"THEY SAID IT"
Last Update: 12/09/2013 08:39 PDT
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||Two things that need to be shared with the Federal Wildland Fire folks…
If you have never written to your elected representatives, now may be the time
regarding your benefits that are on the bargaining table…
House of Representatives Directory
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
Congratulations on your impending retirement, you’ve certainly earned it.
I’ve followed your posts here over the years and admire your efforts to improve
working conditions in the Forest Service. I will also be retiring next summer,
and am very much looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life.
Since I mentioned my employer, I want to clearly state that the opinions I
offer on They Said are my own, written on my own time and my own computer, and
are not sanctioned or approved by the Forest Service.
You wrongly assume that I support the “whitewashed reports that come out now
ignoring the mistakes in the name of doctrine.” I agree that there have been
some really bad FLAs produced in the past few years, but I wouldn’t necessarily
characterize them as whitewashed reports. I would say instead that we are in an
interim period where we are attempting to leave behind a vindictive,
person-based approach to investigations such as the Cramer investigation, and
are trying to establish an approach that puts more focus on human factors and
organizational contributors to accidents.
Unfortunately, the rollout of the new approach to investigations has had some
notable failures, including the Steep Corner investigation you mentioned. In my
opinion, there are several factors that are hindering the new approach to
The first problem with the new investigation style is that many of the
well-intentioned people who are conducting FLAs do not have a deep understanding
of human factors or the ever-growing body of science on accident causation and
organizational contributors to accidents. I believe that the land management
agencies that conduct wildland fire investigations will continue to struggle
with this problem unless they establish highly trained investigation teams that
not only understand the wildland fire culture but are also empowered to deeply
probe the human and organizational contributors to accidents. If you want an
example of how this could work, look at how the NTSB conducts accident
investigations. They are the gold standard by which accident investigations
around the world are measured.
I should say at this point that the Forest Service is not completely
deficient in this area. Gary Morgan’s highly skilled accident investigation
Enterprise Team is a great example of where we should be headed.
The second barrier that currently impedes effective accident investigations
is related to scope. When investigations are restricted to looking only at the
actions of those at “the sharp end of the spear,” they will continue to miss the
more important organizational contributors to accidents. This has two major
negative effects; the first is that it makes the people at the “sharp end” more
fearful of reprisal and damages the culture of the organization. For examples of
this, look at what happened to Alan Hackett after the Cramer Fire, and to
Ellreese Daniels after the Thirtymile Fire, which caused large numbers of very
skilled Type 3 Incident Commanders to give up their qualifications. The cultural
ramifications of these investigations were huge, and still afflict our
firefighting culture today.
The other problem with narrow-scope investigations is that they usually do
nothing to fix the organizational shortcomings and conditions that contributed
to the accident, which practically guarantees that there will be repeats of the
accident down the road. The science of accident causation and prevention clearly
shows that organizations cannot ignore the role of senior management if they
really want to prevent future accidents. Books by such notables as Sydney
Dekker, James Reason, Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, and many others all
extol the same concept; accidents are rarely caused by the willful misconduct of
individuals, and usually have direct ties to cultural or organizational
shortcomings. But you will never find the organizational roots of accidents if
you are unwilling and un-equipped to look for them.
I think the biggest problem I have with the ADOSH investigation is related to
the striking one-dimensionality of the investigation team. They appear to have
deep wildland fire experience, but displayed virtually no recognition or
appreciation for the science of accident causation or human behavior. It does
not appear that any of them had any formal training as investigators. And they
committed the cardinal investigation sin of assuming that the personnel on the
Yarnell fire should have known and seen what it was so easy for their
investigation team to see in hindsight. This quote from the Discussion section
sums it up quite well:
“We examined the decisions that were made through the lens of the
outcome, and, where appropriate, suggest where different decisions could
have been made based upon current policy and guidelines.”
That is about as good a description of hindsight bias and Monday-morning
quarterbacking as one could hope to find. The entire discussion section is
riddled with examples of blatant hindsight bias. In my opinion, it clearly
demonstrates that the investigation team was in over their head, that the
investigation’s findings are fatally flawed, and that the report should be
discredited and forgotten.
Whatever other shortcomings the Yarnell SAIT investigation may have had, they
pale in comparison to the ADOSH investigation. I suspect that ADOSH subscribes
to the archaic idea that when something bad happens, someone bad person or
persons were responsible and must therefore be punished. Like after Cramer and
So, Ron, with regards to the ADOSH Yarnell investigation, I suggest you
re-read it again carefully. This time, try to be aware of how many times they
use examples of hindsight bias to make certain points. Notice the almost
complete absence of human factors analysis, and pay attention to how localized
in scope their organizational analysis was.
Best wishes for a happy retirement,
||RE: ADOSH Yarnell
I would like to discuss a thought about the idea of an
investigation -vs- a blame-hunt.
And no, I don't know what to make of the difference in the two
investigations. I know there are members of the team who did the formal
investigation that I know and respect, and most importantly, trust.
But when there is a horrific event, it is normal for folks to come out
looking for "who's to blame?" And one danger of this mentality is to micro
analyze small discrepancies and find fault where there might be none.
So when I saw the post about the refusal to turn over the fire, I saw it a
The post read:
Pg. 13 of the SAIT report:
“At around 1730, ICT4 requests an ICT3 and a State of Arizona
Incident Management Team (IMT) to take the fire in the morning, voicing
concerns about potential threats to Peeples Valley and Yarnell if the
fire burns to the northeast in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Yet here is a differing account:
Pg. 8 of the WFA report:
“Near the time the fire jumped the two-track road, approximately
1730, the BLM representative who was a qualified ICT3 made an inquiry to
the ICT4 whether the ICT4 wanted the BLM representative to “take over
the fire.” The ICT4 declined the offer.”
I admit to suffering from woulda-coulda-shoulda of hindsight bias, yet
the failure to transfer command after the first big run (when initial attack
failed) seems to have been a key opportunity missed in real time.
I can only speak for my agency and protocol, and I do not know what the rules
and policy was for the IC involved in Yarnell, but we have a set procedure for
transferring command. It is possible that both statements above are true, and do
not conflict with each other. The ICT4 both requested a STATE team to take
command in the next operational period, and turned down the BLM rep who offered
to take over right then. If I was running a fire, and had asked for a team which
was scheduled to come in at a set time, I could see me turning away someone who
is not with a team, would only be running things till the team I asked for got
there, was from a different agency, etc. After all, wasn't the fire was still
the state's? And it was a BLM ICT3 right? Should he have turned the fire over to
someone who came as an agency rep from a different agency, if he knew the state
team was already ordered?
*I am asking these questions sincerely, because I do not know how this would
normally be handled with these other agencies.
I am in favor of finding as much truth as we can, primarily to learn, and
when appropriate to "blame or punish". What remains unanswered by both reports,
and what is at the crux of this issue is "why did they leave the safe black?" We
will probably never know this, but the other factors are all secondary to this.
For any of the other criticisms in any review of this fire, I would ask "But if
they had stayed in the cold black would they have been okay?" Ultimately this is
where the rubber meets the road. Just my opinion. And in no way am I criticizing
folks who are seeking the truth.
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
I haven't gone over the ADOSH report in
depth, but most I've heard from think it is more representative to what actually
happened. From reading your response to it Tim, I'm a little confused. It sounds
like you support the whitewashed reports that come out now ignoring the mistakes
in the name of doctrine. The Steep Corner report is a prime example of this. I
do understand what you're saying about the witch hunts of the 90s as I was on
the investigative team for the Cramer fatalities in 2003 and that's what it was.
As a matter of fact it was the prime driver in the creation of the Doctrine and
I assigned the union rep. to the Pulaski Conference where they created it.
I think we've gone too far the other direction now and there's nothing
productive or useful coming from these investigations.
I've followed some of your comments before and have the upmost respect for
your opinion, so I know I'm missing something or not understanding where you're
going so please set me straight.
On another note, I'm retiring in 35 days so I'll be oozing off into the
sunset. All of you out there be safe and keep doing the great job that you have
NFFE R1 C.V.P.
||re: Yarnell Hill Fire ADOSH report
My prediction is the wildfire community will embrace the Wildland Fire
Associates report along with the ADOSH narrative/citations as useful learning
tools and will mostly disregard the SAIT report as either an agency whitewash or
just too touchy-feely for line firefighters.
Tim Lynch is correct that the 10 & 18 have fallen out of fashion for agency
investigations. However, that is not because the Fire Orders and Watchouts are
an unattainable standard of performance on the fireline. It’s because agency
management got butt-hurt after finally being held accountable for not following
or enforcing their own rules.
It was fine all those years to use the Orders to blame dead firefighters.
Some folks just can’t abide their use to say that agency decision-makers failed
the groundpounders on the line.
On another note: one key discrepancy between the SAIT and WFA chronologies is
what happened on the afternoon of June 29th, the day before the fatal blow-up:
Pg. 13 of the SAIT report:
“At around 1730, ICT4 requests an ICT3 and a State of Arizona Incident
Management Team (IMT) to take the fire in the morning, voicing concerns
about potential threats to Peeples Valley and Yarnell if the fire burns to
the northeast in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Yet here is a differing account:
Pg. 8 of the WFA report:
“Near the time the fire jumped the two-track road, approximately 1730,
the BLM representative who was a qualified ICT3 made an inquiry to the ICT4
whether the ICT4 wanted the BLM representative to “take over the fire.” The
ICT4 declined the offer.”
I admit to suffering from woulda-coulda-shoulda of hindsight bias, yet the
failure to transfer command after the first big run (when initial attack failed)
seems to have been a key opportunity missed in real time.
||Obviously many mistakes were made at Yarnell.
Was one of those mistakes not refusing an unsafe assignment?
||Press Release ADOSH document relating to Yarnell:
The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health Issues Citations to the
Arizona State Forestry Division (137 k pdf)
||Re: Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Abs & All,
The ADOSH Yarnell report is something I would have expected to read in 1990, not
2013. I feel bad for the Wildland Fire Associates folks who got suckered into
writing this document by ADOSH, but they were obviously in over their heads and
lacked the requisite experience or training to conduct an investigation of this
magnitude, in this era. I don't question that members of Wildland Fire
Associates had pretty solid fire qualifications before they retired, or that
they tried to honorably fulfill their contract obligations to ADOSH, but I feel
this report is nothing more than an illegitimate opinion piece that deserves to
be dumped on the ash heap of history.
The number of presumptions, hindsight observations, and judgments that come
across in this report are staggering and disturbing.
The investigation team's emphasis on the 10 and 18 is archaic and misguided.
Many firefighters already realize that the 10 and 18 are very subjective
cultural relics that should never be used after an incident to judge a
firefighter's decisions or actions. At best, the 10 and 18 should be used as
training tools, but not as operational rules for engagement, and especially not
as a means to judge the actions of firefighters after someone dies on a wildland
Dr. Ted Putnam explained the 10 and 18 paradox quite well in his 2002 article:
The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders: Can Anyone Follow Them?
www.google.com/#q=ted+putnam+10+and+18 (Ab note, here it is:
The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders: Can Anyone Follow Them? doc file)
Jennifer Ziegler also did a very good job of explaining the contradictions in
the 10 and 18 "The Story Behind an Organizational List: A Genealogy of Wildland
Fireﬁghters’ 10 Standard Fire Orders."
Many wildland firefighters still feel the 10 and 18 are the "bible," but a close
examination shows they really don't work very well as operational guidelines or
as investigational tools. Hindsight is 20-20, but it does little to explain what
the participants of an incident like Yarnell were actually thinking or basing
their actions on before they died.
BTW, kudos to Forest Service leadership for refusing to allow their employees to
participate in ADOSH's witch hunt.
||Making the rounds... I've included Liz's trailer email... I made the xlsx
into a pdf. Ab.
Subject: Update to the Fire Hire Letter
The 5100 letter sent through the correspondence database titled: “2014
Centralized Fire Hiring - Grades 6 through 10 and Developmental Senior
Firefighters” includes a sentence in the document stating that updates to the
OCR listing will be forwarded to the R5 Units and Recruiters.
“Several Open and Continuous Recruitment (OCR) announcements listed in USA
Jobs relevant to Fire Hire were reissued October 1, 2013; others will be posted
after November. Applicants need to ensure they apply to the correct OCR(s) in
order to be considered for the Certificates of Candidates (formally known as
Referral Lists). Enclosure 2 includes a list of the current OCR announcements.
Updates to this enclosure will be made as they occur and forwarded to R5
Units and Recruiters.”
Since I’m not sure what pdl that would be, could you mail the update out for
me? I would like it to go the all the forest fire chiefs, recruiters. I will
take care of the Planners.
Regional Fire Planner, Fire and Aviation Mgmt.
Region 5, Forest Service
2014 OCRs for Region 5
||Reaction to ADOSH Yarnell Report
As Hotshotforlifefirefighterforever says,
this report is very different the first report. The points I found to be
different in this one:
- This accident, like South Canyon, could have been even worse: Several
additional people barely escaped.
- The confusion over the location of the crew was profound. The lead plane
flew an intended retardant path right over the crew (and was informed of the
fact by the crew), but only minutes later did not know where the crew was.
In the first report it states that the VLAT was on station ready to drop if
the location of the crew could be confirmed. There is a major disconnect
here that hasn't been fully explored.
- The conclusion that the overall strategy/tactics, given the fire
behavior and weather, were not appropriate to achieve the goal.
- The retardant drops that extinguished the crew's burnout test fire,
which led to them changing tactics and going direct on the fire.
Thoughts: In an emerging fire, especially one that is running at structures,
communications and operational control are strained. Add the fact that this fire
was burning near the end of a very active SW fire season, that resources were
stretched, and that there was a ICT4 -> ICT2 transition going on, and this was a
very complex and messy situation, even under the best of circumstances.
I have theories about what happened based on my experience, but I do not want to
speculate, as I was not there and did not know anyone involved. I do find,
however, the implication that selecting an inadequate/inappropriate strategy is
not just counter-productive, but actually dangerous, to be an interesting one.
All of us have constructed line we strongly believed would not hold; some fire
assignments are purely shift after shift of building and losing line. We all
know that this can be demoralizing, but do you considered it to be dangerous? I
admit I have not, not beyond the dangers inherent to firefighting.
More Confused Than Before
||Another Loop Fire Clarification:
I would like to add some additional
clarifications about the "Loop Fire", which Smokey 307 said on 12/3/13. I was
with the El Cariso Hotshots in 1965 & 1966, a Foreman in 1966 and a survivor of
the "Loop Fire". I have first hand knowledge of the crew and the Loop Fire.
Smokey 307, I don't know where you obtained all your information but additional
research should have been done before you put to words criticizing El Cariso and
not stating facts accurately. You stated that you and Paul Gleason were crewmen
and that Paul had two years more experience than you. Paul started his career in
1964 which means if I am correct, that you were a rookie the 1966 season and at
this point I am not sure how much knowledge you had about El Cariso.
The accurate facts are:
1. El Cariso wore "Green Berets" not black berets. We recorded the name of fires
we participated on, on "Fire Sticks" not war sticks.
2. You stated that El Cariso had a swagger based on "fight fire aggressively",
but tended to leave out the part about Safety First. That's totally absurd. That
is only your personal opinion about El Cariso but it is not factual. The
original 10 Firefighting Standards back in the days, had "fight fire
aggressively but provide safety first" as number 10. El Cariso changed number 10
to number 1, and that is how we trained and how fought every fire we were
assigned. We never forgot about safety first as you think we did. Our
Superintendent Gordon King always stressed to us Safety First. Back in those
days there were only two IHC crews, El Cariso and Del Rosa. We were an elite
highly trained professional crew, highly respected throughout Region 5 and the
U.S. Forest Service Nation-wide and that is why we were given the ranking as an
3. You also stated that El Cariso had a swagger but also had an aloofness about
them. It sounds like you thought El Cariso crewmembers were just really arrogant
and thought they were above all other hotshot crews. What you should of observed
was a profound "Esprit De Corps". El Cariso had a feeling of pride and honor, a
common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and a devotion to being an elite
Firefighting Hotshot crew. This was what our Superintendent Gordon King
encouraged our way of thinking.
