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California Smokejumper Luke Sheehy was returned to Susanville this afternoon.
Good thoughts and prayers for all.
His memorial service in Redding is planned for Sunday, June 23 at 1PM at the
The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and
the fire community are invited.
Update: Latest on Saddle Back Incident Support for more details.
Dear "Still out there"
With all due respect, after dealing with Congress on a daily basis for nearly 20
years on behalf of federal firefighter issues, the last 10 exclusively on behalf
of federal wildland firefighters, if I've learned anything it is the reality
that politics plays a significant role in wildland firefighting. The reality is
that Congress is the "city Council" or "Board of supervisors" for federal
employees. As such, in order to effect change we have to pay attention to, and
be concerned with what politicians have to say or what they do with respect to
the wildfire program. Politicians in turn are driven by their voting
While you may not be concerned with what politicians know about wildland
firefighting, many of those the FWFSA represents are concerned because it is
those same politicians that have the power to effect positive change.
I'd personally much prefer to not have to deal with politicians. Unfortunately
we have to because the agencies themselves have done a poor job taking care of
their firefighters. We have to because its politicians that authorize and
appropriate the dollars for WFPR, WFSU and fuels. We have to be concerned with
politicians because it is politicians that we have to turn to when the agencies
waste & mismanage FIRE dollars that 1) adversely impact that same Public you're
talking about and 2) adversely affect the health & safety of those same
firefighters you mention.
Ideologically it should be about the Public these firefighters serve. It should
be about the safety of our firefighters but that is simply not the reality. I
recently sent a Facebook message of thanks to Kyle about his article posted on
TheySaid. I thought it was great. We've been tremendously honored to have Rick
Cowell as basically one of the Founding Members of the FWFSA since 1992. You
can't possibly understand the frustration I feel to see our long time members
retiring without benefiting from the reforms we have pursued for so long.
I too would rather spend my time with the crews, even if it is just an article.
I wish that was all it took to securing the benefits these firefighters have
deserved for far too long. But that's not the reality. I too wish I could forget
the politicians but if you are trying to make things better and more equitable
for a segment of the federal workforce, you cannot escape the influence of the
politicians. I guess my point was that while I can yak and yak in their office
about what these brave firefighters deal with, I think it would be great for
them to actually experience what its like in the field; get a first hand taste
of all the dynamics wildland firefighting offers in the hope it will get them to
not only appreciate what these men & women do but cause them to work towards
implementing reforms to the federal wildfire program that not only will benefit
the firefighters but also those same taxpayers (the Public) you referenced.
I apologize if I didn't frame my point of view properly.
I have known some fire reporters who have done the Basic 32 training and
embedded with a crew.
One from the early 2000's is Al Golub, a fire
photojournalist with the Modesto Bee, whose son was a Stanislaus Hotshot.
Retired now, some of Al's fire photos are on the wildlandfire.com
Fire, Mariposa County, 2001 photo page. He told stories with his photos.
He's building his historical galleries on his
photoshelter website, including the Acorn Fire, Merkleeville, CA of 1987
with the Stanislaus Shots with supe Greg Overacker "Racks"; and the Telegraph
Fire, 2008. He hasn't entered the Creek Fire photos there yet (maybe he's too
busy entering all the 49ers and other historical photos).
When it comes to the news, news reporters and what gets on the page or
screen, Casey put it most poignantly when he wrote that they have their “own
ideas of what they want to write about, who they want to hear from”. It’s not
about the crews or engines or the effort.
It’s about ‘if it bleeds, it leads’.
Flame, fire, destruction, chaos, pain and sorrow, and ‘flash’. That’s why
there will be repeated shots of helicopters dropping water, airplanes throwing
red stuff, smokejumpers under silk, houses burning but not a line crew going
vertical on a hillside with a foot in the black. It doesn’t matter that the
super-soaker DC-X only managed to make one pass all day and it missed the fire,
it’s a colorful 18 second shot that will make the news because it shows up well.
The public and politicians don’t see a crew building line, they see farm
workers hoeing a field – in their minds eye there isn’t any difference. They
think the fire gets put out by airplanes and helicopters using water, not by the
physical labor of hand and engine crews.
Having worked at in TV news carrying the camera, I can also say – if I had to
walk very far, it didn’t get taped. It’s too much ‘work’ for too little ‘flash’.
And then there were those two guys showing up in the tanker that dropped red
stuff making great TV……
My heroes have always thrown dirt.
I'm sorry but what politicians see or do is the least of my concerns.
Wildland fire is not all about politics. It's about the public we serve. It's
about our co-workers and their safety. It's about the resources we're trying to
protect. Don't get me wrong. I understand the political picture because I've
worked in that arena. But even if it's just in a magazine article, I'd rather
forget politicians and spend an afternoon on a hillside with a hotshot crew
(engine crew, helitack crew, situation unit, you name it).
Still Out There as an AD
New Maps on Wildlandfire.com
Hello Community and Friends,
Today we are happy to demo the first version of the new Wildlandfire.com and
ESRI Project, the Wildlandfire.com Map.
Please check it out
on the Home
Page for likes/don't like and give us your feed back. It isn't done, and
there is a lot of work to get the final product, but getting this first product
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We will continue to improve the map over the next few weeks to get more info on
it. But please check it out and give us your feed back!
It seems you have the wrong impression of my post, if you read it you will see
that I called the article 'great', that ' I am aware of how great shot crews can
be' and that the recognition of Hot Shots is 'well deserved'.
I merely pointed out that other assets deserve recognition too.
Are we so short on kudos that we don't have enough to go around?
P.S. This sort of re-enforces why I rarely pay much attention to this site
The media and Hotshots, smokejumpers, engine crews, helitack and everyone:
Just a suggestion that maybe focusing on what/who the media sees, discusses,
talks about etc., could/should be replaced by what politicians see, discuss,
talk about etc. It is politicians that will drive progress or blissfully
maintain the status quo.
Since Colorado blew up again I've had no less than 10 press calls and all do
have their own ideas of what they want to write about, who they want to hear
from etc. However the press that know me know that before I answer their
questions, they have to have a working awareness of what is going on in the
field which might not involve the answers to the questions they have sought.
We also all know the periodic ramifications of speaking directly to the media
and how the Agencies, particularly the FS sometimes frowns on that. Let's get
some Washington politicians out to some fire lines when they are in their
districts. Let's have them cut some line, experience camp... experience those
well documented meal breaks to clearly understand the dynamics of what all of
you are up against.
For those of you that might live and work in Oklahoma, I would suggest inviting
Sen. Colburn to cut some line. He recently spouted off about federal employees
and stand-by time and made numerous ignorant comments that clearly indicate he's
For those of you in SoCal, invite Rep. Darrell Issa to cut some line. He's
cosponsored portal to portal legislation before but now, as Chairman of the
House Oversight Committee, he has his own partisan agenda and seems to forget
what he's supported in the past.
All of you are critically important and valued to this community. While those in
the community may have spirited competition about recognition etc. from time to
time, I hope all of you know that the recognition of the press can be fleeting
but the respect & admiration from those who know what you do without asking is
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
link to Prescott Daily Courier article and pictures
I agree that the work of the engine crews is something that we can work to
highlight better. Besides stopping a lot of fires from getting large, once there
are large fires, they are involved with important operations such as structure
protection. I try to look for opportunities to highlight different firefighters
and will keep this idea in mind. Unfortunately, when dealing with media they
come to us with specific ideas in mind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer
Hope to be out soon,
Just Wondering -
Having spent 8 years in one of the most busiest Engine Stations in So Cal, and
having over 12 years on Type 1 FS Hotshot Crews, both North and South Zone,
trust me when I say Hotshots crews deserve any and all recognition given to
them, and if there is one crew with one retired Supt, and a reputation that is
completely 110% deserved, it's Cowboy's crew.
I ended up on the front page stringing hose way too many times, just because I
was roadside and very reachable to the media vans. IHC's do contribute to IA and
do it well including structure prep and protection, Hazmat and EMS.
Enjoy the article and try to appreciate the content, which by the way, is very
well done. The FS did well on all fronts allowing this to occur.
God speed THS, and thanks Rick, you are truly the man.
I almost never post on They Said anymore... reasons are not
I want to chime in on the great article about hotshots, while I am certainly
aware of how great shot crews can be, I want to stand up for another asset in
our tool bag that rarely gets kudos, Engine crews!
Think about this, when our engines do there job correctly fires do not get so
big that we need to call in the 'elite' crews. In SoCal our initial attack
success rate is something like 97%, that is because dedicated, well trained and
aggressive engine crews stop these fires before they get big.
The media almost never lauds the efforts of these folks. They continually trot
out articles on HotShots (well deserved), and even on Inmate Crews (you decide),
but when was the last time you saw an article articulating the backbone of our
initial attack efforts in SoCal (at least)?
Details on Luke's Services are posted here on the
Region 5 Support Page.
The memorial service for Luke Sheehy is planned for June 23 at 1 p.m. at the
Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif.
The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and the
fire community are invited.
Flowers, cards and donations to: Doug and Lynn Sheehy or Sheehy Family, 2850
Main Street, Suite 12, #386, Susanville, CA 96130.
Always Remember Luke has been updated as well.
re: paid meal breaks:
To sent from my iPhone,
If you are required to monitor your radio then I would say you are engaged in a
inactive work related activity. As I read 29 CFR 785.19 that would mean you or
at least one member of your module who is required to monitor the radio should
be compensated for that time, unless you could stagger your meals and take turns
monitoring the radio. I believe law enforcement brought this same issue forward
and prevailed and are now paid during their meal periods. STRANGEL brought up a
good point if we don't challenge this obvious disregard of the law than it is
our fault. I would also challenge our agency administrators who have instilled
the core value of integrity into our guiding principles to show some of it by
choosing to abide by federal labor law and to pay its workforce according to
those laws. I imagine this will become a union issue at some point and in
regards to firefighters on the fireline that have been instructed by team
members that they must show a lunch I am surprised it has not already become
one. I realize my interpretation my be flawed and I welcome other opinions on
this matter. As of yet I have only heard one cricket and the rest was just
tumble weeds in a ghost town. I assume that means I'm correct or they don't care
or maybe they just are not listening to the guy on the ground because it does
not affect them. Maybe someone from the NFFE could give the federal firefighting
community advice as to what would be necessary to fight this perceived abuse. Is
it grievable. Does NFFE or FWFSA have an opinion? I know you're reading this.
France looking to replace their S2T airtankers..
There's a pdf article from Aviation Week and Space Technology, June 17,
2013. We'd be in violation of copyright if we posted it here. Holler if you want
direction to seeing it. Here's their website
Email if you can't find it. Ab.
Flight Nurse --> Firefighter?
I am currently employed as a flight nurse in
Arizona. I have never had any fire fighter training but was wondering if there
are any positions that would be able to utilize my experience and expertise as a
flight nurse with 13 years experience ER/CVICU and 8 years of flight.
Sent from Windows Mail
Preparations are underway to support the family of recently deceased firefighter
Luke Sheehy. The 28-year-old perished on June 10 as a result of injuries
received on the Saddle Back Fire on the Modoc National Forest in northeast
Those interested in showing support for the Sheehy family can send flowers,
cards and donations to:
Doug and Lynn Sheehy or Sheehy Family, 2850 Main Street, Suite 12, #386,
Susanville, CA 96130.
Details on the Memorial Service are currently pending. The service is planned
for June 23 at 1 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif. The Sheehy
family has requested that only family members, close friends and the fire
community are invited.
The memorial service for Luke Sheehy is planned for
June 23 at 1 p.m.
at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, Calif.
The Sheehy family has requested that only family members, close friends and
the fire community are invited.
From Don Ferguson, Ashland, Oregon
It is in times of crisis that you find out who your friends are.
With the recent passing of firefighter Luke Sheehy on the Modoc National Forest,
family members and friends are coming from throughout the country to show their
support at a Memorial Service planned for later this week.
With so many expenses and other stresses related to a family member’s death, it
is nice to know there are community businesses that are willing to go above and
beyond to show their support for the family.
The Marriott Town Place Suites in Redding and the UPS Store in Susanville are
two such friends. Their generosity both with their time and money shows how much
they care. With such a tragedy it is wonderful to know there are those you can
count on and those who do care. Kudos to these businesses for being willing to
Paid meal break
I'm a engine captain in R5. I have to listen to the radio and
be ready to respond at a moment's notice. So my question is does that rule stand
for staffing at your station as well?
Sent from my iPhone
Forest Service to do "More with less"
Several nights ago, Tom Harbour, Fire & Aviation Management Director for the
Forest Service appeared on NBC Nightly News and stated, with respect to the
impact of the sequester and the start of this year's fire season, the Agency
would "do more with less." Mr. Harbour has also been apparently tasked by USDA
Secretary Tom Vilsack to respond to a letter I sent the Secretary recently. A
link is provided to that letter.
With immense respect to Tom for the job he does, and more importantly the
position the land management agency puts him in, and for his willingness to
communicate with the FWFSA, the "doing more with less" line is consistent with
that Agency's reply to similar questions about its preparedness over the years.
In other words, regardless of what Mr. Harbour may think about certain aspects
of the fire program, it is his responsibility to tow the company line.
Many of you remember 2008...when the FWFSA challenged then Forest Service Chief
Kimbell and USDA Under Secretary Mark Rey before Congress about their
"preparedness" which in turn led to a $25 million funding for wildland
firefighter retention. In fact, the line "we are as prepared as we were the
previous year" has been a staple of the Agency with regards to its testimony
before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. As our members know, the
FWFSA has challenged that preparedness since 2006.
This year's commentary will likely result in two scenarios. One, the Agency will
have to address the annual pay cap pursuant to 5 USC 5547 if they are going to
work their firefighters to the max (oddly the Agency reaffirmed the guidance
pursuant to the law in a May 14, 2013 in a memo entitled Annual Premium Pay
Earnings Limitation). As most know the FWFSA eliminated the OT pay cap for
biweekly earnings for firefighters in 2000). This will no doubt be a financial
blessing for many but it will also increase the risk to the health & safety of
these firefighters and those they protect.
The agencies will also continue their MO of simply filling in the gaps of
missing federal resources with expensive non-federal resources included with
very lucrative cooperative agreements (not very lucrative to their own federal
employees!) This of course will increase the costs of suppression as we inform
Congress on a routine basis.
I want to reiterate that neither I nor the FWFSA has anything against
non-federal fire resources. They are an absolute vital necessity on many
assignments. At the same time the parameters of some cooperative agreements
leave federal wildland firefighters scratching their heads when their own
employing agency tells them there is no money to reform archaic federal pay &
Additionally, and again with all due respect and honesty, those who believe the
federal Government is too big and too intrusive in their lives won't care how
much that same Government spends if their home is in the line of a wildfire.
They'll be the first in line to see what that same over-bearing Government will
give to them.
Our current legislative draft eliminates any cap on the earnings of federal
wildland firefighters. It makes absolutely no sense to push our firefighters to
the max under the current law. Does that mean more assignments but also more
non-pay hours away from home? Why not institute PTP, get the job done and send
folks home. The fact remains, until Congress provides oversight into the use by
the agencies of FIRE dollars for non-fire purposes and implements some
incentives for being more cost-effective and efficient, the Agencies will
continue to use appropriated fire dollars in a way that benefits
everyone...except their own firefighters and militia personnel.
There has been a great discussion on TheySaid about camps, compensation etc. We
have documents from the Forest Service dating back to 1985 that outline the
benefits of portal to portal compensation for its employees along with proper
classification. From a personal standpoint, not an official standpoint of the
FWFSA, until the organizational structure of the land management fire programs
change to remove Line from the control they have over fire policy and budgets
and place that responsibility with those with the proper fire experience &
expertise; until Regional offices stop hijacking the budgets of Hotshot crews;
until Forest Supervisors stop considering Preparedness dollars as their own
personal stash and consider it "saved" when their FFs are on assignment and then
spend those preparedness dollars on non-fire positions, projects etc., taxpayers
will not get the best "bang for their buck" and the program will remain
The federal land management agencies have the best wildland firefighters in the
world. They are coveted by organizations such as Cal-Fire which likely would
have continued their raid on FS firefighters if funding allowed. Yet the very
nature of a land management agency managing the largest fire department in the
world, precludes our firefighters from being treated and compensated as they
should be. During a fire season such as this, they shouldn't have to be
preoccupied with hiring nuttiness, diversity issues etc.
It truly pains me that in 10 years of working on behalf of our Nation's federal
wildland firefighters, I have seen little change in the Agency's treatment &
respect of its firefighters. That's why we continue the fight. If the agencies
are unwilling to do what's right for their firefighters, at some point Congress
will force-feed changes. All our firefighters want and deserve, and what they
should'nt have to beg for is some semblance of support from their employer. Here
we are well into the 21st century and these brave men & women are still Forestry
Technicians and Range Technicians. Can't get much more disrespectful than that.
Casey Judd, President
Federal Wildland Fire Service Assn.
I remember the days when I was supposed to rest between
night shift and didn’t get any rest at all. I’d lay on top of my paper sleeping
bag because it was too hot and then I’d go in the sleeping bag to escape the
bugs, Ideally, the best thing is to voucher fire control folks in motel rooms.
Good idea but motels are expensive and there usually not as many rooms that
staff need. A more modest solution that is a lot more comfort follows.
Frequently there are temperature controlled large buildings near fire camps.
That facility could actually be turned barracks by placing bunk beds in in a
standard arrangement spacing 5’ spacing between beds. If it has showers, so much
the better. Crew members would sleep much better and would be easier to keep
track of. Ideally, the feeding facility would be next door. Other direct service
facilities Then crew members wouldn’t even need to go in the main camp.
- Crew would be able to sleep more comfortably and longer.
- Crew members would be contained and be more easily be sent to an
- The place might have washing facilities.
- There would be fewer distractions in the main fire camp.
OK. This idea must have a flaw since it generally not being used. Let me
One of the best articles, and tributes I have read in a long time... JSE
In the line of Wildfire
Drought and climate change have turned western forests into firebombs that go
off every summer. Even with new technology, the essential weapon in the fight
against flame are the Hotshots, an elite group of wilderness first responders
who head straight for the heat...
More at the link...
Just wondering if we have any R5 strike teams out of region right now? Just
curious if anything has been sent to Colorado or New Mexico.
I posted your question and some answers may show up here...
Saddle Back Fire 24-hour report is up at the Lessons Learned Center
Saddle Back Fire 24 Hour Report (357 K pdf)
Thanks to those who sent it in. Ab.
From: Jeanne Wade Evans
Deputy Regional Forester,
Pacific Southwest Region,
USDA Forest Service
The Forest Service is still working with the Sheehy family to understand and
honor their wishes for a memorial service for Luke. When the details are worked
out with the family we will provide that information.
Always Remember Luke
Luke Sheehy's passing in Northern California,
When the 24-hour report comes
out, would someone please send it in. If anyone has photos of Luke with family
or the crew, please share.
Thanks to everyone supporting the family, the crew and each other.
As a number of you probably know through the "nomex underground", we lost a
Redding Smokejumper yesterday evening. Three jumpers jumped a small lightning
fire in the South Warner Wilderness Area on the Modoc National Forest, about a
mile and a half SE of the Soup Springs Campground . Luke Sheehy (28) died from
injuries received when he was hit by a limb that fell more than 60 feet. Our
condolences to his family, his crew, his friends and fire family.
From: Office of the Chief
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:18 PM
To: ALL FS
Subject: Region 5 Firefighter Fatality
All FS Employees:
It is with a very heavy heart I write to inform you of the loss of a
firefighter, a smoke jumper, and one of our Forest Service family. Luke Sheehy,
a 28-year-old firefighter from Susanville, Calif., died Monday afternoon as a
result of injuries received on a wildfire on the Modoc National Forest in
northeast California. Luke, a member of the California Smokejumpers based out of
Redding, was struck by a dead tree on the Saddle Back Fire in the South Warner
Wilderness about 15 miles southeast of Alturas, Calif. The incident occurred
just before 5 p.m. Efforts to resuscitate him were not successful. He was flown
by helicopter to a hospital in Alturas where he was pronounced dead. Our hearts
go out to the family and friends of this brave young smokejumper who lost his
life yesterday working with his team to control a blaze on the Modoc National
Forest. We are launching a full review into the cause of his death to learn
everything we can to prevent future tragedies like this.
Chief Tom Tidwell
Always Remember Luke Sheehy
Firefighter Foundation is helping with arrangements as they do. I am
thankful for their "safety net". Ab.
Lightning Strike Google Earth KMZ and screen captures of it
You need Google
June 9-10 KMZ of lightning strikes (this will ask you to save the file or
open it in google earth.)
Screen capture of
google earth lightning strikes - terrain (jpg)
Screen capture of
lightning strikes - states outline (png)
This could be a real problem when it soon warms a and dries out. Think about
Lightning “Sleeper” fires.
Thanks, Norm. Ab.
Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters
I used to be on an IMT and I'm a union rep. so I feel like you were talking to
me. First you're correct about a lot, kudos to RM for doing the right thing, yes
the CFR says what you say it does, and yes unless they are released from all
duties they need to be compensated. Those are the reasons I haven't shown a meal
break in over twenty years while on an assignment. I just justified it in the
remarks section of the CTR. Just because some people can be intimidated or
coerced into giving up time that doesn't make it someone else's problem. If the
rules are there and for what ever reason you decide not to make a stand like RM
did who's fault is it? I hear from many dispatchers complaining about being
forced to stay at their desks during lunch because of a bust but not being able
to claim time, but yet I know of four dispatchers that challenged it and won.
