assist his family and coworkers in this difficult time.

Jason was an outstanding officer, coworker and friend, and words cannot adequately express how deeply this loss is felt throughout our agency. His selfless devotion to duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of our law enforcement program, and his life of service for the greater good should serve as an example for all of us.

Please keep Jason's wife and two children in your thoughts and prayers.

Chief Tidwell

3/12 Hi guys,

I heard this was a good place for questions. My friend and I both applied to incline village fire dept to be on a fire crew. I was told I didn't get an interview because I didn't have the fire school classes but he doesn't either. They are going to give him the classes and not me. Are they allowed to give just him the classes and not me too? I was hoping someone could tell me what the rules are.



3/11 Exertional Heat Illness, Compartment Syndrome, and Rhabdomyolysis webinar


Please join us for our upcoming webinar titled “"What is Exertional Heat Illness, Compartment Syndrome, and Rhabdomyolysis: Is it One, Two, or All Three, and Why Should I Care?" on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 1pm MST. In this webinar, fellow wildland firefighters will tell their story about how these conditions affected them and what they wished they would have knew then. To register, please go to

Thanks and Take Care,

Brenna from the Lessons Learned Center

A must-see/hear presentation. Ab.

3/11 Looking for Lewis Miles Robinson

We served together in Winnemucca, Nevada. Where are you? Are you still working in wildland fire? Would like to touch base with you.

Contact: Nancy at wyldfyrnomad(at) gmail com

3/11 hello Ab,

Im not sure if this is They Said worthy but I am in need to find out the steps to take if one's name did not show up on the referral list for a certain GS level for R5 fire hire in Sacramento.



3/11 I'm searching for a photo that was posted many years ago (maybe on a hotshot site?) of firefighters posing with a large saguaro - I think Arizona but could have been New Mexico? I believe it was 3 firefighters? If you've seen the image you'll remember right off the photo I'm talking about.

In-depth google searches didn't turn it up. Would love to find it again!


3/10 Spencer,

Maybe I am losing my sense of humor, but there is nothing funny about 20-25 pound shelters, that cost around $1000.

I will try to be more humorous in the future How about a joke.

What does a rain cloud wear under its pants??

Answer to follow

DP, Like Spencer, I also believe vfd capt meant his post about the heavy weight (cost) and high money (cost) of "very safe" fire shelters with tongue in cheek. It's not humor haha but irony to focus on some of  the limitations associated with fire shelters and their development. In my opinion you restated his points quite directly in your post. Thanks. Without body language, raised eyebrow, inflection or chuckle in your voice, it's hard to read the true meaning of some written communication. Ab.

3/10 Arizona: Life-or-death lessons: Hotshots were vital to Wildfire Academy

PRESCOTT, Arizona - The 12th annual Arizona Wildfire and Incident Management Academy will instruct a near-record 708 students from 29 states and Australia on March 8-14, but some of its biggest supporters will be missing.

Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew members would have been over at the academy's office housed in one of Prescott's fire stations about now, offering to help move equipment to the academy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University during the school's spring break. More at the link...

3/9 From Roadrunner:

Arizona firefighter dies during training exercise

An Arizona firefighter died during a training exercise on Saturday.

61-year-old Bobby Mollere worked with the Hellsgate Fire Department in Star Valley, Arizona, near the city of Payson. Mollere was taking part in a wildland fire training exercise in Payson on Saturday morning when he reportedly collapsed. His fellow first responders were not able to resuscitate him.

More at the link...

3/7 Heavy fire shelters...

C'mon guys, lighten up! Vfd cap'n was kidding about the 20 lb shelters!


3/7 OFG question thread


Crew boss / module captain issue. Pass the info. to the correct crew boss.


3/7 aero union air tanker in the 1980's

My name is Robert Chestnut and I flew co pilot on the DC-6 air tanker 16 in the 1980's.

I'm looking for anyone that would know the whereabouts of aero union mechanic Jerry Blowet who flew on at least one fire with me and Walford.