4. You also stated that Crews did not refuse assignments back in those days.
Obviously that was not a true statement because your Superintendent Chuck
Hartley did refuse the assignment. Don't get me wrong, I highly respected the
decision Chuck made that day and from what I have read and after talking to many
Angeles Forest Fire Officers about Chuck, they all considered Chuck as a well
qualified and respect Fire Leader. Chuck made the right decision that day. Chuck
saved your crew that day. You stated in your comments that Chuck refused the
assignment because it was dangerous. I never knew what dangers Chuck was
referring to, but John Moore the other Foreman on El Cariso went back to work
for the Angeles as a Patrolman a few years after the Loop Fire. John told me
that he had the opportunity to talk to Chuck about why he refused the
assignment. Chuck stated he was not worried about the fire, but that it was too
dangerous because of the falling rocks created by the Crews working above. That
was true because John Moore observed rocks coming down on him from Del Rosa
What really offended me about you citing Chuck's refusal of the assignment was
your statement of "I think when they heard we turned down the assignment, they
were spurred on even more to show us up and were not as alert as they might have
been." Are you serious? That is total crap. I don't understand why you would
make such a statement or where or how you got that information. Your problem is
when you thought. You made an assumption without any factual evidence. Be
advised Smokey 307 that no member of El Cariso were even told or knew that any
hotshot crew refused the assignment that day. Our reputation speaks for itself,
we don't need to show anyone up.
5. You also stated that Gordon King might have been better served if he were at
a higher location and he might of seen the impassable drop off into the bottom
of the ravine. Gordon was aware of the deep ravine, that is why he made the
decision to cut an indirect line and tie in the line with the County Crew across
the ravine at a different location. Gordon was aware of the ravine because he
observed it was not safe to cut line into the ravine. As far as Gordon not
seeing a fire below him, he has stated on several interviews that there was no
evidence of fire or smoke below him. He only observed light smoke on the West
side of the ridge line into what was called the Deep Canyon.
After over 47 years since the Loop Fire and all the interviews, stories, and all
the investigations that have been done I truly regret that I had to write this
Smokey 307, I don't know what your firefighting career was or if you are still
in the Fire Service, but I wish that you would read my personal account of the
Loop Fire on the El Cariso Hotshots 1966 web site. My account is about my
observations on the fire line, my actions and my detailed explanation of all the
factors which caused the explosive fatal flare-up. The web site is
www.norwegianwest.com/elcarisohotshots1966. Just click on Loop Fire, A
Personal Account. I hope everyone who reads this on "they said" would read it
also. I have witnessed what the factors were that caused this fatal fire and
lived to tell about it.
Many thanks for highlighting your first-hand account. Ab.
||Re: Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Just finished reading all of these documents. A few items not covered by the
first report were covered in this report. Items pointed out on critical
decisions made were pointed out and were addressed... BUT, we must also remember
sometimes they way things work in the real world are not the way we have it down
in black and white.
One item that stood out to me in this report that I thought the other report
really blitzed was actually going over the "10 standards" and saying what was
right, and where they fell short. The 10 standards were created for a reason and
whenever there's a tragic ending usually one or more of the 10 orders fell
short. It was pointed out how the standards were followed, and as we know it,
These are a few of the items they addressed from my past world, that felt a
little sticky to me because, yes they are right, but it does not always work
- Short 2 team versus Long 2 team order. - Think of the big $ push and
cost cutting issues and how fast SOMETIMES an incident can escalate. The
manager has to take a best guess under the current situation which could be
completely different in less than an hour. In this specific case, first
guess was short 2 team which rapidly changed to long 2 team and then type 1
team. On the forest I worked on the dispatch center was often making the
team type call because they knew how fire escalated in certain portions of
- People filling other positions than what they were ordered for. - Often
the case especially in the initial build up. In the incident world you adapt
and do that you need to do to accomplish the task as best you can.
I guess my question about this report when talking about team positions
having to be filled by others would be, was this team on call? was it 2 hr? and
if so why did the team take the assignment if they could not fill out the key
required positions? Sounds like a dispatch and team blow there.
The report also leads one to believe ALL positions need to be filled in order
to be a cohesive working group. Basic ICS starts with "1". I understand this
reference made thinking a cohesive working team, but more often than not, during
the first initial size up of a large incident things are changing fast and we
have to rely on the information and the people we have at the time. We ask
carded qualifications and do with what we have. Most teams have members that are
highly flexible and can fill several positions so it's not unusual for Ops,
Finance, and Plans folks to bounce around.
I visually understood more by the fire progression map presented. My original
belief was that the fire was progressing in a SE direction towards the town and
not towards GM.
This was one of those tragic events that happened that we only hope future
firefighters will read about, learn from and never face a similar situation.
We'll never know why they followed the path they did, but they ALL did it
together as the dedicated team they must have been.
||more on your application at fire hire:
Almost Retired gave some really great information.
I would add to spend some time making sure your information is well organized.
The easier you can make it for the hiring officials (or subject matter experts)
to find the information they need, the better! Organizing your information
allows you to put your best foot forward, too. For example, one good technique
is to place your distinctions and accomplishments near the top of each work
experience block (instead of buried in the middle or listed at the end).
I’m a big proponent of using comprehensive bullet points, but if you choose to
write your application/resume in a paragraph style, I would recommend using
shorter paragraphs that are easy to read and (again) well organized. Almost
Retired listed a very important item – the recommending officials/subject matter
experts/hiring officials can’t read minds (if it’s not on your application, they
can’t consider it). It is very important that you provide thorough descriptions
of your work experience that demonstrate you meet qualifications and specialized
experience requirements. Be thorough, but be concise!
I would also caution you to be accurate and honest with your information but
don’t forget that applications and resumes are opportunities to explain why
you’re the best candidate for the job. Don’t just tell them what you do/did, let
them know what you are good at, where you excel, and how you can contribute to
their module (or to the District/Forest/Agency as a whole). For example, if you
feel that you are particularly good at teaching, make sure to highlight your
skills and experience instructing NWCG courses and refreshers (or whatever it
is…). If you really excel at coordinating firing ops, let them know. If you
spearheaded a special project around the station, use that to demonstrate your
initiative. You can do this without bragging, embellishing, or being conceited -
just honestly showcase your skills and, wherever you can, provide specific data
I commend you for the networking you’re doing – it’s a great strategy. Also,
don’t be afraid to ask other folks to take a look at your application or resume
and give you feedback. It often helps to have a second set of eyes to catch
those typos and/or remind you of additional skill sets to include.
Hope this helps. I wish you the very best!
Bethany E. Loomis-Hannah, owner
Thanks, Bethany, as always I appreciate your contribution of your
expertise here. Ab.
||Thanks for the clarification, Gordon.
I recall your presentation to the hotshots at their meeting in Reno in the
mid-2000s -- the first time you spoke publicly of the incident and took
hotshots' questions. Thank you for doing that: Pieces of the puzzle, increasing
I recall you said that having your crew cross the rock slide extremely slowly
and carefully was, in part, a result of the heightened FAM and El Cariso crew
focus on safety. You said the crew rockslide crossing took much longer than
expected. Time-wise, this pushed you and your crew's presence on the cliff-face
into the more dangerous afternoon burn period of peak fuel flammability when
wind and very steep, hot south slope might align to create and channel a blow-up.
I don't have my notes in front of me, so I hope I represented this part of your
Always Remember those who fell on the Loop Fire. and on the
Camp Pendleton Fire on the same Nov. 1 day in 1966. (Great Loop Fire
Analysis and first-hand report by Rich Leak. Thanks Rich.)
Let me add a psychological note: when bad things happen, human beings
try to somehow make sense of it, in part to reassure themselves it is
unlikely to happen to them. I don't believe Smokey's comment was based
on jealousy but on the unconscious human impulse to find understanding and
meaning as many do, so they could continue to function in a dangerous
profession. This same meaning-making process following firefighter
deaths and near-misses has occurred through wildland firefighting
history. Here are some milestones:
Report of Fire Task Force to the Chief of firefighter deaths drove the creation of the
Fire Orders and 18 Watchout Situations.
The Loop fatalities drove Doug Campbell former supe of El Cariso to
develop the Campbell Prediction System.
The Dude fatalities stimulated Paul Gleason to
create LCES (Lookouts,
Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones).
The lessons-learned power of stories of firefighter deaths and seeking Just
Culture have driven Steve Holdsambeck to work so hard on the
Facilitated Learning Analysis
Search) and Just Culture.
The power of stories has also caused Tim Lynch to advocate for funding for a program of Recognition-Primed
Decision Making (see his post of 11/6/2013).
The need to make sense of and understand lessons following the 1994 South Canyon losses and the Tri-Dat Study led to the creation of the
Lessons Learned Center and the
Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.
The need to make meaning also inspired me to get involved with the Wildland Firefighting Community working with Steve Myers on this
wildlandfire.com website and on Always Remember.
For 13 years I've been looking for the story and names behind the 18th
Watchout because I was that tired in 1999. Last night by chance I found it.
Always Remember the 1954 Tunnel 6 fallen.
Thanks to all of you who have taught and inspired through the years. You've
demonstrated quite a Learning Culture legacy and done much to inform each other.
||Further Loop Fire Clarification:
This post is in response to a letter that
disturbed me very much. That letter was posted on12/3/2013 on "they said" and it
was signed "Smokey 307".
It started out by stating that he wanted to clarify a few things that "DR" said
about the Loop Fire, so far so good.
At this point he began to ramble about his experiences on the Loop Fire. I do
not intend to go into the first part of the letter, only the last part. Not
knowing are caring who or what Smokey307 is, I will impart some facts, not
speculation or hearsay.
When the crew arrived at Contractor's Point it was mid- afternoon. Warren and I
met with the Line Boss and Division Boss, both of whom I knew well, having
worked together on fires in the past. The Line Boss told us that he wanted us to
go out the line and cold trail it to the bottom, tie in with LA crews. Our
trucks where going to be brought around to the bottom, and at that time we were
released to go home. The Division Boss told Warren and I, that he had just come
up from the fire line and it was cold. Due to the steepness of the area we
should travel as light as possible.
When we got to the fire line we were on the east side of a rock slide. I was
told by the crew that was in the area, it had been active up to about an hour
ago. I then told Warren to bring up the rear of the crew. Ray Chee was standing
right behind me, I told him that I was going to go across the slide, watch for
any rocks coming down.
When I got to the other side about twenty yards, I told him to come across
with one more crewmen. I would watch for him. When Ray got to where I was, I
told him to have two more crewmen come across, and keep it up until all were
across and when about five are a crossed, start down the line. At that time I
started down the line looking at what was to done.
The fireline was to the west of me and only burned stubs were visible. The
going was slow but workable. To my right (west) and below me was the L.A.
county with two dozers, hand crews and hose lines, they were working east to the
bottom of our location. Ray caught up to me and we talked about the work to be
done, and tie in with the L.A. crews. I went down a little further when I
noticed a small smoke in the bottom of the drainage west of me .I heard the
county crews, talking about it. In the position I was in I could hear a copter
but could not see it. Just a few seconds later all hell broke loose.
Now let me start to set you straight about a few things.
- First I was not standing in the brush as you stated and I was very aware
of what was going on.
- Second, our berets are green not black as you stated.
- Third, we did not go into fire camp and hear that Chuck had turned down
the assignment. The first time I heard that was in 2006, I did not believe
it then and I do not believe it now.
Now if my Crew seemed to have "swagger" in your eyes so be it. I sense a bit
of jealousness there. I too Had "swagger" for this was the finest Hot Shot
crew, that I had the privilege of leading, I was proud of them before the Loop
Fire and more as each year goes by.
Smokey 307, I hope that you man enough to apologize to my crew and too me,
but I do not think so.
The next time you start to blow smoke, do your history and get the facts right.
Gordon H. King
||Bugz Safety Goggles for 2014
Can anyone out there tell me if the Forest
Service is allowed to use “Bugz Goggles” to cut with? Is there a difference in
the mesh size that makes them ok to use?
Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
Abs and all...
I read this attached report detailing the occurrences and
recommendations to be made regarding the Yarnell Hill Incident that some of
my friends perished in.
http://sites.google.com/site/yarnellhillinformation/ It is MUCH
different from what we read a few months ago and it goes into the detail
that most of us want to read it in. I will never forget my friends and hope
that a bridge can be built to bring about change, healing and growth... It
made me feel some relief in light of the first report published. We are all
big boys and girls and should be able to handle this kind of report. I want
answers to why, I want closure in knowing that is someone or multiple
someones will be held accountable to the families of my lost co-workers and
friends... This may not be new news to some of you, but it is to me. Ctrl +
left click on the highlighted site above to read for yourselves.... There are
4-5 subsections that go through the incident, penalties and
I only do this out of respect for my friends I lost and the Fire Service as
a whole... We need to be transparent in all we do and learn from our past.
No disrespect for any person involved with this terrible tragedy or their
precious families... CHRISTmas will not be the same when I return home to
Arizona as some of my friends will not be there to greet me because of this
horrendous accident. As a Arizonan, Californian and human I ask that we read
this and remain moving forward as our fallen would have wanted us to do...
With Much Love,
I am humbled and honored to announce that yesterday, one of our Vice Presidents
and his wife were interviewed by Anne Curry of NBC's Dateline for a future
Jim Huston is Superintendent of the Laguna Hotshots on the Cleveland National
Forest. His wife Trish received great publicity this Summer after the Arizona
tragedy when it was learned she was the author of the Hotshot Prayer.
While we don't know precisely when the segment will be aired, it dealt with the
family life of a Hotshot and centered on the issue of climate change and
I will be in touch with the show's producer's in the hope they will be
interested in capturing the "big picture" as it relates to issues facing our
Nation's federal wildland firefighters and how those issues impact our Nation's
taxpayers. Suffice it to say some of the information provided to Ms. Curry and
the production staff as it relates to the land management fire programs came as
a surprise to them so we are hopeful the Forest Service will allow the broadcast
of candid comments that reflect the concerns of all our federal wildland
firefighters and not try to suppress the facts.
The FWFSA is truly proud of Jim and Trish...and in fact all our members who risk
their lives each season.
Casey Judd, President
Here's the Hotshot's Prayer, reprinted from her submission to
theysaid on 7/7/2013
The Hotshot's Prayer
When I am called to duty, Lord
To fight the roaring blaze,
Please keep me safe and strong
I may be here for days.
Be with my fellow crewmembers,
as we hike up to the top.
Help us cut enough line,
For this blaze to stop.
Let my skills and hands
be firm and quick.
Let me find those safety zones,
as we hit and lick.
For if this day on the line,
I should lose my life,
Lord, bless my Hotshot Crew,
my children and my WIFE.
~~ Patricia Huston, IHC Wife ~~
Desert Stomper some hints for your application at fire hire:
- One, attach your own resume in a word document. The resume builder at
USA jobs is horrible, it may look good on the computer but the printed
reality is something else. Hard to read.
- Attach a document answering the KSAs for the job you are looking at,
they are not required but your application is rated on those KSAs. Make it
easy for the person reading your application to find the KSA stuff.
- Expand your job search beyond south zone. There are a lot of jobs in
California, many go unfilled in the north part of the state and that may be
your way to get into region 5 and then work your way south. There are a lot
of people in south zone waiting for jobs to open up that cannot move, if you
are mobile and can make several moves, go to north zone first, then network
and work your way down south.