They get paid so whose fault is it the others don't? Duty officer is another
one. If you can be held accountable then it' standby, but if you don't fight
then guess who loses?
Hear any crickets chirping?
Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters
Kudos for standing up for what is right! It's funny that IMTs have been
knowingly violating Federal Labor Laws for years. When you look at 29 CFR 785.19
you will discover that the employee must be compensated (paid) for the meal
break unless they are relieved of all duties, whether active (answering a radio)
or inactive (maintaining LCES) while eating. The CFR says nothing about the
status of the fire (whether it is controlled, contained, or neither). Policy
should not override the law but our agencies have pretended as though it does.
Of course anyone can take a stand against this obvious abuse but I suspect
retaliation will be in the form of DEMOB from the assignment. I would love to
know how our agency administrators, IMT team members, and Union Folks would
weigh in on this or if they would. I hope I don't hear crickets chirping, seems
like an important subject.
Mandatory half hour meal break, Pay on Incidents for usfs firefighters
past several years IMTs are trying to save a buck by making line going personnel
show a 30 min meal break while on the fire line. They tell you to show the break
but add the 30 min to the end of shift, which is not only dishonest but
technically illegal. One particular incident I had enough and decided to try a
different approach. I documented the CTR, LCES NOT IN PLACE FOR 30 MIN DUE TO
MANDATORY MEAL BREAK ! The ops chief actually flew out to our spike camp and
talked to me and Supt. Asking us to submit another CTR -- don't show the break
and tear up the old CTR. Oh, the remark was added after the original CTR was
signed. Why do they penny pinch at the expense of the people getting the job
Re Line Construction:
You should contact the Kern Valley HS, Bakersfield Ca.
Ask for their "Scrape Training" info.
They have done a well thought out, effective way to approach line construction.
We have adopted it for training our T-2 Crew, Roadrunners, here at Rio Hondo
Good post STRANGEL. This is an area that needs to be cleaned up as
it puts both the employee and supervisor in a tough and distracting position,
during a time when the last thing you want are distractions.
Outside of portal to portal legislation, the one thing that would fix this
situation immediately for most situations can happen with a signature from the
Chief of the Forest Service and or Regional Forester. All employees should be
guaranteed 16 hours of pay, with paid breaks for meals when committed to an
incident, everyday, for the length of the commitment. When you get back to camp
or other lodging accommodations after a 13-14 hour shift, all will remain on the
clock for a total of 16 hours, and available for call back. If you think about,
even under the current fire business practices, who isn't available to be woken
up in the middle of the night for an emergency change of plans in fire camp,
with 2;1 mitigation occurring at a later time?
Alternative #1) Pay Federal Wildland Firefighters portal to portal.
Alternative #2) Pay them from 0600 to 2200 hours daily. What do you think
everyone will do with the 8 hours off that starts at 2200 and ends at 0600? Good
Some food for thought:
Not sure what type of crew you work on (Shot/T2, Engine or Helitack) but….
How would your co-workers feel if they had to stay in base camp while you got to
go home to a nice comfy bed, hot shower and a home cooked meal?
Personally…. crew cohesion/morale is of upmost importance…. even if it means
sacrificing the above.
Former R3 Shot
Base camp Info
The person that responded to you from their iphone is correct.
The IIBMH does say all of those things, but the Master Agreement (MA) which is a
negotiated contract with national agency management says under Art.28
3. Restricted Facilities:
Management will not restrict employees to facilities while in a nonpay status.
The MA trumps the IIBMH, but before you celebrate you have to ask yourself how
important is it to you? The MA is like any other piece of paper in that until
someone forces them to abide by it, that's all it is, a piece of paper. They
have the choice of paying you portal to portal to control your time or you can
do what you want during your off time, as long as you're fit for duty at the
start of your shift and you don't do anything illegal. If the camp has over 300
people, there should be contact info for a union rep.
If you truly think you'll get better rest at home that's where I would go, but
remember this could just be the start of a fight if you have a bad manager.
Couple of things regarding your post;
I totally agree most of our fire camps
do not provide adequate sleeping arrangements.
I would like the folks who come up with these policies walk for 14 days in
our shoes, and then be expected to follow the policies.
Especially on night shift, sleeping in a park or a dust bowl in 90° plus
Below are a few excerpts from the Interagency Incident Business Management
Bottom line: unless it is a closed camp you can go home and sleep in your own
But do not drive a government vehicle to do that especially off the clock!!!
Have someone pick you up.
But realistically I’ve done both, and I got better sleep at the office, or in
fire camp than at home.
- I lost time from camp to home.
- She made me shower before I got into bed,
- I had to get up early to meet the crew at briefing time.
- The kids wanted to say hi.
It wasn’t ..."done work", and into the bag like at fire camp, it was the
semi-regular routine of home life. And that equaled less sleep.
Remember Firefighter Christopher Paul Carroll was taken from us on
July 2nd, 2012 while assigned to the CA-LPF Hill Incident. Chris was an AFEO on
LPF Engine 74 at Los Alamos Station. The Hill Fire was a local fire that was
transitioned from a Type 2 team to a local Type 3 Organization. Engine 74 was
going back to their station each evening after a 15 hour shift, and Chris headed
home. On the way back to work on the morning of July 2nd Chris was involved in a
motor vehicle accident.
I'm not saying fatigue played a part in the accident, as I’m not privy to the
CHP report, but fatigue might have played a part, and one must be mindful of
Excerpts from the
Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook (pdf)
The degree of control to be maintained over regular government employees and
casuals during off-shift hours is dependent upon location, the individual's work
function, and the urgency of the emergency situation.
- At the IC’s discretion, regular government employees and casuals may be
released during off-shift periods from the incident base or camp.
- At the ICs discretion, regular government employees and casuals may be
restricted to an incident base and all other camps during off-shift periods.
This is usually referred to as a “closed camp” (45 FLRA No. 120, 0-NG-1958,
Decision and Order on a Negotiability Issue, September 18, 1992; Office of
the General Counsel, Authority to Close Fire Camps Opinion, March 28, 1990).
- Time spent restricted to the camp where personnel can rest, eat, or, to
a limited degree, pursue activities of a personal nature is not compensable.
Such time is compensable only to the extent needed to complete the
guaranteed base hours. Time spent in ordered standby is compensable.
- The same policy applies to mobilization and demobilization facilities.
- Regular government employees assigned to an incident at their home unit
should be given their regular scheduled days off when the situation permits.
Regular scheduled days off are considered off-shift time and are not
Work/rest guidelines should be met on all incidents. Plan for and ensure all
personnel are provided a minimum 2:1 work/rest ratio (for every 2 hours of work
4 or travel, provide 1 hour of sleep and/or rest).
Work shifts that exceed 16 hours and/or consecutive days that do not meet the
7 2:1 work/rest ratio should be the exception, and no work shift should exceed
24 hours. However, in situations where this does occur (for example, initial
attack), incident management personnel will resume 2:1 work/rest ratio as
quickly as possible.
The intent of the guidelines is to manage fatigue
and provide flexibility for IC’s and AA’s managing initial attack, extended
attack, and large fires. The guidelines are designed to ensure that for every 2
hours of work or travel, 1 hour of time off should be provided within a 24-hour
period. It does not matter when the 24-hour period starts; all time recorded on
the clock is counted as hours of work; time off the clock is counted as hours of
rest, including meal breaks.
The IC or AA must justify work shifts that exceed 16 hours and those that do
not meet 2:1 work/rest ratio. Justification will be documented in the daily
incident records. Documentation shall include mitigation measures used to reduce
fatigue. The Excess Hours Log or the Extended Work Shift Authorization Sample
found in Appendix B – Tool Kit is an acceptable method of documentation.
The work/rest guidelines do not apply to aircraft pilots assigned to an
incident. Pilots must abide by applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
guidelines, or agency policy if more restrictive.
Other Pay Provisions
- Inadequate Food or Lodging – Inadequate food or lodging situations
should be the exception. When nonexempt regular government employees and
casuals do not receive adequate food or lodging, they shall be in pay status
the entire time they are working, sleeping, or eating (Comp. Gen. B-230414,
Adequate food is defined as: meals ready to eat (MREs), sack lunches,
military-type rations, hot can, or similar meals.
Adequate lodging is described as: a sleeping bag (paper or cloth) or a
blanket or equivalent covering to provide protection from the elements for
Regular government employees must be in nonexempt status to qualify for
compensation. There is no authority to grant compensation for these
conditions to exempt employees. Exempt employees can only be compensated for
ICs are responsible for determining when an inadequate food or lodging
situation exists. This must be documented on the CTR, SF-261, in the remarks
section. Hours recorded for an inadequate food or lodging situation count as
hours of work for computation of the 2:1 work/rest ratio.
Subsistence and Lodging Provisions
Subsistence and lodging are normally provided to incident personnel.
- Food at Official Duty Station. This is considered a personal expense,
and the regulation prohibits receiving compensation in addition to the pay
and allowances fixed by law. (5 U.S.C. 5536). Federal funds cannot be used
to pay subsistence or to provide food to regular government employees at
their official duty station or casuals working at their point of hire,
except as stated below. Similar state regulations may apply to state
- Conditions to Provide Food at Official Duty Station. Agencies may
provide meals to personnel at their official duty station at government
expense during emergency operations which pose a threat to life and
property, if both of the following conditions are met:
- Emergency personnel are in the field engaged in 4 emergency operations
(e.g., search and rescue, firefighting activities – fireline personnel),
- The operational period prevents personnel from taking meals at home or
in the normal office/work station environment.
Agencies may provide meals to personnel engaged in support of
emergencies, if they are unable to sufficiently provide their own
subsistence, due to long shifts or lack of preparation time. The cost of the
meal(s) will be deducted from their payroll through agency procedures.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks, iPhone wielder. Ab.
I have a question.
If my module is assigned to a campaign fire on my home district and not on
per diem can I be told I have to stay at camp. I live minutes away from fire
camp and believe I would get much better rest if I could go home at night. Last
time I checked I was getting paid 16 hrs and not 24.
Based on decisions made on one of last year's socal fed firefighter
fatality, it seems that even if you're assigned to a fire and your engine is
assigned to a fire and there's no camp to sleep in, if you die in a vehicle
accident in your POV returning to duty from home the next morning, you will not
be considered a LODD and your family will not be eligible for PSOB. Seems
unjust, but a consideration... Ab.
I am closing the comments on the "Some People's
Children" thread. I feel that the people have had their say. An investigation is
ongoing; it should take its course. I still do not understand what happened or
who was involved. I do know that the issues are not about diversity per se, so
the thread is getting off-topic and may unfairly portray some individuals.
If anyone would like me to forward a message or cut and paste a message to
anyone who has posted, let me know their moniker and I will do it. Please
continue to email from blind accounts and with monikers. Communication behind
the scenes sometimes helps, but please do not violate any terms of the
investigation if you're involved. I will not reveal any poster's identity (not
that I know who is who even now). I remain fairly clueless... Ab.
I would like to add on to fish01’s comments about where did we go wrong as
an agency. I recently completed reading “The
Tinder Box” by Christopher Burchfield. It provided a very comprehensive
overview on how we got to where we are today. Although I had only worked for the
Forest Service in Region 5 very briefly in the past, having watched from the
outside what went on and knowing many of the people talked about in the book, it
all rang true. For anyone interested in how we got to where we are today and why
it continues, the book should be required reading, regardless if you have ever
worked for the agency or not. Maybe we can learn from the past, but in this
case, I doubt it as evidence by the continued hiring practices and an agency
that has great difficulty making good policy decisions in a timely fashion.
In reply to “proud to work with righteous individual’s” response to “Some
We are in agreement on much of what you have said in your
response to my post, however I see what you are trying to do here and there are
a couple issues I have with it. Yes, I am aware of “No Fear Act” training, and
yes, I do fully understand what it is and why there is a need for such a
program. I’m sorry that the truth I speak of “saddens” you, but I am here to
“nip it in the bud” as you said yourself. I am going to quote you here
“I am a firm believer that if you witness something illegal, or immoral,
and you do not say anything, you are in a sense, CONDONING IT... you are
allowing it to take place, and since you didn't say anything to correct the
action, who's to say it won't happen again”?
Well there it is. I have done exactly as you asked, I have brought it to the
attention of the masses via this forum. I am in fact doing what is right and
hopefully lessoning the chance of a situation like this in the future.
· Firstly, I will not stand by and watch as people maliciously manipulate
the system and try to destroy the careers that others spent their entire lives
building. The fact remains that there is a “loophole” in the system that people
are time and time again taking advantage of, for their own personal gain. Until
this problem is mitigated, we will continually allow some of our most valuable
and revered employees to be scrutinized, discredited, humiliated and in
situations like this, ostracized.
· Secondly, I’m not trying to sway people one way or another on the
matter of reporting EEO issues in the workplace. That is a non-issue, so long as
accusations are truthful and correct. In a case like this, where false
allegations have been made in the interest of undermining your coworker and
intentionally trying to damage the reputation of another, the system is a total
failure and is detrimental to the agency as a whole. Individuals need to be held
accountable for their actions! Upon discovery that erroneous claims have been
made, immediate action should be taken to correct this type of injustice. Well,
that remains to be seen. I too encourage people to stand up for what is right
and I wouldn’t be placing blame on those who stood up for what was right, and
said something to correct a situation, IF those whose integrity is in question
were in fact speaking the “TRUTH”, not half truths, not partial truths, the
· Tertiary, in situations lacking “Honor, Respect and Integrity” or in
situations where “Immoral and Illegal” actions were taking place, all parties
present at the time of incident should be given a chance to tell their side of
the story. But that’s not the case and that seems to be one of the main problems
with the system in place today. That, and that alone is why you get what we have
here; a strange case of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, or better yet,
Guilty Until Proven Guilty, and someone’s “good” name is being slandered.
From the first year seasonal, to the upper echelon of the Forest Service food
chain, we cannot afford to come to a conclusion after hearing just one side of
the story. We have to get the other side as well. By getting both sides of the
story early, you can avoid making a “knee jerk” reaction to a perceived
injustice or further complicating an already delicate situation. This is easier
to acknowledge than to do, but it is something we, as an agency, must recommit
ourselves to if we are to lead ourselves and our organization to the best of our
The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
You asked where did we go wrong as an Agency?
opinion of where the Forest Service in R-5 began its march towards inefficient
hiring and chaos began as early as the mid 70’s. That is about the time
individual Forest lost hiring control and all applications began to be
“submitted & screened” at the RO level. Before that, people submitted
applications to the Forest they wanted to work on and most of the workforce was
local to that Forest. The 1st yr. of Regional hiring, many returning seasonal
employees found themselves not being offered positions or being offered
positions at lower grades. I was one of them, but got real lucky in finding a
job in R-6 where you could still apply to the local Forest. Others did not fare
Then in the early 80’s, R-5 attempted to settle a discrimination complaint by
entering into a Consent Decree. The FS management pretty much agreed to hire a
percentage of women found in the private workforce. (46%). The Consent Decree
resulted in discrimination against not only men, but if you think about it, even
women employed in R-5 might have been left out, as promoting women in R-5 did
not increase the percentage of women, just moved the same number around.
Finding Qualified candidates was a challenge at best, and the agreed upon 46%
was hard to achieve. Judge Conti grew impatient with the FS excuses, but the
Decree was binding. Whether it was legal or moral, I can’t say. After all Quotas
had been ruled illegal. The pressure was on to keep Line management out of jail.
One of the most brilliant?? decisions was to advertise jobs with the selection
criteria being,” MUST Not Meet OPM –X118 standards. In a nutshell the person who
would be selected could NOT meet the job qualifications. It also was the start
of widespread discrimination towards a select group. ANYBODY QUALIFIED could not
be considered. HMMM
The late Jerry Levitoff and others fought this in court as the Male Class
Complaint, but we lost our case on technical grounds. If we had They Said and
current technology back then to shed light on Line Officers actions, I believe
our outcome may have been different, and today’s environment may have been
The hiring tactics and PC rhetoric and grievance procedures have been ingrained
into the HR. culture, and seem to be the Standard in most public service
employment. It is going to be hard to change.
Keep speaking up.
NorCal Fire Season
The Sale Fire 6/3/13, which occurred along I-5 and the
Sacramento River in Red Bluff should have been a wake up call...the river
jungles usually don't dry out enough to get hard running fires this early...they
are mostly green fuels and lots of 1000 hour fuels which should act as a heat
sink and slow spread. It didn't happen.
In the Sac Valley PSA which covers the area from Whitmore to Stonyford, the
Energy Release Component stands at 72, breaking the record for this time of
year. The Stonyford 1000 hour Fuel Moisture is 9% which is critical FM in that
area. That means the green and 1000 hour fuels are adding to the intensity, not
I'm reading some talk on the net about dry conditions, but I don't hear anyone
suggesting any solutions other than LCES. Situational awareness is important for
sure, but Crew Leaders and Initial Attack IC's can make a difference.
Fighting fire is combat and the only good fight is one you win. Don't give the
fire a chance, overwhelm it. This is a year when you should lean toward the
Blitz Attack strategy. This season's fires have already demonstrated a strong
resistance to control. Anticipate that; expect retardant burn through and lots
of spotting. Review and revise your run cards.
Don't be afraid to augment the dispatch if you think you've got a working fire.
Its a lot cheaper to return the crews to quarters than it is to staff a major
This is a year when the fire will give the exam and the lesson at the same time.
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Webcast Event
From: Beason, Rachel (HHS/OASH) [mailto: Rachel.Beason@ nospam hhs.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 8:20 AM
Subject: National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Webcast Event
We can all
play can important role in suicide prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. On June 27, 2013, the United States
Department of Health and Human Services Region V is hosting a live event and web
cast on the tools and resources available to support the National Strategy for
Suicide Prevention that will include participation by the U.S. Surgeon General, SAMHSA, and other partners in suicide prevention. Please share this webcast
information with others in your community or consider hosting an echo site with
a group in your community.
For registration and additional information on this event, please go to
blsmeetings.net/ everyone plays a role
I work in Region 3, and unfortunately the same situation has
occurred at my District. Those with so called 'diversity status' have
essentially filed grievances after being asked to be at work on time or input
their time correctly. Their 'complaints' have been investigated at the highest
levels, and all the scrutiny has been put on those who simply asked their
employees to do their jobs! The Agency has given carte blanche to all those with
'diversity status' to challenge anyone who asks them to perform at a
professional level of competency. Now I see what they mean by 'Cultural
Firefighting community, thanks for the personal inquiries. I haven't been able
to read them or reply.
I've been offline for the last 5 days with a DSL
failure. I have one of the oldest high-speed internet systems in my town and it
finally gave up. The technician just came and fixed it. Last week the tech came
and fixed the phone portion of the system.
Prior to that and concurrently with that, I was helping a formerly fit and
healthy son who suddenly developed and almost died from acute pancreatitis from
unknown causes (not alcoholism, not kidney stone, which account for 80% of acute
cases; might have been scorpion bite; currently listed as unknown cause). Some
of my most satisfying recent moments were watching him sleep in the dimly lit
hospital room between 2 and 4 AM. He went back to work today with orders from
the doc to come home for a nap if he needed to. We take our health and our
family's health for granted. Please take every opportunity to show your
appreciation and love to those who matter. Strange things can happen to good and
I'm back around, trying to keep on keeping on. I have just filled in posts
with their arrival dates as they came in since May 30. There are several
communications I did not post at the community member's request and one book I
did not post or link to since I haven't read it. As for the rest, I do not know
the validity of any communication or reply. I have definitely been "out of
touch" and trust the firefighting community will use this forum appropriately.
To those of you who sent in the fantastic photos, thank you! I'm not sure I'll
get them posted. In the not-too-distant future you'll be able to post your own
The Terrible Beauty of California's Powerhouse Fire
Last Thursday, a wildfire started in California's
Angeles National Forest, north of Los Angeles, near a hydroelectric plant called
as Powerhouse No. 1. The Powerhouse fire was pushed by erratic dry winds,
destroying at least six homes near Lake Hughes, damaging many more, and leading
to the evacuation of several thousand residents. Cooler weather has now allowed
the firefighters to reach 60% containment of the fire, and some residents were
allowed to return home. [28
Forest Service News Release today
US Forest Service adds night-flying
helicopter to its suppression efforts in California
Effort adds additional helicopter to cooperators’ Southern California assets
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2013 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced
today that the agency will begin night helicopter wildfire suppression
operations this season in Southern California.
“The re-introduction of Forest Service night helicopter firefighting operations
in Southern California further establishes the agency’s commitment to protect
lives and property in the region,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.
“California has already experienced challenging wildfires this season, and is
projected to continue to have a severe summer. Night flying operations will
provide an aggressive agency initial attack while better ensuring public safety,
minimizing overall fire costs and lessening impacts to communities.”