I wanted to thank him for saving our lives in a close call on a fire on Mt. Hood.

My email is bob6wendy6(at)

3/6 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 possible outcome.

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.

Tool Pusher

3/6 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.

3/6 Fire Shelters

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 light.


3/6 Safety issues:

How about a couple of safety scenarios.

  1. 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?
  2. 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 take?

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 urgency?


3/6 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 RSVP.


Allen Schultze
Lassen IHC
Captain 9-2

3/6 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 mind.


3/6 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR)

Hello All,

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:

  1. Changing Climatic Conditions and Effects on Landscape
  2. Evolving Risk in Public and Fire Fighter Safety
  3. Water Quality and Quantity
  4. 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 ideas.

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


Sandy Burnett

Sent on behalf of Tom Harbour, Director, Fire and Aviation Management, US Forest Service

3/6 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..


3/5 Are any other National Forests joining with National Parks and making such agreements?

Efficiency wave of the future?

Redwood National Park and Six Rivers National Forest "Service Agreement" for fire (85 K pdf)

Norcal Tom

3/4 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 shelters, period.

The job of suppressing vegetation fires has risks. 20 pound shelters only transfers one risk, (Fire) to another (exhaustion).


3/3 Hey guys--

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! :)

Ashley Powell
Two Little Feet for the Fallen

3/2 Hi All,

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:
  • 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 survived.
  • the kid in the passenger seat was belted in and he died.
John did not remember the names but definitely remembered the incident.

(He still has hopes that his memory will improve... :D)


3/1 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….”

vfd cap’n

Thanks, vfd cap'n. Ab.

2/27 Hey 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.



2/27 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..

Thank you

David and Shari Turbyfill

2/26 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.


2/26 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 were used.

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 expense.

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.


2/25 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 NOT CHEAP.

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 time.

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 legislation.

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 of government.

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 firefighters.

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

2/25 Message from Doug Campbell on separating fire danger from fire behavior

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 considered.

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 available fuel.
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 humidity alone.

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 it burns?

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 System.

J. Timothy Ball, Ph.D.
Fireball Information Technologies, LLC
1240 Fairfield Ave
Reno, NV 89509

I rest my case.

Doug Campbell

pdf download of this above statement Why Some People have trouble accepting CPS

CPS or Campbell Prediction System website and next generation CPS open source software project by Bruce Schubert at

2/24 2nd Annual Wasatch Showdown Fundraiser for the WFF:

Check out an awesome fundraiser for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Its called the Wasatch Showdown

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!!

Josh Quinn

2/23 Readers,

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.

2/23 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 winner.


2/22 Re: Hardship Transfers?

Hi Ab,

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 hardship transfer.

Thank you for your time,


Forwarded your message. Thanks. Ab.

2/21 Personal Hardship:

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 power.

guns 'n' hoses

2/20 Vista Grande Hot Shots 40th anniversary Flyer

Would you please post this?

VGHS Reunion Flyer (pdf)


2/20 Hardship Transfers?

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 tomorrow's gain.)

2/20 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.

Flyer (pdf)


2/17 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

RIP Dave.

W.T. Foley

Sad news. So unexpected! Thanks for sharing, Tim. Great loss. Ab.

2/15 Dear Ab:

Here's a chance for WLF readers to get a real break on the new book "Fire on Earth: An Introduction" (

The discount code (25% off) and order form (1,700 K pdf) is good through June, 2014.


Marty Alexander, PhD, RPF
Leduc County, Alberta, Canada

2/14 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 7-12.

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 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.

Lidia Lesniewska
Marketing Coordinator
True North Gear

Thanks Lidia. Ab.

2/14 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 240?


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.

2/13 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 - 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

2/12 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

2/11 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

2/11 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

Please share!

Ashley Powell
Two Little Feet for the Fallen
Two Little Feet on Facebook
"Running for heroes who answered the call."