- Make sure your references and supervisory information is easy to find
with correct phone numbers and emails. E-recruit or the resume builder
messed those up on the last fire hire.
- Make sure your master record is attached also.
- If you have any college attach a copy of your college transcripts.
- Any specialized training? Make sure you include that information.
- Include any award information. Remember in the federal resume world if
you did not put it on your application, you get no credit for it. We cannot
read minds at fire hire.
- Make sure your application is well written, no typo’s or spelling
- Tell the reviewing panel what you did, do not put your opinion on your
- The last item is interviews. Rumor has it there will be more
interviewing done in the future… if you are doing it in person or VTC, make
sure you are appropriately dressed, ie dress shirt and tie at a minimum.
Good Luck in your search for a job.
Yarnell Hill ADOSH Report:
From TFDFF on the Hotlist
Here are the links to the ADOSH Report that was released today:
Speak amongst yourselves...
Loop Fire Clarification:
I want to clarify a few things DR said on 9/30/13
about the Loop Fire. I was there, on that sector of fire line, on the Dalton
Hotshots with Paul Gleason. We were both hotshot crewmen, he with two years more
experience than I. It was a different time and crews operated under different
guidelines than crews do today. There was no active fire front. We were cold
trailing with one foot in the black a fire that had burned very quickly earlier
that morning under the influence of a Santa Anas but died down to almost nothing
when we engaged the fire. I took pictures of the header as we were responding
and the fire line we were cutting. The pictures show the difference. I
occasionally went into the black to check for hot spots but could find none. It
wasn’t a clean black though. The upper leaves of the brush, primarily ceanothus,
hadn’t combusted yet but could have burned very quickly if reignited. The Line
Boss told the Sector Boss to order us to cold trail that stretch of line between
Contractor’s Point and LA County Fire. Our Superintendent scouted that sector of
line before engaging us and refused the assignment because it appeared to be too
dangerous. We then cut a back-up line down a spur ridge to Pacoima Reservoir.
In those days we had the 10 and the 13. The 13 grew to the 18 because of the
Loop Fire. Crews did not refuse assignments in those days. Many hotshot crews
developed a swagger based on, “fight fire aggressively…….,” but tended to leave
out the last part. El Cariso tended to have that swagger kind of thing that was
encouraged by their Superintendent. When an El Cariso worked a certain number of
hotline shifts, he was awarded a black beret. He also recorded the events of the
season on his “War Stick,” a Pulaski handle. The crew maintained a certain
aloofness in fire camp. I think when they heard we turned down the assignment,
they were spurred on even more to show us up and were not as alert as they might
have been. Mr. King was in the brush where he couldn’t see the fire below him. I
don’t think he even knew at first that there was fire below him. Perhaps he
would have been better served had he taken a higher location where he could have
seen the entire line. He might also have discovered the impassable dropoff
toward the bottom. Just because fuel had been burned once doesn’t mean It
couldn’t reburn. An additional element I believe, was that just before the fire
took off, a helicopter flew in to the area and attempted to fan the hot spots
Among the things that resulted from the fire was the directive to tone down
the hotshot attitude because it tends to add fuel to chance-taking behavior.
R5 Fire Hire:
Hi I was wondering if you or any of your followers of the wildland fire
website would be any help to me in regards to making my app standout from the
others in this upcoming fire hire for Region 5. I have emailed a few batt chiefs
letting them know who I am and asking if they would be able to meet face-to-face
with me so I could talk to them about their forest and district they work on. I
am trying to make the move from Nevada to SoCal on an engine and I am very
determined to make it down there; my qualm is that ENGB, CRWB, ICT 4, and HEMB
(T) the positions that I have applied for were AFEO, FEO, and Eng Capt spots. I
understand the competitive nature of obtaining a position in SoCal and any help
that you could direct my way would be much help!
USAjobs and USFS Seasonal Positions
Yes, all the OCRs changed as of 11/29 and
should be updated here pretty quick.
Is the NIFC SAFENET website down?
Seems to be. Maybe for maintenance? Ab.
USAjobs and USFS Seasonal Positions
I have a quick question for those in the
know about USAjobs and seasonal job postings. I just received an email that said
all of the USFS seasonal positions I planned on applying to CLOSED. Those were
GS-4 and GS-5 TEMP jobs with (ENGINE, HANDCREW, HOTSHOT, HELITACK) as the
different modules. Now when I go into USAjobs I CANNOT find these seasonal job
positions in order to apply. I didn't miss any deadline I was never aware of did
I???? Or is the USAjobs system simply updating the job postings and the new ones
will be posted shortly??? Any answers would be appreciated.
I also posted your question on the
Hotlist Jobs discussion subforum. Ab.
Gone or ???
I've been a fan of They Said for several years. Never sent before, only receive
and enjoy every note.
I'm the Father of Molly (...snipped personal info) ...and a career
wildland fire folk with the USFS.
Us grandparent types left Salem on the 20th to Utah, and returned on the 27th.
Opening the They Said, there were Zero comments from anybody since the 19th! Is
They Said still operating?? Or have the new group thrown in the towel? You all
do a fantastic job...even with the "gone to a fire" down times.
Just curious...and below is my new email address.
SUPPORT CASEY AND FWFSA!
Hi GD -- firefighter dad and proud granddad!
I'm here; the Moderators, GIS specialist, programmers and new Admin are
here; everyone is working on Mapping with ESRI and developing the new web
Not much coming in from posters to theysaid, though. and I've been in and
out of town, helping with a wedding, acting as grandparent and working in
support of wlf.com website changes. It's impossible to post theysaid from an
ipad when I'm out of town.
Federal firefighters have been in the "Use it or lose it mode" as
far as vacation time-off goes after a busy fire season. Some have gotten married
and others are beginning to travel. Some expecting babies have had them and are
now sleep-deprived. The sad news about Mike took all of our breaths away... as
has the continuing Yarnell tragedy report and Yarnell families' struggles.
A posting slowdown has happened to lesser degree every fall as
Thanksgiving and Christmas approaches. Firefighters take time with their
families and relax during this holiday season.
Many of the questions and discussions that have appeared on theysaid
throughout the year (or recurrently year after year) have shown up on the
Hotlist discussion sites: either the Regional IA Hotlist and Fire Discussion
California IA Discussion for example, or the
General Discussion subforum. A number of firefighters have migrated to
self-posting, rather than sending comments to Ab at theysaid.
I'm happy to post whatever questions, alerts, stories, amusements or
discussion that come in.
Robbie Robertson Press Release
Please find attached with this email, a copy of a Press Release that is based
on the passing of Robbie Robertson. Robbie, who was a living legend in fire
prevention, recently passed away. Among his various wishes was a desire to
continue to support one of his pet projects, the National Fire Heritage Center.
The Press Release provides information on a fund that has been established in
Robbie’s name to accomplish that objective.
Ronny J. Coleman, President NFHC
Ronny J. Coleman
8866 Saint Anthony Court
Elk Grove, CA 95624
If anyone wants the press release, email Ab and I'll send it. For a
one-pager it's huge (5000+ K) and I can't save it as anything smaller to provide
a link here.
It basically says
how you donate and here's the
NFHC website. Looks like a
good historical project. Ron Coleman is the CA State Fire Marshal, Retired.
To: Nina Charlson & All re: S. 1628
As I have said countless times on TheySaid, the wildland firefighting community
is an incredibly wonderful, diverse group of men & women who are supported by a
variety of groups/resources at all levels of Government from the federal sector
to the private sector.
Those from these various sectors may not always agree on the role of the other
and often raise issues of inequities found in camps or on the fireline.
Nonetheless, this community is truly special and now needs to stand together and
support each other.
You have all read about the FWFSA's legislation, HR 2858 and now more recently
Sen. Merkley's legislation S. 1628 that would extend Public Safety Officer
Benefits (PSOB) to aviators and private contract firefighters under contract
with specific local, state or federal agencies. It does not extend to those who
use their 20 year old pick up truck with a mounted 2GPM pump and roams the
countryside looking for wildfire assignments!
The FWFSA was contacted by Sen. Merkley's office last year about the bill.
Although the FWFSA works exclusively on behalf of federal wildland firefighters,
we also want to ensure a level playing field for those responding to wildfires.
That said, for those who would benefit from S. 1628 and for Moms like Nina, it
is important to know that the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
is on record opposing this legislation. With all due respect to the wonderful
rank & file membership of the IAFF, many of whom respond and work side by side
with both contract and federal wildland firefighters, history has shown that the
IAFF takes a dim view of private contractors, volunteers, seasonal and temporary
firefighters. This is because they generally can't be "organized" and thus don't
represent a revenue source for Union dues.
Some may question that but as a former IAFF member who was nearly elected to its
Executive Board in 2003, I am familiar with the internal union politics. It
should also be known to the community that the IAFF does not represent, in any
capacity, any federal wildland firefighter employed by any of the 5 federal land
management agencies. That Right, pursuant to Title 5 United States Code belongs
primarily to the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), and to a
lesser extend the American Federation of Federal Employees (AFGE) and some
It is not my intent to inflame any passions among IAFF members (many of whom,
especially those with Cal-Fire have joined the FWFSA since 2008 to support our
efforts) and non-IAFF members. But for those in this community who support the
Senate bill to extend PSOB benefits and for those who support our legislation to
reform archaic pay & personnel policies for our federal wildland firefighters,
it would be my suggestion to write/call IAFF General President Harold
Schaitberger to ask him about their opposition to the Senate bill and seek the
IAFF's support for HR 2858. It should be noted that the Nevada State Affiliate
VP sat side by side with me at a hearing outside of Las Vegas in 2005 to support
nearly identical federal legislation the FWFSA crafted.
Mr. Schaitberger can be contacted at:
1750 New York Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-5395
Additionally, Mr. Schaitberger recently sent a letter to President Obama and a
host of others calling for a national discussion on America's wildfire issues.
The FWFSA certainly supports that idea. Unfortunately, the FWFSA, NWSA, NFFE and
other important organizations involved in wildland firefighting were excluded
from the "CC" list. We can only hope it was an administrative oversight. Thus I
have provided Ab with a copy of the
IAFF's letter as well as a
copy of our response. Again it is not meant to inflame. However after a
deadly, record-breaking season, I think this community needs to have each
Casey Judd, President
One simple solution and bottom line... Those that want to sign the
petition and support S. 1628, DO IT! Those that don't, DON'T. Ab.
Sad news on Mike Kelly's passing:
The CHP has released the accident report.
Link on the bottom of the yubanet article:
Death of Tahoe National Forest Firefighter Mike Kelly
Passing of Walt Darran, airtanker pilot
Just found out that one of the greats of aerial firefighting, CAL FIRE tanker
pilot Walt Darran out of Chico, just passed away. Aside from a love of music and
human-aiding cockpit technology, Walt and I would share our favorite Hunter
Thompson quotes. Walt was dear, good friend for decades, and we prided ourselves
on keeping our thinking outside the box. After all, we had no choice because
that’s the way we were wired!! And it was my honor to have known this man whom I
consider a true visionary.
And I’ll always remember our first meeting in the late 80s. We were talking
about pushing the envelope of what could be done in aerial firefighting. He
stopped and shared one of his mantras: “Remember this, Hugh. If you do what
you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” A mentor, a friend, a
brother in arms.
Safe travels, mi amigo.
Emergency Team Solutions
Photos of Walt and friends on the internet.
Thanks for writing in Hugh. I was stunned when I heard. It's hard to
imagine a world without Walt in it. Ab.
I sent this out to the Hotlist Mods yesterday: Walt Darren died Friday
morning, He was such a fine man, CAL FIRE AT pilot and worked with Hemet Valley
Flying Service. I am so sorry that he's gone. What a VERY FINE PERSON! His
articulate safety efforts were excellent and his desire to care for the aviation
families touched my heart. I will truly miss him...
airtanker pilots and friends
Re: Fallen Wildland Firefighter Fair Compensation Act
To: A Wildland
Firefighter Organization in contact with many Wildland Firefighters.
As you mingle with wildland firefighters it is difficult to tell who works
for a government agency or for a private contractor. These Wildland Firefighters
work shoulder to shoulder most often under a government Incident Management
Team. In the unfortunate case when there is a LODD fatality all the honors and
kind words are bestowed on all Wildland Firefighters as Public Safety Officers,
whether employed by the government or a private contractor. The only difference
is in receiving Public Safety Officer Benefits. The Government employees receive
their money benefit in about 2 months after their firefighter's death. Private
Contractor employees are not invited to apply for these benefits. If they do
apply for benefits (which we did) we receive a rejection notice and the right to
appeal. We appealed this past March with no answer to date. Our son was killed
in the Line of Duty in the Iron 44 Incident in August 2008 in Northern
The reason this letter is coming to you is because Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley
has crafted an Act to include Wildland Firefighters who were employed by private
contractors to receive Public Safety Officer benefits in the case of a Line of
Duty Death. These benefits are not a part of the National Budget. They are
administered through the Dept. of Justice.
We learned this week that the National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA)
is supportive of the above Act introduced by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. This
brings such encouragement to those of us who have been working to promote
interest and support.
My interest in this Act comes because of the death of my son in the Iron 44
incident in 2008. While the past five years have been laced with challenges for
us, one of the things we seek to do is to be a voice for change where needed so
future Fallen Wildland Firefighters will not have to face some of the challenges
we have. There needs to be a change in the current PSOB (Public Safety Officer
The following links can inform you of the opportunities available to support
these Wildland Firefighters. If you want to support our effort, please share
with anyone that you know that might want to assist in this effort. Thank you.
Senate Judiciary Committee Vote to Enact Fallen Wildland Firefighters Fair
Compensation Act S-1628
This is a petition that is being circulated for the Fair Compensation Act. This
could be forwarded to anyone that may be a supporter of this Act
so they can sign it, and hopefully, pass it on. I know this is a slow time of
year but if your crew comes to the shop have the link available so they can
sign the petition if they have not done so.
Whoever is a facebook user should like this page. This is where we will share
updates and ways to help promote this Act.
This link gives contact info for all the U.S. Congressmen. It is important to
contact your Congressmen to express your support of this Act.
A link to the Act and how to track it.
If this Act is adopted it will make a huge difference to the surviving family
members as they cope with very difficult circumstances. No one ever plans on
being that Fallen Firefighter, but that does not stop tragedies from happening.
Thank you for any help you can be in the promotion of this Act.
Mother of Fallen Firefighter Scott Charlson
Sad news: Mike Kelly has died
Death of Tahoe National Forest Firefighter and Tahoe Hotshots Crew Squadboss
Mike Kelly in Camptonville
Wildland Firefighter Cookbook
These wildland firefighter cookbooks are
selling like hotcakes! Thanks to all of you that sent in pictures. And Vicki
just called this morning from Prescott. She said that if you get food poisoning,
don't call the Foundation.
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
If you cannot talk to your boss
directly about this, then just forward your work cell to your personal cell and
leave the work cell charging somewhere. They will never know. I bet they didn't
even think about this issue.
Have you addressed this concern to your supervisor?
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
My wife and I use the app to see
where each other is. Commuting almost an hour each way to and from work, she can
time dinner so she doesn't have to wait till I get home to start, and visa
versatile on my days off. When I'm traveling with work or out on a fire
assignment, she can tell where I'm at, when I get back to fire camp, or the
If you have nothing to hide, no worries.
But now with work, that's a different story.
There is an option on the Me tab to hide from followers.
When not at work, just hide from followers, and they can't see where you are
If the phone is a Government issue phone, they do have the right to require
you to carry it while on the clock. Additionally they can add or restrict any
app on the phone. Now if you have a personal cell, and a work cell, leave the
work cell on the desk while not at work. There are no policies, that I know of,
that require anyone to carry a Government issue cell while off duty and not in
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
Ground to Pound,
I know from experience that sometimes with employers there is a world of
difference between what they "should" be able to tell you to do, and what they
do tell you to do. Even if we all agree it's wrong, until someone fights it, or
gets in trouble over it, it is what it is.