The program will begin this month, following the completion of aircrew and
aircraft certifications and will support suppression efforts in the wildland
urban interface areas within and adjacent to the Angeles, Cleveland, and San
Bernardino national forests, and the southern half of the Los Padres National
The use of the agency’s night flying helicopter program will be determined by
the Angeles National Forest and in coordination with local, county and state
partners and will be assigned to incidents through normal dispatch protocols.
The Forest Service will also implement a night aerial supervision fixed-wing
program to support the helicopter night flying operations. The program will
include an agency-owned aircraft, agency pilot and an agency air tactical group
supervisor. The aircraft will be equipped with technology to support night
ground and air firefighting operations including an infrared camera and command
and control avionics equipment.
The agency’s helicopter night flying operations will be consistently evaluated
to determine if there is a benefit in terms of containing fires, preventing new
starts from becoming large fires and potential cost savings in fire suppression.
These benefits will be weighed against the safety, risk and costs of the
program. If there is a measurable benefit and a documented need in other areas
of the country, the Forest Service will evaluate expansion of the program.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people,
even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions
mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken
historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds
through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA
in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester
budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and
productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present
and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land,
provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest
forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute
more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone.
Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value
estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or
indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested
acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most
Always Remember Tanker 11 Todd Tompkins and Ron Chambless
Blue skies forever Tanker 11.
6/3/12 1245 MST
Lone Peak IHC
Hello. Is there a site where an old hotshot can go to lookup old crew
members.79/80/81 Texas canyon ?
Thank you for your help
James R Thomas
AB would you be able to post the FWFSA'as facebook link for us? Really trying to
get more "likes"
I was wondering if you had any recent follow up on the Cramer
Fire. Did Allen actually serve jail time? In my brief review of the Cramer
Fire, it appears that no one else (Ranger, FFMO etc.) where held accountable? Of
course Allan was found operating outside the scope of his employment! He was
doing everyone's job because leadership couldn't do their job! I think it would
be worth highlighting the lack the actual fire experience our line officers
Sent from my iPhone
In response to "Some People's Children"...
The Core Values that we, as Firefighters are to uphold... such as "Honor,
Respect and Integrity", I'd agree should be of the utmost importance, seeing as
how we are considered to be Public Servants. People speak of Integrity... well,
yes, let's cover the word Integrity, in depth. The dictionary defines Integrity,
as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. But I would love
to write Webster, and ask them to add on, "when no one is watching" at the end
of that definition. Because one can show or have "Integrity", in front of
others, but boom, the minute they are on their own, or by themselves...
everything changes. It is important, that each and every one of us, holds
ourselves to a higher standard, for the simple fact that we are entrusted BY the
public, to do a greater good, than the average Joe Citizen.
As for Honor... it is defined as... to show respect. We must Honor (Respect)
ourselves, our fellow firefighters, and the public, by always performing in a
professional manner, with Respect and Integrity... and I hate using words, that
I am already trying to define, but these three words, Honor, Respect and
Integrity... they go hand-in-hand, at least in my eyes... Respecting ourselves,
our supervisors, our subordinates and everyone else we may come in contact with,
is a MUST!!
In regards to "The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest" last post... Supervisors
are held, to an even Higher Standard, or Code of Conduct, wouldn't you agree?
Supervisors should be Leading by Example, and should be the models for future
supervisors to look up to!! After all, most supervisors in the Forest Service,
are generally Responsible for their firefighter's lives and safety, so it is
Imperative, that they act in accordance, with the title of Supervisor...
meaning... they should have, almost to say... the most Honor, Respect and
Integrity out of the 5 or 20 lives, they are responsible for... If a supervisor
is lacking in these common standards, Honor, Respect and Integrity...then maybe
the Agency can tailor make, an Ag-Learn Class for them, as opposed to removing
them from their duty... but as you so relevantly put it, we all should have
Honor, Respect and Integrity...and at this stage in our lives and careers,
should've had that instilled in us, as we were growing up as adolescence.
It saddens me, to hear someone, who works in Region-5, blame the subordinates
who only stood up for what was right, and said something to correct a situation,
be labeled as a whistle-blower, or be accused of abusing the system in order to
get what they want. After all, don't we, in the Agency, teach our junior
firefighters, that if they see something wrong, to speak up?? If they see
something unsafe, no matter the ridicule they feel they may face, if found to be
safe after all... to go ahead and speak up??? Without fear of Reprisal??? The
Agency mandates training, in this matter, YEARLY. It's called "Fear of Reprisal"
for this simple fact, that if you see something that is unjust, or an act that
is lacking Honor, Respect or Integrity, shouldn't you speak up, to "nip it in
the bud"??? I am a firm believer that if you witness something illegal and you do not say anything, you are in a sense, CONDONING IT... you
are allowing it to take place, and since you didn't say anything to correct the
action, who's to say it won't happen again?? The incident or situation that you
are referring to, regarding the Captain being removed from their detail, bears no
matter to the fact of gender. Do research, in the matter, and you
will find that there were actions taking place, that LACKED EVERY BIT of Honor,
Respect and Integrity. And as a supervisor, don't we hold each other up to the
highest levels of conduct?? Shouldn't we correct illegal actions?? Or
should we just brush it aside, with maybe a slap on the wrist or a stern talking
to?? There is PLENTY of History, here... and it is a sad day, when our junior
firefighters, our up and coming leaders, stand up for what is right and speak
the truth, for it will all come out in the end, after the investigation... that
we try and crucify them, for doing what we in fact, are teaching them to do...
the RIGHT THING.
"Whistle-blowing" and speaking up and saying something, when malicious events
are taking place, has been all over the media these days. From Benghazi, to
Region-5... the old days, of "keep your mouth shut, head down and keep
working"... are a thing of the Past! Yes, at times, it may be a little
frustrating, conforming to the "Kinder, Gentler" world, but in the end, I feel
it is for the Better! Treating everyone with Respect, Honoring our fellow human
being and having Integrity, especially when entrusted with the Title of
Supervisor, is a MUST on all forefronts. It is a privilege, to be trusted with
the Title of Supervisor... that being said, it is Imperative, that if a
Supervisor is NOT acting accordingly, they need to be looked at... thoroughly.
We EMPOWER our juniors, to do what is RIGHT. Even if it means, speaking up
despite their initial fears of being made fun of, being ridiculed or chastised.
The "Hard Right, Versus the Easy Wrong". I agree... take a good, long, hard look
in the mirror. Ask yourself if you saw something immoral or malicious, taking
place... could you or would you speak up and say something to correct it? Or are
you the kind of person, that would look the other way, and hope it doesn't
happen again? On my District, we once had a sheet of paper, that we all had to
read and sign, every year. It was a District wide, Code of Conduct... and for
the life of me, I cannot find it anywhere... (coincidence??) But it simply
stated that we, as firefighters, are to treat everyone with Respect. We are not
to bad mouth or spread rumor, of other individuals and that we are to act with
Honor, Respect and Integrity. I am, still to this day, trying to track that
piece of paper down... but in the event I cannot find it... I think I will write
up a new one... one that covers the basic fundamentals of Honor, Respect and
Integrity, and that covers how we are to act, towards one another, especially
while on Duty...
I am PROUD to wear this uniform... PROUD to call myself a FIREFIGHTER... and
PROUD to work for this Agency... but it breaks my heart, when people are
criticized for doing what's right and standing up for themselves... for as an
adolescent, I was taught to do what's right and to stand up for what I believe
in. I am PROUD to work with other Firefighters who must have been brought up the
same way as I was. Tough as it may be, if you feel, in your heart of hearts,
that you are doing a righteous deed, and standing up for what is JUST... then
have at it...!! I just hope you have other fellow Firefighters who will have
your back, instead of stabbing you in it! It is often hard, to do the Right
thing, especially when it feels like you're all alone on the matter... but you
mustn't lose sight of the Greater Good...
I have FAITH in Today's Society, and I might even be alone on this one... but
I think we are indeed, creating and modeling Leaders, that will surpass our
Great Leaders of yesterday.
"Proud to work with Righteous Individuals"
To: The one who kick=ked the hornets' nest."
You are one of many who have
finally showed to me you are “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” You have
finally brought forth the truth. “Truth is word no longer espoused in the
management of the top tier of the US Forest Service. Now the buzz words are “Get
it done, regardless of the costs!” We no longer see professional foresters and
wild land firefighters. Now we get to see political hacks at work dismantling
what they are led to believe is a “money waster.” WHAT? An organization of their
making now failing? The personal payoffs under the table must be immense. Think
about the results of s decision to abandon a team your group built? An open
display of Bi-Polar Disorder or simple political expediency at one’s own
personal gain. I admire your courage! The Tom’s must be laughing all the way to
the bank. This just shows all of us in this esteemed fraternity what the real
meaning on the word “Abandonment” means. Political expediency knows no bounds.
The one who kicked the hornets nest
Just wanted to say that if the allegations
are true and you feel that management did a poor job on investigating the
allegations then the Capt. needs to report it. Here are two numbers to try, it's
the Whistleblower Disclosure Hotline: (800) 572-2249 or (202) 254-3640. We've
had to use these numbers a couple of times where I'm at and they actually do
their job and look hard into issues. For quickest results, leave your name and
they will give you updates into what's going on. But don't waste their time if
you're just venting because of a perceived injustice. Tell your Capt. this kind of
behavior has been going on with white males for years, welcome to the club.
Six Rivers N.F. Mad River Crew 4 passed their Regional Hotshot Crew Review
yesterday and is now the newest R-5 IHC Crew, the Mad River IHC....
Lance Winerich's retirement -- Shower Buddy???
Really!... Bro???... You had to
put that out there for all of our fellow firefighting boys & girls to
witness?... I thought everyone asked me about that incident before for the past
Thank you Joel, I'll never forget all of our Wild land Firefighting over the
years together, both, on the ground & in the air!... Thank you bro for the last
couple of weeks of the career!!!...
& GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU OUT THERE!!!... Please be careful out there this
season!... It's going to be a "barn-burner!"... It already has been!!!... Always
have your Escape Routes & Safety Zones with you every step of the way!!! + 10 &
18 + LCES & 9 Downhills!... ("Look everywhere!")
JOEL, I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER MAN!!!... GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER!!!... & ALL OF MY
FIREFIGHTING BROTHERS & SISTERS!!!... LOVE YA!!!...
In response to this posting, The one who kicked the hornets’ nest it right
on point. We have a similar situation on our Forest, also in R5. A supervisor
trying to do his job is called before the forest management because of a
complainant filed by an employee he supervises. This employee, who really
doesn’t know all of the ins and outs of the system is getting guidance from
someone who has worked the system and won. The remainder of us employees are
extremely unhappy and our morale is getting worse. Again, as in Hornets’ post
only a few people were questioned, handpicked apparently, because none of the
other employees supervised by this supervisor were questioned.
It just goes to show the sad state of affairs in our local forests and the
lack of good leadership that’s not afraid to buck both the union and HR when it
is appropriate to do so. There are always hidden agendas and it’s unfortunate
when you guess at what they might be and they actually happen.
Disheartened and disgusted.
Some Peoples Children…
A recent chain of events on my local unit in region 5
has absolutely sickened me! From the time it was brought to my attention until
now, I have experienced a wide array of emotions on the matter, ranging from
different degrees of anger to downright disgust. It made me really sit back and
think where did we go wrong as a forest, an agency, and even as human beings.
Some of you will instantly know what I’m on about, and some won’t. But you will,
I promise you that. I understand that this forum is about the what and not the
who, so as much as I would like to publicly oust those involved, I will refrain.
Lately it seems we have all but lost the very core values that the fire service
stands for. I’m talking about “Honor, Respect, and Integrity”, to name a few. At
some point in all of our careers there has been much dialog about what each of
these words mean. The key word here is Integrity. So lets break it down for
those of us who have forgotten along the way or for those of us who never
learned in the first place.
Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods,
measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In
integrity is regarded as the honesty and
or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of
in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that
parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy
or alter their beliefs.
So there it is. Got It? Sure anyone can go and Google what it means, but what
does it really mean? Is it taking the hard right over the easy wrong? Is
Integrity what you do and how you act when you think nobody is watching? And
believe me people are always watching. Integrity is the fiercely rigorous moral
code that I hold myself to as well as those around me. Is it naive of me to
expect that of others? Maybe? Maybe not? Integrity involves the three R’s:
Respect for self; Respect for others; and most importantly Responsibility for
ALL your actions. I truly believe that some people need to be reminded why we
chose this profession in the first place and what it really means to be a
firefighter. I think I can speak for most of us when I say we are ultimately
“public servants” here to provide a service to the general public. To ask “what
can I do for you” or “how can I help you?” Not “what can you do for me” or “how
can you help me”? We don’t become firefighters to fulfill any kind of selfish
endeavors. Most of us never pursue this career to get rich, rather for piece of
mind, knowing that what we do has made or will make a difference.
With the ever-broadening term “political correctness” looming overhead, it
has slowly taken much of the power away from those in supervisory roles and
placed in the hands of subordinates. In a perfect world this wouldn’t pose such
a huge problem. However when you get a handful of misguided employees with an
overwhelming sense of entitlement, armed with a few HR buzzwords (that they
don’t know the meaning of), an HR backed warpath is the result. Mainly due to
the fact that supervisors cannot appropriately discipline their people for fear
of being slapped with erroneous grievances such as; “Hostile Work Environment,
Reprisal or Harassment” (in one form or another) just to name a few, thus
enabling a chain reaction of unacceptable behavior. All the while, these
“supervisors” are just trying to do their job, which is after all to supervise,
to correct poor behavior and to develop their employees. At this stage in the
game it should not be anybody’s job to teach an “adult” what’s right from wrong.
That is basic knowledge that should have been learned in adolescence. This has
now snowballed to the point where any individual who is dissatisfied with their
current position can manipulate the system in an effort to try and eliminate
their competition or their superiors by way of filing a formal complaint. How
could something like this happen? Well, when you live in a “moral grey area” or
have a severely skewed “moral compass” as a select few of our so-called
“brothers” and “sisters” in fire do these days, the sky is the limit. An old
adage comes to mind; “if you want something bad enough, work for it and you
will eventually get it” has slowly morphed into “if you want something
bad enough you can take it from someone who earned it”. Truth be told people
can go out and make wild baseless accusations with no recourse for their
Case in point, it is now common knowledge that a situation much like the one
described above has just happened on my home unit to a very well known, more
than qualified Captain that just so happens to be female. Then without due
process this person was removed from her position, taken out of contention for a
detail that was soon to be flown, by recommendation of our forest supervisor.
Much to the delight of the
complainant(s), might I add? In a situation that carries as much weight as
this, not to mention a laundry list of legal ramifications that could possibly
follow, one might think that a “thorough” (now pay attention, I just said
another key word there. Did you catch it? I said thorough) investigation of
sorts, with any and all persons that may have born witness to the events leading
up to said complaint(s) would be interviewed. Well one would be very wrong,
because it seems that only a few “hand picked” persons were ever asked to give
any kind of statements. By whom were these persons hand picked? That’s a very
good question… Is it me or does this sound like it might be just a tiny little
bit biased? In any case I for one, will be very interested to see how this all
pans out, once all of the “real” facts have surfaced.
It really is disheartening to hear of those who have worked so hard for so
long to make a name for themselves only to have their good name dragged through
the mud, by those they brought up through the ranks. Not to mention the
countless other “honest” hard working firefighters whose lives will be affected
by the selfish pursuits of a few bad apples trying to manipulate the system to
All I ask is that you take a good long look in the mirror, (you know who you
are). Do you like what you see? Do you like what you’ve become? I truly hope
not. Because you’re disgracing the uniform that the rest of us, so proudly wear.
I’m not on here to tell people what to think or how to behave, I’m just here to
shed a little bit of light on a very shady situation. You be the judge.
The One Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
Today will mark the last day of work for Lance Winerich, AKA -
Wino, AA-01, Shower Buddy, and many other names that probably not make this
post. Lance spent the majority of his career on the ANF in R-5 with his last
post as the Forest Aviation Officer on the Angeles. I first met Lance while he
was serving as squad boss on the Chilao Hotshots in 1983, that first meeting was
epic and I will always remember how you looked that day.
You will be missed my friend and thank you for your example in Leadership and
above all, your ability to stay positive into the end. Love ya man.
Joel A Lane
Heads up on a possible new pandemic virus. Practice excellent hygiene in fire
camp and elsewhere and be aware of illness. Ab.
New virus called
‘threat to the entire world’
The first death in France from a new SARS-like coronavirus brings the
worldwide total for the disease to 27 deaths and 49 infections, CNN reports.
The 65-year-old Frenchman was diagnosed after returning from a stay in Dubai.
According to CNN, the World Health Organization has said the disease was first
seen in Saudi Arabia last year. The virus is "a threat to the entire world," Dr.
Margaret Chan, WHO's general director, told the network.
Centers for Disease Control explains that coronaviruses can affect people or
animals and, in worst-case scenarios, cause SARS (severe acute respiratory
syndrome). And it notes there's currently no vaccine to protect against human
coronavirus infection. The disease acts like a cold and causes upper respiratory
system problems. Symptoms include fever and cough and can lead to kidney failure
The WHO has not learned how the new virus spreads, making it difficult to
prevent infections. The organization has named it, though:
East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, according to CNN.
Fair Use Disclaimer
To anyone in need of flying a portable tank into a remote area, here are 4
viable options from Fol-Da-Tank Company, in addition to our helicopterable
bladders, "The Flyer".
Rol-La-Tank and Rol-La-Tank Type II have fewer parts and thus quicker
assembly time compared to a Snap Tank or Aqua Tank and all store in a duffle
style bag. A heavier duty bag may be made on request for long line transport.
Fol-Da-Tank also manufactures "Single
Lane Tanks" for use on narrow roads. The tanks are rectangular in proportion
to facilitate safer operation and traffic flow whether on a narrow county road
or on a logging road into the hills. These tanks are available in both folding
frame and self-supporting (frameless) styles.
Chad A. Christensen
South Canyon Remembered.
Abs – powerful 32-minute video. A “must watch” for
wildland firefighters, and the broader circle of our families and friends. ‘Nuff
Wildland Firefighting Video - South Canyon and Lessons Learned
The link below is to the Wildland Fire video produced by the NFFF
illustrating our work.
Although it focuses on South Canyon story-telling - please keep in mind that 34
wildland firefighters died that year.
Thanks to those on the RMC and those from LLC, and the Prineville folks for
making this happen.
The video is a tool to be used in many ways - introduction to CISM and Peer
Support, FML, and Family as well as Safety Journey meetings.
It can also be used to segue into risk management.
And a special thanks to Vicki Minor and Burke Minor for hosting the video
production at the WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER FOUNDATION.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has released the Wildland
Firefighting: Everyone Goes Home video showcasing South Canyon. We are a
learning organization, please share throughout your networks.
Thanks to all those who made this video possible.
Michael G. Apicello
NIFC - FS - Risk Management
South Canyon Remembered daily by many:
For the past few years I have been
talking with Tom Shepard about giving a presentation to my crew about South
Canyon. Tom had never spoken publicly about South Canyon and the aftermath of
the fire. Well this spring Tom agreed to talk with Union/La Grande Hotshots. Tom
spoke for about five hours and let me just say it was the best, most intense
presentation I have ever been through. When he was speaking about the fateful
events it was as if he was back up on the mountain. For most of the presentation
I was on the edge of my chair and I am not afraid to admit I even shed some
As the years pass more and more of our young firefighters have little to no
understanding about how important of a fire South Canyon is to our history. It
was such an honor for Union/La Grande to go through this process with Tom.
What struck me the most was after all these years this is still a daily event
in Tom’s life. When I put myself in Tom’s shoes I wonder how I would survive and
go on with my life. I still do not have the answer, I just pray I never find
out. This presentation took a lot out of Tom and at this time he is not ready to
do again for some time. Tom told me he hopes someday to be able to talk again as
it is part of the healing process.
(Tom Shepard approved this message.)
I too have had the misfortune of being injured on a fire assignment. I had
issues with support from my agency, Albuquerque, Department of Labor and so on
and so on.
Injured my C6 and C7 vertebrae, both shoulders, and upper back....yuck. I was
broadsided by a civilian and yes we did settle, but not for much. Doctor found
evidence of previous neck injury. Not sure what it was but there were bone spurs
I still have issues with all of the above but I have to either wither and die or
move on. I sorta have developed a tolerance for pain and thus I still can
function a bit.
Long story short , most supervisors do not have a clue on what to do if you are
injured. Your claim representative will change frequently, your claims for
treatment will be denied, and do not expect the agency to support you if you are
pursuing legal remedy.
I have lost faith in the Forest Service and what it represents but still
continue to fight fire because that is what I do.
AB, through out the years I have been following they said and
remain in the shadows.
To my fellow firefighters out there I am ashamed by some of the response I see
on they said.
I understand things are broken and some things do need to be changed. I
understand there are people who should not be in the position they are in.
Remember it is hard to get someone removed from their position and management
will do whatever they want. I have had to learned this the hard way.
AB, thank you for all you have done to represent the wildland fire community.
To the firefighters, be thankful we still have jobs and yes some of us did not
get hired or get rehired due to hiring processes. I too have lost good
firefighters that I could not hire back because of the new hiring system or
managers trying to meet some magical number that can not be quantified. I have
or should I say had the diverse employees the agency is trying to hire and the
new hiring system failed them and us.