Thanks! Ab.

2/11 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.

Joe Hill

2/10 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.


2/10 Keith Lemmons

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

also: Always Remember 1983 08/27 NV Keith Lemmons

2/9 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...)

2/9 More Disney fun : "Planes: Fire & Rescue" coming to theaters summer 2014!

Trailer - Courage on YouTube

2/8 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 drought-bucket.jpg.

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 Facebook, Twitter and for further updates.

2/8 From Firescribe:

NPR (blog)

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 ...


2/8 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: or
info (at)
vicki (at)

Thanks, community!

2/8 Re: 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 the crews.

Been there done that

2/8 Re: Question - Spike out?


Break your question/s down a little bit more so it's more clear.

I'm not sure where to start?


2/7 Great news!

Brendan McDonough is working for the WFF -- Vicki, Burk, all wildland firefighters, all of us -- at the WFF in Boise.


2/7 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?


2/7 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 uncertainty.

Know yourself, try to understand how you fit into the organization, and don’t be a jerk.


2/7 Thanks to everyone who's working so hard to find pilot Jake Harrell.


Hotlist thread with updates. Ab.

2/5 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

2/4 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.

2/4 Race week is here!

And Running for the Fallen is up!

Take a look.

Honor these men.

Thank you for your continued support.

Two Little Feet

2/3 Re: Lessons Learned

Fire Chiefs,

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.


2/2 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.


2/2 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 preheat.

But it is moving. What are the implications of that fact? The fire will keep spreading.

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 crew.

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.

Best Regards,
Doug Campbell

Thanks Doug. Ab.

2/2 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.


2/2 Re: Lessons Learned

Stay at home. Seriously, if you want to be safe.

Gristle McThornbody

2/1 Re: Lessons Learned

Be aware always. Stick to the time-proven BASICS.


2/1 Re: Lessons Learned

Well said folks.

Old Fire Guy

1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

The one that gets you; is the one you don’t see coming.


1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

Trust your training, study hard, push yourself to learn and always remember, the best part of incident response is going home.


1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

Fuel between you and the fire


1/31 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 chosen.


1/31 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.


1/31 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!


1/31 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)

1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

You have every opportunity to do the right thing as long as you think your way through the actions.


1/31 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.


1/31 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)

1/31 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."


1/31 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)

1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

“We are not inventing any new ways to kill you, learn from the past”


1/31 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.


1/31 Re: Lessons Learned:

To be a student of the profession and never stop learning.

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 your badge.


1/31 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 wear your gloves.


1/31 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


1/31 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.


1/31 Lessons Learned:


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?


1/31 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)

Hi Ab,

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 good information.



1/30 Jobs:

Region 5 Forest Service Temporary Wildland Firefighter Announcements

Our best to Rita Yates who is retiring tomorrow after almost 39 years of service!

Thank you Rita! And thanks for the info. Ab.

1/29 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 succeed.

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 paid for.

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 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 do now.

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 & creative ways.

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  or .

With great respect and sincerity to all of you,

Casey Judd, President

1/28 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.

William McMaster

Mail address:
P.O. Box 6481
Boise, Id 83707

Jacket Image 1
Jacket Image 2

Best thoughts to you on the surgery. Ab.

1/27 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 hotshot history.

Best Regards,


1/26 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.

Patrick Moore
Mesa Hotshots

1/25 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 Group.

/s/ Joe
Joe Meade
Director, RHVR

/s/ Leanne
Leanne Marten
Director, WWSR

Key Points:

  • 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 participating agreements.
    • 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 Agency.
    • 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 skill levels.

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)

1/25 Re: Fire On Ice Fundraiser Huge Success in Minnesota!

Hey Ab-

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 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.

1/24 HR 2858 status?

Has anyone heard any news on this? Subcommittee discussions?


1/24 Red Flag Warning from NOAA

for the Archives


1/22 Joe Millar's Retirement Party


March 29, 2014, save the date!