So I would suggest that you keep the wall charger handy, and when you get
home, be such a loyal employee that you want your phone charged in case they
need you. So plug it in and leave it there till you get ready to leave in the
morning. If they complain that you didn't have it with you, you can tell the
truth, it was on the charger. If you are not on call, then they really can't say
anything, and you didn't just defy them outright. (Or if you don't want to let
them track you that far, put it on the charger at work before you leave. Same
excuse will work just fine.)
Hate to play games, but sometimes it is just a matter of not picking a fight
until a bad rule gets changed.
Just my thoughts, Good luck,
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
More Ground to Pound
When you leave work....... TURN THE PHONE OFF! Hold down the button on the top
of the phone until it shuts down. Should resolve the issue. Once gone from work
and OFF duty, the government has no ownership of you but you still need to
understand you're a government employee, so after duty actions still reflect on
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
More Ground To Pound,
Good question! I can't speak for all districts or agencies, but when I was
researching the introduction of technology into the wildland fire arena for my
area, one of the features that was looked at was how the (Find my Friends) app
or at the time google latitude could be utilized by the IC during an incident to
get real time of where resources were at. In a way this is similar to some of
the comments that have been shared recently about GM and use of GPS and the
possibility of how that kind of technology could have allowed the IC to see
their location before they left the black. There are also other tools that can
be utilized in either the iphone or ipad platform where DIVS, ENGB or TFLD can
take photos, draw where hose and or fire lines are and sms or email to the IC to
again give real time data. This only works where there is cell coverage, but the
principal of the technology use was geared towards that.
In terms of big brother issues... Being that it is an issued phone and not
for personal use (Although you stated apple owners), if you are not comfortable
having it all the time, I would suggest leaving it at home or somewhere neutral.
There will always be some management individuals that will exploit the
technology so I understand the concern. However, if you are not doing anything
you aren't supposed to or where you shouldn't be, then you are good to go. There
are several USFS, NPS and other vehicles that currently have AVL (Automatic
Vehicle Locaters) which is similar and you may not know it. Something to think
Having said that, one can turn off that feature and on again at will, but
then you run the risk of getting into trouble if you forget to turn it back on.
I have no dog in the Face Book fight, but tend to think that is overreaching
(Personally). Ultimately, there have been many people over the last several
years working hard to integrate this king technology into the workplace for good
and beneficial reasons and fighting the CIO tooth and nail to get it. Please be
careful in the battles you wish to chose so that this privilege and valuable
tool is not taken away.
IC Tech Head
Re BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
I don’t believe the BLM (or any
other agency) can require you to carry a phone at all times. If you are not “on
call” they have no claim to your time. Slavery is now illegal in the US. I would
say that your employer is way out of line on this one.
The highly coveted and anticipated
Wildland Firefighter Cookbook is now available to purchase! With over 245
recipes from 85 different contributors sent in from around the country over the
last several years, it will make the perfect Christmas present! Only $15 plus
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
BLM phone discussion: Find my friends app
I have a question and would appreciate any feedback from my peers. I won’t
say specifically where, other than I am located in NV, working for BLM.
Recently, many of us have been issued iPhone5s (engine captains, operators,
etc.). Within a few weeks of having them, the zone FMO and AFMO sent us an email
telling us to download the app “Find My Friends”. This was more of an order, not
a voluntary request. I felt I had no choice but to comply and download the app.
For those not familiar with this app, it basically allows you to see anyone’s
location at any time. This includes both on-duty and off-duty hours. We are
required to carry the phones with us at all times. Essentially, my boss can look
and see where I am at, 24 hours a day. To me, this feels extremely invasive,
“big brother”-ish and a violation of my privacy, as I feel it is not
management’s business where I am at, who I am seeing or what I am doing on off
hours, provided that I am fit for work when required.
What do you all think? Has anyone experienced this? My co-workers and I do
not know what to do. This feels like a similar situation to a couple of years
ago when employers were asking for applicants and employees’ passwords to
Facebook and other social media, which was determined to be illegal in several
states as an invasion of privacy. In NV BLM, we do not have a union to represent
us, so most employees feel they have to do what management demands regardless of
whether it is right or wrong.
Anybody have any feedback on how we should proceed with this. I can see this
becoming more of a widespread issue for all of us, as we turn into Apple
“owners” in the Federal Gov’t. I am looking forward to everyone’s thoughts and
insightful feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
More Ground to Pound
Follow up to last post:
To All FWFSA members: In my last post I asked that you let us know if you have
gone into a non-pay (layoff) status as we had an issue with the DOI and USDA pay
systems this pay period.
It is also important to let us know if any of you were furloughed during the
Gov't shutdown or sent into a non-pay/layoff status earlier than expected as a
result of the shutdown. You can either use the contact form on our website at
www.fwfsa.org or email me
directly at email@example.com.
Thanks for your help.
This video is part of the First Lego League challenge for youngsters to come up
with ideas on how to mitigate disasters, they chose wildfires/Rim Fire.
and 6th graders in Virginia offer campfire education, in the form of a video,
check it out and please share. They would like to see stiffer penalties.
To All FWFSA Members:
We were alerted today by our financial institution that both the Dept. of Ag and
Interior have botched the payroll process with respect to identifying our
bi-weekly deposits. While they are confident it can be reconciled in a few days,
I want to ask again that if you are an FWFSA member and are in, or will be going
into a non-pay lay-off status, PLEASE email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Same thing
goes for those who move during the "off-season" in letting us know your new
Thanks in advance.
PS, thanks to all for the kind thoughts and words during my illness. Still no
definitive answers. I've received a few replies to my ROSS question which I also
Has anyone been able to get Casey his requested information?
Its a good thing for all of us to be very responsive to Mr. Judd's requests.
He's looking out for all of us, and you can't say that we have a long line of
other people doing the same, with the exception of NFFE. Unfortunately I can't
help with this one.
It sure would be a good thing if ROSS information and reports were more
readily available for viewing by emergency responders. ROSS exists to support
emergency responders and the incidents they manage.
Hi to all:
I was hoping to solicit some help with some questions about ROSS. If anyone
knows the system like the back of their hand and can answer the following,
please email me at email@example.com. Thanks
so very much.
1. Can a daily report be run during a previous fire day on a specific date for
the following info:
- resources available
- resources assigned
Just finished reading the Yarnell Hill Fire report for the second time and I
agree with the complaints that it is so soft shoed it gives little direct
insight as to what happened and how to keep it from happening again. However the
report does a very good job giving the facts within their time line leading up
to and through the event. Using ones experience and past mistakes that we have
all made in a leadership position, I think we can come up with some important
lessons learned. Everyone with experience can look back at a decision/action on
an incident and realized, WOW if ______ had happened I/we would have been in
I firmly believe in using the 10 orders to evaluate these situations. Orders
1-3 deal with fire behavior situational awareness; orders 4-6 are the safety
mitigations and the level they are imposed are determined using the findings of
the first 3. I don’t believe anyone intentionally violates the 10 orders in
situations or ways where it may compromise safety, so why does this continue to
happen over and over again? I think the answer is we try or do fit what we see
in orders 1-3 into the actions we want to take to be operationally effective as
spelled out in orders 7 – 10, then determine how we approach the safety orders
On the Yarnell Fire everyone knew the drought conditions, the fire activity
grew from mid-morning and TRW was forecast for the area which included outflow
wind warnings. All experienced Firefighters can apply (very easy after the fact)
these FWX conditions with the fuel and terrain in the area and would certainly
consider that conditions for the fire to have a run with extreme rate of spread
with matching intensity is possible. However, how often are we in a position
where the “possible” never materializes? My theory is we all are willing to tamp
down on the “possible worst case” fire behavior when we have an operational
priority, in this case to re-engage the fire, amplified by the high value assets
being impacted, AKA structure protection. A sense that not knowing what the fire
was doing for a short time and brush crash through and area that the topography
was friendly to enhanced fire behavior and detrimental to firefighter escape was
not a problem in their eyes at the time.
It is so hard to sit and watch a situation develop and take no action because
if that “worst case” happens you can’t provide for safety. More often than not
nothing happens and you begin to second guess your original decision. Our urge
to do something, take action, get the job done is often very difficult to put
second after an objective assessment of orders 1-3 and setting safety standards
required by orders 4-6 and not changing what you decided based on what needs to
be done but changes only in reaction to changing conditions.
I am sure that similar actions by other crews occurred many times this fire
season and in the past. Fortunately the “worst case” didn’t happen and no one
likely thought twice about it. A take away from this incident is always assess
what the worst case fire behavior could be, how it could affect the fire and
maintain your safety based on that forecast, and suppress the natural urge to
meet operational needs ahead of providing for safety. Easier said than done? You
can only fight fire aggressively and safely if you have a solid foundation of
knowledge and experience. The more we study and learn the fewer of these
incidents we will have.
Learning from these tragedies is one way to honor those we have lost,
North Bay FC Ret.
For your consideration: Michael I. Smith is
a fine writer and researcher. Mellie
After the Sacrifice: A
Grim and Dismal Business, posted Monday July 8, 2013
While we might argue whether grief comes
before numbness or vice versa, I’m inclined to think that inevitably grief or
numbness will be replaced by collective amnesia. Consequently, I feel compelled
to put down some thoughts in the wake of the Yarnell Hill tragedy and, perhaps
not surprisingly, the touchstone for me is a similar tragedy that occurred three
quarters of a century ago in a Wyoming forest...
More at the link...
Abs & All,
I've been following the Yarnell hotlist thread, lots of good discussion going on
there. Good to see William Riggles is still active, he has a real knack for
identifying critical firefighter safety issues.
The attached proposal is a revised version of a proposal I submitted to the F &
AM Steering Committee a few years ago. It received some modest support at the
time but was never funded as a project. I submitted it again this year, hoping
for a better result this time. We shall see.
I would appreciate hearing what you folks think about the RPD concept and
proposal, and whether it relates to the Yarnell Fire.
Recognition Primed Decision-making Proposal.doc
The WFF Cookbook is within 48 hours of being sent to the printers. During the
final proof, it became clear that there are pictures missing of our wildland
firefighters eating out on the line or in camp. We need pictures of this for the
cookbook! MREs under a tree or in the black, in the chow line, capture the
camaraderie surrounding mealtime for the boots on the ground!
Please send to me right away at
firstname.lastname@example.org. 24 hour deadline.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2014 Centralized Fire Hiring - Grades 6 through 10 and Developmental Senior
R5 Fire Hire Correspondence
2014 R5 Fire Hire Timeline -enclosure 1
2014 ORCs for R5 with IFPM (10/19/2013) -enclosure 2
New Senate Bill: S.1628 Fallen Wildland Firefighters Fair Compensation Act
We need your help to get our fellow and fallen wildland firefighters that are
contracted in the air and on the ground the same benefits of those they fight
fire with side by side. When contracted wildland firefighters are killed in the
line of duty, there are no Public Safety Officer's Benefits (PSOB) and the
amount from Worker's Comp is often not enough to cover the costs of burying the
firefighter. In recent years, over 50% of all wildland firefighter fatalities
have been contract aviation related. Federal, state, local agencies do not have
their own fleet of aircraft to fight fires, they are contracted. This means that
the pilots and the crew killed have not qualified and currently do not qualify
for these benefits. Help us change that!
Here are some things we're asking you to do in this time-sensitive period:
Sign the petition for S.1628 at Change.org
2) View the
Fallen Wildland Firefighters Fair Compensation Act and
Contact your Congress Member and ask them to agree and support this bill
4) Spread the word on your social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter,
email contacts, telephone lists, any other source available to you. Copy/Paste
this statement everywhere you please: "Contracted firefighters should get the
same benefits as state, federal, and volunteer firefighters. Please vote to pass
The hardest part of my job is trying to answer the question, "Why isn't my
contracted firefighter's life worth the same as an agency firefighter's life?" I
am asking everyone who has ever even heard of the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation to reach out and let Congress hear with our voices that we need this
done for all those who die in wildland fires.
Collecting Unemployment Insurance:
Hello fire world,
I have a couple of questions regarding unemployment insurance that many seasonal
wildland firefighters seem to collect throughout this time of year.
1.) what are peoples' thoughts on federal wildland firefighters "collecting"
unemployment during the winter months? I have both positive and negative
feelings about it. And
2.) I have been hearing that congress will cut federal unemployment insurance
extensions coming JANUARY 1.
Can someone help me understand what this means to those who "collect" during the
off-season? Will this January 1 deadline mean those will get cut-off from any
income to help them get by until April/May????
Sometimes a "hero" and other times a "bum"
Hotlist thread on Collecting Unemployment Insurance
Paramedic VITAL SITES, Article and Blog
I write for the site ParamedicToRN.org, and recently just published an article
on our site pertaining to the emergency medical industry. You can view it here:
The article is an in depth list of great websites and resources for people in
the emergency medical profession. I did my best to list key key websites in
emergency medicine, EMS sites, and emergency transport. My goal in compiling
such a list was to create a reference for those curious about entering the
emergency medical field, and foster a better understanding of the industry. It
is a fun and informative list!
Hopefully my article will be of great benefit to everyone looking into the
industry as a possible career path. I am really excited about getting the word
out. If you feel like my list of the best Paramedic sites may be useful on your
site page wlf
links page, I would certainly appreciate you adding it as a link. Please let
me know if you have any additional comments or questions.
Nice resource, Erin. Currently we're not adding any new links to the links
page. I'm in the process of updating what we already have. It's a time-consuming
process and the page gets updated about 2 or 3 times a year. Ab.
I am currently living in Tennessee, but will be in Oregon by February. I am
wondering if I get my red card here will it be valid there?
Making the rounds...
Schwarzenegger, cited for work on climate change, named
honorary US Forest Service ranger
YouTube video of Schwarzenegger Honorary Forest Ranger Ceremony (~2 min)
It's pretty funny, we can't get class A uniforms for our firefighters to attend
funerals, or look professional as part of the largest fire department in the US.
However they are giving them out to politicians in DC. Pretty sad.
Sent from my iphone
From another poster.
"The best in the world."
Does anyone have a copy of this article?
FS INFO - Title: W. Phillip Saaranzin
accident, September 3, 1985, Gorda-Rat Fire, Los Padres National Forest, Region
5 / Jack R. Miller, 14 pages. I found the reference to it in
this index, but the pdf does not seem to be available there.
Alternatively, if anyone remembers this incident on the Los Padres NF, could
you please share that. The area burns and it's good to learn whatever lessons
there are from the accidents that occur.
Thanks in advance,
Today, on the 12 year anniversary of my Sawyer ~> Wheelchair
experience, I want to thank all who have supported, helped, sent good thoughts,
and just in general remembered me.
I do appreciate it, very much.
Former 2nd saw, Plumas Hotshots.
Although I did not expect my wife to put my "name up in lights" on TheySaid
recently regarding my current health issues, I want to express my sincerest
gratitude to those who have reached out and offered their thoughts and prayers.
The last 5 weeks have been stressful and frustrating but next week begins
serious "invasive" testing to find out what's going on and take care of it.
In the meantime I want everyone, especially our members to know that while
admittedly I'm a bit behind on the "administrative side" of things in the
office, I remain in constant contact with staff in DC as well as with our
Since all segments of the wildland firefighting community read TheySaid, I
thought it was important to let everyone know that Sen. Merkley of Oregon has
introduced a bill that would extend PSOB benefits to private contract
firefighters and aviation crews. A copy of that bill has been attached to this
Fallen Wildland Firefighters Fair Compensation Act.pdf
Sen. Merkley's staff reached out to me about this late last year. While I
know there is often conflict between federal wildland firefighters and their
contracted colleagues about a variety of topics, the playing field on any given
federal wildfire needs to be leveled. Whether that means all cooperators
receiving the same pay and benefits at the federal pay level, or everyone
getting paid at the highest cooperator level with the same benefits, the current
system does nothing to eliminate the strained relationships that can occur
between the different firefighting segments.