This is the hand we are dealt, every year we adapt and overcome, we will move
I am not giving up nor given in to what is going on with the agency these days.
We need to be tactical in the ways we deal with things. I know we have good
managers in the organization and some with no fire experience that need to be
brought along just like we all did with the first year firefighter. This is the
only way they can truly understand the job we do and if all they hear is the
bad, they will think there is nothing they can do to please us. Remember it was
not to long ago that engine captains were GS-5 1039 employees. We have made
progress and things will get better.
Soon to be old timer
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
I am beyond frustrated with the hiring process of my local forest. Is
this happening to just me or is anyone else getting multiple start dates that
change every two weeks?? I really can't get any info other than being told to
Sent from my iPhone
The FWFSA is finally getting on Facebook. I'm the first to admit
my social media skills are antiquated at best so thanks to one of our members in
Michigan...yes, we have members in Michigan and 29 other states. The page is
still being developed but we'd appreciate it if you visited and offered a
We are also working on making our web site a bit more friendly and interactive.
The blame for the oft-delayed effort lands squarely on my desk as it has taken a
significant amount of time working with key members of Congress to come up with
our final recommended language for legislation to be introduced in late Spring
or early Summer.
We will have the language up in the FWFSA's web site Members' area in a couple
of days and then sometime in the near future here on TheySaid. In the meantime,
my sincerest wishes for a safe season.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
Thanks, Casey. Ab.
Re: Lessons Learned Center webinar: Mobile Technology, Situational Awareness, and Emergency
Response, An example from Queensland Australia.
54 min youtube of the webinar (It's not just a lecture. The Powerpoint
shows up about 4 minutes into it.)
For those who missed it, the broadcast can be viewed here.
This spring's wild fire behavior
I’m an old guy and had my fair share of
experiences with wild fires. BUT… in my career the only other season that could
compare with the start of this one was in 1977. Remember, that August with the
multiple lightning fires throughout this state and the outcome? Marble Cone and
other fires? Almost all at the same time. Look ahead and think about how to pace
yourself to stay alert, safe and aware. This right now sends signals we all
should be listening too.
Re: Health, injury, OWCP, documentation
I suffered the same injury 7/1/2001on a fire in Alaska when I stumbled
stepping off of a curb and my 100 pounds of gear slammed down on my shoulders.
Within a month the pain down my right arm was excruciating and my right hand was
numb and tingling. After a month of trying to get OWCP to accept my case, I
called Blue Shield and let them know I was about to eat a bullet. I hadn't slept
in nine days. They agreed to pay for my surgery and I had it done 8/9/2001. If
they hadn't I wouldn't be here today as OWCP didn't accept it until 10/16/2001.
I hope your doctor told you that this is just the beginning, as when they
fuse your vertebrae, most times it causes the one above or below to start
sliding and you'll need more surgery in the future. You don't know how many
friends you have until you let people know that you need to have your throat
cut. They came out of the woodwork and volunteered to do it for me. Ha Ha!
Good luck and I hope the wait doesn't cause any problems. Because mine
happened over time, it caused my nerves to my hand to be messed up and half of
my hand is numb and tingling and will be for the rest of my life. I sat at work
messed up on Demerol trying to get a hold of OWCP for days and nobody from the
agency would help.
I heard CA-SRF Mad River Crew 4 will be going for their hotshot certification
over the next couple of days.
Good luck gentleman and ladies.
Sent from my iPhone
Creation of Arduous Duty Line Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Positions
More on the Flying Folda Tanks!!
I noticed your file only has the first page. It may have been intentional? Just
so there isn’t any guessing on how it’s done I’ve attached the whole file.
Either way if it ends up in the air (daisy chain) or not, let’s do it right!
Hotshots N Helicopters
Thanks hotshot. Not intentional. I got the full docx from Bill, but it was so large
that only the first page went through and I did not notice. It's a huge download
for only 5 pages.
HERE's the full document in pdf format. (6,126 K pdf; not all readers have
docx, so it's in pdf) The last page is intentionally blank as was the original.
(I also updated the link in the original post (5/12) from Bill. Ab.
Re: LLC webinar: Mobile Technology, Situational Awareness, and Emergency
Ab note: Webinar registration 3 posts below. Gotomeeting.com... Webinar
today at 2 PM PDT (3 PM MDT)
I just talked to Josh McDaniel from the
Lessons Learned Center. There are a lot of folks registered for the webinar and
they still have the bandwidth to accept more. I encourage everyone to listen to
Mark's presentation. I'm leaving now for the airport but here are my thoughts
for incorporating real-time mobile mapping into wildland fire management in this
country. There are three barriers to progress that inhibits the implementation
of geospatial technologies on the fireline; tradition, policy and perceptions.
Tradition - For this to work in the manner that Queensland Fire
and Rescue Service (QFRS) uses it, we have to get away from the 12-hour planning
cycle mentality that has been drilled into us from our very first ICS training
course. I've been on incidents in which Division Supervisors will not deviate
from the IAP assignment even though it was obvious that things have changed
since it was written the night before. QFRS is so effective because they have
the means to adapt immediately and change priorities based on the current
Policy - this can be a HUGE hindrance. Ever since the Cobell
lawsuit in 2000, security concerns have reached a high state of paranoia.
Federal agency personnel are not given admin rights to their own Gov't issued
work computers and cannot interface with cooperator networks during joint
operations. To work within the policy restrictions, I convinced the BLM CA State
Director of Fire and Aviation to allow me to purchase Panasonic ToughBook
laptops for all command vehicles, engines and helitack vehicles. They not only
withstood the harsh CA desert temperature extremes, but the swappable hard
drives permitted the crews to have one hard drive they use to perform real-world
duties and another hard drive for use in the station to log onto DOI Net to
check their e-mail. The IT managers were happy with this as long as the non
BLM-configured hard drive never touched "THEIR" network.
Perceptions - There are many myths about the use of GIS by
firefighters in the field. "It's too difficult to learn." "It's too costly."
"You have to have a masters degree in geography and an $18,000 plotter to make
it work." We'll, the QFRS firefighters have dispelled all those misperceptions
and the use of geospatial technologies have been part of their SOPs for many
years. ArcGIS Online now makes it possible to keep decision makers in the ICP
appraised of current conditions on the fireline without the need for a large
enterprise GIS system.
But here is the part that should concern you as an American taxpayer. All the
Federal land management agencies and many state organizations already own ArcGIS
Servers. They are not being utilized to their fullest during disaster situations
to share information when there is so much at stake. Cost is no longer an issue,
we now have the capability to map 40,000 acre wildfires on a cell-phone. In
wilderness areas where there are no cell towers, the device will cache fire
perimeter data and transmit it as soon as you enter coverage. The use of
Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals like the one QFRS uses, enables
field personnel the capability to stay connected anywhere in the world.
Real time GIS fire mapping info now possible anywhere (hotlist discussion
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service is the model that all emergency service
agencies should emulate.
Health, injury, OWCP, documentation:
On 9/11/01 I suffered a back injury on a
fire in Northern California. I walked into a stump/hole ash pit that I didn't
see. I had on my line gear and a portable gas-powered pump and 5 gallons of
fuel. The hole was only 8-12 inches deep.
It was what appeared to be minor. I went to the doctors, dealt with OWCP and
they treated it as a first aid. I did not get X-rays or an MRI. Was just given
some painkillers and returned to work.
I have had a few flare-ups over the years that have kept me down for a week or
I worked several more years in fire with the injury. What you can't see or feel
may still be lurking. Opening day of salmon season 2013, I went to set the hook
in a fish and I knew instantly that the injury was back... stupidity of me I
went back out on the boat the next day in moderate pain to score more fish.
Tomorrow I have my throat cut open to have a disc removed, replaced with cadaver
bone and to have vertebrae fused. It's finally going to be over, thank god.
The pain I have been in the past six weeks has been absolutely unreal. Morphine
has not even touched it. Nerve pain is something you NEVER want to deal with,
it's something you can't even describe. The only thing that's kept me going is
my daughter. While the injury is in my neck, the pain is all in my right arm and
hand, with some numbness. The other good thing is that I won't have any serious
issues coming off the 7 different pains killers I'm on.
I am writing this to make sure you guys take extremely good care of yourselves
on the fire and off the line. While injuries happen, they are preventable.
My surgery is 100% covered etc, however OWCP won't even touch it, as it's such an
old injury. I get that and luckily, seriously, I don't need any help from them.
- Document your injury to the best of your ability.
- Get a second opinion, even if it's out of your own pocket. It'll be
worth it in the long run.
- Rest as much as YOU feel you need to.
- Take extremely good care of yourself post injury.
- If you feel you have not gotten your point across to a doctor, ask for
You are not invincible, I was in my 20's when this happened and I felt I was
invincible. It catches up with you. I am very thankful that this will all be
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, MG! Ab.
A reminder to all fire stations throughout America. Thanks for
adherence to Title 4, USC Chapter - The Flag.
As required on Memorial Day, all US Flags are to be flown at half-staff from
sunrise until noon. At which time the US Flag shall be raised to the highest
point on the staff (full-staff) for the remainder of the day.
Full-staff shows that life goes on, the nation lives, for our flag is the symbol
of the living nation.
Thank you........... ms
"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to
surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever
cost" - Arthur Ashe
Please join us for a webinar titled “Mobile Technology, Situational
Awareness, and Emergency Response: An Example from Queensland, Australia,"
presented by Tom Patterson and Mark Wallace, on
Tuesday, May 28th at
3pm MDT. (2 PM PDT)
To register go to
Thanks and Take Care,
Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Tom Patterson posts to the hotlist as Fire Geek. Great fellow, excellent
friend, former FMO retired, enjoyable storyteller and holder of the firefighter
history. I added it to the
Message from Tom Patterson On the
HOTLIST THREAD. Ab.
Re Job offer:
If you are offered AD, I would take it.
If you are just working base hours for the first couple of weeks, you will make
In the long run you rather be a GS, but being an AD is better than sitting at
home on unemployment.
Get your refresher done, and critical 80 hours done.
Remember overtime is never guaranteed. And the AD rate for a FFT2 is $17.40 an
AD Pay Plan: 5109.34.pdf
Sent from my iPad
Re Job offer:
CF: My guess is the local units are getting creative because the hiring process
has been so fouled up. "Fire season is starting and we've got to get people
However, ADs are hired in certain specific situations and, if memory serves me
correctly, can't be used in place of regular employees. At the very least, you
won't be paid base 8 unless you are assigned, perhaps on standby.
If you want to see if this makes sense money-wise, find out what your AD rate
would be, and plug it into a "normal" fire day for you. It might come out close
to the same if you are on an assignment -- higher during your base hours, lower
than overtime and HD.
Still out there as an AD
This got dumped on May 17, along with some others which have since been
posted. My personal computer system updated and dumped stuff. My apologies,
Thanks for the posts to TheySaid and personal emails to me about the proposed
legislation that would change OT/comp time rules. I perhaps second-guessed
posting the question in the first place, absent sufficient information to
determine if the proposed legislation would even affect the federal workforce.
If more comes out of DC that warrants a post I'll do so.
"S" I can't speak to the specific hiring issue on the LP but referencing the
term "LPF" in conversations with its firefighters conjurs up strong emotions.
There are some Forest Supervisors in Southern California, that, in my personal
opinion, have no business managing the Fire Program and sadly that's one of
them. Given the complaints to the RO over the years regarding business practices
whether it related to actual fire management or the housing issue, the common
denominator was, and still is the Forest Supervisor.
What goes on at the LP is a microcosm of why firefighters believe the Agency,
through the RO, continues to try to "reign in" FIRE treating our firefighters
like some renegade, belligerent, teenaged step-child. Sad that well into the
21st century we still see that...a total lack of respect for the firefighters.
Anyway the Union has a presence on the LP. Let them know what's going on. The
fact remains, when a Forest Supt. screws up in a SoCal Forest, history shows us
they simply punish firefighters on another adjoining Forest by sending the
Forest Supervisor to a neighboring Forest. The relationships between Line and
firefighters is precisely why the Forest Service continues to rank so poorly in
places to work in the federal govt.
On an unrelated note, USDA Secretary Vilsack recently did his duty, (The
Administration taking shots at Congress for the sequester) through a recent
press conference and commentary describing the impending doom of this session as
a result of sequester cuts. Some of these comments ended up in the Washington
Post. I have received a number of press calls this week on the subject matter
and the Press quickly realizes that the management of the federal land
management agency fire programs is far more complex than they thought. But, it
is an opportunity to educate them on the issues facing our firefighters and how
those issues also ultimately impact our Nation's taxpayers.
Sadly the federal wildfire response has become politicized to the point that
sometimes its hard to determine where decisions come from.
Perhaps instead of using a large FOLD-A-TANK, a collapsible style should be
considered when needing to "fly" a tank in. Such as one like the Husky Aqua-Tank
( http://www.huskyportable.com/aqua-tanks_id123.html ). You just fly it out in a
Ok....... I just can't pass up this Fold-a-Tank thing going
on. Wings or full of water, sounds to me like whom ever is asking the question
or making the suggestion hasn't spent endless hours at night mopping with a
fold-a-tank much less any time at all setting one up. Can you imagine someone
actually trying hook the four corners of a fold-a-tank with water in it and fly
it. Think you'd have a mess of bent pipe and torn rubber on your hands.
If you really want to fly a portable rigid tank....... or see one fly go to this
It looks similar to a fold-a-tank and works very much the same, but it's also
has hose, fittings and pump on board. It's called a Klump Pump and it's made to
fly.... made by a friend Jim Klump and for hire!
They fly those fold-a-tanks all the time.... they just don't try putting them
together, filling them with water and then flying them to ovoid "THE WING
If you want to fly a whole assembled tank then check out
which is Jim Klump's portable tank. The
page will tell you all about the Uni-Engine as it is called and show you the
design and engineering that went into it to also make it flyable.
re promised job, AD job offer...
So it sounds like they are trying to bring seasonals on and
pay us AD, no OT or Hazard pay. I was offered to start tomorrow as a AD? I was
told I will start on the 2nd but was told three different dates. Wanted to get
opinions if this is a good idea or should I wait for my promised GS?
Writing about fire in China
Ah, life changes. I've been out of the fire
business since 2006 and at age 61 couldn't jump back in now if I wanted to. In
2009, I started a work of fiction based on fire camp experiences and wrote
62,000 words before I realized I had no idea how to write good fiction. I've
learned much since then and still hope to get the book out this year (and last
year and the year before).
I've been spurred on to write here because I just edited an interesting abstract
on wildfire in a province in northeastern China. The paper will be in Chinese,
but I'm improving the English in an English abstract for the authors. Since it
is unpublished research I don't want to provide details. But I do want to bring
wildland fire fighter's attention to the changes in China where the Army does
most of the fire fighting.
I now work as a freelance writer and editor and edit a wide variety of research
papers from China, Japan, and worldwide. Some papers relate to fire and compare
with other papers I've seen on many other subjects. My point? China is moving
into the 21st century more rapidly than most people realize, and much faster
than some other countries with a growth rate of 8-10% per year in the economy
for the past 15 years. "20 years ago Shanghai had no buildings over 6 stories
tall," a professor told me in 2006. Look at it now on the internet. That change
is reflected in their approach to science.
I'd encourage folks to contact Chinese fire fighters to signing up to "China's
facebook and MSN" combined as "QQ." Sign up free at www.imqq.com and you'll find
thousands of Chinese people wanting to talk to you (they will then lead you to
firefighters). Everyone in China under 30 has studied English since the 4th or
6th grade and as college students and young business professionals are dying to
practice their English on you, so you don't have to learn Chinese!
I also chat in Chinese daily from my home in Arkansas using Lang-8. I have a
group there for ecologists,
Lang-8 for Ecologists,
and am trying to general a global discussion on ecology, including fire. The
group has about 60 members mostly from China, Europe, and western Asia, but
worldwide (poor representation from the Americas currently, but mostly in
English). If your interests match (ecology, fire, language) you might find it
China's moving forward and studying the role of fire, as well as other
scientific topics. For example, they plan to get 25% of the energy from wind by
2050 and had to shut down a turbine installation last year because the
infrastructure could not deal with all their generation capacity!
My point? Contact folks in China by whatever method and talk fire!
RE: Flying Fold-a-Tank
Saw your suggestion, but I have to say I question the wisdom here. Folding
tanks to my knowledge are designed to sit on a solid surface, with lateral
containment provided by the portable siding. To partially assemble and sling the
folding tank with water aboard (even a small amount) would seem to put stress on
the material and seams themselves, which were not meant for this type of
loading. I understand your thoughts here, and logically it would work, but I
would guess this type of use would void any warrantees and pose problems. Take a
look at how a bucket is constructed vs. the folding tank material. As a
“recovering SOFR” this would give me the willies to see it happen!
Los Padres Hiring:
There is really only one place to look when regarding the
hiring situation on the LP. The Forest Supervisor. Selections for the seasonal
positions were submitted to ASC three months after the hiring process began.
This entirely due to a micromanaging approach taken by the Forest Supervisor, of
which much of the legality would be questionable at best (separating applicants
into piles by gender as one example of many). By the time selections were
submitted to Albuquerque the one staff member tasked with processing the
paperwork was already swamped. ASC is overloaded by the new E-recruit system and
the conduct of the LP Forest Supervisor only compounded the problem. Currently
there is a 4000+ acre fire on the LP and it's hard to find a LP seasonal
I am on my 6th season recently had a kid and quit my last job because I was
promised my job with my previous unit. I have been told three different start
dates and now maybe a fourth? I'm not sure if anyone cares or what my options
are. I am trying to get my old job back since it is better pay but not looking
good. I will miss the forest circus but I can't take this BS.
Effective immediately, CAL FIRE is rescinding CAL FIRE Safety Communication
2013-01 and replacing it with CALF FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02.
Attached is the CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02 that rescinds the CAL
FIRE Safety Communication 2013-01. As I briefed this morning on BoD call, CAL
FIRE WILL NOT BE tone protecting CAL FIRE Air/Ground or AIRTACs 21 frequencies
on initial attacks response.
Please give out wide-distribution. If you have any questions, please call me.
Yolanda R. Saldana
Pacific Southwest Region
Aviation Safety Manager
Effective immediately, CAL FIRE is rescinding CAL FIRE Safety Communication
2013-01 and replacing it with CALF FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02.
Attached is CAL FIRE Safety Communication 2013-02. Please provide appropriate
documentation on an IIPP6 at the local unit level.
Department Safety Officer
General Safety Communication 2013-2 (239 K)
It is a very simple fix to fly in a fold a tank and avoid
turning it into a Flying wing...simply fly it with a little water in it as you
would a bucket.
Chips the Bobcat has been released back to the wild.
Video about CHIPS THE BOBCAT
Remembering Daniel Davidson...
In response to many inquiries regarding
donations, Daniel’s family has provided the following information:
1st National Bank,
PO Box 168
Cloudcroft, NM 88317
“Daniel A. Davidson Memorial Account”
Lincoln National Forest
Public Affairs Officer
memorial flyer from the Lincoln National Forest for Dan (pdf) from his
friends and the wildlandfire community here and on the Lincoln National
Memorial Service for TR Hilton - Paramedic
Not sure how to send this, but wanted to let anyone in the wildland
firefighter community who may have known TR Hilton, about his passing.
TR Hilton was the paramedic advisor for the Region -6 IMS (Incident Medical
Specialist) program. TR has been involved in the Region - 6 IMS program and
wildland firefighter community since 1994.
TR passed away May 9th 2013 after being on life support. TR was on a bicycle
ride the weekend before, riding from John Day to Mount Vernon, Oregon and back,
and was less then a 1/4 mile away from home when he went down unwitnessed with
what was determined to be a sudden cardiac fatal arrhythmia. He was transported
to the Blue Mountain hospital in John Day, Oregon then to St. Charles Medical
Center in Bend by Air Link Helicopter, where he remained in ICU.
A memorial service for TR will be held Friday May 24th 2013 at Grant Union
High School in John Day, Oregon.
Shelby Gales BLM Safety Manager - Fire Operations, will be speaking at the
An account has been set up in his name at Old West Federal Credit Union, and
contributions to support his family can be sent by mail to the following
Old West FCU
650 West Main St.
John Day, OR 97845
TR was also the EMS Coordinator for Grant County and Blue Mountain Hospital
Ambulance, as well as Paramedic/EMT instructor for many other agencies in
Eastern Oregon and beyond. He will be missed greatly.
Friend/Pastor of TR and also an EMT with Region 6 IMS.
Los Padres Hiring:
I'm not sure why nobody is discussing the horrible hiring
practices that have been taking place. I am no longer in CA but I have heard
some bad stories from past employees on how they are being treated this season.
People have been guaranteed jobs then they've been taken away. Moved from out of
state for a certain start date then given three more start dates while living on
their own money. I'm not sure what they can do now but maybe talk to a lawyer?
These are great workers who deserve better. Get it together paper pushers.
re: Comp vs OT
I understand your point of view but I must correct/educate you on a few
* First- to earn comp on an incident YOU as the employee have to approve it
after discussing it with your supervisor.