1/22 Red Flag Warning / Fire Weather Watch San Francisco Bay Area through tomorrow 3PM:

NWS Forecasts Text

NWS Forecast Office Map

Be safe.


1/20 Race #1 for the WFF:

Hey guys!

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.

1/19 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)

David Carrera

1/19 WFF Fundraiser:

Hey AB!

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.

Josh Quinn

The Hotlist Calendar would be a good place to post this. I'll look when I get a chance., Ab.

1/19 Fire Hire/eOPF Issues

Hey Ab,

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!


1/19 Making the rounds, from several sources...

Subject: 2014 IRPG

The 2014 E-version of the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) is now available

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

Pete Duncan
Fire Operations Risk Management Officer (Acting)
Pacific Southwest Region, USFS

1/18 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 edit the SPREADSHEET.

1/18 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.


1/18 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 regions;


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 digest version:

  • 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.


1/18 Yarnell Hill

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

1/18 Book: On Fire, about a career in wildland firefighting and Incident management Team Response

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 wildland firefighters.

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

1/16 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.
1/16 Please post this Ab, Thanks, Mellie

2014 Six Rivers Temporary Fire Outreach and Announcement

1/16 Fed Flag warnings over much of socal. Newest fire:


HOTLIST with map

Apparently spotting into areas with structures, now 125 acres. Evacuations in progress. Areas haven't burned since 1960s. Thick veg. Ab.

1/15 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,

Janet Palmer
Andy's mom

1/14 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!


1/14 California:

CA-RRU-Mission involves only 2 acres of grass at this time but 7-10 structures that are complete loses.

Hotlist CA-RRU-Mission

1/14 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.

Shane Greer
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 pdf)

Colorado Exec Message: Reminder of Drug-Free Federal Workplace Requirements (36 K pdf)

1/14 Request for nominations and ICAP Database Population for all 2014 California IMT Members

Due Date: January 29, 2014

2014 CWCG Team Announcements (1,475 K pdf)

2014 CA IMT Operating Guidelines (93 K pdf)

1/13 Ab,

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.


Dear Palmers,

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.



1/13 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.

1/10 Hi to All:

Just a reminder:

The 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 or or by phone at 208-775-4577.

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.

1/7 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 us.

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 holders.

Please join me in congratulating Jeff on this assignment.

Jeanne Wade Evans

1/7 !!Ken Jordan's Retirement Party!!

If you haven't RSVP it's not to late

Jan.19,2014 @1600
Clovis Veterans Hall
Clovis Ca

25$ a person, make checks payable ASAP and send to:
Brian Grossman
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 line.

1/7 Abs-

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 American West

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.

1/6 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.

Thanks again!

Sarah Larson

Those sweet touches of our Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Priceless. Matt's daughter must be growing like a weed. Time flies... Ab.

1/5 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.


1/5 RE: RadioReference

They are back online. Seems like I had a few sites not working lately.

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 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.


1/4 Radio

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.


1/4 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 County.

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 temperatures.

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

1/4 Wildland Firefighter Foundation fundraiser:

Would you please post our fundraiser website?

Thanks for all you do ABS!


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.

1/4 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 aspersions.

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.

1/4 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

1/4 Notice:

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 district.

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.

1/3 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.

Thank you.

Barb Hurley Peterson, Peoria, AZ


Nice painting. Ab.

1/3 Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser:

Hello again!

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

Thank you!
Two Little Feet

PS: Have YOU donated yet?

Thanks for fundraising. Ab.

1/3 HJ,

You wrote

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

1/3 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 could happen.

Not quite retired yet….

1/2 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!

Centrifugal Pump

1/1 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.

To: "RM";
The days of working on the station w/the family within 500 yrds are no longer present here; we wish that was the case.

To: "Rtn";
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 time is!

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 !    2014 !

May we all bring our dreams to reality.

In Trust of Vision. Ab.

**** ~Archive: December-13

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