We are working with Sen. Merkley's office and others to not only continue
pushing our federal wildland firefighting bill which has its own Facebook page
thanks to Richard Gold, but to push the classification issue separately since it
would be much easier to accomplish administratively by itself or tuck into a
bill by itself.
Still not as coherent as I should be so I better close. Just wanted to thank
all of you for your thoughts and to let our members know we're still pounding
Much respect & sincerity to all,
Saddleback Learning Review: SJ Luke Sheehy
Saddleback CRP Final Report 31OCT13.pdf
Supporting information for Saddleback CRP 31OCT13.pdf
Excellent Learning Review!
I added the learning review to the
Always Remember Luke Sheehy page. If you want to see all the incidents and
lives lost we've found in the "Falling" trees, snags, logs, rocks, and falling
off cliffs category, on Always Remember, you can choose
Fatalities by Cause: Falling.
This is pretty cool.
This year Disney released the movie "PLANES", about a crop duster who wants to
be a race plane. This is the air version of Cars.
Disney has now announced a 2014 sequel called "Planes: Fire and Rescue". Which
is about wildland fires.
Check out the teaser trailer
youtube.com Planes: Fire & Rescue - Official Trailer (2014) [HD] Disney
Re: Casey's contributions
I am so sorry Mr. Judd is having health problems. I
have always admired his perseverance and dedication to the welfare of wildland
firefighters. His representation has been to the benefit of all of us, past,
present, and future. My best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Get well soon!
Furlough and leave
The way I understand it, our government has written laws when dealing with
furlough which make it incorrect/impossible to code timesheets with A/L or S/L.
It gets really sketchy when dealing with timesheets during a furlough. If you
are having trouble ethically with that, just think about all the employees who
were sent home for 16 days, but when they came back to work were told to code
their timesheets in such a way so they could get paid.
Stories and pictures are needed now. Ab.
!!!Time is running out!!!!
Sierra Hotshot Superintendent is Retiring!!!
40 years of service on the fire line!!
When: January 19,2014
@ 4:00pm/Dinner 5:00
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall
RSVP: By December 1, 2013 to
or 559-321-4182 Brian Grossman
$25.00 a person (payable to Brian Grossman)
Send to: 1150 3rd St
Clovis Ca, 93612
Blocks of rooms are set aside at the following hotels in Clovis CA. Make
reservations byDEC. 25th to ensure yours:
Homewood Suites 559-292-4004
Hampton Inn & Suites 559-338-0000
Comfort Suites. 559-299-9992
Fairfield Inn & Suites. 559-323-8080
Best Western. 559-299-1547
*PLEASE Share your stories and pictures by October 31,2013. Send
Always Remember these firefighters who died during Santa Ana wind
events around this date.
1961 10/30 CA Mike Rushworth Dalton HS on the ANF
1967 10/30 CA Frank Rios -Baliff on the BDF
1966 11/01 CA Loop -El Cariso Hotshots
1966 11/01 CA Camp Pendleton -military who were fighting fire on the same
1955 11/06 CA James Catlow LAFD engineer
also a young firefighter who died on an active night-time fire in Kentucky
1991 10/29 KY John Spangler
This is also an anniversary of the 10/29,1999 day that Dick Blood was murdered
in the Anderson CA fairgrounds staging area at the end of the Big Bar Complex.
Nice man. Crazy situation. His murderer was brought to justice.
Always Remember Richard Blood
Today is the anniversary of Steve Rucker's death on the Cedar Fire during the
Always Remember Steve Rucker
In southern California when it seems the season may be over, there are always
Santa Ana winds that may blow.
Hope you get well, Casey! Mellie
Response to Micki Judd
Thank you for letting us know about Casey's health
struggles. I will add him to my prayer list, and I am sure others will as well.
Please let Casey know that we are thinking about him and wishing for his
wellness. Also remind him that a good responder protects his own safety so he
can save others second. Whatever he needs to do to recover sooner, get better,
he needs to do. Even if it is turning off the tv. He isn't defaulting on his
calling, but he is taking the steps necessary to "get back to it full strength."
Thanks again for the information, and I will be wishing good for you as well
during this event.
Flash in Florida
Dear Ab and the wonderful wildland firefighting community,
I have hesitated sending this post in knowing that all of you have suffered such
a difficult season and you all have been asked countless times for thoughts and
prayers for so many that have been lost and injured this season but I hope you
can find enough in your heart for another thought & prayer.
My Husband, Casey Judd, president of the FWFSA has now been extremely ill for an
entire month. As many of you know in 2009 he underwent stress-related quadruple
open heart surgery and was told by his cardiac surgeon to stop carrying the
weight of the federal wildland firefighting world on his shoulders and dealing
with Congress. Obviously he didn't listen.
After test after test starting with internal bleeding, it is now believed Casey
is suffering from stress-related bleeding ulcers. He has no health insurance
through the FWFSA so has to rely on his VA coverage which won't "scope" him for
another 8 weeks while he's on medication. It has been heart-wrenching to see him
unable to spend more than a half an hour in the office maybe every other day. He
is visibly upset that he has been unable to personally call new FWFSA members to
thank them for their support.
Despite my objections, he watched C-SPAN during the entire Gov't shutdown and I
saw him in tears knowing that so many that he deals with in Washington had a
hand in causing so much turmoil in the lives of our wildland firefighters and
other federal employees.
I do want all FWFSA members to know that he has his cell phone and ipad in bed
with him and is in constant contact with the FWFSA's lobbying partners in DC,
Sellery Associates. The FWFSA office is "open" and I am helping to process new
applications and want to ensure new members that once he's on his feet he will
His devotion, affection, respect and admiration for all of you is contagious. He
will not give up on you: he's still doing what he loves and I think doing what
he was born to do despite the struggles of achieving success in DC.
So I hope that you will take a moment to offer a prayer and thought for him. For
members a reminder: PLEASE if you are a seasonal/temp FF going into a layoff
status, please let us know. You can still email Casey at
email@example.com and I'll get the info.
Also, as many of you do, if you move during the off-season, please update your
address with us.
Give him a hug from me, Micki. I'll keep good health for him in
my thoughts. Please keep us in the loop. Ab.
God Bless the Boys of Engine 57, I think of them often.
I pray their families and fellow San Jac/BDF coworkers are blessed with fond
memories of them.
7th Anniversary Esperanza Fire.
Jason McKay's Mom here again. A day early because I'll be at the site
tomorrow for the BDF moment of silence. But I'm here today to remind all of you
to update your Emergency Cards. This is important for your family.
Don't put it off, do it now. Love all of you and please stay safe, talk to you
Thanks Bonnie, my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
Always Remember Mark, Jason, Jess, Pablo, and Daniel Ab.
I'll be out of the office for the weekend at a wedding! Ab.
Monument on National Forest lands:
If you wish to build a monument on National
Forest lands, you would have to obtain some form of authorization from the
Forest Supervisor or Regional Forester (aka a permit). It would need to be in
writing specifying what is authorized and where etc.
Tony Bacon and Galen Warren...
“Double Doughnuts and Gatorade”… A story of two National Park Service
Structural Fire Icons
There are always those who have walked the fireground before us. What they
learned for the first time is now common knowledge. Tools they invented are now
as common as a blue sky in the southwestern United States. It was in the
National Park Service Southwest (SW) Region, as it was known at the time, where
the NPS Structural Fire Training Program began...
More at the link...
Hi Tree Mechanic.
The reason they cannot code their time sheets with leave is
because leave is not authorized or approved during a furlough. Its that simple.
You are either furloughed or not.
For someone to do as you call it " the honorable thing", and code there time
with leave after being instructed not to is: 1) insubordination based on the
direction we all received in writing on how to code our time and/or 2)
falsification of your time sheet and/or 3) against the law.
This has nothing to do with honor or getting something for free.
Guilty Plea in Oregon in 2008 Fatal Copter Crash
An Oregon man has
pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with the deadliest helicopter crash
involving working firefighters in U.S. history. Levi Phillips, 46, of Grants
Pass faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. As part of a
plea deal, he agreed to testify against another man, 42-year-old Steven Metheny
of Central Point. Phillips was the director of maintenance for Carson
Helicopters Inc., reporting directly to Metheny, a former vice president.
Prosecutors say that when the U.S. Forest Service solicited bids for
(More at the link...)
Are you aware of any formalized standards for establishing
a memorial on Forest Service lands? The family of Lee Collins would like to
mark the fatality scene where Mr Collins and Luther Rodarte perished in the
Sundance Fire in 1967. I’m told by Lee Collins’ daughter that Mr Rodarte’s
family would appreciate it as well.
Wondering if we can add the 1967 Sundance Fire fatalities,
Luther Rodarte and Lee Collins, to the Idaho Memorials roster.
We have marked the origin atop Sundance Mtn and are hoping to mark the fatality
scene on the east side of the Selkirks on the Sandpoint RD USFS.
Thanks for any help and or direction.
Pam, I added the sign images, etc to the
Memorials page under Sundance Mountain ID. Photos of signs at the
origin and to the
There used to be a page of Idaho Memorials on one of the
Idaho forest websites. I don't know if it exists anymore on the new FS server; I
lost track of it. The
FS Heroes Memorial Page for the entire nation has Luther's name on it since
he was a FS employee. (Thanks, John Miller.) Luther's name is also on the state
of California Wall in Sacramento since he worked primarily on the Los Padres NF,
CA but was dispatched to the Sundance, ID to fill a resource need. Their
Always Remember page memorializes both names and both men. Dozer operators
are critical to wildland firefighting.
Readers, can anyone walk Pam (who is Idaho Dept of Lands) through
the process? I'd be happy to share her contact info. Ab.
I found this article and thought I'd share with you, CB.
Pilot dies in crash while battling NSW bushfire
An airtanker went down in Australia killing its pilot, David Black.
Hotlist: Brushfires in Australia, 2013
Not a complete record, but let's remember Dan. Condolences to his family and
2013 10/17 WA- Dan Hall killed by a falling tree near the fireline of the
Furlough and leave
There's nothing honorable about coding your time to A/L when you are locked
out from work. That's what happened to all the federal employees that were
willing to work. It makes more sense if it doesn't feel right to you then you
should contribute your A/L to one of the many sick or injured employees asking
for leave contributions. You state that nothing's free, but yet management wants
you employees to work for free or to take credit hours rather than OT. Every
hour you do that they get 1/2 hour free from you. I can't count the times they
have made me spend the night on a fire in miserable conditions off of the clock.
More free time out of your life you're giving to them.
Pay for Performance plan and rating system:
It’s unfortunate the Forest
Service who negotiated a pay for performance plan in 2006 is now backing out.
The pay for performance plan included changing from a 2-tier to a 3-tier rating
system. If the Forest Service cannot live up to pay for performance that it
agreed to, then maybe we need the Union to negotiate again and go back to the
two-tier performance rating system (unsuccessful and fully successful).
Letter providing guidance on FY 2013 performance based awards (32 K pdf)
USFS Firefighter Joshua D. Raborn Passed Away on October 16
Joshua Raborn, Lead Water Tender Operator on the San Bernardino National Forest,
Mountaintop Ranger District died in a fatal motorcycle accident on the evening
of October 16th in Hesperia.
Joshua proudly served the American public, first as Lance Corporal in the United
States Marine Corps and then as a firefighter with United States Forest Service.
Joshua Raborn started his career with the US Forest Service in July of 2008 as a
seasonal firefighter with the Big Bear Hotshots. In 2009, he applied and was
selected as an apprentice in the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program.
Joshua attended Basic Academy #49, and the Advanced Academy in 2010, completing
the apprentice program and converting to permanent full-time in January of 2011.
Joshua spent the remainder of his career on the Mountaintop Ranger District as
the lead Water Tender Operator at Deerlick Station 12.
Joshua, age 29 is survived by his wife Kristen, and 4 kids, his mother and
Please keep Josh and his family, friends, firefighters and his brothers at USFS
Deerlick Station 12 in your thoughts and prayers.
forevermissed.com/joshua-raborn/ for more photos and information.
Joshua's service will be at 11:00am on November 01, 2013 at Bobbit Memorial
Chapel 1299 E Highland Ave San Bernardino, CA 92404. This will be followed by a
1:45pm US Marine Corps Graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery,
Riverside CA .
Condolences, what a sad loss. My best to his friends, family
and co-workers. The slide show at his forever missed site is awesome. Ab.
Reply to the 10/16 response to my question about Furlough and Leave:
clarify what I meant in my earlier post.. if you worked during the furlough,
then you will get paid.. so if you had leave scheduled during the furlough why
not do the honorable thing and code your A/L as scheduled and any S/L if you
were sick or went to the doctor. I personally do not want anything for free
ESPECIALLY from the government. Somewhere along the line... somebody has to pay
for it ! Nothing is ever just free.
Parachuting, interesting article from the LA Times, from GA Peach.
(Ab note: I assume this is in the context of historical info related to
smokejumping... Anyone else with history of SJ stories or links?)
When was the first parachute jump? 1797, when Andre Garnerin got dizzy
When was the first parachute jump? Google poses the question with a doodle
that spotlights French parachutist Andre-Jacques Garnerin. On Oct. 22, 1797 --
216 years ago today -- in a Paris exhibition, Garnerin rose to a height of 3,200
feet, then made a dizzying descent to Earth by parachute and took his bows.
Others had parachuted before Garnerin, but he's credited as the first to jump
using a parachute without a rigid frame. In the aeronaut's jumps, ... (More at
Making the rounds
Subject: EIM Update and Briefing Paper
Folks – Attached is an update and briefing paper on Evolving Incident
Management. Now that fire season has abated the EIM work groups will be rolling
up their sleeves to get moving on identified tasks and recommendations.
Kim A. Christensen
Deputy Assistant Director, Operations
FS Fire and Aviation, NIFC
Evolving Incident Management (EIM) Update (590 K pdf)
Evolving Incident Management Leadership Briefing, Oct 2013 (137 K pdf)
News Release NRCS Announces Assistance for Catastrophic Fire Recovery
(California) (204 K pdf)
NRCS Announces Assistance for Catastrophic Fire
DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 18, 2013—The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) today announced that applications will be accepted to assist private
landowners in California affected by wildfires in the last 18 months.
Financial assistance for implementing conservation practices may be available
through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications for
this initiative can be submitted for primary consideration and ranking through
Nov. 15, 2013.
"I encourage landowners who have private forestlands and rangelands that were
damaged by the recent catastrophic fires to visit with their local NRCS field
office about how this initiative can provide assistance to protect their natural
resources," said California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez.
The purpose of the Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Initiative is to provide
immediate resource protection in areas burned by catastrophic fires in the past
18 months. Priority concerns include immediate soil erosion protection,
minimizing noxious and invasive plant proliferation, protecting water quality,
fish and wildlife habitat, and bringing back forests and restoring livestock
infrastructure necessary for grazing management.
Priority applications will include practices that are implemented within one
year and provide immediate erosion protection, adequate livestock water, and
Participants interested in implementing practices beyond the scope of this
special and limited initiative are encouraged to apply under the regular EQIP
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's
private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural
resources since 1935.
I have heard this morning that the Washington DNR is treating Dan Hall's death
Inmates Death Marks Second Fatality in DNR Prison Work Program
say 47-year-old Daniel J. Hall died Thursday afternoon while working to clear
DNR-owned land south of Springdale following a recent timber harvest. Peter
Lavallee, communications director for DNR, says several agencies are
investigating the fatal incident.