* Second- the incident DOES pay for it, when you code COMP earned which is TC 32
I believe it goes to the P-code of the incident, when you USE the comp time you
with TC- 64, you use the P-code from the incident once again. Even though the
employee only gets 1 for one on hours, it makes up for it with retirement/time
and grade ext. by keeping them "on the books longer". This works as long as your
not a 26/0. Although even for 26/0's there are still a lot of benefits for some
extra time off in the winter months.
Hope this clarifies a few things
re: Comp vs OT
There are two kinds of comp time, comp for travel which if you
don't use by the end of PP26 (pay period 26) you lose, and regular comp
time which if you don't use by the end of PP 26 you get paid time and a half
for. At least this is how it works in the FS.
So AD you just worked until it was done, like in the private sector? You didn't
worry about it. As a professional I always demanded that they pay me for any
work I did if it was for the FS or in the private sector. I had bills and five
kids to feed, but I'm sure the agency would take any free work that I would do
re: Comp vs OT
It is technically against policy for a federal firefighter to
earn comp time on an incident. The reason behind this is to protect the employee
- fair labor standards requiring paying an employee time and a half for work
performed after 40 hrs. When Comp. Time is earned it is hour for hour, not time
and a half.
But....that does not mean it doesn't happen. I know of many career seasonal
federal firefighters that claim nothing but comp time all summer. They do this
so that they can 'cash' in their time throughout the winter. This not only bank
rolls them with 80 hour pay periods through out their time off, but allows them
to earn: sick leave, annual leave, paid holidays off, time in grade towards
additional steps, etc. This costs the agency a lot of money because the
fire/incident is not paying for these benefits. Additionally I believe there are
some ethical issues regarding earning time in grade, holiday pay etc. when the
employee is on furlough. Continuing on the ethical discussion - most of these
employees claim unemployment since the government isn't offering them a job
until next spring and they are merely getting paid for work already performed.
The best of both, or all three worlds for these employees as long as they are
allowed to do it.
US Fires 2012:
Records maintained by the National Interagency Fire Center
(NIFC) and NASA both indicate that 2012 was an extraordinary year for wildfires
in the United States.
Here's a terrific map showing vegetation and fire intensity based on Modis
satellite imagery, and a brief but informative article from NASA's Earth
Observatory. Thanks to NIFC (NIFC
year to date stats) and wildland firefighters.
US Fires 2012
re: Comp vs OT
OK, this goes back a ways, but at one point comp time was
available instead of overtime, at least for PFTs. You'd think this would be
budget-neutral, but somehow up the food chain, the local unit got dinged for
comp time hours, so line offers were very reluctant to agree to its use.
For the most part, everyone's attitude went along the lines of: you work
until the job is done whether it takes you 40 hours this week or 60. Since our
counterparts in the private sector did much the same thing, we didn't worry
about it. What was irksome was when meetings were scheduled where you'd pretty
much have to travel on nights or weekends and you had no way of recovering that
time (day really if you were going between coasts).
Still out there as an AD
re: Comp vs OT
I guess I am confused or missing something. As a USFS employee
I already have the ability to choose between comp time and OT. We sign an
OT/Comp auth at he beginning of every season and pick whether we want to earn
comp, OT or both. This is for our hard dollar fire accounts (WFHF, WFPR, etc).
This allows the employee to make the decision whether they want the extra cash
or the extra time off. Being a 26/0 with kids and not enough leave built up to
be the use or lose category, I often take comp time so I have more vacation
I know you really can't take comp on a P-code due to the p-code getting shut
down after so many days after the fire closes, or how ever exactly it works, but
we have always been able to choose between the 2 on our normal accounts.
R9 Engine Captain
The Coyote Fire of 1964:
I also remember the Coyote fire of 1964.. I was 11 years old and lived on
Alisos Street just off DeLa Guerra on the lower east side. Some called it the
"lower Riviera", lol..
Anyways a couple of things about that fire. The Coyote Fire ended up at
67,000 acres not 35,000. That fire was my first introduction to wildland fire ..
When it was rolling into town, my dad had me up on the roof of the house with
the garden hose wetting things down. I still remember the embers, smoke and
I remember watching the local news on our old black and white TV set and
seeing stakesides and military deuce and a half's trucking crews to and from the
fire. The Native Crews from New Mexico and Arizona received quite the coverage.
My dad also worked for the Feds.. he was a letter carrier here in town, a job he
had held since his return home to Santa Barbara from Europe in 1946 after WW II
I remember him telling me " whatever you do when you grow up, DO NOT work for
the Forest Service!! That is the only lower paying job than the Post Office!!"
Well fast forward to 1974... and where to I land a job after my 4 years in the
military?? Yep... the Los Prietos (aka Los Padres) Hotshots.. What a great
career I had with the crew and the fire service...
The state of Florida has had this for a long time. Back in the
day we would bank our time (at time and a half) and then use it when we came out
west on assignments. Our bank closes out twice a year, in August (?) and in
February. So when our season gets going March/April we were happy to bank time
since we had a good use for it. It paid us much better to use the leave, and
then come AD and make good Federal money than to take assignments that let us
stay on state-time at our normal pay rate.
But the problem started when some of the guys were on OT for pay, and some
were on OT for Comp. The supervisors would let the Comp guys make time, since it
didn't cost them anything. The Pay guys got mad since they weren't allowed to
bank any pay for cash, and in fact during times that we traditionally made
overtime, the supervisors would twist schedules around just to use the comp
guys. So the pay guys didn't just "not benefit", they had less chances to make
This friction caused the state to make a rule that the supervisor wasn't
supposed to know who was on which program. Of course that meant that the
supervisors had to restrict everyone from earning any time that they couldn't
justify as OT, and so everyone was back where they started, having to justify
any extra hours earned.
So I guess my point is that it really doesn't benefit you to have this comp
bank option. The argument will be that you will be allowed to earn more time
since it will be offset and won't cost the paymasters any money, but eventually
it will be just as restrictive.
The only real benefit will be folks who like long vacations or work a second
"seasonal" job like running snowplows. For these guys they will be able to draw
from another pool and not risk going leave-without pay. And this will only work
out in their favor IF the timing of the bank "closing out" is good for them.
I do think the bank will "close-out" once a year at least, since if it didn't
then someone could build a huge nest-egg of banked time, and when they leave or
retire they would have to be paid for this as "earned time". Expect caps, and
Good Luck with it.
Legislation to change overtime rules
As some may have heard, there is a
proposal for a bill being considered by Republicans in Congress to offer those
who exceed their assigned 40 hr workweek the option of comp time versus OT pay.
Needless to say, compensation for federal wildland firefighters as it relates to
their assigned workweek is akin to trying to put a round peg in a square hole.
Such a change to OT rules could be impractical for occupations such as law
enforcement and firefighting. it is unclear whether the law would extend to the
federal employee workforce.
I'd like to hear from anyone who has any thoughts as to the consequences,
intended or otherwise of such a law and how it could impact federal wildland
firefighters. Obviously we'll be in touch with NFFE who I'm sure will have a
thought or two. I can be reached at
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
The Coyote Fire Blackened 35,000 Acres in 1964
Santa Barbara Burning
I remember this fire well. When I was told it was at Mt Drive and Coyote Rd,
I said it will never go far. The FS station is less than a 1/4 mile away. Three
hours later I was there and changed my mind.
Kind of a weird conversation about LPF MPRD going on, (and plenty of
speculation) so since I work on MPRD, I'll try to clarify. The MPRD district
office is at Chuchupate Ranger Station near Frazier Park. Engine 371 and H-530
are stationed there. The station off of Smokey Bear Road @ I-5 is an ANF station
where ANF E-336 is stationed. This is called Los Alamos Station. Los Alamos
actually sits in the congressional boundary for Los Padres NF but the area
around lake Pyramid including Los Alamos is "administered by Angeles NF". During
the MEL build up, LPF added an engine (E-74) and placed it at Los Alamos. So
there is both an ANF and LPF engine at Los Alamos. Hope that clears it up.
Flying fold-a-tanks via long line (6,129 K pdf); folding them in such a way as
to remove the "wing effect".
Low Angle Rope Rescue Operations
Track down the Alpine IHC Superintendent , He can assist with your request.
Important Information from NFFE making the rounds:
May 8, 2013 - FEHB for Temp
Seasonal, Firefighters, Fire Support Personnel
Employees should send any questions or comments they may have on this to the
NFFE FSC Communications mailbox (NFFE_FSC_Communications@ nospam fs.fed.us).
FS FEHB Fact Sheet for Temps - Final.doc
FS FEHB Interim Guidance - Final.doc
FS FEHB Identification and Certification Form - Final.doc
FS FEHB Sample Letter to Employee - Final.doc
JHAs and gear lists for Low Angle Rope Operations
Does anyone have any JHAs
and gear lists for Low Angle Rope Operations geared toward wildland fire
operations? Our crew is starting a program to enhance our fireline medical
evacuations (carry outs on slopes, etc). During our refresher we will be going
through a 24-hour basic course, but wanted some JHAs to base ours off.
Ab's has my email or maybe you can post on theysaid.
Thanks to Fish:
I worked at Oak Flat back in the days of the Templin Highway
and the Red fire engine. The LPF never had any engines stationed in the ANF but
that was before the days of air tankers and copters.
The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center’s website server went
inoperable for three days this week—Monday through Wednesday.
We apologize for any inconvenience that this gap in our website service may
have caused you.
We’re happy to announce that we’re back up and running—though not at 100
percent capability, we will be soon. Throughout today, we will be making any
additional necessary repairs. If you have any questions please let me know.
Thank You for your patience!
Thanks, Brenda, glad you're back up! We did get some enquiries from
firefighters, but had heard of the USDA Agency-wide slow, intermittent, to no
internet/intranet network access. Simultaneously there was an attack on large
banks... We live in a new world! Ab.
Discussion of bag failure on Next Generation Fire Shelters -- with photos...
Next Generation Fire Shelters, Bag degradation, costs, carrying
Service arrangements for Dan Davidson, the Forest Service firefighter who died
of a medical emergency in NM on May 5th are posted on
Always Remember Dan Davidson.
Services will be held in Martin TN on Saturday. Links to locations are at the
bottom of the Always Remember page.
Dan has a son Tyler Davidson. His fiancé Terrah Eads of Martin TN is
expecting their daughter about July 4. If anyone wishes to contribute to help
with Terrah's expenses, donations can be sent to
Savings Account 504-08453
Routing # 084304243
Checks can be sent snail mail:
First State Bank (attn Nancy Varner for Terrah Eads)
126 University Plaza
Reminder to get your radio's annual Maintenance done so it operates correctly
(handheld and mobile). Especially if you carry your radio in the field and have
to depend on it. The only radios I find that don't need tuning are those that
stay in a desk, the more they are used, the more they need attention. Shots and
Engines, especially heavy iron have the most maintenance needs from vibration
There are several reasons radios need Annual Maintenance; All the King radios
coming from the factory or back from repair have the transmit audio set too low
(TX audio will be too quiet) and need to be adjusted before issuing. There are
changes in the Frequencies almost every year. Wear and tear from being used,
being dropped and vibration are killers. Some radios just have common problems
that need to be checked. In the Forest Service Handbood or Manual there is a
regulation that states that every radio requires Yearly Preventative Maintenance
to make sure it is working before Field Season. (FS Rules have been made to
prevent accidents with some Written in Blood).
I'd make sure the radios have been checked. Recent budgets and manpower
shortages should not affect Safety. Get your yearly check-up, you never know
when your Life might depend on that radio.
FYI EPH/EMH radios are BANNED from Federal Fires for 2013!
Re Smokey Bear Rd
Few corrections to your post... Yes Smokey Bear rd is off the I-5 but it does
not house the Piru engine. It is a joint station with the ANF and the LP... LPF
E-74 Los Alamos from Mt Pinos rd resides there... I forget the ANF engine # .
Additionally the Temescal fire station next to Piru lake is Engine 53 it is the
most eastern Engine on the Ojai Ranger District. Also LPF Engine 54 Sespe, Is in
fact housed by VNC at station 27.
Just thought if clear the air of any confusion
Thanks everyone! And thanks for the call Old LPF.
I'm working at trying to
understand what may be a mistake or an injustice.
RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD
I am pretty sure it's on the LP, not ANF
In Frazier Park, CA
Mt Pinos RD
Sent from my iPad
Re Smokey Bear Rd
I did some sleuthing. The Smokey Bear Rd is the I-5 off ramp into the Oak Flat
office and GS of the ANF. BUT… it now houses the Piru Canyon (LPF) engine and
also an address for this facility. The mail address is Castaic, CA and both
Forests are sharing the office. I hope this may help to answer her question. The
LPF engine was moved from the Ventura County station at Fillmore due to
increased space needs by VNC.
RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD
I believe you are going to find it on the LPF web site. Not sure with all the
new ranger districts names, but Mt. Pinos was up by Frazier Park back in the
day, and I'm not sure if they changed the name, but it was Chuchupate (sp?)
Ranger Station by Lake of the Woods and Lockwood Valley Road.
Mt Pinos District, ANF?
Isn't it on the Los Padres?
Mt. Pinos Ranger District
34580 Lockwood Valley Rd.
Frazier Park, CA 93225
Phone: (661) 245-3731
RE: Mellie’s question about the Mt. Pinos RD
Been a long time since I worked
for the FS, but I was stationed on the Mt. Pinos RD which was (is) part of the
Los Padres NF, not the Angeles NF.
However, I see there have been significant infrastructure improvements
Guess I need to take a trip and revisit the old stomping grounds.
Look on LPF site for the Mt. Pinos RD
The Mt Pinos RD is on the LP. The office # is (661) 245-3731
Couldn't find the address in my contact list. Hope this helps.
RE: Mt. Pinos RD
The address given on the LPF map is 34580 Lockwood Valley
Rd., Frazier Park, CA 93225 (about 5 miles west of Frazier Park). That’s on
the 2008 map.
Are you looking for Los Padres, Mt Pinos Ranger Station? Chuchpate Helibase is
at the station and lat long is 34 47 00 119 01 12 , with and address of 34580
Lockwood Valley Rd Frazier CA. Hope that helps.
Does anyone know where the Mt Pinos RD office, Angeles NF is? I don't see it on
Angeles forest offices Anyone know the address?
I'm actually trying to find a lat/lon, but google earth doesn't know how to find
Hwy 138 and 110th W, Angeles National Forest or Interstate 5 and Smokey Bear
Road, SoCal at least not that I can help it find. Am I missing some LA bedroom
community? I don't have a clue!
Any help would be appreciated.
In case you're looking for DOA or FS information on the internet/intranets
and getting error messages, there is some problem with DNS/Internet traffic out
of Washington DC. originally put out by DOA's National Information Technology
Center (NITC). Ab.
STATUS 05/07/2013 08:00
· Multiple Agencies & Users are still reporting “Web Page Not Found” errors.
· Duty Officer reported that all Internet/DNS traffic has been redirected to San
· The UTN team is currently working a Sev1 Critical outage with AT&T
USFS NextGen AirTankers
Text from official USFS news release on Next Generation Airtankers, from USFS
website. As an old, (I mean long-time) militia (I mean not primary fire), USFS
groundpounder, guess I can’t quite cipher how the BAe-146 can be both a
“NextGen” aircraft and a “Legacy” aircraft….. but then, much stranger things
have surely happened and continue to happen every day …..
And Abs, as always, THANK YOU and all involved, for TheySaid, and
Best - STUMPIE
Thank YOU Stumpie! Ab.
USDA Forest Service
USDA Forest Service badge
Contact: Contact: (202) 205-1005; Twitter: @forestservice
U.S. Forest Service issues notice of intent to award “Next Generation”
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013 -- U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced
today that the Forest Service has issued a notice of intent to award contracts
to five companies to provide a total of seven Next Generation airtankers for
“We are moving ahead to modernize our fleet as part of our overall strategy
to secure the best, safest airtankers available for fighting wildfires across
the country in the years to come,” said Tidwell. “It is critical that we
complete the Next Generation airtanker contracting effort as quickly as possible
as we face the prospect of another challenging wildfire season with a dwindling
legacy airtanker fleet.”
The U.S. Forest Service intends to award exclusive use contracts for Next
Generation airtankers to:
Minden Air Corporation; Minden, Nev., for 1 BAe-146
Aero Air, LLC; Hillsboro, Ore., for 2 MD87s
Aero Flite, Inc.; Kingman, Ariz., for 2 Avro RJ85s
Coulson Aircrane (USA), Inc.; Portland, Ore., for 1 C130Q
10 Tanker Air Carrier, LLC; Adelanto, Calif., for 1 DC-10
These companies were selected because their proposals were determined to
offer the best value to the government based on a technical evaluation of their
airtanker concept, organizational experience and past performance, combined with
pricing. The contracts are for a base period of five years with five one-year
options (a total of 10 years if all contract options are exercised).
The Forest Service is transitioning to the Next Generation airtankers to
replace its aging airtanker fleet. “Legacy” aircraft are those that have been
used as part of the Forest Service aviation program for years, and in some
cases, decades. All of the Next Generation airtankers are turbine powered, can
carry a minimum of 3,000 gallons of retardant and have a cruise speed of at
least 300 knots when fully loaded. The companies that are providing them are
required to comply with stringent safety requirements in their contracts.
The agency is working to bring all seven Next Generation airtankers into
service over the next year. The contracts allow these companies to provide
additional Next Generation airtankers in future years, contingent on funding and
other circumstances, to reach the total of 18 to 28 recommended in the Large
Airtanker Modernization Strategy that the Forest Service submitted to Congress
in February 2012.
The Forest Service issued an initial notice of intent to award contracts for
Next Generation airtankers in June 2012. However, protests that challenged the
announced awards were filed with the Government Accountability Office and
consequently those contracts were not awarded. The list of intended awardees
announced today differs from last year’s intended awardees because each company
was given the opportunity to submit revised proposals, and the Forest Service
based its “best value” determination on those revised proposals.
Large airtankers acquired through legacy exclusive-use contracts will
continue to be part of the Forest Service’s strategy to maintain capability and
response until there are adequate numbers of Next Generation large airtankers.
The agency recently awarded legacy exclusive-use contracts for airtankers to
Minden Air Corporation for one P2V and to Neptune Aviation Services, Inc., of
Missoula, Mont., for six P2Vs and one BAe-146.
In 2013, the Forest Service expects to have available for wildfire
suppression up to 26 airtankers, including seven Next Generation airtankers,
eight Legacy aircraft, up to three Very Large Airtankers through contracts and
eight airtankers through an agreement with the Department of Defense. The agency
will also have up to three water scoopers, dozens of single-engine airtankers
and hundreds of helicopters.
Fire activity during the 2012 wildfire season resulted in about 9.3 million
acres of private, state and federal land burned nationwide, the third highest
amount since at least 1960, the earliest date with reliable records. Significant
fire potential is predicted to be above normal in 2013 in much of the West,
including almost all of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon and Idaho, as
well as parts of Colorado, Utah and Washington.
R3 fatality: Wildland Firefighter Daniel Davidson
From: Jeanne M Higgins -FS
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 12:52 PM
To: FS-pdl r3 all employees
Cc: DeCoster, Tim -FS; Tidwell, Tom -FS; Wagner, Mary -FS; Hubbard, James E -FS;
Harbour, Tom -FS; Weldon, Leslie -FS
Subject: Fallen Wildland Firefighter Daniel Davidson
It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share the tragic news of the
death of Fallen Wildland Firefighter, Daniel Davidson.
Davidson, age 26, was working on project work near Mayhill, NM, on Sunday
afternoon with two other engine crew members, when he collapsed. CPR was
administered immediately, however when emergency personnel responded with the
Life Flight helicopter, Davidson was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The cause of Daniel Davidson’s death is under investigation.
Davidson, a U.S. Army veteran had served two tours in Afghanistan with the 10th
Mountain Infantry Division.
Following his tour in the Army, Davidson became a crew member of Engine 621 on
the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.
Our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of
Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
Deputy Regional Forester
Vehicle accident on CA-VNC-Springs Fire on May 3rd involving R3 employee:
From: "Schuler, Nick@CALFIRE"
Date: May 3, 2013, 10:13:06 PM PDT
Subject: Vehicle accident on Springs Fire
Tonight strike team 6634C (leader) from AZ-TNF was involved in a moderate
traffic collision while coming off the line. The collision resulted in injury to
the strike team leader and one civilian both transported to pleasant valley
SOF Rick Griggs will be responsible for the IWI and Rick does not believe a
SART is needed.
Performance by professionals in difficult circumstances:
I know it was early but none of us were caught by the Red Flag appearances so
early. BUT… we all had a chance to see the best out there doing what they were
trained to do. Being safe, being aggressive, knowing what the fire is doing at
all times and most of all watching the weather signals constantly. A well earned
break just arrived but remember. This isn’t even the middle of May yet! We
really haven’t even got started yet! My prayer (yep, I pray every day) is that
all of our wild land firefighters will come home safe after every assignment.
But doing that this season is going to be a difficult task. My kudos those who
kept many communities safe in this first blast. More to come. Stay tuned.
Other lightning trackers... on the Links Page
With regard to I Zone (now WUI). Firescope has adopted the new CAL FIRE Wildland
Urban Interface guidelines. Most agencies in California will be adopting across
the board. I'm unsure what mutual aide issues you are attempting to address. We
have the most robust M.A. system in the world. The Summit (Banning) and Springs
(Ventura) fires we experienced last week can attest to that.
With regard to the Esperanza tragedy. There were many challenges everyone from
the IC to the FF1 on the ground experienced that day. Jurisdictional authority
(who's chunk of dirt did it belong too) would have many absolutely no difference
in the outcome.
We are seeing fire season 2013 showing its hand, and it looks like a stacked
deck against us. We need add an extra measure of safety and make decisions with
the intent of survival in a worst case scenario. Deceased Firefighters don't
come back. Real Estate signs and newly framed homes always do. Remember this
when setting up for Structure Defense on a residence.
As a Chief Officer or Company Officer, if the residence you're setting up on has
a great view, this should shout watch out!! Lastly, no matter who has
jurisdiction, no matter what agency gives you an assignment, you always have the
right to refuse an order if you feel it is unsafe. How to do this is clearly
outlined in the IRPG. It is everyone's responsibility (IC to FF1) to see that we
all come home to our families.
CAL FIRE Jake
This quote in the linked article just busts me up!! “There are four branches of
government,” he reportedly snarled, “the executive, legislative, judicial and
the Gawd-damn U.S. Forest Service.”
Don't mess with the Forest Service
Haw Haw Haw! and good job, National Association of Forest Service
Making the rounds on another norcal forest -- the Mendocino National Forest --
originally the message came from the forest's Fuels Planner.
Here are the BIs and ERCs for the last 20
years (average) compared to this year alone. As if we couldn’t tell already.
Anyways, share with your folks if you like. This e-mail is for area 170 (front
country). Daly (fuels planner)
Energy Release Component
Lightning Forecast for norcal
Wildland Firefighting Community:
As our thoughts and prayers are with all of
you on the fires lines of fires typically seen in October, we want all of you to
know that despite the dysfunction in Washington, there are those preparing to
demonstrate their respect for you and pride in you and what you do.
Likely by early summer, a comprehensive wildland firefighter bill will once
again be introduced in Congress in an effort to reform archaic pay & personnel
policies and provide our Nation's federal wildland firefighters with
recognition, pay & working conditions they have deserved for far too long while
at the same time providing our Nation's taxpayers with a more effective and
efficient federal wildfire response.
The FWFSA and members of Congress are currently crafting the final language.
Additionally, with the many new faces in Congress, our new partner and former
Congressman and former Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and his firm are
working not only on a schedule of visits with key Congressional members for us
once the bill is introduced but they also continue to work with OPM and the
Agencies to find administrative solutions.
All of this takes an immense amount of time, effort and money. That said we must
continue to build our membership and convince those considering membership that
it is a great investment in their future; that they do in fact have a say in the
future of their career and they can in fact participate in an endeavor that will
make their careers a more prosperous and rewarding one.
There are still some in Washington who have arbitrarily placed a target on the
backs of the federal workforce. One such Senator has recently complained about
standby time and other activities surrounding federal employees that he
obviously is ignorant of and must be educated. Educating these members of
Congress requires a geographically diverse membership. So if you are a valued
member, please share with your coworkers what we are trying to do on their
behalf and encourage them to participate. If you have questions about joining or
what specific reforms we are pursuing, please feel free to contact me any time
either by email directly at email@example.com
or by phone at 208-775-4577. I offer this with the caveat that most of our
members are aware of...I don't have an "off" button when it comes to federal
wildland firefighter issues and what I think they deserve.
I also want to thank those who participated in the Wildland Firefighter
Foundation's fundraiser at McClellan last week for their warm welcome of the
former Congressman. Stay safe and please know that there are those busting their
tails on your behalf as you bust yours on the fire lines. God Bless you All.
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
Re: social media for notifications:
Many don't know that the USFS is behind BLM and DOI agencies in the use of
social media. FS only just allowed Forests and Districts to use Twitter for
official use, and Facebook is NOT allowed for official use. People have gotten
in trouble for trying to use it that way. The Honor Guard had to get W.O.
Permission from the Chief of the FS to have a Facebook page. I agree it is time
to get inboard with social media, but for now, be very careful unless you have
been authorized by Washington Office level for this kind of use.
As many regular readers and participants know, we have major fires burning in
California, even at this early date. Increasingly there are wildfires burning
across the western states. For you who are finding this website for the first
time, please visit our
WILDLANDFIRE HOTLIST forum for the most recent crowd-sourced
firefighting community information.
Thanks to all Wildland Firefighters,
Incident Management Teams, Dispatchers, Public Information Officers, and other
support staff -- on forests and state ranger units and in local firefighting
communities -- for the good work you're doing. If you've come to help from out
of the region, thank you. Please be safe!
Carry on -- safely --. Ab.
mb's Social Media as a Prescribed Fire Notification Tool & Smokey's Perspective
mb: if you are not already using an established
public notification system, your best bet is to ask people how they want to
receive info. You are likely to find a pretty big age divide between those who
would love to receive messages via Twitter versus those who'd rather get an
email. A small percentage won't want any electronic communication, and I can
almost guarantee that's where your complaints will come from: "We had no idea
they were going to fire this thing off!" You could reduce the work load by using
a platform that lets you hit multiple methods at once, say a blog that
automatically feeds out to Facebook and Twitter. Then you can use a more
traditional method to hit those who'd rather a call or letter. Just make sure
the message is exactly the same. You might also check on legal requirements for
Smokey307: thanks for your perspective on Esperanza. I think
you are right, especially about the interface issues.
Still Out there as an AD
Some norcal fire season trend graphs 1993-2013 for the Six Rivers National
Forest: Amazing! Dry lightning is
predicted almost every day next week.
Energy Release Component
1000 hr Fuel Moisture
We had fires in Willow Creek (Hwy 299, Humboldt Co), Pecuan (Hwy 96, n of
Hoopa) and there was a fire inland near Stringtown (near Redding CA) in the last
It's not just socal that has the early season. All you new firefighters who
have been hired, be safe!
Memorializing Paul Gleason:
I wanted to share what was done here at Dalton to
memorialize Paul Gleason. This project was spearheaded by Branden Davis and was
dedicated on our 60th anniversary. We are proud of our rich history, and we have
had many great leaders contributing, and Paul is one of them. There were many
many stories shared and many were about Paul.
Training is something we have taken very seriously. Which is why we dedicated
our training room to Paul Gleason.
training room plaque ||
close up of the text
Have a safe season,
Thanks, Scott. Ab.
There have been a lot of significant fires over the last 10
years but I think the most defining fire has to be the Esperanza Fire. An entire
engine company was lost.
- We need to learn how to handle fires in the I-zone more
- We need to address mutual aid issues and responsibilities.
- Fire managers
have to be very clear what they want. For example, did the Bat Chief ask or tell
E-57 to move from the Octagon House? Who had responsibility for the fire when
E-57 burned? I believe it was CALFire. I think we are just beginning to
understand the lessons from the Esperanza Fire.
I think significant fires are those where lives were lost such as Loop, South
Canyon, Cramer, 30 Mile, and others that don’t come immediately to mind. Others
would be significant loss of watershed such as the Station Fire and loss of
property such as the Oakland Hills Fire.
Social Media as a Prescribed Fire Notification Tool
I'm curious as to how parks, forests and individual districts may be using
social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to keep their neighbors informed of
prescribed fires and wildfire events.
Also, is anyone using any mass notification systems like Nixle or Send Word Now?
AND, is anyone also sending notifications for contractors or neighboring
agencies that don't have the means to spread the word themselves?
Looking at possibly establishing a "clearing house" for prescribed fire info in
an area that doesn't have lots of wildfire, but does have lots of smaller
Hello Valued WLF.com Users,
Yesterday we experienced a high level of activity in Region 5. As most of you
are aware, Wildlandfire.com is in the process of building a new website and
moving all servers to more of an Enterprise solution, so yesterday's slowdown
will not occur.
This is all part of Wildlandfire.com transition of ownership. To dispel any
rumors, the website is not going to change drastically, or even have sections
removed. The main difference you will notice is speed, function, tools, and a
much more positive user interface.
Fire Season hit unexpectedly, and as I am sure most of you are in the same boat,
we are ramping up on our efforts to support the Fire Service. On a side note, I
am sitting at the So Cal Fire Warden and Foresters 83rd Annual Safety
Conference, and the winds are blowing like it is October.
Please, stay safe out there!
Hotlist is poppin'... Ab.
Idaho Gives- A one day annual event during May 2nd to benefit Idaho NonProfits
Please share/forward to your contacts and help us promote this
Help us make Idaho aware that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is based
here through Idaho Gives TODAY ONLY. On this one day, Idahoans come
together for a day of giving to support the nonprofits in communities across our
state. From midnight -11:59pm a share of every dollar raised by Idaho nonprofits
will be matched with funds from the Idaho Gives award pool. In addition, the top
five organizations with the most unique donors (nonprofits are divided by size)
will receive bonus grants of $3,000, $1,000, $500, $250, and $250 respectively.
The homepage is
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation giving page is
Please share and promote this today. And support the WFF, giving levels for
all income brackets available. Everything helps. Thank you!
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
The Spring 2013 Issue of Two More Chains has arrived!
We hope you enjoy.
Two More Chains - Spring 2013 (pdf download)
Take care, Brenna
Previous issues of Two More Chains at wildfirelessons.net archives
Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
I am hearing reports like this poetic one:
The Sacramento Valley is blowing
like none other right now. And smoke fills the air breaks like the season is
Nice, be safe!
Found the video online.
It's a zip file (76 mb) that unpacks as a .mpg video.
Great Video! Never seen firewhirls like this shows.
Many thanks, Bill. Ab.
Sent you the contact info for the video of the Johnson Fire, UT taken in
Maybe the video could get shared with the
Lessons Learned Center as well.
Sad news: passing of Anthony Ricci
Story about deployment (with photo) and surfing
His funeral is on Friday in San Jose, CA.
Condolences to his family, his crew, his girlfriend and all in the
wildland fire community who knew and loved him.. Ab.
GLEASON as coming from this not so hot shot
I'm not surprised Paul has lots of
Hot Shot friends. I'm one of his Not So Hot Shot friends.
I found this site today, and found I had lost a friend. I lost touch with him in
the mid eighties. I never had to go through the Flaming Jaws of Hell of a
wildfire. I would follow Paul in.
I was one of his off season climbing buddies in Southern California and later in
Oregon. I saw a lot of a side of him when we were just plain having fun. One
stint, we went climbing or bouldering almost every afternoon together for three
months. Then working on one arm, one finger front levers on his rings. He was a
deep guy. Paul and Phil, his hard climbing Yang brother, talked about removing
all ego from rock climbing. Not naming climbs, not rating them for hardness, not
telling people what you knew. Not putting your name on it. Very Zen sometimes.
Paul was, oh, so good a climber. In the truly elite of bouldering for a few
years when I knew him. Hunkered down in the wind, smoking, arguing cosmology,
mathematics, and Calabi-Yau manifolds. He saved my butt more than once. Deep
I'd bet it was summer of 1969 when we talked about the Forest Service project he
was doing incorporating thoughts from the Sun Tzu work "The Art of War". He
crawled on the dirt explaining with a stick and drew a big chunk of it out right
there in the dirt. He was fired up to work on the project, something he saw as
revolutionary, while being anxious of the very conventional environment. I
laughed like hell with him when he told me how well it was finally received.
Cro-Magnon strength in a Guru Hot Shot. He had an unforgettable chuckle. Like I
said, (outside of what to do when we left a bar) I'd trust my life on his
decisions, skill, and strength. You knew, and lost, the same guy. He lived,
fully lived. He truly left me with a better life for knowing him. No sorrow.
I hear you laughin' Paul, I'll be right over...
CA Fire Weather 2013 - Red Flag
NWS LA/OXN just issued Red Flag for Wed 5am to Thur 5pm
||Extreme fire behavior video
If it is the fire i'am thinking of, the fire
was named Toms Tornado (well thats what my tshirts say), Suwyns IMT2 team was on
that fire, as was I. i filled an order as a strike team ldr. an went to that
fire, the whole hill side had alot of understory an there was lil smokes
everywhere we decided to light it off with a ping pong machine and... ummm ya as
u saw in the video it lit off nicely... lol i had purchased two shirts from that
fire an still have them today, i believe that fire was in 2004 an yes it was on
fishlakeNF. The firewhirl came off the ridge an we could see trees being ripped
out of the ground, an the resources i had chased smokes from the fire whirl on
that flat for three days. it was actually an awesome fire, an if i remember
correctly we had to sanitize every resource on that DIV an the end of every
shift cuz of the fish disease that was in the creek, there was a large air show
as well on that DIV.
another engine slug
well here is the first correction...l ol sorry ppl i
did a little internet digging an went through some old files an found my
taskbook, the fires actual name was the Johnson Fire an it was in 2002.
The CAL FIRE Firefighter Matt Will Memorial sign that was destroyed in a
traffic accident recently has been replaced at the same location on Hwy. 156,
San Benito County, Calif.
||Extreme fire behavior video
In response to the inquiry about the extreme
fire behavior video, this was a fire on the
Fish Lake NF in September, maybe
2006? The name of the fire escapes me, and I am not sure if the footage is
available online. It was a late season fire, and the extreme behavior belies the
fact that temperatures and humidity were moderate.
Ab added the link to the Fish Lake NF website.
Thought this might interest you:
Reservists ready for wildland fire season
Thanks, -S. Ab.
||What happened to Chips, the Bobcat kitten rescued last August?
Rescued bobcat Chips returns to natural habitat
We hired 6 vets on our district alone doing a VRA hire. It is
easy and simple. For temps it was a no brainer. All that was needed was a DD-214
and a resume. Cut a 52 and viola, you have your new temp! I did look at their
resumes to see what kind of experience they had so we knew whether to hire them
as a 3 or a 4. After the debacle of the Pathways program (we finally got 4 of
them approved, but 3 of them had accepted other positions because it took so
long), the VRA hiring was a breath of fresh air.
Thank you to all our veterans who have served our country. I am glad that we
were able to pay you back! I'm looking forward to meeting all of you.
Sent from my iPad
||CA-ENF Star fire video 9/01
My name is Rush Alexander. NorCal2 DMOB. retired 06. LG CA-SAC. Just
converted tapes to CDs. Have a CD of the Star Fire memorial for 9/11. Love to
share it with the world. My videos are unedited. They are bad. But this is FS
history. I would like to share w/ everyone. No copyright. Just share w/ the
world. Send me your mail address. I'll send you a copy. & please share w/
Forget PC. God Bless America. Out.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks, Rush. I'd like to see it. Go NorCal2! Amazing days you had in that
Hells Hole area! Ab./Mellie
||Great article on things to come in wildland fire:
This was just published
in Wildfire and Fire Chief magazines:
Information Technology and Work Managing Fires
My only comment is the transceiver being used to transmit data by Philip
Kacerik is HUGE! We started
a thread on the hotlist years ago describing the Inmarsat BGAN terminal
which has been in use worldwide on many disasters where there is no Internet
connectivity or cell towers. The one I’ve used during the Queensland floods,
Australia and Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico permits a dozen
computers, cell-phones or PDAs to connect to the Internet through Wi-FI and not
only does it transmit/receive data but also serves as a SatPhone for voice
communications. They also make a smaller unit that can be carried in a fire pack
that can be used with a single device. The attached photos shows how we were
able to provide near real-time mapping from literally IN the Gulf of
Mexico. These portable units are easy to set up just point it south… unless
you’re on an Australia bushfire, then point it north… it even has a built in
compass and emits a loud audio tone when you have the greatest signal strength I
believe I was sending updates to Ab in one of the attached pics.
Tom Patterson | Wildland Fire Specialist | Esri
I added them to the
Equipment 19 photo page. Thanks, Tom. I always knew where you were! Ab.
I've been searching for an app that will keep me informed of
fires in my area (Santee). Can you recommend one?
One is being developed as I type... It will be awesome! Ab.
||Extreme fire behavior video?
I'm looking for a piece of footage of extreme
fire behavior that was shown to my crew last season during our spring S-290
training. It lasted about ten minutes; it seemed to have been filmed in Utah or
a similar area, I believe by a Hotshot crewmember. It's shot from a road looking
across a long field of sagebrush into hillsides filled with conifers. I can't
remember much about the fire behavior pictured, other than that it was truly
extreme -- amazing firewhirls, intense spotting, the wind throwing entire
trees as firebrands, and otherwise a great example of what fire can do under the
right conditions. I also remember that at one point a moose emerges from the
woods and is running full-speed across the sage, and the videographer is
conflicted about whether to film the animal or the fire.
Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone know if this video is publicly
available online? Much appreciated!
||Re T cards:
Here's a fire center research document on
T cards from 1977 (403 K pdf)
||End of an Era...
Later to Rick Cowell... an icon in Region 5.....There is a
lot to complain about with the Forest Service in California, But Cowboy makes up
for all its faults single handed. ...I never worked for him, but always saw his
impact on every fire that we were on together.... Every time my hotshot crew was
working around Hobart we'd work a little harder just because they'd raise the
bar so much.... Rick you're the man, probably one of the best Hotshot Supts ever.
We're all going to have to pick up a little more of the slack with you not
around this summer... Have a good retirement thanks for all you've contributed
over the years.
||Rick Cowell's retirement
What a great party. It took two days and 250
people to send Rick out in true Hotshot style. Numerous past and present Supt's
were in attendance from crews all over California. Old friends, Lot's of laughs,
memories, and story telling over campfires. Great BBQ food, cold beer, and one
happy Rick Cowell. He introduced his large family and claimed the Klamath River
is the center of the earth. Who can argue that!!
What a ride, Cowboy!! Thank you.
||Hiring military vets
I just used the VRA authority to hire someone and it was easier than any
other hiring I've ever done. It did take finding the right HR person to get me
the straight scoop on it. Resume and DD 215, a vacant position, and a SF-52
initiated by the employer was all it took. Good luck.
||Rick Cowell's retirement
Today, 4/27/13 is Rick Cowell's retirement party at Bullards Bar. Starts at
1100 with a 3 mile run, then festivities at 1300 to whoknowswhen. 27 years on
the Tahoe (Hobart) Hotshots. Another legend, finishing a tremendous career.
Congrats to Rick! Ab.
||Hiring military vets
I was just notified that a lot of Military Veterans didnt even show up on
Referral Lists this Fire Hire, I was just told that it was a bug in the new
system. I was told that once the investigation is done (if they even conduct
one) that someone is going to be in a lot of trouble. Thats great and all, but
what about us Military Veterans that didnt get a job offer because of this?
I have VRA eligibility and called some Forests and was told that they didnt
want to hire VRA because of the hassle or were told not to hire VRA candidates
and just fly the announcement. Isnt that illegal? What I really thought was
funny is one of my apps did get through and ASC said I was unqualified, but the
funny thing is that it was for the grade and position I last held. Maybe this is
There were also a number of non-vets that had the same problems with not
showing up on the referral lists. We'll see what the outcome is. I haven't heard
of an investigation. It is a new system for the FS but already used by the DOI.
Anyone know the full story? Ab.
Saw this page on the web
Minds Wan to Know (IMWTK) and thought I'd try submitting a question.
I'm preparing training for our Bureau in the use of ICS 219 Resource (T) Cards.
Can you advise the history of the use of T card use in wildland firefighting?
I've found some history on the use of T-cards for logistics and transportation
efforts in the military in WW II and Korea, but no mention of when the use of
T-cards started in the fire service. I'm retired from the fire service (urban
and suburban 25+ yrs) but do not know the historical beginnings of the use of
||Photo of Faller from Mellie
The fella standing on the stump is CAL FIRE SKU Fire Captain Pat Bailey. Hell of
a fireman and a good cutter.
Thanks for the confirmation. Be safe out there. Ab.
||Webinar next Tuesday: The Use of Wood Mulch to Reduce Post-fire Erosion Risk
On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, Pete Robichaud will be presenting a webinar
titled “After the Smoke Clears: The Use of Wood Mulch to Reduce Post-fire
Erosion Risk” at 1pm MDT. To sign up to attend go to
Thanks and Take Care!
Brenna MacDowell – Communications Specialist
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Hey Ab and all,
I was able to find the episodes with Riggles' and Ab's help.
Survival... episode #1 (youtube)
those lives... episode #2 (youtube)
You NEED to watch these...You NEED to push leadership to get on board with
current medical practices.
Until next time....stay safe
Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You...
Thanks, Bill R and Bill A. Crowd sourcing. Ab.
||re West, TX:
The West VFD lost a considerable amount of their equipment in
the explosion, and the Texas A&M Forest Service is coordinating with outside
agencies that want to help. Equipment of all kinds (from engines down to SCBAs,
hoses, ladders, nozzles and fittings) is being processed through the Helping
Hands grant program. Anyone interested in helping this department can contact
TFS at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or they can call the Emergency Services Grants Division at (979) 458-5540.
What is going on in region five? I've heard from colleagues that
many seasonal returnees are being hired late this season and some have been
offered jobs then took them away. I an no longer living in CA but we need to
take care of these boys, what's going on?