"We're looking into exactly what happened," Lavallee says. "The crew was
working on an area where there had been a timber harvest and sale. ... The crew
was preparing the land for an eventual replanting." (more at the link above...)
Fair Use Disclaimer
Thanks to WC Advocate for the link. Ab.
In brief: Airway Heights inmate dies while clearing state property
An Airway Heights prison inmate died Thursday while clearing land for the
state Department of Natural Resources.
Daniel J. Hall, 47, had been serving a sentence for drug and auto theft
convictions since January 2011, the state Department of Corrections said in a
news release. He was due to be released in September 2014.
The minimum-security inmate was clearing debris after a timber harvest in
Stevens County, said DNR spokesman Peter Lavallee. The agency hasn’t disclosed
what happened to Hall to cause his death. (a little more at the link
Fair Use Disclaimer
article on Oct 17, 2013)
Thanks to Tom J. Ab.
If anyone has a name and/or details on the Washington Inmate firefighter who
died when hit by a snag last Thursday, October 17, 2013, please let us know. Ab.
Hotlist thread: Inmate firefighter died 2 days ago from a falling tree in
Yarnell Hill Report discussion
Message received from FS HR:
On Oct 1, the ASC/HRM released 28 new vacancy
announcements to fill 14 different fire positions ranging in grades GS-06
through GS-12. Any of your outreach notices should be updated to reflect the new
vacancy announcement #s. See attached list for positions and vacancy
Applicants can apply now!! Please make sure R5 employees within the fire
community are advised of these opportunities!! Vacancy announcements can be
located at www.usajobs.gov
Current permanent Federal employees with competitive status (career or
career-conditional status), those with reinstatement eligibility, VEOA, VRA, 30%
disabled Veterans, etc. should be encouraged to apply first to the vacancy
announcements ending in G, and second to the vacancy announcements ending in DP
(which are open to U.S. citizens). This is because certification and referral
processes are different.
28 New Vacancy Announcements
Position Title, Series, Grade, Vacancy Announcement #, now open
Australia is burning:
Hotlist thread: Bushfires in Australia, 2013
You need to check your info a little closer…
The President didn’t get unlimited spending for 4 months. Unlimited?
Seriously? The budget is at the Republican’s low number, including the
You think disaster relief for Colorado is stuffing some politician’s pocket?
How about helping the people who lost everything? You don’t think the federal
government should honor its commitment to pay back the states for covering
operating expenses of Fed parks during the shutdown? Boy, that is being a good
trustworthy partner in a business deal.
You think it is wrong to pay the employees laid off by something totally out
of their control, due to some whacky BS going on in DC? Seriously? Including the
many employees that worked without paychecks for this time? Wow.
The money for Kentucky was simply money to finish a project. It was already
approved in both Houses of Congress. But as I am sure you must know, I takes two
approvals from both houses to actually spend money approved by budget or other
authority. This was simply the second approval.
I don’t know all the details about the benefits to the widow. If it is a
benefit that goes to all widows, that sounds like a contractual commitment, just
like the government has to many of us, and we expect them to honor it, no matter
the case, or the net worth of the recipient. However, again, I don’t know all
the facts in this case, so I will refrain from illogical and uninformed rants.
From: Office of the Chief [mailto:Office_of_the_Chief.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us]
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 07:49 AM
To: ALL FS <ALL_FS.FSNOTES@mci.fs.fed.us>
Subject: Chief's Message for All Employees
We're Glad You're Back!
After three tumultuous weeks, the vast majority of our workforce-more than
25,000 of you!-have finally returned to your offices and work units today to
resume your jobs as stewards of our nation's forests and grasslands.
Thank you for your patience! And to employees who performed excepted work
activities during the shutdown: Thank you for your service!
On behalf of the citizens you serve, on behalf of your fellow colleagues, and
on my own personal behalf, I am so glad we are all back! This recent furlough
represents one of the most perplexing experiences I have witnessed in my 35
years of service. The idea of stopping our work and largely neglecting our
mission just goes against our core values, and I fully share your frustration.
The shutdown came at a time when most of us were gearing up for a new fiscal
year of work. It took enormous discipline to be able to focus on matters related
to the shutdown while the rest of our work was going undone. The hardships
created by the shutdown for the personal well-being of our employees were and
continue to be enormous.
Despite what you have endured, please know that Americans value your public
service. The vast majority of your fellow citizens empathized with you during
the work stoppage, as evidenced by unanimous congressional approval of
legislation to restore pay for furloughed federal workers. For some, that might
be meager comfort, considering the backlog of work we now face or worries about
missed payments for tuition, mortgages, and car loans. In this tough economic
climate, however, it's reassuring to see such widespread support for public
service and for the work we do.
The shutdown reminded the nation that all of us are essential to fulfilling
our mission, to providing stewardship for our nation's forests and grasslands,
and to furnishing so many critical services that Americans want and need. To be
sure, some of our employees were able to continue performing excepted activities
allowed by law, despite the lapse of funding; but the shutdown showed that it
really takes all of us to fulfill our mission and to meet our responsibilities
to the American people.
Now is the time for all of us to get back to work-to show the value of the
U.S. Forest Service in caring for the National Forests and Grasslands and to
demonstrate the critical role we play in helping to sustain all of our nation's
While there is an urgent need for us to quickly get back to work, a
successful start-up must also be a safe start-up. Fortunately, many of our units
continued to have our fire and law enforcement personnel on the job throughout
the shutdown. Nevertheless, please take a few simple steps as you get back to
- Take the time to assess your vehicles, your office settings, and your
entire work environment to ensure that you are safe to begin work.
- Set and follow priorities. We cannot catch up on three weeks of missed
work overnight. I know we will be able to make up some of the work we
missed, but I also recognize that our accomplishments for the year will be
reduced. In the short term, we need to focus on mitigating impacts to
communities and helping our contractors get back to work. Please follow the
start-up guidance that you will get from your units.
- We will be posting on the Intranet and providing through email
information related to many of your questions, for example regarding
computer password expirations, timesheet reporting, back pay, and so forth.
Please be patient! It will take us several days to provide answers to all of
Once again, thank you for everything you do! And welcome back!
THE WHITE HOUSE
October 17, 2013
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United
Two and a half weeks ago, on the day that much of our Government shut down, I
wrote you to
express my appreciation for the work you do on behalf of the American people
every day, and to
convey my commitment to getting you back on the job as quickly as possible.
Today, I am writing to simply say: Welcome back. Thank you for your service.
Whether you have been working without pay, or you were forced to stay home
without pay, I
know it has been a frustrating and stressful few weeks for you and your
families. It should
never have happened. You should never have been treated this way. So I hope it
some solace that you will be paid in full for what you should have earned since
I want to remind you, again, that the public service you perform-the role you
play in the life of
our country-it is important. It matters. You defend our country overseas and
benefits our troops have earned when they come home. You help folks after a
guard our borders and protect our civil rights. You keep our food and our
workplaces safe, and
protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. You help businesses expand
and enter new
markets. You push the very boundaries of science and space, and guide hundreds
of people each day through the glory of America's natural wonders.
I know that some of your efforts and hard work have been halted or harmed by
But now that the Government is open for business again, let us throw ourselves
back into it. We
have work to do, and the American people are counting on us to get it right.
Those of us who have the privilege of serving this country may come from
different parties, but
we are Americans first. Each of us has specific responsibilities we are charged
with carrying out
on behalf of the American people, and we have an obligation to do it the best we
can. I look
forward to working with all of you to make sure we meet the high expectations of
You forgot to add all the little expenses and PORK our representatives threw as
soon as they knew the bill was going to be passed and signed last night, that's
why it was late being signed. They tossed I believe $400,000,000 to fix the
flooded roads in Colorado. A payment to all the states that kept some National
Parks open. Legislation to pay all the government workers for their unplanned
time off. There was a Congressional leader that died last year (had a net worth
of $66,000,000), they felt his wife needed a little help so they gave her a
$174,000 for some unknown reason. Then the top 3 leaders including, Mitch
McConnell, that turned the vote got $5,000,000,000 to support their states. The
president got unlimited no cap spending on the deficit for four months. Those
were just a few I could remember. That's why they can afford to pay fire folks
what they are worth, they are still too busy stuffing their own pockets and
showing little concern for our national debt.
This is a historical day...
I'm glad the self-imposed and EXTREMELY COSTLY
Fiscal Cliff debacle was averted, at least in part, and that the Federal
Government Shutdown is over, at least for 90 days. To put it all in firefighter
terms, what a self-inflicted CLUSTER this was, costing 24 BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
To all our federal government employees who were furloughed or worked
without pay and suffered during the shutdown, please accept my apologies on
behalf of the American Public. You do good and necessary work. THANK YOU!
I know it will take a number of you some time to recover financially. Working
without pay or the assurance of basic safety net procedures in the case of
injury or death is stressful to say the least.
To our private sector contractor supporters in fire and otherwise,
please accept my apologies for the shutdown and threat of a fiscal cliff on
behalf of the American Public. None of us realize how widespread and deleterious
is the ripple of suffering until the government is shut down as it was.
What else is there to do moving forward from here? Oh yes, check how
congressional representatives voted and if it wasn't to your liking, make a
big noise in your communications to them via email, comments on their website or
via telephone message. Be involved and get them to work toward a budget NOW.
It's time to reassert that we live in a democracy and that democracies can
Several surprises for me...
Can you explain to me why you would want them to credit A/L or S/L that would
have been used during the furlough? If they vote to pay the furloughed employees
then they will all get admin leave (66) and will still have their A/L and S/L to
use at their choice. It doesn't make sense to me to have them use their leave
when they are going to get paid anyway. We have an employee that had his leave
scheduled for Oct. 1 through Oct. 14. He went on the planned vacation, but
because of the furlough will be credited as admin leave because of the lockout
caused by our dysfunctional government.
State of Alaska Firefighters seek reclassification:
Hello fellow firefighters,
The following article was in the Fairbanks, AK newspaper regarding how State of
Alaska wildland firefighters are classified and given benefits in the State
system. It was written by one of our firefighters. We have a number of the same
issues that our Fed brothers have and are fighting to change things.
newsminer.com: Reclassify wildland firefighters
Please help us by posting a comment in support of our efforts to gain the
classification and recognition we all deserve.
ASC contact for medical emergencies: MESSAGE THREAD
To: Steve (Schlientz),
There have been no catastrophic injuries reported. Our OWCP staff do not
normally work 24/7 because employees do not need HRM or OWCP approval for
immediate treatment of injuries. Injured employees who need medical attention
should seek medical attention as per previous FS-wide letters and our web pages
regarding the injury reporting process. Employees should seek medical attention
from an ER as they take all insurances which will bill DOL-OWCP.
Lynne is receiving and responding to calls for injuries of excepted
employees. She is currently half way through the calls that came in this morning
and because it was a long weekend, the inbox on the gov’t cell phone did fill up
but has since been cleared. Calls are being addressed in the order they are
When an injury occurs, the employee and supervisor complete the CA-1 claim
for traumatic injury form in SHIPs, which must be printed and sign by both the
employee and supervisor and faxed to our office for processing to DOL-OWCP.
The only difference during
furlough is that the CA-1 form must be emailed to Lynne Smith.
Once the CA-1 has been processed and submitted to DOL-OWCP, it is currently
taking about one week to be assigned a claim number. The employee and/or
supervisor will be provided a claim number to provide the medical provider.
CA-16 Authorization for Examination and/or Treatment does not have to be
provided at the time of treatment. A CA-16 can be requested and issued to
medical provider within 48 hours or the first business day after an injured
employee sought medical treatment. Also, a CA-16 may be issued to a medical
provider up to seven days from date of injury should employee need to seek
I hope this explanation is helpful. Unfortunately, we are limited as to what
work can be done during the shutdown. Just hope that we'll be back in business
MARY BETH LEPORE
Director, Human Resources Management
U.S. Forest Service, USDA
To: Larry (Sutton),
Please see the trailing email
from HR Director and get the word out to the Fire Directors.
- Our OWCP staff do not normally work 24/7 because
employees do not need HRM
or OWCP approval for immediate treatment of injuries.
- When an injury occurs, the employee and supervisor complete the CA-1
claim for traumatic injury form in SHIPs, which must be printed and signed
by both the employee and supervisor and faxed to our office for processing
to DOL-OWCP. The only
difference during furlough is that the CA-1 form must be emailed to Lynne
- Attached is
April 2010 policy announcing the cessation of OWCP after
hours cell phone (57 K pdf)
Can someone explain to me... If we are keeping track of overtime and
hazard pay to be paid retroactively...then why wouldn't you use A/L or S/L
The same way ?
Yarnell Discussion on the Hotlist
Yarnell and 10 Standard Orders:
It's unfortunate that the vaguely defined
10 are called Standard Fire Orders and have been classified by
lawyers, and as a result of 30-mile, as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),
violations of which can then be used to put firefighters in jail. LCES
are not so classified and can be more easily discussed.
How do we develop a Just Culture, a Lessons Learned Culture, if
experienced and inexperienced firefighterfollowing tragedy
must fear they will be jailed for something occurring in a quickly changing and
uncertain fire environment or falling snag situation?
People are human with different levels of experience, of innate
"situational awareness" and ability to react in a fire environment. They can't
notice, perceive and react quickly enough to avoid death EVERY TIME, even if
Communications are completely clear. Remember the wedge of decreasing options
over time that's taught in Leadership Classes? Options decline over time and
time is of the essence.
Monday morning QB analysis ALWAYS shows that one or more of the ambiguous 10
Fire Orders have been violated. (This is always true if lawyers are trying to
find someone to blame.)
We're in a fix. How do we redefine the 10 as Standard Operating
Guidelines (SOGs) and not cause for legal suits or placing blame, but
guidelines for what wildland firefighters can learn for the future.
The 18 Watchouts are Guidelines, not Procedures.
Why not just rename the 10? 10 Standard Firefighting Guidelines
(but qualify that they can still allow individuals and crews to decline an
After reading the Yarnell report, I too agree with Reality Check. As
sad as this event was, I felt the report danced all around the 10 and 18! I
understand why they would do this for the firemen, there was no need to assign
blame it was a tragedy, but it doesn't help current and future firefighters
reading the report, as far as lessons learned goes to avoid the basics.
When, where and why did the 10 an 18 come from and why is so much emphasis
placed on them! To try to save lives. Think of your personal close calls on the
fireline and why it was a close call. I bet every time it will have something to
do with not paying attention to the 10 and 18.
UI and excepted employment
You are going to get paid for your work along with those that are not working.
There is a question during applying for UI that says “did you work?" (
whether you were paid or not). You will answer yes. That will throw a monkey
wrench into the process and things will get balled up.
For those who have filed UI and are on furlough they will have to pay any UI
$$$ UI back, if they get a check, that also will be a headache. Is this not
UI and excepted employment
555 - Per your unemployment question, here is what
I was told today when I went to file unemployment. Disclaimer: This is for
Michigan only and only based on what I was told at the UIA office. I saw nothing
in writing to confirm or deny this.
I was told that when I do the weekly certification saying whether or not I have
worked, looked for jobs, etc, that I had to tell them how many days/hours I
worked and how much I earned. I was told that it did not matter when I was going
to get paid, if I worked and earned money I had to report it. I explained to the
unemployment employee about the furlough, back pay, etc and if I had to report
the days i was eligible to receive back pay. She said specifically, if I report
to work and physically work X number of hours, I had to report those X hours and
how much I earned. IF you say you didn't work then they can/will come after you
for fraud should they ever find out.
Those that do not report to work and end up getting back pay (assuming the bill
passes) do not have to claim those hours/pay amounts on their unemployment. One
other thing to remember, all unemployment paid out for days/weeks that one does
get back pay for will have to be paid back. So, what this means is that if you
are excepted and report to work, you have to report all those hours and will
most likely not get any unemployment. A pretty raw deal for those of us that
have to keep working and not get paid.
Paid leave, etc
Q12. May excepted employees take previously approved paid
leave during a furlough caused by a lapse in appropriations--i.e., a "shut-down"
or "emergency" furlough? May excepted employees be granted new requests for paid
leave during the lapse in appropriations? A. No. When an employee is not at work
and performing the duties determined by the employing agency to be allowable
activities in compliance with the Antideficiency Act, he or she cannot be in a
paid leave status. Therefore, agencies must take one of the following actions:
(1) cancel any approved paid leave during the furlough and/or deny any new
requests for paid leave; or
(2) furlough the employee for the period of the employee's absence from duty. An
agency may subsequently terminate the furlough whenever the employee's services
are required for excepted activities.
In other words (or at least how I am interpreting this with my employees)...Paid
leave is not an option while furlough is in effect. That does not mean there can
not be excused absences. Each absence is approved or not on a case by case
basis. TC 74 is entered for the time absent and in remarks actual hours worked
or not worked are entered as well as the reason for absence. When this is all
over we will do corrected T&A's. At that time you can enter 61 or 62.
Technically, an excused absence during a furlough is furlough (TC 74) and if the
absence is unexcused it is AWOL. Remember, management has the ability to tell
you when you are excused from work. Even during normal times. They also have the
ability to furlough you even though you are part of the fire group. READ #2
Each time I went back to re- read the Yarnell report I felt like a
hound returning to eat its own vomit, the report was non committal, vague,
subjective and obviously written to avoid any legal issues that would have
arisen… say if the investigation team were to have come up with some real
conclusions and solid recommendations. Did the team ever consider that at a
minimum the fire orders and eighteen situations were based on the untimely
deaths of firefighters, and to disregard those proven engagement protocol in the
report might dishonor those firefighters? Did they ever think that the Granite
Mountain Hotshots and their families might be honored to have their deaths
prevent the deaths of fellow firefighters in the future…. I believe so.. why?
Because as firefighters, that is the way we roll! ……Yarnell investigation team.
I’m hoping that there will be a second investigation, a real one. In the
meantime I’m hoping that each fire module does their own investigation and
really learn something from this horrible tragedy, I plan on posting ours on
this sight when it is complete, and we aint pulling no punches//./,;l. I for one
won’t let these young hero’s or hero’s past die in vain.
I (as a manager) have people asking me questions about the furlough and I
cannot not answer them. Can anyone out there help out with this question?
As an ‘excepted’ employee during this furlough (working but not getting paid),
are we entitled to unemployment?
I don't know anything about this organization, but was sent this link from a
They supposedly might be able to help with emergency loans to Fed employees hit
by the furlough.
Status of the Furlough Compensation Bill 3223:
The House passed
HR 3223 (41 K pdf) for back pay by 407-0.
They listened to us in 2008 to the tune of 25 million to bring up our
retention rates. We were right and it worked. Feinstein, the rest of the Senate,
the House and POTUS all agreed to retention funding. They did this even though
on April 1, 2008 the Forest Service said we didn't need it.
They listen, MJ. They listened last year with health benefits for temporary
Fed Wildland Firefighters. The examples over the years are there.
We just need to pick our battles correctly and this is the right battle.
So Cal Ridges.
Remembering Ace Barton
One of the high points of my 45 fire seasons was one afternoon I spent with Ace
at his home in Riggens Idaho.
It was July of 1989 and I was a three year FBAN
on a fire team that was assigned to a complex of fires in Hells Canyon. The
Nezperce forest dispatcher recommended a forest retiree (Ace) as a source of
information about fire behavior in the canyon. Our finance section was able to
hire him as a consultant for the complex.
He was a very gracious man, showing me through his home with the many
mementos and telling the stories from his time growing up on the Sheep Creek
Ranch and his career of over 30 years on the old Salmon River Ranger District.
Most of that time as the Fire Control Officer.
There were a lot of other fires going in the region and our complex was at
the bottom of the priority list because it was in wilderness. We did not have
any helicopters assigned and looked like it was going to be awhile before we
would get one. One of the most remote of our fires was going unstaffed until we
could get a helicopter to shuttle a crew in to it.
Ace was a wealth of knowledge about everything that works and doesn't work
fighting fire in Hells Canyon. It had been several days and we were still
waiting for a helicopter. I told him about the unstaffed fire and his reply was,
"Well, when that burned in '51 we walked the crew in from Riggens and it only
took three days".
Thanks for the memories. Ab.
Bottomline. There is no leave. If you're sick, you code
transaction code 74 in paycheck. Same for AL.
I had the fortune of reading
Ace Barton's obituary this afternoon, and I encourage anyone else who has
the opportunity to do the same. Though I did not know him, I found his story
especially poignant given the current situation in Washington. Mr. Barton served
his country and community with bravery and integrity, and without the promise of
fame, fortune, campaign donations, or even public recognition.
This is undoubtedly a depressing era for public servants. In recent years,
government employees have been a frequent target of the media, the public, and
even our own leadership. At a time when many employees have been deemed
“non-essential” or have been forced to work with no promise of timely pay, Ace’s
story was a pleasant reminder of the impact that exceptional civil servants can
Hear, Hear. Ab.
cartoon / poster of Smokey Bear came in on 10/4:
Hi Ab, been awhile since
you've heard from me. But I thought you might like to share this photo, in light
of the current furloughs.
(just a WFF wife)
Sad statement. Ab.
66 Q&A about govt shutdown
What do you think about the answer to #63?
63. Would federal employees get paid retroactively, even if they didn't work?
Maybe. Congress granted retroactive pay to furloughed workers after the
shutdowns of the mid-1990s, but that wouldn't necessarily happen again. "I
believe this time is going to be much different. This is a much different
Congress than the 1995 Congress," said Cox, federal employee union president.
"I'm not sure that they'd even want to go back and pay the people who worked."
66 questions and answers about the government shutdown
And this from October 1, 2013: iPhone guy, this might answer some of your
FS Questions & Answers on Furlough
About leave and the shutdown:
Read the OPM 'Guidance For Shutdown furloughs". September 2013 version.
It just came out before this furlough. It explains all about why Annual, Sick,
comp, and religious leave are shut off in furloughs.
It sucks, but these are the rules set by OPM and the Govt. The FS is not
"threatening" you with the law, just explaining it to you.
I need to take leave myself in the next week, as I'm trying to move. OPM doesn't
care about that, either, and I have over 25 years in myself.
As for the FS pushing back, it doesn't work when it's Congress and the POTUS.
They don't listen to us.
Im a Angeles National Forest, forestry technician employee (Firefighter).
Wondering if other permanent and seasonal fire employees are being threatened
with personnel action if they take pre authorized A/L (annual Leave), sick
leave, or ask to be furloughed to seek outside employment to get a check.
What does "excepted employee" mean? We're not getting paid either (pay
stopped OCT. 1st) we just have to come to work and hit the fire line in the peak
of Santa Ana season for free with the assumption we will get paid eventually.
I am a dedicated employee to the USFS. I have given this agency everything I
got in the last ten years. I would like to see/or hear that upper management is
pushing back to the Washington Office, and let them know exactly what is being
asked of use.
Hope Govt. comes to a decision sooner than latter.
Sent from my iPhone
Appears federal shutdown delaying widows ability to start applying for benefits;
it will be more than a week before she can start to apply for benefits due to
www.kob.com/article/stories/S3182761.shtml?cat=504 (watch the video)
Fundraiser helps family of fallen firefighter when updated on 10/5.
On Saturday night, people in Jemez Springs organized a spaghetti dinner
fund-raiser for Hiedi Adams, the widow of fallen firefighter Token Adams,
and her family.
They cooked up food for hundreds of people -- who all came together to help
the Adams family heal.
Some who came knew Token Adams, the Forest Service firefighter who died on
the job in August.
Others knew his line of work.
They donated ten dollars for the dinner.
Some made larger donations. There was also a silent auction and a bake sale,
and people brought gifts for the kids.
"My wife and I have been wildland firefighters and a loss like this affects
us too and were all part of the same family," attendee Robert Baron.
Proceeds will help Hiedi Adams and her two young children move to Maine to
live with relatives.
"It'll help her heal because [here], everywhere she looks she sees him,"
organizer Sue Anderson said. (more at the link...)
Ace Barton Memorial
Please post for those who knew AceBarton.
Ace served as FMO on the Salmon River RD of the NPF for many years. He was
Incident Commander of the River Rat Team which was used exclusively for staffing
fires in the Snake and Salmon River Breaks on the Nezperce, Payette and
Wallowa-Whitman NF's. He was ahead of time recognizing fire as a natural
process rather than an emergency and prescribed burned thousands of acres
annually with just a few firefighters.
I have met a few old timers over the years who tell the story of being assigned
to fires in the breaks and having Ace ride up the fireline on his mule with a
cigar in his mouth. He would stop to encourage crews, complement their work and
ask if there was anything they needed.
He was a humble leader of firefighters, war hero, and served three terms as
Mayor after Forest Service retirement. He did not run for the last term but was
a unanimous write-in candidate.
Thanks, Ken S
Ralph (Ace) Barton Tribute
Sierra Hotshot Superintendent is Retiring!!!
40 years of service on the fire line!!
When: January 19, 2014
@ 4:00pm/Dinner 5:00
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall
RSVP: By December 1,2013 to
or 559-321-4182 Brian Grossman
$25.00 a person (payable to Brian Grossman)
Send to: 1150 3rd st
Clovis Ca, 93612
Blocks of rooms are set aside at the following hotels in Clovis CA. Make
reservations by DEC. 25th to ensure yours:
Homewood Suites 559-292-4004
Hampton Inn & Suites 559-338-0000
Comfort Suites. 559-299-9992
Fairfield Inn & Suites. 559-323-8080
Best Western. 559-299-1547
*PLEASE Share your stories and pictures by October 31,2013. Send to
Any questions please contact:
Re: Child Support Deductions
This question points to my most recent
experience, 27 years as a child support administrator. First and most important
for both the payor and receiver of child support: Call the Child Support Officer
assigned to your case and explain what is going on. State agencies know about
the furloughs and may even have policies to deal with. However they may not
automatically know who is affected. The standard legal line is that the NCP is
required to meet monthly child support obligation regardless of what the govt
does because the child support order requires it. However, your state may have
developed some work arounds so it is important to call. If you are to receive
child support, you won't receive it until your state does. If there is nothing
to take it from, such as a pay check, you won't receive it. License suspension
won't result in child support and neither will liens. Again, you ought to call
your assigned child support officer too. I am familiar with Washington rules and
policies but each state is different.
Travel Reimbursement and Govt Shutdown
Don't know how many of us are in this
situation, but as one who accepted a fire assignment back in August I now am
still waiting for my travel reimbursement, only to find it is stuck in the
government shutdown. Got home Sept 6, turned in my "travel information sheet"
(the USFS doesn't let us ADs prepare our travel vouchers ourselves) on Sept 9,
and was finally told Sept 29 my reimbursement had been delayed because of an
"obligation problem" and would be processed after Oct 1 when they would again
have access to the government travel system. When your friends and family talk
about how the government ought to get rid of all those "non-essential"
employees, remind them that many important support positions are, in fact,
needed to support the "essential" employees.
Still an AD, but not sure how much longer!
Photo gallery of Mark Urban's memorial service:
Unintended consequences of Federal Government Shutdown
on the Hotlist
CA - Darin Steffey has died:
I am sorry to report that we lost one of our own
last night. Darin Steffey, Senior Firefighter - Engine 45, Descanso RD, was
fatally injured off-duty. We understand that Darin was on his way home after
work when he was struck by another vehicle while riding his motorcycle along
Buckman Springs Road. Please keep Darin in your thoughts and hearts; as well as
his family, friends and co-workers. Information regarding his services will be
provided when available.
* * *
Forest Fire Chief - Cleveland NF
Firefighter's Child Support Deductions from the
For any firefighters supporting their children via a payroll
deduction, you may want to contact your governing agency.
Since there is no guarantee of being paid at this time, your child support will
also not get paid. In many states this could result in a suspension of your
drivers license which to some is required for their employment.
Our local agency is working with us on the issue, but if we hadn't contacted
them it could have been an unforeseen problem.
I hope this information is helpful.
CA - Fire Weather 2013 on the Hotlist
SoCal Santa Ana Winds...
MAKING THE ROUNDS
From Chief Tom Tidwell:
USDA Forest Service National
Closure Order (502 K pdf)
DOI Contingency Plan Fact Sheet
Plans for Operations in the Absence of Appropriations (~BLM,
Appreciation for what you do: Thanks Forest Service, BLM, NPS, FWS. BIA
making the rounds...
Message from the President to U.S. Government Employees:
October 1, 2013
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United States Government:
The Federal Government is America’s largest employer, with more than 2 million
civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military who serve in all 50 States
and around the world.
But Congress has failed to meet its responsibility to pass a budget before the
fiscal year that begins today. And that means much of our Government must shut
down effective today.
I want you to know that I will keep working to get Congress to reopen the
Government, restart vital services that the American people depend on, and allow
public servants who have been sent home to return to work. At my direction, your
agencies should have reached out to you by now about what a shutdown means for
you and your families.
Today, I wanted to take a moment to tell you what you mean to me—and to our
That begins by saying thank you for the work you do every day—work that is
vitally important to our national security and to American families’ economic
security. You defend our country overseas and ensure that our troops receive the
benefits they deserve when they come home. You guard our borders and protect our
civil rights. You help small businesses expand and gain new footholds in
overseas markets. You guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the
glory of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Statue of
Liberty. And much more.
You do all this in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has
treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay
freeze, harmful sequester cuts, and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet,
you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion,
professionalism, and skill.
None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more
difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans
to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of
Public service is noble. Public service is important. And by choosing public
service, you carry on a proud tradition at the heart of some of this country’s
greatest and most lasting achievements. In fact, more than 50 current or former
Federal employees have received the Nobel Prize for their efforts. It was grants
from the Department of Energy that helped businesses unlock new sources of
renewable energy, and from the National Science Foundation that helped
entrepreneurs like the founders of Google change the world. It is your efforts
that will help this country meet the great challenge of our time—rebuilding an
economy where all who work hard can get ahead.
So while the budget fights in Washington are too often partisan, your service to
the country must never be. As one of my predecessors, President George H.W.
Bush, once said, “There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country
and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that is what our system of
self-government depends on.”
This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened. And the
House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and
funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly
controversial and partisan measures in the process.
Hopefully, we will resolve this quickly. In the meantime, I want you to
know—whether you are a young person who just joined public service because you
want to make a difference, or a career employee who has dedicated your life to
that pursuit—you and your families remain at the front of my mind. Your agency
leaders and I will continue to defend your work at a time when that work has
rarely been more important. We will continue to work with your agencies to keep
you and your families apprised and informed of what is happening. And I will
continue to do everything in my power to get the House of Representatives to
allow our Government to reopen as quickly as possible, and make sure you receive
the pay that you have earned.
Thank you, again, for your service, your sacrifice, and everything you do every
day for this country we love so much.
As Senator McCain said, "Elections have consequences". In 2012 the majority of
Americans voted to keep the man whose signature accomplishment was signing into
law the Affordable Care Act. The signer, the president, won by 5 million votes.
Americans decided to keep the majority of Senators who supported it as well.
After a hard and difficult summer where House Members spoke repeatedly about our
hard work on behalf of this nation, they throw away our ability to work, like we
Email moderate Republicans today who don't approve of what their party is
doing and ask them to stand with us or go stand with the extreme elements of the
Republican party. Tell them hard-working federal and non-federal employees are
not working today due to the actions of the House of Representatives. Elections
Not just Federal employees.