As you all begin to prepare for Fire Season 2013, I would like you to ask
yourself, "Am I prepared to care for myself and my coworkers if something goes
If you are relying on someone else on the crew to be your medical provider, what
happens if they are the one injured by a tree, cut by a saw or Pulaski, or
become incapacitated because of illness. Do you know what to do, how to do it,
and where to find the appropriate medical equipment and supplies to care for
your crew's medical provider?
I have attached an absolutely awesome web-link to a documentary done by Dr.
Michael Mosley. He is a physician out of the UK who went to Afghanistan and
followed the boots on the ground regarding the medical care that has been
provided to soldiers in combat. Unfortunately, I cannot get it to open the video
link, however there is also other great stuff from his postings that I have also
attached including how they (the Brits) make sure for every 4 people in a team
one of them is trained to do moderate medical care (EMT/Combat Medic style). He
also talks about some amazing ideas out there regarding the "Platinum 10" vs the
old Golden Hour" as well as using Progesterone for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
Platinum 10 minutes of care
Progesterone for TBI
I hope this helps provide you all some more information in regards to Caring for
On a more personal note:
Folks, this will be the first time in a long time that I do not go out on large
wildland fires to fight fire or provide medical care to you all (since 1994).
No, I am not deploying to some far away land.
I have decided to accept a Senior Paramedic position with an EMS agency in the
local area that has also decided to work on a consolidation of EMS and Fire
services for their community. I could not be more excited about this awesome
opportunity and the big picture plan that it offers its citizens as well as my
own professional future growth. I could not be more excited to work with the
Fire Chief/EMS Agency Administrator and have enjoyed the conversations he and I
have had to make this goal become a reality. The people of the EMS, Fire, and
Law Enforcement community in that county could not be more exited to work with
me and I could not be more excited to work with them. Some of them are former
EMT students that I taught over ten years ago.
Often times over the last several years I have wondered, questioned, and been
bewildered by the fact that I could not seem to secure a more fixed position
within the wildland fire community and agencies as a true Wildland Fire EMS
Development Specialist. I have talked with buddies of mine that are IHC Supts,
district FOSs, FMOs, and other higher level FAM personnel on how to make a go of
it with places and people who truly need this. Often I have heard, "something
bigger out there for ya Billy". Now I know what that is. While I will miss
sleeping on the ground for months on end, living in hotels, eating MREs, sharing
a smile and a laugh with my buddies on some remote chunk of line, popping the
occasionally knarely blister, or making the medical unit bobsled team... the
thing I will miss most is simply meeting and hanging out with you all in some of
the most beautiful places on earth.
My family could not be more excited... well maybe. With a wife, two teenage sons
who are in every sport possible, two Labs, three chickens, and three acres, I am
sure it will be an adjustment for all. Especially the three chickens and two
dogs (Molly will now have to sleep on her pad and not my side of the bed.... and
the chickens will have to be in the coop more so they stop crapping on my
freaking sidewalk and driveway.)
I hope to see you all again in the future as the system I will be working in
grows to meet the fire and ems needs of others. I will continue to support you
all from the sidelines as best as possible with continued medical article
posting and I still have on-going projects with medical care videos for wildland
fire, Pulse Check (bimonthly IAWF WILDFIRE magazine), and supporting federal law
enforcement as there is still a significant portion of federal land within the
county as we also have MOUs with LEO agencies.
Until then, be safe, have a great fire season, and remember... Risk Management
is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You. (I am going to copyright that
saying,,, so nobody take it: -)
"Risk Management is Self-Preservation and, It Starts With You."
Thanks, Bill, glad to hear your good news! Your informative posts here are
invaluable in saving lives! Don't be a stranger. Ab.
||Re West, TX:
Get hold of them directly.
West Fire Dept. | City of West
I’m a dispatcher in Calif and keep hearing rumors on the web that the West,
TX fire dept lost much equipment and some of the station (not to mention the
terrible loss of life) in the fire there this week. Any way you can think of to
||Thanks guys, it's not Chris.
||The picture is of a CDF (CALFIRE) Captain B from Deadwood Camp in Siskiyou
County. I am certain it’s Pat A.
The photograph of the faller is Fire Captain Pat Bailey. Pat was the
Leader of ST9262G with the Deadwood Camp crews and a "C" faller. He told me he
cut down a whole bunch of trees on the complex.
||Photo of Faller posted 4-21-2013
The guy in the photo is wearing the old CDF patch on his shoulder. Think it is a
Fire Captain from Cal Fire San Diego but cant say for sure. Who knows if he fell
the tree or not. Looks like the kind of tree a professional faller would tackle.
||faller on a stump in a norcal photo?
I was poking around looking for a
photo that shows our norcal extreme mountains terrain and I came across photos
from 2006 by the Northern AZ Team on the Klamath NF, Titus Fire (part of the
Happy Camp Complex). I know Hwy 96 through Hoopa, Orleans and Happy Camp, so I
was recognizing landmark bridges, etc.
I found this photo of a faller:
Northern Arizona Team faller photo
Does anyone know if this is Chris Seelye by chance, without his pipe? It's
hard for me to tell without a higher resolution photo. Chris used to fell those
HUGE hazard trees. Here's a
photo of Chris from the Goff fire in 2012 (click the thumbnail under Photo
credit Fillmore). This would be 6 years after the Titus Fire, before Chris'
death. Chris' daughters grew up here in norcal near me. If it is Chris, I'm sure
they'd like to see it.
Thanks for any help,
I am pleased to announce that the former Congressman the FWFSA has teamed up
with in an effort to navigate the dysfunction in Congress will be attending the
WFF's fundraiser next week in Sacramento at McClellan as our guest.
Since he did more for federal wildland firefighters than anyone in Congress to
date, this will be a great opportunity for him to learn more about the wildland
firefighting community and for some of our members to get to know him as well.
I'm certainly looking forward to a great night for the Foundation.
McClellan Fundraiser info on the Hotlist Calendar
||Original Ab or New Ab or Just Plain Ab,
I know things are changing with
WildlandFire.Com. This is just a short note to thank you for all you have done
to keep the wildland fire community best informed. There is no other forum, real
or virtual, that keeps the community as well informed. Every day, morning and
evening, I check your various web pages. I have benefitted from your forum.
What you have provided with your commitment to excellence will never be
forgotten or dismissed. We cannot even estimate in numerics how many lives you
have saved or how many young, aspiring FF's you have helped find job placement
or how many of us old dawgs have been best informed because of your efforts or
all of the rest that you have done.
Please understand I cannot in easy words thank you enough. Best wishes. As I
frequently tell our FF's, take care, be safe, have fun and live the FF dream...
John R. Hawkins, Unit & Fire Chief
CAL FIRE & Riverside County Fire Department
Thanks, John, and thanks for your help through the years. Carry on.
Ab/Mellie Coriell and Original Ab/Steve Myers.
||Defining Fire(s) and lessons learned?
Over the years, specific, defining
fires have contributed to changes in training, practices and wildland fire
doctrine. So, over the last 10 years, what do you think was that defining fire?
What's the fire that you would really want your crew to know and understand so
the same mistakes aren't repeated?
Still Out There as an AD
||Headline says so much...
got him!': Boston bombing suspect captured alive
Carry on, Ab.
||Boston Marathon Bombing
One MIT police officer was killed as he sat in his
cruiser last night. A car jacking of another vehicle occurred.
Re Suspects in the Boston bombing who are brothers.
One suspect is dead, the FBI (police, military SWAT, etc) powers-that-be know
where the second suspect is. Boston and 5 communities surrounding it are on
shelter-in-place orders. Two more persons from the home where the two suspect
brothers live are in custody.
Watch your TV for news.
||Boston Marathon Bombing
FBI releases photos and video of the 2 bombing suspects, supposedly on
fbi.gov but I don't see them there.
I found them
fbi.gov Updates on Investigation into Multiple Explosions in Boston
Here's an article with the photos:
Here Are the Boston Bombing 'Suspects' — Photos and Video, but FBI Needs Help
Video on YouTube:
The guy with the black ball cap followed by the guy with the turned-around white
||Red Flag Wind advisory
from the NWS:
Southwest Cal: Moderate Santa Ana wind event with low humidity.
also for SW Texas
(Austin, San Antonio) with higher humidity.
Prayers for our West, TX brothers, sisters and citizens.
||TX Industrial Explosion
Condolences to firefighters, families and friends in Texas. Looks pretty
Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Rescuers Searching for Survivors, Missing
Heads up about a new avian flu virus: H7N9, that could go pandemic. This
watching as fire season with firecamp approaches. Key is if it is transmitted
human to human.
of CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Prevention)
H7N9 sickens 5 more in China; family cluster suspected
Apr 17, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – The number of people infected with H7N9
influenza in China grew by five today, with Shanghai and Zhejiang province
reporting fresh cases, and news reports described an H7N9 family cluster
apparently linked to one of the outbreak's first confirmed cases.
The five new cases announced today are all in adults. Three are seniors, two
are younger adults, and all are hospitalized, according to official and
The family cluster of infections is reportedly connected to an 87-year-old
man from Shanghai whose illness and death were announced on Mar 31 when
China first revealed the detection of the novel virus and the first three
known human cases. At the time... (More at the link...)
||Good afternoon members of the wildland fire community:
Last week I sent
you a notice that author John Maclean would be on our radio show, FEDtalk, to
discuss his new book, The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine
57. The interview with Mr. Maclean has now been posted online, and we hope that
you will share it with your networks. The show can be accessed by clicking
Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions or would like
Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. | Attorneys at Law
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 463-8400 | Fax: (202) 833-8082
www.shawbransford.com | email@example.com
Hi Jason. No email came into the Ab account. Given that this is a mass
mailing, it likely went into the spam filter, which can collect more than 200
spams a day, more if it's tax time. That's where I found this message. Next time
if you put theysaid in the subject line I might notice it there. Ab.
||Boston Marathon Bombing Incident
Best thoughts and prayers for the
Condolences thread on the hotlist if anyone wishes to contribute.
Congrats to all the agencies using the Incident Command System and working
together based on Interagency Agreements to streamline and enhance the
investigative response. I am very proud of our brothers and sisters who are
"doing their jobs". Ab.
||Boston Marathon Explosions
2 Explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon, according to CNN; apparently
at least 4 people are down and being given aid by first responder Boston
Fire/EMS in view of the CNN producer who is reporting from the scene. Ab.
||Thanks for 10th Anniversary of the Lucky Peak Challenge, Boise ID AND
The New Mexico Interagency Wildfire Awareness Week Fun Run and WFF Fundraiser!
Many thanks to
Chad and Sara Fisher for bringing everyone together in celebration of the 10th
Anniversary Lucky Peak Challenge, another successful WFF fundraiser, gathering,
and memorial climb in memory of Roger Roth and others who have fallen or been
injured fighting wildland fires. I heard it was a chilly/windy one, but plenty
of warmth and spirit at the BBQ to make up for it! Wish we could have been
Thank you to Karen Takai (Sandia Ranger District) and the others that helped
organize the New Mexico Interagency Wildfire Awareness Week Fun Run and WFF
Fundraiser! Your support will help us continue to: provide immediate travel
assistance to get an injured firefighter's family to their firefighter's bedside
and assist with expenses for families while their firefighter is recovering,
help an injured firefighter meet their financial needs until they receive
benefits, or are able to go back to work, and network crews and families with
information and support after an injury or fatality. We value our role in being
the funnel to pass on financial assistance, ongoing emotional support, and
recognition efforts to our fallen and injured wildland firefighters. Our efforts
would not be possible without you! Thank you!
PS added later: Heartfelt condolences from all of us at the WFF to the people
of Boston, families and friends and those who were injured and killed in the
||Below is the link to the 24 Hour Report for the Driving Accident at Merritt
Island Wildlife Refuge. 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
Learned Incident Lookup).
To view this this Bulletin go to:
Merritt Island Complex.pdf (pdf download from NIFC's Safety
||Matt Will's Memorial Highway sign was destroyed by an "errant driver".
Got this in the Always Remember email account. I don't know the replacement
process, but it seems the driver's insurance should pay for a replacement.
Always Remember Matt Will for reference and a photo of the sign before it
was hit and destroyed.
Hotlist thread on the replacement
I have bum news, the friend that took the photo of Matt’s Memorial sign called
me and stated an errant driver took out the sign and posts (destroyed) in an
accident. At least the photo was captured. I am trying to find out what the
replacement process would be, the sign was paid for with private donations.
||Making the rounds in R5:
Aetna recently released a report on the success of
their Employee Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Program.
Happy Monday everyone. I just had to share this with all of you as you know I
have been going through Duke Integrative Medicine processional Health Coaching
program along with Bequi Livingston, & Jim Saveland and with my clients it has
been truly amazing.
Aetna recently released a report on the success of their Employee Healthy
Lifestyle Coaching Program:
They previously worked with Duke to test a Mindfulness-Based, Mind-Body
Another affirmation of the value of our Mindfulness-Based IHC training
program. Take a look.
Healthy Lifestyle Coaching
Be WELL! Be proactive… it is not just all about learning after, but how we
show up, up front and care for our employees and provide the structure for
resiliency & optimal health & Well-Being.
Pacific Southwest Region Occupational Health & Safety Manager
This past year I was made painfully aware that many people within the federal
land management agencies, at the regional levels (and in Public Affairs), have
very little knowledge of what actually happens day-in and day-out at the large
and very busy air centers and airtanker bases, such as the Grand Junction
Interagency Air Center. They only seem to know the results, either good or bad.
And as has been my motto and goal throughout my career as a public school
educator, school administrator, wildland firefighter, Fire Prevention
Technician, Public Affairs Officer/Information Officer and tour guide in Nepal:
Using any available means, reach out to the public and while you have their
attention... inform them as best as possible.
And that's my intention with this blog. Find it and follow it at:
This could be a very interesting season. Be safe.
This doesn't surprise me as they always cut from the bottom up. It's
popular to rant about cutting government, but nobody says how. Whenever they do
across the board cuts, the agency does it from the bottom up. After all, the
ones with the power to pick the cuts aren't going to cut themselves or their
friends they work with so that leaves the field. We all know that the work that
still has to be done can be done by contractors even though studies have shown
it costs 2 to 4 times as much.
Years ago when I came from the state to the FS, the first thing I saw when I
entered the fire shop was an article on the bulletin board that said Reagan cuts
10,000 federal fire jobs. Since he's their hero we know that this is the
approach todays Republicans are going to take, although Obama didn't do us any
favors with his budget proposal.
Please let's refrain from politics unless it's specifically fire-related.
We each have our own opinions and preferences. Thanks, Ab.
As a former 5th District VP for the California Professional Firefighters (the
5th district covering all federal firefighters in CA) I think it critical for
the Vandenburg crew members to know what, if anything, the current 5th District
VP of the CPF and the current 16th District VP of the International Association
of Fire Fighters did on their behalf to prevent this cut.
We remain keenly aware that agencies will use the sequester as an excuse for the
delay in hiring seasonal wildland firefighters and continue to manipulate FIRE
preparedness dollars to fund non-fire positions and projects which in turn will
increase the risks to the health & safety of our firefighters and those they
protect and ultimately increase the cost of suppression.
Those of you on the LP need to support the Vandenburg crew and communicate to
the Congressional representatives that surround Vandenburg and raise the issue
with the RO & WO (we will follow up as well) that this is a serious action with
serious consequences for the safety of our firefighters and their constituency.
This is not a "Chicken Little" response. It is a clear vicious cycle that occurs
each season. Preparedness dollars are misused resulting in a reduction of
inherently less expensive federal resources in place pursuant to the National
Fire plan to keep fires and less costly. As the season bears down, the Agencies
have no alternative but to fill in the missing gaps with expensive non-federal
resources that needlessly increase the cost of suppression.
These gaps may, in many instances, continue for some time increasing the risks
to the firefighters and Public. While we have gotten the acknowledgement of many
in Congress that they understand these dynamics, it is an entirely different
matter to get them to do something about it. As is typical, it will take a
catastrophic event before they wake up and take some kind of action. In the
meantime the Agencies will throw the dice and hope the season isn't a disastrous
one that results in Public outcry, Congressional hearings etc.So much for MEL!
||Vandenberg Hotshots laid off:
Major Bummer!!! Wonder if the FS is gonna
start The "Massacre" again any time soon...Things just keep getting better all
the time...(insert sarcasm)
Vandenberg Hot Shot Crew Members To Be Laid Off
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.- Central Coast News has learned 14
Vandenberg Hot Shot crew members will soon by out of a job. According to
officials, a full hot shot crew is 21 members and 14 employees will be let go.
Last year, crew members were sent to help fight fires in Colorado and Wyoming.
Central Coast News reached out to officials from the Vandenberg Air Force Base
for comment, but as of Friday evening we have not received a call back.
Fair use disclaimer
||Interagency Dispatch Optimization Improvement Pilot Project (IDOPP) final
The IDOPP final report that was completed in January is finally released to
the public. While I'm still going through it, the glaring fault I see in the
dispatch assessment is the complexity rating of ECCs.
How does anyone who has a clue believe that ANCC (Angeles ECC) and SIFC
(Susanville Interagency ECC) are moderate complexity ECCs? How can any third
tier ECC in California be assessed as anything but high? Considering the busiest
centers as the high-water mark disvalues the complexity of the rest of the ECCs.
Maybe those ECCs have a workload that is too heavy? It is a flawed assessment
and it undermines the rest the recommendations, which is too bad because some of
the recommendations are very good.
I feared this contrived conclusion when I heard a key IDOPP committee member
refer to R5's current high complexity ECC assessment as a "Quintinism" in order
to undermine the Region's current established decision. This biased assessment
also opens up the possibility of downgrades of ECC staff on top of everything
else. If this exercise was really about optimization and not consolidation,
IDOPP would have evaluated and recommended splitting some of the large centers
so they can provide optimal service. Consolidation does not equal optimization
no matter how you phrase it.
Forest Service Management Efficiency Assessments
11. Interagency Dispatch Optimization Improvement Pilot Project (IDOPP)
||Dear TheySaid and TheyWillTell EveryoneTheyKnowToHelpGetTheWordOutPlease,
Last day to register for the WFF Memorial Fundraiser is approaching:
The Deadline is April 17th. THAT'S ONLY 3 BUSINESS DAYS AWAY! Event is on April
All wishing to attend must pre-pay at:
If you are a family member of a fallen wildland firefighter and are attending,
please let the Foundation know, as we want to insure all families members
receive (Hawaiian) leis.
Where? McClellan, CA at Lionsgate Restaurant Club Ballroom. We will be
remembering those who lost their lives fighting wildland fires from the air and
on the ground.
Cost? Admission is $50.00 per person, includes dinner, non-alcoholic drinks and
live entertainment by “Hawaiian Dancers" Aloha Polynesia!
Goodies? There will be a silent auction and you may win great prizes from our
raffle contest. You're encouraged to bring an auction item from your company or
Theme? Hawaiian attire or not, wear what you want………
Event starts at 1730 (that's 5:30pm) and goes until....
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Ab and Fire Folks,
OK, this horse is being resurrected so we can all beat it once again. Can
someone please explain to me what is LEGAL and ILLEGAL in the diversity
hiring practices. I have heard that it is LEGAL to hire diversity based on a
particular region's demographics. However I have heard that it is ILLEGAL to
hire diversity based on the entire country's demographics. For example, and
this a real life one to boot, the demographics in Southwest Montana look
NOTHING like those say in Southern California--- or even the USA, for that
matter. Yet I am hearing that folks in these areas are expected to churn out
diversity applicants nonetheless. Some are saying that they have to match
their workforce to look like the country--- well sorry but some parts of
this country (say Montana) just don't "look" like the rest of the country, so
why then are USFS people expected to hire folks who: a.) don't live in the
area/region, and b.) would have no real interest in living there even if
given the opportunity? Why are local, quality, highly skilled and
experienced applicants being pushed aside in order to meet some unrealistic
diversity quota? Also, why is it so dam* important that the USFS hire
diversity? This is the FOREST SERVICE, an agency that should be made up of
PROFESSIONALS, you know people who have experience working and living in the
woods, people who have FORESTRY degrees and RESOURCE MANAGEMENT degrees
--- its not some government outfit that just exists to give everyone a
chance --- give me a break. If candidates who fit this bill also happens to
be diversity then great!!! If not, well sorry you don't qualify, come back
when you do!!! I think I need to start looking at the private sector; this
agency really is spiraling down into a big ball of pc irrelevancy.
It sounds to me like the referral list you were on expired. Its only good for so
many days and if they don't request to extend it, it will expire and they will
need to pull a new one and then start the leveling process all over again.
When requesting a referral list, one can select a specific area or town where a
particular crews station (district) is and, there is a 50 mile radius, too. On
my forest we pulled both! On our district we had over 900 applicants to level.
This took five weeks with 1-3 people. We had four vacancies! You don't have to
request the 50 mile radius, too, but our forest supervisor does his own thing,
and might even be pressured to do so?
I personally want to hire a good veteran. They deserve it! They were told when
they signed up and returned home they'd be offered a job. I have some great
veterans working for me now and have had some great ones that have moved on. I
have had some that couldn't cut it either!
I'm glad you had a spot to go back to!