Across the nation, non-federal employees in the private sector are being laid
off as federal contracts come to a halt during this shutdown. The food and
souvenir stands next to the Statue of Liberty and other federal sites throughout
America. Timber and other forest related contracts throughout the nation. My
guess is on my Forest alone, 12 private businesses have had their contracts
stopped and laid off employees, including our janitor contractors.
Email The Speaker of the House and tell him how this shutdown is affecting
private businesses and hard working Americans everywhere. Demand that he have a
vote on a clean, rider-less, CR at current funding levels.
Tell him Tuesday November 4, 2014 will be here soon.
Republicans are trying to fund the National Park Service and not the Forest
Service this evening! Huh, that seems odd? Oh that’s right, they’re Republicans.
NWS Offices / Websites in light of shutdown & Predicted Santa Ana Wind event
late Thurs, 10/3.
Hotlist from Wx_Guy
DOI Contingency Plan for operations in the absence of FY 2014 Appropriations
All fire and fuels employees in R5 have been ordered to stay at work,
they will not be getting furloughed at this point. However at 1200 hours today
we have to watch our friends and non-coworkers leave the building and not return
until this is over.
It is my hope that those furloughed employees receive back pay for this is no
fault of their own. They should not be punished due to partisan battles in DC
that have nothing to do with Forest Service funding levels.
Talking points for supervisors (23 K pdf)
Contingency plan for FS close down procedures (131 K pdf)
Direction for operation of rec, forest mgmt, etc (18 K pdf)
OPM guidance for shutdown furloughs (827 K pdf)
Our national parks, forests, wildlands, monuments that are shut down:
123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park from Google (jpg)
Wow I guess ppl are more worried about other things.... than getting
But I know most of state I'm in is getting furloughed and it's the
firefighters among the regular government employees that are getting
furloughed ... Ohh ya were just " Range Techs"... so guess we are deemed
nonessential....... sure would be nice if we had a correct "Job
Classification" ... after all we train like fire fighters, wear fire gear,
drive firetrucks, use fire lingo, and we the wildland fire community, as fire
fighters, die in the line of duty... while fighting wildfires. Sorry about my
rant... just wanted to express my feelings.
Yarnell Hill Final Report:
To L: I did read the report and found that LCES was
mentioned but not highlighted. I feel that the problems that I had stated with
the decision to move out of the black should have been emphasized more, as LCES
and the 10 Standard Orders were what had lived by during my career (check out
orders 2, 5, 7 and 10). Make no mistake, I don't think blame should be applied
in this situation. There is a difference in applying blame and acknowledging
that mistakes were made. There are 19 dead individuals that prove mistakes were
made. I think exposing what those mistakes were can be very productive and be
done without applying blame.
I have heard statements involving human factors and how the decision making
process can break down during a stressful situation. I agree this could be the
case, but to be honest, it is hard for me to imagine that the crew was that
stressed out after being in the black all day long. On the contrary, I think
there may have been pressure on them to leave that black and engage in
suppression (in their willingness to be effective).
To Mr. S: I know that they had view of the fire while they were moving, but at
some point they lost that view. I believe you may be accurate in your thought
that the perceived urgency of structure protection could have prompted the
decision to move... but we will never know for sure.
Saw a post on TheySaid today about LCES and the Yarnell Hill Fire
investigation report. Anyone who actually reads the report will see that pages
50-57 contain an in-depth discussion of LCES. Thought you might want to point
that out to your readers!
In response to DR's comment on LCES...
DR, your message was my first thought after hearing the crew had left the black
and started towards the Boulder Springs Ranch, but after reading the report I
had to question my initial assessment.
See the section page 30, titled "Granite Mountain Crew Movement, 1605-1642".
While they were moving along the two track road (in the green) they could see
the fire. Its direction of spread appeared to be away form the crew, or parallel
(4th bullet, top of page 37). At this point, they still had eyes on the fire and
it may not have appeared to be an immediate threat.
Once they dropped down from the two track road and started to bush whack through
the chaparral, it's clear they lost sight of the fire. This is also when the
outflow winds hit, changing the fire's rate and direction of spread. At this
point, they may have been operating on outdated knowledge.
After reading the report I found myself asking two questions about the actions
of the crew.
- Yes, the winds drove the fire into the opposite ends of the deployment
bowl, trapping the crew. But, wouldn't they have noticed the winds and
shifting smoke before the flames were visible? If so, why didn't they radio
for an update on its location, and direction/rate of spread?
- Is it possible the culture of crew was more focused on structure
protection than most IHCs? I can't imagine what another hand crew would have
done to help protect the town of Yarnell. By all descriptions, it was not
BTW, I was on the same crew as you. I came on the year after the Dude fire,
and moved on to another path a couple of years later.
Hope you are well, Mr. S.
Below is the link to the 24-Hour Preliminary Report for the Smith's Prairie
Smokejumper Fatality. Please see that it receives wide distribution within your
agency. When available, other investigation documents, specifically the 72-Hour
Report and the final Factual Report will be posted on the Wildland Fire Lessons
Learned Center database for incident reports and lessons learned analyses
[Ab Note: The Lessons learned Center has migrated to a new server and
setup. Unknown if that's the reason, but this link does not work.]
To view this Bulletin go to:
SB - 20130927 - 24hr Smokejumper Fatality.pdf (57 K pdf)
also, sadly, new page:
Always Remember Mark Urban
A reminder about radio programming for Wildfire. This summer I ran across quite
a few people on Incidents not having Air Guard on the last channel in the radio,
this is a major safety infraction. The Users also did not know why it was
important or its use. It is located in the last channel so that in an emergency
(without looking) you can turn the channel knob until it stops and it will be
ready to use on Air Guard. It is monitored at all times by all aircraft on an
National Air Guard - 168.625 MHz - A National Interagency Air Guard frequency
for government aircraft will be used for emergency aviation communications.
Continuous monitoring of this frequency in narrowband mode is mandatory by
agency dispatch centers. Transmitters on this frequency must be equipped with an
encoder on 110.9 Hz. 168.625 is restricted to the following use:
emergency contact and coordination.
· Ground-to-air emergency contact.
· Initial call, recall, and re-direction of aircraft when no other contact
frequency is available
The Senate just approved a "clean" Emergency Spending Bill. Now it goes to the
House. Hopefully Boehner will put the clean bill to the House for a vote that
would avoid midnight government shutdown (and continued checks for our wildland
firefighter and our military families and stability of our economy) and would
insure that the USA pays our bills in spite of any politics.
from the Ab account, making the rounds:
Another Yarnell report due by year-end
A second government report examining the Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19
Prescott hotshots, should be completed by year’s end, but the Arizona Division
of Occupational Safety and Health is offering no insight as to what its report
“This is still an ongoing investigation: ADOSH is unable to comment on ongoing
investigations, which can take as long as six months to complete,” agency
spokeswoman Rachel Brockway said in a statement issued Friday.
The agency is responsible for investigating workplace injuries to determine
whether safety rules and regulations were violated. It can issue citations to
employers whose safety violations result in worker injuries or deaths. Fines
range up to $7,000. (Much more at the link...)
Federal firefighters and others (military, etc) do not want a
shutdown of government, regardless of political party. This is an issue that is
relevant to our wildland firefighting force. It important to contact our
representatives, and be a part of the political process on issues relevant to
federal wildland firefighters.
Speaker of the House contact info: 202-225-6205; or 202-225-0600; or
Contact message page
Yarnell Hill Final Report:
Why is the 1000lb gorilla in the room not
identified in the final investigation, or on the "They Said" website?
I was on the Dude Fire in 1990 as foreman of another IHC and Paul Gleason had
said the best way to honor a firefighter who has died is to learn from his
mistakes. I paraphrase of course, but that was the gist of it. He also, as we
all know, developed the LCES as a result of the effect that fire had on him.
The Granite Mtn. Crew was in good black on that fire and after their lookout
reached a "trigger point" to bail, whoever was calling the shots for the crew
decided to leave that safety zone with the whole crew and travel with no posted
lookout across unburned ground, during "trigger point" conditions to another
safety zone that they had not walked to and therefore did not know how long it
would take to get to.
This is what happened way back during the Loop Fire when the El Cariso shots
decided to traverse a "short" section of fire to tie in their line...as opposed
to hiking out the long way and constructing a more indirect route. We know what
happened then in 1967. Paul Gleason was there as well.
Pay and Benefits for Federal Employees
If you can, please email the office of the Speaker of the House and ask him
for a vote on a clean Continuing Resolution that funds the government at current
levels, including sequester cuts. Tell him that due to the commitments of this
job, many Federal Firefighters are one income families. After the CR is
approved, he and his caucus can then sit down and negotiate their number 1
priority of taking health care away from 30 million Americans.
our stance on "fighting" wildfires
We have a discussion going on certain human
caused ignitions and the push to limit these. And ultimately folks on both sides
are sincerely trying to find a path that exposes people to less risk while
maintaining the natural condition of the forests around us. This was on my mind
very much as I sat at my desk this morning, and looked up to see the quote from
John Muir "When you try to change any single thing, you find it hitched to
everything else in the universe."
And it occurs to me that our efforts and energies would be better spent
reconsidering our stance on "fighting" wildfires. Now, I know folks are
discussing this already, and we can all agree that things would be better if we
did more prescribed burning, and worked hard on other mitigation techniques. But
I don't think nationally we have sold the idea yet. And I think if we want to
see real improvement in firefighter safety, maybe we need to.
Consider the public outcry if I wanted to build a hotel, and in order to fit the
stables and outbuildings I wanted, I decided to move the natural bed of a river.
My plan is to dam up one branch of this river, make it flow 2 miles farther
East. How many permits, inspections, surveys, and plans would I have to file?
And even when I did these things how many lawsuits would I face from the Sierra
Club, The Nature Conservancy, and other groups? The outcry would be that I am
destroying the natural state of things. Likewise, if there were an animal that
was endangered on this land, who would have priority me with my hotel, or the
If I had a 10000 acre valley that I wanted to stop allowing any rain in,
(assuming that I had the means to control the weather), there would be no end to
the criticism I would receive. Everyone would be talking about how keeping out
this natural process will horrifically change the land. And that would just be
due to the obvious changes like the plants dying. It would take years for
scientist to fully understand what other impacts would follow. (Like sinkholes,
landslides, etc.) Everyone can agree how outrageous that effort would be, and
how strongly everyone would fight to keep it from happening. But that is exactly
what we are doing with natural fire.
We have not yet convinced the public that fire is a natural part of the Earth's
ecosystem. And we should. No matter how hard we try to limit sparks or sources
of ignition, fires will still occur. And as long as we are limiting them, they
will be more and more dramatic and dangerous.
So as to new initiatives that are focused on sources of ignitions, I still feel
that it is not the best use of our energies. We should be pushing programs like
Firewise, and prescribed burning that try to work WITH the natural cycle instead
of against it. No matter how you try to stop it, a river will flow. If you dam
it, it will flood around the bank until it finds a path to continue. Fire
belongs in the woods. And no matter how we work against it, it is going to be
there. So my stance is that we should be looking for those efforts that work
with fire and not against it.
Yarnell Hill Final Report
Why they left the safety of the black is the million
dollar question. Unfortunately, and this may well be unprecedented, there are
exactly 19 eyewitnesses to this decision, and none are still with us to answer
the burning question "why". We may truly never know.
Hotlist discussion thread with some excellent observations and comments. Ab.
AZ-A1S-Yarnell Hill Report
I haven't had a chance to read through the whole
report and I wasn't going to comment until I did, but I skimmed it and watched
the briefing video. I really don't think they blatantly broke any of the 10&18's
(also bearing in mind that on any given day on a fire we are probably violating
at least one of them). In fact, I think they were following many of them quite
well. They had established escape routes and safety zones, they were constantly
re-evaluating the situation, they had placed a lookout and established trigger
points, and they found a work around for the radio issue. They were fighting
fire aggressively but providing for safety first, just like they were taught to.
I happen to think too much emphasis is put on the "fight fire aggressively"
One thing that was alluded to was that they didn't heed the thunderstorm warning
as much as they should have. Most SAI Reports on burnovers tend to point the
finger at the deceased in the end, and this is actually somewhat different in
that respect. I'm sure they all had been on a fire with thunderstorms before
(like who hasn't?) and they made their decisions based on those past
experiences. This report seems to put more emphasis on asking why they didn't
give this more attention (human factors); rather than saying they simply ignored
it, or that they violated X,Y, and Z of the 10&18's. There's quite a long list
of folks from many Fed, State, and Local agencies, hotshot supes and various
SMEs who were involved in the investigation.
I will take a wagered guess that they left the black because they knew the fire
was picking up in intensity to the point where sheltering in the black was not
an option. The report says that the fire burned through their location at
roughly 2000 degrees. The black doesn't protect you from super heated gases and
I'm guessing they recognized that they needed to get out of there. They were
using their predetermined escape route to a safety zone but it was compromised.
We say "keep one foot in the black" but this only safe under certain conditions,
I'm sure once I read the full report and ponder it some there will be more to
get out of this- but I think the point here is that they did everything by the
book. They just didn't get lucky this time. I think more often than not it is
luck that there are not more burnovers and entrapments. We like to think that
it's because of our various learning tools and safety guidelines... but this was
inevitable for a lot of reasons. I know I've spoken with a lot of people, or
been in situations myself, where we recognized we simply got lucky that that
there was no wind shift, or extreme downdrafts with those afternoon
thunderstorms... or something. We have to accept that we're just simply not
going to win every time, no matter how safe we think we're doing it. You can do
everything right but s**t still happens. The only way to save lives under those
types of conditions is to simply not be there- and think that's what we should
learn from this.
Yarnell Hill Final Report
excerpt: Still puzzled as to why they left the
safety of the black.
Sierra hotshot supt Ken Jordan is retiring
Please please can you post. I'm
trying to get all the information out quickly!!!!
My superintendent is retiring. 40 years on the fire line, most all as a hotshot.
attached flyer (670 K pdf) has all the info .
Thanks for the info! Here's the text that goes with the photo:
Where: Clovis Veterans’ Hall, Clovis CA
When: Sunday, January 19, 2014,
6:00, Dinner served at 7:00 PM
Cost: $25.00 per person
Send money: 1150 3rd St. Clovis CA 93612
RSVP: by December 1, 2013
Also, to share your war stories and pictures of Ken’s 40 seasons on the
fireline please contact Brian Grossman by October 31 at:
RE: Heart of a FireFighter thread...
It is wonderful to see someone from the USFS W/O actually use the term
"Firefighter" when referring to those of us that either are in or have put in a
career with the FS in "Fire"... Seems the FS W/O folks only do that when one of
us gets killed in the line of duty...
Excellent work! Keep it up! Don't let "them" change the title to "Heart of a
Forestry or Range Technician"...
Gary Sinise donation
Gary Sinise (of Forrest Gump fame) is reported to have
donated $60,000 to the Black Hills Colorado area Fire Department to help with
their needs. He is quite active in assisting veterans organizations as well. A
Subject: Yarnell Hill Final Report
Hill Fire Final Report is now available on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned
website. Click to view the Final Report documents.
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
From MtEddy on the
Here is the official link to the Google Drive Document:
Arizona State Forestry Division Yarnell Hill Report
Please give this a thorough read through and help spread the word of the report.
I will be posting this to Facebook page and twitter as well!
Loss of a good man.
Death of SJ Mark Urban:
To the Overwhelmed Wildland Fire Community,
I need to get air miles donated so we can help get Mark's friends to Boise to be
with his family and jumper family.
Call, text, or email the following:
Your phone number
Your amount of points
Also any hotels points
Thanks you for helping with this labor of love.