Hotshots and Helicopters
Get a permanent position. That would help things a lot, not to mention the
benefits of intermittent status during the winter and training. That aside, the
folks that told you that you had a job made some mistakes, because they must
clear the vets off a hiring list before offering anyone else a position. (If
your story is true.) It is a big mess this year with the integration of eRecruit,
Temp Hiring, Lotus Notes (thought we got rid of that), and USAjobs. You are not
the only one, maybe ask the question, "Why did you offer me a job before
clearing the Vets?" on second thought, don't ask, if you ever want a chance to
work there again. Just shoot for that PSE position
R5 Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement -- Diversity
Communication from Randy Moore, Regional Forester (30 K pdf)
The president is proposing $74 million for improving the FS wildland aviation
fleet. See pg. 68.
White House Budget
Thanks from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation:
"A big thanks goes out to
Darla Theisen, Anne Connor, Rebecca Metcalf, and others at the AK Division of
Forestry, Alaska Fire Service, and USFS in AK who organized another successful
fundraiser for the WFF at their 2013 Dispatch Workshop! We appreciate your
support! Thank you!"
Reply regarding NJ SEATs:
In 1995 I was on the Sunrise Fire on Long Island, New York which utilized 7
Ag Cats and two helicopters (State of NY and Maine) to help fight that fire. The
Ag Cats all had reciprocating engines back then and did a great job for us.
Given the proximity to wealthy communities and WUI concerns, this fire became
political very quickly. President Clinton's office, in addition to FEMA and
other state and local officials, were on hand to 'help' with the coordination
efforts. You may remember that high level DC officials ordered two C-130's to
assist. It quickly became clear that the aircraft we had on site were adequate
to contain the fire since the winds that initially pushed the blaze had
subsided. Given the politics at work though, the C-130 order stood.
Unfortunately, due to a top level ordering snafu, the aircraft and support
personnel were about 24 hours behind schedule. Numerous media outlets were
onsite waiting for the airshow. Given the potential political fallout from the
President's office, they were directed to drop water (not retardant) on the
environmentally sensitive land where the fire was now being mopped up.
It was one of the more interesting fires I've been on politics wise. Here's a
link for the Downstown Aero story including info by Walt Darren at airtanker.org:
Downstown Aero, Vineland NJ -- oldest surviving airtanker operator
Interesting. Nice piece. Ab.
Fire history maps?
Do u guys have a link that shows fire history maps for
areas u might be going to?
Sent from my iPhone
Not yet, but as I understand it, that feature will be coming. Ab.
Heat related illness and the consumption of energy drinks
Good info in the heat illness prevention pocket guide and some interesting
recommendations. (Safety Advisory: Heat Illness Prevention Pocket Guide
In addition, I have noticed what I perceive to be an increased trend in heat
related illness in those with less experience related to energy drink
consumption and believe this is an issue worth discussing.
I would be interested to see what the data would show if we tracked energy
drinks as a contributing factor to heat related illness in SHIPS for the FS or
by other means.
Any nutritionalists out there with facts worth sharing during upcoming
refreshers related to energy drink consumption?
Any safety officers out there with thoughts on tracking nutrition/hydration
as a contributing factor to heat related illness?
Anyone out there with a lesson learned/near miss experience related to energy
drinks to share?
USDA does about-face, won’t jettison Forest Service’s shield logo
A plan to drop a recognizable logo in this part of the country — the Forest
Service’s iconic shield — generated so much outrage among the agency’s retirees
that the idea has been dropped. (Read the rest at the link.)
Re Resignation Memo from Under Secretary Harris Sherman:
Wow, 4 whole years!
Pretty lengthy resignation letter for such a short tenure.
To be fair, that is twice as long as Sarah Palin lasted as Alaska's governor
before she resigned.
Harris, we hardly knew ye.
FS Memo making the rounds this morning and passed on to R5 via the Public
Affairs and Communications director, Sherry R; It's the same message
circulating last week from the FS Retirees group. Ab.
Subject: Guidance on
Forest Service shield
Good morning, colleagues. Per USDA, we are cleared at all levels to provide only
the following comment when queried about the FS shield. If we get further
guidance, we will let you know.
FYI… this is likely ALL that they will say on the topic at USDA as well.
"The US Forest Service shield is exempted from the One USDA branding directive."
Oh and here's another offering mentioned by Sherry that looks interesting:
Green Fire is coming to PBS stations across the nation beginning
in April. Click on
greenfiremovie.com to check the listings in your area.
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time
Fires in New Jersey:
New Jersey - Bi-Plane SEAT! NJ's warming weather prompts caution on wildfires
Click on the link on the
for the photo and various articles.
Has anyone seen a biplane acting as an airtanker before?
Trampus Haskvitz Golf Tourney
Dear Wildland Fire Community,
The 2nd Annual Trampus Haskvitz Golf Tournament is coming up and I'd like
everyone in the wildland community to pause a moment and consider attending this
year. The Haskvitz family strength is amazing. Last year, they were able to pick
each other up out of the dust and organize the inaugural event only months after
the tragic fire that took Trampus' life. We have seen here at the WFF that each
family grieves differently, and this family grabbed their grief by the bullhorns
and pulled together to remember and honor Trampus with such fierce beauty.
Please share with our wildland fire community, and if anyone can make the 2nd
Annual Trampus Golf Tourney this year in South Dakota, they should go. Its
another great chance to be surrounded by wonderful people as the Haskvitz's.
In love and light,
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
This information is also posted on the Hotlist Calendar. Sounds like a
wonderful opportunity to gather, to play and to remember Trampus. Ab.
Resignation Memo from Under Secretary Harris Sherman
April 8, 2013
Dear Forest Service Family:
I want you to know that today I have tendered to the President my resignation as
Under Secretary for Natural Resources & the Environment at USDA. As you know, I
am a Westerner at heart and, after four years, I am feeling a strong “tug” from
that direction, particularly from my family in Colorado and California. Although
this has been a difficult decision for me, I think it is a good time to make a
transition. My plan is to remain at USDA until May 8, 2013 to assist in the
I cannot tell you what a rare privilege and honor it has been working with you
on so many critical fronts and knowing how much we have accomplished. I marvel
that in the face of declining budgets, record fires and temperatures, and
challenging forest health conditions, we have achieved so much.
Think about the following successes during the past four years:
--A new National Planning Rule that sets the framework for all future
--Conservation of vast landscapes and watersheds across our national forests as
part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
--Accelerated restoration of millions of acres within national forests to combat
bark beetles, invasive species, and address climate variations which in turn
will reduce the threat of wildfire.
--New public/private partnerships with water utilities, electric utilities,
recreation interests, ski resorts, major corporations, and NGOs to assist in
forest and watershed restoration.
--Expanded recreation opportunities across national forests and ski areas.
--Protection of Native American sacred sites and comprehensive consultation with
--Creation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to work with partners
to connect thousands of young people to the outdoors through targeted
internships and career opportunities.
--Collaborative efforts with diverse stakeholders reaching consensus on forest
restoration, resulting in fewer appeals and less litigation.
--Streamlining the Forest Service permitting and environmental review systems,
thereby reducing costs, eliminating inefficiencies, and improving environmental
This is in addition to the great work we do every day to protect communities
from catastrophic wildfires, support state and private forest landowners,
conduct critical forest research, manage and conserve our natural resources, and
connect millions of people to our public lands.
These are only a few of the many milestones reached by the Forest Service — all
of which are a testament to why the Forest Service has continued to be critical
to the Nation’s future.
While these jobs are about policies, programs, and the good work we are doing in
communities, they are also about our relationship to each other within the
agency. The Forest Service is a special place: rarely will you see more
talented, hardworking people at every level. The Forest Service has a
well-deserved, proud reputation. Wherever I have traveled these past four years,
I have heard of our good deeds, extra effort, and exceptional results. You have
every reason to take pride in your role and contribution to caring for the land
and serving people.
While I will miss all of you, I know our public and private forests are in good
hands and that you will devote your talents and energies to the work ahead. I
wish all of you good fortune, health, and success in the years ahead.
Safety Advisory: Heat Illness Prevention Pocket Guide
Below is the link to access this document:
To view this Advisory go to:
To view all Advisories go to:
looking for photos or video of the Viejas Fire January 3, 2001
My name is Ian Hay and I was a fire fighter with La Cima Camp in Julian Ca I
was with Crew 3 On the Viejas fire. I was wondering if you had any of those
pictures or any videos of the news that day? I was one of the ones that got
smoke inhalation and was interviewed by the news. I am looking for some Pictures
from that Fire. I took a bunch myself with a disposable but they have all since
been lost. I'm hopeful you might be able to point me in the right direction.
Thank you for your time have a great day.
Several days ago on the hotlist, Firescribe posted a link to an article about
the FS being at odds with OSHA on the Steep Corner Incident in Idaho in which
Anne Veseth died.
Here's the beginning of the AP article:
GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — The US Forest Service is contesting a citation issued
against it by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the
death of a 20-year-old Forest Service firefighter last summer. OSHA spokeswoman
Deanne Amaden told the Lewiston Tribune in a story published Friday that the two
agencies are negotiating after each conducted investigations and reached
separate conclusions. Anne Veseth of Moscow died Aug. 12 after being struck and
killed by a falling tree...
Mellie, what is the status of your "Always Remember" project ?
Is there a place where we can access a list of fatalities that have occurred
over the years ?
Still working on it as time allows. It's here:
If you hover your pointer over the Incident Lists in the menu bar,
different options will drop down: by Date, by Cause, by
Employer, and All Incidents. If you click on All Incidents,
you'll get all the incidents we have done at this time (20 incidents by 25 pages
or so). If you want to see all in one list, you can find the Display # option
and click All. There should be about 478 incidents right now, ordered
by date, going back to 1871. It's easy to filter by last name, by year,
by 2-letter state abbreviation, or by day of the year (xx/xx)
if you want to know who died on that day -- who's also included in the database
Today is April 6. Filter on 04/06 and you'll find the anniversary of the
burnover deaths of
Kevin Smith and Ken Allen on the Island Fork Fire in Kentucky and the heart
attack death of
John Murphy in Massachusetts. Both incidents have NIOSH Reports.
I haven't had time to go through all records to correct the USFA links.
They changed their system some months ago and it's a huge, time-consuming
job to correct the records.
If anyone has a person to add, I need the name and a death date or at
least a month and year and any other information you can find. Thanks,
FS vs USDA logo
Someone just has toooo much time on their hands thinking about stuff like this.
The agency has been loosing its core values for some time and it's this kinda
stuff that shows it.
Back when we were developing the Region 5 web and National web site, this new
branding logo was part of the action at that time. The big issue..... the
pushers of the New USDA brand really were not part of the old guard. Not really
part of the boots on the ground force that formed and held the agency together.
Cool simplistic designs are good and their designers have their place in life,
but not when it comes at a cost of removing a 100+ year piece of history. What
are the heads of the agency thinking???
The Shield was something I wore proudly and was always well received by all
those visitors to the forest (with the exception of a few). It was even a cool
thing to show those kids in the classrooms, pointing out that there was a tree
on the badge making us caretakers of the forest and their lands.
That's my two cents worth...
Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour Changes
Since it's a violation of the MA you'll probably have to file a grievance so you
should get a hold of your union rep. I told your R5 C.V.P. Barry McDonald and
the chair of the NFFE Fire Committee Joe Duran if your local rep. needs some
direction they can probably help.
NFFE R1 C.V.P.
FS vs USDA logo
This may be old news by now but the USDA has apparently relented on its
"head-scratching" plan to eliminate the Forest Service shield and other logos.
I'm not sure how the powers that be thought such a move would improve the
Agency's ranking among places to work in the federal government; or help fill in
the chasm that continues to exist between the Agency leadership and those in the
field; or be cost-effective in the era of the sequestration but the plan
certainly ranks up there with the beauties offered over the years.
Hmmm, now would be a great time for the USDA to finally recognize that it
employs professional wildland firefighters and classify them as such!
And if I might, a word about Lance Cross and his family's loss. Lance is the 2nd
FWFSA family member to lose a child in 2013. Mike Alarid being the first. I grew
up with Lance and his brothers Kevin and Matt in Hawaii where we lived just a
few houses from each other. Our families spent an inordinate amount of time
together and I was shocked to learn he had followed a similar path in life and
became a federal wildland firefighter. After over 40 years we reconnected at the
Castle Rock Fire in Idaho several years ago.
As with Mike, I know our FWFSA Family and all those who know Lance and his
family have their thoughts and prayers with Mike & Lance as they deal with an
unfathomable loss. Much Aloha Lance.
Our best to Mike's and Lance's families as well. Ab.
FS vs USDA logo
Re: FS logo replaced with USDA?
The article dated today (April 4th) says the USFS logo/shield has been exempted
from the new USDA logo regulations. Given my strong feelings of mistrust of the
USDA, I think all FS employees still need to maintain good S.A. for another
sneak attack from our "parent" department.
USFS badge dodges bullet
Great news! Ab.
Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour Changes
Good luck. I was actually charged by ASC/NFC when I coded it the correct way. I
had to pay it back, which meant that I received phone calls from a payment
person during my off-tour time. I was confused and pissed because everyone else
on the fire (also FS) did not have to pay it back (and I checked). I complained,
even wrote a note to the newly (and worthless in my opinion) deputy chief of
business operations at ASC and she never even responded. I tried contacting my
union rep, but after not receiving a response from him (and consequently my
quitting the union), I gave up. If you figure out a solution please let me know.
I had to pay back a nice chunk of change - and I was working hard for it the
It may not be enough to tip the deficit in our favor, but it was a lot for me.
FS Owes Me
Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour changes
Thanks for the reply... Sooooo... For all us folks for the last few years who
have been told it is not overtime.... how do we go about getting what is owed to
us... Mass audits from ASC?? Mass corrected time sheets??? Contact our Union
Making the rounds... FS logo replaced with USDA?
The new standards for the USDA logo were making the rounds on 3/28/2013.
"The use of agency and staff logos in Signature Lockups is being
phased out and replaced with a signature model that features only the USDA
symbol." from page 7 of the Standards.
Here's the link to the standards:
Logo visual standards guide (1,346 K pdf). Ab.
Photos of Historical FS Logos from MOC4546 on
Photos 6 and a few on Logos 7.
Why Is USDA Stripping the Forest Service of its Pine Tree Logo? (opinion)
As official badges go, the Forest Service's is pretty plain --
but very much to the point. At its center, a lone pine tree splits the letters U
and S, letters that serve doubly to denote the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, organizations whose names are emblazoned across the
top and bottom of the shield. It is a deft, clean, legible, and
historic symbol, having been the agency's central logo since its
establishment in 1905.
For many current and past
employees, it is also a badge of honor, a reflection of their deep and abiding
attachment to their one-time or present-day roles as stewards of America's
national forests. So you'll understand if they get a little testy when someone
proposes to mess with this sign of their lifelong devotion to the public good...
More at the link...
Attempted Murder on the Potomac (editorial)
On January 8 of this year, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, quietly put a
gun to the head of the 108-year-old U.S. Forest Service and pulled the trigger.
But if he thought he could kill the venerable agency that easily, he was wrong.
More on the Attempted Murder on the Potomac in a moment, but first some
background from the crime scene.
The U.S. Forest Service has been the designated caretaker of the nation's
193-million-acre federal forest estate since its creation in 1905. It is the
brainchild of two of this country's greatest conservationists, President Teddy
Roosevelt and the much revered Gifford Pinchot, who was the agency's first chief
and its principal architect. Their goal was to transfer the last of the nation's
public domain timberland into forest reserves - national forests - for their
conservation and use by the American people...
More at the link...
83rd Annual Wildland Fire Safety Conference, Southern California Association of
Foresters and Fire Wardens
The Southern California Association of Foresters
and Fire Wardens is hosting its annual wildland fire safety conference at the
Irvine Outdoor Education Center in Yorba Linda, Ca on May 2-3, 2013. The
association is made up of federal, state and local government fire
professionals, including So Cal Edison, who come together to present and discuss
issues related to the challenges we all face. Featured this year are noted
wildland fire author John Maclean and Risk Management expert Gordon Graham. For
more information on the Association and Conference attendance, please visit our
website at scaffw.org .
We hope to see you there.
Southern California Association of Foresters and Fire Wardens
Making the rounds:
NM Congressman Steve Pearce Releases Fire Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Layer
PEARCE RELEASES FIRE REPORT
Ruidoso, NM (April 2, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce released a
report he requested last summer on recent fires in New Mexico.
“Today’s report is a step toward the transparent, locally-driven approach
to forest management that New Mexico needs,” said Pearce. “New Mexicans have
expressed anger and frustration over the handling of recent fires, which
needlessly cost hundreds of millions of dollars, destroyed hundreds of
thousands of acres of habitat, and killed countless plants and animals. By
understanding thoroughly what has gone wrong with fire management in past
summers, we can work to improve our fire prevention and forestry policies,
The report was sponsored by the National Institute for the Elimination of
Catastrophic Wildfire, and authored by Bill Derr, who retired as special agent
in charge of the California Region for the US Forest Service. The report, which
was completed at no cost to taxpayers, details what went wrong with the
suppression efforts of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex and Little Bear Fires last
summer. It recommends that the Forest Service manage our nation’s forests in
accordance with the Organic Act of 1897, review the National Fire Policy,
calculate the total cost of wildfires beyond suppression, and that Congress
should reform the Equal Access to Justice Act to prevent special interest groups
from dictating forestry policy in an unscientific manner at taxpayer expense.
The full text of the report is available
Rod Duff, a member of the 1952 Oak Grove Hotshots, passed away on March 30 after
a short illness. Rod lived a full life that included wildland firefighting for
the USFS and CDF, working as a Disney Imagineer, owning an animation company,
and serving as an interpretive ranger at Bodie State Park in retirement. He was
an 19th century mining and railroading expert, a lifetime Land Rover enthusiast,
a model railroader and a member of the Bodie Chapter of E Clampus Vitas. Rod
considered his time as a hotshot one of the highlights of his life, and
thoroughly enjoyed himself at the Oak Grove Hotshot reunion in 2012.
will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 6, at Joshua Memorial Park, 808 East
Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, CA.
Condolences can be sent to Rod’s wife Cindy Kline at 7229 West Columbia Way,
Quartz Hill, CA 93536.
Best thoughts and prayers for family and friends. Ab.
Re: Initial Attack Spot Tour changes
Read the Master Agreement Article 28 section 4 a. it says “ This means that
initial attack hours worked after midnight until the individual’s regularly
scheduled tour of duty begins will be considered overtime.”
Ronald C. Angel
NFFE FSC R1 CVP
Facilitating Treatment of Traumatic Injuries- Clarification
letter being commented upon- as your readers have noted the letter states:
After on-site medical response, initial medical stabilization, and
evaluation are completed, the decision to refer the employee to a regional
burn center is made only by the attending physician. WC benefits may be
denied in the event the employee is transported to a burn center without a
referral from the attending physician.
As it turns out, we have had patients with relatively minor injuries (small
hand burns treated with salve, then released) transported to burn centers via
life flight. Thus the need for a clearer protocol. A life flight EMT/Paramedic
could make the call in the field to proceed directly to a burn center after
conferring (via radio) with the “attending physician”. The letter does not
preclude a burn victim from being taken directly to a burn center, if necessary.
The letter (which was developed with assistance from a licensed EMT Union
representative) allows the flexibility to provide every patient with the
appropriate necessary care and burn patients may be transported immediately from
the field to a burn center if directed by the attending physician (via radio) to
the attending life flight EMT/paramedic.
J Lenise Lago
Deputy Chief, Business Operations
USDA Forest Service
Thanks for the clarification. Ab.
This season's hiring has been an epic tale of failures. And now this???
On my unit (no names here), we pulled a GS-4 cert with over 350+ names and were
directed to select a dozen 'random' candidates to rate. Where is the sense in
Fairness? We were told to look for strong diversity candidates.
Equality? We were also to look for 'locals' as best possible.
Experience/quals/etc? Thats up to the rating system...
Despite all the talk of federal 'transparency', it seems thats all it was...
I've never felt so conflicted over my agency's hiring policies. I couldn't sleep
a wink last night. Anyone else receiving this kind of direction? I'm open to PMs
for help, I'm sure Abs will forward on.
- Anonymous in R5
I know there has been a lot of fuss about this new hiring system not working
out too good for folks. I have really been hearing a lot of it. I can tell you
from first hand experience that I did not find one problem with it and actually
thought it was better and easier than Avue. I literally had to turn down jobs.
So I know it works. I am guessing that people not being to familiar with the
system made errors of some sort on there applications and this is the main
reason for the troubles. Ok so with all that being said here are some tips for
using e recruit.
- Make sure you up load your own resume a word document for example. If
you use there resume builder the format will be all screwed up.
- attach EVERYTHING you can if there is a spot for it. ( SF-50, OF-306,
IQCS, etc )
Now when you write your own resume, you have to include certain key words.
You can easily look at the job description and see what kind of key words you
need to include in your work history description. (JUST key words. write your
own description ) You also need to give dates of how long you worked at what
grade. This is very important now. My understanding is it is up to you now to
prove and reflect that you have the experience and time in grade on your resume.
Avue made it easier in that sense.
Moral of the story do your homework put together a top notch application.
Take your time on it. (the more info you put the better.) Do exactly what it
asks. Have some one who knows what they are looking at check and double check it
before you submit it. I know its a little too late now, but hopefully this can
- Pond bear